Friday, July 4, 2008

Benedict XVI to Read Genesis on TV

Kicks off Bible Marathon Before Synod

ROME, JULY 4, 2008 ( Benedict XVI will kick off a Bible-reading marathon organized in the lead up to October's synod on the word of God.

On Oct. 5, the Pope will be broadcast reading the first chapter of Genesis on Italy's RAI television station. The reading will take about an hour. He will be followed by some 1,200 other readers, who over the course of six days and six nights, will read the Bible in various languages.

The Pontiff's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will conclude the marathon Oct. 10, reading the last chapter of Revelation.

It is still not confirmed if Benedict XVI's reading will be live or pre-recorded.

''I think the fundamental element that convinced Benedict XVI to take part in the television program was the fact that he will not be commenting but simply giving a pure reading of the text, a pure announcement of the word,'' Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told the ANSA news agency.

The monsignor added that the Pope's participation in the project is ''an appeal to the Catholic Church to go back to studying and deepening its knowledge of the holy Scriptures, to find again that base element and point of departure."

Readers will come from all walks of life, and will include members of various creeds.

Rome's chief rabbi will follow the Pope, reading in Hebrew. The beginning of St John's Gospel will be read in Greek.

Islam readers are also welcome in the project, organizers said, even though the Bible is not a sacred book for them.

The XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church" is scheduled to take place in the Vatican from Oct. 5 to 26.

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