Wooden cross on an old bible © alexkich (shutterstock)
A Vatican Bible expert has opposed simplistic applications of biblical statements on sexuality. A study examining statements on homosexuality and marriage has been published on the subject by the Vatican Publishing House.
The development of the image of man within the writings of the Bible cannot be read according to a "naive evolutionary model" as straightforward progress or else as a softening, the Catholic Italian daily "Avvenire" (Thursday) quoted the secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Pietro Bovati. Even a biblical anthropology recently published by the commission is "not a moral theological treatise, nor is it a manual for pastoral care," the Jesuit said.
The volume "What is the human being?" recently published in Italian by the Vatican Publishing House? A walk through biblical anthropology" illuminates, among other things, statements on homosexuality and divorce in their respective cultural-historical context. Commentators interpreted this in part as an opening of Catholic moral teaching.
Study examines statements on homosexuality and marriage
The 336-page study is the result of five years of work by some 20 international biblical experts. It examines, among other things, the Old and New Testament scriptures' understanding of polygamy, mixed marriages, divorce, adultery and homosexuality. The impetus for this was given by Pope Francis. Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Chairman of the Biblical Commission, emphasized in his presentation of the volume that biblical anthropology represents an "authoritative basis for developments in the philosophical and theological disciplines".
The contributions trace a complex, sometimes contradictory development of moral concepts in the world and the history of the Bible. In part, the views are explained from certain historical contexts, and in part they also point out interpretive leeway that is already inherent in the biblical texts. Bovati summed it up as "an invitation to hope in the accepting mercy of God.".