Monday, 15 November 2010

Verbum Domini: why the lack of interest?

A few days ago I provided a dot point summary of the Pope's new Apostolic Exhortation on Scripture, and flagged that I'd write some more on it, and I'll do that over the next few days.

A deafening silence?

But I thought first I'd comment on the lack of reactions from other bloggers, because there has been a surprising dearth of comment on it on the mainstream blogs and the catholic media.

One or two, such as Fr Blake of St Mary Magdalen reproduced first the Vatican press release and later selected quotes.   The Sydney Archdiocese news service put up a Vatican produced short video introduction to it.  And Rorate Caeli commented on an alleged failure to address head on "limited inerrancy" (although like some of the commentators on their piece, I actually thought the Holy Father made it pretty clear that so-called limited inerrancy was an error, not least with his reaffirmations of Provendissimus Deus and Divino Afflante). 

But on the whole not much has been said about it, and that is a shame because I think it is a very important document.

But perhaps the lack of comment reflects the problem the document aims to solve, namely the relative neglect of Scripture by Catholics?

Or perhaps the relative silence reflects the appalled reaction of academic exegetes who find that the Pope's concerted critique of the current academic consensus contained in the first volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth has now turned into Magisterium!

Practical and theory

There are of course good reason why Catholics have generally neglected Scripture - such as the deadly combination of poor catechesis, sterile academic exegesis resulting from the historico-critical method, and the encouragement of superficial approaches to lectio divina which cause people to quickly lose interest.

Fortunately Pope Benedict XVI addresses all of these problems in his document.

One or two of the practical suggestions in the document - a directory for sermons, pride of place for the Bible in churches - are in fact suggestions from Australian Archbishops unless I'm much mistaken.

But the really crucial part of his document is on the reintegration of biblical exegesis and theology; on grounding lectio divina once again in the intellect, not just emotions.

There is a strong movement out there to reclaim the liturgy. But no equivalent movement to reclaim Scripture from the modernists.  The Pope has now given us the tools to support such a movement though, and the traditionally inclined should take up this cause with gusto.

More over the next few days...


Quasi Seminarian said...

The reason I suppose most people haven't commented on the document is that it is long. Very long. I also haven't picked up a copy and hate reading these things online.

Terra said...

True Quasi, aand I particularly hate the fact that it is only up in PDF format (text documents are much easier to use!).

But most blogs haven't even mentioned its release...although I have to admit the Vatican press release was pretty bland and boring, those guys really do need to get in some real expertise!

Schütz said...

I also think the reason there has been little response so far is because of its length. I am still reading it. Also, it is a document that covers a great deal of ground, and takes some time to assimilate (a little like Caritas in Veritate in this regard). Still, publicity isn't great. I am thankful to our diocesan website ( for bringing it to my attention by giving it front page news. But a priest of the archdiocese with whom I had lunch today (and who is very intersted in these matters and has been looking forward to the release of this post-Synodical Exhortation) had not yet heard it was out.