Synod Propositions 16-20

Conclusions of Episcopal Assembly on Word of God

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2008 ( Here are translations of the synodal propositions 16-20, which were submitted to Benedict XVI at the end of the world Synod of Bishops on the «Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,» held in October at the Vatican.

ZENIT will publish a translation of the remaining propositions in subsequent services.

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Proposition 16


It is recommended that an examination of the Roman Lectionary be initiated to see if the present selection and ordering of the readings are really adequate to the mission of the Church at this historic moment. Specifically, the relation of the reading of the Old Testament with the evangelical pericope should be reconsidered, so that it does not imply a too restrictive reading of the Old Testament or the exclusion of important passages.

The revision of a Lectionary could be done in dialogue with ecumenical counterparts who use this common Lectionary.

It is desirable that an authoritative examination of the problem of the Lectionary be carried out in the liturgies of Oriental Catholic Churches.

Proposition 17

Ministry of the Word and women

The synodal fathers acknowledge and encourage the service of the laity in the transmission of the faith. On this point, women especially have an indispensable role above all in the family and in catechesis. In fact, they are able to awaken interest in the Word, the personal relationship with God, and to communicate the meaning of forgiveness and evangelical sharing.

It is desirable that the ministry of the lector be open also to women, so that the Christian community will recognize their role as heralds of the Word.

Proposition 18

Celebrations of the Word of God

The celebration of the Word of God is recommended according to the different forms received from the liturgical tradition (cf. SC 35). Many ecclesial communities, which do not have the possibility of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration, find in the celebration of the Word the food for their faith and for Christian testimony.

The celebration of the Word is one of the privileged places of encounter with the Lord, because in this proclamation, Christ makes himself present and continues to speak to his people (cf. SC 7). Even in the midst of today’s noise, which makes effective listening very difficult, the faithful are encouraged to cultivate a disposition of interior silence and of listening to the Word of God that transforms life.

The Synodal Fathers recommend that ritual directories be formulated, based on the experience of Churches in which formed catechists regularly lead Sunday assemblies round the Word of God. The purpose is to avoid such celebrations being confused with the Eucharistic liturgy.

Reception of the Word, the prayer of praise, thanksgiving and petition, which make up the celebration of the Word of God, are manifestations of the Spirit in the heart of the faithful and in the Christian assembly, gathered round the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, in fact, makes the proclaimed and celebrated Word of God fruitful in the heart and life of those who receive it.

We also believe that pilgrimages, celebrations, different forms of popular piety, the missions, spiritual retreats and special days of penance, reparation and forgiveness are a concrete opportunity, offered to the faithful to celebrate the Word of God and enhance their knowledge.

Proposition 19

Liturgy of the Hours

The Liturgy of the Hours is a privileged way to hear the Word of God because it puts the faithful in contact with sacred Scripture and with the living Tradition of the Church. Hence, the Synod hopes that the faithful will participate in the Liturgy of the Hours, above all in lauds and vespers. Hence, it would be useful to prepare a simple form of the Liturgy of the Hours where it does not exist yet.

Bishops, priests, deacons, religious and those already delegated to it by the Church must remember their sacred duty to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. This is very much recommended to the lay faithful, so that this liturgy becomes, in an even greater sense, the prayer of the whole Church.

Proposition 20

Word of God, marriage and family

The Word of God is at the origin of marriage (cf. Genesis 2:24). Jesus himself inscribed marriage among the institutions of his Kingdom (cf. Matthew 19:4-8), giving it a sacramental statute. In the sacramental celebration, the man and woman pronounce a prophetic word of reciprocal self-giving, being «one flesh,» sign of the mystery of the union of Christ and the Church (cf. Ephesians 5:32). Through the fidelity and unity of family life, spouses are to their children the first heralds of the Word of God. They must be supported and helped in developing prayer in the family, the domestic celebration of the Word, reading of the Bible and other forms of prayer.

Spouses must remember that the Word of God is a valuable support also in the difficulties of conjugal and family life.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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