Yes, well, His Eminence George Cardinal Pell may have described the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church (which closed on Sunday) as “least interesting” of all the synods he has attended, but that is only judging by the “Crittenden Criteria” that to be interesting religious news has to be controversial.
But things will really become interesting when (and, sad to say, IF) the fruits of the last three weeks find their way into the life of the Church.
I am currently working through the Synod Propositions (currently only available in Italian, but you can use Google Translation to come up with a tolerably readable text). I am only half way through, but there are some very interesting suggestions for liturgy, catechesis and exegetical/theological study.
1) The proposal for a CDF study of “inspiration and the truth of the Bible” which highlights the particular Catholic hermeneutic of scripture.
2) The proposal (#14) of giving a special “visible place of honour” to the book of the Scriptures “within the church.” Lutheran Churches used to (not so common any more) have an open copy of the Scriptures always upon the altar itself facing the people. I don’t think that is a good idea (the altar is the table of the Eucharist, not of the word), but why not in association with the Ambo from which the Word is proclaimed? Of course, it is usually the Lectionary or the Gospel book that usually has pride of place there. But it is something to think about.
3) The proposal for a true “gospel procession” (#14) being reinstituted in the ceremony of the Liturgy of the Word – perhaps along the line of the Eastern rites?
4) The suggestion originally made by Archbishop Mark Coleridge for a “Homiletical Directory” is taken up in proposition #15.
5) The suggestion (#16) for a revision of the Lectionary ditching the forced connection currently existing between the Old Testament reading and the Gospel. This would be very opportune.
6) The suggestion of promoting the ministry of women in the reading of scripture in the liturgy. I haven’t seen the latin text, so I don’t know if the Synod is actually proposing that ordination to the office of “Lector” should be open to women. I would be surprised by this and even more surprised if the Holy Father actually agrees with this suggestion.
7) Work on the Sunday “celebrations of the word of God” so as to prevent confusion with teh Eucharistic liturgy (#18)
8) An official “simple form of the Liturgy of the Hours” for laity (#19)
9) support for “small ecclesial communities” (#21). This would have to be handled carefully given the history of BEC’s in the church, but could be beneficial.
10) I am glad that suggestions for devotional reading of scripture are much broader than the classical “lectio divina” every one talks so much about today. (#22)
11) The emphasis on the connection between Catechesis and Scripture (#23) suggests that there should be a kind of Post-RCIA course following baptism especially deepening the newly baptised adult’s connection with scripture and the catechism.
12) A number of propositions directly addressing the catastrophic division between academic scriptural exegetical study and the study of theology (#24-28).
That last mentioned set of propositions could, in the end, be the most significant outcome for the whole Synod. I had started to blog on this but didn’t finish the entry. I will get around to it.
I expect that the propositions will be available on Zenit in English by tomorrow.