Eucharist Helps Explain the Church, Says Cardinal Ouellet

At Opening of Theological Pastoral Symposium in Guadalajara

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Church cannot be understood without the Eucharist, says Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.

The Canadian archbishop spoke here Wednesday at the opening of a Theological Pastoral Symposium, an event leading up to the International Eucharistic Congress that begins Sunday.

He made this observation when reviewing John Paul II’s encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” the basic text of the symposium.

In an address delivered in Spanish, the cardinal began by focusing on a question he considers fundamental for Catholicism today: “What is the relationship of the Eucharist with the Church and of the Church with the Eucharist as reflected in the last encyclical?”

He answered the question with the Pope’s opening phrase in the document: “The Church lives from the Eucharist.” Thus the archbishop of Quebec urged “a renewal of devotion to this sacrament par excellence.”

Cardinal Ouellet commented that there have been many problems of a theological, ecumenical and disciplinary order in the relationship of the Church with the sacrament of the Eucharist.

These problems made the magisterium’s intervention necessary, not only to correct them, but to rediscover in the Eucharist the identity of the People of God, and the missionary dynamism that emanates from it, as a sacrament of salvation for the whole of humanity, he said.

In identifying some of the more important problems, the cardinal said there is “a widespread tendency to reduce the mystery to its convivial human dimension; a weakened awareness of the irreplaceable role of the ordained ministry itself; the forgetfulness or concealment of its sacrificial dimension, as well as a lack of respect for the liturgical norms on the ordering of the celebration of the discipline of Communion.”

The cardinal concluded by stressing the need to reflect in-depth on the relationship between the Eucharist and the Church in the nuptial perspective. Through this mystery, he said, “a more balanced relationship of ecclesiology with Christology can be achieved, given that the Eucharist is the supreme expression of the covenant, made universal and concrete by the mission of the Holy Spirit, Mary’s mediation, and the apostolicity of the mystery.”

The papal envoy to the congress, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, also spoke, comparing the Eucharist to Bohemian crystal.

The Eucharist is like crystal which, when penetrated by sunlight, radiates in various and very rich hues, the cardinal said.

These hues are the different ways of approaching the very rich spectrum of the Eucharist “to reflect in depth, prepare and promote contemplation and the spiritual action of the Eucharist,” he added.

The symposium attracted cardinals, bishops, priests and theologians, as well as religious, from all over the world.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán is general moderator of the symposium.

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