Cardinal launches new document on Scripture
posted on 22 November 2005
The Archbishop of Westminster last Friday launched the Catholic bishops’ new document on the Bible, The Gift of Scripture, describing it as “a companion” which brought together “the best of Tradition and modern scholarship to assist our penetration of the hidden mysteries embedded in the Word.”
Speaking at the launch, which was held at the British Library, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said it was appropriate to launch the document not far from where fragments of the Codex Sinaiticus, the world's oldest Bible and the most important Biblical manuscript, were housed. A facsimile of the Codex features on the cover of the Gift of Scripture.
The Gift of Scripture is a joint teaching document of the bishops’ conferences both of England and Wales and of Scotland, and is launched on the 40th anniversary of Dei Verbum, one of the most important documents of the Second Vatican Council. The Constitution on Divine Revelation explained the place of Scriptures in God’s revelation, and called for Catholics to immerse themselves in the Word of God.
“Dei Verbum teaches that we continually receive the bread of life from the table both of the word of God and of the Body of Christ. The Eucharist and the Word – these are the two sources of our nourishment, and we are invited to fill ourselves with both each day”, the Cardinal said, adding that The Gift of Scripture should be seen in conjunction with One Bread, One Body, the 1998 document on the Eucharist published by the Bishops of Britain and Ireland.
Attending the launch were representatives from a number of Christian churches including Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, members of the Salvation Army and the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Bible Society was one of the sponsors of the launch.
In his lecture Fr Henry Wansbrough, the Ampleforth Benedictine monk who was general editor of the New Jerusalem Bible, said the Bible should not be treated 'as a mechanical search- engine for answers to contemporary moral and religious questions'.
Yet read within the tradition of the Church, the Bible can provide guidance on countless contemporary issues, such as the rights and responsibilities of individuals, the value of human life from conception to death, the need to protect the created world and the search for peace and justice, he said. The full text of Fr Henry Wansbrough’s address is available on the website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.