VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Pontifical Biblical Commission will hold its annual plenary session in the Vatican's Domus Sanctae Marthae from April 28 to May 2 on the theme of the relationship between the Bible and morals. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, president of the commission and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will preside at the meeting. Fr. Klemens Stock, S.J., will lead the work sessions.
The afternoon of May 2 there will be a celebratory session in the Augustinianum Patristic Institute to mark the centenary of the Biblical Commission. The third and final report commemorating this anniversary will be given by Cardinal Ratzinger on "The Magisterium of the Church and Exegesis. Their Relationship in the Light of the 100 years of the Pontifical Biblical Commission."
The Commission has 19 members in addition to Cardinal Ratzinger, Fr. Stock and Fr. Alessandro Belano, F.D.P. respectively president, secretary and technical secretary.
On October 30, 1902 Pope Leo XIII instituted the Pontifical Commission for Bible Studies with the Apostolic Letter "Vigilantiae studiique," assigning it the task of promoting Bible studies and taking care to see that they were free from error. Pope St. Pius X in 1904 gave the commission the faculty of conferring academic degrees in Bible studies. Pius XI, in 1924 and again in 1931, made the degrees given by the commission equal to those conferred by pontifical athenaeums. In 1942 Pope Pius XII divided the subject matter of the licentiate, allowing the bachelor's degree to be given after the first exam.
Pope Paul VI, with the Motu proprio "Sedula cura" of June 27, 1971, completely reorganized the Pontifical Biblical Commission, linking it with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect is "ex officio" the president of the commission.
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