Working Document Ready for October Synod

Bishops Hope to Bring More People to Read Scripture

By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2008 ( The Bible is the most translated book in the world, but not enough people are reading it. And this year’s Synod of Bishops hopes to change that, the secretary-general said.

That is one of the goals Archbishop Nikola Eterovic mentioned today during a press conference in the Vatican to present the “instrumentum laboris” (working document), which will serve as guide for the October Vatican meeting.

The 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held Oct. 5-26, and focus on the theme “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

The instrumentum laboris, released today, was based on answers from episcopal conferences, Synods of the Eastern Churches, dioceses, religious congregations, and entities of the Roman Curia, to the lineamenta (guidelines) issued by the synod’s secretariat. These institutions, in turn, consulted local structures such as parishes, movements and associations of the faithful.

The secretary-general explained to journalists that based on these contributions, this synod “should foster knowledge and love of the word of God which is living, effective and penetrating, in order to rediscover the infinite goodness of God who reveals himself to man as friend, encounters him and invites him to communion.”

“Moreover,” he added, “through the word of God, there is the hope of reinforcing the ecclesial community, fomenting the universal vocation to salvation, reinforcing the mission to those who are close and those far away, renewing imaginative charity, and attempting to contribute to the search for solutions to the many problems of contemporary man, who is hungry both for bread as well as for every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Bible lovers

According to the instrumentum laboris, one of the objectives of the synod is “to bring about a deep love for sacred Scripture, so that ‘the faithful, by having greater access’ to the Bible, might come to know the unity between the bread of the word and the Body of Christ so as to fully nourish the Christian life.”

In particular, “lectio divina” will be promoted, that is, meditation on the word of God “adapted to different circumstances,” Archbishop Eterovic added. “It seems vital to rediscover the bond between the word of God and the liturgy, which has its highest point in the celebration of holy Mass.”

The Bible, he continued, has been translated into 2,454 languages, while in the world there are some 6,700 languages, 3,000 of which are considered major.

“The Bible is the most translated and disseminated book in the world but, unfortunately, it is not very read,” he noted.

The secretary-general gave an example: According to recent research, “only 38% of Italian practicing Catholics have read a passage of the Bible in the past 12 months.”

“More than 50% of those consulted in Italy and other countries believe that sacred Scripture is difficult to understand,” the archbishop recounted. “Evidently, people need to be introduced and guided in an ecclesial understanding of the Bible.”

“The synod will attempt to show the unity between the bread of the Word and of the Eucharist, between the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist, which are so united between themselves to the point of forming only one table of the bread of life,” he continued, mentioning that the last synod focused on the Eucharist.

In fact, Archbishop Eterovic announced, the synodal assembly will have two important points of reference: the previous Synod on the Eucharist and the Pauline Year, which begins at the end of this month.

“The memory of St. Paul,” the prelate suggested, “will inspire a new missionary drive in the Church for the benefit of the whole of humanity.”

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