Pontifical Biblical Commission

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The Pontifical Biblical Commission is an organism established within the Roman Curia to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of Sacred Scripture.

The Commission 1901-1971[edit]

The Pontifical Biblical Commission was established as a committee of Cardinals, aided by consultors, who met in Rome to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of Sacred Scripture. This function was outlined in the encyclical Providentissimus Deus.

The first appointments to the Commission were in August, 1901, but it was not formally established by Pope Leo XIII until October 30, 1902, with the Apostolic Letter "Vigilantiae Studiique".[1] The first Commission was composed of three Cardinals and 12 Consultors.

The Consultors met twice a month, with Secretaries present. The Secretaries reported to the Cardinals on the Commission, who met on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. The Cardinals proposed questions for the consultors to consider and voted on the answers received from the consultors. The Cardinals had the option of sending questions back to the consultors for further study, commissioning a single consultor to investigate a matter more deeply, and sanctioning or modifying the study results. After a decision was reached, the secretaries reported to the Pope, who could also send the matter back for further study, or ratify the results of the study.

The duties of the Commission were:

  1. to protect and defend the integrity of the Catholic Faith in Biblical matters
  2. to further the progress of exposition of the Sacred Books, taking account of all recent discoveries
  3. to decide controversies on grave questions which might arise among Catholic scholars
  4. to give answers to Catholics throughout the world who may consult the Commission
  5. to see that the Vatican Library was properly furnished with codices and necessary books
  6. to publish studies on Scripture as occasion might demand.[2]

The Commission was granted the power to grant pontifical academic degrees in biblical studies by Pope Pius X's Apostolic Letter Scripturae sanctae of February 23, 1904. Pope Pius XI, by the Motu Proprio Bibliorum scientia of April 27, 1924 and the Apostolic Constitution Deus scientiarum Dominus of May 24, 1931, clarified that such degrees were equivalent in status to those of the Pontifical Universities. [3]

The Commission 1971-1988[edit]

On June 27, 1971, the Motu Proprio Sedula Cura ("On New Laws Regulating the Pontifical Biblical Commission - June 27, 1971'") was issued, by which Pope Paul VI completely restructured the Commission and attached it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as a consultative body.

The Commission since 1988[edit]

On June 28, 1988, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus confirmed the commission's being attached to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (since May 13, 2005, William Levada) is ex officio President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. There is a Secretary,[4] who is not the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but to date has been chosen from eminent professors of the Pontifical Biblical Institute. The current Secretary is Father Klemens Stock, S.J.,[5] in the position since 2001. The members are Catholic biblical scholars proposed by the Bishops' Conferences.

Documents of the Biblical Commission[edit]

Current members[edit]

As of 2009[6]

The Technical Secretary is Fr Alessandro Belano, F.D.P.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.microsofttranslator.com/BV.aspx?ref=IE8Activity&a=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vatican.va%2Fholy_father%2Fleo_xiii%2Fapost_letters%2Fdocuments%2Fhf_l-xiii_apl_19021030_vigilantiae-studiique_it.html
  2. ^ Corbett, John (1907), "The Biblical Commission", The Catholic Encyclopedia II, New York: Robert Appleton Company 
  3. ^ Annuario Pontificio, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009, p. 1923 
  4. ^ Pope John Paul II; translated by Francis C.C.F. Kelly, James H. Provost, and Michel Thériault (1988). "Article 55,". Apostolic Constitution, 'Pastor Bonus'. Retrieved March 1, 2007. 
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009, p. 1299 
  6. ^ Annuario Pontificio, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009, p. 1299