Neglect of Eucharistic Worship Seen as Compromising Church's Identity

According to President of Italian Center of Liturgical Action

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PONTECORVO, Italy, JUNE 23, 2003 (ZENIT.orgAvvenire).- The abandonment of eucharistic adoration, or ignorance of its importance, is a grave loss that compromises the very identity of the Church, says a bishop.

Bishop Luca Brandolini of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, the president of the Italian Center of Liturgical Action, was commenting on John Paul II’s encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia.” In an interview with the newspaper Avvenire the bishop stressed the Pope’s expression “eucharistic worship.”

“Naturally, it encompasses the terms ‘adoration’ and ‘contemplation,'” Bishop Brandolini explained. This “worship, in the specific Christian sense, namely, in ‘Spirit and truth,’ is defined above all as an interior attitude fruit of the presence-action of the Spirit, and is destined to manifest itself, according to the ‘law of incarnation,’ in authentic words and gestures that give life to the forms of personal and community prayer.”

From this it follows that eucharistic worship becomes an “experience of listening, contemplation, adoration, offering, dialogue and communion,” he said.

He noted that John Paul II’s encyclical reads: “The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church” and is “an inexhaustible source of holiness.”

The consequence derived from this is that “the abandonment or ignorance of this worship, as has happened in some places, especially outside of Italy, is a grave loss which, above all, compromises the ecclesial identity itself,” he said.

Consequently, the bishop emphasized the need to relaunch eucharistic worship in a way already provided in the 1967 instruction “Eucharisticum Mysterium” and in the “Rite of Eucharistic Worship” published in 1973.

John Paul II “exhorts the pastors not only to give personal witness, but also to encourage and promote the different forms of eucharistic worship, also to maintain alive and to increase a ‘tradition’ that has produced fruits of holiness in the Church,” said Bishop Brandolini.

As to the forms of worship, the bishop said that the encyclical places as the “inspiring principle” those that “express and favor the art of prayer, which in tradition and ecclesial experience is, essentially, dialogue … a dialogue made up of listening to the Word of God and contemplation, which is favored through prolonged silence, the response of song and prayer — of praise, thanksgiving and invocation.”

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