VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The first week of the Synod of Bishops focused chiefly on seven topics, foremost among them “the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist,” says a spokesman for the assembly.
In fact, Benedict XVI dedicated his free intervention on Thursday to this question, said Isidro Catela, spokesman to the Spanish-language media.
“Sacrifice” and “banquet” are the two recurrent concepts mentioned by synod members, said Catela. Framed in this context are “the experiences of contemporary martyrdom, not only of known persons but also of the daily suffering of so many people,” he said.
The second topic frequently mentioned was the “objectives of the Eucharist,” that is, its vertical, or spiritual, dimension, and its horizontal, or communitarian, dimension in a world that is materially and spiritually hungry, said the spokesman.
At this point, the Eucharist and the culture of life were discussed, with reference to No. 73 of the synod’s working document. No. 73 refers to the coherence of believing politicians and lawmakers, as well as to the commitment of all Christians in public life.
The third issue referred to normative questions and abuses, with references to the Second Vatican Council and the Council of Trent in regard to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The “ars celebrandi,” art of celebration, was the fourth topic discussed. It touched on the opportunity to receive Communion in the hand or the mouth; the central location that tabernacles should occupy in churches; and the need for silence and adoration.
The fifth topic addressed was the ecumenical dialogue and intercommunion — the possibility of giving Communion to Christians of other denominations — which, according to Catela, sparked “great and varied interest in the free interventions.”
Catela also noted that there were discussions about secularization and religious indifference; liturgies that await priests; and celibacy in the Church.
“There is the conviction that celibacy in the Latin Church must be promoted,” Catela added.
The sixth topic referred to the relationship of the Eucharist with the other sacraments.
Catela said that the synodal fathers want special emphasis placed on the relationship between the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation and that an “integral catechesis” be undertaken, capable of linking the various sacraments among themselves.
Someone asked that a Year of Penance be convoked, and others hoped that the Year of the Eucharist would be extended and related to the family.
The seventh topic was “reconciliation which should lead to peace.” The participants stressed the need for the Church to be an instrument of reconciliation, and that the Eucharist serve as experience, Catela said.
Catela noted that the seven topics do not cover all the points raised so far at the synod, and that other issues are still on the agenda. The synod ends Oct. 23.
Some testimonies of African countries made it clear that the Eucharist is the only meeting place of different and conflicting ethnic groups.
Several synodal fathers asked that the synod’s final message mention Jerusalem and the Holy Land, because of their connection with the Eucharist and the longing for peace.