Admission of Non-Catholic Faithful to Communion
Based on the communion of all Christians, which the one Baptism already keeps active, though not yet in a complete manner, separation before the Lord's banquet is justly experienced as something painful. Both within the Catholic Church as well by our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, there often arises as a consequence the urgent request for the possibility of Eucharistic Communion between Catholic Christians and others. It must be clarified that the Eucharist does not only signify our personal communion with Jesus Christ, but above all the full communion of the Church.
Therefore, we ask non-Catholic Christians to understand and respect the fact that for us, according to biblically based tradition, Eucharistic Communion and ecclesial communion are closely linked; therefore, Eucharistic Communion with non-Catholic Christians is not generally possible. Even more does an ecumenical concelebration have to be excluded. It should also be clarified that, in view of personal salvation, the admission of non-Catholic Christians to the Eucharist, to the sacrament of penance and to the anointing of the sick, in specific individual situations, under precise conditions, is possible and even recommended ("Unitatis Redintegratio" 8, 15; Ecumenical Directory 129-131; Code of Canon Law 844, 3-4; Code of the Eastern Churches 671, 4; encyclical letter "Ut Unum Sint," 46; encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," 46).
The synod insists that the conditions expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1398-1401) and its Compendium (293) be observed.
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The Eucharist for the World
Eucharist and Mission
The faithful are invited to be aware that an authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church. In fact, the Eucharist is source of mission. In the Eucharist we become increasingly disciples of Christ, listening to the Word of God, which leads us to a communal encounter with the Lord, through the celebration of the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, and through sacramental communion with him. This Eucharistic encounter is realized in the Holy Spirit who transforms and sanctifies us. It awakens in the disciple the determined will to proclaim to others with boldness what has been heard and lived, to lead them also to the same encounter with Christ. In this way, the disciple, sent by the Church, opens to a mission without borders.
At the same time that we thank all active Christian missionaries in the world, we remind about the need to recognize Christ as the only Savior.
In missionary education, the centrality of the affirmation of unicity must be manifested in all possible ways. This will prevent the decisive work of human promotion implicit in evangelization being reduced to a mere sociological note.
The fathers have underlined the grave difficulties that affect the mission of those Christian communities that live in conditions of minority, or even in contexts deprived of religious freedom.
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Eucharistic Spirituality and Sanctification of the World
The Eucharist is at the origin of every form of holiness. To develop a profound Eucharistic spirituality, it is necessary that the Christian people, who give thanks through the Eucharist, be aware of doing so in the name of the whole of creation, aspiring to the sanctification of the world, and working for the same. Christian life finds its own path in the Eucharistic celebration. The offering itself, communion, and solidarity are aspects of the "logike latreia" (Cf. Romans 12:1).
Promotion of daily participation in the celebration of Holy Mass is, in the Latin rites, an effective means to develop this spirituality, nucleus of family, professional, social and political life.
The daily offering (taught, for example, in the Apostleship of Prayer, practiced by millions of Catholics worldwide) can help each one to become a "Eucharistic figure," following the example of Mary, uniting one's own life to that of Christ, who offers himself for humanity.
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The Eucharist and the Sick
We consider it of utmost importance to favor Eucharistic celebration for the sick, through an appropriate catechesis on active participation in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. A special significance of the Eucharist, as summit of Christian life, is enclosed in its reception as Holy Viaticum. Given that it opens paschal fullness to the sick person, it is recommended that its practice be intensified.
It is especially requested that Eucharistic Communion be provided to baptized and confirmed mentally disabled persons: The latter receive Communion in the faith of the family and of the community that support them.
The impossibility of knowing the effective sensitivity proper to certain types of sick people is not sufficient reason not to give them all the sacramental supports of which the Church disposes. It is important that those who suffer from disability may be recognized as members of the Church in all aspects, and have their just place in her.
It is desirable, moreover, that the architectural functionality of churches facilitates their participation in celebrations.
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Eucharist and Migrants
The Synod, thanking all those who work in this field, invites all Bishops to exercise their pastoral care to migrants.
