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Proposition 38 - Missionary task of all the baptized

The mission to proclaim the Word of God is a task of all the disciples of Jesus Christ as a consequence of their baptism. This awareness must be deepened in every parish, community and Catholic organization. Initiatives must be proposed that make the Word of God reach all, especially baptized brothers who are not sufficiently evangelized. Given that the Word of God was made flesh to communicate with men, a privileged way to know it is through an encounter with witnesses that make it present and alive. By the force of their own charism experience, a special collaboration is contributed in the mission by missionary institutes. Moreover, the reality of the new ecclesial movements is an extraordinary richness of the evangelizing force of the Church at this time, so much so as to stimulate the Church to develop new forms of proclaiming the Gospel.

The laity is called to rediscover its responsibility to execute its prophetic task, which stems for them directly from their baptism, and witness to the Gospel in daily life: at home, at work and wherever they are. This witness often leads to persecution of the faithful because of the Gospel. The synod appeals to leaders in public life to guarantee religious liberty. Moreover, it is necessary to open itineraries of Christian initiation in those who, through listening to the Word, the celebration of the Eucharist and brotherly love lived in community, might practice an ever more adult faith. To be considered is the new question stemming from mobility and the migratory phenomenon, which opens new prospects of evangelization, because immigrants not only need to be evangelized but they themselves can be agents of evangelization.

Proposition 39 - Word of God and commitment in the world

The Word of God, contained in the sacred Scriptures and in the living Tradition of the Church, helps the mind and heart of men to understand and love all the human realities and creation. In fact, it helps to recognize the signs of God in all man's fatigues directed to making the world more just and habitable; it helps in identifying the "signs of the times" present in history; stimulates believers to commit themselves in favor of those who suffer and are victims of injustices. The struggle for justice and transformation is an integral part of evangelization (cf. "Evangelii Nuntiandi," 19).

The synodal fathers direct a special thought to those who, as believers, are committed to political and social life. They desire that the Word of God sustain their forms of testimony as well as inspire their action in the world, in search of the true good of all, and in respect of the dignity of every person. Hence, it is necessary that they be prepared through an adequate education according to the principles of the social doctrine of the Church.

Proposition 40 - Word of God and liturgical art

The great tradition of East and West has always esteemed all the artistic expressions, specifically sacred images, inspired in sacred Scripture.

We appreciate all artists enamored of beauty: poets, men of letters, painters, sculptors, musicians, people of the theater and cinema. They have contributed to the decoration of our churches, to the celebration of our faith, to the enrichment of our liturgy and, at the same time, many of them have helped to make the invisible world perceptible and to translate the divine message in the language of forms and figures. For all this, the synod manifests its profound gratitude.

In every cultural area a new epoch must be aroused in which art can re-encounter biblical inspiration and be an instrument capable of proclaiming, singing, and enabling contemplation of the manifestation of the Word of God.

In the construction of churches, bishops, duly helped, must endeavor to make these places adequate for the proclamation of the Word, for meditation and for the Eucharistic celebration. Sacred spaces, also outside liturgical action, must be eloquent, presenting the Christian mystery related with the Word of God.
Proposition 41 - Word of God and culture

The Word of God is addressed to all mankind. It must be acknowledged that, in the course of the centuries, it has inspired different cultures, generated fundamental moral values, excellent artistic expressions and exemplary lifestyles. In the Word of God are found different applications that can help both science in its discovery of ever new conquests as well as enhance the dialogue with all those who share our own faith. Hence, the synodal fathers encourage a dialogue between the Bible and culture, above all given the questions about meaning present in our time, so that the definitive answer to the search will be found.

It would be good to organize biblical reading groups, including in secularized environments or among nonbelievers, as a way to open the world to God through the Word of the Bible.

Proposition 42 - Bible and translation
The synod recommends that, in compatible cultures and in similar linguistic regions, the same translation of the Bible be approved and used, both in the liturgical use as well as in private.

Many Churches spread around the world are still deprived of Bibles translated into their local languages. Important above all, therefore, is the formation of specialists dedicated to the various translations of the Bible.

Proposition 43 - Bible and dissemination

The synod wishes to remind how necessary it is that all the faithful be able to have easy access to the reading of sacred texts. Together with this, it requests a general mobilization so that sacred texts are disseminated as much as possible and with all the instruments available that modern technologies offer, above all for people with different abilities, who have our preferred attention.

Such an endeavor calls for an exceptional form of collaboration between the Churches so that those that dispose of more means share more to respond to the needs of the Churches that are in greater difficulty. The synodal fathers recommend support of the commitment of the Catholic Biblical Federation for ample access to sacred Scripture (cf. "Dei Verbum," 22) so that there is an ultimate increase in the number of translations of sacred Scripture and its capillary dissemination. This should be done in collaboration with the various Biblical societies.

