Synod Presents Draft of List of 50 Propositions

Assembly Nearing Its Closing Stages

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The first draft of the Integrated List of 50 Propositions, which gathers provisionally the conclusions of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, was presented to the assembly.

In a meeting today with journalists, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Santiago, Chile, said that the essence of the propositions is a “great invitation of the synod to enter into the mystery” of the Eucharist.

“To enter a church should not be a question of genuflecting, standing and leaving; but to enter into the profound, so that the faithful’s personal life enters into the Eucharistic mystery” of the real presence of Christ, he said.

The synod hopes that the faithful’s life “will be a prolonged Mass and that the Mass will affect the whole of life,” the Chilean prelate added.

The specific contents of the propositions will not be made public, in order to preserve the freedom of Benedict XVI when it comes to writing the postsynodal apostolic exhortation, which is based on the propositions.

The remarried

Comments made by cardinals and bishops to journalists, however, indicate that the propositions ratify the Church’s position on topics such as whether the divorced-and-remarried (without an annulment) can receive Communion.

Cardinal Errázuriz said that for divorced persons who have remarried, the “pain” is “enormous,” and he acknowledged the profound faith that many of them have and their service to the ecclesial community.

Nonetheless, after recalling the theological principle of the “indissolubility of marriage,” the cardinal explained that this truth of faith prevents opening the door of access to Communion.

“But there is a clear desire for these persons to belong to the Church community,” he said.

He mentioned that, in some cases, they could go to Communion if they live together without having sexual relations and if scandal is avoided.

“Poverty, hunger and the issues of solidarity, have been very present,” Cardinal Errázuriz continued. “But at the same time there is awareness that many countries are experiencing secularization, in a society that seems to live as if God didn’t exist. And at the same time one sees a thirst for God.

“The present-day world is going through birth pangs. An era is ending, there is decadence, but a new period is beginning. The proof of hunger and thirst for God is a constant.”

Priest shortage

Regarding the lack of priests, the Chilean cardinal noted the testimonies given by the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches about the difficulties involved in counting on married priests. The cardinal said that the essential reason why the Latin-rite Church maintains this discipline of clerical celibacy is theological in nature.

The synod has emphasized the need for a vocational pastoral program and admits that “in many dioceses it isn’t good,” revealed the cardinal, who is president of the Latin American bishops’ council, CELAM.

“There are many families that have the joy of participating in the Eucharist, in which there are vocations, but there is not enough vocational work,” he said.

There were discussions on altar servers and “their closeness with Jesus as a way of approaching the priesthood, as happened to many synodal fathers,” the cardinal revealed.

He said that the possibility arose of a redistribution of the clergy. But he added that there were difficulties due to inculturation or availability itself, as some countries have many priests, but they are already elderly.

Amendments

The list of propositions was read, in the presence of Benedict XVI and in the synod’s new hall, by the synod’s special secretary, Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France.

The Integrated List of Propositions is the result of the unification of the proposals prepared by the individual linguistic working groups over the past days.

These propositions, heard by 244 synodal fathers, have been unified by the synod’s relator general, Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, together with Archbishop Minnerath and the relators of the working groups.

This afternoon and Wednesday, the synodal fathers are meeting again in small circles to prepare the collective amendments to the propositions. The amended propositions will be presented in the hall on Friday and will be voted on Saturday.

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