Fifth General Convention
12th Synod of Bishops
WEDNESDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2008 - AFTERNOON

- LIST OF MODERATORS AND RELATORS OF THE WORKING GROUP

- INTERVENTIONS IN THE HALL (CONTINUATION)

Today, Wednesday 8 October 2008, at 16:30, with the Adsumus prayer, in the presence of the Holy Father, the Fifth General Congregation began, for the continuation of the interventions by the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the theme of the Synod: The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.

The Acting President Delegate was H.Em. Card. Odilo Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo (Brazil).

LIST OF MODERATORS AND RELATORS OF THE WORKING GROUPS

At the opening of the Fifth General Congregation the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops read the List of Moderators and Relators of the Working Groups, elected in the First Session of this morning.

Moderators

Anglicus A
- H. Em. Card. Polycarp PENGO, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, President of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conférence of Africa and Madagascar (S.C.E.A.M.) (TANZANIA)

Anglicus B
- H. Em. Card. Francis Eugene GEORGE, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, President of the Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

Anglicus C
- H.E. Most. Rev. Michael Ernest PUTNEY, Bishop of Townsville (AUSTRALIA)

Gallicus A
- H. Em. Card. Jean-Louis TAURAN, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter- religious Dialogue (VATICAN CITY)

Gallicus B
- H. Em. Card. André VINGT-TROIS, Archbishop of Paris, President of the Episcopal Conference (FRANCE)

Gallicus C
- H. Em. Card. Philippe BARBARIN, Archbishop of Lyon (FRANCE)

Germanicus
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gregor Maria HANKE, O.S.B., Bishop of Eichstätt (GERMANY)

Italicus A
- H. Em. Card. Angelo BAGNASCO, Archbishop of Genoa, President of the Episcopal Conference (ITALY)

Italicus B
- H. Em. Card. Péter ERDŐ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Council of European Episcopals Conferences (C.C.E.E.) (HUNGARY)

Hispanicus A
- H.E. Most. Rev. Raymondo DAMASCENO ASSIS, Archbishop of Aparecida, President of Latin American Episcopal Council (C.E.L.AM.) (BRAZIL)

Hispanicus B
- H.E. Most. Rev. Manuel Hilario DE CÉSPEDES GARCÍA-MENOCAL, Bishop of Matanzas (CUBA)

Hispanicus C
- H.E. Most. Rev. Ricardo BLÁZQUEZ PÉREZ, Bishop of Bilbao (SPAIN)

Relators

Anglicus A
- H.E. Most. Rev. Mark Benedict COLERIDGE, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn (AUSTRALIA)

Anglicus B
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gerald Frederick KICANAS, Bishop of Tucson, Assistant President of Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

Anglicus C
- H.E. Most. Rev. Patrick Altham KELLY, Archbishop of Liverpool (GREAT BRITAIN)
Gallicus A
- H.E. Most. Rev. Fidèle AGBATCHI, Archbishop of Parakou (BENIN)

Gallicus B
- H.E. Most. Rev. Joseph Luc André BOUCHARD, Bishop of Saint Paul in Alberta (CANADA)

Gallicus C
- H.E. Most. Rev. Pierre-Marie CARRÉ, Archbishop of Albi (FRANCE)

Germanicus
- H.E. Most. Rev. Friedhelm HOFMANN, Bishop of Würzburg (GERMANY)

Hispanicus A
- Rev. Julián CARRÓN, President of Communion and Liberation (SPAIN)

Hispanicus B
- H.E. Most. Rev. Freddy Antonio de Jesús BRETÓN MARTÍNEZ, Bishop of Baní (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)

Hispanicus C
- H.E. Most. Rev. Víctor Hugo PALMA PAÚL, Bishop of Escuintla (GUATEMALA)

Italicus A
- H.E. Most. Rev. Salvatore FISICHELLA, Titular Bishop of Voghenza, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University (VATICAN CITY)

Italicus B
- H.E. Most. Rev. Vincenzo PAGLIA, Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia, President of the Catholic Biblical Federation (ITALY)

INTERVENTIONS IN THE HALL (CONTINUATION)

In this Fifth General Congregation, the following Fathers intervened:

