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New campaign as Church says Catholics aren't in tune with the Bible

by Tola Mbakwe

The 'Bible and You' survey also found that 41 per cent of those questioned aren't sure where to begin with the Bible.

The Church, along with the Bible Society, have launched "The God Who Speaks: The Year of the Word" campaign to help Catholics get the most out of the scriptures.

Fleur Dorrell, co-ordinator of the campaign, told Premier the Catholic Church is seen as "not being very Biblical", and they want to correct that misunderstanding.

"We have the Bible every day in mass and in the divine office, but we have a different approach to it from some sometimes other Christian denominations.

"So we're often seen as 'you can't quote from the Bible easily, and do you actually read it very often?' Yes, we do, but to articulate that it is actually central and foundational to our whole faith and the way we operate, we want to make that more visible and more tangible to the rest of the world."

The 15-month long campaign aims to help people understand how the Bible is relevant and vital in a faith journey.

The initiative includes a series of events to share God's word creatively and break barriers to the Bible.

One of the ways they plan to do that is make the Bible more accessible for people with disabilities in churches. They will also offer scripture tours around dioceses that will be a sort of arts festival.

"At the tour, we have what we're calling tents of encounter, where you can have conversations about the Bible and what it means for you today. And we've got inflatables and all sorts of creative banners," Dorrell added.

The God Who Speaks campaign mascot

"We have a variety of inclusive resources and formats to help engage Catholics at grassroots levels, including autism-friendly Christmas and Easter stories.

"We're also working on the relationship between trafficking and the Bible. And we're looking at what would be appropriate for our schools, bearing in mind we have three quarter of a million kids in Catholic schools in England and Wales."

The survey also revealed 45 per cent of respondents feel they don't have enough time to read the Bible, and just over half read the Bible daily outside of church.

Rt Rev Peter Brignall, Bishop of Wrexham, told Premier he hopes at the end of the campaign, the Church will understand the importance of engaging with the Bible every day.

"The Bible may not be simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word.

"[We're] trying to raise that awareness within the life of Catholics and the whole of the Christian Church of the place of the word, the vitality of the word in our world today."

He went on to add: "2020 will be the 1,600th Anniversary of the death of St Jerome - our most important Biblical scholar who translated the Bible from the Hebrew and the Greek into Latin.

"It's also the 10th Anniversary of Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) in which he proposes giving everyone access to Scripture as a democratic imperative; our Bishops are responding to this Papal invitation."

Cardinal Vincent Nichols will also launch the campaign in the National Gallery in London on 30 September by reflecting on three devotional paintings and highlighting the Bible stories they represent.

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