Proposition 44 - Means of social communications

The synod underlines the importance of the means and languages of communication for evangelization.

The proclamation of the Good News finds new amplitude in present-day communication, characterized by the interaction of the means.

The Church is called not only to disseminate the Word of God through the means but also and above all to integrate the message of salvation in the new culture that communication creates and amplifies.

The new communicative context allows us to multiply the ways of proclamation and in-depth study of sacred Scripture. The latter, with its wealth, calls for reaching all communities, including the most remote through these new instruments.

It recommends thorough knowledge of the means of communication, a sympathetic attitude to its rapid changes, and more investment in communication through the different instruments that are offered, such as television, radio, newspapers, Internet. They are, in any case, ways that can facilitate the exercise of obedient listening to the Word of God. It is necessary to prepare competent Catholics of conviction in the field of social communication.

Proposition 45 - Word of God and world congress
In these times, meetings of worldwide character are multiplied. Hence, it is not considered opportune to institute a specific congress on the Word of God. Episcopal conferences are invited to support and promote events to disseminate the Bible.
Proposition 46 - Faithful reading of Scripture: historical authenticity and fundamentalism

Faithful reading of sacred Scripture, practiced since antiquity in the Tradition of the Church, seeks the truth that saves for the life of each faithful and for the Church. This reading acknowledges the historic value of the biblical tradition. It is precisely because of this value of historic testimony that it desires to rediscover the profound meaning of sacred Scripture destined also for the life of today's believer.

Such a reading of Scripture differs from "fundamentalist interpretations," which ignore the human mediation of the inspired text and its literary genres. To use "lectio divina" fruitfully, the believer must be educated "not to confuse unknowingly the human limits of the biblical message with the divine essence of the message itself" (cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, I F).

Proposition 47 - The Bible and the phenomenon of sects

We are profoundly concerned over the increase and mutation of the phenomenon of sects. In fact, the sects of various origins seem to offer an experience of God's closeness to a person's life and promise an illusory happiness through the Bible, often interpreted in a fundamentalist way.

We propose:

-- Through a vital correct hermeneutic of the biblical pages, to intensify pastoral activity to provide the food of the Word to the faithful seeking it;

-- To learn from the rich experience of the first centuries of the Church, which, however, knew similar phenomena (cf. 1 John 2:19; 4:2-3);

-- To know better the peculiar characteristics, the causes and promoters of the sects exactly as they present themselves today;

-- To help the faithful to distinguish well the Word of God from private revelations;

-- To stimulate groups that share and meditate in order to counteract the attraction of the sects and fundamentalism.

It is necessary that priests are adequately prepared to address this new situation, making them capable of proposing a biblical animation of pastoral care, adapted to the problems that people face today.

We ask the Holy See to study, in collaboration with the episcopal conferences and the competent structures of the Catholic Eastern Churches, the phenomenon of the sects in its global scope and also in its local repercussions.

Proposition 48 - Bible and inculturation

Revelation was constituted by taking from the different human cultures the authentic values capable of expressing the truth that God communicated to men for our salvation (cf. "Dei Verbum," 11). The Word of God, in as much as revelation, introduced in cultures the knowledge of truth that would otherwise have been unknown and created cultural progress and development. The Lord's command to the Church to proclaim the Word of God implies taking the Word of God to all peoples on earth and their cultures. This implies the same process of inculturation of the Word of God as occurs in Revelation.

Hence, the Word of God must penetrate every environment so that culture produces original expressions of life, liturgy and Christian thought (cf. "Catechesi Tradendae," 53). This takes place when the Word of God, proposed to a culture, "fertilize as from within the spiritual qualities and traditions of each people, confirms them, perfects them and recapitulates them in Christ" ("Gaudium et Spes," 58), thus eliciting new expressions of Christian life.

For a genuine inculturation of the evangelical message, the formation of missionaries with adequate means must be ensured, to know in-depth the vital ambience and the socio-cultural conditions, so that they can be inserted in the environment, the language and the local cultures. It corresponds to the local Church in the first place to achieve a genuine inculturation of the evangelical message, paying attention of course to the risk of syncretism. The quality of inculturation depends on the degree of maturity of the evangelizing community.

Proposition 49 - Mission "ad gentes"

The Word of God is a good for all men, which the Church must not keep to herself but share with joy and generosity with all peoples and cultures, so that they also can find in Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. John 14:6).

