Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales; Publisher: Catholic Truth Society; 40 46 Harleyford Road, London, SE11 5AY; 2005; 60pp; pbk; £3.95; ISBN: 1 86082 323 8
This booklet is "published as a teaching document firstly to Catholics" and "also to all those who are drawn to the Holy Scriptures..."(p11)
There is nothing new in this booklet to denote that Rome has returned to the Scriptural fold again. All the old doctrines are there, especially concerning tradition. The contention of Vatican II that Scripture and Tradition "must each be 'accepted and honoured with equal devotion and reverence' affirmed (p15).
The Apocrypha is affirmed as Scripture (p23/24). The mass is mentioned as food for us (pl1). Mary "above all others" kept the word of God (p41). The understanding of the Bible is given to the teaching authority of the Church, the Bishops in union with the Pope (v 16). Baptismal regeneration is affirmed (p48).
Although there is "grateful acknowledgement" that scholars from all "Christian communities" contributed to the translation, study and exposition of the Bible, yet there is a whole section on the "danger of fundamentalism" (p19 20) with several other references. Words like "danger" and "intellectual suicide" and "superficial" and "undervalues the gift of Scripture" are all used to attack the fundamental position. Of course, the booklet does not openly identify who these fundamentalists are, but we all know that Rome has Evangelical Protestants in her sights when she so speaks.
Doubtless to the delight of Modernists everywhere, Rome tells us that we should not expect total accuracy or precision from the Bible in secular matters like science or history (p18). Traditional material from other cultures, notably the ancient East, forbid us to take the early chapters of Genesis as historical fact (p25). Greatl (Ironic exclamation.) Holy men of old spake as they were misled by the Spirit of God! Is the Spirit of God the blind leading the blind? It must be rank heresy to ascribe any kind of imperfection to the Holy Ghost.
This is an old ploy of Rome. Undermine the authority of the Bible and the confined and anchor less will drift towards you with all your definite views.
Of course the booklet is not all bad. Some parts are helpful enough, but I am from that school of thought that recognises that rat poison is 99% good old oatmeal but it is the 1% which kills. Although this is an attractively produced booklet and well paragraphed and easy to access, the authority of Scripture is undermined and it is this which makes it poisonous. Not recommended.