The Holy See Search



5-26 OCTOBER 2008

The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church

This Bulletin is only a working instrument for the press.
Translations are not official.

English Edition


06 - 07.10.2008





At 9.00 today Tuesday 7 October 2008, in memory of the Blessed Mary Virgin of the Rosary, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the Hour of Terce, the Third General Congregation began, to vote on the Commission for the Message and to begin the interventions by the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme: The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.

The Acting President Delegate was H. Em. Card. George PELL, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia)

This General Congregation ended at 12.35 with the prayer Angelus Domini. 242 Fathers were present.


At the beginning of the Third General Congregation, the first ballots for the election of the Commission for the Message took place, presided by pontifical nomination by H.E. Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, Titular Archbishop of Villamagna of Proconsolare, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and Vice-President H.E. Mons . Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales, Titular Bishop of Bela, Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaiso. The voting took place electronically.

Use of voting in the electronic form

To vote electronically, the Synodal Fathers use a device, which is also used for attendance purposes. This device can manage two types of voting: simple vote and multiple vote.

Simple vote. When voting on a single motion where a consensus is required, one uses “PLACET”, “NON PLACET”, “ABSTINEO” or “PLACET IUXTA MODUM”. Once the choice is made, it is confirmed by pushing the green button “CONFIRMO”.

Multiple vote. When a vote requires a preferenze between various motions, one uses the numerical buttons, pushing the number corresponding to one’s choice and confirming with the green button “CONFIRMO”. In case of an error in buttons, “No Valido” will appear on the display.

In case of an error or one wishes to change the choice, push the red button “DELEO” then push the correct button for the correct choice and confirm with the green button “CONFIRMO”. This can be repeated until the President decides that the available time has ended.


Then, the following Fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Card. Angelo SODANO, Dean of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)- H. Em. Card. Franc RODÉ, C.M., Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Mark Benedict COLERIDGE, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn (AUSTRALIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Broderick S. PABILLO, Titular Bishop of Sitifi, Auxiliary Bishop of Manilai (PHILIPPINES)
- H. Em. Card. Francis Eugene GEORGE, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, President of the Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
- Rev. Father Carlos Alfonso AZPIROZ COSTA, O.P., General Master of the Order of Preachers
- H. Em. Card. Joachim MEISNER, Archbishop of Köln (GERMANY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa, President of the Episcopal Conference (CONGO R.)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Florentin CRIHĂLMEANU, Bishop of Cluj-Gherla, Claudiopoli-Armenopoli of the Romeni, Romanias (ROMANIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Pierre-Marie CARRÉ, Archbishop of Albi (FRANCE)
- H. Em. Card. André VINGT-TROIS, Archbishop of Paris, President of the Episcopal Conference (FRANCE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Norbert Klemens STROTMANN HOPPE, M.S.C., Bishop of Chosica (PERU)
- H. Em. Card. Péter ERDŐ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Council of European Episcopals Conferences (C.C.E.E.) (HUNGARY)
- H. Em. Card. Philippe BARBARIN, Archbishop of Lyon (FRANCE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Luciano MONARI, Bishop of Brescia (ITALY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Lawrence HUCULAK, O.S.B.M., Archbishop of Winnipeg of Ukraineans (CANADA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Raymond SAINT-GELAIS, Bishop of Nicolet (CANADA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph Luc André BOUCHARD, Bishop of Saint Paul in Alberta (CANADA)
- Most. Rev. Ab. Glen Adrian LEWANDOWSKI, O.S.C., General Master of the Order of the Holy Cross
- H.E. Most. Rev. Benjamin Marc RAMAROSON, C.M., Bishop of Farafangana (MADAGASCAR)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Ricardo BLÁZQUEZ PÉREZ, Bishop of Bilbao (SPAIN)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gerald Frederick KICANAS, Bishop of Tucson, Assistant President of Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. Card. Angelo SODANO, Dean of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)

As Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano sent a warm greeting to the Synodal Fathers and to all those present.

Among these are many Cardinals, whose presence was seen as a fine example of integration and cooperation between the two bodies: the Synod of Bishops and the College of Cardinals, both of whom are called upon to offer their help to the Pastor of the Universal Church.

Cardinal Sodano then expressed himself twice about the specific theme of this Assembly.
The first time concerned the true concept of the Word of God, which is not limited to the written Word contained in the Bible but also includes the spoken Word contained in the Tradition of the Church.

The second concerned the importance of presbyters in proclaiming the Word of God. Although they have are not at the top of the priesthood, and depend on Bishops for the exercise of their power, by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, they are equally ordained to preach Christ’s Gospel and to guide the People of God. Today, more than ever, their union with the Bishops is irreplaceable, in a radical community form of proclamation of the Word of salvation.

