The Holy See
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Wednesday, 14 July 1971


Venerable Brothers,
Dear sons and daughters,

We are pleased today to welcome all of you who make up the International Biblical-Pastoral Seminar, sponsored by the World Catholic Federation of the Biblical Apostolate.

There are so many things that We would like to speak to you about on this occasion concerning Sacred Scripture. We know that the Bible is your constant meditation in these days, as you try to renew your own appreciation of Godís Word in order to communicate its power to those with whom you come in contact.

You are already deeply aware of the importance of Sacred Scripture: how it is the privileged source of Godís Word as it was expressed in the history of salvation, and how it was sealed in the Canonical Books as authoritative and authentic messages of revelation.

Today this same Word of God is more deeply appreciated than in past times. It has always been recognized as the source of religion and of theology, but now more than ever it is prized for its pedagogical value and for the impact that it is meant to have on the spiritual life of Godís People.

Hence you can realize what an exalted pastoral activity it is to bring the faithful to a greater understanding of the Scriptures and to instil in them love for the Bible. What a great vocation is yours!

Yes, with Saint Paul We would proclaim how Scripture is profitable ďfor teaching, for refuting error, for guiding peopleís lives and teaching them to be holyĒ (2 Tim. 3, 16). We see how closely faith is linked with the Sacred Writings and how these must pervade our theology and our liturgy and find expression in the very fabric of our spiritual and moral lives.

We therefore see the duty there is for all those whose task is the ministry of the Word of God (Cfr. Dei Verbum, 25) to be faithful to the reading and study of the Bible. It is in the Scriptures that we find Christ (Cfr. Io. 5, 39) and draw from him light, comfort and joy as we journey to the Father.

On this occasion We recall also the inspired words of the blessed Apostle Peter, who did not hesitate to remind us of our insufficiency before the treasury of Godís revelation (Cfr. 2 Petr. 1, 20). In his merciful goodness God has given us another gift to help us to discover him. It is the magisterium of the Church-an office placed at the service of Godís Word (Cfr. Dei Verbum, 10) and at the service of his People. This magisterium of the Church has the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether written or handed down-the one sacred deposit committed to the Church. The authority of this teaching office is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ and with the help of his Spirit.

We exhort you then in the Lord to live the Word of God, having a firm grasp on its unchanging message (Cfr. Tit. 1, 9).

We pray that these days of prayer and work and close association at Rocca di Papa may be happy and beneficial for all of you. We are confident that through your generous partnership in the Gospel the ďLordís message may spread quickly and be received with honourĒ (2 Thess. 3, 1) in your respective communities and countries.

As We assure you of our affection in Christ Jesus We invoke upon you his peace and love and impart to you Our special Apostolic Blessing.