- H.E. Most. Rev. Donald William WUERL, Archbishop of Washington (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Tomash PETA, Archbishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, President of the Episcopal Conference (KAZAKHSTAN)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Eduardo Porfirio PATIÑO LEAL, Bishop of Córdoba (MEXICO)

- Rev. Julián CARRÓN, President of Communion and Liberation (SPAIN)

- Rev. Father Heinz Wilhelm STECKLING, O.M.I., Superior General of the Oblate Missionaries

- H.E. Most. Rev. Orlando ROMERO CABRERA, Bishop of Canelones (URUGUAY)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Terrence Thomas PRENDERGAST, S.I., Archbishop of Ottawa (CANADA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Félix LÁZARO MARTÍNEZ, Sch. P., Bishop of Ponce (PORTO RICO)

- H. Em. Card. William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY)

- H. Em. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (VATICAN CITY)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Colin David CAMPBELL, Bishop of Dunedin (NEW ZELAND)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Peter William INGHAM, Bishop of Wollongong, President of the "Federation of Catholic Bishops'Conferences of Oceania" (F.C.B.C.O.) (AUSTRALIA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Oswald Georg HIRMER, Bishop of Umtata (SOUTH AFRICA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Oscar Mario BROWN JIMÉNEZ, Bishop of Santiago de Veraguas (PANAMA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Peter LIU CHENG-CHUNG, Bishop of Kaohsiung (CHINA)

Below are summaries of the interventions:

- H.E. Most. Rev. Donald William WUERL, Archbishop of Washington (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

In the context of a Liturgy for some 50,000 people gathered at Washington's Nationals
Park, you, Holy Father spoke to us of the need to see our own day in the light of the first Pentecost and as a living expression of it. In these reflections, I would like to touch on the opportunities we have in both our· homilies and catechetical efforts to renew a sense of connectedness with Christ and his Word in and through his Church.

The context for much of our preaching and catechesis today, at least in my experience, is a highly secular and materialistic world view in which the person is seen much more as a segregated individual rather than an integrated member of the community. This individualistic self-appraisal combined with minimal knowledge of the Word of God proclaimed in the Church presents for us a challenge as we try to proclaim God's revelation - revealed truth.

The homily provides us an opportunity to open the hearts of our faithful more fully to God's Word, but to do so in a way in which the context and content of the faith is integrated into the reflections on the specific Scriptures of that particular Liturgy. Twenty centuries of reflection on the Word of God provide the content of our faith proclamation. We preach the Word of God and its meaning in the context of the circumstances of our day and engage our people in a deeper appreciation of it as it answers the questions of today.

The Liturgy is both an act of worship and a pedagogue. The three-year cycle of the Lectionary in its presentation of Scripture offers us an extraordinary opportunity to link the twenty century-long experience of that Scripture reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The two, the Lectionary and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, should be seen in their correlative qualities.

The task before is to help our faithful understand that they are part of the Church, a
visible community that is also a spiritual communion. The liturgical homily provides the best occasion for our faithful to encounter the living person of Christ from within an authentic ecclesial and communal setting. The integration of elements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the readings from the Lectionary offers us an opportunity to demonstrate how the World of God is able to animate our personal and communal life with Christ and, at the same time, articulate the Church’s faith that has been immeasurably enriched by the living tradition of twenty centuries. In this way the homily helps the faithful to understand more fully the Word of God and it does so precisely because it is proclaimed and interpreted within its proper context, that is, within the liturgical, doctrinal and moral tradition of the Church itself. An understanding of the eccleslial context of God’s revelation also helps the hearer of the homily reaffirm not only the meaning of the Word but an allegiance and adherence to the body of Christ - the Church. My point in this intervention is simply, that, giving the opportunities we have in each homily and every religious education instruction we should look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a rich resource. That compendium of faith is a fruitful tool for every preacher and catechist to present the Word of God in the richness and depth of its ecclesial context. Thank you.

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Tomash PETA, Archbishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, President of the Episcopal Conference (KAZAKHSTAN)

In the "Instrumentum Laboris" of our Synod, Part I, Chapter III there is·a·beautiful text dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary; "Mary, Every Believer's Model for Receiving the Word".
This text is not just a pious addition. In my opinion it talks about fundamental points concerning the Word of God.

On the one hand, Mary appears as the best example of the reception of the Word of God, of the openness of a human heart to the Word of God.

