Bishop Carlo Ghidelli of Lanciano-Ortona, a biblicist, proposed this initiative Saturday at the national congress of the Italian episcopal conference’s biblical apostolate.
During the meeting, which focused on the need to “build a community of listening to the Word of God,” Rinaldo Fabris, president of the Italian Biblical Association, said that the faithful often don’t know much about Scripture.
Although on one hand people increasingly want to own a Bible, and interpret it on their own, on the other hand, there is a “certain communal resistance” to exploring the Scriptures, Bishop Ghidelli noted.
The congress highlighted the need to update the method of studying the Bible in order to avoid intellectualism or the seeking of biblical instruction outside the Catholic Church.
In this connection, Guido Benzi, director of the Catechetical Office of the Rimini Diocese, stressed the importance of “not losing sight that the Bible, insofar as it is the voice of God speaking to his people, must be available to all, not just to a few.”
However, “the faithful must be reminded, especially non-Catholics, that the authentic interpretation of sacred Scripture occurs only within a dimension of faith,” Benzi said. “As St. Augustine used to say, we must read the Scriptures seated in the lap of our Mother, the Church.”