“Vocational Poverty” Linked to Youth Violence

Prelate Presents Book on God’s Call in the Bible

ROME, NOV. 9, 2007 (Zenit.org).- One of the main forms of modern-day poverty is lacking a sense of meaning in life and a sense of vocation, says a Vatican official.

Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and the president of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, said this recently from Vatican Radio headquarters when he presented “Il Dizionario Biblico della Vocazione” (A Biblical Dictionary of Vocations,) published by the International Vocation Rogate Center of Rome.

The archbishop, who will be made a cardinal in the Nov. 24 consistory, revealed that he made this reflection after reading about cases of senseless violence among youth and adolescents.

“Vocational poverty is not a problem affecting only us; it is not a clerical problem,” he clarified at the Oct. 30 event. “This is a basic problem, since the vocation to life is in crisis. It is a problem for all of society, since youth convert themselves into a problem, a drama, a danger for everyone. Without vocation, a person cannot live, because life stops having a meaning, loses its value. When one lacks God, nothing remains to fill him up.”

The 1,128-page Italian-language dictionary includes the “vocational testimony” of 160 biblical characters. The book is especially directed to youth and aims to open dialogue with cultural and academic leaders.

The principal rule and guide of the biblical research in the dictionary, explained Giuseppe de Virgilio, the scientific editor of the volume, was to “consider the ‘vocation-call,’ not just as an object of biblical theology, but as a ‘category-horizon-principle-symbol’ of all of revelation contained in sacred Scripture.”

The vocation, explained the editor of the dictionary, can be interpreted as a “revelation of the work of God in history, that is essentially, a call to salvation. It is God, presented in the Bible as ‘he who speaks,’ who ‘chooses to communicate himself in the mystery of love for man.'”