Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Synod on the Eucharist

From the Orthodox Church

First the Greek...

METROPOLITAN JOHANNIS ZIZIOULAS OF PERGAMO, GREECE. "It is a great honor for me to be given the opportunity to address this venerable episcopal Synod and bring to it the fraternal greetings and best wishes of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Church of Constantinople. The invitation to our Church to send a fraternal delegate to this Synod is a gesture of great ecumenical significance. We respond to it with gratitude and love. We Orthodox are deeply gratified by the fact that your Synod also regards the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. It is extremely important that Roman Catholics and Orthodox can say this with one voice. There may still be things that separate our two Churches but we both believe that the Eucharist is the heart of the Church. It is on this basis that we can continue the official theological dialogue of our two Churches, which is now entering a new phase. Eucharistic ecclesiology can guide us in our efforts to overcome a thousand years of separation. For it is a pity to hold the same conviction of the importance of the Eucharist but not be able to share it at the same table."

Then from the Russian and Preparation for Reception of the Eucharist

REV. FILIPPO VAYLTSEV OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF MOSCOW, RUSSIA. "The Eucharist is the central and most important point of the life of the Church and of every Christian. Hence, the weakening of Eucharistic awareness leads to a destruction of ecclesiastic awareness, ... and to errors in the understanding of Christian values. ... We would be very pleased if our experience of Eucharistic life, both past and present, proves useful and helpful to the Roman Catholic Church. ... It must not be forgotten that preparation for communion in the Russian Orthodox Church also includes, apart from inner preparation, 'The Rule' (strict fasting for three days, visits to Church during these three days, prayers for communion, and special Eucharistic fasting after midnight), and Confession is also compulsory. However, these strict rules are seen by the Church not as an obligation, but as a measure that was formed historically in accordance with tradition, and that people apply to themselves."

From the Syrian Orthodox

MOR SEVERIUS MALKE MOURAD OF THE SYRO-ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE, SYRIA. "In our Syrian Orthodox Church, we celebrate the divine liturgy in Syriac-Aramaic, the language of our Lord Jesus; and during the divine liturgy the very same words which Jesus said in the Upper Room are recited. And the priest who celebrates this Sacrament, has to celebrate it alone. I feel proud that I live in the Monastery of St. Mark in the Old City of Jerusalem, where Jesus had His Last Supper. ... The presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is not only His bodily presence, but all His fullness in humanity and divinity. So Lord Jesus is present in all parts of the two elements. ... St. Paul the Apostle exhorts the believer to spiritually prepare himself before he comes to receive holy communion with faith, reverence and a pure conscience, and should cleanse his body and observe the pre-communion fast at 12 midnight. We used to give the sacraments of holy communion to the children immediately after they receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation."

From the Anglicans Noting the Public Communion of Brother Roger (a Protestant)
Note to readers: This happened at the funeral of John Paul and Brother Roger received Communion from then Cardinal Ratzinger...

BISHOP JOHN HIND OF CHICHESTER, ENGLAND. "I bring greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury and request for prayers for Anglicans at a difficult time. ... When is it appropriate to share holy communion? How should we interpret the public giving of communion to the Protestant Frere Roger Schutz? The Eucharist is not primarily a matter or rite or ceremonial but a living of the new life in Christ. If it is to be truly Christian, there must be criteria for mutual recognition. No less important is the extent to which we suffer with each other. ... In the Eucharist it is not our fellowship that is being celebrated, but our reconciliation with God which creates our fellowship. ... If the Eucharist is itself 'Mysterium fidei' then it must follow that our fellowship or communion in the Church is also a 'mysterion,' in other words, speaking something we cannot understand by reason alone. Finally, being united with Christ in His self?offering orients us not only towards God but also towards every single one of our human brothers and sisters, for whom in their amazing diversity the Son of God gave His life."

Against Married Priests

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. "Many Synod Fathers have spoken of the difficulties experienced by the Church throughout the world. Some of these are caused by our own mistakes. Vatican Council II brought great blessings and substantial gains, for example, continuing missionary expansion and the new movements and communities. But it was also followed by confusion, some decline, especially in the West, and pockets of collapse. Good intentions are not enough. ... My recommendations to the Synod on how to deal with these 'shadows' presuppose the maintenance in the Latin Church of the ancient tradition and life?giving discipline of mandatory celibacy for the diocesan clergy as well as the religious orders. To loosen this tradition now would be a serious error, which would provoke confusion in the mission areas and would not strengthen spiritual vitality in the First World. It would be a departure from the practice of the Lord Himself, bring significant practical disadvantages to the work of the Church, e.g. financial, and weaken the sign value of the priesthood; it would weaken, too, the witness to loving sacrifice, and to the reality of the Last Things, and the rewards of Heaven. ... Communion services or liturgies of the Word should not be substituted for Mass, when priests are available. Such unnecessary substitutions are often not motivated by a hunger for the Bread of Life, but by ignorance and confusion or even by hostility to the ministerial priesthood and the Sacraments."

From Turkey

BISHOP LUIGI PADOVESE O.F.M. Cap., APOSTOLIC VICAR OF ANATOLIA, TURKEY. "I speak as bishop of the Church of Anatolia, an area that saw the first great expansion of Jesus' message and in which Christians are now reduced to just a few thousand. The only Christians in the city of Tarsus, homeland of the Apostle Paul, are three nuns who welcome pilgrims; pilgrims who must get a permit in order to celebrate the Eucharist in the only remaining church-museum. The same is true for the church-museum of St. Peter in Antioch. In that city was born John Chrysostom, the 16th centenary of whose death in exile falls in 2007. With his homilies, Chrysostom reminds us that the Eucharist was and is the privileged place for announcing Christ. His memory, as well as the more recent recollection of bishops such as Clemens von Galen and Oscar Romero, is a living testimony of the bond between the memorial of Jesus' sacrifice and the people who found therein the motivation and strength for a proclamation undertaken with intelligence and courage and frankness."

Presenting Christ Boldly to the World!

MOYSES LAURO DE AZEVEDO FILHO, FOUNDER AND MODERATOR GENERAL OF THE SHALOM CATHOLIC COMMUNITY, BRAZIL. "One of the most important fruits of the Eucharist which we must cultivate is 'parresia.' Parresia is a Greek word which in the New Testament takes on the meaning of audacity in proclaiming Christ. In the period of carnival, in Brazil, when youngsters are exposed to serious dangers, the Catholic Shalom Community promoted ... a moment of adoration before the Most Holy Sacrament. It was impressive to see what many consider impossible: one hundred thousand young people in deep adoring silence before the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This was a prelude to Cologne. Even more impressive were the fruits of this and of other actions of this type: many conversions, a large number of confessions, commitment to the Church with a return to participation in Mass, an awakening of priestly vocations, and love and service to the poor. We discovered that the best reply to the challenge of secularization is to present Christ with audacity!"