[00010-02.04] [IN001] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Em. Card. Franc RODÉ, C.M., Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (VATICAN CITY)

1. The Evangelical nature of consecrated life

Consecrated life is “profoundly rooted in the examples and teachings of Christ the Lord.” (Vitae Consacrata: 1) and the Gospel “has continued to inspire it and the Consecrated Life is called to refer constantly to the Gospel, to remain alive and fertile, bearing fruit for the salvation of souls.” (Benedict XVI, 2 February 2008). A religious family, recalled Benedict XVI,” with its very presence (...) [becomes] a living "exegesis" of the Word of God.” (ibid)

2. The Centrality of the Word of God in the renewal of consacrated life

The renewal which the ordained are constantly urged to carry out is most adequately achieved by going back to the evangelical roots of the charisms, so that new inspiration may constantly be found there. If each charism constitutes an evangelical word of the unique Word, particular aspects of the whole Gospel, by fully living the Gospel consecrated people will find the light to capture the particular evangelical dimension onto which their own institute is grafted.

It is a path which consecrated people must follow in communion with all the other vocations of the Church.

3. The contribution that consecrated life can bring to all the Church to live the Word

Let us hope that the Synodal Fathers will be able to take note of the great contribution that consecrated life has made and continues to offer to all the Church: in the study and exegesis of the Word, (Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem, Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum) in gaining deeper and more vital knowledge of the Word.

[00011-02.09] [IN002] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Mark Benedict COLERIDGE, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn (AUSTRALIA)

The Second Vatican Council called for a renewal of preaching which involved a shift from the sermon understood primarily as an exposition of Catholic doctrine, devotion and discipline to the homily understood primarily as an exposition and application of Scripture. Such a shift has been accomplished only in part. One reason for this is that preaching too often takes the kerygma for granted, and this at a moment in Western cultures when the kerygma cannot be taken for granted. If it is, there is the risk of a moralistic reduction of preaching which may evoke interest or adrniration but not the faith that saves. Preaching will not be an experience of Christ's power.

A new evangelisation requires a new formulation and proclamation of the kerygma in the interests of a more powerful missionary preaching. To promote such a preaching a General Homiletic Directory could be prepared along the lines of the General Catechetical Directory and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Such a Directory would draw upon the experience of the universal Church in providing a framework without stifling the genius of particular Churches or individuaI preachers. It would help to ensure a more solid and systematic preparation for preachers in seminaries and houses of formation, and this at a time when all recognise how vital preaching is, since the one point of contact with the Word of God for most Catholic people is the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist with its homily.

[00021-02.05] [IN003] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Broderick S. PABILLO, Titular Bishop of Sitifi, Auxiliary Bishop of Manilai (PHILIPPINES)

There is a need for guidelines to help Catholics interpret the Bible properly. Let these guidelines be clearly presented. These can include the following criteria for a Catholic reading of the Bible:
1) Knowing the Bible is not so much knowing a book but knowing and relating to the Person of Christ.
2) The liturgy is the primary place of encountering the Bible as Word of God.
3) A true understanding of the Bible should be in accord with the authentic life (as the lives of the saints), practices and teachings of the Church.
4) A proper understanding of the Scriptures should be guided both by faith and by study.
5) Any Bible passage is to be read in the context of the inner unity of Scripture,
6) A proper understanding of the Bible should consider and address the concrete situations of today.
7) Reading the Bible should not end in mere knowledge; it is a call to conversion and transformation.
8) The correct use of the Bible should promote unity within the Church and among Churches.
9) We need to approach the Bible in a spirit of humility; it enables us to value the interpretation of the Bible by the poor.
I strongly suggest that there be more interaction among biblical scholars and pastoral workers. Together they should search for methods of understanding and topics of study that would deepen the faith of our peoples in our own cultures.

[00022-02.05] [IN009] [Original text: English]

- H. Em. Card. Francis Eugene GEORGE, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, President of the Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

To speak of the Word of God in the church is to speak of the Word of God in the lives of believers. Pastors should attend to conversion of the imagination, the intellect and the will of those to whom they proc1aim the Word of God and for whom they interpret Scripture.
Too often, the contemporary imagination has lost the image of God as actor in history. The contemporary intellect finds little consistency in the books of the Bible and is not informed by the regula fidei. The contemporary heart has not been shaped by worship and the submission to God's word in the liturgical year.
If the power of God's word in Holy Scripture is to be felt in the life and mission of the Church, pastors must attend to personal context as well as to inspired text.

[00023-02.05] [IN011] [Original text: English]

- Rev. Father Carlos Alfonso AZPIROZ COSTA, O.P., General Master of the Order of Preachers

The “primacy” f the Holy Scripture has its basis precisely in Trinitarian life.

The great Medieval Doctors (Saint Albert the Great, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Thomas Aquinas) fully understood this; for them, the procession of people, within the unity of the divine essence is “the cause and the explicit reason of the procession of the same creatures.”
The Word, genitus creator, has from the Father the will to make itself flesh and to suffer for us ab aeterno.

