Tag Archives: Synod of Bishops

The New Evangelization: Locating the keys

Carindal Stanisław Ryłko, 66, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, wrote a brief editorial on the contours of the new evangelization. In 2012, there will be another Synod of Bishops’ meeting with the new evangelization as it’s central topic. He’s helping to focus our attention on the exhortation of Jesus to spread the Kingdom of God. A mere two paragraphs follow, but you can read the entire editorial here.

 As is known, the idea is not new: the entire pontificate of Blessed John Paul II was characterized by the leit-motiv of the new evangelization. Pope John Paul II did not fail to explain to us what he intended when he placed the adjective “new” in front of the traditional term, “evangelization”: new in ardor, new in methods, new in expressions. For an appropriate and faithful understanding of the contents of the Lineamenta, one needs to have an adequate key for reading the text. The expression, “new evangelization,” in fact, has become so common – even abused – that we run the risk of distorting its sense, or worse, reducing it to an insignificant slogan. The heart of the question of the new evangelization, writes the Cardinal, is the centrality of God in our lives.

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Synod of Bishops 2012 on Evangelization

Earlier today in Rome, the overview –the guidelines– for the 2012 Synod Bishops working with the theme of evangelization was presented. This is the 13th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will guide pastoral initiatives and papal thinking and programs. The title for the Synod is “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” Archbishop Nicholas Eterovic, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops made the presentation of the 65 page document.

This Synod will meet at the Vatican 7-28 October 2012.
The guidelines, called officially the lineamenta, can be read here. The various bishops, religious superiors, Vatican offices and experts are to submit their responses to the lineamenta by November. This is step one. Then, the answers to questions will be collated into what is called the instrumentum laboris, the working document that the Synod and the Pope will work from.
This Synod will have a significant influence in the work of the new agency formed by the Pope this past year for evangelization, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization headed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

Apostolic Exhortation “Verbum Domini”

The Pope released his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, following the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word of God. It’s available in eight languages in at least 200 pages. 

Verbum Domini – English

Verbum Domini – Italiano

Verbum Domini – Español

The press conference:

Word of God.jpg

At midday today
in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the Post-Synodal
Apostolic Exhortation “Verbum Domini” of Benedict XVI, on the Word of
God in the life and mission of the Church.

Today’s press conference was
presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for
Bishops; Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for
Culture, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and Msgr. Fortunato Frizza,
respectively secretary general and under secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

Apostolic Exhortation, which is dated 30 September, Memorial of St. Jerome, is
the fruit of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,
which was held in Rome from 5 to 26 October 2008. The document, which has been
published in Latin, Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and
Polish, is made up of an introduction, three parts and a conclusion.

Eterovic explained how in part one, entitled “Verbum Dei”, the Pope
highlights both “the fundamental role of God the Father, source and origin
of the Word”, and “the Trinitarian dimension of revelation”.
Chapter one – “The God Who Speaks” – underscores “God’s will to
open and maintain a dialogue with man, in which God takes the initiative and
reveals Himself in various ways”. It also dwells on “the
Christological aspect of the Word, while at the same time underlining the
pneumatological dimension”. This section of the document also focuses on
the relationship between the Eucharist and Tradition, and on the theme of the
inspiration and truth of the Bible.

“Our Response to the God Who
Speaks” is the title of chapter two of part one. “Man is called to
enter into the Alliance with his God, Who listens to him and responds to his
questions. To God Who speaks, man responds with the faith. The most suitable
prayer is that made using the words which were revealed by God and are
conserved and written in the Bible”, said Archbishop Eterovic.

three has as its title “The Interpretation of Sacred Scripture in the
Church”. The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops explained how
“Sacred Scripture should be, as the Dogmatic Constitution ‘Dei Verbum’
says, ‘the soul of sacred theology’. … The biblical hermeneutics of Vatican
Council II must be rediscovered, also in order to avoid a certain dualism
evident in secularised interpretations which could give rise to a
fundamentalist and spiritualist interpretation of Holy Scripture. Correct
interpretation requires complementarity in a literal and spiritual sense, a
harmony between faith and reason”. This chapter also examines relations
between Christians and Jews, noting that they enjoy “a very special
relationship … because they share a large part of the Scriptures”.

two of the document is entitled “Verbum in Ecclesia”. Chapter one –
“The Word of God and the Church” – underlines how it is thanks to the
Word of God and the effect of the Sacraments “that Jesus remains
contemporary to mankind in the life of the Church”, said the archbishop.

