A formal launch in Glasgow on Friday 30 September 2005 will see representatives of other Christian churches, presented with copies of the book. Speaking ahead of the launch, Archbishop Mario Conti said:
"I had the privilege of presenting the first copy of the document to the Holy Father in Rome recently. During our audience with the Pope, he said: 'I would like to recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer, which brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.' The Pope added, 'If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime."
The Archbishop added: "The inspiration offered in this new document of the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales and Scotland will both inform and encourage all those who wish to make scripture more central to the faith and devotional life of the Church."
In 2000, the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, together with the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales jointly produced a document on the Eucharist (One Bread, One Body). In 2001, both Conferences agreed to commission a further document on sacred scripture. Fr.Adrian Graffy in England and Fr. Michael McMahon in Scotland were asked to cooperate on this project - both of these priests lecture on Scripture in their respective seminaries. Various drafts over the next few years were presented to the Conferences and the final draft received approval from Rome on July 6th 2005. Its title "The Gift of Scripture" is intended to emphasise the divine initiative and the human response.
Speaking at the launch, one of the co-authors, Fr. Michael McMahon said;
"This document includes a celebration of the saints of our history (Ninian, Columba, Augustine of Canterbury, Bede) who brought the Word of God to us and venerated it. It also acknowledges the scholars of today who have worked diligently to ensure scholarly integrity in our respectful treatment of the Scriptures."
"The book also tries to explain some classic issues such as how we understand the book of Genesis, the cursing Psalms, the Historical Truth of the Synoptic Gospels, the cultural conditions of Paul's ecclesiology. Cultural issues are also addresses such as the importance of dialogue with Judaism to understand the Old Testament as well as dialogue in Ecumenism with the scriptures as a good starting point. Above all it encourages the reading and understanding of the Word of God."
The document will also be launched in England - on November 18th at the British Museum in London.
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Note to Editors:
1. For further comment, contact Fr.Michael McMahon - 01505 862471
2. For photographs of the Glasgow launch contact Paul McSherry - 07770393960