God wished to reveal Himself to mankind in human form, through human culture, people and languages and through the very life of Jesus. While this form is for us a guarantee of the value of our nature , of history and of human cultures - with their different languages - it also poses complex problems of interpretation.

As the reality of the creation is not rationally understandable without an adequate grounding in metaphysics - l’analogia entis - so knowledge of the Holy Scripture requires profound knowledge of the cultures and literary genres in which it was expressed; thus making possible a less inadequate perception of its literal sense and also the recognition of the analogical quality of the terms used.

All the Church, with its unflagging proclamation, continues with hope to entrust the Good News to all cultures, so that it may be more fully understood, lived and proclaimed in new voices, once again.

In the recent history of the Church, undergoing many difficulties, the need for this kind of “critical” interpretation has, not without difficulties, been demonstrated (Fr Marie-Joseph Lagrange O.P. 1855-1938) emphasizing its historical foundations and its richness: the fact that it is - exactly - a song for several voices.

Christian faith, for all the fact that it is “religion”, must first of all be considered as “religion of the Spirit”, because the New Testament is principally the same Holy Spirit which in us produces charity and only secondarily, being “letter” may be considered “religion of the Book”.

This process of revelation and of salvation is also the unveiling of the veritas iustitiae of our life, of the justice of God which is the foundation of the truth of our being and which is, for us, above all “justifying justice” that is to say based on its mercy which is the permanent precondition of divine justice, because it is the first root and also its crowning.

[00024-02.07] [IN013] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Em. Card. Joachim MEISNER, Archbishop of Köln (GERMANY)

The Holy Scripture is the book of the Church. It is born of the Church. It has established the canon of the Holy Scripture. The Holy Scripture is tied to the Church in an organic unity. A word from the Father states: “The Holy Scripture is first of all inscribed in the Church’s heart, then on a scroll”.
Its rightful place is the Ambo in the cathedral for episcopal catechesis. The bishop, in communion with other bishops and with the Pope, should announce the Word at every opportune and less opportune moment. From the pulpit, the bishop places the Sacred Scripture in the Christians’ hands, that they may read the Word of God in the community of the Church and in such a way live and bear witness to it.

[00040-02.02] [IN014] [Original text: German]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa, President of the Episcopal Conference (CONGO R.)

I speak on behalf of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO). My intervention looks at the interpretation of Scriptures and sects (Instrumentum laboris [IL] no. 16-19; 56; DV no. 12).
1. It is commonly accepted that all word is a language and all language calls for interpretation, especially if it is a written text. Because of historical hindsight and spatial distance, in fact, words and signs, metaphors and symbols may acquire additional meaning and harmony susceptible of turning the reader towards meanings other than those looked for by the author.
2. This is the case for Holy Scriptures that God, author and main inspiration, sends this message to all generations in time and space (cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:5). This fact, from that moment on, makes an existential, contextual and cultural interpretation of Scripture, based on the final phase and constituted by the Biblical text, legitimate and plausible (cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission [PBC], Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, I.A-B: literary methods). The doctrine of the four meanings of Scripture finds a solid foundation and application here.
3. On this subject, one must take note that the Holy Scripture itself invites its interpreter to take great caution and “intelligence” (Lk 24:25). Thus, the warnings in the Scriptures to face the phenomenon of sects. This is not something new: it goes back to the origins of the Church. In his first letter (1 Jn, written about 95 AD), John already mentions dissidents who no longer profess “Jesus Christ, come in human nature” (1 Jn 4:2-3), who have left the community and excluded themselves from the apostolic faith (1 Jn 2:19-24).
4. However, far from appeasing us, the cancerous proliferation of all types of sects and various motivations is enough to worry the pastors of the Church. Inasmuch as their doctrine is generally based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Holy Scripture (cf. PBC, Interpretation, LF). However, several Biblical texts dissuade from this type of interpretation and call instead for a return to established criteria. Thus, for example, the reaction of Jesus Himself to the slap of the palace guard of the high priest Annas (Jn 18:22-23) clearly shows that turning the other cheek spoken about by Matthew in 5:39, is a metaphor and not to be taken literally. Instead of an “eye for eye and tooth for tooth”: Jesus forgives (cf. Rom 12:21). The Apostle Peter, for his part, speaks about the letters “his dear brother Paul” wrote “with the wisdom that he was given” and which contain “some passages which are hard to understand, and these are the ones that uneducated and unbalanced people distort, in the same way” (2 Pet 3:15-16). This is to say that there are norms for interpreting the Scriptures, Peter and the Apostles are the guarantors of this (cf. 2 Pet 1:16-19). Peter himself states “When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them” (2 Pet 1:20-21). And Peter stigmatizes the “false teachers” and their “pernicious sects”... Several of today’s sects answer the profile described here by the Prince of the Apostles: doubtful behavior, blasphemy against the truth, cupidity, false words, traffic of influences (cf. 2 Pet 2:2-3). Therefore, it follows that the best path to dialogue with the sects is to have a healthy interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
5. The above mentioned texts give the following criteria for the interpretation of the Holy Scripture: the Holy Spirit (cf. Also DV 12), the Apostolic Tradition (norma normans), communion with the Body of the Church (cf. 1Jn 1:3), profession of faith by the Church (analogia fidel), coherence with all Scripture (analogia scripturae) (cf. IL no 16 and 21). These criteria protect us from a fundamentalist and subjective interpretation of the Word of God. We must refer to this in the common efforts of ecumenism.

