Pontifical Biblical Commission

Pontifical Biblical Commission

The Pontifical Biblical Commission is a committee of Cardinals, aided by consultors, who meet in Rome to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of Sacred Scripture. This function was outlined in the encyclical "Providentissimus Deus".

The first appointments to the Commission were in August, 1901, but it was not formally established by Pope Leo XIII until October 30, 1902. The first Commission was composed of 3 Cardinals and 12 consultors.

The consultors meet twice a month, with secretaries present. The secretaries report to the Cardinals on the Commission, who also meet twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. The Cardinals propose questions for the consultors to consider. The Cardinals vote on the answers received from the consultors. They have the option of sending the question back for further study, commissioning a single consultor to investigate a matter more deeply, and sanctioning or modifying the study results. After, the secretaries report to the Pope, who can also send the matter back for further study, or ratify the results of the study.

Commission duties:

#to protect and defend the integrity of the Catholic Faith in Biblical matters
#to further the progress of exposition of the Sacred Books, taking account of all recent discoveries
#to decide controversies on grave questions which may arise among Catholic scholars
#to give answers to Catholics throughout the world who may consult the Commission
#to see that the Vatican Library is properly furnished with codices and necessary books
#to publish studies on Scripture as occasion may demand. [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02557a.htm "The Biblical Commission"] , John Corbett, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York]

The decrees of the Commission do not fall under Papal infallibility.

On June 27, 1971, the Apostolic Letter "Sedula Cura" ("On New Laws Regulating the Pontifical Biblical Commission - June 27, 1971) was issued. This letter stated that henceforth the Pontifical Biblical Commission was no longer an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church, but merely a consultative body of scholars. Pope John Paul II's constitution "Pastor Bonus" placed the commission in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and established that the prefect of the CDF is "ex officio" president of the commission. [Pope John Paul II (1988); [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_19880628_pastor-bonus-roman-curia_en.html "Article 55'] , apostolic constitution "Pastor Bonus", url accessed March 1, 2007.]



* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02557a.htm "The Biblical Commission"] , John Corbett, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

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