Surely you’ve heard that the Vatican is moving in and cracking down on the U.S. nuns. It got me thinking about how the Vatican makes use of Scripture.
In the CDF’s doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious there is this:
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in an Audience granted to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, on January 14, 2011, approved the decisions of the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their implementation. This action by the Holy Father should be understood in virtue of the mandate given by the Lord to Simon Peter as the rock on which He founded his Church (cf. Luke 22:32): “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned to me, you must strengthen the faith of your brothers and sisters.” This Scripture passage has long been applied to the role of the Successors of Peter as Head of the Apostolic College of Bishops; it also applies to the role of the Pope as Chief Shepherd and Pastor of the Universal Church.
It has long struck me that Luke 22:32 is used rather often by the Vatican. John Paul II, for example, in 1994:
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
Lots of “confirming the brethren” (or “brothers and sisters”) by Rome. No surprise there. But did you ever wonder how much?
Google makes it easy to search the Vatican website and see how often a given Scriptural passage appears in the various Vatican documents at its site. You just google the website, like this:
“Lk 22:32” site:vatican.va
and voila! That Scripture passage is cited 776 times at the Vatican website.
It’s great fun googling the Vatican.
At Galatians 2:11, Paul says that he “opposed [Peter] to his face.” The Vatican only uses that one 271 times. More “confirming the brothers and sisters” than “opposing Peter.” No surprise there either.
At 1Timothy 3:15, the church is described as “the pillar and bulwark of truth,” which also got cited in the LCWR doc. At the Vatican website? 496 times.
Matthew 16:18, of course, is the money quote: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” Wow: 2,590.
Sorry, but I couldn’t resist. How about Matthew 16:23, “[Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!”? Hmm, only 109 hits.
Phoebe the female deacon at Rom 16:1f? I used “Rom 16:1” to get at anything from “1” to “1-2” to “1ff” and so forth. The result? 39.
Join in the fun, everyone! What do you discover when you google the Vatican?