Synod: Fourth Congregation

 The Fourth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began in the Synod Hall on Tuesday afternoon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and there were 242 Synod Fathers present. Following are excerpts from a number of the speeches given: CARDINAL JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO SJ, ARCHBISHOP OF BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA. "Our faithful people believe in the Eucharist as a Eucharistic Marian people; they unite affection for the Eucharist and affection for the Virgin, our Mother. At the school of Mary, Eucharistic woman, we again read and consider those passages in which John Paul II contemplated the Virgin as Eucharistic woman, and we see she is not alone, but 'together' with the people of God. ... Our faithful people possess the true 'Eucharistic attitude' of praise and thanksgiving. In recalling Mary, our faithful people take pleasure in being remembered by her, and this is a truly Eucharistic memorial of love. On this subject, I would like to repeat what John Paul II said in paragraph 58 of his 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia': 'The Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat'." BISHOP RIMANTAS NORVILA OF VILKAVISKIS, LITHUANIA. "Without the will or the possibility of sacramental reconciliation, it becomes impossible for Catholics to experience the most profound union with Jesus Christ and the Church, favoured by the Eucharist. Thus Christians reach a point where they cannot appreciate the value of the Eucharist as a source of grace and, little by little, they lose their bonds with the parish community and their closeness to the whole Church. At the same time, without the practice of reconciliation, subjectivism tends to increase, and it becomes more difficult to evaluate personal behaviour and religiosity. The decline of the practice of this Sacrament is very obvious throughout the world. ... Alongside the decrease in the practice of Penance, tendencies opposed to Christian faith often emerge. Religious necessity and past experiences of religious life tend to lead towards the search for new and broader paths. As we can all see, in today's societies, especially Western societies, esoteric, magic, occult and New Age tendencies have all become widespread. All this enables people to create new community and social ties, distancing them from the Church and Catholic thinking and weakening the faith. Looking further ahead, we see a deformation of consciences, changes that touch the whole personality. For the positive formation of conscience and Catholic understanding one of the best - I would say privileged - instruments is reconciliation and spiritual guidance. ... This will also help us all to approach the Eucharistic Jesus, and will help create deeper bonds with the Church. Penance brings us close to Christ; while the lack of Penance distances us from God." BISHOP GREGORIO NICANOR PENA RODRIGUEZ OF NUESTRA SENORA DE LA ALTAGRACIA EN HIGUEY, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. "No Christian community is built without having the Eucharist as its root and centre. It is vitally important that the celebration of the Eucharist be the centre and summit of the whole life of the community. In our communities, Eucharistic celebrations have been revitalised by the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist. The positive values of the Sacrament have been reinforced, and its centrality for the life of the community and for its mission in the world have been rediscovered. The process of maturing with respect to the Eucharist has been joyfully experienced by our faithful during the whole year and we hope this reality will last forever." ARCHBISHOP JAN PAWEL LENGA MIC. OF KARAGANDA, KAZAKHSTAN. "Among the liturgical innovations produced in the Western world, two in particular tend to cloud the visible aspect of the Eucharist, especially as regards its centrality and sacredness: the removal of the tabernacle from the centre and the distribution of communion in the hand. ... Communion in the hand is spreading and even prevailing as being easier, as a kind of fashion. ... Therefore, I humbly propose the following practical propositions: that the Holy See issue a universal regulation establishing the official way of receiving communion being in the mouth and kneeling; with communion in the hand to be reserved for the clergy alone. May bishops in places where communion in the hand has been introduced work with pastoral prudence to bring the faithful slowly back to the official rite of communion, valid for all local Churches." BISHOP LORENZO VOLTOLINI ESTI, AUXILIARY OF PORTOVIEJO, ECUADOR. "Refraining from the celebration of Mass on Friday in Lent would help the faithful to feel greater hunger for the Eucharistic food, and it would give priests the chance to put themselves at the disposal of the faithful for the Sacrament of Penance, thus establishing a relationship of equal dignity and necessity between the two Sacraments. ... I propose it be suggested to dioceses or National Conferences, or at least allowed to those that request it, that they establish a day of Eucharistic fasting, preferably during Lent and perhaps on Fridays. This should not be experienced as a day of Eucharistic absence but as a period of preparation for and expectation of the Eucharist. It should not be considered as an interruption of the practice of celebrating the Eucharist each day, but as a way to give worth to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, equally celebrated in Penance and in the Eucharist in the totality and complementarity of the two Sacraments." ARCHBISHOP JOHN ATCHERLEY DEW OF WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND. "Our Church would be enriched if we were able to invite dedicated Catholics, currently excluded from the Eucharist, to return to the Lord's table. There are those whose first marriages ended in sadness; they have never abandoned the Church, but are currently excluded from the Eucharist. There are Catholics married to people baptised in other Christian faiths. We acknowledge them to be baptised in Christ in the sacrament of marriage, but not in the reception of the Eucharist. This Synod must be pastoral in approach; we must look for ways to include those who are hungering for the Bread of Life. The scandal of those hungering for Eucharistic food needs to be addressed, just as the scandal of physical hunger needs to be addressed." Source: VIS

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