Why Vatican Teachings Face a Tough Reception

Secretary of Doctrinal Congregation Cites 3 Difficulties

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Vatican directives on liturgical matters get a rocky reception because of three difficulties, says the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

There are difficulties of assimilation because of «their number, their extent and the problem of communication through the media,» according to Archbishop Angelo Amato.

The prelate analyzed the «principal difficulties for a correct reception of these documents» at a press conference last Friday when the Vatican instruction «Redemptionis Sacramentum,» on the Eucharist, was presented.

The large number of Vatican documents «is due to the many events and innumerable requests for clarification presented to the magisterium by the people of God,» Archbishop Amato explained.

«But, the number can also become a motive and instrument for permanent formation, both for the clergy as well as the lay faithful,» he said.

The archbishop noted that the breadth of the new document is due to the great number of «norms that must be confirmed and abuses that must be avoided.»

He also recalled that John Paul II warned the doctrinal congregation in February that the publication of magisterial documents «often confuses the faithful more than it informs them because of the reactions and interpretations» of the media.

«In fact, the reception of a document, more than a media event, must be seen above all as an ecclesial event of acceptance of the magisterium in communion and sharing in the most cordial way the doctrine of the Church,» Archbishop Amato said.

«It is an authoritative word that clarifies a truth of faith or some aspects of Catholic doctrine contested or misinterpreted by particular currents of thought and action,» the prelate said.

«The highly pastoral character of the document is based precisely on this doctrinal worth,» he added. «The reception becomes, therefore, a propitious occasion for formation, catechesis and evangelization.»

Because of this, Archbishop Amato requested that the reception of the instruction on the Eucharist, which responds to a profound concern of the Pope, not «remain as immediate news that communicates and informs, but that it become an ecclesial event of communion and formation.»

«The bishops, priests and lay faithful should not be satisfied with immediate opinions or first commentaries,» the archbishop said. «They should have the patience and time to read, assimilate and live profoundly the contents of the instruction.»

He concluded: «The instruction should awaken in the Church a healthy curiosity and generous reception to contemplate with renewed wonder this great mystery of our faith and stimulate appropriate Eucharistic behavior and attitudes.»

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