10/06/2005, 00.00
VATICAN – SYNOD ON THE EUCHARIST
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The Bread of Life vs the culture of death

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The secularisation of the West shall also pass 'like winter turns into spring" said a Latin American bishop, expressing both hope and certainty that the current trend will receded into memory.

Similar certainty in another Latin American prelate who spoke about the 'lights of the Eucharist"; lights that a Vietnamese bishop found in the vitality of the Church in his native country (see elsewhere in AsiaNews); lights that an Arab bishop appealed to when he called for greater focus on the "Church of the Arabs"; lights that shine on the Eucharist as a sign of peace in a world marked by violence and a sign of life in world faced with a culture of death that lives in terrorism but also abortion; lights that also put the spotlight on the link between the Eucharist and nature.

"Church of the Arabs"
Stressing the link between the Eucharist and the Church's evangelising mission, Grégoire III Laham, the Greek-Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, said that "after September 11, 2001, with the war against Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the rise in Islamic fundamentalism and the expanding phenomenon of terrorism, it is very important to remind Arab Christians about their role as Church "of the Arabs", in the context of Islam, to which they are historically linked ("Church of Islam"). Such a reminder would encourage Christians in the Arab world and in Islamic countries, and would be very favourably received in these countries and around the world."

As for the link between the "Eucharist and peace", the Patriarch invited his peers to remember Jerusalem and Palestine, spiritual home to all Christians, and say a word for peace in the Holy City and the Holy Land, key to peace in the Near East and in the whole world, which for us Christians in the Arab world is of the greatest importance for it is it that can preserve a Christian presence in this Arab world."

Bread of Life and Culture of Death

For Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo, Archbishop of Cali (Colombia), the Eucharist is the answer to the negative signs of contemporary culture. First of all, in contrast with the culture or anti-culture of death which traffics in arms, builds massive systems of destruction, legitimizes abortion, authorizes research using human embryos, Jesus defines and gives himself to us as the 'Bread of Life'."

"Secondly," the prelate explained, "our culture is marked by hatred and terrorism: September 11, March 11, the London Underground . . . The Eucharist is the enduring possibility that we can reach reconciliation with God and our brothers, and the invitation to reconcile ourselves with one another before offering worship to the Lord. This is why the 'rite of peace', renewed in the liturgical reform, is so deeply felt in many communities."

The Eucharist and protecting nature

Guatemalan Bishop Gabriel Peñate Rodríguez, Apostolic Vicar in Izabal, highlighted the link between the Eucharist and the protection of nature.

"Mining," he said, "is threatening Guatemala. Companies from the developed world have been licensed to exploit the riches of the earth but they do not protect the environment, nor do they respect the rights of indigenous communities, but instead fail to fairly redistribute profits giving only one per cent in royalties. This is why we take courage from the position of the Church in Guatemala when it affirms in Instrumentum Laboris, nº 3 that "since the Eucharist is the summit towards which all creation tends, the Eucharist is the response to the concerns of the contemporary world, even those of ecology". (FP) 

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