On November 18, 1965, following the close of Vatican II, the Church promulgated a number of documents, which affect the life of the Church 50 years later and will continue to do so for a lot longer than next 50 years.
One of the most dramatic, at least to my mind, is Dei Verbum – The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. This document states that the whole world should hear the summons to salvation, “so that through hearing it may believe, through belief it may hope, through hope it may come to love.” Credit, by the way, to St. Augustine for that stirring thought. It comes from De Catechizandis Rudibus or On the Catechizing of the Uninstructed, probably the world’s earliest catechist’s manual.
Dei Verbum is not a long constitution but it is a landmark in that it clearly calls upon the laity to pull their Bibles off the shelves and learn “the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:8) by reading Sacred Scripture. Dei Verbum also asked the bishops as pastors of souls to provide translations and explanations to the faithful.
For a number of years now, our own archdiocese has contributed to providing knowledge of and insights on the Bible through the annual New York Catholic Bible Summit, co-sponsored by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office and the American Bible Society’s Catholic Ministries.
The Bible Summit will take place this year on Saturday, June 20, at the New York Catholic Center, at 56th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan. Our theme? It’s right from the opening sentence of the prologue to Dei Verbum: “Hear the Word of God with reverence. Proclaim it with faith.”
I hope you can join us there. Here’s a link to all the keynotes and workshop presentations. There are two complete tracks, one in English and the other in Spanish. And for our French speaking friends, we have added one French language presentation. Cardinal Dolan will be joining us at noon for the Angelus and a reflection.
I’ll be there. I hope I have a chance to meet you. Perhaps, as Dei Verbum says in its closing words, “a new impulse of spiritual life may be expected from increased veneration of the Word of God, which stands forever.” Heaven knows the world needs it.