On the other hand, she herself, through her deep and. complete union with Jesus - the "Incarnated Word" - is a wonderful commentary about the Word of God.

We can even call her life the "key to the understanding of the Bible". In the light of her life we are able to read the whole Bible, and in this manner understand the mysteries of Christ and the Church, yes, the whole plan of God’s salvation better.

The "Instrumentum Laboris" points out the Holy Rosary as well, as a simple and universally applicable form of prayerfully hearing of the Word of God. I am convinced that it is vital for our times, to remind ourselves of and emphasize this form of prayer, because it is Mary's way, she, who understood and was united with the Word of God more than anybody.

In our country Kazakhstan, in Central Asia, an uncountable number of Catholics, deported into this region, for decades had no access to priests or churches, to Bibles or the Sacraments (except the baptism of children which· they carried out themselves), but they had the Rosary. It is exactly thanks to the prayer of the Holy Rosary that they were able to preserve their faith within them, as well as their understanding of the essential truths of the Catholic faith, their human dignity and the hope for better times.

Decades later a granddaughter of some deported grandparents wrote in a religious hymn the following words:

"Mary, in the Kazakh steppe you opened the doors for me, and you met me with the Rosary.
O blessed, O blessed
O blessed and most Holy One".

Mary, as the "key to the understanding of the Word of God" is a help not only in the biblical pastoral care or in the development of the people's devotion, but also in all other areas in connection with the Word of God and the Bible.

The theme of our Synod "The Word of God in the life and the mission of the Church" would not have been considered deeply enough without Mary.

The Mother of God - the Mother of the Church - is teaching us to receive and accept the Word of God, live according to it, and also proclaim it in its entire fullness with courage; avoiding compromises with the "common world".

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Eduardo Porfirio PATIÑO LEAL, Bishop of Córdoba (MEXICO)

Nowadays it is becoming particularly important to understand the proper relationship between the public and constitutive Revelation of the Christian creed and private revelation, and establishing the pertinence of the latter to genuine faith (Lineamenta 8). Illuminating examples of this include the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas by His Holiness Pius XII and the explanatory note to the Third Secret of Fatima by the then Cardinal Ratzinger. We gratefully recognize the spiritual fruits that God has granted to the Church through these religious experiences.

Number 7 of the Instrumentum laboris ascertains that frequently current religious experience is “more emotive than convinced, because of the lack of doctrinal knowledge”: people tend rather to subjectivity and the pleasure of creating for themselves a tailor-made religion. Simple people of good will are drawn to alleged manifestations, but, sometimes, they transform themselves into isolated religious groups within the Catholic Church who spread devotions and spiritual pointers whose origins are to be found in “private messages and revelations”, that have to be evaluated with care and that still have to provide an impulse to overall public Revelation in the living Tradition of the Church. What we propose, therefore, is reaffirming the doctrine of Dei Verbum 4 and the catechism of the Catholic Church 66-67, as well as repeating the recommendation to pastors that they channel these religious experiences properly, through criteria that have been actualized according to the environment of mobility and globalization in which we live.

[Original text: Spanish]

- Rev. Julián CARRÓN, President of Communion and Liberation (SPAIN)

Interpretation of the Bible is one of the most worrisome problems in the Church today. The essence of the challenge brought up by the problem of modern interpretation of Sacred Scriptures was identified years ago by the then Cardinal Ratzinger: “How can I come to a comprehension which is not based on the judgement of my suppositions, a comprehension that permits me to understand the text’s message, giving me back something that does not come from my person?”
Regarding this difficulty, today’s Magisterium of the Church offers us elements to avoid any possible reduction.

It was the Second Vatican Council’s merit to have recuperated a concept of revelation as the event of God in history. In effect, Dei Verbum permits understanding the revelation as the auto-communication’s event of the Trinity through the Son “the mediator and the fullness of all Revelation” (DV 2). It is Christ who “perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth” (DV 4).

This event does not belong only to the past, to a certain moment in time and space, but remains present in history, communicating itself through the totality of the Church’s life that receives it. In fact, “Christ’s contemporaneity to each human being of any time is realized through his body which is the Church” (VS 25; cf. FR 11).

