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The Word of God in the mission of the Church



Document of the XII General Assembly of the Synod

23/11/2010: General House

The Apostolic Exhortation of Benedict XVI Verbum Domini”, published on 11 November 2010 in the Vatican, is the result of the XII General Assembly of the Synod on “The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church , held in October 2008. Verbum Domini sets out the personal and ecclesial contemplation of the Word of God in the Scriptures, the Liturgy, and the personal and community life of believers. The process began officially on 6 October 2006, when the topic chosen by the Pope was published. The Ordinary Council of the Synod’s General Secretariat drafted a working document which was completed in March 2007. This was sent to the bishops who worked on it in their dioceses and returned their contributions to the Secretariat. From these contributions, the “Intrumentum laboris” was developed which contained the basic lines for debate. The meeting of the Synod of Bishops began officially on 5 de October in the basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls to emphasize the celebration of the Pauline Year. The meeting concluded on 24 October with the approval of a “Message to the People of God”. The Synod Fathers delivered to the Pope 55 proposals as a basis for drafting the document just published.The Exhortation is dated 30 September to coincide with the liturgical commemoration of St Jerome, to whom tradition attributes the Vulgate, the Latin Biblical reference text. It contains almost 200 pages and is divided into three parts. The first, entitled “Verbum Dei”, provides a theological survey of the most important concepts connected with the Word of God. The second, “Verbum in Ecclesia”, is devoted to emphasizing the importance of the Word in the Church, and especially in the liturgy and life of faith. The third part, “Verbum Mundo”, reflects on the Church’s mission in the world. Among the objectives of this pontifical document, the following may be emphasized: to communicate the result of the synod assembly, to rediscover the Word of God, continuing source of Church renewal, to promote Biblical animation of the pastoral ministry, to be witnesses of the Word and undertake a new evangelization.The Exhortation takes up again the message of “Dei Verbum” of Vatican Council II, after the passage of 45 years, to develop a new pastoral perspective of the Church’s activity. Pope Benedict XVI dedicates nearly forty pages to emphasize the necessity of presenting a hermeneutics in a clear and constructive way, placing Biblical science, exegesis and theology at the service of the faith of the Church. The practical proposals issuing from the exhortation remind us that the Word of God is the heart of the believer’s life. The Church grows thanks to the Word. The new technologies for disseminating the Word of God are given a very positive evaluation. Thanks to modern means of communication, the name of Christ is able to sail the seas of history.This document should be a reference point for organizing the apostolic activity and practice of pastoral ministers, catechists, religión teachers, animators of faith groups, etc. It can also provide a great service to religious communities, fraternities and Christian life groups, or others, who use “lectio divina” as a means of nourishing prayer and deepening faith.

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