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SYNOD-SUMMARY Oct-15-2008 (580 words) xxxi

Synod official summarizes talks, offers questions for small groups

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The word of God must be heard, understood, loved and shared, and that will require new efforts on the part of theologians and biblical scholars, bishops, priests, deacons, artists and all the Catholic faithful, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.

After members of the world Synod of Bishops on the Bible gave more than 200 speeches Oct. 6-15, Cardinal Ouellet -- the synod's recording secretary -- read a 20-page Latin summary of the presentations and offered synod members 19 questions as a starting point for their small-group discussions.

The small groups were to begin meeting Oct. 16 to draft proposals to present to Pope Benedict XVI as the basis of the document he is expected to write after the synod.

The questions included:

-- How can the church educate people to listen to the word of God?

-- How can the church promote "lectio divina," the prayerful reading of the Bible?

-- Would it be helpful to have a compendium or other practical manual to help priests and deacons write and present their homilies?

-- Is there a need to revise the lectionary of Mass readings?

-- What can the church do to better emphasize the connection between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass?

-- What should the church do to improve the translation and distribution of Bibles, especially for the poor?

-- What can be done to help people understand that reading and interpreting the Bible must take into account the literal meaning of the text, the spiritual meaning of the text and the traditional teaching of the church?

-- Would it be a good idea for the church to sponsor a world congress on the word of God?

-- What steps can be taken to ensure that the Scriptures become a more important part of the search for Christian unity and the church's dialogue with the Jewish people?

-- What should the church and its members do to ensure that a biblical spirit animates all its pastoral efforts?

-- How can the church reconcile the practice of interreligious dialogue with the dogmatic affirmation that Christ is the one savior of humanity?

-- How can art, poetry, the Internet and other media be used to cultivate greater knowledge of the word of God?

In his summary, Cardinal Ouellet said it was right that many synod members emphasized the importance of interpreting the Scriptures in communion with the church and its tradition. But he also said the word of God is a living word and the church always must be attentive to new emphases and responses to new challenges that the Holy Spirit may inspire.

Several synod members spoke of the danger of biblical scholars who read the text primarily as literature and theologians who read it primarily as support for church teaching.

Cardinal Ouellet said the discussion highlighted the need for reading the text "from within the vision of faith. It is not only to go beyond the letter (of the text), but to see it as a sign that the revealed Word wants to be heard."

"It appears clear to the synod fathers that the determining factor in the interpretation of the biblical text is the experience of encountering Christ present in the tradition of the church," he said. "This encounter transmits the strength of love that comes from faith."


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