GCSDA Corruption #72

Christians more united around the Scripture

Eleuterio F. Fortino

The Jubilee commemorates the anniversary of the Incarnation, the event in which the Word took flesh and ""placed its tent"" among men. A multi-form initiative which involved Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants in a happy cooperation for the circulation of the sacred Scripture, which contains the Word of Cod, in preparation and during the celebration of the Jubilee. An indication in this sense comes from the apostolic letter ""Tertio Millennio adveniente"" which states ""to recognize who Christ truly is, Christians should turn with renewed interest to the Bible. In the revealed text it is the Heavenly Father himself who comes to us in love and dwells with us, disclosing to us the nature of his only-begotten Son and his plan of salvation for humanity"". The realised ecumenical cooperation has various expressions. We refer to three of them: 1. The initiative for Italian Christians

The pilgrims who will travel to Rome and to the major Italian sanctuaries will find available in the hotels a multilingual edition, in inter-confessional translation, of the Gospel of Luke. The languages used are: Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic. The edition was sponsored by the Italian Episcopal Conference, by the Italian Greek-Orthodox Church and produced by the Universal Biblical Alliance. The editorial project, simple and elegant, was prepared by the Biblical Society in Italy whose secretary is Valdo Bertalot. The choice of the Gospel of Luke was also determined by the fact that this text includes the catechesis of Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth, where he reveals that on that day, in his presence, the prophesy of Isaiah which gives meaning to the Jubilee was realised: ""The Lord send the Spirit over me…… He sent me to proclaim the liberation…… to announce the time in which the Lord will be favourable"" (Lk 4: 18-19). This edition of the Gospel of Like is a gift of living Christians in Italy to pilgrims, a fraternal reception in the name of the Lord. 2. The Initiative of the Universal Biblical Alliance and of the Central Committee for the Jubilee A wider initiative, but in the same spirit, was carried out jointly by the Universal Biblical Alliance with the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee, and by pastor Fergus MacDonald, secretary general of the Universal Biblical Society, with a preface by Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. The publication includes ""biblical texts for pilgrims"", the Gospel according to Luke, the First Letter of Peter, the Book of Amos and a number of psalms. The text will be distributed free of charge in the points where pilgrims will arrive: basilicas, sanctuaries and catacombs. The project, fully underway, envisages the distribution of 2,500,000 copies in six languages (Italian, English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese). The Universal Biblical Alliance is an organisation which coordinates the work of Biblical Societies which work in 150 countries for the translation and spread of the Word of God. The Bible or parts of it are, today, translated in 2,200 languages. The Universal Biblical Alliance distributes around 500 million texts every year. 3. The Gospel according to John in literary ecumenical translation This edition by the bodies responsible is presented as follows: ""This translation stems from a common, ecumenical commitment, by the various Christian Churches in Italy, and is promoted for the year 2000, two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ as a sign of unity"". It wants to be ""literary"", sensitive above all to the philological and lexical aspects and careful to respect the text’’s polyvalence, typical of John. The aim is to penetrate in the culture of the country and to ferment it in evangelical values. The translation is sponsored by Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. For the Catholic Church it’’s the Italian Episcopal Conference. For the Orthodox Church it’’s the Greek archdiocese in Italy. For the Protestants various communities and organisations: the Adventists, the Baptists, the Lutherans, the Valdeans and the Methodists, the Salvation Army, the Italian Evangelical Alliance, the Evangelical Ministerial Consultation and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy. These initiatives manifest two essential elements for the search of full unity. On the one side they highlight that the Christian community is called by the Word of God and gathered around it. The Sacred Scripture represents one of the pillars of the existing communion among Christians. On the other side, these initiatives also are testimony of the common commitment of Christians of the different Confessions to spread the only Word of the Lord. This too is a concrete way to celebrate the Jubilee together.