Word of God is Church’s Priority

Pope Benedict closes the Synod of Bishops and now we all await his document on their discussions.From Zenit:

Benedict XVI says the priority for the Church today is above all to nourish itself with the Word of God, so as to bring forward the new evangelization.

The Pope said this today when he closed the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God.

He concelebrated the closing Mass with the synod fathers, expressing his desire that the conclusions of the synod “would be taken to every community,” so that “the need is understood to translate the word that has been heard into gestures of love, since only in this way is the proclamation of the Gospel made believable, despite human weaknesses.”

The Holy Father insisted various times on the importance of the link between hearing the Word and evangelization, as a fundamental point of the testimony of Christians around the world, especially with nonbelievers.

“Many people are seeking, perhaps without realizing it, to encounter Christ and his Gospel; many need to find in him the meaning of their lives,” the Pontiff said. “To give a clear and shared testimony of a life according to the Word of God, demonstrated by Jesus, is therefore an indispensable criteria for verifying the mission of the Church.

“It is necessary for the faithful to have wide access to sacred Scripture so that people, finding the truth, can grow in authentic love. This is an indispensable requisite today for evangelization.”

The Bishop of Rome also referred to the Gospel of the day on Christ’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. He affirmed that “the fullness of the Law, just as of divine Scriptures, is love.”

“One who thinks they’ve understood Scripture, or at least a part of them, without making the effort to build, through his intelligence, the double love for God and for neighbor, shows that in reality he is still far from having understood its profound sense,” he affirmed.

Cardinal Suggests Encyclical

For Pope Benedict to write. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, from the Vatican:

  On the subject of the ecclesial interpretation of the Word of God, the cardinal archbishop of Quebec posed the question whether “after several decades of concentration upon human meditations on the Scriptures, should we not find again the divine depth of the inspired text, without losing the precious acquisitions from new methodologies?


  “We cannot overemphasise this point because the crisis of exegesis and theological hermeneutics has a profound effect on the spiritual life of the People of God and their trust in the Scriptures. It also affects ecclesial communion, because of the climate of often unhealthy tension between university theology and ecclesial Magisterium. Faced with this delicate situation, and without getting into the debates on schools, the Synod must give a direction, to heal relationships and favour integration of acquired knowledge from biblical and hermeneutical sciences into the ecclesial interpretation of Holy Scriptures”.

 From The Boston Pilot:

Cardinal Ouellet said the synod members might want to ask Pope Benedict XVI to write an encyclical “on the interpretation of Scriptures in the church.”

Rabbi Speaks at Synod

From the New York Times:

The first rabbi invited to address the Vatican’s annual synod of bishops criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on Monday and indirectly touched on a main sticking point in Roman Catholic-Jewish relations: the church’s efforts on behalf of Jews during World War II. The chief rabbi of Haifa, Shear-Yashuv Cohen, above, described a speech last month at the United Nations by “a certain president of a state in the Middle East” as a series of “false and malicious accusations” and “anti-Semitic infamy.” In his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad denounced Israel and said Zionists controlled the world economy. Rabbi Cohen also said Jews “cannot forgive and forget” that some leaders may not have done enough to help save Jews during the Holocaust, apparently a reference to Pius XII, who was pope from 1939 to 1958.

Money Flees

Pope Benedict addresses the openning of the Synod, from The Age:

Pope Benedict XVI says the financial crisis sweeping the world proves the futility of craving success and money and he urges instead that people base their lives on the word of God.

“We are seeing now in the collapse of the big banks that this money is disappearing, is nothing,” Benedict told a synod of bishops on Monday on the theme of “The Word of God”.

Those who seek “success, career or money are building (their lives) on sand”, Benedict said, adding: “Only the Word (of God) is solid, it is the veritable reality on which we should base our lives.”

Those who think “that matter, concrete things that we can touch are the surest reality” are deceiving themselves, he said.