The encyclical letter Fides et Ratio characterizes the impact, that the revealed truth provokes in each person that encounters it, with two folded impulse: a) it widens one’s mind to adapt it to the subject; b) it facilitates the comprehension of its deep sense. Instead of mortifying the person’s intellect and liberty, the revelation leads to developing both the highest level of their original condition.

The experience of the encounter with Christ present in the living tradition of the Church is an event and therefore becomes the determining factor of the interpretation of the biblical text. It is the only way to be in harmony with the experience witnessed by the Scripture’s text. In fact, “the right knowledge of the biblical text is therefore accessible only to whom has a lived affinity with what is stated in the text” (PcB 70). Saint Augustin summarizes it realistically: “In manibus nostris sunt codices, in oculis nostris facta”.

[Original text: Italian]

- Rev. Father Heinz Wilhelm STECKLING, O.M.I., Superior General of the Oblate Missionaries

It is good to remember that "word of God" is more that a synonym for Holy Scripture. God reveals himself to us in manifold ways, not only through the Bible. But do we hear God speaking? Do we really discover "the sparks of the Word" in human culture, in interreligious dialogue, in our own life history?

Many positive examples of listening to God's voice, both in Scripture as well as in life, are present in the founders of religious institutes. The Bible trained their hearing, giving them as if it were the vocabulary and the grammar to understand God's language. Therefore they were able to hear God's word in life in new ways, for example, in the turmoil of post-revolution France in the case of my founder, Saint Eugene de Mazenod.

What then is the relationship between the Biblical and the extra-Biblical word of God? It could be said that the Bible is a language course in which we learn to listen. However, Scripture would remain dead letters on a page if we spent our whole life at school without going out to hear God's voice in the world around us. Creating contact with the treasures of the Bible would serve, one could say, as a "basic language course" so as to better hear and obey God's many words and advice today in each one's personal lives and in the world that surrounds us.

The eternal Word of the Father broadcasts its seed more widely than what has found a place in the Bible. May his word be heard and obeyed everywhere; not only in Scripture but also in the manifold voices that resound in creation and in our daily lives, so that His will be done and His Kingdom come.

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Orlando ROMERO CABRERA, Bishop of Canelones (URUGUAY)

1. God encounters us with His Word, like Jesus who goes to the house of Martha and Mary. In the Bible, the Church not only reads the Word of God, but God comes towards her as the God of the Word.

2. The attitude before God who speaks is the listening. The Church is a disciple who listens at the feet of the Teacher and she must be teacher of the listening.

In the witness of her own listening of the Word of God, which speaks in human language, the Church makes herself teacher of the listening, in the same Spirit in which the Word was inspired (DV 12)

3. The word of God must be the inspiration of all life and Pastoral ministry, so we propose the Biblical Animation of the Pastoral.The Word is not an additional element in the Life and in the Pastoral of the Church, but it constitutes a transversal line which supports it and invigorates it.

4. In this key of Biblical Animation of the Pastoral, the path of the Lectio Divina, is revealed as the privileged location in so that the word may become life in disciples

[Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Terrence Thomas PRENDERGAST, S.I., Archbishop of Ottawa (CANADA)

The topic is Instrumentum Laboris #17 concerning the difficulty many Catholics have with the Old Testament.

I propose that the Synod explore the loss of confidence among Catholics that Scripture truly communicates God's revelation; reflect on how this may have been brought about by the influence of modern biblical scholarship on preaching; and renew the Church's understanding of the spiritual sense of Scripture as a remedy.

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Félix LÁZARO MARTÍNEZ, Sch. P., Bishop of Ponce (PORTO RICO)

A reflection on the written Word is necessary today, for its importance, and for the moment in which the Church lives. The Church as guardian of such precious deposit has the duty to preserve, communicate and interpret it.

So that the faithful might have the opportunity to read and know the revealed written Word, and to have recourse to Scriptures for its reading and prayer, the first essential thing is that the Episcopal Conferences assume the responsibility that there should be recognized and approved editions, affordable for all.
It is clear that the Word of God is found in the unity of Tradition and Scripture, authentically interpreted by the Magisterium. However the dynamic between Tradition and Scripture hasn’t been sufficiently reflected upon..

The relationship between Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium would be enriched by mutual exchange between theology and exegesis. It is the People of God who suffer the consequences of the existing dichotomy between theology and exegesis. It would be very useful if the faithful understood the relationship between Scripture and the Creed.

