Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church,focus of the ecclesial community

Vatican City, Jan.21, 2008 (vaticans.org) - This morning, the Pope received participants in the Sixth Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, who are meeting to prepare the Synod's General Assembly, due to be held from 5 to 26 October.

After expressing his thanks for a speech by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy Father mentioned his own recent Encyclical "Spe salvi". The "social character of hope", he said, is evident in the "'connection between love of God and responsibility for others', which makes it possible not to lapse into selfish desires of salvation".

"It is my belief that the effective application of this fruitful principle is evident in the Synod, in which encounter becomes communion and the solicitude for all Churches is expressed in the shared concern of all.

"The forthcoming General Assembly of the Synod will reflect on the 'Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church'", he added. "The great tasks facing the ecclesial community in the modern world (and among the many I particularly stress evangelisation and ecumenism) are centred on the Word of God and, at the same time, draw therefrom their justification and support.

"Just as the Church's missionary activity ... finds its inspiration and its goal in the Lord's merciful revelation, so ecumenical dialogue cannot base itself on the words of human wisdom or on skilful strategies, but must be animated exclusively by constant reference to the original Word, which God consigned to His Church to be read, interpreted and lived in communion".

"In this context, St. Paul's doctrine reveals a particular strength, clearly founded on divine revelation but also on his own apostolic experience which, ever and anew, made it clear to him that not human wisdom and eloquence but only the force of the Holy Spirit builds the Church in faith".

The Pope went on to remark that the Synod will coincide with the celebration of the Pauline Year and that the meeting will provide pastors of the Church with an opportunity to reflect on "the witness of this great Apostle and Herald of the Word of God. ... May his example be an encouragement for everyone to accept the Word of salvation and to translate it into daily life, in faithful discipleship of Christ".

Benedict XVI concluded his talk to the participants in the Sixth Ordinary Council by telling them: "yours is a meritorious service to the Church" because the Synod is the institution best-qualified "for promoting truth and unity of pastoral dialogue within the mystical Body of Christ".

Source: VIS

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