Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
All that you say is true. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. There may be difficulties in the interpretation of the Bible, but the fact of its inspiration is certain.
Various texts in the Bible say that they are spoken or written with the authority of God. But that is rather a vicious circle, arguing from the inspiration of the book to its authority, and from the authority back to its inspiration. However, a book that is the inspired Word of God would be expected to say so, and the Catholic Church supplies the further evidence required, as I shall show in a moment. The fact that the Jews always accepted the Old Testament as inspired, and that Christians have also accepted both Old and New Testaments for so many centuries, also argues to the truth of their inspiration. Such a conviction indicates more than human influence. But still, men may point to a somewhat similar phenomenon among the Mahometans in regard to their Koran, and really sufficient proof is found only in the authority of the Catholic Church in our own times. Let us take the four Gospels first.We ask you to consider them for the moment as if they were not inspired. We do not deny their inspiration, but for the moment we abstract from it, and make no use of it.Let us subject the Gospels as books to all the laws of historical criticism--the same laws that we apply to other books. They prove to be reliable historical documents--indeed, there is no genuine historical document in existence, if these are not so. Now these historical documents tell us of a certain historical person who declared that He was God, justified that claim by works which no ordinary man could do, and said that He would establish an infallible church--a church still in this world. Thus we prove Christ's life and works from historical documents. We prove His divinity from His life and works. We prove the infallible Church from the promise of this divine Person. But we do not yet say that Scripture is inspired, though of course we know that it is. But our rational grounds for that belief come from the fact that the infallible Church of Christ teaches with her authority that the Bible is inspired and the Word of God, and also tells us what books comprise the Bible. That the Bible is infinitely superior to the sacred books of other religions becomes at once apparent. The most rigid criticism shows the strictly historical character of the Bible. Fabulous narratives cannot stand this test. The supernatural character of the Bible stands out in, vivid contrast when compared with the teaching of other religious documents. The Catholic Church, whose very existence in the world today cannot be explained by natural forces, guarantees the Bible as the Word of God.
Your belief is right, though many Protestants are rapidly giving up that belief. For the grounds you allege for your belief scarcely provide a sufficiently rational foundation. You may feel that it is inspired, but nothing can be proved from feelings, and in any case there are others who do not feel that it is inspired. Again, whilst many passages contain lofty doctrines, many other passages are not lofty, and this argument cannot justify the Bible as a whole.
It is not a vicious circle, but a lawful spiral argument of which the ends do not meet. Taking the Scriptures as historical documents only, the Church proves the historical fact that Christ endowed her with infallibility. Then using that infallibility she throws new light on the historical books by assuring me that they are inspired. I begin with merely historical books. I finish with inspired historical books. But I did not use inspiration as the basis of my first premise. So, too, I could prove that the present King is the rightful ruler from history only, and after that view him under the aspect of his authority, obeying his legitimate commands. Thus St. Augustine rightly said, even in the fourth century, "I would not accept the Gospels unless the authority of the Catholic Church impelled me."
Yes. You have only your fallible human opinion as proof that Scripture is not inspired. I uphold the infallible and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church. Disprove her authority to decide which books are inspired and which are not inspired, and you will have made some headway. But until you have done so, your idea is nothing more than an opinion with a value proportionate only to your limited knowledge and mental capacity. That the Catholic Church has the authority I attribute to her I shall show on another occasion.
So Ingersoll said that! But the point is, what if he did say it? Is Ingersoll infallible? Has he any more authority than other men, that you should attach such talismanic value to his words? Or do you regard this as a solemn ex cathedra utterance binding all irrational men throughout the world?
The progress and mutation of an essentially variable human language is unavoidable. And God did know that the changing mentalities of subsequent generations would lead to confusion. To obviate the danger He could do one of two things. He could stabilize human reason and prevent each human being from mistaking the original sense, or else He could establish certain men to teach in His Name, and finally, if necessary, an infallible tribunal which men could consult in matters of religion. He chose the latter course, and thus never intended Scripture to be the ultimate guide in religious belief. Men who will not accept the Catholic Church, but insist on puzzling out the sense for themselves, have only themselves to blame if they end in scepticism. If the government establishes an inquiry office as a guide to the city and a complete stranger refuses to use its services, he is to blame if he gets lost.
I have read it many times. But nothing in the Bible disproves the fact of its inspiration. It may be difficult to secure the right interpretation of certain passages, or to grasp the principles involved, but our difficulty in comprehending everything, a difficulty to be expected, avails nothing against the known fact that the Bible is the Word of God.