It is important to live the spirituality which is born of the Word. The spirituality of and in the Word involves the disposition of the spirit to listen to the Word (prophet Elijah) and therefore to respond in faith; that the faithful feel that God speaks to him and that he can respond. This is the history of the holy men and women of the Scriptures, and this is the story of the Church (Eb,11,1,-40).
There are many ways of doing this, such as Lectio divina, the Sunday Mass, the service of the Divine Office and liturgy.

[Original text: Spanish]

- H. Em. Card. William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY)

A first observation refers to the need to clarify the relationship between the Bible and the Church. In the “Fides Ecclesiae”, one can see the correct understanding of the holy Book, and the loving presence of the Book can only promote an ecclesial sense of faith.

A second observation concerns the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures that cannot be only an individual scientific effort, but should always be compared, inserted and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church. Although the interpretation of Biblical texts must always treasure scientific research by the exegetes, it also needs a hermeneutics that develops the close bond between the Word of God and the faith of the Church, professed in the Creed and expressed through the centuries in the doctrinal teaching of the Magisterium.

As a third observation, I would like to point out the close relationship that exists between Sacred Scripture and ecumenism. The Bible is truly a terrain for unity. At the same time, one cannot ignore the historical fact which is at the root of the division between Christians, the controversial interpretation of certain important and fundamental Biblical texts. Suffice it to recall the Aryan crisis in the ancient Christian period and at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Protestant Reform. The Synod should keep this ecumenical aspect in mind, since the attention given to the written Word of God is certainly a very strong bond that draws the Catholic Church closer to the other confessions in the common search.

Finally, as a fourth and last observation, I would like to refer to the relationship between Sacred Scriptures and the Liturgy. It is important to remember that in the Liturgy, Biblical narration becomes an actual event of salvation.

[Original text: Italian]

- H. Em. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (VATICAN CITY)

I would like to focus on the various forms of superior ecclesiastical education, in which the Word of God has to form the basis for the knowledge of all the truths of faith and the source of life.
1. Today there is an ever-growing number of educational institutes especially for lay students and ordained persons, but at the same time religious ignorance seems to be on the increase. Recent research, commissioned by the Catholic Biblical Federation and carried out in ten European countries, demonstrated that there is quite incredible ignorance among believers concerning elementary notions in the Bible, for example: “Are the Gospels part of the Bible?”, “Did Jesus write any books in the Bible?”, “Which of these two people appears in the Old Testament - Moses or Paul?”, etc. Such ignorance offers fertile soil for sects. Consequently there follow some possible solutions that should be looked at together.

a) We work hard, but perhaps we are not distributing our efforts towards teaching rationally An increase in the number of educational institutes often works to the detriment of pastoral teaching in its broader sense. The number of priests is declining but the number of presbyters is rising , and they are called upon to work as teachers, thus devaluing their ordinary pastoral work; this is exactly the principal theme of Instrumentum laboris. The Word of God is addressed to all, and is destined to bear fruit in all. We are also responsible for the correct organization of our available teaching forces, so that we are able to make the Mystical Body of Christ grow and operate more efficiently.

In this perspective, it would be necessary to promote and spread appropriate courses in the Holy sciences without them leading to academic qualifications so that they would be more easily accessible to a wider public.

b) Many institutes of superior education are dominated by specialized courses, to the detriment of basic biblical, dogmatic and moral instruction. This knowledge is , naively, assumed already to exist; but the students do not know these basics and therefore their religious education is not organic or coherent or fruitful and does not help prepare what is postulated by Instrumentum laboris on the teaching of the Bible. Importance must be given to the fundamental truths of faith, reconnecting them with the Word of God, so that they determine our Christian life, our relationship with the Lord, our Christian joy.

2. I am very pleased - with respect to what I said just now - that Instrumentum laboris highlights various elements concerning the methodology of teaching and studying ecclesiastical sciences, for which, in today’s world, the following order of importance should be emphasized:

a. A clear distinction between those in the Church who hold “munus docendi” and all the others who do not but at the same time must proclaim the Word of God;

b. The fundamental importance of the Magisterum, perceptively underlined in Dei Verbum 10, in understanding, interpreting and teaching the Word of God;

c. The need for prayer, listening, faith and docility towards the Holy Spirit in order to understand the true theological-spiritual sense of the Word of God; d. The primacy of testimony in proclaiming the Word of God.

[Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Colin David CAMPBELL, Bishop of Dunedin (NEW ZELAND)

The Gospel - A Letter of love to the World

In Part Two of the “Instrumentum laboris” beginning Chapter IV (Page 37) it describes the Word of Scripture as a “word personally addressed by God, like a letter to each one...”. How much more so the Gospel communicated directly by Jesus, the Word of God. Pastorally, we need to examine how did Jesus do this and as Shepherds of God’s People follow his lead. We need to create conditions of faith by which people can hear this “letter of love” addressed to them. And we as Church need to foster greater opportunities for people to hear, see and experience the Word so as to experience God’s love. Recommendations arising from this are that the Synod support a Homily at every Mass (with a congregation), that we look at visionary and dramatic ways of portraying the Gospel in the Liturgy and we consider ways of taking the Gospel out into our world. We need as Church to harmonise doctrinal truth with scriptural imagery so that people can easily grasp the truths of the Kingdom in a simple, clear and uncomplicated way.

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Peter William INGHAM, Bishop of Wollongong, President of the "Federation of Catholic Bishops'Conferences of Oceania" (F.C.B.C.O.) (AUSTRALIA)

When Lectors proclaim Holy Scripture in the Liturgy, they must ensure God’s Word is heard, is understood and hopefully appreciated. The Lector has a vital ministry.

It is a courtesy to those who listen, to hand on God’s Word in such a way that the saving message may grow strong in the hearts and minds of those who listen. The Word needs to be already strong in the life of the one who proclaims.

Many Lectors read too fast for the Word of God to be able to be grasped by the mind and the heart of the listener.Every word in every sentence should be given its proper grammatical value. By obeying the punctuation, the voice can be modulated to add interest to what is proclaimed.
Some Lectors do not project their voices, nor use the microphone effectively.

The key idea in a Scripture Reading can be missed or lost through lack of emphasis by a Lector who does not really understand the context of the passage.

One reason for poor proclamation can be the Lector’s lack of confidence in front of a Congregation.

That is why essential training is to practise reading out aloud.

I believe proclaiming the Word of God in the Liturgy, by both clergy and laity alike, needs to be greatly improved, otherwise the impact of “God speaking to us” will not be what the Church desires nor what the faithful deserve.

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Oswald Georg HIRMER, Bishop of Umtata (SOUTH AFRICA)

The Seven Steps Sharing is not another Bible-study method but a continuation of the Liturgy of the Word at the Eucharist. This way of using Scripture has proved to be a key of encountering Christ himself in the Word of the Bible. In Bible study groups we usually “talk about Jesus” whereas in Seven Step Gospel Sharing we try to get “in touch” with the Lord. Small Christian communities and neighbourhood groups use the Seven steps as their spiritual basis, connecting life with the Word of God.

The secret of the Seven Steps lies in the fact that the Word of the Bible is not taken as a mere information ABOUT Jesus but as a sacramental sign of Christ’s presence among us.

In short:
In the First Step we invite the Lord as the two disciples did on the road to Emmaus. Step Two and Three help the faithful to “sit down” with Jesus and remain with him as Mary of Bethany did.
In the silence in Step Four, the faithful allow Jesus to touch them with a word which has become important for them.

The silence is followed by personal sharing, without preaching down on others or starting a discussion on an issue which would destroy the prayerful atmosphere. St. Paul is our example for personal sharing. “What is life? To me it is Christ”, he shares for example with the Philippians (Phil 1:21). In step Six a group asks the question: “What does the Lord want us to do?” Step Seven gives a chance to everyone to pray spontaneously.

The Seven Step Gospel sharing, if well celebrated, can renew the faith in a parish and revitalize grass-root communities from within. It can become a school for deep listening to the Word of God; a school for articulating the faith and strengthening one another in the faith; a school how to learn the art of silence and experience the mystery of Christ’s presence among us.
The Seven Step Gospel Sharing will as well help the faithful to pray better privately and to experience the Eucharist in a deeper and more meaningful way.

[Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Oscar Mario BROWN JIMÉNEZ, Bishop of Santiago de Veraguas (PANAMA)

In number 35 of the Instrumentum laboris it is affirmed that the work of this Synod, on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, follows naturally from the preceding Assembly on The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.In the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, which followed that Synod, we are strongly advised to emphasize the intrinsic unity of the rite of Holy Mass. The two parts of the rite, the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist, must not be juxtaposed as if they were interdependent of each other because they are intimately linked and form a single act of worship, preceded and followed by the introduction and conclusion (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, 44-49).

The Instrumentum laboris of this Synod reaffirms this doctrine, when it maintains that the intimate union between Word and Eucharist is rooted in the testimony of Scripture and presents the testimony of the Fathers of the Church, corroborated by Vatican Council II.

Let us recall that the Eucharist is the memorial of the Lord’s Easter. Through it, there is a bloodless representation , using the sacramental bread and wine, of Christ’s unique sacrifice; a bloody sacrifice carried out once and for all on Calvary

The liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the Eucharistic prayer, which begins with a preface concisely summarizing the Paschal mystery of the Lord, emphasizing certain of its concrete aspects.

The epiclesis is of fundamental importance, when we humbly ask God to send his Spirit on the proffered gifts so they may be transformed, for us, into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

It is the action of the Spirit in the Eucharistic liturgy, and in the liturgy of the Word, which makes present the Paschal Lord, the Word of God, who made Himself flesh, suffered, died and was reborn to pardon sin and make us, through the Spirit, adoptive children of God.

In the liturgy of the Word, and in the Eucharistic liturgy, in the Mass, the Paschal Lord is truly present, in a dialogue in which God takes the initiative to address His Word to man, who responds with faith, obedience and conversion. In the Old Testament this presence is latent, in the New Testament it is clear.

The Covenants of the Old Testament are representative of the New Alliance, held tight in the Spirit, which will find its fulfillment in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, the unique mediator between God and men. That is why we conclude the Eucharistic prayer with the great Doxology in which we glorify the Father for the Son in the Spirit.

Luke’s writings, in his Gospel and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, are an excellent source for theological study of our main theme.

Let us conclude by observing that the relationship between the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist, in the Holy Mass, is mediated by the action of the Spirit, who makes the Paschal Lord present, in the liturgy of the Word through prayer, the Holy Scripture, the homily, the symbol of faith and of the prayer of the faithful.

The Lord is also present, however, in the Eucharistic liturgy, through the epiclesis which transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Perhaps we could speak of a double epiclesis, as is done in the Oriental Churches; one implicit in the liturgy of the Word and the other explicit in the liturgy of the Eucharist. They are not juxtaposed. Their intrinsic unity derives from the presence and the action in both of the one Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and joins Them in the dynamism of the Holy Trinity. It is the responsibility of the officiant at the Eucharistic liturgy, a true mystagogue, master of the mystery, to help worshipers to experience the Celebration in all its richness.

[Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Peter LIU CHENG-CHUNG, Bishop of Kaohsiung (CHINA)

The question is: how to make the KERYGMA and the proclamation of God' s living word more accessible to the faithful? How can this KERYGMA - this encounter with God's 'word - be a real dialogue between Christ Himself and the faithful? The answer is recognization of the presence of the Holy Spirit in this Proclamation of God' s living word. It' s the Holy Spirit that empowers each baptized Catholic with gifts and charisms that are in turn contributions to the local Church.

There is a call for Bishops and Parish Priests to try to be open to these realities in the local community of the faithful. And its in this small group communities on the parish level that the Word proclaimed can become a living entity. Gradually the faithful in these communities can be celebrated together the Liturgy of the Hours and community celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance (with individual confessions). In this context the Scriptures are intimately united with the Liturgy as a sign of God dialoguing with His people especially in the Eucharist.

But for all of the above to be able to be realized, proper and practical and concrete catechesis needs to be given up the guidance of the local Diocese and with cooperation of the Parish Priest - in a situation where the spirit of the Scriptures can be interiorized, tested and preserved in trials, and strengthened among the faithful and those preparing for Initiation into the Church. (5-26-2008)

[Original text: English]

Then free interventions followed.

This General Congregation ended at 19.00 with the prayer Angelus Domini, 243 Fathers were present.


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