Tag Archives: Word of God


“We must now, Venerable Brethren, as Our purpose demands, impart to you such counsels as seem best suited for carrying on successfully the study of biblical science.

What are the opponents’ tactics and weapons?

But first it must be clearly understood whom we have to oppose and contend against, and what are their tactics and their arms. In earlier times the contest was chiefly with those who, relying on private judgment and repudiating the divine traditions and teaching office of the Church, held the Scriptures to be the one source of revelation and the final appeal in matters of Faith.

Rejecting even scraps and remnants of Christian belief

Now, we have to meet the Rationalists, true children and inheritors of the older heretics, who, trusting in their turn to their own way of thinking, have rejected even the scraps and remnants of Christian belief which had been handed down to them.

To them, the miracles and wonders of God’s power are not what they are

They deny that there is any such thing as revelation or inspiration, or Holy Scripture at all; they see, instead, only the forgeries and the falsehoods of men. They set down the Scripture narratives as stupid fables and lying stories: the prophecies and the oracles of God are to them either predictions made up after the event or forecasts formed by the light of nature; the miracles and the wonders of God’s power are not what they are said to be, but the startling effects of natural law, or else mere tricks and myths; and the apostolic Gospels and writings not the work of the Apostles at all.

Human attempts to take God out of the equation

These detestable errors, whereby they think they destroy the truth of the divine Books, are obtruded on the world as the peremptory pronouncements of a certain newly-invented ‘free science;’ a science, however, which is so far from final that they are perpetually modifying and supplementing it.

Man-made “free science”, so far from final that it gets changed constantly

And there are some of them who, notwithstanding their impious opinions and utterances about God, and Christ, the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, would fain be considered theologians and Christians and men of the Gospel, and who attempt to disguise by such honourable names their rashness and their pride. To them we must add not a few professors of other sciences who approve their views and give them assistance, and are urged to attack the Bible by a similar intolerance of revelation.

Disguising rashness and pride; striving for human acclaim

And it is deplorable to see these attacks growing every day more numerous and more severe. It is sometimes men of learning and judgment who are assailed; but these have little difficulty in defending themselves from evil consequences. The efforts and the arts of the enemy are chiefly directed against the more ignorant masses of the people.

The spread of the deadly poison

They diffuse their deadly poison by means of books, pamphlets, and newspapers; they spread it by addresses and by conversation; they are found everywhere; and they are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture.

Champions that are needed in this momentous battle 

Should not these things, Venerable Brethren, stir up and set on fire the heart of every Pastor, so that to this ‘knowledge, falsely so called’ may be opposed the ancient and true science which the Church, through the Apostles, has received from Christ, and that Holy Scripture may find the champions that are needed in so momentous a battle?”

– From the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, 18th November 1893 (Pope Leo XIII) [headings in bold added afterwards]


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The Gospel

“Read the word of God in the Gospel. Ah! The Gospel, who reads it, in the world? – Doubtless, during the Holy Sacrifice, the faithful like to follow in their prayer-books the Gospel of the feast; but… Is it sufficient to fill our life with Christian sentiments?

What we recommend to you all is a frequent, attentive, and, above all, regular reading, unravelling before your softened heart the whole life of Our Lord.

It is certainly a good thing to read the Imitation of Christ. It is the most beautiful book, which has come from the hand of man, but the Gospel was written at the very dictation of God. He encloses His infallible word in these blessed pages, which the saints used to read on their knees, and to meditate upon in ecstasy.

It is the Gospel, then, that we are urging you to read, and to ponder on with love: the Gospel, this book of the ignorant and of philosophers, this book of the garrets and of the palaces, this book of the rich and of the poor, where the Infinite has taught us in parables, where the Eternal Word makes Himself the Teacher of little children, this book so simple and so profound, so calm and so luminous.”

