Thursday, October 06, 2005

THE SYNOD: Interventions

There've been showdowns in the Sala Stampa over the flow of information (or lack thereof) coming from the Aula.... Suffice it to say, I'm told it's made for some fireworks.

Most of the contentious stuff comes from the end-of-day "free-for-all," the spontaneous comments of Synod Fathers which are not published. After Levada's request on Monday for the Synod to explore rules about communion for pro-choicers, Cardinal Szoka got up to say that it was a policy which could not be determined universally, but properly belonged to the competence of "each country," a likely reference to the episcopal conferences.

Funny that Donald Wuerl advocated a similar policy a month back and got flamed for it.

Here's an interesting tie-in from our beloved Cardinal Re
The duties of the Bishop towards the Eucharist extend to the obligation of not allowing an abusive use of the practice of general or collective absolution in the Diocese, following the dispositions on this in the Motu proprio “Misericordia Dei” by Pope John Paul II.
An excerpt from Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, head of ICEL, is worth noting given the current battles over liturgical translations and pastoral priorities
Developments in some post-Conciliar approaches to Eucharistic catechesis have sought to provide a point of experiential access by employing the notion of the meal as the overriding category of understanding. A theology of the Eucharist viewed predominantly through the lens of the meal is deficiently devoid of the Eucharist's necessary and intrinsic link with Calvary and Christ's sacrifice.

One result of a catechesis of Eucharistic presence, but not of sacrifice, is difficulty in distinguishing the superiority of the celebration of the Mass over a Celebration of Word and Holy Communion. Reception of Holy Communion becomes the significant element, not being caught into Christ's once and for all sacrifice of Calvary through the Mass. I believe this to be problematic not least of all for those who are separated by the circumstances of their lives from receiving the sacraments.

An impoverished appreciation of the irreplaceable nature of Eucharistic sacrifice also has obvious implications for understandings of the priesthood. Facilitating the reception of Holy Communion becomes as relevant and important as being present at the celebration of the Mass. We need to re-connect the reception of Holy Communion with the offering of the Mass throug which we are caught up into Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Holy Communion properly belongs to the Mass as the fruit of a sacramental act in which we encounter Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
In this discussion the value of the place of Eucharistic adoration becomes all the more important for our prayer and contemplation. Christ's presence and his offering are united, flowing from and pointing towards the Mass, that sacramental celebration where Christ's offering of sacrifice and presence in Holy Communion are held in rightful unity.
As if we needed further proof that We Are Church are a bunch of crazies, Cardinal Meisner of Cologne -- WYD Host-Emeritus -- said that transubstantiation "constitutes the basis of Catholic faith."

The bishop of Regensburg -- the Ratzingers' home diocese -- quoted Martin Luther and countered with Momma Trent:
Luther says: “from a gift of God for us (testamentum seu sacramentum) was drawn for God a sacrifice of men (sacrificium seu bonum opus)”, (cap. babyl. WA 6,25).

The Council of Trent, on the contrary, asserts: “Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Last Supper,... left to his beloved Bride, the Church, a visible sacrifice, as required by the nature of man” (DS 1740).

What is the sacrifice “sicut hominum natura exigit”?

The sacrifice is the method corresponding to human nature where man welcomes the gift of God.
And, lastly for now, a solid talk from a bishop from Papua New Guinea
a) There is greater attention still needed for inculturation. In the liturgy of the Eucharist. meaningful adaptation of cultural elements, which creates a religious atmosphere, with appropriate language, symbols, hymns, gestures, etc., could be accepted as part of the liturgy.

b) While emphasizing the importance of the Eucharist pastoral needs leave people in a situation where different opinions are believed and expressed. Some feel that Eucharistic hospitality is important. The Eucharist is food for the hungry, not a reward for being good. They maintain that the Eucharist should not be an elitist sacrament, but should be a celebration of the generosity of God. Others feel that the Eucharist be given only to those who are adequately prepared. How should the Church explain these different opinions?

c) The relationship of Eucharist and Life should be integrated, the fonner effectively transforming and creating real communio among the people, which can be characterized by love, peace, joy, righteousness, etc, (cfr. Rom 14:17). But experiences of injustices, violence, corruption, poverty, etc, show that there is a separation between Eucharist and Life. Thus the real saving and transfonning presence of Jesus in the Eucharist should not be understood vaguely and taken lightly but Catholics should be serious in their faith with due respect, adoration and personal relationship.

d) The Church believes and teaches the Eucharist as the source and summit of her life. It is also important for her spiritual nourishment. How can this be true for communities who live in the remote villages that do no have the opportunity for frequent celebration and reception of the Eucharist? This poses the question, what kind of priest do we need in our situation? Does one need years of intellectual formation in philosophy and theology to give needed service to the poor people in the remote areas who may not equal his intellectual capabilities? The issue here is not on having more vocations, but on justice and equality for all the children of God having the right to make the Eucharist the center of their lives by celebrating and receiving it as often as they can. It is about preparing ministers who would be able to celebrate the Eucharist for the people. The minister for this kind of service would receive the necessary training required and then be officially ordained for this purpose only, and make things simpler, by adapting to the situation, such as ours, and make what the Church believe about the Eucharist true to the people. On the one hand we emphasize the importance of the Eucharist as the center of Christian lives, and on the other hand, we have rules that block the people from receiving the Eucharist. Should the Church allow for mature Christian men who are strong in faith, very committed, and have the respect of the people, to be easily trained to preside at the Eucharistic celebration, which will make it easy for the people to participate in the Eucharist, so that the importance and centrality of the Eucharist become true for the people?
And there again are the two words which will end up defining this Synod: viri probati.



Blogger RC said...

The Eucharist is indeed "food for the hungry", yet some who do not hunger for the way of the Lord Jesus -- and thus do not repent of serious sin -- also demand it. For them, the reception of the Sacrament cannot be life-giving: they have more fundamental needs that must be faced. To forget this is to forget the caution of St. Paul about receiving the Lord's Body and Blood unworthily. Awe, respect, and an acknowledgment of sin are always present in the reception of Holy Communion, along with a strong trust in the mercy of God.

7/10/05 01:05  

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