[00025-02.05] [IN015] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Florentin CRIHĂLMEANU, Bishop of Cluj-Gherla, Claudiopoli-Armenopoli of the Romeni, Romanias (ROMANIA)

The documents from the Second Vatican Council speak of the treasure of the undivided Church (cf. Orientalium ecclesiarum 1) which must be used to advantage if the Catholic Church is to breathe fully with both lungs.

It is desirable to recall the connection between the Word of God and Byzantine hymnody (Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete, Canons of Roman the Melodious, Canons of John Damascene, etc.) and also the classical Marian prayers: Paraclisi and Acathistos, which are practically a summary and a theological compendium of the various passages of the Holy Scripture, in the interpretative and applicative readings of the Fathers of the Church.

The same is true for the rich tradition of oriental iconography, a truly visual catechesis and compendium of symbolic theology and a complement to the Word (1 John 1:1-3) written by the iconographer inspired by the Holy Spirit, in prayer, according to the tradition of the Church, and presented to us as “visual theology” with its shapes, colors and specific symbols. The icon constitutes a possible aid to Lectio divina (especially when dealing with children or the illiterate) and also to contemplative prayer - either for the individual or the community.

The meditated and applied Word of God is also to be found, on various levels, in the symbolic language of sacred Byzantine art. “The Word proclaimed and listened to is contained in the Bible *; constructed with its architectural forms, It opens the doors to the Temple*; sung and performed on the hierophanic stage of worship, it constitutes the Liturgy*; mysteriously designed, it offers itself to contemplation in “visual theology” in the form of the icon.” Symbolic theology shows what immense perspectives may be opened, starting from the Scripture in the liturgy, to make our faith more profound, to transform our life into a daily liturgy and to recover, ourselves, the face of the icon by whom we were created.
[00029-02.12] [IN018] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Pierre-Marie CARRÉ, Archbishop of Albi (FRANCE)

“Where do you live?” the first disciples ask Jesus. The rest of the Gospel reveals the dwelling place of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Word guarded in the heart.

If the necessary conditions are not reunited, the reading of the Scripture will not bear any fruit. The dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum is a little-known text from Vatican Council II. In particular, it permits to take into account, in the right and balanced way, the human and divine aspects of the Scriptures.
This way, and thanks to the exegetist’s work, the difficulties, frequently noticed when we approach the Bible, can be surpassed.
In the last years, in France, great emphasis has been placed on the Lectio divina, but very few people still practice it. We should propose some simple methods for its practice and to avoid frequently encountered obstacles, such as discouragement and subjectivism in the reading.

The Scriptures should be read in the Spirit according to which they were written. Finally, we receive it from the Church. Reuniting with the great saints’ spiritual experience helps to discover it from the inside because it is the same Spirit that works in the Church, arouses the saints, inspired the sacred authors and speaks to the heart of each one.

[00026-02.06] [IN019] [Original text: French]

- H. Em. Card. André VINGT-TROIS, Archbishop of Paris, President of the Episcopal Conference (FRANCE)

Scripture and Theology (I.L. No. 16-17)
1. How to read the Bible and how to produce theology so that the theological act finds its principle of life and unity in the Holy Scripture?
2. In the search for the meaning of the Biblical text, the interpreter will be attentive, the Council asks, to its literary genre and to the historical circumstances of its writing. In other words, the Bible is human literature. The Council adds that the faithful interpreter will not be any less attentive to the harmony of Scriptures of the old and the new Covenant, to the unity of Scriptures and Tradition, and to the analogy of faith.
3. Christian hermeneutics of the Scriptures is the key to catechesis, it alone can give a unified and unifying theological and anthropological structure.
4. The exegete and the theologian, if they are not the same person, are called upon to read the letter together, as the disciples of the “only Teacher” (Mt 23:10). The meaning of the Scriptures is theological; theology is the search for the meaning of the Scriptures.
5. It is because of a “philosophical lacuna” that exegesis is reduced to the determination of the historical and literary dimension of the letter or that theology is placed outside the living context of the Scriptures. For the Bible, history is letter and spirit. The Bible was not written to let us know what happened exactly, but for us to be assimilated in what has passed and will pass truly.

