Synod Message Called Most Beautiful Yet

Archbishop Ravasi Pens Text

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2008 ( The message offered as one of the proposals from the world Synod of Bishops is being called the most beautiful to come from a synod since the assemblies were restored by the Second Vatican Council. This evaluation of the message was offered by several of the synod fathers who spoke after the proposal was given Saturday. L’Osservatore Romano published the same evaluation.

This “nuntium” or message was written by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi.

Archbishop Ravasi, president of the commission in charge of preparing the message, is known not just as a biblical scholar, but also for his writing skills.

After the assembly fathers offer observations on the message, it will be presented for a vote. The draft of the message “brims with Christian dynamism, penetrated by the just pride of being Christians,” L’Osservatore Romano affirmed.

The draft is divided into four sections: The Voice of the Word: Revelation; The Face of the Word: Jesus Christ; The House of the Word: The Church; and The Path of Word: The Mission. The message takes into account the proposals made in the general congregations and in the working groups.

The main problem with the draft as it stands, according to the synod fathers, is its length. A proposal was made to accompany the text with a more accessible synthesis.

After it was read, 31 synod fathers offered commentaries. Those who did not have time to speak were invited to turn in written comments.

Archbishop Ravasi himself, in presenting the message, suggested that work on the message would be like that of a sculptor: “to take away, not to add.”

“Voltaire would never have imagined that he would be quoted in a synod of bishops,” he said with a smile, “but a phrase of his well describes sacred eloquence: long and flat, like Charlemagne’s sword, compensating with length what it doesn’t achieve with depth.”

Later the archbishop quoted a father of the Church who said that “if God would have asked the theologians of Alexandria to write the Ten Commandments, there would have been a thousand.”

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