GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 13, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Jozef Tomko, John Paul II’s special envoy to the International Eucharistic Congress, granted this interview to ZENIT at the Theological Pastoral Symposium that preceded the congress.
Q: After hearing the reports on the way the faithful live the Eucharist worldwide, what do you consider to be the common problems in respect of the Eucharist?
Cardinal Tomko: There are a series of common problems, but we have also seen that there is faith. Faith in the Eucharist is a guarantee of the future.
We have seen that wherever the Eucharist is found there is hope: There is no war, no violence, because the Eucharist is the highest experience of Love. It is God who loves man with the heart of a man. This transforms reality completely.
Q: [Some cardinals] have spoken of visible processes of secularization.
Cardinal Tomko: Of course there are problems, especially in Europe, in particular those derived from “privatism” and secularism. However there are also meetings, such as this one, which are promoting further development of the theological doctrine on the Eucharist in the world; moments to continue reflection which allow one to discover that the Eucharist is not only for the Church but for humanity.
Q: In a recent interview, you said that the Eucharist is “the testing ground of the faith.” Can you explain this further?
Cardinal Tomko: There is at present: a process of radical secularization. There are not more atheists than in the past, I mean, more militant atheists. In the past there was more clarity. People would say: God does not exist, and that was it.
Now, there are people who do not ask themselves if God does or does not exist. God is a category that is completely outside of their lives. We are witnessing a “privatism” which consists in the marginalization of God, religion, faith.
Q: Would the antidote be to revitalize the practice of the Eucharist?
Cardinal Tomko: Faith in the Eucharist is not an easy faith. One cannot use the criterion of knowledge through contact or the experience of the Presence. It is pure faith. This is why I said that the Eucharist is “the testing ground of faith,” of our faith. If there is no faith in the Eucharist it is because an approach is lacking to the mystery of the faith.
Q: And is not the fight against Christian values also part of this process of secularization?
Cardinal Tomko: Today, Christian values are fought against, not realizing that they are fully human values. The Holy Father has said it: What is authentically Christian is also authentically human.
This very day, the Church is the only institution that defends the values of man. She does so knowing that to defend the values of God is to defend the values of man.
Q: Is it possible to speak, as many do, of a crisis of the Church?
Cardinal Tomko: The crisis consists, rather, in the rejection of the Church, because when man rejects God, man is also rejected.
However, the non-religious man feels the need to transcend. Man does not save himself. How can the void be filled that many have in their hearts today? This is the task of the Church and of catechesis.