Looking at the example of St. Paul, of the Apostles and of so many missionaries that, in the course of history, took the Gospel to peoples, this Synod reaffirms the urgency of the mission "ad gentes" also in our time -- a proclamation that must be explicit, made not only within our churches but everywhere and must be accompanied by a coherent testimony of life, which makes the content evident and reinforces it.

Bishops, priests, deacons, persons of consecrated life and laymen must also be close to persons who do not participate in the liturgy and do not frequent our communities. The Church must go out to all with the strength of the Spirit (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:5) and continue to defend prophetically the right and liberty of persons to listen to the Word of God, seeking the most effective means to proclaim it, not excluding the risk of persecution.

Proposition 50 - Bible and interreligious dialogue
The dialogue with non-Christian religions is a significant moment in the life of the Church and in the dialogue with men. Monotheisms, the traditional religions of Africa and Australia, the ancient spiritual traditions of Asia have values of respect and collaboration that can greatly foster understanding between persons and societies. The guidelines of this dialogue are in the declaration "Nostra Aetate" of Vatican II. The synod also reminds of the need to effectively ensure for all believers the freedom to profess their own faith in private and public, as well as freedom of conscience.
Proposition 51 - Holy Land
Paul VI called the Holy Land the "Fifth Gospel." The synod recommends pilgrimages and, if possible, the study of the sacred Scriptures in the Holy Land, and following in the steps of St. Paul. Through this experience, pilgrims and students will be able to understand better the physical and geographical environment of the Scriptures and especially the relation between the two Testaments. The stones on which Jesus walked could become for them stones of living memory. In the meantime, Christians in the Holy Land need the communion of all Christians, especially in these days of conflict, poverty and fear.
Proposition 52 - Dialogue between Christians and Jews

The dialogue between Christians and Jews belongs to the nature of the Church. Faithful to his promises, God does not revoke the Old Covenant (cf. Romans 9 and 11). Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew and the Holy Land is the motherland of the Church. Christians and Jews share the Scriptures of the Jewish people, which Christians call the Old Testament. As Abraham's descendants, Jews and Christians can be a source of blessing for humanity (cf. Genesis 17:4-5).

Jewish understanding of the Bible can help Christians in the understanding and study of the Scriptures.

Christian biblical interpretation is based on the unity of the two Testaments in Jesus, Word made flesh. He realizes in his person the full meaning of the Scriptures with continuity and discontinuity as regards the inspired books of the Jewish people.

It is suggested that episcopal conferences promote meetings and dialogues between Jews and Christians.

Proposition 53 - Dialogue between Christians and Muslims

"The Church also looks with esteem at Muslims that adore the one God" (NA, 3). They refer to Abraham and render worship to God above all with prayer, alms and fasting. Dialogue with them allows for better knowledge of one another and collaboration in promoting ethical and spiritual values.

In this dialogue, the synod stresses the importance of respect for life, human rights and women's rights, as well as the distinction between the socio-political order and the religious order in the promotion of justice and peace in the world. Another important topic in this dialogue is reciprocity and freedom of conscience and religion.

It is suggested to the episcopal conferences of countries where it is beneficial to promote circles of dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

Proposition 54 - Cosmic dimensions of the Word of God and custody of creation

The Word of God communicates to us the beauty of God through the beauty of creation and also through sacred images, such as icons of the incarnate Word. They are modalities with which the invisible mystery of God is in some way made visible and perceptible to our senses. The Fathers of the Church, moreover, always affirmed the cosmic dimensions of the Word of God made flesh; each creature bears in a certain sense a sign of the Word of God. In Jesus Christ, dead and risen, all created things find definitive recapitulation (cf. Ephesians 1:10). All things and persons, therefore, are called to be good and beautiful in Christ.

Sadly, the man of our time has lost the habit of contemplating the Word of God in the world he inhabits that has been given by God. Hence, the rediscovery of the Word of God, in all its dimensions, impels us to denounce all the actions of contemporary man that do not respect nature as creation.

To receive the Word of God attested in sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church generates a new way of seeing things, promoting a genuine ecology, which has its deepest root in the obedience of the faith that receives the Word of God. Hence, we hope that, in the pastoral action of the Church, commitment in favor of the safeguarding of creation will be intensified, developing a renewed theological sensibility to the goodness of all things created in Christ, Word of God incarnate.


Van de 12e Gewone Bisschoppensynode over het Woord van God in het leven en de zending van de Kerk (Engelstalige versie)
Soort: Bisschoppensynodes
Auteur: Synodevaders
Datum: 25 oktober 2008
Copyrights: © 2008, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Bron: Zenit.org (vertaling vanuit de onofficiƫle Italiaanse versie)
Bewerkt: 7 november 2019


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