Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 8, 2008
Synod delegates fired with love of the Bible
Western world badly needs Word of God, says Ouellet
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Bouchard said the Oct. 6-25 synod made the bishops realize they were not only responsible for their own local dioceses, but, as a member of college of bishops, “you’re a bishop also responsible for the world.”
Bouchard said the presentations “makes us appreciate all the more how rich we are, how spoiled we are.”
Hearing the interventions from hundreds of bishops from around the world, especially in places where Christians are persecuted, helped put western secularism and indifference in perspective.
Fabbro recalled the intervention of the Latvian bishop who spoke of how the communist regime had arrested a priest for owning a Bible. The authorities threw the Bible on the ground and ordered the priest to step on it. Instead, the priest knelt down and kissed it. For that act, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in Siberia.
The bishops noted the hundreds of thousands of martyrs in countries like Vietnam, the present persecution in India and the fact the bishops from China were not allowed to attend.
“We should not think in the strict narrow sense of our own parochial experience.”
The bishops were struck by the diversity and universality of the Synod.
“We should not think in the strict narrow sense of our own parochial experience,” Huculak said.
He told of an Indonesian bishop who spoke about indigenous groups who lack access to the Bible because they do not even have an alphabet. It reminded him of how the ninth-century Sts. Cyril and Methodius created the Cyrillic alphabet in order to evangelize the Slavic peoples.
Ouellet recalled the intervention of a bishop from Kazakhstan who was ordained bishop in St. Peter’s Basilica at the same time he was. For decades this bishop had no books, and no Bibles, Ouellet said. “But they had the rosary.”
Through the praying of the rosary the faith was kept and taught, often through families praying secretly, he said.
Huculak noted that it is only since the Second Vatican Council that Catholics have been encouraged to read the Bible. Prior to that, there were fears they might not know what to do with what they read or might make mistakes.
A nun recalled at the synod how when she entered religious life 50 years ago she was not given a Bible.
Today there are increased literacy rates and access to inexpensive copies of Scripture. But many Catholics do not read the Bible that much, although they do have access to it through Sunday liturgy, Huculak said.
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