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Synod on Eucharist closes.

Vatican City -- The Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist began in Rome on Oct. 2, and ended on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. Pope Benedict XVI was able to attend at least the first and last session of each day, the latter being "free intervention" sessions at which any of the 250 participants were free to speak on any synodal topic for three minutes. The Pope made a point throughout this time of circulating among the bishops and speaking to them individually about the life of their dioceses.

The Synod has produced a draft list of 50 propositions on various topics, which the bishops approved by vote, before sending the results to the Pope who, in his turn, will produce the final document a year from now. As Catholic News World reported, propositions 11, 40, 41, and 46 touch on the most delicate questions addressed by the Synod:

* the shortage of priests,

* the status of Catholics who are divorced and remarried,

* sharing the Eucharist with non-Catholics, and

* the status of Catholic politicians who support laws incompatible with the teachings of the Church.

Proposition 11, on the shortage of priests clearly reaffirms "the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin Church." The Synod finds that a proposal for viri probati--married men who are ordained to the priesthood for a restricted ministry--is not a proper response to the shortage of priests. Instead the Synod fathers call for renewed efforts to encourage priestly vocations.

Proposition 40, on divorced and remarried Catholics, confirms the Church's traditional teaching that those who are divorced and illicitly remarried "cannot be admitted to Holy Communion," but emphasizes that they remain a part of the Church community and should be welcomed and encouraged to participate in the liturgy short of receiving Communion. The Synod exhorts divorced Catholics to live chaste lives, "according to God's law." Proposition 40 urges Church marriage tribunals to reflect carefully on the essential elements of a valid marriage, and calls for stronger efforts to prepare couples for Christian marriage.

Proposition 41, on admitting non-Catholics to Communion, acknowledges that all Christians, by virtue of baptism, are a part of the Church community. But the communion among Christians "is still not complete," the Synod says, and "Eucharistic communion with non-Catholic Christians is generally not possible." The Synod asks non-Catholics to understand the Church's position, and specifically adds that concelebration of the Eucharist with other Christian groups is excluded.

Proposition 46, on politicians who dissent from Church teaching, was summarized by the Vatican Information Service as follows:

"Catholic politicians and lawmakers must feel their consciences particularly aroused ... by the heavy social responsibility of presenting and supporting iniquitous laws. There is no Eucharistic coherence when legislation is promoted that goes against the integral good of mankind, against justice and natural law. The private sphere and the public sphere cannot be separated, placing oneself in a position of contrast with the law of God and the teaching of the Church, and this must also be considered in Eucharistic terms. In applying this guidance, bishops should exercise the virtues of courage and wisdom, bearing in mind actual local situations." (Origins, Nov. 3, 2005).

There is another proposition of interest, No. 36, Use of Latin in liturgical celebrations.

In celebrating the Eucharist during international meetings, which are becoming ever more frequent today, in order better to express the unity and universality of the church, it is proposed that the (con)celebration of Mass be in Latin (except the readings, the homily and the prayers of the faithful), the prayers of the tradition of the church should also be recited in Latin and, where appropriate, Gregorian chants be sung; that priests be trained to understand and celebrate Mass in Latin as well as to use Latin prayers and to appreciate Gregorian chants; that the possibility of educating the faithful in this way not be overlooked.
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Title Annotation:Vatican; Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:Dissenting Catholics & Holy Communion.
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