LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and the Bible Society have united on an initiative launched Monday to encourage deeper involvement with Sacred Scripture.
The 15-month initiative, "The God Who Speaks: A Year of the Word," was launched Monday on the Feast of St. Jerome ― a fourth-century Scripture scholar known for his Gospel commentaries and translation of most of the bible into Latin ― and will include resources, activities and events throughout the country.
The initiative comes after a survey of 1,600 Catholics revealed that only 34% of them think the Bible is extremely important to their faith, 84% only hear the Bible in church and 41% were unsure where to begin reading the Bible.
Bishop Peter Brignall, the local ordinary of the diocese of Wrexham, Wales, and lead bishop for the initiative, said:
We would be delighted if people took up the challenge and read the Gospels daily. 2020 will be the 1,600th Anniversary of the death of St. Jerome — our most important Biblical scholar who translated the Bible from the Hebrew and the Greek into Latin. It's also the 10th Anniversary of Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) in which he proposes giving everyone access to Scripture as a democratic imperative; our bishops are responding to this papal invitation.
The webpage for "The God Who Speaks" explains the importance of Sacred Scripture and echoes Bp. Brignall's words:
Scripture is at the centre of everything the Church does. The word of God shapes our prayer and worship. The Bible shows us how to understand the world, how we are called to live and relate to each other.
2020 is the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini — Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation on "The Word of the Lord" and the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome's death. These dates have inspired the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales to dedicate 2020 as a year of focus on the Bible and "The God Who Speaks."
During the year, we will be celebrating, living and sharing God's word with an exciting new Scripture initiative. It's an opportunity to enrich current practice and to develop and explore new ways of responding to "The God who Speaks."
The initiative will also make the Bible more accessible to individuals with disabilities and provide grants for projects that help people engage with Scripture.
Fleur Dorrell, the coordinator of the initiative, noted that Scripture is still highly relevant today and informative for current events such as Brexit: "Brexit is a Biblical question. It's a question about how we relate to one another, about our identity. How we understand law and govern our societies, what our place is in the world. What defines leadership for us and from whom and where."
"In a divided society we look for authority and leadership, for wisdom and guidance. The Bible transcends all our societal vicissitudes and provides a perennial light. It is the source from which we draw our meaning and our purpose," she added.
Nigel Langford, head of church relations for the Bible Society, said: "It's a privilege to partner with the Catholic Church on the God who Speaks. Bible Society was founded on giving everyone access to the Bible and we do this best through collaboration and partnership."
Catholics will be surveyed again with the same questions from the initial survey once the 15-month campaign concludes.
Church Militant reached out to the diocese of Wrexham and the Bible Society for comment but received no response as of press time.