Cardinal Ouellet Warns Against Bible Crisis

Decries Threats From Inside and Outside Church

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MADRID, Spain, FEB. 8, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The relativization of the Bible, which denies the value of Word of God, constitutes a genuine crisis that is both external and internal to the Church, says Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who served as relator of the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, stated this Monday in the opening address of a congress on "Sacred Scripture in the Church."

The congress, which closes Wednesday, has gathered 800 people in Madrid.

"In the last decades, a profound crisis is shaking the foundations of European culture," said the cardinal.

He continued: "A new raison d'etat imposes its law and tries to relegate the Christian roots of Europe to a secondary plane.

"It would seem that, in the name of secularism, the Bible must be relativized, to be dissolved in a religious pluralism and disappear as a normative cultural reference."

However, the prelate affirmed, "the crisis has also penetrated the interior of the Church, given that a certain rationalist exegesis has seized the Bible to dissect the different stages and forms of its human composition, eliminating the prodigies and miracles, multiplying the theories and, not infrequently, sowing confusion among the faithful."

Thus, he explained, disturbing questions arise: Is Sacred Scripture no more than a human word? Isn't it true that the results of the historical sciences invalidate the biblical testimony and, hence, the credibility of the Church? How can we continue to believe? And, finally, whom should we listen to?

Prayerful meditation

The 2008 Synod of Bishops was held "to confirm the Church's answer to these questions," clarified its relator.

Cardinal Ouellet recalled that "in the bishops' interventions was heard the urgency to reflect further on the way to address the biblical text."

He continued, "In addition to the historical-critical method, the merits and limitations of which were recognized, the synodal fathers strongly recommended lectio divina, prayerful meditation of the Word of God, and they called for the development of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, in the line of the great patristic tradition."

The cardinal noted that in "a parallel way to this reflection of the universal Church, the Spanish Episcopal Conference was perfecting an official version of the Bible, adapted to present-day culture, with all the guarantees of scientific rigor and ecclesial communion."

"I hope that Spain will benefit from this initiative and that it will be able to show Europe, today as in other periods, a renewed way for the proclamation of the Gospel," he said.

The prelate spoke about the post-synodal apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini," in which Benedict XVI brings together the conclusions of the synod and gives impetus to the new evangelization, "inviting pastors, faithful and experts on the Bible to find the Divine Word again in the human words of the sacred text."

Cardinal Ouellet stated, "In face of the secularization of the Christian West and of Christianity's identity crisis in pluralist environments, the Church responds with a new proclamation of the living Word of God in Jesus Christ, which invites us to a renewed act of faith in the Sacred Scriptures."