In 1943, on the 50th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus and 23 years after Pope Benedict XV’s Spiritus Paraclitus, Pope Pius XII unveiled Divino Afflante Spiritu, the third encyclical on biblical studies. Now why on earth did the Church need a third encyclical on the Bible?
‘In more recent times, however, since the devine origin and the correct interpretation of the Sacred Writings have been very specially called in question, the Church has with even greater zeal and care undertaken their defence and protection. The sacred Council of Trent ordained by solem decree that “the entire books with all their parts, as they have been want to be read in the Catholic Church and are contained in the old vulgate Latin edition, are to be held sacred and canonical.” In our own time  the Vatican Council , with the object of condemning false doctrines regarding inspiration, declarerd that these same books were to be regarded by the Church as sacred and canonical “not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority, not merely because they contain revelation without error, but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and as such were handed down to the Church herself.”’
The encyclical went on to emphasise that ‘some Catholic writers, in spite of this solem definition of Catholic doctrine.... they ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals, and to regard other matters, whether in the domain of physical science or history, as “obiter dicta” [not legally binding] and, as they contended, in no wise connected with faith.’ Following this, Divino Afflante Spiritu said it was going to reiterate and confirm the advice and teaching given in Pope Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus and all that was wisely laid down by Our Predecessor and ordained by his Successors for the consolidation and perfecting of the work [of interpretation].
‘3. ‘The first and greatest care of Leo XIII was to set forth the teaching on the truth of the Sacred Books and to defend it from attack. Hence with grave words did he proclaim that there is no error whatsoever if the sacred writer, speaking of things of the physical order “went by what sensibly appeared” as the Angelic Doctor says, speaking either “in figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even among the most eminent men of science.” For “the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately - the words are St. Augustine’s - the Holy Spirit, Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things - that is the essential nature of the things of the universe - things in no way profitable to salvation;” which principle “will apply to cognate sciences, and especially to history,” that is, by refuting, “in a somewhat similar way the fallacies of the adversaries and defending the historical truth of Sacred Scripture from their attacks.”’ --- Divino afflante Spiritu.
Here Pope Pius XII, himself a Big Bang heliocentric evolutionist, unwittingly allowed a heliocentric reading of Scripture. Now all you need is ONE new interpretation - a false one as most of us know now - to open up the Scriptures to 'SCIENCE' to interpret. Thus long ages, evolution, Noah's local Flood all became the norm for biblical interpretation. Here is what was said about Divino:
‘This freeze endured until in 1943 Pius XII’s great encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu reopened the door to the use of modern methods of biblical study and established scholarship in the scientific investigation of the Scriptures. The Pontifical Biblical Commission was quick to follow this initiative with a letter to Cardinal Suhard, Archbishop of Paris… taking this as an encouragement to revisit areas which had been blocked off by earlier decisions… stressing that in the context of the times it would have been unwise to teach a particular doctrine, but not that a particular doctrine was untrue or incorrect [This is what they say happened in the Galileo case]…. No responsible biblical scholar would today agree with any of these directives of the Biblical Commission.’
The ‘freeze’ referred to above by Wansbrough had to be that brought about by Benedict XV’s superb encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus that did not try to justify that new heliocentric interpretation of Scripture. But now the Scriptures could once again be put at the mercy of scientific and historical scrutiny, just as the geocentric reading was, and interpretations changed if science deemed them more appropriate. In fairness however, the Pope’s intention was of course to insure a true reading prevails, just as others believed Galileo had corrected a misunderstood heliocentric reading of passages throughout Scripture.
THE LITERAL SENSE OF SCRIPTURE is what God ment in Scripture. 'Sunrise and sunset' most now know are literal truths because all the Fathers understood them as geocentric. Flat-earth literal interpretation was never confirmed in any way. That said nor was it condemned in any way. I, as a globalist concede that it can be argued the Bible reveals a flat earth. Likewise it can be argued it does not. It seems now that some are convinced the earth is flat but I wish they would not insist that the Bible compels Catholics to believe it as an infallible truth.
Again please excuse the type sizes. When I post they go all over the place.