Joe asked:

Does the Catholic faith accept the entire bible as truth or are there portions of the bible that are like fables?

Patrick Madrid replied:

"The Catholic church has a doctrine called inerrancy. Scriptural inerrancy ... The Catholic church teaches that the bible is the inspired word of God. Because this is God’s word in the words of men, therefore it is inerrant because God can neither deceive nor be deceived. God can not tell us lies ...

It is binding on us. We have an obligation to believe in what the bible teaches and follow it ... The Catholic church teaches that all of the holy bible from Genesis to Revelation is true, but it must be understood properly according to the type of biblical literature that is intended. You have some things that were written that were not intended to be understood literally. For example Song of Songs we see descriptions of the beloved woman with things like her hair looks like a flock of sheep coming down a hill, or her nose is like a tower, or other things that were clearly intended to be metaphorical or to be used by way of analogy ... There are some things that Jesus himself says to us that are told in parable form ...

Furthermore the Catholic church teaches that all of scripture has four senses of meaning and the primary sense is the literal meaning. There always is a literal meaning. But whether or not we would understand any given passage literally would depend upon the context. Jesus for example said, ‘I am the sheep gate.’ Well we know he’s not an actual piece of wood with hinges and a latch on it. We know that he didn’t mean that in that literal sense ..."

Joe asked:

Catholicism has many things that the bible doesn’t mention. Revelation warns us not to take away anything or add anything. Can you address this?

Patrick Madrid replied:

"Let me read the passage that I believe you are referring to, it’s Revelation chapter 22 verse 18 and 19. Saint John says, ‘I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book. If anyone adds to them God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book.’ ... Here’s what’s going on. The first thing to know is Saint John is not referring ... the bible that I’m holding in my hands right now that spans from Genesis to Revelation because that didn’t exist in the form that you and I have it. The early Christians didn’t have a bible ... there were scrolls ... he’s referring to that book that he had just written ...

In Deuteronomy chapter 4 verse 2, also in Deuteronomy chapter 13 verse 1, Moses says the same thing. He says, ‘Do not add anything to ... them beyond what I’m giving you here.’ ... Everything in the bible after Deuteronomy was added to those words. So everything, including the holy gospels and the New Testament, that’s all added. Surely what Moses was saying there was ... don’t tamper with this book that I’ve just written ..."


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Show air date: September 11, 2013

Question appeared in show: 20:03

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