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On Oct. 26th Pope Benedict XVI granted an audience to the professors, students and personnel of the Pontifical Biblical Institute on the occasion of its centenary. He recalled how his predecessor Pope Pius X established the institute to have in Rome a center dedicated to specialized studies in the sacred Scriptures and related disciplines. Pope Benedict also thanked the Society of Jesus for its notable commitment both in money and personnel and for its significant contribution to the biblical renewal in the church through its teaching, scientific research and scholarly publications, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council’s “Constitution on Divine Revelation.” Well-known churchmen like Cardinal Augustin Bea, rector from 1930 to 1949, have trained more than 7,000 professors and leaders of biblical studies groups. In various ministries these experts now serve the church throughout the world.

The Biblicum, as the institute is often called, has also been open to dialogue with other disciplines and with different cultures and religions. The pope urged his audience to move forward with renewed dedication and awareness of the service that the church was asking of them, to bring the Bible closer to the people of God and to address in an appropriate manner the challenges that modern times bring to the new evangelization. Pope Benedict hopes that the sacred Scriptures will become in this secular world not only the soul of theology but the font of spirituality and invigorate the faith of all who believe in Christ.