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It Is Forbidden to Interpret the Scripture
Contrary to Its Traditional Meaning

The Council of Trent gives us another argument to counter the "historical method" of interpreting the Holy Books largely adopted by Pope Benedict XVI in his book Jesus of Nazareth. Below you can read a decree of the Council of Trent that specifically addresses this topic on the interpretation of Catholic doctrine and Holy Scriptures.

Council of Trent

In order to restrain insolent spirits, it [the Council of Trent] decrees that no one, relying on his own skill, shall – in matters of Faith and of Morals pertaining to the structure of Christian doctrine – distort the Sacred Scripture as he pleases, presuming to interpret the same Holy Scripture contrary to that sense which Holy Mother Church – to whom it falls to judge the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures – has held and does hold; nor shall anyone interpret Scriptures contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, even if such interpretations were never intended to be published.

Let those who go against this be denounced by their Ordinaries, and be punished according to the penalties established by law.


Blason de Charlemagne
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“Decree concerning the Edition and the Use of the Sacred Books,”
Documentos Pontifícios, n. 95, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1959, p. 6

Posted September 10, 2011
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