[00027-02.03] [IN022] [Original text: French]
- H.E. Most. Rev. Norbert Klemens STROTMANN HOPPE, M.S.C., Bishop of Chosica (PERU)

I would like to thank the Secretary of the Synod for the excellent Intrumentum laboris. Great work can be seen in the text’s equilibrium.
Despite this, I would like to ask the Synod for a greater perspective from the Latin American point of view.
During the last 40 years, the Church in Latin America has lost approximately 15% of its faithful to non-Catholic movements, based on their own Biblical strategies.
Latin America makes up, today, 43% of world Catholicism, which in turn during the last 30 years, has lost 15% in relationship to the growth of world population. The defection of 2.3% of Catholics in Latin America today represents a loss of 1% for world Catholicism. As representatives of 43% of the Church that - incomprehensibly - in the official statistics of the Church as well as in the documents of the Synod, is placed under the category “America”, by this Synod, we await at least some suggestions for a pastoral strategy aimed on a Biblical level against those that have a pastoral Biblical strategy and create problems for work in the pastoral.
I will explain my request for a greater perspective: the spaces for stable action in tradition require little analysis in relationship to the world surrounding us. This last is well-known and can be calculated. Inasmuch as the space of social action moves - and thereby remains unknown and cannot be calculated - an external persepctive is required.
When the sea is calm and tranquil, you can leave the boat on automatic pilot, you only need to figure out the next problematic area and take the rudder in hand in time. But the automatic pilot, when the sea is agitated and the waters are unknown, is not advisable.
Establishing a paragon, the present deals with the boat, the principles of its construction and stability for navigation, but it does not deal with the environment and the general meteorological situation. This is more fundamental theology than pastoral theology, more theological than pastoral.
Without a doubt, any good pastoral needs a clear theological identity, this is the necessary foundation. However, this is not sufficient, since the pastoral requires a thorough knowledge of the pastoral object - in other words the person involved and the situation - as well as the adequate evaluation of the institutional possibilities.
In his booklet “Ratzinger y Juan Pablo II - La Iglesia entre dos Milenios” (2005) the author, Olegario Gonzàles de Cardedal, identifies two opposite points in the Church’s situation today: obsession with identity which on the level of faith ends up in fundamentalism, and, on the ecclesial level of sects, and on the other hand, the urge for importance, which ends up with the breakup of the Church in today’s society.
I agree with you: there is need for a clear identity regarding the founding function of the Word of God for the Church. Only, one should enhance without forgetting the external vision in today’s difficult seas for the Church.
There is not more time, especially for paragons in today’s general and economic and political meteorological situation. Because of this, I conclude with Biblical malice, we should not stay in the belly of the boat dealing with question pertaining to construction to better the stability of the course. Like the Apostles, after having received the spirit in the Pentecost, we should ask: how do we come out of this hall, since the Word of God and the Spirit of God wish to reach the people, and through us.

[00028-02.02] [IN023] [Original text: German]
- H. Em. Card. Péter ERDŐ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Council of European Episcopals Conferences (C.C.E.E.) (HUNGARY)

1. Quite rightly in Instrumentum laboris the hermeneutic problem is discussed from a pastoral perspective (part I, ch. II, B). On the one hand, we have to seek out the original sense and message and that transmitted by the tradition of the Church of the Biblical texts, and, on the other, we have to bear in mind the horizons of the people of our own day, that is, those who hear the Word of God, so that perception of the text becomes true listening.
2. The correct interpretation by the Church has already become absolutely essential in the moment of the first encounter with the Word of God. The risks associated with an arbitrary interpretation are particularly severe in a cultural environment such as ours, where the elementary categories of the search for historical truth appear to carry less weight than before. Publications that are more sensationalist than scientific can create notable confusion in the thinking of the faithful and sometimes even of priests. The greatest risk is not that some people will not know what credibility they may give to an apocryphal text such as, for example, the Gospel of Judas, but that many people have no idea how to distinguish credible sources from non-credible sources regarding the history of Jesus Christ. Rather, it appears that more than a few people do not feel it is important to seek out the true history, because they think in a subjective and subjectivist way even about history. Therefore the loss of the general categories in our culture creates a special difficulty in knowing and understanding the Word of God.

[00041-02.04] [IN026] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Em. Card. Philippe BARBARIN, Archbishop of Lyon (FRANCE)

