VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here are translations of synodal propositions 51-55, 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 has published all 55 propositions of the synod.
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Paul VI called the Holy Land the “Fifth Gospel.” The synod recommends pilgrimages and, if possible, the study of the sacred Scriptures in the Holy Land, and following in the steps of St. Paul. Through this experience, pilgrims and students will be able to understand better the physical and geographical environment of the Scriptures and especially the relation between the two Testaments. The stones on which Jesus walked could become for them stones of living memory. In the meantime, Christians in the Holy Land need the communion of all Christians, especially in these days of conflict, poverty and fear.
Dialogue between Christians and Jews
The dialogue between Christians and Jews belongs to the nature of the Church. Faithful to his promises, God does not revoke the Old Covenant (cf. Romans 9 and 11). Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew and the Holy Land is the motherland of the Church. Christians and Jews share the Scriptures of the Jewish people, which Christians call the Old Testament. As Abraham’s descendants, Jews and Christians can be a source of blessing for humanity (cf. Genesis 17:4-5).
Jewish understanding of the Bible can help Christians in the understanding and study of the Scriptures.
Christian biblical interpretation is based on the unity of the two Testaments in Jesus, Word made flesh. He realizes in his person the full meaning of the Scriptures with continuity and discontinuity as regards the inspired books of the Jewish people.
It is suggested that episcopal conferences promote meetings and dialogues between Jews and Christians.
Dialogue between Christians and Muslims
“The Church also looks with esteem at Muslims that adore the one God” (NA, 3). They refer to Abraham and render worship to God above all with prayer, alms and fasting. Dialogue with them allows for better knowledge of one another and collaboration in promoting ethical and spiritual values.
In this dialogue, the synod stresses the importance of respect for life, human rights and women’s rights, as well as the distinction between the socio-political order and the religious order in the promotion of justice and peace in the world. Another important topic in this dialogue is reciprocity and freedom of conscience and religion.
It is suggested to the episcopal conferences of countries where it is beneficial to promote circles of dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Cosmic dimensions of the Word of God and custody of creation
The Word of God communicates to us the beauty of God through the beauty of creation and also through sacred images, such as icons of the incarnate Word. They are modalities with which the invisible mystery of God is in some way made visible and perceptible to our senses. The Fathers of the Church, moreover, always affirmed the cosmic dimensions of the Word of God made flesh; each creature bears in a certain sense a sign of the Word of God. In Jesus Christ, dead and risen, all created things find definitive recapitulation (cf. Ephesians 1:10). All things and persons, therefore, are called to be good and beautiful in Christ.
Sadly, the man of our time has lost the habit of contemplating the Word of God in the world he inhabits that has been given by God. Hence, the rediscovery of the Word of God, in all its dimensions, impels us to denounce all the actions of contemporary man that do not respect nature as creation.
To receive the Word of God attested in sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church generates a new way of seeing things, promoting a genuine ecology, which has its deepest root in the obedience of the faith that receives the Word of God. Hence, we hope that, in the pastoral action of the Church, commitment in favor of the safeguarding of creation will be intensified, developing a renewed theological sensibility to the goodness of all things created in Christ, Word of God incarnate.
Mary “Mater Dei” and “Mater Fidei”
The synod, whose intention is above all to renew the faith of the Church in the Word of God, looks at Mary, the Virgin Mother of the Word Incarnate, who with her yes to the Word of the Covenant and to its mission, perfectly fulfills humanity’s divine vocation. The Synodal Fathers suggests the dissemination of the Angelus prayer among the faithful, daily memorial of the Word Incarnate and of the Rosary.
The Church of the New Testament lives where the Word Incarnate is received, loved and served in full availability to the Holy Spirit. Mary’s faith then develops in the love with which it accompanies the Incarnate Word’s growth and mission. Under the Son’s cross, faith and love become the hope with which Mary accepts to become the Mother of the beloved disciple and of redeemed humanity.
Devout and loving attention to Mary’s figure, as model and archetype of the Church’s faith, is of capital importance to realize also today a concrete change of paradigm in the relation of the Church with the Word, both in the posture of prayerful listening as well as generosity in the commitment to the mission and the proclamation. The synodal fathers, united to the Holy Father in prayer so that the synod “will carry fruits of genuine renewal to each Christian community” (Benedict XVI, Angelus in Pompeii, Oct. 19, 2008), invite pastors and faithful to look at Mary and ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of a lively faith in the Word of God made flesh.[Translation by ZENIT]