In his excruciatingly bad article on the death penalty (, Dr. Robert Fastiggi argues that while popes have previously interpreted Scripture concerning the death penalty, their interpretation is not necessarily definitive (which would seemingly make irrelevant anything the current Holy Father says, for if previous popes are not definitive in their interpretation of Scripture, then why can’t a future pope come along to say something different again from Pope Francis…anyways). He gives an example of another papal interpretation that is not definitive, in his mind at least:

“Another example of a biblical text understood in a certain way by a pope is Gen 2: 21–23. Pope Leo XIII, in his 1880 encyclical, Arcanum, writes: ‘We record what is to known to all, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep’ (n. 5). Pope Leo XIII here refers to something ‘known to all,’ namely that Eve was formed from the side of the sleeping Adam. Does this mean that Catholics must believe in the literal formation of Eve from the side of the sleeping Adam? Some might argue that this is the case, but St. John Paul II did not feel bound by this interpretation of Leo XIII. In his 1988 apostolic letter, Mulieris dignitatem, the Polish Pontiff states: ‘The second description of the creation of man (cf. Gen 2:18-25) makes use of different language to express the truth about the creation of man, and especially of woman. In a sense the language is less precise, and, one might say, more descriptive and metaphorical, closer to the language of the myths known at the time.’ (n. 6).”

Now then, the question I have is whether it’s possible to believe other than Eve being formed from the side of Adam? I may be naive, and correct me if so, but is this not necessary to believe? Wouldn’t the typology pointing to the Bride of Christ pouring forth from His pierced side on the cross be ruined if it were all just a nice metaphor? Wouldn’t the doctrine of Original Sin be ruined if Eve were not formed from Adam, as then he would not be the head of all humanity, in whom we are thus all represented in that corporate personality?