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Lectionary Advocacy Continues after Synod Exhortation

On November 1, Pope Benedict issued a 200 page post synod exhortation entitled Verbum Domini as an outcome to the 2008 Synod on the Word. Theologians and other church leaders often voice concern at the lack of substantive collegiality exercised by the bishops’ synods, and the Pope’s exhortation proves to be no exception. While Benedict did not directly address any of the fifty-five proposals sent to him by synod bishops in October 2008, the exhortation is a beautiful meditation on the bible expressing a hope for “a new season of greater love for sacred Scripture on the part of every member of the people of God.” In January, it also ranked first among bestsellers in Italy’s religious bookshops, along with Benedict’s book-length interview Light of the World given to German journalist Peter Seewald. 

Of particular interest to FutureChurch supporters was synod proposal 16 asking  “that an examination of the Roman lectionary be opened to see if the actual selection and ordering of the reading are truly adequate to the mission of the Church in this historic moment.” Over the past two years, FutureChurch led a Synod follow up postcard initiative that generated several thousand electronic and paper postcards to the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) asking to open an examination of the Lectionary and address the exclusion of biblical women leaders. As previously reported, Fr. Anthony Ward, SM wrote to tell us that our requests are being taken under consideration.  We also received affirming responses from Archbishop Mark Coleridge, chair of the International Commission for the preparation of an English-language Lectionary (ICPEL), and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.  While Benedict’s post synod exhortation brings to a close our postcard advocacy, FutureChurch members and leaders will continue to follow up with Vatican officials about an issue of critical importance to the dignity of women.

Full text of Verbum Domini is available on the Vatican website: www.vatican.va

Focus on FutureChurch

Winter 2011

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