ROME - 8 October 2008 - 982 words
The Fourth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place yesterday afternoon in the presence of 240 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia. Bishops made the following statements:
BISHOP MAURICE PIAT, CSSP OF PORT-LOUIS, MAURITIUS. "The crisis of the transmission of the faith in the societies of Christendom can be largely explained by the fact that in these societies the Church enjoys relative security and tends to take the faith for granted, to privilege the teaching of doctrine and to neglect the Word of God in the process of transmission. If not built on the rock of the Word of God, the doctrinal and moral edifice remains founded upon sand and with difficulty resists the tsunami of modern digital culture. Hence the urgent need to find a place for the Word of God as the foundation for the life and mission of the Church. The Word becomes a foundation when it is welcomed as the event of God speaking to us about Himself, addressing us as friends and inviting us to share His life. This Word does not seek to convince the curious but to arouse faith in the hearts of the humble. Thus, in presenting the faith we are not simply transmitting a tremendous message, but an invitation united to the promise: 'come and you will see'".
BISHOP GEORGE PUNNAKOTTIL OF KOTHAMANGALAM OF THE SYRO-MALABARS, INDIA. "The Church in the patristic tradition emphasises two aspects: the ecclesial and the spiritual. Bible is the Word of God in the Church. Individuals on their own cannot discover the inspiration or decide on the canon. These are guaranteed by the Church. The Word of God is enshrined in tradition. Yet Bible does not require the backing of tradition for its authority and truth. Tradition is rooted in the Sacred Scripture and supported by the Sacred Scripture. Tradition contrary to the Bible will not stand. Bible is the primary source of doctrine and faith. Secondly, the Bible has historical and spiritual meaning. The spiritual sense is not against the literary meaning. It is based on it. Spiritual meaning is known by the 'spiritual intellect'. It is seen by the 'inner eye of faith'. Reasoning is not enough. Spiritual contemplation of the Word is required".
ARCHBISHOP ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO OMI OF COTABATO, PHILIPPINES, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION OF ASIAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCES (FABC). "God spoke His Word, especially for the sake of the poor. He was their refuge and liberator. ... Incredibly, rich in a marvellous mosaic of ancient cultures and religions, we in Asia are nevertheless a continent of the poor, of economic and political imbalances, of ethnic division and conflict. Our profound sense of transcendence and harmony is being eroded by a globalising secular and materialist culture. But the Word of God in Asia is calling to the Father in the Holy Spirit thousands of small communities of the poor. And the poor in turn are heeding God's Word. In so doing they are building a 'new way of being Church' - really an old way - the way of the early Jerusalem community. ... For them the Word of God is faith-empowering, urging them to participate actively within the Church and in social transformation. They are Basic Ecclesial Communities, renewing families, parishes and dioceses into vibrant communities, witnessing to the Word of God, quite often in a hostile multi-religious environment. They are communities of solidarity and fellowship at the grassroots, effectively challenging in their own little way the modern culture of secularism and materialism".
BISHOP DESIDERIUS RWOMA OF SINGIDA, TANZANIA. "The attitude of the Church Fathers towards the Word and preaching is a challenge to us. If we speak of people being lukewarm concerning matters of our faith and the phenomenon of religious sects which are spreading at an alarming speed in many parts of the World, the causes for this can possibly be traced back to lack of good and proper preaching from the part of ministers. ... We have to go back to the mystagogical preaching of the Church Fathers, which helps the Church to bear sons and daughters, nourishing them by leading them in the mysteries of our faith".
ARCHBISHOP ANICETUS BONGSU ANTONIUS SINAGA OFM CAP., COADJUTOR OF MEDAN, INDONESIA. "While we are willing that 'all ... hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study', it is also true that while our era is privileged of Bible availability in national and vernacular languages, at the same time, especially people of our times are more lacking in reading and getting acquainted in matters of Sacred Scripture. It is desirable then that, this Bishops' Synod will committedly engage to look for ways and methods to overcome such believers' incapability and affliction".
ARCHBISHOP SALVATORE FISICHELLA, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE. "Christianity is a religion of the 'word'. It is important we dedicate ourselves to creating a culture that sees Sacred Scripture as a living word, dynamically open to the truth of the revelation it contains. If we do not present this teaching in its entirety through the various instruments we possess for the formation of our people, we risk humiliating the Word of God, reducing it exclusively to a written text without that provocative power to bring meaning to life. As the Apostle says: 'the word of God is not chained'. ... In a time such as our own in which there are many persistent attempts to marginalise the sacred texts, ... identifying them as myths without any historical content and fit only for the ingenuous, it is important to rediscover ways to restore their historical value, and their provocative power concerning the meaning of life. We truly are facing an educational emergency that brings the theme of salvation to the forefront of our life of faith".
ROME - 8 October 2008 - 982 words