.- More than 400 people from 98 countries, among them 98 bishops, will meet in Rome this month for an international biblical conference on the theme, Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church. Organizers are also expecting participants from other churches and religions to attend. The conference, from Sept.14 to 18 at the Aurelia Convention Center, is organized to mark the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar document Dei Verbum (Word of God), which was approved shortly before the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council in 1965.
Dei Verbum “brought a growing awareness of the importance of Sacred Scripture,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. It also promoted biblical study and research,” he said.
Organizers say the conference is not a look-back at the last 40 years, but an occasion to discuss fundamental problems and challenges that must be faced in the 21st century with an inspired biblical outlook, which takes into consideration the ecclesial context, ecumenical dialogue, dialogue with various cultures and religions, with society and with the world.
The conference will offer 18 presentations and discussion groups. Major subjects include: exegesis, catechism and liturgy, ecumenical dialogue, its relation with Judaism, interreligious dialogue, the challenges presented by new religious movements and the growing problem of fundamentalism, the question of religious values in a secular context, and the themes of justice and peace in the globalized world.
Some of the main speakers include Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria.
One of the most important innovations of the Second Vatican Council was to reaffirm the central role of the Bible for the Church and for the world.
Cardinal Kasper’s office and the Catholic Bible Federation organized and sponsored the conference. Pope Paul VI founded the Catholic Bible Federation after the Second Vatican Council. It is composed of 300 institutes in 127 countries. Its goal is to promote and co-ordinate biblical study and ministry based on the Bible at the international level.
Participants will have a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.