Liturgy, Privileged Setting for the Word of God” is the title of chapter
two, in which the focus turns to “the vital link between Sacred Scripture
and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist”. The importance of the
Lectionary is mentioned, as is that of the proclamation of the Word and the
ministry of reader, with particular emphasis being laid on the preparation of
the homily, a theme of great importance in this Post-Synodal Apostolic

Chapter three of part two concerns “The Word of God in the
Life of the Church” and highlights “the importance of biblical inspiration
for pastoral activity, the biblical dimension of catechesis, the biblical
formation of Christians, the use of Sacred Scripture in great ecclesial
gahterings, and the Word of God in relation to vocations”. Attention is
also given to “lectio divina and Marian prayer”, said the

Part three of the document published today has as its title
“Verbum Mundo”. It draws attention to “the duty of Christians to
announce the Word of God in the world in which they live and work”.
Chapter one – “The Church’s Mission to Proclaim the Word of God to the
World” – explains how the Church “is oriented towards the
announcement ‘ad gentes’, to people who do not yet know the Word, … but also
to those who have already been baptised … but need new evangelisation in
order to rediscover the Word of God”.

“The Word of God and Commitment
to the World” is the title of chapter two, which recalls how
“Christians are called to serve the Word of God in their most needy
brothers and sisters and, hence, to commit themselves in society for
reconciliation, justice and peace among peoples”.

Chapter three of part
three is dedicated to “The Word of God and Culture”. It expresses the
hope “that the Bible may become better known in schools and universities
and that better use may be made of the social communications media, exploiting
all the modern possibilities of technology. The theme of the inculturation of
Sacred Scripture is also linked to the translation and diffusion of the Bible,
which must be increased”, said Archbishop Eterovic.

“The Word of God
and Inter-religious Dialogue” is the title of chapter four. “Having
established the value and topicality of inter-religious dialogue, ‘Verbum
Domini’ … supplies some important guidelines concerning dialogue between
Christians and Muslims, and with members of other non-Christian religions,
within the framework of a religious liberty which involves not only the freedom
to profess one’s faith in private and in public, but also freedom of
conscience; in other words, of choosing one’s religion”.

In the
conclusion, Archbishop Eterovic concluded his explanations, the Holy Father
reiterates his exhortation to all Christians “to become increasingly
familiar with Sacred Scripture”.

Synod of Bishops for the Middle East submit propositions to Pope for his consideration

eastern bishops.jpgThe bishops at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle
have given the Holy Father the following propositions for his
consideration and perhaps for him to act on when he issues a post-synodal
document. The Synod is now closed and the bishops are on their way home and now it’s time for the Pope and his consultors to do some heavy lifting. The publication of the propositions was approved by the Pope, though they remain unofficial. Some of the propositions are formal, pro-forma and many are so boring
that watching the grass grow is fun.

There’s a lot boiler
plate or what I take to be normal, e.g., financial transparency, providing
information in Arabic, being hospitable to immigrants, listening to youth, etc.
Also, what’ve given here you can get a sense of what the churches face in their
situation. What’s evident to a Westerner is that our context in North America is a bit
more advanced, dare I say, than the situation many Middle Eastern Christians face. We already have experience of good
education, dialogue, fruitful collaboration with other faiths, developed
canonical processes. The propositions do raise the point of concern for our sisters and brothers who are Christians in the Middle East.

What is missing is the
consideration for a common date for Easter and a better awareness of the role
of the sacred Liturgy in the life of the churches.

The list of the 44 propositions given to the Pope are listed here.
You can follow the entire Synod here.

Synod of Bishops for the Middle East

The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East begins today. The importance of this particular Synod is given by NCR correspondent John Allen.
The Synod’s meeting is the result of requests of bishops and the pastoral visits of the pope to that part of the Church. The Christian minority in the Middle East needs our help.
The Synod is using Arabic for the first time as an official language and a rabbi and 2 Muslims are observers to the Synod.
The North American contingent to the Synod is quite substantial. See the list…

The Synod meets from October 10-24.

We beg the Holy Spirit to guide the work of the Pope, the bishops and other attendees.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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