Canadian cardinal and others discuss hopes for Synod of Bishops on the Bible.
CORNWALL, Ontario (CNS) – A Canadian cardinal who will serve as recording secretary of the Synod of Bishops on the Bible expressed hope it would shore up ecumenical dialogue and increase appreciation of the Scriptures.
The October 5-26 synod in Rome could provide “a new start for ecumenical relations,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.
The interest shown by other churches and denominations is huge, Cardinal Ouellet said during an interview on September 22 while he was in Cornwall for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual meeting.
He said he hoped the reflections at the synod would “give us a new charity and a new impulse and enthusiasm.”
The cardinal also expressed hope the synod would help Catholics gain a deepened appreciation for Scripture.
“Sometimes I have the impression we have learned a lot about the Bible, but we have not prayed enough with it,” he said. “It is not a dead letter, it is a testimony of the living God, who is still speaking through the word.”
The Canadian bishops who were to give presentations at the synod discussed their topics during the annual meeting.
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa said he will focus on the Old Testament, noting that “knowledge of the Old Testament as the word of God seems to be a real problem.”
Bishop Raymond Saint-Gelais of Nicolet, Quebec, described the homily as “a liturgical action, situated at the junction between the proclamation and the celebration of the word.” He said he hoped the synod would give “more precise indications about the role of the homily in the context of the celebration” and in the “daily lives of the faithful.”
Bishop Luc Bouchard of Saint Paul, Alberta, noted that the gap between biblical scholars and everyday people has had “grave consequences” and suggested the Church might start sponsoring an international congress on the Bible.
“With the help of teachers and experts, they would offer a formation destined to bridge the ever-widening gap that exists between the word of God and the people of God,” he said.
Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, Ontario, spoke of the need for spiritual awakening and growth. Knowledge of Scriptures is “often weak” in parishes, which need to “foster a prayerful listening” to God in the Scriptures, he said.
A great obstacle is “formalism,” a “going through the motions of religious practices without deep, engaging faith,” Bishop Fabbro said.
Another obstacle, he said, is the negative influence of today’s culture.
Archbishop Lawrence Huculak of Winnipeg, Manitoba, metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, focused on what the Gospel requires from those who proclaim it, especially during the Mass. Those charged with proclaiming the word “must be aware of their great responsibilities” and prepare ahead of time so as to “proclaim it clearly,” he said.