VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A lack of enthusiasm for Scripture weakens well-established churches and stunts the missionary verve of newfound Christian communities, said Pope Francis in a written message shared with members of the Catholic Biblical Federation.
Meeting federation members — including representatives of bishops’ conferences and some 200 Catholic biblical institutions — Pope Francis spoke spontaneously, but gave them a copy of his prepared text in which he noted the importance of Scripture.
The audience June 19 came during the federation’s plenary assembly June 18-23 in Nemi, outside of Rome.
“The lack of support and vigor for the Word leads to the weakening of Christian communities of ancient tradition and halts the spiritual growth and missionary fervor of young churches,” the pope wrote.
Therefore, he said, there must be a pastoral commitment to make Scripture central to church life, and an “encounter with Jesus” through Scripture must be part of the habitual activities of all religious communities, parishes and movements, he added.
“Servants of the Word,” including bishops, priests, religious or laypeople, he said, must promote this encounter with Christ, which inspires faith and transforms lives.
Places exist where the Gospel has not yet been proclaimed, where it has not been “welcomed as the Word of salvation,” or where it has been “emptied of its authority,” Pope Francis wrote.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” he said, citing St. Jerome. In order to proclaim the Word, people must have experienced it first: “listened to it, contemplated it, almost touched it with their hands,” he said.
Christians, he added, must “venerate, read, listen, proclaim, preach, study and diffuse the Word of God.”
The assembly was chaired by the federation’s new president, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103