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905


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“The historic Catholic venue of Ushaw College near Durham [did] host “Word of the Lord”, the first conference of its kind in a generation to celebrate the gift of the scriptures at the heart of the Church in England and Wales. It’s part of a multi-facetted initiative of the English and Welsh bishops’ department for evangelisation and catechesis to promote the Bible in Catholic life. Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Master of the Order of Preachers, well-known author and international speaker, will deliver the keynote speech. Recently returned from one of his many speaking engagements, he spoke to me about why he considers the conference to be such an important event in the life of the Church.

÷ Why do you think the conference is such an important initiative? ÷

The focus of the conference is at the heart of our life as a Church. It’s interesting that the Second Vatican Council called bishops “servants of the Word”. For every Catholic, our life is focused on receiving the gift of the Word. When you are following the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), at one point you are given the Scripture as a gift, and it’s something that gathers us into community with each other. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus says that “whoever hears my Word and does it is my brother and sister”. The Word of God brings unity in the Church as brothers and sisters.

÷ Why did you prioritise coming to speak at the conference in Durham? ÷

For about 14 years I taught Scripture at Blackfriars in Oxford and it was the most wonderful thing that happened to me. I had not been specially trained in the Scriptures and was rather nervous, but it was a gift to be asked to teach about it. I always find the scriptures fresh and exciting, and so the moment I was invited to talk about it I jumped at the chance.

÷ How do you think the profile of Catholic Scripture study and pastoral reading of the Bible has changed since Vatican II? ÷

I suspect that one of the ways that we’ve seen a positive shift is in the increasing popularity of Lectio Divina. There are now so many books on it. It’s a wonderful way of praying with the scriptures which encourages us to listen, not to get information about God but, as the Vatican II document Dei Verbum teaches, it’s a way in which we can be “addressed by God”. We listen to Scripture as a Word of God addressed to his friends. This is a different way of listening to Scripture, rather than as an ordinary non-spiritual text. In the Church for the last 50 years, there has been a big stress on the Word of God as a word of friendship, and it’s a transforming word. Pope Benedict XVI, in his beautiful exhortation Verbum Domini, stresses how revelation is dialogical, it involves entry into conversation with God and that emphasis is a fruit of the Second Vatican Council in this post-conciliar period.

Scripture is not just for “specialists” but is a gift for everyone. We have to help everyone to discover how to listen and that’s a big part of the focus of the … conference at Ushaw. We read a manual to work out how to use a central heating system in one way and we read a novel in another way. We also have to help people learn how to listen to Scripture. Many people still worry about whether they have to believe every part of the scriptures literally or not and Vatican II is helpful here. It affirmed that Scripture is not a scientific document or historical document at every point, but it’s a saving Word. This has great significance for evangelisation. What we read in the Scriptures is Good News and that’s what we’re invited to present to everyone.

÷ How significant is it to have a Scripture conference during the Year of Faith? ÷

It’s interesting that in the Bible the human vocation is always sourced in God’s call to us all by name. He calls Abraham and summons him out to the Promised Land, and the minute he hears God’s call he says: “Here I am.” I think faith is always hearing the Word of God addressed to us, to which we respond. Isaiah says: “Here I am, send me.” Faith is essentially that response. The most important way we are addressed by God is in the Bible. We listen in the silence of our hearts, to anyone who speaks truthfully and through the example of the saints. There are all sorts of ways that God addresses us but they all derive from the Word – Jesus. That is why it’s so important to have a focus on Scripture during the Year of Faith.

÷ What do you think are the challenges to the biblical apostolate? ÷

In a very busy world you really need to give the Bible time. If it’s a word of friendship, you have to give time to your friends. In a hectic society it’s difficult for people to be with the Word of God and sit with it, listen to it.”
– The above is an excerpt of an article by Clare Ward entitled “The Bible is not just for the specialist”, published in the Catholic Herald on April 12, 2013.


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Mary our Mother,
you consented in faith
to become the Mother of Jesus.
At the Angel’s announcement
you received the Word of God in your heart
as well as in your body,
and you brought Life to the world.
You conceived in your heart, with your whole being,
before you conceived in your womb.

Obtain for us
a faith similar to your own,
which will enable us to hear the Word of God
and carry it out.
Let us imitate your Motherhood by our faith,
bringing Christ to birth in others
who have desperate need of Him.


