XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church
This Bulletin is only a working instrument for
33 - 24.10.2008
- SMALL GROUPS: FIFTH, SIXTH AND SEVENTH SESSIONS
- TWENTY FIRST GENERAL CONGREGATION (FRIDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2008 - MORNING)
- CONVIVIUM WITH THE HOLY FATHER
SMALL GROUPS: FIFTH, SIXTH AND SEVENTH SESSIONS
Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday 21 and 22 October 2008, the Small Groups continued their meetings. The presences were: 235 Fathers in the Fifth Session, 234 in the Sixth Session and 234 in the Seventh Session.
The last phase of the Small Groups’ work ended with the approval by each Small Group on the collective ammendments, with absolute majority, which were given by the Relators of the Small Groups to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Wednesday evening, 22 October 2008 at the end of the work by the Small Groups.
The result of the work by the Relator General with the Special Secretary and the Relatorsf rom the Small Groups and some experts will be presented, in the form of the Final List of Propositions, during the Twenty Second General Congregation, this afternoon 24 October 2008, with the foreseen vote during the Twenty Third General Congregation, tomorrow morning, Saturday 25 October 2008. The results of the vote will be communicated in the Twenty Fourth and last General Congregation, tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 25 October 2008.
TWENTY FIRST GENERAL CONGREGATION (FRIDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2008 - MORNING)
- PRESENTATION AND VOTING ON THE MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD BY THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
- DVD “LIVING BIBLE”
At 9:00 today, Friday 24 October 2008, in memory of Saint Anthony Maria Claret, bishop, founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the chanting of the Hour of Terce, the Twenty First General Congregation began, for the presentation and voting on the Message by the Synod of Bishops to the People of God.
The Acting President Delegate was H.Em. Card. William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY).
At the end of the General Congregation, the Patriarchs of the Oriental Churches made an appeal, to recall the attention of the international community, the religious leaders and all men and women of good will on the tragedy that is going on in certain Oriental Nations, where Christians are the victims of intolerance and cruel violence, killed, threatened and made to abandon their homes and wander in search of refuge.
This General Congregation ended at 11.35 with the prayer of Angelus Domini, and 243 Fathers were present.
PRESENTATION AND VOTING ON THE MESSAGE FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD BY THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
During this Twenty First General Congregation, the President, the Vice President and the Members of the Commission for the Message read the Message to the People of God by the Synod of Bishops, in the 5 language versions it was edited to (Italian, Englisg, French, Spanish and German):
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gianfranco RAVASI, Titular Archbishop of Villamagna di Proconsolare, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Basil Myron SCHOTT, O.F.M., Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh of Byzantines, President of the Council of the Ruthene Church (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)- H. Em. Card. Oscar Andrés RODRÍGUEZ MARADIAGA, S.D.B., Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, President of the Episcopal Conference (HONDURAS)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Louis PELÂTRE, A.A., Titular Bishop of Sasima, Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul, Apostolic Administrator for the Apostolic Exarcate of Istanbul (TURKEY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Zbigniew KIERNIKOWSKI, Bishop of Siedlce (POLAND)
The final and entire text will be published in the next Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops.
A summary of the Message is published below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord as well as ours. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:2-3). With the Apostle Paul’s greeting - in this year dedicated to him - we, the Synodal Fathers gathered in Rome for the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, with the Holy Father Benedict XVI, address to you a message full of reflection and proposals on the Word of God that has been the center of our assembly’s work.
It is a message that is entrusted to our pastors in the first place, to the many, generous catechists and to all those who guide you in a loving listening and reading of the Bible. Now, to you, we would like to outline the soul and the substance of this text, so that it may grow and deepen your knowledge and love for the Word of God. There are four cardinal points on the horizon that we invite you to know and that we will express through just as many images.
First of all there is the divine Voice. It echoes in the beginnings of Creation, breaking the silence of nothingness and giving origin to the marvels of the universe. It is a Voice that penetrates in history, wounded by human sin and distressed by suffering and death. It also sees the Lord walking with humanity to offer His grace, His Covenant, His salvation. It is a Voice that enters into the pages of the Holy Scriptures, which we read today in the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, who was given as the light of truth to it and to its pastors.
Also, as Saint John wrote, “The Word became flesh” (1:14). Here then the Face appears. It is Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the eternal and infinite God, but also the mortal man, tied to an historical era, to a people and to a land. He lives the exhausting existence of humanity till His death, but rises glorious and lives forever. He makes our encounter with the Word of God perfect. He unveils to us “the full meaning” and unity of the Holy Scriptures, therefore Christianity is a religion that has a person at its center, Jesus Christ, the One who reveals the Father. He makes us understand that the Scriptures are “flesh”, that is to say human words to be understood and studied in their way of expressing, but that also preserve the light of divine truth within, which we can only live and contemplate with the Holy Spirit.
It is the same Spirit of God that leads us to the third cardinal point in our itinerary, the Home of the divine word, that is to say the Church, which, as Saint Luke suggested (Ac 2:42), is supported by four ideal columns. There is “teaching”, which is reading and understanding the Bible in the announcement made to all, in catechesis, in the homily, through a proclamation that involves mind and heart. Then there is “the breaking of the bread”, which is the Eucharist, the source and the summit of the life and the mission of the Church. Like what happened that day at Emmaus, the faithful are invited to nourish themselves in the liturgy of the table of the Word of God and Body of Christ. A third column is “prayer” with “psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God” (Col 3:16). It is the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church’s prayer destined to give rhythm to the days and times of the Christian year. There is also the Lectio divina, the prayerful reading of the Holy Scriptures able to lead, in meditation, in prayer, in contemplation, to the encounter with Christ, the living Word of God. And, finally, there is “brotherly communion” because to be true Christians it will not suffice being “those who hear the word of God” but also those who “put it into practice” (Lk 8:21) through love’s labors. In the home of the Word of God we also can meet the brothers and sisters from other Churches and Christian communities who, even in division, live a real unity, if not a full one, through the worship and love for the divine Word.
