Propositions of Synod on the Eucharist, Nos. 37-40

A Call to Study the Practice of Concelebrations

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2005 ( Here is a translation of Propositions 37-40 given to Benedict XVI by the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. The text is based on a provisional translation in Italian. ZENIT is publishing translations of all 50 propositions.

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Proposition 37

Great Concelebrations

The Synodal Fathers recognize the high value of concelebrations, especially those presided over by the Bishop with his presbytery, deacons and faithful. The competent bodies are requested, however, to study better the practice of concelebration, when the number of celebrants is very high.

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Part III

Mission of the People of God Nourished by the Eucharist

Proposition 38

Gratitude for Priests, Deacons and Other Liturgical Ministers and Collaborators

The Synodal Assembly expresses intense gratitude, appreciation and willingness to encourage priests, especially «fidei donum» priests, and ministers of the Eucharist, who with competence and generous dedication ennoble the community with the proclamation of the Word of God and the Bread of Life.

Priests are strongly recommended to celebrate Holy Mass daily, even when the faithful do not participate.

The Synod also thanks the permanent deacons who collaborate with the presbyters in the work of evangelization through the proclamation of the Word of God and distribution of Holy Communion. It would be appropriate to promote this ministry, according to conciliar indications. Likewise, it is important to thank instituted ministers, consecrated men and women, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, catechists and other collaborators, who help to prepare and celebrate the Eucharist and distribute it with dignity, and especially leaders who communicate the Work of God and give Communion in community celebrations awaiting a priest.

The Synodal Fathers very much appreciate the testimony of Christian faithful who participate frequently in daily Eucharistic celebration, especially those who face notable difficulties due to age and distances.

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Proposition 39

Eucharistic Spirituality and Daily Life

Christian faithful need greater understanding of the relationship between the Eucharist and daily life. Eucharistic spirituality does not consist only in participation in the Mass and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament. It comprises the whole of life.

Above all we encourage the lay faithful to continue their search to give the Eucharist a higher meaning in their lives and to feel hunger for God. We ask lay theologians to express their experience of living daily life with a Eucharistic spirit. We especially encourage families to be inspired by and draw life from the Eucharist. In this way, they will take part in the transformation of their baptismal vocation which destines them to take the Good News to their neighbors.

In this context shines the prophetic testimony of consecrated women and men, who find in the Eucharistic celebration and in Adoration the strength for a radical following of Christ, obedient, chaste and poor. Consecrated life has here the source of contemplation, light for apostolic and missionary action, the ultimate meaning of their own commitment to the poor and marginalized, and the pledge of the realities of the Kingdom.

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Proposition 40

Divorced Persons Who Have Remarried and the Eucharist

In keeping with numerous pronouncements of the Magisterium of the Church, and sharing the painful concern expressed by many Fathers, the Synod of Bishops reaffirms the importance of a pastoral position and action of care and acceptance of divorced faithful who have remarried.

According to the Tradition of the Catholic Church, they may not be admitted to Holy Communion, being in a condition of objective contrast with the Word of the Lord who restored to marriage the original value of indissolubility (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1640), attested by his spousal surrender on the cross and communicated to the baptized through the grace of the sacrament.

Divorced persons who have remarried however belong to the Church, which receives them and looks after them with special care so that they will cultivate a Christian style of life through participation in the Holy Mass — even if they do not receive Holy Communion — listening to the Word of God, Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, participation in community life, confidential dialogue with a priest or a master of the spiritual life, dedication to lived charity, works of penance, and the commitment to educate their children.

If subsequently the nullity of the marital bond is not recognized, and there are objective conditions that in fact make living together irreversible, the Church encourages them to be committed to live their relationship according to the exigencies of the law of God, transforming it into a loyal and solidaristic friendship; so they will again be able to approach the Eucharistic banquet, with the care provided by the proven ecclesial practice. The blessing of these relationships, however, must be avoided so that confusion will not arise among the faithful on the value of marriage.

At the same time, the Synod hopes that all possible efforts will be made to ensure the pastoral character, presence and correct and solicitous activity of the ecclesiastical tribunals in regard to causes of marital annulment (cf. «Dignitas Connubii»), both furthering ultimately the essential elements for the validity of marriage, as well as taking into account the problems arising from the context of profound anthropological transformation of our time, by which the faithful themselves run the risk of being conditioned, especially if they lack a solid Christian formation.

The Synod considers, however, that great care must be taken to ensure the formation of engaged couples and to prior proof that they share effectively the convictions and commitments which cannot be given up for the validity of the sacrament of marriage. It asks Bishops and parish priests to have the courage to make a serious discernment, in order to avoid emotional impulses or superficial reasons leading engaged couples to assume a great responsibility with themselves, with the Church and with society, to which later they will be unable to respond.

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