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During Holy Week the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his life on earth, beginning with his messianic entrance into Jerusalem.

The Lenten season lasts until the Thursday of this week. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, is continued through Good Friday with the celebration of the Passion of the Lord and Holy Saturday, to reach its summit in the Easter Vigil. It concludes with Vespers of Easter Sunday. The days of Holy Week, from Monday to Thursday inclusive, have precedence over all other celebrations. It is not fitting that Baptisms or Confirmation be celebrated on these days.

Holy Week begins on ‘Passion (or Palm) Sunday’ which joins the foretelling of Christ’s regal triumph and the proclamation of the Passion. The connection between both aspects of the paschal mystery should be shown and explained in the celebration and catechesis of this day.

The Commemoration of the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem has, according to ancient custom, been celebrated with a solemn procession, in which the faithful in song and gesture imitate the Hebrew children who went to meet the Lord singing ‘Hosanna’.

The procession may take place only once, before the Mass which has the largest attendance, even if this should be in the evening either of Saturday or Sunday. The congregation should assemble in a secondary church or chapel in some other suitable place distinct from the church to which the procession will move.

In this procession the faithful carry palm or other branches. The priest and the ministers (also carrying branches) precede the people.

The palms or branches are blessed so that they can be carried in the procession. The palms should be taken home, where they will serve as a reminder of the victory of Christ which the community celebrated in the procession.

Pastors should make every effort to ensure that this procession in honour of Christ the King be so prepared and celebrated that it is of great spiritual significance in the life of the faithful.

In addition to the solemn procession described above, the Missal gives two other forms to commemorate the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. This is not simply for convenience, but to provide for those situations when it will not be possible to have a procession.

The second form is that of a solemn entrance, when the procession cannot take place outside the church.

The third form is a simple entrance such as is used at all Masses on this Sunday which do not have the solemn entrance.

Where the Mass cannot be celebrated, there should be a celebration of word of God on the theme of the Lord’s messianic entrance and passion, either on Saturday evening or on Sunday at a convenient time.

During the procession, the choir and people should sing the chants proposed in the Roman Missal, especially psalms 23 and 46, as well as other appropriate songs in honour of Christ the King.

The Passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is by three persons; one takes the part of Christ, another is the narrator, while the third represents the people. The Passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers; in the latter case, the part of Christ should be reserved to the priest.

The proclamation of the Passion should be without candles or incense; the greeting and the signs of the cross are omitted; only a deacon asks for the blessing, as he does before the Gospel.

For the spiritual good of the faithful the Passion should be proclaimed in its entirety, and the readings which precede it should not be omitted.

After the Passion has been proclaimed, a homily is to be given.


The Chrism Mass, which the bishop concelebrates with his presbyterium and at which the Holy Chrism is consecrated and the oils blessed, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ. To this Mass, the priest who concelebrate with the bishop should come from different parts of the diocese, thus showing in the consecration of the Chrism that they are his witnesses and cooperators, just as in their daily ministry they are his helpers and counsellors.
The faithful are also to be encouraged to participate in this Mass, and to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Traditionally the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Thursday of Holy Week. If however, it should prove to be difficult for the clergy and people to gather with the bishop, this rite can be transferred to another day, but always close to Easter. The Chrism and the oil of catechumens is to be used in the celebration of the sacraments of initiation on Easter night.

There should be only one celebration of the Chrism Mass given its significance in the life of the diocese, and it should take place in the cathedral or, for pastoral reasons, in another church which has a special significance.

The Holy Oils can be brought to the individual parishes before the celebration of the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, or at some other suitable time. This can be a means of catechizing the faithful about the use and effects of the Holy Oils and Chrism in Christian life.


It is fitting that the Lenten season should be concluded with a penitential celebration, both for the individual Christian as well as for the whole Christian community, so that they may be helped to prepare to celebrate more fully the paschal mystery.
These celebrations should take place before the Easter Triduum, and should not immediately precede the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
– Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988


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