The Pope’s call this week for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family and evangelisation to take place in October 2014 has ‘greatly encouraged’ delegates at this week’s ‘Bible and Family’ partnership meeting between United Bible Societies (UBS) and the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF).
The Rome-based meeting, which ended this afternoon after a morning audience with Pope Francis, was organised by UBS in order to explore ways in which Bible Societies can work more closely with the Catholic Church to get the Bible into the hands of more families.
“Pope Francis’s call for this Extraordinary Synod of Bishops focusing on family issues has greatly encouraged us in our discussions this week around the very same topic,” says UBS Director General Michael Perreau. “We warmly welcome the Pope’s commitment to bringing the Bible to families. Now it’s up to us to work together to make it happen.”
The Pope took time to hear about the meeting
Rev Dr Rudi Zimmer, Chairman of the UBS Global Board, was one of four participants in the meeting who was granted direct access to Pope Francis. He says that, despite being surrounded by vast crowds, the Pope took time to hear about the meeting, his face lighting up when he heard about the focus on making the Bible available to families and encouraging them to read it.
“I particularly showed him the Poverty and Justice Bible (Catholic edition) and the May They Be One Bible and explained that the Bible Societies are producing them with the full support of the Catholic Church,” says Dr Zimmer. “He was delighted: ’Go ahead!’ he smiled. His support is very precious to us.”
Bible Society and CBF representatives from more than 30 countries have spent the past three days discussing the spiritual pressures on the family in modern society and how they can collaborate on projects to address these. Topics have included the central role of women in family life, how to get families reflecting on and engaging with the Bible, and translating, publishing and distributing the Bible with Catholic families in mind.
“The family is the one remaining place in today’s society where there is hope of passing faith onto future generations,” said Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, as he opened yesterday’s meeting. “It is vital that we take up this challenge and develop practical ways of encouraging families to engage with the Bible.”
Following the papal audience, Michael Perreau and acting CBF General Secretary Thomas Osborne were interviewed by Vatican Radio. Click here to hear the interview.
Photographs to accompany this press release can be downloaded from Flickr.