Pope Francis distributes Bibles, asks Catholics to perform acts of charity
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/16/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis has given out tens of thousands of Bibles to people that he hopes they will keep and use daily. The gifts were distributed in St. Peter's Square following Mass. The gifts came with one string attached however, Pope Francis asked all people to perform an act of charity in return.
Bibles were handed out to all visitors regardless of their religious affiliation.
ROME, ITALY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis distributed tens of thousands of gospels to faithful visitors in St. Peter's Square following Mass on Sunday. Pope Francis asked all those who received a free copy of the Gospel to repay him by performing an act of charity.
Volunteers worked the square, distributing the Gospels by the armful.
This is similar to last fall when Pope Francis had rosaries distributed to the faithful in the square.
Tens of thousands of Bibles were distributed to the faithful on Sunday.
Pope Francis has advised all Catholics to carry a pocket copy of the Bible with them wherever they go and to read it often. Many Catholics are criticized for relying on the Sunday Missal for their scriptures which isn't what Pope Francis is calling for. Instead, the Bible, especially the Gospels, are required reading, in their entirety.
To help accomplish this mission, Your Catholic Voice Foundation has begun accepting donations for Bible distributions around the world. Catholic Shopping .com will soon have Bibles for sale to individuals as early as next week.
Your Catholic Voice Foundation aims to become the largest non-profit Catholic Bible distributor in the world. The organization's goal is no less than to provide every man, woman and child on the planet with a copy of the Bible.
This is consistent with the ancient tradition of the Church. During the medieval era, the Catholic Church ordered that the entire Bible, or at a minimum the four Gospels, be made available to the laity in every parish. This was an important command since during that time Bibles were produced by hand making them very expensive. Nonetheless, the edict was obeyed and scriptures were made available across Europe for people to read at will.
Unfortunately, Bibles were commonly stolen, leading many churches to chain their bibles to stands giving rise to the much-later Protestant myth that Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible. The true barrier for many Catholics during that era was simply literacy, hence the many paintings and icons which helped to communicate the stories of scriptures to the myriad faithful.
Today, most people are able to read and the Bible is printed in every language. The Bible is also the world's most printed book, followed by the Quran and "Quotations from Chaiman Mao." About 5 billion copies of the Bible have been printed.
Despite that number, there are nearly 8 billion people on the planet, leaving a shortfall of at least three billion, likely more. Fortunately, Bibles can be shared.
Still, the Catholic mission is to distribute a personal copy of the Bible to everybody, not just those in privileged nations. The gospel is intended for all people around the world.
The Bible is also critical for another reason. The Bible forms the natural cornerstone for moral education, which is key to ending corruption. The end of corruption will mean the end of poverty and the end of other plagues upon humanity such as world hunger.
This is a lofty goal, but like sainthood it's what we are all called to strive for. Now, Pope Francis has asked every Catholic to have a copy of the Bible with them and for every human on the planet to receive a copy. For those who already have Bibles, you are called to charity.
This is your chance to answer this new call and make a Bible available to those in need around the world. As we feed people and provide them with medicine, let us also tend to their spiritual health so they can break the chains that would otherwise condemn their generation and the next to poverty and dependency.
Very soon, Catholic Shopping .com will also feature Bibles that you will enjoy having for yourself or presenting to loved ones as gifts.
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Young People. That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.