Catholic Controversies

Does the Bible Contain Errors, or is it Inerrant?

by Steve Ray on March 10, 2019

An e-mail I received today with a very important and pertinent question. It involves the inerrancy of Scripture. In short, this means that the Scriptures do not contain errors. I decided to answer the e-mail and share my response.

Pope-Leo-XIII-portrait-Hathi-TrustPope Leo XIII wrote, “For all the books that the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit. And so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God himself, the Supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.” (Providentissimus Deus §40)

The Catechism defines Inerrancy as “The attribute of the books of Scripture whereby they faithfully and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to have confided through the Sacred Scriptures.”

Many see in this Catechism statement a compromise of traditional teaching. Some read this to mean that only things pertaining to our salvation are without error, but it is not inerrant where it touches on science, history or other tangible matters. In other words, the Bible is only inerrant on matters of faith and morals.

The e-mail went like this,

“[In debates I’ve had school] I maintained that Dei Verbum and the Church hold to Inerrancy, not limited inerrancy as a couple of theologian types have tried to argue me into. 

I thought you would have up-to-date material that would at least show my view is DEFENSIBLE. What do you recommend? I’ve read the Scott Hahn materials, Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth (which one theologian thought would move me to limited inerrancy), etc. 

Thanks, RB

I gave a short response and pointed RB to a very thorough and orthodox paper on inerrancy with argues for the full position taken by the Church without wavering until theologians challenged it in modern times.

I wrote,

the wooden rosary on the open Bible the wooden rosary on the open Bible

I believe in the plenary inerrancy of scripture. I do not believe that Dei Verbum in any way weakens traditional and historic teaching of the Church. To do so would contradict the constant teaching of the Church and rationality.

If the Bible is written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, how can it have errors of any kind? God cannot lie or deceive or teach error.
If the Bible is not inerrant in areas that we can verify (science, history, etc.), how can we possibly trust it in areas we cannot verify (heaven, forgiveness of sins, Trinity, etc.)? If the Scriptures are riddled with errors regarding history that can be proved in error — how and why should we trust it about things we cannot verify.

I could write a whole treatise for you on this but I could not do better than this one I’m sharing with you entitled The Inerrancy of Scripture and the Second Vatican Council. written by Mark Joseph Zia in CatholicCulture.org. It is a good read and should clear up any doubts or confusion.

Don’t be bullied or intimidated into compromising on the full teaching of the Church. To do so is to lose everything. The Scriptures are the authoritative, inspired, infallible and inerrant word of God.

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Steve’s segment starts 24:00 minutes into the show.

The questions are multiple. What is happening to the Church? Why aren’t Rome and the bishops doing something about homosexual clergy? Why should I stay with the Church with all the confusion and lack of action with Pope Francis and the Vatican? I am angry and don’t know what to do!

Teresa and Steve talk frankly about these matters and give the overall picture — and — encourage Catholics to stay, be proud and to act!

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“February 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) (News also released by Catholic News Agency) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, has released a Manifesto which reads like a correction of many of the doctrinal errors Pope Francis has taught during his tenure as Pope….

…Pope Francis removed Cardinal Müller from his post as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2017 after he had served in that capacity since he was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2012.

In the manifesto, Cardinal Müller does not mention the Pope but says that he was asked to make a public testimony of the truth “in the face of growing confusion about the doctrine of the Faith.”

PopeUAE4The manifesto was released in the wake of Pope Francis’ highly controversial joint document with an Islamic leader which says that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions” are “willed by God in His wisdom” – a statement many believe contravenes the Catholic Faith….

[STEVE’S COMMENT]: Two things everyone should do (in my humble opinion). 1. Read carefully the Cardinal’s manifesto to clearly understand Catholic truth and to be encouraged there are still Cardinals who know the truth.  2. Sign this petition in support of Cardinal Müller.

This Manifesto goes to the very heart of the ambiguity and confusion caused by Pope Francis and his circle of advisers in the Vatican. Below is the rest of the LifeSite news article with links to the Manifesto and the Petition of support for the Cardinal. Here are a few of the pertinent points of the Manifesto, but read it yourself — which only takes ten minutes.

SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE YOU CAN…

Lifesite News continues, “Providing clarity on the Church’s view of Islam, Cardinal Müller rejects the Muslim view that sees Christ as a prophet, rather than the Messiah. “We are to resist the relapse into ancient heresies with clear resolve, which saw in Jesus Christ only a good person, brother and friend, prophet and moralist,” the Manifesto says.

The Manifesto also addresses several other points which can be seen as corrections of Pope Francis including the impermissibility of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics as well as that for Protestants; the eternity of hell; the ban on female priests; and priestly celibacy.

The Manifesto says “divorced and civilly remarried persons, whose sacramental marriage exists before God, as well as those Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Faith and the Church” are “not disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully (CCC 1457), because it does not bring them to salvation.”

CardinalMueller_810_500_75_s_c1The Manifesto adds, “Therefore, the Holy Scripture admonishes with regard to the reception of the Holy Communion: ‘Whoever eats unworthily of the bread and drinks from the Lord’s cup makes himself guilty of profaning the body and of the blood of the Lord’ (1 Cor 11:27).”

In his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia Pope Francis wrote “no one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel” and in interviews he went so far as to suggest that those who want no part of God are annihilated rather than in hell.

Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Müller attests, “He who dies in mortal sin without repentance will be forever separated from God (CCC 1033).” The Manifesto says, “The eternity of the punishment of hell is a terrible reality, which – according to the testimony of Holy Scripture – attracts all who ‘die in the state of mortal sin’ (CCC 1035).”

“To keep silent about these and the other truths of the Faith and to teach people accordingly is the greatest deception against which the Catechism vigorously warns,” says the Cardinal. “It represents the last trial of the Church and leads man to a religious delusion, ‘the price of their apostasy’ (CCC 675); it is the fraud of Antichrist.”

The Pope’s recent opening to a non-celibate priesthood and winking at female ordination also seems to be covered, as the Manifesto says, “priests voluntarily opt for celibacy as ‘a sign of new life’ (CCC 1579).” The Church, says Cardinal Müller, is “bound by the choice made by the Lord Himself. That is why it is not possible to ordain women (CCC 1577).”  The Cardinal adds: “To imply that this impossibility is somehow a form of discrimination against women shows only the lack of understanding for this sacrament, which is not about earthly power but the representation of Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church.”

Furthermore, Cardinal Müller also restates the inseparable link between the Faith and the moral law which needs to be followed “to do good and reach this goal [of promised blessedness],” and he points to certain parts of the Church’s moral teaching “which are often ignored today.” Here, he references several parts of the Catechism’s moral teaching “which may not be relativized” without quoting them explicitly.

Among them are such statements as “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception” (no. 2270) and the explicit rejection of the following  grave sins: abortion (no. 2271), contraception (no. 2370), euthanasia (no. 2277), suicide (no. 2280), cohabitation outside of marriage (no. 2350), masturbation (no. 2352),  fornication (no. 2353), pornography (no. 2354), and adultery (no. 2380-2381). Cardinal Müller also explicitly references those parts of the Catechism (no. 2357-2359) which describe “homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” and which call upon homosexual persons to live in “chastity.”

While he never mentions Pope Francis by name, the Manifesto’s criticisms are so pointed they leave little doubt about the identity of at least one of the intended members of the hierarchy Cardinal Müller hopes to correct. “The admonition of the Apostle is still valid today, that cursed is anyone who proclaims another gospel, ‘even if we ourselves were to give it or an angel from heaven’ (Gal 1:8),” the Manifesto reads. “The mediation of faith is inextricably bound up with the human credibility of its messengers, who in some cases have abandoned the people entrusted to them, unsettling them and severely damaging their faith.”

Read Cardinal Müller’s entire Manifesto in English. Download a PDF of the seven language versions here: EnglishItalianSpanishPortugueseFrenchGermanPolish.

Sign the petition to support Cardinal Müller here. 

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