VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The final message of the Synod of Bishops has taken form, with only a few modifications left to make.
The bishops discussed the conclusions of the meeting today. The conclusions are compiled in a 17-page document, of 26 paragraphs, written in French and translated into five languages, and entitled “The Eucharist, Living Bread for the Peace of the World,” the prelates reported in a press conference.
The bishops suggested modifications to the document during a general assembly, which will be added before publishing the final draft on Saturday.
The document, which seeks to stimulate the Eucharistic pastoral program in the Church, begins by giving thanks to those who participated or promoted the synod, especially to Pope John Paul II, who initiated the assembly, and to Benedict XVI, who followed its immediate preparation and development.
Gratitude is also expressed to the “brothers of the Eastern Churches” for their participation as well as the hope that “the day will come of the full visible unity of the Church.”
The document then paints a picture of the world and the Church.
The document touches on the “sufferings of the world, such as hunger, poverty, injustices, natural disasters, wars, and the difficult situations in Africa and the Middle East,” said Monsignor Giorgio Constantini, spokesman for the Italian-speaking journalists.
The synodal fathers also lament the religious indifference of the West, and appeal to the leaders of nations to be concerned about the dignity of individuals, to defend life from its conception, and to promote human and social progress.
As for the Church, the document comments on several positive trends: the renewed consciousness of Sunday Mass, the increase in priestly and religious vocations in many areas of the world, and the discovery and deepening of the faith among many young people, with special reference to the work of World Youth Days.
Several challenges are also mentioned: that the sacrament of reconciliation be restored; that there be respect for the liturgy; that the faithful be consistent with what they profess; and that there be more active promotion of priestly vocations.
The impossibility of access to sacramental communion is reaffirmed for divorced persons who have remarried, an issue of particular interest to the media.
One modification made to the document was that the final draft include the Church’s acknowledgment of the suffering and interior frustration of these Catholics.
The synodal fathers invited such couples not to feel excluded from the life of the Church, and to attend Sunday Mass and hear the word of God.