National Bible Week: Dei Verbum

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This article includes quotes from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and from Dei Verbum, a document from the Second Vatican Council that was mainly responsible for the explosion of Bible study by lay Catholics.

November 18, 2006 marked the forty-first anniversary of the approval of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), a Second Vatican Council document. Dei Verbum was mainly responsible for the explosion of Bible reading and Bible study by Catholics. It also supported the creation of new Scripture resources meant for lay Catholics. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has this to say about Dei Verbum:

We are grateful to God that in recent times, and thanks to the impact made by the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been deeply re-evaluated. From this has derived a renewal of the Church's life, especially in her preaching, catechesis, theology and spirituality, and even in the ecumenical process. (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Participants in the International Congress Organized to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum,

We would do well to take a moment and give thanks for the bishops of the Second Vatican Council and the direction and teaching they gave the Church.

The sacred synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the "excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:8). For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."(5) Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere. And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for "we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying." (6) (Dei Verbum, paragraph 25.)

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