In the Bible, all must be read! At the heart of the Word of God, Scripture is a source that irrigates the path of the Church. The liturgy of the Word must be surrounded by a beautiful solemnity, this is a requirement, because this is the usual meeting place between God and His people. The liturgical readings should be chosen with one essential criteria in mind: unity of the message offered by the Word. Even if the cutouts pose various questions, certain absences pose greater and more questions. This is due to the rooted fears that one must give up.
For example, we never read on Sunday, Mt 23:13-31: “Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” which however gives a useful insight into the teaching of the Beatitudes (and the sellers chased away from the Temple, once every three years). Can we doubt Jesus’ anger is but an expression of His love?
Certain omissions weaken out catechesis. In telling the story of the child Samuel, we pass in silence the content of the message, so hard for a child (1 Sam 3:1-10; or Jeremiah 15, 16, 1 Kings 19:12-18). We cannot hide what the spreading of the Word could cost us.
There is another reason for omitting certain passages. In 2 Pet 1:12-21, the author wants to leave a strong message: “And I shall take great care that after my own departure you will still have a means to recall these things to mind”.
An eyewitness of the Transfiguration, he recalls that Scriptures allow us to learn about the Presence of Our Lord. Its objective is to not lose the memory, or contact with Scriptures, the accomplishment of Jesus’ life. This word contains, so as to say in the Bible, the value of a spiritual testament given to the entire Church: Beware of pride that will lead you to thinking that the ancient words are no longer of any interest. On the contrary we must hold “more firmly to the prophetic word”.This exhortation is not displaced only for the Jews, Does this not welcome the prophetic word especially as a renewed invitation in obeying the Torah? In truth, the prophets remind us that God can freely burst in on the life of His people. Let us therefore hold on to their word more firmly, after Jesus showed us its meaning and depth.
It is always up to the son of the centuries, we have seen this sad tendency to “forget” the Holy Scriptures in the Christians, to look at them like “sophisticated fables”. On the contrary, we need “through the Holy Spirit, that men continue to speak to us on behalf of God”. The Scriptures remain “a shining lamp” in our present shadows. She keeps us in humility, “waiting for the day to shine and the morning star to rise in our hearts”.
This is why, until the coming of the Lord, we must continue reading all Scriptures.

[00042-02.02] [IN028] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Luciano MONARI, Bishop of Brescia (ITALY)

It is the glorious humanity of the risen Christ that renders the word of the Bible alive and efficacious, as does the whole sacramental structure. In the risen Jesus, all His words have risen as well, all the gestures he carried out during his earthly life and that contributed to outline his concrete human figure: in Him rose the gift he made of Himself on the Cross that is thus perennially present. When the Church, in obedience to the word of Christ, announces his word, this word establishes a link with the risen Lord: it is He Himself who turns to his community, loves it, calls it, corrects it, exhorts it, consoles it.
This is why the place of sacred Scripture in the life of the Church cannot be altered: the very possibility of a journey in faith, intended as a meeting with Christ and friendship with him depends on it. It is practically impossible to set out in faith without putting people in direct, personal contact with Jesus Christ through the word of the Bible.
Therefore it is essential that the approach to the Bible is as wide as possible and takes into consideration the whole Bible. Scripture has great relevance and, therefore, spiritual energy when it is proclaimed in the Eucharist; but it remains true that this total effectiveness becomes real only if the words that are proclaimed are listened to, understood, loved, interiorized, and this assumes a great familiarity that only constant reading can provide.

[00043-02.02] [IN029] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Lawrence HUCULAK, O.S.B.M., Archbishop of Winnipeg of Ukraineans (CANADA)

In the Byzantine Divine Liturgy (Eucharistic Liturgy) before proclaiming the Holy Gospel the celebrant says a prayer of preparation which recalls themes from the event of the Transfiguration, such as we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew (17:1-8). The celebrant asks that the eyes of our minds be opened so that we may understand the message of Christ' s gospel. He adds that the fear of Christ' s blessed commandments be instilled in us, so that we may subdue all carnal desires and fol1ow a spiritual way of life. Such a spiritual way of life means thinking and doing all that pleases Christ, for Christ is the enlightenment of our souls and bodies. It is for this that we give never ending glory to the Holy Trinity.
The proclamation of the Holy Gospel provides an opportunity to see a portion of the glory of God, offered especially to those in attendance. It is an eschatological moment of divine revelation. This requires of us that we make this liturgical moment a sacred time fitting for such an event.
The celebrant who proclaims the Holy Gospel must be conscientious of his great responsibility. He does this by preparing the reading before hand. He proclaims it clearly as the good news that it is. He masters the human language needed, so that the participants, like Moses and Elijah., can enter into dialogue with the Lord.
The Holy Gospel must penetrate the mind through the heart. To do this it requires a warmth and a life giving presentation. It cannot be done mechanically nor carelessly. These same qualities apply to the homily as wel1 which presents and applies the gospel message.
The proc1amation of the Gospel must enlighten the participants also to awe inspired fear of God, for this is the same God who created light out of darkness. The participants must encounter the theophany of who Jesus is, namely the Son of God as announced by the voice of the Father.

[00044-02.04] [IN030] [Original text: English]
- H.E. Most. Rev. Raymond SAINT-GELAIS, Bishop of Nicolet (CANADA)

The Word of God resounds in the Scriptures. But it does not remain captive in the writings. It goes beyond the book. This is because it is above all a person who addresses humanity before it is a text to be studied. God has inaugurated a living dialogue with humanity and His Word opens unexpected horizons of truth and meaning to all generations .
In the liturgical celebrations, it is the responsibility of the homily to introduce the assembly to the mystery of the Word that God addresses in its concrete life. It also facilitates the relationship between the Word of God and culture, between faith and life. Moreover, it must help the faithful penetrate the mystery they celebrate.

