Since I’ve begun to talk about the Gospel at Mass this gives me the chance to make one of my favorite points about them. But I can’t take all of the credit for this idea: the bishops of the Catholic Church assembled at the Second Vatican Council in 1965 are the ones who emphasized it in section 19 of their Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.
It has to do with the truth of the Gospels, and the fact that these writings were edited! It’s important for every Catholic to understand that the authors of the four Gospels (called “evangelists” if you want to be technical about it!) “selected, synthesized, and explained” the facts and stories which had been handed on to them, wrote it down in “the form of preaching, but always in such fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus.”
This helps us to understand that the Gospels are not “biographies” of Jesus. Nor are they “neutral news reports.” If you insist on “history” in precisely that style and format, you’ll be disappointed by the Gospels! What they are, instead, are documents designed to inspire and feed the faith. The particulars that were omitted or lost in the editing process are not essential for our salvation, while the broader teachings -- which might have gotten “lost” or bogged down in too much detail -- shine more clearly because the story was re-written!