Pope: Biblical Group's Meeting Shows Love for Africa

Sees Assembly in Tanzania as Preparation for Continent

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the Catholic Biblical Federation plenary assembly beginning today in Tanzania transmits a message of love of the Bible and love of Africa.



The Pope affirmed this in a letter dated June 12 and sent to Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, president of the Catholic Biblical Federation. The federation has a plenary assembly every six years. This year's assembly is under way in Dar es Salaam, capital of Tanzania, through July 3. It is on "The Word of God: Source of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace."

"The fact that your meeting is being held in Dar-es-Salaam is an important gesture of solidarity with the Church in Africa, more so in view of next year's special Synod for Africa," the Holy Father said. "The message you bring to Dar es Salaam is clearly a message of love of the Bible and love of Africa.

"The theme of your general assembly draws attention to how God's word can restore humanity in reconciliation, justice and peace. This is the word of life that the Church has to offer to a broken world. […] May the African continent set the context for the 'lectio divina' which will assist you in these days and may your efforts help the Church in Africa to 'pursue its evangelizing mission, in order to bring the peoples of the continent to the Lord, teaching them to observe all that he has commanded.'"

The Pontiff added: "It is only Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, who through the Holy Spirit, can open our minds to understand the Scriptures. I warmly encourage you therefore not only to continue to make known the profound relevance of the Scriptures to the contemporary experience of Catholics and particularly to the younger generations, but also to lead them to interpret them from the central perspective of Christ and his paschal mystery."

"All Christians are called to imitate the openness of Mary who received the Word of God 'in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world,'" Benedict XVI continued. "May the peoples of Africa receive this word as the life-giving source of reconciliation and justice, and especially of the true peace that comes only from the risen Lord."