Propositions of Synod on the Eucharist, Nos. 41-45

Holy Communion With non-Catholic Christians «Not Generally Possible»

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2005 ( Here is a translation of Propositions 41-45 given to Benedict XVI by the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

The Pope has allowed the publication of a non-official provisional translation in Italian, on which this text is based. ZENIT is publishing translations of all 50 propositions.

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Proposition 41

Admission of Non-Catholic Faithful to Communion

Based on the communion of all Christians, which the one Baptism already keeps active, though not yet in a complete manner, separation before the Lord’s banquet is justly experienced as something painful. Both within the Catholic Church as well by our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, there often arises as a consequence the urgent request for the possibility of Eucharistic Communion between Catholic Christians and others. It must be clarified that the Eucharist does not only signify our personal communion with Jesus Christ, but above all the full communion of the Church.

Therefore, we ask non-Catholic Christians to understand and respect the fact that for us, according to biblically based tradition, Eucharistic Communion and ecclesial communion are closely linked; therefore, Eucharistic Communion with non-Catholic Christians is not generally possible. Even more does an ecumenical concelebration have to be excluded. It should also be clarified that, in view of personal salvation, the admission of non-Catholic Christians to the Eucharist, to the sacrament of penance and to the anointing of the sick, in specific individual situations, under precise conditions, is possible and even recommended («Unitatis Redintegratio» 8, 15; Ecumenical Directory 129-131; Code of Canon Law 844, 3-4; Code of the Eastern Churches 671, 4; encyclical letter «Ut Unum Sint,» 46; encyclical letter «Ecclesia de Eucharistia,» 46).

The synod insists that the conditions expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1398-1401) and its Compendium (293) be observed.

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The Eucharist for the World

Proposition 42

Eucharist and Mission

The faithful are invited to be aware that an authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church. In fact, the Eucharist is source of mission. In the Eucharist we become increasingly disciples of Christ, listening to the Word of God, which leads us to a communal encounter with the Lord, through the celebration of the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, and through sacramental communion with him. This Eucharistic encounter is realized in the Holy Spirit who transforms and sanctifies us. It awakens in the disciple the determined will to proclaim to others with boldness what has been heard and lived, to lead them also to the same encounter with Christ. In this way, the disciple, sent by the Church, opens to a mission without borders.

At the same time that we thank all active Christian missionaries in the world, we remind about the need to recognize Christ as the only Savior.

In missionary education, the centrality of the affirmation of unicity must be manifested in all possible ways. This will prevent the decisive work of human promotion implicit in evangelization being reduced to a mere sociological note.

The fathers have underlined the grave difficulties that affect the mission of those Christian communities that live in conditions of minority, or even in contexts deprived of religious freedom.

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Proposition 43

Eucharistic Spirituality and Sanctification of the World

The Eucharist is at the origin of every form of holiness. To develop a profound Eucharistic spirituality, it is necessary that the Christian people, who give thanks through the Eucharist, be aware of doing so in the name of the whole of creation, aspiring to the sanctification of the world, and working for the same. Christian life finds its own path in the Eucharistic celebration. The offering itself, communion, and solidarity are aspects of the «logike latreia» (Cf. Romans 12:1).

Promotion of daily participation in the celebration of Holy Mass is, in the Latin rites, an effective means to develop this spirituality, nucleus of family, professional, social and political life.

The daily offering (taught, for example, in the Apostleship of Prayer, practiced by millions of Catholics worldwide) can help each one to become a «Eucharistic figure,» following the example of Mary, uniting one’s own life to that of Christ, who offers himself for humanity.

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Proposition 44

The Eucharist and the Sick

We consider it of utmost importance to favor Eucharistic celebration for the sick, through an appropriate catechesis on active participation in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. A special significance of the Eucharist, as summit of Christian life, is enclosed in its reception as Holy Viaticum. Given that it opens paschal fullness to the sick person, it is recommended that its practice be intensified.

It is especially requested that Eucharistic Communion be provided to baptized and confirmed mentally disabled persons: The latter receive Communion in the faith of the family and of the community that support them.

The impossibility of knowing the effective sensitivity proper to certain types of sick people is not sufficient reason not to give them all the sacramental supports of which the Church disposes. It is important that those who suffer from disability may be recognized as members of the Church in all aspects, and have their just place in her.

It is desirable, moreover, that the architectural functionality of churches facilitates their participation in celebrations.

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Proposition 45

Eucharist and Migrants

The Synod, thanking all those who work in this field, invites all Bishops to exercise their pastoral care to migrants.

These faithful must be received as members of the Body of Christ itself, regardless of their race, status or condition, especially in the Eucharistic celebration. The charity of Christ urges that other local Churches and institutes of consecrated life generously help those dioceses that receive a great number of migrants.

Moreover, in so far as possible, migrants of the Eastern rite must be able to be assisted by their priests. The «Dies orientalis» must be established in seminaries so that Eastern liturgies are better known.

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