On 11 November 2010 in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI issued his long awaited post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the Word of God, titled Verbum Domini (“The Word of the Lord”).
Sulpician Cardinal Marc OUELLET, p.s.s., recently appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and the Relator for the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, led a press conference at the Vatican at which the document was presented to the general public. He was accompanied by Mgr Gianfranco RIVASI, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Mgr Nikola ETEROVIC and Mgr Fortunato FRIZZA, respectively secretary general and under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
The nearly 200-page apostolic exhortation is dated 30 September 2010, the memorial of Saint Jerome, patron of biblical studies, and a date noted for the publication of other significant documents on the bible, such as the encyclicals of Leo XIII (Providentissimus Deus in 1893) and Pius XII (Divino Afflante Spiritu in 1943). It was simultaneously issued in eight languages (Latin, Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Polish) and is available from the Vatican website as a PDF file (here).
Cardinal Ouellet, a noted theologian in his own right and an expert on the theology of Hans von Balthasar, had been named by the pope as “Relator” of the 12th ordinary assembly of the synod, which was held from 5-26 October 2008. He was thus instrumental in shaping the final 55 propositions from the synod, many of which are expounded in the apostolic exhortation.
The exhortation comprises an introduction, three main parts, and a conclusion, and is filled with citations from the bible, the church fathers, and many official documents of the Church’s magisterial teaching on the Word of God. It is a profound document that invites Catholics and all people of good will to get better acquainted with the Word of God, for it continues to speak to us today as a living text, filled with inspiring teachings that can speak to the many complex moral and theological questions of our day. For a summary of its contents, click here.