What does a scripturally centred Church look like? The Bible behind the God Who Speaks campaign

In this article, Fleur Dorrell looks at the Catholic Church’s approach to the Bible as the foundation for the God Who Speaks campaign.

‘We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.’ (1 Jn 1.1)

Hasn’t the Catholic Church always had Scripture at its centre? The answer isn’t as simple as we might expect. While the Church has drawn on the Bible in every age, it was at Vatican II that the global bishops and their advisors deliberately returned to the Scriptures, to the Early Church Fathers, and to the tradition of prayer and worship. This approach was an intentional shift in the context of how our theology and identity had become apologetic and polemical since the Reformation. That we had perpetuated a binary way of defining ourselves as Catholic and Protestant in contra-distinction to each other rather than seeing both identities under the same word of God. The Bible had tragically divided us rather than united us.

The biblical scholarship ice age that had been slowly defrosting but not fully thawed at last began to take on a new shape in a world that we might feel has become progressively de-Christianised, yet in other ways provides rich opportunities for us to promote the truth, create and nurture authentic encounters and real transformation. Returning once again to Vatican II, to the sources of Scripture, tradition and worship, we see that a different emphasis on Church emerges, with three images in particular: Church as the new People of God; as the Body of Christ, and as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

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