Thus we reach the last image of the spiritual map. It is the road the Word of God walks upon: Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations [...] and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you...what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops” (Mt 28:19-20; 10:27). The Word of God must run through the world’s streets which today are also those of computer, television and virtual communication. The Bible must enter into families so that parents and children read it, pray with it and that it may be their lamp for the steps on the way to existence (cf. Ps 119:105). The Holy Scriptures must also enter into the schools and in the cultural areas because for centuries they were the main reference for art, literature, music, thinking and the same common moral. Their symbolic, poetic and narrative richness makes them a banner of beauty for faith as well as for culture, in a world often scarred by ugliness and lowliness.
However, the Bible also shows us the breath of pain that rises from the earth, goes towards the cry from the oppressed and the laments of the miserable. At the summit it has the cross where Christ, alone and abandoned, lives the tragedy of the most atrocious suffering and death. Because of this presence of the Son of God, the darkness of evil and death is irradiated by the Paschal light and by the hope of glory. But on the roads of the world, the brothers and sisters of other Churches and Christian communities walk with us also, even while divided, live a real unity if not a full one, through the worship and love for the Word of God. Along the paths of the world we often meet men and women of other religions that listen and faithfully practice the commands of their holy books and who, with us, can build a world of peace and light, because God “wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
Dear brothers and sisters, guard the Bible in your houses, fully read, study and understand its pages, transform them into prayer and witness of life, listen to it with love and faith in the liturgy. Create the silence to effectively hear the Word of the Lord and hold a silence after the listening, because it will continue to dwell, live and speak to you. Make it resound at the beginning of your day so that God will have the first word and let it echo in you in the evenings so that the last word will be God’s.
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace” (Ac 20:32). With the same expression used by Saint Paul in his farewell speech to the heads of the Church in Ephesus, also the Synodal Fathers entrust the faithful of the communities dispersed throughout the world to the divine word, which is also judgment but above all grace, which cuts like a sword but is sweet as a honeycomb. It is powerful and glorious and guides us on the roads of history with Jesus’ hand, who you like us love with an imperishable love (cf. Eph 6:24).
[00320-02.03] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]
DVD “LIVING BIBLE”
At the beginning of the Twentyfirst General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H.Exc. Mons. NIKOLA ETEROVIĆ mentioned that the Synodal Fathers were given a copy of the DVD “Living Bible”.
In an important library, the boys and girls of a catechesis group from a parish in Rome find an ancient Bible manuscript. The vivid colors of the miniatures shine from within the pages of the volume and impact the youth’s fantasy, who turned their minds back to the main moments of the spiritual retreat. During the winter, they had left the city for two days, leaving parents and friends to isolate themselves in a religious house to study the Bible by analyzing seven of the most representative stories in it.
“Living Bible” is a one hour journey approximately, discovering the Holy Bible through the experience of a group of youths who tried to understand how God spoke to man during the centuries and in some ways, yet today, speaks to them through the sacred texts, so ancient and yet so modern. With the use of an essential language, the film targets a young public, but also adults.
Written and directed by Massimo My. “Living Bible” is produced by Maria Teresa Tringali for Multimedia San Paolo (Italia 2008), under the supervision of H.Exc. Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi and under the patronage of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H.Exc. Mons.
CONVIVIUM WITH THE HOLY FATHER
Saturday 25 October 2008, His Holiness Benedict XVI invited the Participants of the XII Orindary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to a luncheon at 1:00 p.m. at the House of Saint Martha in the Vatican, as a sign of common joy at the comclusion of the intense days of Synodal work.
- PRESS CONFERENCES
- TELEPHONE NEWS-BULLETIN
- OPENING HOURS OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
At the Third Press Conference on the works of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of Friday 24 October 2008 at 12:45, the following will intervene:
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gianfranco RAVASI, Titular Archbishop of Villamagna di Proconsolare, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY) President of the Commission for the Message of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
- H.E. Most. Rev. Santiago Jaime SILVA RETAMALES, Titular Bishop of Bela, Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso (CHILE)Vice President of the Commission for the Message of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
At the Fourth Press Conference on the works of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 12:45, the following will intervene:
- H. Em. Card. Marc OUELLET, P.S.S., Archbishop of Québec (CANADA), Relator General of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
- H.E. Most. Rev. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa, President of the Episcopal Conference (CONGO R.) Special Secretary of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
- H.E. Most. Rev. Filippo SANTORO, Bishop of Petrópolis (BRAZIL), Member of the Commission for Information of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
The Press Conferences will be presided by Rev. Father Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office, Secretary ex-ufficio of the Commission for Information of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
During the period of the Synod, a telephone news-bulletin will be available:
- +39-06-698.19 for the ordinary daily Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office;
- +39-06-698.84051 for the Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops - morning session;
- +39-06-698.84877 for the Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops - afternoon session.
OPENING HOURS OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
During the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy See Press Office will observe the following opening hours:
- Friday and Saturday 24 and 25 October: 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
- Sunday 26 October: 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
The staff of the Information and Accreditation Desk (to the right of the entrance hall) will be available:
- Monday-Friday: 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
- Saturday: 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
Notice of any changes will be communicated as soon as possible and will be posted on the Bulletin board in the Journalists’ Area of the Holy See Press Office, published in the Bulletin of the Commission for Information on the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops