Catholic Church Documents related to Biblical Studies
compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
Most Recent Documents
Documents from Recent Ecumenical Councils
Catechism of the Catholic Church
(2nd edition; October 11, 1992 - from the Vatican website):
Part One: The Profession of Faith; Section One: "I Believe" - "We Believe"; Chapter Two: God Comes to Meet Man
Documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
(most available from the Vatican Website)
Pope Leo XIII:
Pope Pius X:
Apostolic Letter Quoniam in re biblica ("On the Study of Scripture in Seminaries" - March 27, 1906)
Motu Propio Letter ("On the Decisions of the Biblical Commission" - November 18, 1907 - on Vatican website in Latin and Italian; English version at Praestantia Scripturae Sacrae EWTN Library)
Apostolic Letter ("Establishing the Pontifical Biblical Institute" - May 7, 1909 - on Vatican website only in Latin) Vinea Electa
Pope Benedict XV:
Pope Pius XI:
Motu Propio Letter Bibliorum Scientiam ("On Academic Standards for Teachers of Scripture" - April 27, 1924)
Pope Pius XII:
("On the Most Opportune Way to Promote Biblical Studies" - September 30, DIVINO
AFFLANTE SPIRITU 1943) - another copy from CIN Encyclical
("On Certain False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine" - August 12, 1950) Humani Generis - see esp. paragraphs 21-25 & 35-39
Pope Paul VI:
Pope John Paul II:
Apostolic Constitution "Promulgating the Neo-Vulgate Edition of the Holy Bible" (April 25, 1979) - Latin text from the Vatican Website; Scripturarum Thesaurus: English Translation at EWTN Library
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission: "On the Biblical Sciences and the Teaching Office of the Church" (April 26, 1979) - original French text; Italian translation also available on the Vatican website
Address Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of (Dec. 14, 1990) Dei Verbum - on Vatican website in French and Italian only
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission: "On the Nature of Catholic Interpretation of the Bible" (April 11, 1991) - on Vatican website in French and Italian only
Address on the Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (April 23, 1993) - on Vatican website in French, Italian, Portugese, and Swahili; English translation in Daughters of St. Paul edition of "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church"
Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth" (October 22, 1996) - from the New Advent website
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission: "On the Role of the Old Testament for Knowing Jesus" (April 11, 1997) - Italian text and Portuguese translation from Vatican website; English translation at EWTN Library
Address to a Conference on Biblical Language and Media (Sept. 28, 1998) - brief welcoming address
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (April 29, 2003) - brief welcoming address
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (April 20, 2004) - brief welcoming address
Pope Benedict XVI:
Address to the Participants in the International Congress Organized to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum" (Sept. 16, 2005) - brief welcoming address
Weekly Angelus Message (Nov. 6, 2005) - brief comments focusing on Dei Verbum and the Sacred Scriptures
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (April 27, 2006) - brief welcoming address
General Audience (Nov. 7, 2007) - focusing on fourth-century biblical scholar St. Jerome (part 1)
General Audience (Nov. 14, 2007) - focusing on fourth-century biblical scholar St. Jerome (part 2)
Address to the Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (April 23, 2009) - brief welcoming address
Address to Professors, Students and Personnel of the Pontifical Biblical Institute (October 26, 2009) - on the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of the PBI
(Sept. 30, 2010) – the "post-synodal apostolic exhortation," resulting from the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met in Rome on Oct. 5-26, 2008, and was devoted to "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." Verbum Domini - "The Word of the Lord" See also a page in honor of the Holy Father:
Sixteen Biblical Blessings for Pope Benedict XVI
Other Biblically-Related Writings
"Letter to the Bishops' Conferences on the Name of God" - from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, June 29, 2008; directing the avoidance of pronouncing YHWH in liturgical contexts
(Fifth Instruction "For the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council"); from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (March 28, 2001)
Biblical Fundamentalism: What Every Catholic Should Know - a short book by biblical scholar Ronald Witherup, S.S. (Liturgical Press, 2001)
"The Fundamentalist Challenge" - a four-page flyer, by biblical scholar Raymond E. Brown, S.S. (May 1990, Catholic Update series) "
Toward Your Happiness: Catholicism and Fundamentalism: A Contrast" - A Pastoral Letter to Catholics in Mississippi and Alabama (June 29, 1989) "
A Pastoral Statement for Catholics on Biblical Fundamentalism" - from the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Biblical Fundamentalism (Washington: USCCB, 1987) "
The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ" - a.k.a. the Christmas Proclamation; published by the USCCB; here is my own comparative analysis of Old and New Translations
Published Collections of Church Documents
(some out-of-print by now, but still available in good libraries):
Béchard, S.J., Dean P., ed. The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings . Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2002. -
Lysik, David, ed. The Bible Documents: A Parish Resource . Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2001. - contains the most important documents, but slightly fewer than the above collection Raymond E.
Brown, S.S., and Thomas Aquinas Collins, O.P., "Church Pronouncements," in: The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990) 1166-74. - an excellent survey article
Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994 & 2000. - see esp. articles "The Revelation of God" (§§50-73), "The Transmission of Divine Revelation (§§74-100), and "Sacred Scripture" (§§101-41). Catechism of the Catholic Church.
6 The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church. th edition. Jacques Dupuis, ed. New York: Alba House, 1996. - see esp. ch. 1: "Revelation and Faith"; and ch. 2: "Tradition and Scripture."
. 37th edition. Heinrich Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum Denzinger and Adolf Schönmetzer, eds. Freiburg, Basel, Rome & Vienna: Herder, 1991.
Vatican Council II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations . Revised translation. Austin Flannery, O.P. New York: Costello, 1996.
Megivern, James J., ed.
Official Catholic Teachings: Biblical Interpretation. Wilmington, NC: Consortium Books, 1978.
Rome and the Study of Scripture: A collection of papal enactments on the study of Holy Scripture together with the decision of the Biblical Commission. 7th edition. St. Meinrad, IN: 1962.
Enchiridion Biblicum: documenta ecclesiastica Sacram Scripturam spectantia. 4th edition. Naples & Rome, 1961. Most of the above documents are also on a CD-ROM, "
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