April 30, 2012

VATICAN CITY – While the text of the Bible is fixed, the same Holy Spirit that inspired its writing continues to inspire its proclamation and interpretation in the church, Pope Benedict said.

The Catholic Church's understanding of the Bible grows through time thanks to the Holy Spirit's guidance and to reflection, study, prayer and preaching, the pope said.

He made his comments in a message to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, which met at the Vatican April 16-20.

While the act of revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, Pope Benedict said, "the revealed word continues to be proclaimed and interpreted by the living tradition of the Church.

"For this reason, the word of God fixed in the sacred texts is not an immobile deposit within the Church, but becomes the supreme rule of its faith."

Pope Benedict said no one can really understand the Bible without recognizing that it was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

But, as he told the biblical commission last year, "it is not possible to apply the criterion of inspiration or of absolute truth in a mechanical way, extrapolating a single phrase or expression."