Scripture scholar says Vatican II promoted access to Bible for all
Published: September 28, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Second Vatican Council gave the Bible a central place in the life of the church, a Scripture scholar said during a symposium at The Catholic University of America. In a talk on the council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Hellen Mardaga said Vatican II not only opened the door for scholars to study the Bible using the modern methods of historical criticism, but also enabled them to publish their findings and make them accessible to the Catholic public. Mardaga, an assistant professor of New Testament at Catholic University, said the constitution, known also as "Dei Verbum," invited the faithful to nourish their faith from the Scriptures, a sharp break from the 16th-century Council of Trent, which taught that interpreting the Bible was a task reserved for bishops. Her Sept. 27 talk was part of university's symposium "Reform and Renewal: Vatican II After 50 Years." Mardaga contrasted Vatican II's teaching on revelation, including the Bible, with that of the First Vatican Council, held in 1869-70, and two papal encyclicals. Vatican II emphasized, she said, the church's doctrines are not themselves divine revelation but rather, Christ himself is the sum total of revelation. The council's understanding of revelation is relational, she said. "It has to do with the relationship between the Father and the Son. It is in that interpersonal relationship that we Christians participate." Vatican I taught that faith is submission of one's intellect and will to God, Mardaga said, but for Vatican II, faith is a gift of oneself to God.
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