[00045-02.02] [IN031] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)

The Synod rightly deals with the disposition of listening. In Scriptures, when people listen to God's Word they experience true life. If they refuse, life ends in tragedy. Listening is a serious matter. The Church must form hearers of the Word. But listening is not transmitted only by teaching but more by a milieu of listening. I propose three approaches for deepening the disposition for listening. 1. Our concern is listening in faith. Faith is a gift of the Spirit, yet it also is an exercise of human freedom. Listening in faith means opening one's heart to God's Word, allowing it to penetrate and transform us, and practicing it. It is equivalent to obedience in faith. Formation in listening is integral faith formation. Formation programs should be designed as formation in holistic listening. 2. Events in our world show the tragic effects of the lack of listening: conflicts in families, gaps between generations and nations, and violence. People are trapped in a milieu of monologues, inattentiveness, noise, intolerance and self-absorption. The Church can provide a milieu of dialogue, respect, mutuality and self-transcendence. 3. God speaks and the Church, as servant lends its voice to the Word. But God does not only speak. God also listens especially to the just, widows, orphans, persecuted, and the poor who have no voice. The Church must learn to listen the way God listens and must lend its voice to the voiceless.

[00046-02.03] [IN032] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph Luc André BOUCHARD, Bishop of Saint Paul in Alberta (CANADA)

Paragraph 22 of the Instrumentum Laboris, says: “As the Church leads the People of God to discover the great prospects of the Word of God, she attempts to avoid making Bible reading sound too complicated”.
Since Vatican Council II, numerous efforts were made so that the Word of God could be at hand for the faithful. However “a similar separation sometimes exists between biblical scholars and the Pastors and everyday people of the Christian community” (IL 7)
That the world Catholic Bible Federation (CBF), supported by the Magisterium with the other Roman Dicasteries, studies the possibility of organizing International Congresses on The Word of God in order to lead to a “cum Ecclesia” reading of the Scripture.

[00047-02.02] [IN035] [Original text: French]

- Most. Rev. Ab. Glen Adrian LEWANDOWSKI, O.S.C., General Master of the Order of the Holy Cross

The language the apostles spoke was kerygmatic language, a sermon charged with transforming good news. And the faith response among the hearers of the word was also marked by the transforming Spirit
The exordium of the Order of the Holy Cross affrrms of Jesus the crucified Son: "He mounted the holy Cross to speak a word of life." Jesus himself, raised high on the cross, is herald of the gospel of life.
The literary genre of kerygma is more a joyous proclamation than a belabored preaching.

Kerygma in the Eucharist
The biblical kerygma is echoed in the eucharistic prayers of the church. We regret how the turn in past history came to isolate the institution narrative as the consecration, separating it from its kerygmatic context and silencing it.
It is entirely apt, as John Paul II has urged, that as we stand at full stretch before God for the proclamation of the Gospel and the proclamation of the eucharistic prayer, we strive to achieve a new the paschal virtue of joy.

[00054-02.03] [IN037] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Benjamin Marc RAMAROSON, C.M., Bishop of Farafangana (MADAGASCAR)

Through our contact with the Word of God, what can we from Madagascar contribute in this sense for the Word to be enlivening and efficacious at the beginning of the third millennium?
I only hope that the freshness of the reading of the Word, lived within our culture and by our people, may help the entire Church, as well as ourselves in our challenge of inculturizing the faith that the Western Churches on the path towards new Evangelization.
This exegesis that I might dare to call “exegesis rooted in culture”, needing authentic inculturation, is not merely “paint” but a “personalization” of faith nourished by the well-accepted Word, filled with ancestral tradition.
The majority of our people do not know how to read or write. Practicing the Word of God is often limited to reading done in the church during liturgical celebrations.Fortunately, this sad situation does not stop the Word of God from taking root and even engendering lovely and marvelous surprises.
Our culture is not without analogies with the pedagogy of Jesus in the Gospel. These illiterate persons have a strong sense of the sacred and understand “symbolic language”. Because of this, many Bible books, notably the Gospels, are not foreign to the poor people in our countryside. The Writings appear to be close to them because the literary environment in which they were created is close to their life. It is easy for them to comment on this word and we are often surprised by the depths of certain spontaneous comments that would astound specialists. Sometimes, the richness of comments, marked by a spiritual depth which is never wrong, recalls that of the Fathers of the Church. This is not a scientific exegesis but an exegesis in its first meaning, that is to say an interpretation that helps welcome the teaching of a text in its purity.
May I, in this Synod, suggest to the exegetes, to Pastors, to keep in mind this form of approach, different from the scientific studies but enriching especially because of the lectio divina because, the aim of exegesis that St. Paul evokes: “with all God's holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; so that, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge”... (Eph 3:18-19).

