Pope Benedict has just issued a major document on Sacred Scripture titled Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) – the full text can be downloaded here. This document is the result of the 2008 Synod of Bishops dedicated to the Word of God.
This is huge news. Over the past century or so, there have been three major documents released by Popes on Scripture; they include:
So you can see that these type of documents don’t come around every day – and there hasn’t been one in almost 70 years. For a Scripture geek like me, this is like an early Christmas.
These three documents, along with the Vatican II constitution Dei Verbum, are essential for understanding how Catholics interpret Scripture. Before reading Verbum Domini, I would recommend a paper I wrote back in the 90′s titled Catholic Scripture Interpretation: Resting on Fundamentals, Resisting Fundamentalism, which looks at some of these past documents to understand how the Church approaches Scripture. I’m sure that Verbum Domini will build upon these documents, so an understanding of them will be helpful for understanding the new document.
Thanks Pope Benedict XVI!