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Elsewhere on this site, the question of whether the Roman Catholic church supported evolution was answered with evidence that the Catholic position is that evolution could be true. That is, because they believe that "truth cannot contradict truth", if scientific truth contradicts literally-read Biblical truth, then a literal reading is likely not the best way to read the passage.

In light of this, what is the Roman Catholic church's position on the Flood? Do they believe that the Flood literally happened, or do they similarly believe that the Flood was not necessarily a literal event?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

The Catholic Church does not have an "official" position on the literal interpretation of the Old Testament (including the great flood narration). Whether they are literal or not has no bearing on whether the lesson they impart is true. Catholics are free to understand them as literal or not. The Church only insists that the Bible is inspired and inerrant and that what it teaches is the truth.

Just because there is no official position on the literal interpretation doesn't mean that Catholics can interpret scriptures to mean anything they want. Catholic interpretation should always be within the boundaries laid down by the church. These boundaries are most importantly guided by church tradition. Careful attention must be paid to the actual meaning intended by the authors, in order to render a correct interpretation. The Roman Catholic Church holds that the authority to declare correct interpretation rests ultimately with the church through its magisterium.src Catholics believe that the teaching authority (Magisterium) of the Catholic Church (headed by the Pope) has a God-given mission to interpret and teach both Scripture and Tradition.

Just a footnote about the question you referred to: that is about Card. Joseph Ratzinger's position on evolution and is not an official dogmatic teaching of the Church.

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To add to this good answer, there are other methods of interpretation -- the four-fold sense of scripture: literal sense, allegorical sense, moral (tropological) sense, and anagogical sense -- which has commonly been used throughout church history and still is in the Catholic Church. Protestants have typically eschewed the other "senses" in favor of a grammatico-historical interpretation only. – metal Apr 9 '13 at 15:40
I just submitted an edit to change "Bible" to "Old Testament" in the first sentence. As far as I can tell, the Second Vatican Council taught formally that the Gospels are historically accurate -- see Dei Verbum paragraph 19. – Ben Dunlap Apr 11 '13 at 2:36
To @BenDunlap: I am sorry. I don't understand. Your edit and comment might be interpreted in a wrong way that the Catholic Church questions the accuracy of the OT, Catholic church has never questioned the historical accuracy of the OT or the Bible. Pope Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical letter Humani generis, declared that "the first eleven chapters of Genesis .... pertain to history in a true sense". Even in the new testament, the book Revelation can be literally interpreted or not. So you edit does not address the full truth. – Jayarathina Madharasan Apr 11 '13 at 3:29
To @BenDunlap: In other words, not only the Gospels, but the entire bible is, in a catholic perspective is historically accurate. – Jayarathina Madharasan Apr 11 '13 at 3:35
@JayarathinaMadharasan, Your original answer stated that the Church does not have an official position on the literal interpretation of the Bible. This does not correspond with my understanding of Vatican 2 which, as far as I can tell, presented an official position on the literal interpretation of the Gospels. So I edited your statement so that it applied only to the Old Testament. – Ben Dunlap Apr 11 '13 at 14:04

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