These faithful must be received as members of the Body of Christ itself, regardless of their race, status or condition, especially in the Eucharistic celebration. The charity of Christ urges that other local Churches and institutes of consecrated life generously help those dioceses that receive a great number of migrants.
Moreover, in so far as possible, migrants of the Eastern rite must be able to be assisted by their priests. The "Dies orientalis" must be established in seminaries so that Eastern liturgies are better known.
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Eucharistic Coherence of Catholic Politicians and Lawmakers
Catholic politicians and lawmakers must feel especially questioned in their conscience, properly formed, about the grave social responsibility of introducing and supporting iniquitous laws. There is no Eucharistic coherence when laws are promoted that go against man's integral good, against justice and the natural law. Private and public choice cannot be separated, placing oneself in contradiction with the law of God and the teaching of the Church, and this must also be considered in regard to the Eucharistic reality (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
In applying this guideline, Bishops must exercise the virtues of fortitude and prudence, taking into account the concrete local situations.
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Eucharist and Ecology
Christians Reinforced by the Sacrament of the Eucharist
Christians, reinforced by the sacrament of the Eucharist, must be more decidedly committed to witnessing the presence of God in the world. The Church should promote a change of mentality and heart to facilitate a harmonious and responsible relationship of the human being with creation.
Contemplation and gratitude for creation, gift of God's love, can be a means of evangelization for people today, whose ecological concern can be given a new religious meaning by recognizing God's call to humanity to exercise a responsible service before his work as Creator, consistent with Christian hope.
This reflection may also help Christians to relate the doctrine on creation with that of the "new creation," inaugurated in the resurrection of Christ, new Adam, who has given the Church the task of preparing the transformation of creation in the "new heavens and the new earth."
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Social Dimension of the Eucharist
Christ's Sacrifice is Mystery of Deliverance that Questions Us
Christ's sacrifice is mystery of deliverance that questions us. In the commitment to transform unjust structures to restore man's dignity, created in the image and likeness of God, the Eucharist becomes in life what it means in the celebration. This dynamic movement opens to the world: It questions the process of globalization which not infrequently increases the inequality between rich and poor countries; it denounces those political and economic powers that deplete the earth's riches; reminds about the serious exigencies of distributive justice in face of the inequalities that cry out to heaven; it encourages Christians to commit themselves and act in political life and social action.
Especially worrying are the HIV/AIDS pandemic, drugs and alcoholism.
Prisoners deserve special pastoral care so that they can take part in the Eucharist and receive Holy Communion.
Any one who participates in the Eucharist must be committed to building peace in our world, marked by many forms of violence and wars, and today in a special way by terrorism, financial corruption and sexual exploitation. The restoration of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness are conditions to build a true peace.
To be educated in charity and justice, the faithful should take advantage of the social Magisterium, which has just been presented in the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church."
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Eucharist and Reconciliation of Peoples in Conflict
The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion among brothers who accept to be reconciled in Christ, who has made of Jews and Greeks only one people, breaking down the wall of hatred that separated them (cf. Ephesians 2:14). During this Synod, several testimonies reported that thanks to Eucharistic celebrations, peoples in conflict have been able to come together around the Word of God, to listen to his prophetic announcement of reconciliation through free forgiveness and receive the grace of conversion that allows communion with the same bread and the same cup. Jesus Christ, who offers himself in the Eucharist, reinforces communion among brothers and, in particular, urges those who are in conflict to hasten their reconciliation, through dialogue and justice. This allows for communing worthily with the Body and Blood of Christ (cf. Matthew 5:23-24).
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"Verum Corpus Natum de Maria Virgine"
The Church sees in Mary, "Eucharistic Woman," above all at the foot of the cross, its own figure and contemplates her as irreplaceable model of Eucharistic life; on the altar, in the presence of the "Verum Corpus natum de Maria Virgine" [true Body born of Mary Virgin] the Church venerates through the priest, with special gratitude, the Most Holy Virgin.
Christians commend to Mary, Mother of the Church, their life and work. Exerting themselves to have Mary's same sentiments, they help the whole community to live as a living offering, pleasing to the Father.
[ZENIT's translations ]