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A Roman Catholic pamphlet entitled, “A Pastoral Statement For Catholics On Biblical Fundamentalism,” is a warning from Catholic Bishops to Catholics “who may be attracted to Biblical Fundamentalism without realizing its serious weaknesses.” It criticizes Fundamentalists for “rigid doctrinal and ideological positions” and for interpreting the Bible to be literally true. It says: “We do not look upon the Bible as an authority for science or history.” And: “The gospel comes to us through the Spirit-guided Tradition of the Catholic Church and the inspired books.

The Church produced the New Testament, not vice versa.” It said Fundamentalists “try to find in the Bible all the direct answers for living… We look to both the Church’s official teaching (or Magisterium) AND [our emphasis] Scripture for guidance in addressing life’s problems.” The pamphlet emphasizes the necessity of the seven sacraments, the “veneration of the Blessed Mother,” etc. (4/1/95, Calvary Contender)

In 1994, the Vatican officially criticized a literal interpretation of the Bible and said the fundamentalist approach to Scripture was “a kind of intellectual suicide.” The document said fundamentalism “refuses to admit that the inspired Word of God has been expressed in human language… by human authors possessed of limited capacities and resources.” The 125-page document, “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” was written by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, a group of scholars who assist the pope in the study of Scripture. “The fundamentalist approach is dangerous, for it is attractive to people who look to the Bible for ready answers to the problems of life,” the document said. “Fundamentalism actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide.”

A source of further confusion for many is the fact that for centuries Roman Catholics were taught that all those outside their membership were heretics to be shunned, persecuted, or even killed. It was not until the middle of this century that the Roman Catholic Church modified and softened its stand by calling non-Catholics, “separated brethren.” More recently, even that negative connotation has been eliminated. Today, Catholics are taught to consider “all Christians” to be “brothers and sisters in Christ.” (Source: “The Truth About Roman Catholicism,” September-October 1996, Foundation magazine, pp. 5-16.)