Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 13, 2008
Synod aims to help people listen to God in Bible, says Ouellet
By CINDY WOODEN
“The goal of the synod is primarily a pastoral and missionary one.”
Areas of scholarly concern, he said, will be raised by the synod: tensions between theologians and biblicists and between the Church authorities and some schools of Scripture scholarship that treat the text almost exclusively as a piece of historical literature rather than as still-valid communication from God.
However, he said, “The goal of the synod is primarily a pastoral and missionary one.”
Synod members will be called upon to find ways to help the Church and its members “respond to the gift of the Word made flesh through the love of the holy Scriptures and the proclamation of the kingdom of God to all humanity.”
After reading his report to the synod, Ouellet told reporters at a press conference that the synod was not designed to resolve doctrinal disputes. It will rather strive to come up with concrete suggestions for helping Catholics learn to read the Bible, to pray with it and to share its message with the world.
The cardinal urged the synod members to look for ways to improve catechesis about the Bible, increase people’s awareness that Jesus is present at Mass in both the Scriptures and the bread broken and shared, and, especially, to improve homilies.
Despite the fact that the Second Vatican Council emphasized the need to improve homilies and insisted that they be based on the day’s Scripture readings, “we still feel great lack of satisfaction on the part of many faithful with regard to the ministry of preaching.”
Ouellet said homilies must “avoid the tendency toward moralism” but challenge Catholics to commit themselves to a deeper relationship with Christ, acting on what God is calling them to through the Scriptures.
At an Oct. 6 press conference, Ouellet said the theme of the spiritual sense of Scripture deserves to get a lot of attention during the synod.
The faithful should have a more contemplative rather than solely intellectual relationship with the word of God, he said.
The Bible is not just “a book of ideas,” he said. “When one opens the book, one opens one’s heart and it is God who speaks” and engages in a dialogue with the person who reads and contemplates what is written.
Ouellet said God gave his Son to humanity so his children could speak to him; Scripture “is text that lets us communicate with God, a text for praying.”
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