[00055-02.02] [IN038] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Ricardo BLÁZQUEZ PÉREZ, Bishop of Bilbao (SPAIN)

The homily is an integral part of the Eucharistic celebration on the day of the Lord. It holds a privileged place in the ministry of the Word of God, it is one of the most important services that the bishop and the priest may give to the community of Christian faithful.
It would be useful for the preacher, while preparing the homily, to ask himself three questions: what do the readings that will be pronounced in the celebration say? What do they say to me personally? What should I communicate to those participating in the Eucharist? Therefore, without becoming a moment of catechesis, the homily should present a clear and decisive doctrinal content. Even if it might seem a paradox, the officiant is the first destination of his own preaching. It is not only a word for others and, naturally, it is not a word thrown at others. The preacher must include himself, even in the way of speaking, in exhortation, in corrections and in calling to conversion the community.
The life of each person with their hopes and needs and the proclamation of the Word of God converge in the homily. There is a decanting between life and celebration that the preacher must facilitate. The homily must help the listeners to interpret the story in the light of the death and the resurrection of Jesus as He did with the disciples of Emmaus.
The homily is an echo of the preaching of Jesus in the Synagogue of Nazareth. After reading a passage from Isaiah, he proclaims: “This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening” (Lk 4:21). The homily is not only the narration of what was said, of what was written in the past, rather the actualization with the force of the Holy Spirit of what the Lord said and did. That which was said to have occurred “in illo tempore” and “in diebus illis” is being also done “hodie”. The liturgy of the Church is the privileged place in which the Scriptures are the Word of God for the community.

[00030-02.02] [IN004] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Gerald Frederick KICANAS, Bishop of Tucson, Assistant President of Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

The Eucharistic assembly is where the Church is built up.
The Word preached in that assembly comforts, heals, brings hope, inspires, instills joy, delights, confronts, teaches, and challenges.
The preached Word reveals and affirms the very best of human ideals and longings placed by God in the human heart. The preached Word, mediated by the Spirit, inspires us to live, move, and have our very being in Christ. Through grace, it changes lives.
Unfortunately, preaching in our day can lose its savor, become formulaic and uninspired leaving the hearer empty.
Bishops, priests, and deacons bear responsibility for preaching at Mass. How can we enhance the preaching of the Word? Well, what if? What if, after this Year of St. Paul, the Church Universal focused a year on preaching in the Eucharistic assembly? What if, in that year of preaching, priests and deacons together with their bishop studied what matters in order to preach better? What if, in that year of preaching, priests and deacons with their bishop met with the laity to listen to their struggles? They could discuss how preaching might inspire the laity to be a leaven for the world, bringing the Gospel values to the questions of the times. What if, in that year of preaching, there would be a thorough exploration of the catechetical potential of the Sunday homily?
If all these "what ifs" were realized then the new springtime for Christianity about which the Holy Father speaks could burst forth and bloom throughout the Church. renewing the Church, strengthening evangelization, intensifying catechesis, and enhancing discipleship.

[00031-02.05] [IN005] [Original text: English]




The second briefing for the language groups will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 8 October 2008 at 13.30 (at the locations and with the Press Attachés indicated in Bulletin No. 2), at the end of the Press Conference for the Message for the 95th World Day for Migrants and Refugees, at 12:30 in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office.
We would like to remind the Audio-Visual Operators (cameramen and technicians) to ask the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for their access permit (very restricted).


The second pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Fifth General Congregation, tomorrow morning, Wednesday 8 October 2008.
The list of those registered for the pool can be found in the Information and Accreditation Office of the Holy See Press Office (at the entrance on the right).We would like to remind the Audio-Visual Operators (cameramen and technicians) to ask the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for permission to participate in the pool for the Synod Hall.
We would also like to remind the participants in the Information Pool that they are kindly requested to be at the Press Area at 8.30 a.m., outside the entrance of the Paul VI Hall, from where they will be called to enter the Synod Hall, always accompanied by an officer of the Holy See Press Office or from the Pontifical Council for Social..


The next Bulletin, No. 7, concerning the works of the Fourth General Congregation of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held this afternoon, will be available to the accredited journalists, tomorrow Wednesday 8 October 2008, at the opening of the Holy See Press Office.


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.


During the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy See Press Office will observe the following opening hours, from 3 to 26 October 2008:
- Sunday 12 October: 9.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
- Monday 13 October and Tuesday 14 October: 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
- Wednesday 15 October: 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
- Thursday 16 October and Friday 17 October: 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
- Saturday 18 October: 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
- Sunday 19 October: 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
- From Monday 20 October to Saturday 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: 09.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
- Saturday: 09.00 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 and in the Service Information area of the Internet site of the Holy See.



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