VATICAN CITY, OCT. 2, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Church is convincing only when she proclaims Christ, said Benedict XVI at the opening of the first Synod of Bishops of his pontificate.
The Holy Father presided at a solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in which 55 cardinals, seven patriarchs, 59 archbishops, 123 bishops and 40 priests concelebrated.
He presented the guidelines for the working sessions of the participants in the synodal assembly, which is being attended by 256 bishops from 118 countries, and is focusing on the theme “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.”
“Why this theme?” the Pope asked in his Angelus address. “Isn’t it an argument that is taken for granted –a given?”
“In fact,” he said, “Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist, defined authoritatively by the Council of Trent, must be received, lived and transmitted to the ecclesial community in a ever new way, appropriate to the times.”
Without understanding and living the Eucharist, Christian communities “would lose their authentic nature,” said Benedict XVI.
“Only in the measure that they are Eucharistic can they transmit Christ to men, and not just ideas or values regardless of how noble or important they are,” he said.
In the homily of the opening Mass of the synod, the Pope commented that in contemporary society it seems that “God annoys us or we make of him a simple devout phrase or deny him altogether, eradicating him from public life, so that in this way he no longer has any meaning at all.”
“Tolerance that only admits God as a private opinion, but that denies him the public domain, the reality of the world and of our life, is not tolerance but hypocrisy,” he said.
“However, whenever a man becomes the sole owner of the world and proprietor of himself there can be no justice. Only the expedient of power and interests can dominate there,” stated the Pope.
The Holy Father focused his analysis also on the Church, especially in the West. “Is not our life often, perhaps, more vinegar than wine? Self-pity, conflict, indifference?” he asked.
The homily concluded with a call to hope, as “God does not fail. At the end, he triumphs — love triumphs,” he said.
“If we remain united to him, then we will also bear fruit, then we will no longer bear the vinegar of self-sufficiency, of the discontent of God and of his creation, but the good wine of God’s joy and love of neighbor,” he stated.
The Synod of Bishops will close, along with the Year of the Eucharist, on Oct. 23, World Mission Sunday.