Catholic Herald Correspondent
CARDINAL BEA, Si.,. head of the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity and a biblical scholar in his Own right, has outlined some rules of thumb for reconciling apparent contradictions in the biblical accounts of Our Lord's life.
In an article in Civilta Cattolica dealing mainly with thc Gospels of SS. Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Cardinal listed these "principal rules": • That the Gospels are not stenographic records of Christ's words; • That Christ probably repeated the same idea in different words; • That each sacred writer has his own distinctive style and that the Orientals of the ancient world had a manner of expressing themselves quite, different from the manner of westerners of the modern world; • That every account of an event is shaped by the purpose the author has in writing about the event.
Cardinal Bea styled this purpose of the author "the fundamental question". He pointed out that Pope Pius XII. in the encyclical, "DRESSING" "the supreme norm of interpretation."
He warned against trying to reconcile differences among the Gospels by seeking to extract their essential religious elements and regarding the rest as mere "dressing". Aside from the practical difficulties of attempting such distinctions. he said. "there would he a risk of abandoning facts and particulars that might he very important, simply because the exegete momentarily does not see their connection with faith and morals or with the essential points of the faith".
He also warned against giving more theological weight to Biblical passages which scientific criticism indicates are more "primitive". The more primitive passages deal more directly with events or with the words of Christ, while the less primitive passages are explanations furnished by the Evangelists for a particular public.
But distinctions, said the Cardinal. "must not give rise In confusion. as if what is less primitive had less theological value. were less the Word of God, less genuine and less faithful to the thought of Jesus.
This might perhaps be said by those who consider the Gospels purely from the humanistic-historical point of view. not by those who consider them as the inspired Word of God."
DIFFERENCES Cardinal Bea began his article by pointing out that while the Gospels are inspired by God, the human who is sited by the Holy Ghost as His instrument still "makes use of all his facultiesof intellect, of imagination and of will--no less than any other human author".
Cardinal Bea said the special influence of the Holy Ghost "leads the author to write precisely what the Spirit of God wants and in the manner He wants".
After pointing out that the Evangelists gave varying accounts of the life of Christ because of their human differences and their different aims, Cardinal Bea commented:
"We may even add a word regarding the advantages of these differences. If the Apostles had not .offered us a preaching which varied in the aspects it presented to us, in its emphasis and its manner pf presentation, we might wonder why Jesus chose 12 of them, and 12 of such varying temperaments. as they reveal themselves in the Gospels.
"It is clear. instead. that Jesus desired that the infinite light of His life and His doctrine, filtering through the life, characters and preaching of the Apostles, should be divided like sunlight in a prism into so many colours of the spectrum, and should reveal itself as fully as possible in its abundance and its riches."
neat. England has built few churches of any architectural distinction since the war (writes Iris Conlay). A happy exception can now he made for the church of the Good Shepherd at Nottingham, designed by Gerard Goalen and opened last week.
A low brick-walled podium contains all ancillary accommodation. There is a high. polygonal nave and a sanctuary rising dramatically from the podium. A tall, narrow belfry terminating with a Oche forms a sharp contrast with the high, but broad, nave.
The nave is planned to allow a congregation of nearly MO people to he assembled within 55 ft. of the sanctuary and Irma the furthest distance to follow easily svhat is going on at the altar. A slightly sloping floor helps visibility.
The Lady Chapel, with a special entrance from the ambulatory, will be used for weekday Masses. At nuan services glass screens can he erected to cut off the sound so that mothers muy bring noisy babies without fear of disturbing other worshippers.
The windows, designed and made by Patrick Reyntiens, consist of large slabs of coloured glass set in concrete Wailes de verrel and Z-shaped mullions of blue-grey reconstructed stone with narrow strips of glass set at right angles to the wall plane, Thus the nave is filled with an even and subdued light which allows the stained glass to he seen at its best advantage.
The photographs, taken by Henk Snoek, photographer of Coventry Cathedral, show the south front with the slender piercing belfry and the sanctuary surrounded by Reyntiens' fine windows.
Author's right to criticise
"The Courage of the Council", yet another hook to appear since the second session of the Ecumenical Council last year, has been published by Morcelliana, of Breschia. It is by Ranier() la Belle. editor of the Catholic newspaper, II Quotidiono.
In its preface, Bishop Emilio Guano. of Leghorn, president of the committee which drew up the Council's famous Schema 17. deals With the Church and public opinion. He stresses the obligation of the Press to report factually and truthfully, says how useful it has been to the Council, and adds that it has a right to criticise the Council, provided it does so objectively
Samba in Seminary