Pontiff Says Word of God Is Church's Priority

Affirms Scripture Is Key for Evangelization

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the priority for the Church today is above all to nourish itself with the Word of God, so as to bring forward the new evangelization.

The Pope said this today when he closed the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God.

He concelebrated the closing Mass with the synod fathers, expressing his desire that the conclusions of the synod "would be taken to every community," so that "the need is understood to translate the word that has been heard into gestures of love, since only in this way is the proclamation of the Gospel made believable, despite human weaknesses."

The Holy Father insisted various times on the importance of the link between hearing the Word and evangelization, as a fundamental point of the testimony of Christians around the world, especially with nonbelievers.

"Many people are seeking, perhaps without realizing it, to encounter Christ and his Gospel; many need to find in him the meaning of their lives," the Pontiff said. "To give a clear and shared testimony of a life according to the Word of God, demonstrated by Jesus, is therefore an indispensable criteria for verifying the mission of the Church.

"It is necessary for the faithful to have wide access to sacred Scripture so that people, finding the truth, can grow in authentic love. This is an indispensable requisite today for evangelization."

The Bishop of Rome also referred to the Gospel of the day on Christ's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. He affirmed that "the fullness of the Law, just as of divine Scriptures, is love."

"One who thinks they've understood Scripture, or at least a part of them, without making the effort to build, through his intelligence, the double love for God and for neighbor, shows that in reality he is still far from having understood its profound sense," he affirmed.

China

Benedict XVI also mentioned some of the issues considered during the synod, such as that of the need for the magisterium to correctly interpret Scripture, the liturgy as the fundamental place to hear the Word, and the need for the biblical formation of priests.

"Given that sometimes an encounter with Scripture runs the risk of not being an ecclesial 'event,' but is rather exposed to subjectivism and arbitrariness, a robust and believable pastoral promotion of the knowledge of sacred Scripture is indispensable, to announce, celebrate and live the Word in the Christian community," the Pope affirmed.

"The privileged place where the Word of God resounds, which edifies the Church, as was said many times in the synod, is undoubtedly the liturgy," he added.

But on the other hand, the Holy Father insisted on the importance of "current efforts to bring about a biblical movement among the laity," as well as the "effort to teach the faith using the Word of God also to those who are 'far away' and especially to those who are sincerely seeking the meaning of their lives."

Finally, the Pontiff thanked all those who had participated in the synod. He gave special mention to the bishops of China, "who have not been able to be represented in the synodal assembly."

"I want to here give voice to, and give thanks to God for, their love for Christ, their communion with the universal Church and their fidelity to the Successor of the Apostle Peter," he said. "They are present in our prayer, together with the faithful entrusted to their pastoral care."