Opening the synod, attended by more than 250 bishops, the 81-year-old pontiff attacked the godless character of modern culture.

The German Pope warned that “nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture”.

Pope Open’s Synod

Decries the absence of God in modern culture and warns of the consequences, commenting on the parable that makes up today’s Gospel reading at Mass.

From Asia News Italy:

The pope opened the 12th general ordinary assembly of the synod of bishops today at the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. The location is unusual – is the first time that the opening of such an assembly has not been held at St. Peter’s – and signifies the connection with the Pauline Year, during which the synod is taking place, under the theme of “The Word of God and the life and mission of the Church,” of which the apostle to the Gentiles was one of the leading missionaries. Benedict XVI then illustrated during the Angelus the work of the 253 “Synod fathers.”

Looking at the Gospel parable, Benedict XVI noted that “this page of the Gospel applies to our own way of thinking and acting; it applies especially to those peoples who have received the proclamation of the Gospel. If we look at history, we are forced to recognize that it is not rare for inconsistent Christians to be cold and rebellious. As a result of this, although God never fails his promise of salvation, he has often had to resort to punishment. It is spontaneous to think, in this context, of the first proclamation of the Gospel, which gave rise to Christian communities that at first were flourishing, but later disappeared and are now remembered only in the history books. Could not the same thing happen in our time? Nations that at one time were rich in faith and vocations are now losing their identity, under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture. There are those who, having decided that ‘God is dead’, declare themselves ‘gods’, believing themselves the sole creators of their own destiny and the absolute owners of the world. In casting off God and not awaiting salvation from him, man believes that he can do whatever he likes and set himself up as the sole measure of himself and his action. But when man eliminates God from his horizon, is he truly more happy? Does he truly become more free? When men proclaim themselves the absolute owners of themselves, and the sole masters of creation, can they truly build a society in which freedom, justice, and peace reign? Does it not instead happen – as daily events abundantly demonstrate – that there is the expansion of arbitrary power, egoistic interest, injustice and exploitation, violence in all of its expressions? The result, in the end, is that man finds himself more alone, and society is more divided and confused.”

But “there is a promise in the words of Jesus: the vineyard will not be destroyed. Although he leaves the unfaithful keepers of the vineyard to their fate, the owner does not abandon his vineyard, and he entrusts it to other servants, who are faithful. This indicates that, if in some regions faith becomes weak to the point of disappearing, there will always be other peoples ready to accept it.”

“The message of consolation that we take from these biblical texts,” the pope concluded, “is the certainty that evil and death do not have the last word, but it is Christ who overcomes in the end. Always! The Church does not tire of proclaiming this Good News, as is taking place now, in this basilica dedicated to the apostle of the Gentiles, who was the first to spread the Gospel in the vast regions of Asia Minor and Europe. Let us renew in a significant way this proclamation during all of the 12th general ordinary assembly of the synod.” “May the Lord help us to examine ourselves over the next weeks of the synodal work, asking ourselves how we can make the proclamation of the Gospel increasingly effective in our time.”

Benedict XVI also made the synod the focus of the words that he addressed to the 20,000 faithful present in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus. It is, he said, “an assembly of the bishops chosen to represent the entire episcopate, and called together to assist the successor of Peter, demonstrating and at the same time reinforcing ecclesial communion. This is an important body, instituted in September of 1965 by my venerable predecessor, the servant of God Paul VI,” the purpose of which is to “foster close union and collaboration between the pope and the bishops of the entire world; to provide direct and precise information on the situation and problems of the Church; to foster agreement on doctrine and pastoral actions; to address topics of great importance and relevance.”

“For the ordinary synod assembly, which begins today,” he continued, “I have selected, after consultation, the topic of the Word of God as the subject to be explored, In a pastoral perspective, in the life and mission of the Church.” “Dear brothers and sisters,” he concluded, “I invite all to support the work of the synod with your prayers, invoking in a special way the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, the perfect Disciple of the Divine Word.”

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