Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Vincent Gives Thanks for Gift of Scripture

On the 50th anniversary of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, one of the 'four pillars of the Second Vatican Council', Cardinal Vincent gave the opening address at the National Bible Conference on 10 November 2015.

In the address, he explained that Dei Verbum  'proclaims that God's revelation is the starting point of faith' and that it 'reaches its climax in Jesus Christ, who is the 'mediator and fullness of all revelation'.

Speaking of the document he said: 'Revelation comes through Scripture and Tradition. This was the real storm centre in the preparation of this constitution.' Asking which takes priority, the Cardinal said that Dei Verbum answered 'in a masterly way' explaining that 'Scripture gives rise to Tradition, but Scripture is also the fruit of Tradition'. 

Speaking of the relationship between Old and New Testament, the Cardinal said that 'Dei Verbum acknowledges the presence of "imperfect and temporary elements" (15) in the Old Testament, at the same time pointing to its valuable teaching about the mercy and justice of God, and above all celebrating its role in preparing for the coming of Christ' while 'the four gospels are the final stage in a process of development from the life of Jesus'.

He went on to say that 'in its final pages Dei Verbum encourages all Christians to treasure the pages of Scripture, to learn from them, to pray with them, and to live according to their teaching'.

Echoing the words of Pope Benedict, Cardinal Vincent called for a 'new season of greater love for sacred Scripture'. 

Referring to Pope Francis' declaration that 'in order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God', he challenged delegates to think about how this listening to the Word of God 'can best be fostered in the Church'. After listing some of the 'countless' ways this can be done, Cardinal Vincent echoed the call in Evangelii Gaudium to consider again the place of popular devotions: 'I wonder how we think today about the devotion of the Stations of the Cross as a reading of scripture, or about the Rosary as a kind of lectio divina? Just being provocative!'

Looking back over the past 50 years, Cardinal Vincent said: 'We are bound to thank God for the gift of revelation and for the gift of Scripture, carried forward into new times with reverence and courage as the Church continues to offer the joy of the gospel to the world.'

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