Synod Propositions 36-40

Conclusions of Episcopal Assembly on Word of God

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2008 ( Here are translations of the synodal propositions 36-40, 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 36

Sacred Scripture and Christian unity

The Bible is truly a privileged place of encounter between the different Churches and ecclesial communities. To listen to the Scriptures together makes us live a real though not full communion (cf. «Relatio Post Disceptationem,» 36).

«To listen together to the Word of God, to practice the ‘lectio divina’ of the Bible (…) is a path to follow to attain the unity of the faith, as response to the listening of the Word» (Benedict XVI’s Address, Jan. 25, 2007). Hence, common listening of the Scriptures stimulates the dialogue of charity and makes that of truth grow. An open ecumenical problem is the understanding of the individual authorized in the interpretation of the Church (especially the magisterium); therefore, common study and biblical research should be intensified. Likewise, common efforts in the translations and diffusion of the Bible must be intensified, as well as inter-confessional celebrations of listening to the Word of God.

Proposition 37

Presence of His Holiness Bartholomew I

The synodal fathers thank God for the presence and interventions of the fraternal delegates, representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities and, in a special way, for the prayer of Vespers presided over by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, together with His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. The words of the ecumenical patriarch addressed to the synodal fathers have made it possible to experience a profound spiritual joy and to have a living experience of real and profound communion, though still not perfect; in them we have tasted the beauty of the Word of God, read in the light of the sacred liturgy and of the fathers, a spiritual reading strongly contextualized in our time.

Thus, we have seen that, going to the heart of sacred Scripture, we really find the Word in the words, which opens the eyes of the faithful to respond to the challenges of today’s world. Moreover, we have shared the joyful experience of having common Fathers in the East and West. May this meeting become a fervent prayer to the one Lord that Jesus’ prayer «Ut omnes unum sint» may be a reality as soon as possible (John 17:20).


Proposition 38

Missionary task of all the baptized

The mission to proclaim the Word of God is a task of all the disciples of Jesus Christ as a consequence of their baptism. This awareness must be deepened in every parish, community and Catholic organization. Initiatives must be proposed that make the Word of God reach all, especially baptized brothers who are not sufficiently evangelized. Given that the Word of God was made flesh to communicate with men, a privileged way to know it is through an encounter with witnesses that make it present and alive. By the force of their own charism experience, a special collaboration is contributed in the mission by missionary institutes. Moreover, the reality of the new ecclesial movements is an extraordinary richness of the evangelizing force of the Church at this time, so much so as to stimulate the Church to develop new forms of proclaiming the Gospel.

The laity is called to rediscover its responsibility to execute its prophetic task, which stems for them directly from their baptism, and witness to the Gospel in daily life: at home, at work and wherever they are. This witness often leads to persecution of the faithful because of the Gospel. The synod appeals to leaders in public life to guarantee religious liberty. Moreover, it is necessary to open itineraries of Christian initiation in those who, through listening to the Word, the celebration of the Eucharist and brotherly love lived in community, might practice an ever more adult faith. To be considered is the new question stemming from mobility and the migratory phenomenon, which opens new prospects of evangelization, because immigrants not only need to be evangelized but they themselves can be agents of evangelization.

Proposition 39

Word of God and commitment in the world

The Word of God, contained in the sacred Scriptures and in the living Tradition of the Church, helps the mind and heart of men to understand and love all the human realities and creation. In fact, it helps to recognize the signs of God in all man’s fatigues directed to making the world more just and habitable; it helps in identifying the «signs of the times» present in history; stimulates believers to commit themselves in favor of those who suffer and are victims of injustices. The struggle for justice and transformation is an integral part of evangelization (cf. «Evangelii Nuntiandi,» 19).

The synodal fathers direct a special thought to those who, as believers, are committed to political and social life. They desire that the Word of God sustain their forms of testimony as well as inspire their action in the world, in search of the true good of all, and in respect of the dignity of every person. Hence, it is necessary that they be prepared through an adequate education according to the principles of the social doctrine of the Church.

Proposition 40

Word of God and liturgical art

The great tradition of East and West has always esteemed all the artistic expressions, specifically sacred images, inspired in sacred Scripture.

We appreciate all artists enamored of beauty: poets, men of letters, painters, sculptors, musicians, people of the theater and cinema. They have contributed to the decoration of our churches, to the celebration of our faith, to the enrichment of our liturgy and, at the same time, many of them have helped to make the invisible world perceptible and to translate the divine message in the language of forms and figures. For all this, the synod manifests its profound gratitude.

In every cultural area a new epoch must be aroused in which art can re-encounter biblical inspiration and be an instrument capable of proclaiming, singing, and enabling contemplation of the manifestation of the Word of God.

In the construction of churches, bishops, duly helped, must endeavor to make these places adequate for the proclamation of the Word, for meditation and for the Eucharistic celebration. Sacred spaces, also outside liturgical action, must be eloquent, presenting the Christian mystery related with the Word of God.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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