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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Synod: seventh and eighth Congregation reports
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 The Seventh General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began at 9am today, in the presence of the Pope and of 245 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez. At the beginning of the second part of the morning session, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, asked those present to pray for the victims of the hurricane that struck Central America. He then announced that the Holy Father, consenting to the request of various Synod Fathers, has ordered that from 5pm to 6pm on Monday, October 17, an hour of Eucharistic adoration will be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica. Below are extracts from some of the speeches given during this morning's session: 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." 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." 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 evangelise." 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 organisation of biblical pastoral ministry. ... Secondly, the importance of the homily, which breaks the Word of God for the consumption of the faithful, should be emphasised. 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." 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?'" CARDINAL JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, ARCHIVIST AND LIBRARIAN OF HOLY ROMAN CHURCH. "In the western world at least, genuflection is being used less and less. The practice of kneeling during the celebration of Mass has practically disappeared. Churches are often closed during the week, and visiting the Most Holy Sacrament is often impossible. It would be as well to remember the testimony of individual Christians, and of communities, who do not hesitate to kneel in order to affirm the greatness and closeness of God in the Eucharist. Before the Eucharist, man recognizes his need for Another to give him new energies for the battle of life. A world without adoration would be a world made only in man's measure. A world that is no more than a world of production would make life unbearable. A world without adoration would not only be irreligious, it would be an inhuman world!" ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM JOSEPH LEVADA, PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH. "A certain artificial opposition between homilies with doctrinal characteristics and those with liturgical ones has prevented the catechetical formation of the faithful, making it difficult for them to practice their faith in the modern secularised world. This false dichotomy can be overcome only by showing how the doctrinal aspect is that which draws the most profound meaning from Sacred Scripture, in a similar way to the liturgy itself, bringing us to meet Christ, our Redeemer. Thus I propose that the Synod makes its own the recommendation (cf. no. 47) to prepare a pastoral program - not to be imposed but to be proposed to those who preach during Sunday Eucharistic celebrations - on the basis of a three-year partition of the lectionary, linking the proclamation of the doctrine of the faith to the biblical texts in which such truths are rooted, and making reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to its recently published Compendium." The Eighth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began at 4.30pm today in the Vatican's Synod Hall. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, and 243 Synod Fathers participated. The Holy Father was present from 6pm. Following are excerpts from a number of the speeches given: 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' characterised by gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ, Who gives Himself as Eucharistic bread that we might all achieve the new life of grace." CARDINAL ANTONIO MARIA ROUCO VARELA, ARCHBISHOP OF MADRID, SPAIN. "Vatican Council II brought together, in a beautifully concise theological synthesis, the doctrinal and pastoral fruits of the liturgical, spiritual and apostolic renewal of Church life in the first half of the twentieth century. ... (But) attention must also be given to the antithesis of the Council, as represented by radically secularised interpretations of the content, significance and ways of celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrament 'fons et culmen totius vitae christianae.' Nor must we forget the obstacle presented by the questioning of liturgical reform on the part of small groups. And so, we have reached the moment for a new doctrinal and pastoral synthesis in order to clarify and overcome this antithesis: by way of a Paschal renovation of the doctrine, catechesis and practical experience of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, wherein Christ's sacrifice and priestly oblation are conveyed ... by way of canonical and pastoral education ... that eliminates subjectivism and arbitrariness in the celebration of the Eucharist; ... and by fomenting a Eucharistic spirituality based on the habit and experience of adoring the Sacrament par excellence, 'the Sacrament of the Love of Loves'." CARDINAL GODFRIED DANNEELS, ARCHBISHOP OF MALINES-BRUXELLES, BELGIUM. "This Eucharistic Synod has two objectives. In the first place, we wish to reflect upon and deepen our knowledge of the richness of the mystery of the Eucharist. ... The second objective is to work so that all this richness may take root in a postmodern culture which, ... at first view, is unfavourable to such a seed. And yet our culture is full of paradoxes. ... It is difficult for modern man to perceive the invisible, yet there exists real interest in what lies beyond the horizon, beyond the realm of the senses, beyond the rational, beyond efficiency and productivity. Modern man is, above all, a man of action, yet the same man also conceals within a great thirst for gratitude, for giving; he does not like rites because of their repetitiveness and monotony, yet he is always inventing his own rites. Christian eschatology appears to be forgotten, even deceptive, yet never has there been so much thirst for a better world, nor so much need for hope. ... Modern man wants to move, and our liturgies have frequently become very active, even activist. But we forget that many of our contemporaries have a real need for silence. Not always have we well understood the meaning of 'actuosa participatio,' which also implies silence in the face of the mystery. All these elements of our culture carry within themselves the seeds for an evangelization of that culture." 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." BISHOP NESTOR NGOY KATAHWA OF KOLWEZI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO. "In a country such as Congo-Kinshasa, the Catholic faithful must be 'initiated to bring their sufferings to the altar,' sufferings which are those of all the people and which have existed for decades. The frustration that arises from injustice and social inequalities, the rancor of living in extreme poverty on an extremely rich soil and under soil, scandalously exploited for the well being of others, the wars that lead to destruction and forced displacement, the upheavals of tribal and ethnic hatred, to mention just a few examples, are tragedies that mark the way of the cross of the people of the Congo. Being the victims and, at the same time, 'authors of their own misery,' the people must be illuminated 'by the mystery of the sacrificed Body and spilt Blood' to find grace of conversion, purification of sin, sincerity of reconciliation with God and with others, and commitment to fight evil under all forms and in all areas of public and private life. May all the people of the Congo, together with the pastors of the Church, find in the Eucharist the necessary consolation and strength, the source of their hopes for improving the country as quickly as possible." ARCHBISHOP CHARLES MAUNG BO, S.D.B., OF YANGON, MYANMAR. "Over 2,500 parishes around the world now have perpetual Eucharistic adoration. bout 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." Source: VIS
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