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 CNS Story:

SYNOD-OWNERSHIP Oct-10-2008 (470 words) xxxi

Each Catholic should have a Bible, says Nigerian bishop

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Love and appreciation for the Bible are aided by encouraging Catholics to own a Bible even if they are unable to read it, said a Nigerian archbishop.

In his Oct. 9 address to the Synod of Bishops on the Bible, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said sometimes the church in Nigeria requires that people have a Bible before they can be baptized, confirmed or married.

Wealthier Catholics help provide Bibles for others since Catholic editions are very expensive, he said, noting that Catholic editions in the local language are virtually nonexistent.

The archbishop said parents are urged to bring to their child's baptism a Bible "which will be kept for the child until he or she can read it."

"We encourage the enthronement and sharing (of the) Bible at home and among family members" and encourage "ownership of the Bible even by those who cannot read," he said.

Archbishop Kaigama said "the word of God should provide the ingredients for genuine Christian living."

Unfortunately "when it comes to ethnic or political issues, people who share the same word of God and the Eucharist are ready to take up arms against each other."

He said such conflict is possible when Jesus and the Bible have no relevance or are secondary in people's lives. It is also possible when the word is "so superficial that they can easily fall back into syncretism, being comfortable as church members as well as patronizing soothsayers or secret societies."

More neighborhood-based, informal catechetical gatherings and daily personal readings of biblical passages are needed so that the word of God "can root the Christian in Gospel values" and help bring about economic, political and social transformation at home and in society, he said.

Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, Narni and Amelia, the president of Italy's Catholic Biblical Federation, said in his Oct. 10 address that the church should not be afraid to put the Bible "in the hands of everybody, not just the faithful."

While often there may be a Bible in Christian homes, "it is rare individual Christians each have their own personal Bible," he said, adding that how to help bring about such personal ownership must be one of the goals of the synod.

The Bible is God's letter of love to humanity, so "why delay, or worse yet, avoid delivering it" to all people, he asked.

Bishop Guillermo Loria Garita of San Isidro, Costa Rica, told the synod assembly Oct. 9 the church must "help people be protagonists in their discovery of the riches and the wisdom of the word of God, to accompany them in solid and systematic formation, and to give them all that they need in order to understand the text."


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