Documents Submitted to the Supreme Pontiff
Submitted to the consideration of the Supreme Pontiff, in addition to the documents on the Eucharist, source and summit of the life and mission of the Church, relative to this Synod, namely the "Lineamenta," the "Instrumentum laboris," the reports "ante and post disceptationem" and the texts of the interventions, both those presented in the Hall in writing, as well as the reports of the minor circles and their discussions, [are] above all some specific propositions that the Fathers have regarded of particular importance.
The Synodal Fathers humbly request that the Holy Father take advantage of the opportunity to publish a document on the sublime mystery of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church.
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The Liturgical Reform of Vatican II
The Synodal Assembly recalled with gratitude the beneficial influence that the liturgical reform carried out since the Second Vatican Council has had for the life of the Church. It has highlighted the beauty of the Eucharistic action that shines in the liturgical rite. Abuses were verified in the past; they are not even lacking today, although they have diminished greatly. However, such incidents cannot darken the goodness and validity of the reform, which still has riches that are not totally explored; rather, they call for greater care in regard to the "ars celebrandi," which favors "actuosa participatio."
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The People of God Educated in Faith in the Eucharist
Faith in the Eucharist
The Novelty of the Paschal Mystery
When instituting the Eucharist, Jesus created a radical novelty: He fulfilled in himself the new and eternal Covenant. Jesus inscribed, in the context of the Jewish ritual supper -- which concentrates in the memorial of the past event of deliverance from Egypt, its present importance and future promise -- his total surrender. The true immolated Lamb sacrificed himself once and for all in the paschal mystery and is able to liberate man from sin and the darkness of death forever. The Lord himself offered us the essential elements of the "new worship." The Church, inasmuch as Bride and led by the Holy Spirit, is called to celebrate the redeeming sacrifice of her Bridegroom in history and makes it present sacramentally in all cultures. This "great mystery" is celebrated in the liturgical forms that the Church, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, develops in time and space.
In the celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus, substantially present, introduces us through his Spirit in the Pasch: We pass from death to life, from slavery to freedom, from sadness to joy. The celebration of the Eucharist reinforces in us this paschal dynamism and consolidates our identity. With Christ, we are able to overcome hatred with love, violence with peace, pride with humility, egoism with generosity, discord with reconciliation, despair with hope. United to Jesus Christ, dead and risen, we can carry his cross each day and follow him, in view of the resurrection of the flesh, following the example of the martyrs of antiquity and of our days. The Eucharist, as paschal mystery, is pledge of the future glory and from it is already born the eschatological transformation of the world. Celebrating the Eucharist, we anticipate this joy in the great communion of saints.
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The Eucharist is a gift that springs from the love of the Father, from the filial obedience of Jesus carried to the point of the sacrifice of the cross, made present for us in the sacrament, of the power of the Holy Spirit that, called over the gifts by the prayer of the Church, transforms them into the body and blood of Jesus. In it is revealed fully the mystery of the love of God for humanity and his plan of salvation is fulfilled, characterized by absolute gratitude, which responds solely to his promises, fulfilled beyond all measure.
The Church receives, worships, celebrates this gift with tremulous and faithful obedience, without arrogating to herself any powers of availability which are not the ones that Jesus entrusted to her so that the sacramental rite is realized in history.
Under the cross, the Most Holy Virgin unites herself completely to the Savior's sacrificial gift. By her immaculate conception and fullness of grace, Mary inaugurates the participation of the Church in the Redeemer's sacrifice.
The faithful "have the right to receive abundantly from the sacred pastors the spiritual goods of the Church, above all the aids of the Word of God and the sacraments" (LG, 37; cf. CCC Canon 213; CCEO Canon 16), when the law does not prohibit it.
To such a right, corresponds the duty of the pastors to do everything possible so that access to the Eucharist is not hindered in practice, showing in this regard intelligent care and great generosity. The Synod appreciates and is grateful to priests who, even at the cost at times of great and risky sacrifices, assure to Christian communities this gift of life and educate them to celebrate it in truth and fullness.
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"Recognizing the Manifold Fruits of Eucharistic Adoration"
Eucharist and Church
The relationship between the Eucharist and the Church is understood in the great Christian tradition as constitutive of the being and acting of the Church herself, to the point that Christian antiquity designated with the same words, "Corpus Christi," the body born of the Virgin Mary, the Eucharistic body and the ecclesial body of Christ.
This unity of the body is manifested in the Christian communities and is renewed in the Eucharistic act that unites and differentiates them in particular Churches, "in quibus et ex quibus una et unica Ecclesia catholica existit" (LG, 23). The term "catholic" expresses the universality stemming from the unity that the Eucharist, celebrated in each Church, fosters and builds.
Thus, in the Eucharist, the particular Churches have, in the universal Church, the task of making visible their own unity and diversity. This bond of fraternal love reveals the Trinitarian communion. The Councils and Synods express in history this fraternal aspect of the Church. By this very ecclesial dimension, the Eucharist establishes a strong bond of unity of the Catholic Church with the Orthodox Churches, which have preserved the genuine and integral nature of the mystery of the Eucharist. The ecclesial character of the Eucharist might also be a privileged point in the dialogue with the communities born with the Reformation.
