10/04/2005, 00.00
VATICAN – SYNOD of the eucharist
Send to a friend

The Eucharist takes a central place in Cardinal Scola's report

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Synod must find out why, especially in the West, the "Eucharistic amazement" has decreased, why understanding it as "an unexpected and completely free event", "neither right nor possession", but God's gift that gives meaning to every life vocation is no longer what it was, and then "suggest some possible remedies".

The introductory report Relatio ante disceptationem by the Synod's General Relator Card Angelo Scola centred its focus on the encounter between God and man and the consequences of this event.  

"Birth, growing up, being educated, love, suffering and death are signed by the Eucharistic power". But in the Cardinal's general overview, the decrease in Eucharistic amazement depends, in the final analysis, on the finitude and on the sin of the subject.

Often however, the decrease finds fertile terrain in the fact that Christians celebrate the Eucharist as something distant from reality. The Christian community lives in abstractions; it no longer speaks to the concrete man, to his sentiments, his work, his rest, his needs for unity, truth, goodness, beauty.

And thus the Eucharistic action, separated from daily existence no longer accompanies the believer in the process of his personal development and his relationship with the universe and society.

The General Relator's analysis also included an examination of the Eucharist's "personal and community" dimensions.

The unitary vision of the Eucharist's action as the heart of Christian existence shows that "the life of every man is objectively vocation. Every state of life—marriage, ministerial priesthood, consecrated virginity—receives the final root of its own form from the Eucharistic mystery. Therefore, in the Eucharistic convocation, each believer finds the origin and the meaning of one's own vocation, which impresses a Eucharistic form to his existence."

Before the Eucharist, man cannot but acknowledge his limits and poverty. For this reason he is called to examine his conscience before approaching and to raise his gaze heavenward and go beyond his own horizontal dimension.

"Therefore, the announcement and the personal and community testimony of Jesus Christ to all men are necessary to inciting vital and open Christian communities."

For this to happen, a proper liturgical training addressed to the whole of God's people and to all those who are called to the ministries and to the offices during the celebration is needed.

To this end, the Cardinal spoke about issues such as "intercommunion" of the faithful belonging to different Churches and ecclesial communities, asking himself whether it constitutes "an adequate instrument to favour the path towards Christian unity".

The answer depends on the fact that the Eucharistic celebration "is by its nature the profession of integral faith in the Church" and insures its full unity.  Hence, "celebration or participation in the Eucharist that does not imply the respect of all the factors that concur to its fullness would end up, despite the best of intentions, by further dividing ecclesial communion and its origins. Therefore, intercommunion does not seem to be an adequate means to achieve Christian unity"

This does not exclude that, "under special circumstances and with respect for the objective conditions [51], one may admit to the Eucharistic communion, as panis viatorum, individual persons belonging to Churches or ecclesial communities that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church."

The concept of unity that stems from the Eucharist explains the Cardinal's answers to questions such as those raised about priests' celibacy and the communion for divorced people who remarry that some participants in the Synod brought up.

The issue of celibacy was raised in the context of the clergy's numerical decline.  "Being intimately tied to the Eucharist, ordained priesthood participates in its nature of a gift and cannot be the object of a right. If it is a gift, ordained priesthood asks to be constantly requested for. It has become very difficult to ascertain the ideal number of priests in the Church, from the moment in which this is not a "business" which should be equipped with a determined quota of team managers."

"In practical terms, the urgency, which cannot be postponed, of the salus animarum (the faithful's salvation) urges us to reiterate with strength, especially in this See the responsibility each particular Church has with regard to the Universal Church, and for that reason also to the other particular Churches. Therefore, the proposals made in this Synodal Assembly to identify the criteria for an adequate distribution of clergy in the world, will be very useful."

As for divorced people, "[b]eyond the considerably diverse situations of the various continents, it should be recognized that—especially in countries of a long Christian Tradition—there are not few baptized who have been united in sacramental matrimony through a mechanical adhesion to tradition. Many of these get divorced and remarried."

On the one hand, "[t]hose divorced and remarried need to be supported by the whole Christian community in the knowledge that they are not excluded from ecclesial communion;" on the other, in "the present Assembly we must further delve into and pay great attention to the complex and diversified cases, the objective modalities in verifying the hypothesis of nullity of canonical marriage; verification that, to respect the public, ecclesial and social nature of marital consent, can but, in turn, be imbued with a public, ecclesial and social characteristic."

Finally, "[t]o gather every Sunday, anywhere on earth, to have part of the same Body and the same Blood of Christ imposes the duty of a tenacious battle against all forms of marginalization and economic, social and political injustice to which our brothers and sisters, especially women and children, are submitted."

"The Christian community, conscious of its unique nature, should continue with the appropriate analysis and put into place the relevant distinctions, to see the adequate means to confront an evil which today has taken on world-wide dimensions and more than ever cries revenge in the presence of God . . . . It would seem evident that dealing with such a relevant question as is that of social justice, cannot be separated from the untiring duty of seeking peace. As well as this, the relationship peace-Eucharist, well expressed in the Latin rite of the fraternal embrace which precedes communion is based on the unbreakable conviction that "Christ is our peace"."

"The Eucharistic root of the Christian's work for peace will keep him safe from two grave temptations in this respect. That of utopic pacifism, on the one hand, and that of a type of Realpolitik on the other, which considers war inevitable." (FP)

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Synod for the Amazon: Card Stella hails the ‘great beauty’ of celibacy in a priest’s life
24/10/2019 17:56
Let the Church announce the Resurrection again
11/10/2005
Synod: the decline in confessions distances people from the Church
05/10/2005
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
Unanimously approved by the committee, 94-point final report to go to Synod for vote
24/10/2015