The Word of God and Social Action: Insights from Verbum Domini

Thursday, March 27 2014

Word of God and Social ActionFollowing two important events for the Church in 2012-2013, the Synod on the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith, the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) offers a short reflection on Verbum Domini and its social teaching. The Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini was published in 2010 after the Synod on the Word of God, held in October 2008. In the introduction of their reflection, the Bishops of the Commission write that “to enter fully into the dynamic of the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith, we need a profound reception of the message of the 2008 Synod and the exhortation that resulted from it.” They continue by saying, “we hope that we can all come to a deeper understanding of what it means to truly be evangelized and to truly be people of faith, so that our proclamation of Jesus Christ may not be in word only, but also in action.”

This text was composed during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, and is designed to draw connections between Verbum Domini and Catholic social teaching. However, the message contained here is the same as that proclaimed by Pope Francis, who states that “it is also our duty as Catholics to work harder and harder in a serious process of spiritual conversion, to come closer every day to the Gospel that spurs us to carry out an effective practical service to individuals and to society.” (Address to the President of the Republic of Italy, 8 June 2013)

At the end of its document, the Commission proposes some questions as a guide to help individuals and groups who would like to discuss the message of Verbum Domini, especially numbers 99-108 of the Exhortation on Justice, Reconciliation and Peace, and Love.

Link to the document (PDF)