.- 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 Synod’s 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 “Relatio post disceptationem,” the report after the discussion, the Vatican Information Service reports.
The discussion centered on the Synod’s theme “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.”
Cardinal Ouellet’s summary was presented in three parts.
The first part, titled “God speaks and hears,” 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 “Revelation and Intra-Trinitarian Dialogue,” discussing the “dialogic” characteristics of the Word whose foundations are found in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Christ is the “fullness and achievement of the Trinitarian revelation” and the “sole mediator and dialogue.”
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 “sacramental dimension” 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 “The Word of God, Holy Scripture, Tradition,” discusses the presentation of the Word of God as an “event” in history. Many Synod Fathers emphasized that the Word of God cannot be simply identified with the Sacred Scripture, noting the Second Vatican Council’s 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 “Unity, primacy, circularity” discusses the relationship between Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium as well as the Holy Spirit’s work through each.
The subsection “Eucharist, homily, community” examines the relationship between Scripture and the Eucharist, with the Synod Fathers’ discussion focusing upon how to foster among the faithful a “more unitary perception” 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 summary’s second part also discussed exegesis as related to theology and “lectio divina.”
The third section of the summary centered on the theme “The Word of God, mission, dialogue.” 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.