Friday, October 7, 2005

Synod on the Eucharist

On the Redistribution of Priests

BISHOP LUCIO ANDRICE MUANDULA OF XAI-XAI, MOZAMBIQUE. "On the basis of the supposition that the Eucharist is the 'source and summit of the life and mission of the Church,' and considering the fact that current statistics confirm the great shortage of priests in the world, I feel we must ask to what point an ecclesial community deprived of the Sacrament of the Eucharist can achieve the dynamism of life that enables it to transform itself into a missionary community, one capable of joyfully accomplishing the missionary project with which the Lord Jesus Himself entrusted us? ... For this reason we must insist on a fair redistribution of priests in the world, as Synod Fathers have so often asked. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to propose once again to the entire Church, and especially to priests, a 'Eucharistic spirituality' characterized by gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ, Who gives Himself as Eucharistic bread that we might all achieve the new life of grace."

The Witness of the Martyrs of the Eucharist

ARCHBISHOP LUCIAN MURESAN OF FAGARAS AND ALBA IULIA OF THE ROMANIANS, ROMANIA. "In Romania the communists tried to give man material bread alone, and sought to expel 'the bread of God' from society and from the human heart. ... Priests were imprisoned simply for being Catholic, so they could not celebrate or speak about God. Even lay people who participated in clandestine Masses suffered the same fate. In the famous period of 're-education' and 'brainwashing' in the Romanian prisons, to compromise priests, to ridicule the Eucharist and to destroy human dignity, the persecutors made them celebrate with excrement, but they never succeeded in destroying their faith. ... How many humiliations, when during winters at minus 30 degrees they were undressed for body searches; how many days spent in the famous 'black room' as a punishment for having been caught in prayer? No one will ever know, ever. These modern martyrs of the 20th Century offered all their suffering to the Lord for dignity and human freedom. ... There is no lack of hope, and I think first of all of the deep religious sense of our people, the deep devotion with which they approach liturgical celebrations and the Eucharist."

For Universal Perpetual Adoration

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES MAUNG BO, S.D.B., OF YANGON, MYANMAR. "Over 2,500 parishes around the world now have perpetual Eucharistic adoration. About 500 in the Philippines, the United States has about 1,100 chapels of perpetual adoration, the Republic of Ireland about 150, South Korea has about 70 and lesser numbers in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Holy Father, if the perpetual adoration chapels were to be established in all the dioceses in the world and in all possible parishes, what a magnificent result that would be for the Eucharistic Year. ... This is true: until the Church cries out that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is worthy of perpetual adoration for all He has done for our salvation, she will continue to be defeated by her enemies. I believe that the best, the surest and the most effective way of establishing everlasting peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of perpetual adoration of the blessed Sacrament."

Communion and Politicians

CARDINAL ALFONSO LOPEZ TRUJILLO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY. "Can access to Eucharistic communion be allowed to people who deny human and Christian principles and values? Politicians and lawmakers have great responsibility. The so-called personal option cannot be separated from sociopolitical duty. This is not a 'private' problem, the Gospel, the Magisterium and true reason have to be accepted! ... The Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, the Lord of the family, of life, of love, of the alliance that unites husband and wife. God is the Creator of human dignity. The question cannot be resolved conjecturally by following the various attitudes of different countries, because the conscience of Christians and ecclesial communion would become obscured and confused. All these questions are clarified and illuminated by the Word of God in the light of the Church's Magisterium. ... Politicians and lawmakers must know that, in proposing or defending iniquitous laws, they have a serious responsibility, and they must find a remedy to the evil done ... in order to have access to communion with the Lord, Who is the Way, Truth and Life."

Problems with Married Priests, Distribution of Priests, Necessity of Married Priests
(I think he covers all the bases)

CARDINAL NASRALLAH PIERRE SFEIR, PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH OF THE MARONITES, LEBANON. "The Maronite Church admits married priests. Half of our diocesan priests are married. Yet it must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious. A married priest has the duty to look after his wife and family, ensuring his children receive a good education and overseeing their entry into society. ... Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners; his bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family. Despite this, married priests have perpetuated the faith among people whose difficult lives they shared, and without them this faith would no longer exist. On the other hand, celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church. How can it be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity. Of course a priest, once ordained, can no longer get married. Sending priests to countries where they are lacking, taking them from a country that has many, is not the ideal solution if one bears in mind the question of tradition, customs and mentality. The problem remains."

Need for Liturgical Ministers to Set Aside Ego

CARDINAL FRANCIS ARINZE, PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS. "Focussing on the Eucharistic celebration, 'ars celebrandi' refers to both interior and exterior participation on the part of the celebrating priest and on the part of the congregation. ... 'Ars celebrandi' helps the priest to have a faith?filled and disciplined posture at Mass. On the one hand, he cannot isolate himself from the presence of the people. On the other hand he should not become a showman who projects himself. The liturgy is not primarily what we make but what we receive in faith. On the part of other contributors to the Eucharistic celebration ? the altar servers, the readers, the choir, etc ? 'ars celebrandi' demands good preparation, faith, humility and focussing attention on the sacred mystery rather than on self. When the Mass is celebrated in this spirit it nourishes faith and manifests it powerfully - 'lex orandi, lex credendi.' With a genuine understanding of the role of liturgical norms, such a celebration is free of banalization and desacralization. It sends the people of God home properly nourished, spiritually refreshed and dynamically sent to evangelize."

Importance of the Homily

ARCHBISHOP CORNELIUS FONTEM ESUA, COADJUTOR OF BAMENDA, CAMEROON. "In order to highlight the importance of the liturgy of the Word during the Eucharistic celebration, in the first place, there should be in our parishes a proper organization of biblical pastoral ministry. ... Secondly, the importance of the homily, which breaks the Word of God for the consumption of the faithful, should be emphasized. It links the Word to the Eucharist and enables the participants to continue to live the Eucharist, to witness it in charity and to go on mission at the end of the celebration. ... Without the homily the Eucharistic celebration could be considered a magical act. It is the homily which makes the Christian celebration of the Eucharist different from the sacrifices of African traditional religions which are often accompanied by invocations and incantations, sometimes in languages not understood by the participants. ... In some particular Churches in Africa, for example in many dioceses in Cameroon, the liturgy of the Word is introduced by a solemn lectionary or bible procession which begins immediately after the opening prayer and not just before the proclamation of the Gospel. The assembly is thus invited to listen to the Word of God with attention and reverence just as they do when a traditional ruler addresses them or when a message from him is proclaimed to them."

Question About Former Priests

BISHOP DENIS GEORGE BROWNE OF HAMILTON IN NEW ZEALAND. "It is important for us as a Church to remember that small communities of Catholic people have as much right to participate in the Eucharist as their brothers and sisters in large busy parishes. We, as Church, need to be continually open to finding ways in which the Eucharist can become easily available to all of our faithful people. 'Sir,' they said, 'give us that bread always.' We need to be sensitive to the questions that the faithful often ask us, for example: 'Why does it seem to be possible for former married priests of the Anglican Communion to be ordained and function as Catholic priests while former Catholic priests who have been dispensed from their vow of celibacy are unable to function in any pastoral way?'"