The prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, warned this week that many priests dedicated to teaching forget or abandon ordinary ministry, in which the Word of God should be at the center.
During his intervention at the Synod of Bishops, the cardinal pointed out that while “there are numerous institutes of study today, especially for the laity and consecrated persons, at the same time religious ignorance seems to be increasing.”
The recent research, he continued, “carried out by the Catholic Biblical Federation in ten European countries has demonstrated an ignorance of basic facts about the Bible such as, ‘Are the gospels part of the Bible?’ ‘Did Jesus write the Bible?’, ‘Who was a person from the Old Testament between the time of Moses and Paul’, and others.”
“We do a lot,” the cardinal said, “but perhaps we do not distribute our efforts reasonably in the different tasks and levels of teaching. The increase in institutes is often accompanied by less widespread teaching in ordinary ministry. The number of priests diminishes but the number of priests who feel called to be professors and leave behind ordinary pastoral care grows,” he said.
In order to be able to proclaim the Word of God, Cardinal Grocholewski, continued, it must be made available to the faithful and given its due importance, “because it determines our Christian life, our relationship with the Lord, our Christian joy.”
He also stressed that in order to adequately make known the Word of God, “it must be interpreted and taught, with prayer, attentiveness, faith and the docility of the Holy Spirit, in order to understand the true theological-spiritual meaning of the Word of God.”