An e-mail I received today with a very important and pertinent question. It involves the inerrancy of Scripture. In short, this means that the Scriptures do not contain errors. I decided to answer the e-mail and share my response.
The Catechism defines Inerrancy as “The attribute of the books of Scripture whereby they faithfully and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to have confided through the Sacred Scriptures.”
Many see in this Catechism statement a compromise of traditional teaching. Some read this to mean that only things pertaining to our salvation are without error, but it is not inerrant where it touches on science, history or other tangible matters. In other words, the Bible is only inerrant on matters of faith and morals.
The e-mail went like this,
“[In debates I’ve had school] I maintained that Dei Verbum and the Church hold to Inerrancy, not limited inerrancy as a couple of theologian types have tried to argue me into.
I thought you would have up-to-date material that would at least show my view is DEFENSIBLE. What do you recommend? I’ve read the Scott Hahn materials, Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth (which one theologian thought would move me to limited inerrancy), etc.
I gave a short response and pointed RB to a very thorough and orthodox paper on inerrancy with argues for the full position taken by the Church without wavering until theologians challenged it in modern times.
I believe in the plenary inerrancy of scripture. I do not believe that Dei Verbum in any way weakens traditional and historic teaching of the Church. To do so would contradict the constant teaching of the Church and rationality.
I could write a whole treatise for you on this but I could not do better than this one I’m sharing with you entitled The Inerrancy of Scripture and the Second Vatican Council. written by Mark Joseph Zia in CatholicCulture.org. It is a good read and should clear up any doubts or confusion.