Faith Winter Conference 08

The theme for this year's conference was "Hearing God's Word." I gave the first talk on "The Bible belongs to the Church". I began by asking a Ratzingerian question "What is the Bible, really?" and answered that it was not a "book" but layer upon layer of inspired writing from within a people raised up by the initiative of God. The people came first, with and authoritative and hierarchical structure. The books of the bible came from within that people, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (referring to St Augustine):
Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely (n.102)
The Catechism also makes it clear that Christianity is not a "religion of the book" but of the Word of God incarnate (n.108)

From this perspective, we can see that it is to be expected that the scribes and teachers in the Old Testament and, definitively, the magisterium of the Church after Christ, will determine which books form the canon, and how they are to be interpreted. I am sorry that I have not the whole text prepared for publication - one of many to be finished off.

Fr Dominic Rolls spoke of "Christ, the key to understanding the Old Testament", Fr Kevin Douglas on the historicity of the Gospels, and another of our priests on the Bible in our prayer and in our lives.

The Conference always includes daily Mass, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Confessions, various parts of the Divine Office, and a variety of social and sporting activities. There were over 200 students and young working people from all over Britain gathered to learn more about the Catholic faith and to support one another in the living of their faith. I always enjoy these events both for the opportunity to catch up with priests and seminarians and for the tonic of meeting such an enthusiastic and hopeful group of young people.

Stonyhurst is an impressive building. One part has been recently restored: the Sodality Chapel. I said my private Mass here, served by a seminarian who is familiar with the traditional rite. Here is a photo of the beautiful chapel:

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