Synod's Proposals Narrowed to 53

Working Groups Reconvene for Final Honing

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2008 ( In the 20th general congregation of the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, celebrated this morning, 53 proposals were presented to the assembly for analysis.

According to what was explained by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and relator-general of the synod, initially 254 proposals were turned in. The list of 53 is the result of an effort to unify the proposals made by the working groups. The summarizing was done Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday by Carinal Ouellet and the special secretary of the synod, Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, along with relators from the working groups.

The proposals are now being re-analyzed by the working groups, which have gathered together again today and will continue their discussions Wednesday.

The groups will present suggestions for textual variations to the proposals — adding, taking away or combining, so as to better express what was said in the assembly.

With these suggestions, the definitive list of proposals will be prepared and voted on this Saturday, the last day of the working sessions. The synod ends Sunday. For a proposal to be accepted, it should get a “placet” (yes) vote from two thirds of the synod.

These proposals will be presented to the Pope, who can decide to make them public. The Pontiff will base himself on the proposals when he prepares his postsynodal apostolic exhortation, one of the most notable fruits from a synod.

Bibles for everyone

According to L’Osservatore Romano, the 53 proposals emphasize the fundamental elements discussed by the synod fathers and participants.

One of the main ideas, according to the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, is encouraging every member of the faithful to have a copy of the Bible.

“Next is considered the interpreters of the Bible, in particular, exegetes,” L’Osservatore Romano explained. “The exegete, the proposals say, should keep in mind, as a theologian, that the Word has a transcendent dimension, which cannot be exhausted in a mere philosophical, historical-critical investigation, but which requires a different plan, a different method, a different attitude, in the spirit of God, that is, a theological vision in the proper sense.

“The theological reading of the Bible fuses these two dimensions.”

The proposals have also presented certain “horizons,” as defined by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the commission in charge of preparing the synod’s final message.

These “horizons” include, for example, the “liturgy, privileged place where the Bible resounds,” the Vatican daily continued. In this context, the proposals give particular importance to homilies.

Another horizon is that of ecumenism, since “Protestants and Orthodox are united with a real unity, though not a full one, around the Bible,” the article continued.

The propositions are also directed to Christians who are baptized but sometimes “not evangelized” — those who have lost Christian roots.

The synod also addresses nonbelievers, expressing the hope that “the Bible can be also the great text of lay culture.”

Finally, according to L’Osservatore Romano, the proposals take up the issue of communication, highlighting its importance in proclaiming the word.

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