Cardinal Seán Brady intervention at Synod of Bishops in Rome

14 Oct 2008

14 October 2008

Summary of the intervention by Seán Baptist Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, at the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops in Rome.

The theme for this Synod is “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” The Synod takes place from the 5 – 26 October.

Cardinal Brady:

Participants at an Inter-Church meeting in Ireland which I attended recently were invited to wash each other’s feet while they listened to the account of how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This strong experiential ritual of ‘inter-communion’ in the Word took them to a new level of personal and ecclesial commitment.

The contribution of the Protestant tradition to Biblical scholarship has been immense. It may assist the healing of memory to affirm that the emphasis in the Reformation on improving access to the Scriptures was a good from which all Christians have benefited.

Preachers need adequate preparation and ongoing help for their task. It is to be hoped that exegetes, theologians and liturgists will work together to help Ministers of the Word to say what the Holy Spirit wants the Church to say to the world at this time.

Modern communications technology gives the Church wonderful possibilities to communicate its message to the ends of earth.  It is to be hoped that the Synod will come up with practical proposals to enable the Church to take full advantage of this opportunity.

The Word of God is a reality imbued with the presence of God.  Like the Eucharist the Word too is viaticum – food for the journey of life, food for the journey of married life.  Given the particular challenges which face the family in our time one of the things we could profitably learn from the Protestant tradition is the custom of having a Bible in the home and reading it often as a family.


Notes for Editors

  • The primary focus of the Synod will be how the Word of God may be better received as a life-giving, life-transforming gift for all God’s people.  Thematically the 12th Synod of Bishops mirrors the 11th Synod in 2005 which gathered under the theme: “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church”.  There is a deep complementarity between both themes which has its roots in the Church’s relationship between Holy Scriptures and the Eucharist.
  • A Synod is an assembly of bishops who gather to discuss Church matters, pool information and experiences in the common pursuit of pastoral solutions which have universal validity and application.  Such meetings can take place at regional, national or universal level.  The Synod of Bishops by its counsel assists the Pope in his government of the universal Church.  The late Pope John Paul II referred to the Synod of Bishops as “a particularly fruitful expression and instrument of the collegiality of bishops”.  The concept is one that stems from the early Church and has developed down through the centuries.
  • Irish Bishops ask the faithful to pray that the Synod will be attentive to the Holy Spirit and that its work will lead all to a greater appreciation of the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst and for His love of us as revealed by the Word of God.
Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 1727678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 2337797