VATICAN CITY, OCT 6, 2005 (VIS) - The Sixth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began at 9 a.m. today. The Pope was present for the meeting, which was held in the Synod Hall in the Vatican. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and 243 Synod Fathers were present.
Below are extracts from some of the speeches given this morning:
BISHOP JAVIER ECHEVARRIA RODRIGUEZ, PRELATE OF THE PERSONAL PRELATURE OF OPUS DEI. "Paragraph 34 of the 'Instrumentum Laboris' highlights the importance of a sense of the sacred in celebrating the Eucharist. We should study practical ways to help the faithful to a clearer understanding of the sacredness of Eucharistic sacrifice. ... It would therefore be useful, on the basis of the Instruction 'Redemptionis sacramentum,' to try to remove abuses that harm the sacred nature of Eucharistic celebrations, and to rethink certain regulations which may be interpreted and applied in an abusive fashion. For example, I suggest reviewing the appropriateness of Eucharistic ceremonies in which there is such an excessive number of concelebrants as to make the dignified celebration of the liturgy impossible; and re-evaluating whether communion should actually be given to all participants in a Mass where great numbers of believers are present, when such general distribution may harm the dignity of worship."
BISHOP ARTHUR ROCHE OF LEEDS, ENGLAND. "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 through 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."
BISHOP EDWARD OZOROWSKI, AUXILIARY OF BIALYSTOK, POLAND. "The Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, brings the sacrifice of the cross into the present day. The sacrifice is the 'primum principium' of the Eucharist and creates a hierarchy of all the truths related thereto. ... Eucharistic teaching underlines many important themes: banquet, communion, listening to the word of God, sacrament, etc., however these themes lack a 'keystone.' One consequence of this is a certain 'protestantization' of the theology of the Eucharist, which such teaching reveals as being a beautiful rite, but one with little meaning for life. Yet it is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, to which man has access through the Eucharist, that is most important in this mystery. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross brought salvation to humanity. ... Thanks to the Eucharist, sacrifice in human life is transformed into the sacrifice of Christ. Only by walking the path of the cross can we reach the glory of the resurrection."
BISHOP ARNOLD OROWAE, COADJUTOR OF WABAG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA. "Experiences of injustice, violence, corruption, poverty, etc., show that there is a separation between the Eucharist and life. Thus the real saving and transforming 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 and adoration. ... How can this be true for communities who live in the remote villages that do not 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 much-needed service to poor people in remote areas who may not equal his intellectual capabilities? The issue here is not having more vocations, but 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. ... 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 becomes true for the people?"
ARCHBISHOP ANTHONY SABLAN APURON O.F.M. Cap., OF AGANA, GUAM. "In the Pacific, the scarcity of priests and the aggressiveness of the evangelistic sects are challenging the very survival of the Catholic faith. In my experience, the only answer to this double predicament is to 'form communities based on faith,' as Pope Benedict told the youth in Cologne. ... Today, the Church needs to make clearly visible the signs of the Eucharist: maybe the Church needs to restore the 'breadness' of the bread which becomes the Body of Christ to be eaten by all, and wine drunk by all which becomes the Blood of Christ. These signs fully and powerfully represent the reality that they signify and not just approximate them. ... I urge leaders of the Church today, to do everything possible to help people come to really know Jesus Christ through the signs of the Eucharist and the reality they signify."
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