Pope's Address at Presentation of Interconfessional Italian Bible

«The sacred text is the food of the soul and the pure and everlasting source of the spiritual life of us all»

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Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today to members of the United Bible Societies for the presentation of the Bible in Italian “Word of the Lord – The Interconfessional Bible in Current Language.”

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Dear Brothers in Christ,

I thank you for coming here to present to me the new Italian version of the “Bible Word of God, Inter-Confessional Translation in Current Language,” fruit of the collaboration between the United Bible Societies-Biblical Society in Italy and ELLEDICI Publishing House.

I will tell you something of my experience. The translation of the Bible prepared by Evangelicals and Catholics in current Argentine language has done so much good and does so much good. It is a good idea, because simple people can understand it, because it is a true language, proper, but close to the people. In the missions we did in the parishes of Buenos Aires, we always went to the Biblical Society to purchase these translations. They gave me a good discount! We gave the Bible to the people, and the people understood it. They understood! It was a beautiful effort, and I am pleased that it is now available in Italian, because in this way the people can understand stories and expressions that, if translated literally, cannot be understood.

The preparation of an inter-confessional version is a particularly significant effort, if one thinks how much the debates on Scripture influenced the divisions, especially in the West. This inter-confessional project, which has given you the possibility to undertake a common path for some decades, has enabled you to entrust your heart to your other companions on the way, overcoming suspicions and diffidence, with the confidence that it flows from common for the Word of God.

Yours is the fruit of patient, careful, fraternal, competent and, above all, believing work. If you did not believe, you would not understand; “if you did not believe, you would not remain firm; if you will not believe, surely you will not be established,” says Isaiah. I hope that this text, which is presented with the approval of the CEI [Italian Episcopal Conference] and of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, will push all Italian-speaking Christians to meditate, to live, to witness and to celebrate God’s message.

I would so like it if all Christians could learn “the sublime science of Jesus Christ” (cf. Philippians 3:8) through the assiduous reading of the Word of God, because the sacred text is the food of the soul and the pure and everlasting source of the spiritual life of us all. Therefore, we must make every effort so that every member of the faithful reads the Word of God, because “ignorance of Scriptures in fact, is ignorance of Christ,” as Saint Jerome says (Comm. In Is.,: PL 24,17).

My heartfelt thanks to you all, because what you have achieved together is in fact valuable to reach this objective, and I encourage you to continue on the path undertaken, to have the Word of God known ever better and understood ever more profoundly.

My blessing also accompanies you, which I give you from my heart and I invite you to ask for it together, as brothers, praying the Our Father.

Recitation of the Our Father

Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
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