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Monday, October 13, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 10 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Ninth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

ARCHBISHOP CORNELIUS FONTEM ESUA OF BAMENDA, CAMEROON. "It is necessary and urgent to put Sacred Scripture into the hands of the faithful so that it can become a living thing for them in their professions, in their families and in their various life situations, as well as the source and inspiration for the life and activities of small Christian communities. There is also the urgency to inculturate the Christian faith and to dialogue with African Traditional Religion. ... We therefore suggest: ... that priests, religious and the laity be given appropriate formation to become agents of the biblical apostolate; ... that there be general biblical formation of all the faithful, and particularly the youth; ... that the Bible be enthroned in every Christian home for reading, prayer, study and veneration; ... that the Bible be translated into the local languages as the first step of inculturation and in order to make the Word of God more accessible to the faithful in their own language; ... that a biblical institute be established in Africa in order to promote biblical research in the context of the Church in Africa".

BISHOP ANTONIO MENEGAZZO M.C.C.J., APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR OF EL OBEID, SUDAN. "In Sudan the majority of catechumens do not know how to read or write: as a result of this to prepare them properly for Baptism, catechists must explain the Word to them with posters, drawings and their own words. ... We have another great challenge for Justice and Peace, and forgiveness and reconciliation, after 21 years of civil war between the North and South of the country, after so much hatred, injustice and suffering. ... And let us not forget the war in Darfur, which continues with no sign of improvement in the situation. We are convinced that the solution for a peaceful future can only be found in faith in God and in His Word. ... But what can we do when the distances are enormous and the lack of security because of wars and banditry makes contact between priests and the faithful very difficult and dangerous? The lack of priests is another negative factor. Many Christians can receive the Word of God and the Eucharist only rarely, perhaps a few times a year. What is required is more missionary spirit throughout the clergy and more generosity from the countries rich in clergy to help those who find themselves in serious need".

ARCHBISHOP RAMZI GARMOU OF TEHRAN OF THE CHALDEANS, AND PATRIARCHAL ADMINISTRATOR OF AHWAZ OF THE CHALDEANS , IRAN. "The whole Bible, from the Book of Genesis to Revelation, tells us that faithfulness to the Word of God leads to persecution. The first persecuted person, par excellence, is Jesus Himself, who suffered persecution from the first days of His birth to His death on the Cross. According to the Gospel, persecution is considered as the most eloquent sign of faithfulness to the Word of God. The growth of the Church and her own path in evangelising people is the fruit of the persecution she was subjected to in all places and in all times. Jesus, in the Gospel, speaks very clearly about persecution. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit so that He may give the Church of the third millennium, in this Pauline Year, the grace and joy to make a true experience of persecution for her faithfulness to the Word of God".

BISHOP DIONISIO LACHOVICZ O.S.B.M., BISHOP OF THE CURIA OF KYIV-HALYC OF THE UKRAINIANS, UKRAINE. "My first observation concerns the unity between the Word and Baptism, and between both of these and the Eucharist. The 'Instrumentum laboris' states that 'Christians have two realities in common: the Word of God and Baptism'. ... Paragraph 35 states that an intimate unity between the Word and the Eucharist also exists. ... Seen in this light, it becomes difficult to understand, from the point of view of ecumenism, why the Eucharist cannot be celebrated with the Orthodox (for example), while we can celebrate the Sacrament of the Word of God with them and we also have Baptism in common. ... We have a feeling that everything that is said about ecumenism is being said for others, for a 'third party', absent at the time it was said. As if this Word could perform a miracle but we remain the same. ... It seems to me also that we are running the risk of exploiting the Word of God. ... One could learn the whole Bible by heart, discuss it competently, but remain outside of it, without nourishing oneself with it, without being incorporated in Christ, without being baptised in Christ".

  Following the speeches by the Synod Fathers, Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy, delivered a talk on the reception of Benedict XVI's last Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, "Sacramentum caritatis", published following the 2005 Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church".
SE/NINTH CONGREGATION/...                    VIS 20081013 (880)

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