Catholic hermeneutics might be confused with the theory and practice of Catholic Biblical interpritation. But Catholic hermeneutics marks the appropriation by Catholic theology of philosophic hermeneutics. The latter can be called the study of humanity's participation in the truth and the knowledge mediated by history. So Catholic hermeneutics is the understanding of Cristian truth and knowledge within the Catholic tradition.
Catholic hermeneutics is not just a philosophy of interpretation. It is an example of the general philosophical thesis that interpritation always exists within a tradition. The Catholic grasp of Christianity growing out of and expressing a theological tradition examplifies what Heidegger has called the historicality of understanding. The Catholic interpreter, educated within the Church, understands things according to what can only be called a Catholic interpretation of reality. Concrete acts of understanding refine and transmit that interpretation. Thus Catholic hermeneutics is no exception to the universality of hermeneutics, but an illustration of it.
Catholic hermeneutics is not thereby curtailed in scientific value. ...
It revealed the authoritative role of the magisterium as judge in case of Scriptual and dogmatic dispute, the irreducibility of dogmatic tradition to a historical analysis of first-century documents, and the inadequacy of Scriptural interpretation uninformed by Church tradition. These aspects of the theology of tradition contradict a particular notion of science. According to this notion, the scientific enterprise is wholly emancipated from authority, documentary evidence is the only admissible historical proof of a tradition's anticuity, and independence from tradition is the only guarantor of the truth (i.e., objectivity) of interpritation. If this notion of science were canonical, then Catholic hermeneutics would be unscientific (Hick, 1980).
The development of the Catholic hermeneutics clousely connected with the development of historical consciousness. Ancient people didn't have the historical consciousness, because they lived in sincere world and tried to survive in it. Then terrors, death, hunger, destruction and catastrophes made a psychological change in their attitude to the reality. The ancient people really wanted to know about their origin. That's why they appealed to religious myths and legends. Some of them told about a "golden age" when people lived in harmony with each other and nature. The other story showed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Some of legends depicted the relationships with gods and goddesses, which possessed human appearance and characters. According to the myth the gods could fight with each other for love and power and even organize wars. We could see numerous examples in Greek Mythology. When misfortunes, wars and catastrophes happened in reality people thought that gods or supernatural powers were against them.