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 CNS Story:

SYNOD-LATAM Oct-9-2008 (350 words) xxxi

Honduran cardinal: Christian education must lead to knowing Christ

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- True Christian education must lead people to a relationship with Christ, conversion, service and mission, said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa.

"For a solid Christian formation, there is a need for an encounter of dialogue with the God of the word, which is able to change, modify conduct and make it Christian," the cardinal told the world Synod of Bishops on the Bible.

Cardinal Rodriguez addressed the synod Oct. 6, providing an overview of Latin American Catholics' knowledge and use of the Bible. His text was made available Oct. 9.

He said that while globalization and the Internet have given people greater access than ever to information, including about the Bible, the Internet also informs them about the scandalous behavior of politicians and other public figures.

"We lament the fact that many of the actors of this social and political scene passed through our formation centers" in catechetical programs, schools, youth groups and colleges, he said.

"We must ask: What role did teaching the word of God have for them? Did we help them encounter the God of the word? Why didn't Gospel values give direction to their lives once they entered public life?" Cardinal Rodriguez said.

While great strides have been made in distributing the Bible and in establishing small Christian communities dedicated to reading and applying the Bible to daily life, especially in Latin America, more must be done, he said.

"We need to rethink the manner in which we teach biblical faith for the life of Christians," he said.

A truly biblical inspiration must be seen in every aspect of a Christian's life, covering "the totality of one's actions, not just one's life inside our churches," the cardinal said.

The faithful, he said, need to "deepen their knowledge of the word of God and the contents of the faith, which is the only way to mature in their religious experience."

"In this journey, markedly existential and communitarian, doctrinal formation is not experienced as theoretical and cold knowledge, but as the vital and necessary foundation for spiritual, personal and communal growth," he said.


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