Father Gregorio tackles an important issue in his Nov. 11 column “Catholic understanding of the Bible verses literalism” — the issue of biblical fundamentalism. Having lead many Scripture studies in my parish and for the Diocese of Camden, there is discomfort with the obvious historical discrepancies in the Bible. Does it mean the Bible which we claim as infallible is in fact not reliable? Of course the answer is that the biblical authors did not write history as we understand it (with concern for detailed accuracy) but broadly they wrote what we might describe as a “theological reflection” on God in history. A theological reflection that can take the form of actual history but also poetry, allegory and even fiction!
The original listeners had no problem distinguishing between these forms. For us 2,000 to 3,000 years later, it’s not always so easy. We have to get into the mind of the original listeners. It’s very tempting to take the easy way out and default to fundamentalism and read Scripture only from the perspective of our own culture.
But luckily the diocese provides a wonderful antidote to this “Biblical Fundamentalism” problem. In addition to many fine parish Scripture programs, the diocese provides a superb four year in-depth Scripture Study Program. As a graduate and now instructor in the program I highly recommend anyone seriously interested in Scripture to check out the Diocesan Web site “Camden Biblical Institute” under “Lifelong Faith Formation.”