1. The Executive Committee (EC) of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF) met in Sant Anselmo in Rome from March 9-10, 2012. In conformity with the CBF Constitution the quorum of five member representatives, including the EC Moderator, was obtained with the presence of Bishop Telesphor Mkude (EC Moderator), Bishop Vincenzo Paglia (CBF President), Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf, OSB (Chairman of the Administrative Board), Father Giuseppe De Virgilio and Father Cesare Bissoli, SDB (Associate Member Representative). Father Bissoli represents the Istituto di Catechetica de la Università Pontificia Salesiana which was nominated as an interim member in replacement of the Catholic Bible Foundation of South Africa that had resigned from the EC in November 2011. This nomination was effected through a vote by mail called for by the EC Moderator in accordance with the CBF constitution and bylaws. The process of the establishment of the quorum was accompanied by the counsel of eminent canon lawyers.
2. In spite of the difficulties with which the EC has been confronted in the organization of its work, the Committee is highly conscious of the importance of the upcoming Bishops’ Synod on the New Evangelization. Consequently, the EC has decided to produce a position paper on the role of the Bible in the New Evangelization, particularly in light of the option of the “Biblical animation of all pastoral action” (cf. Verbum Domini, 73). This statement shall be founded upon the fundamental concerns expressed during the Synod of 2008 on “the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” and elaborate propositions concerning the role of the reading of the Bible in the New Evangelization, in dialogue with various members of the CBF world fellowship. Fathers Cesare Bissoli and Giuseppe De Virgilio and the Acting General Secretary have been entrusted with the realization of this important project.
3. The EC has proceeded to the election of a new Administrative Board composed of Bishop Dr. Bernhard Haßlberger (Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Munich), chairman; Prelate Dr. Bertram Meier (Canon of the Diocese of Augsburg); vice chairman; Prof. Wolfgang Simler (retired President of the Bavarian Head Office of the Deutsche Bundesbank), Treasurer pro tempore; Father Jan Stefanów, SVD, member. The Administrative Board shall be further enlarged within the next few weeks in order to ensure a broad base of religious congregations and the representation of the funding agencies. The new Administrative Board will take up its functions on April 1. The EC expresses its sincere gratitude to the Archdiocese of Munich and the Diocese of Augsburg for accepting to actively support the CBF through their presence in the AB. The EC insists upon thanking the members of the outgoing Administrative Board for their selfless service during the past years.
4. The EC has requested unanimously that Bishop Vincenzo Paglia continue in his functions through the next Plenary Assembly. The procedure for the preparations of an election of a CBF President for the next period is now in preparation.
5. The procedure for searching for a preferably full time General Secretary has been entrusted to a “search committee”, made up of Father Cesare Bissoli SDB, Bishop Dr. Haßlberger and Prelate Dr. Bertram Meier, with the logistic support of the Acting General Secretary. The target date for the conclusion of this process is the end of 2012.
6. Prof. Thomas P. Osborne has been asked to pursue his mandate of Acting General Secretary until the appointment of a new General Secretary.
7. The terms of office of the present coordinators shall expire on March 31, 2012. Preliminary decisions in view of the appointment of coordinators for the period beginning April 1 shall now be finalized; the final decisions in this regard shall be made by the EC before the end of March.
8. The EC treated various administrative questions during its meeting, including the approval of the reports of the Acting General Secretary and of the CBF treasurer, first steps to the development of a diversified and broad based fund raising strategy, the organization of the CBF General Secretariat in Sankt Ottilien, etc. The central office is being streamlined, in function of the redefinition of the essential missions and essential tasks.
9. Father Cesare Bissoli, SDB was elected Vice Moderator of the Executive Committee in replacement of the former vice moderator who had resigned his EC membership on January 9, 2012.
10. The United Chinese Catholic Biblical Association presented its resignation in the EC effective March 7, 2012. The EC has acknowledged this decision; in order to ensure the full functionality of the EC, it was decided to nominate an interim member in replacement of the UCCBA. The Catholic Biblical Foundation of South Africa accepted the vote of the EC in this regard and thus returns to the EC with renewed confidence.
11. The Executive Committee decided to hold the next plenary assembly in 2015 (rather than in 2014) in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dei Verbum. Several cities are presently under examination as locations for this highly significant assembly. This will allow the finalization of the revision of the constitution (revision, consultation, voting, approval by the Holy See) in advance of the assembly and takes into account the present economical situation of the CBF, only three years after the extraordinary plenary assembly.
12. The intensive activities of the central boards and officers of the past few months in line with the decisions of the Ariccia Plenary Assembly have allowed the CBF to slowly regain the confidence of its members and refocus itself on its basic mission of contributing to the endeavor of the Catholic Church to contribute to allowing the Word of God to inspire all the life of the Church. Many signs of this development can be noted: requests for admission as new members coming from Spain, Australia and India; the progressive resumption of the payment of membership fees and the continuing generosity of German benefactors, as well as the support of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; the support of the German Church in Munich and Augsburg; the widely acclaimed publication of the electronic version of the Bulletin Dei Verbum: BDV digital. In this regard, an editorial board and subregional correspondents shall be put into place in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of this unique and important publication for biblical pastoral ministry.
13. With the good will and support of all of the stakeholders, actors and supporters of the CBF fellowship, it shall be possible to redevelop the constructive and responsible collaboration that have for so long characterized the life and work of the Federation. Important challenges and projects are urgently awaiting our commitment and experience. Certainly the preparation of a CBF contribution to the upcoming Bishops’ Synod shall require great efforts from us all, as will the establishment of a greater presence of the CBF in North America and an even more intensive collaboration in the various CBF regions and subregions. Let us now turn our attention to these challenges and commit ourselves, our energy and our hearts to sharing the Gospel of Peace, God’s Eternal Word, among ourselves and with all men and women of good will.
The Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Federation
Sant’Anselmo, Rome, March 10, 2012