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Learning English - Words in the News
06 October, 2008 - Published 13:47 GMT
Pope in Bible-reading marathon
Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict read the opening words of the book of Genesis live from his apartments in the Vatican at the start of a week-long Bible reading marathon on Italian television. David Willey reports:

Listen to the story

The Pope began this seven-day, non-stop Bible marathon by reading the story of the creation.

He wants Catholics to return to reading the Bible and feels that the scriptures are being neglected in the modern world. A Russian Orthodox prelate took over the Bible reading from the Pope after a few minutes and then it was the turn of an Italian Protestant leader who read with great emphasis the story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. One of Italy's most popular actors Roberto Benigni took over to read the story of Cain and Abel. The Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang Bach during the first interlude.

Rome's Chief Rabbi had originally been scheduled to read immediately after the Pope but he pulled out after complaining that the event had become, in his words, 'too Catholic'.

The television broadcast of the Bible will continue all week, day and night, on a satellite educational channel. Earlier in the day the Pope opened a synod of Catholic bishops from around the world who will be debating how to give a better knowledge of the Bible to Catholics. In his homily the Pope attacked the godless character of modern culture.

Listen to the words

seven day non-stop Bible marathon
week-long, without stopping, reading of the Bible

the story of the creation
the account or tale about how the world was first started

the scriptures are being neglected in the modern world
people today are not reading or taking notice of the holy writings of religions

Russian Orthodox prelate
high ranking official in the Christian Church which has many members in Greece, Russia and eastern Europe

with great emphasis
showing or saying that something is very important or worth giving attention to

forced or made to leave

Chief Rabbi
most senior leader and teacher in the Jewish religion

pulled out
stopped being involved in an activity (here, the bible-reading marathon)

speech about a piece of religious writing or religious advice about how people should think or behave

godless character of modern culture
people nowadays who are no longer interested in behaving according to the laws of any religion

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