.- The Seventeenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held on Thursday in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI and 236 Synod Fathers. Attendees at the congregation heard a summary report of the Synodâs discussions and received further suggestions concerning guidelines for language groups and the preparation of the pastoral proposals to put before the Holy Father.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec and relator general of the Synod, read in Latin the âRelatio post disceptationem,â the report after the discussion, the Vatican Information Service reports.
The discussion centered on the Synodâs theme âThe Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.â
Cardinal Ouelletâs summary was presented in three parts.
The first part, titled âGod speaks and hears,â is split into subsections examining Revelation, creation, and the history of salvation; Christ, the Spirit and the Church; and the Word of God, liturgy, and listening.
The summary's first part also addresses âRevelation and Intra-Trinitarian Dialogue,â discussing the âdialogicâ characteristics of the Word whose foundations are found in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Christ is the âfullness and achievement of the Trinitarian revelationâ and the âsole mediator and dialogue.â
The Word of God and the history of salvation are also discussed by the report, which depicts revelation as a dialogue through which God addresses His creatures and leads them to the fullness of salvation. This is part of the âsacramental dimensionâ inherent in the Word of God, a dimension which reinforces the relationship between the Word of God and the Eucharistic liturgy.
The second part of the summary, titled âThe Word of God, Holy Scripture, Tradition,â discusses the presentation of the Word of God as an âeventâ in history. Many Synod Fathers emphasized that the Word of God cannot be simply identified with the Sacred Scripture, noting the Second Vatican Councilâs teaching in Dei Verbum that the Word of God is transmitted inseparably in the inspired written Word and in the living Tradition of the Church.
The report addresses the connection between Sacred Scripture and the life of the faithful, as well as the connection between the Word of God and present cultural challenges.
A subsection titled âUnity, primacy, circularityâ discusses the relationship between Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium as well as the Holy Spiritâs work through each.
The subsection âEucharist, homily, communityâ examines the relationship between Scripture and the Eucharist, with the Synod Fathersâ discussion focusing upon how to foster among the faithful a âmore unitary perceptionâ of their relationship. The sacramental and eschatological dimensions of the Word and its celebration were addressed, as were the importance of the homily and art as a form of preaching.
The summaryâs second part also discussed exegesis as related to theology and âlectio divina.â
The third section of the summary centered on the theme âThe Word of God, mission, dialogue.â It discussed inculturation as well as inter-religious dialogue.
Synod Fathers were especially concerned about making the Bible available in all languages, including unwritten ones. The possible use of modern communication to make the Scriptures more available was also discussed.
Cardinal Ouellet concluded his summary by noting that all the Synod Fathers feel the urgency of proclaiming the Gospel, inspired by the imperative to love Christ and the Scriptures, to favor Christian unity, and to contribute to justice and peace in the world.