11 December 2013

Infallible Word of God

Do you believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God? If you do, you can thank St. Pope Damasus I for infallibly leading the Catholic Church in discerning which books should be in the Bible. He delegated most of the work to his friend St. Jerome, who, I’m sure, had help from others. All of whom used the intellect that God gave them and prayed that the Holy Spirit inspire them to use it correctly.

Of course, not everyone agreed, particularly in North Africa, and councils had to be held to decide if they would use the Canon of Scripture the pope said they should: one in Hippo in 393 and two in Carthage in 397 and 419. Pope Damasus I wasn’t at these councils since he had died in 384.

Of course, the Bible was not canonized at any of these councils. These weren’t even ecumentical councils, but only local synods as the objections were mainly just in North Africa. However, 1100 years later, a growing rebellion began that included taking a few books out of the Bible that Pope Damasus I infallibly led the Catholic Church in discerning God’s Will in the matter. This rebellion was addressed at the Ecumentical Council of Trent, specifically the Bible in 4th Session in 1546. Most of these rebels put the Books they took out of the New Testament back in, but they couldn’t do the same with the Old Testament because the doctrinal difficulties this would cause with their rebellion were even greater than the one’s in the New Testament (among other reasons).

Incidentally, it was under the infallible leadership of Pope Paul III in the 16th century that the Bible was actually infallibly canonized and declared as the infallible Word of God. Do you think God would trust anyone that He wasn’t keeping infallible, at least officially, with making such a declaration?

In case you’re wondering, today is the feast day of St. Pope Damasus I.