The night of disappointments

2012-04-26 L’Osservatore Romano

Reviewing the details of the discussion on Dei Verbum is a useful observation point from which to reconstruct the dynamics of the Second Vatican Council based on the plurality of positions on the role of Scripture in the Church's life: Cardinal Augustin Bea from theological reflection on  the biblical dimension of Divine Revelation to the historicity of the Gospels and to the value of infallibility to the relationship of Scripture with the daily routine of the Christian experience, also from an ecumenical perspective. Precisely because of the importance of the Constitution for the topics addressed and the role it has played in the history of the Second Vatican Council, it “still” seems particularly appropriate to promote research on Dei Verbum which is a “milestone in the Church's history”, as we read in Benedict XVI's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini.

The suggestions (opinions) for the future Council of Bishops and of the superiors of religious orders, of the universities and academic institutions and of the Roman Congregations reveal the multiplicity of viewpoints and approaches which portray an interesting picture of the Church. A lot of room was allowed for the definition of the relationship between Scripture and Tradition in the transmission of Revelation; in the last years of Pius XII's Pontificate a heated discussion on this point had flared up between those who supported the superiority of Tradition over Scripture and those who claimed the need to rethink in a more unitive manner the relationship between Scripture and Tradition in the transmission of Revelation. The multiplicity and breadth of the proposals concerning Scripture as a topic for the future not only refers to a discussion – that was not exempt from the tensions that had developed within the Catholic Church in the course of the 20th century and, more generally speaking, in Christianity – but also showed the desirability of drafting a plan for the future Council which would tackle, in a broad sense, matters linked to the interpretation and knowledge of Sacred Scripture and the relationship between Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium in the transmission of Revelation.

Riccardo Burigana