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The Synod of Bishops -- recognizing the manifold fruits of Eucharistic Adoration in the life of the People of God, in a large part of the world -- forcefully encourages that this form of prayer -- so often recommended by the venerable Servant of God John Paul II -- be maintained and promoted, according to the traditions, both in the Latin Church as well as in the Oriental Churches. It recognizes that this practice springs from Eucharistic action that, in itself, is the greatest act of adoration of the Church, which enables the faithful to participate fully, consciously, actively and fruitfully in the sacrifice of Christ, according to the desire of the Second Vatican Council, and refers to the same. Thus conceived, Eucharistic adoration keeps the faithful in their Christian love and service to others, and promotes greater personal sanctity as well as that of the Christian communities. In this connection, the renewal of Eucharistic adoration, also among young people, is manifested today as a promising characteristic of many communities. For this reason, in order to foster visits to the Blessed Sacrament, care must always be taken, insofar as possible, that churches in which the Blessed Sacrament is present stay open.
May pastoral programs help communities and movements to know the appropriate place of Eucharistic adoration in order to cultivate the attitude of wonder before the great gift of the real presence of Christ. In this connection, Eucharistic adoration is encouraged also in the course of preparation for First Communion.
To promote adoration, it is appropriate to recognize especially institutes of consecrated life and associations of the faithful dedicated especially to it in different ways, and to help them so that Eucharistic devotion will be more biblical, liturgical and missionary.
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Eucharist and Sacraments
Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation
Love of the Eucharist leads to ever greater appreciation of the sacrament of Reconciliation, in which God's merciful goodness makes possible a new beginning of Christian life and shows an intrinsic relationship between Baptism, sin and the sacrament of Reconciliation. Worthy reception of the Eucharist calls for the state of grace.
It is a task of great importance that the Bishop promote in the diocese a decisive recovery of the pedagogy of conversion that is born of the Eucharist and that it favor, because of this, frequent individual confession. Priests, for their part, are to dedicate themselves generously to the administration of the sacrament of Penance.
The Synod earnestly recommends to Bishops that they not allow in their dioceses recourse to collective absolutions if it is not in objectively exceptional situations, established in the "motu proprio" "Misericordia Dei," of April 7, 2002, of Pope John Paul II. Bishops must see to it, moreover, that in every church there be suitable places for confessions (cf. CCC 964, Paragraph 2). It is recommended that the Bishop appoint the confessor.
In this perspective, it would also be necessary to further the dimension of reconciliation already present in the Eucharistic celebration (cf. CCC 1436), specifically in the penitential rite, so that true moments of reconciliation might be experienced in the same. Non-sacramental penitential celebrations, mentioned in the ritual of the sacrament of Penance and of Reconciliation, can awaken the sense of sin and effect a spirit of penance and communion in Christian communities, thus preparing hearts for the celebration of the sacrament.
The renewal of Eucharistic spirituality can be an occasion to further the understanding and practice of indulgences. This Synod reminds that Bishops and parish priests may request a plenary indulgence of the Apostolic Penitentiary for different celebrations and anniversaries. The Synod encourages a renewed catechesis on indulgences.
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Eucharist and Sacrament of Marriage
In the Eucharist, the love of Jesus Christ is expressed, who loves the Church as his Bride to the point of giving his life for her. The Eucharist corroborates in an inexhaustible way the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage.
We want to express our special spiritual closeness to all those who have based their families on the sacrament of marriage. The Synod recognizes the singular mission of woman in the family and in the society and encourages spouses, integrated in their parishes, or in small communities, movements, ecclesial associations, to undertake paths of marital spirituality, nourished by the Eucharist.
The sanctification of Sunday is also put into practice in family life. Because of this, the family, as "domestic Church," must be considered a primary realm by the Christian community. The family initiates children in ecclesial faith and the liturgy, above all in the Holy Mass.
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Eucharist and Polygamy
The nature of marriage exacts that man be definitively united to only one woman and vice versa. In this perspective, the polygamous must be helped to open to the Christian faith to integrate their human plan in the novelty and radical nature of Christ's message. In regard to catechumens, Christ reaches them in their concrete situation and calls them to the renunciations and ruptures exacted by communion, which one day they will be able to celebrate through the sacraments, above all, the Eucharist.
Meanwhile, the Church supports them with pastoral care full of gentleness and firmness.
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Modality of Sunday Assemblies Awaiting a Priest
In countries in which the penury of priests and great distances make participation in the Sunday Eucharist practically impossible, it is important that Christian communities come together to praise the Lord and to remember the Day dedicated to him, in communion with the Bishop, with the whole particular Church and with the universal Church. It is also very important to specify the nature of the commitment of the faithful in their participation in these Sunday assemblies.
Care must be taken that the Liturgy of the Word, organized under the leadership of a deacon or of a leader of the community to whom the competent authority has regularly entrusted this ministry, is carried out according to a specific ritual approved for this purpose. So as not to deprive the faithful for a long time from Eucharistic Communion, priests must make every effort to visit these communities frequently. It corresponds to the Ordinaries and to the Episcopal Conferences to regulate the possibility to distribute Communion.
All confusion must be avoided between celebration of the Holy Mass and the Sunday assembly awaiting a priest. Therefore, the faithful must be encouraged to go, whenever possible, where Sunday Mass is celebrated.
The Episcopal Conferences must prepare appropriate materials that explain the meaning of the celebration of the Word of God with distribution of Communion and the norms that regulate it.