Synod Working Group Reports

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here are the available summaries of the working group reports given this morning at the 18th general congregation of the world Synod of Bishops, which is under way in the Vatican through Oct. 26. The theme of the assembly is on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."



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-- RELATION OF THE WORKING GROUP GALLICUS C: H.E. Most. Rev. Pierre-Marie CARRÉ, Archbishop of Albi (FRANCE)

Biblical renewal in the Catholic Church is still recent. We rediscover the Word of God and we need to go back to the long tradition of interpretation that goes back to the Fathers of the Church. Of course, the context is not the same. Dei Verbum, based on Biblical renewal, gave keys for interpretation that are not known well enough yet. We must work harder to make this great text better known. Simple propositions are necessary so that the Bible becomes the spiritual nourishment of all the members of the Church.

Here are our propositions:

1. A reading of the Scripture that starts in the family and continues in Biblical evenings in the parish. The celebration of Bible weeks in the dioceses will prolong this effort.

3. Teach a living listening of the Word of God.

Each believer needs to be able to transform the heart into a library of the Word. Thus the Bible can become a living source of catechesis (memorizing in the following of Mary, putting certain texts into music). To proclaim the Word to the poor is the first objective of the mission of the Church. The notion of poverty must be taught to perceive its different aspects.

5. Pedagogical means, online support (internet) to simplify the understanding of the more difficult Biblical passages.

6. We hope for a revision of the lectionary.7. We could recognize -- institute -- extraordinary ministers of the Word. These ministers -- catechists, readers, animators of base communities, men and women -- would be specially prepared for this mission and officially delegated by the bishop.

8. Intrinsic tie between Eucharist and Word

Dei Verbum stated that the Church takes the bread from the table of the Word and Eucharist to nourish her children. The Word, this is Christ Jesus; the Eucharist, this is Christ Jesus. It would be worthwhile to give more to the roles of the servants of the Word (readers, chanters, preachers, etc...) Christ Jesus gives Himself through the servants of the Word and those celebrating the Eucharist.

9. Spreading the Bible

Everything must be done to ensure the greatest number of languages for translations and for the spreading of the Bible. The world Biblical foundations should create a fund for financial support of Biblical projects, thanks to a sharing between dioceses.

10. How to heal the relationships between exegetes and theologians?

The true exegete must be the humble servant of the Word and be open to the Spirit of God. In the formation of priests, there should be several approaches to the Scripture: Lectio Divina, exegesis.

12. World Congress on the Word of God

The world Eucharistic congresses must give the proper space to the Word of God, the presence of Christ among us.

13. Dialogue with the Jews

A holy Jewish reading of the Scripture, attentive to the critical editions and the dating of the Jewish texts, could complete the search of the environment of life in the Biblical text, done with a historical-critical approach.

17. The Holy Land, the Fifth Gospel

A pilgrimage on the footsteps of Christ and His Apostles allows a renewal in Faith.

20. Woman, “passer” of the Word

We hope that women, and especially mothers, may receive a formation appropriate to this condition as the “passer” of the Word.

[Original text: French]

-- RELATION OF THE WORKING GROUP ANGLICUS A: H.E. Most. Rev. Mark Benedict COLERIDGE, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn (AUSTRALIA)

In the course of the discussion, certain overarching themes have emerged and from which Propositions will come. Here I list these themes as needs which have been identified:

1) There is a need for an inclusive and comprehensive pastoral plan which is based upon the Word of God and looks in all its elements to the Word of God.

2) There is a need to develop small communities -- even within larger communities -- in order to foster a sense of belonging, a programme of sharing the Word of God in Scripture, a formation in faith and an empowerment for mission.

3) There is a need to provide the poor with what is their most basic right and need -- the Word of God for which they have a special openness just as God has for them a special love. That is why it is vital that the Bible be translated into as many languages as possible.

4) There is a need to lead young people to know and love the Word of God so that they may assume their role as agents of mission, especially among their peers.

5) There is a need to stress the essential evangelising mission of the laity by virtue of their Baptism. In particular, there is a need to focus on the family as the domestic church.

6) There is a need to stress that the life of the Church is mission and to empower as many people as possible to undertake mission without excessive fear as to whether they are fully equipped or not.

7) There is a need for solid ongoing formation in the Word of God for all agents of mission, including the Bishops.

8) The need to focus upon the mission ad extra and ad gentes rather than simply upon the internal life of the Church implies in general the need for dialogue with cultures.

9) There is a need to examine and explain what is meant by “salvation”.

10) There is a need to stress the inseparability of contemplation and mission.

11) There is a need to focus upon the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

It was suggested at our first meeting was that it may be better if the small groups were to meet in continental rather than linguistic groupings, since then they would have more in common as the basis for discussion. Our discussion since then has shown that it can be difficult and frustrating at times to work through complex issues in such a large and diverse group united by language rather than geography. But it has shown as well that we are united not only by the accident of language but also and more deeply by the bond of faith.

[Original text: English]