VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2005 (VIS) - The Eighth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began at 9 a.m. today, in the presence of the Pope and of 245 Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez.
At the beginning of the second part of the morning session, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, asked those present to pray for the victims of the hurricane that struck Central America. He then announced that the Holy Father, consenting to the request of various Synod Fathers, has ordered that from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, October 17, an hour of Eucharistic adoration will be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica.
Below are extracts from some of the speeches given during this morning's session:
CARDINAL ALFONSO LOPEZ TRUJILLO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY. "Can access to Eucharistic communion be allowed to people who deny human and Christian principles and values? Politicians and lawmakers have great responsibility. The so-called personal option cannot be separated from sociopolitical duty. This is not a 'private' problem, the Gospel, the Magisterium and true reason have to be accepted! ... The Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, the Lord of the family, of life, of love, of the alliance that unites husband and wife. God is the Creator of human dignity. The question cannot be resolved conjecturally by following the various attitudes of different countries, because the conscience of Christians and ecclesial communion would become obscured and confused. All these questions are clarified and illuminated by the Word of God in the light of the Church's Magisterium. ... Politicians and lawmakers must know that, in proposing or defending iniquitous laws, they have a serious responsibility, and they must find a remedy to the evil done ... in order to have access to communion with the Lord, Who is the Way, Truth and Life."
CARDINAL NASRALLAH PIERRE SFEIR, PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH OF THE MARONITES, LEBANON. "The Maronite Church admits married priests. Half of our diocesan priests are married. Yet it must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious. A married priest has the duty to look after his wife and family, ensuring his children receive a good education and overseeing their entry into society. ... Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners; his bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family. Despite this, married priests have perpetuated the faith among people whose difficult lives they shared, and without them this faith would no longer exist. On the other hand, celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church. How can it be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity. Of course a priest, once ordained, can no longer get married. Sending priests to countries where they are lacking, taking them from a country that has many, is not the ideal solution if one bears in mind the question of tradition, customs and mentality. The problem remains."
CARDINAL FRANCIS ARINZE, PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS. "Focussing on the Eucharistic celebration, 'ars celebrandi' refers to both interior and exterior participation on the part of the celebrating priest and on the part of the congregation. ... 'Ars celebrandi' helps the priest to have a faith filled and disciplined posture at Mass. On the one hand, he cannot isolate himself from the presence of the people. On the other hand he should not become a showman who projects himself. The liturgy is not primarily what we make but what we receive in faith. On the part of other contributors to the Eucharistic celebration the altar servers, the readers, the choir, etc 'ars celebrandi' demands good preparation, faith, humility and focussing attention on the sacred mystery rather than on self. When the Mass is celebrated in this spirit it nourishes faith and manifests it powerfully - 'lex orandi, lex credendi.' With a genuine understanding of the role of liturgical norms, such a celebration is free of banalization and desacralization. It sends the people of God home properly nourished, spiritually refreshed and dynamically sent to evangelize."
ARCHBISHOP CORNELIUS FONTEM ESUA, COADJUTOR OF BAMENDA, CAMEROON. "In order to highlight the importance of the liturgy of the Word during the Eucharistic celebration, in the first place, there should be in our parishes a proper organization of biblical pastoral ministry. ... Secondly, the importance of the homily, which breaks the Word of God for the consumption of the faithful, should be emphasized. It links the Word to the Eucharist and enables the participants to continue to live the Eucharist, to witness it in charity and to go on mission at the end of the celebration. ... Without the homily the Eucharistic celebration could be considered a magical act. It is the homily which makes the Christian celebration of the Eucharist different from the sacrifices of African traditional religions which are often accompanied by invocations and incantations, sometimes in languages not understood by the participants. ... In some particular Churches in Africa, for example in many dioceses in Cameroon, the liturgy of the Word is introduced by a solemn lectionary or bible procession which begins immediately after the opening prayer and not just before the proclamation of the Gospel. The assembly is thus invited to listen to the Word of God with attention and reverence just as they do when a traditional ruler addresses them or when a message from him is proclaimed to them."
BISHOP DENIS GEORGE BROWNE OF HAMILTON IN NEW ZEALAND. "It is important for us as a Church to remember that small communities of Catholic people have as much right to participate in the Eucharist as their brothers and sisters in large busy parishes. We, as Church, need to be continually open to finding ways in which the Eucharist can become easily available to all of our faithful people. 'Sir,' they said, 'give us that bread always.' We need to be sensitive to the questions that the faithful often ask us, for example: 'Why does it seem to be possible for former married priests of the Anglican Communion to be ordained and function as Catholic priests while former Catholic priests who have been dispensed from their vow of celibacy are unable to function in any pastoral way?'"
CARDINAL JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, ARCHIVIST AND LIBRARIAN OF HOLY ROMAN CHURCH. "In the western world at least, genuflection is being used less and less. The practice of kneeling during the celebration of Mass has practically disappeared. Churches are often closed during the week, and visiting the Most Holy Sacrament is often impossible. It would be as well to remember the testimony of individual Christians, and of communities, who do not hesitate to kneel in order to affirm the greatness and closeness of God in the Eucharist. Before the Eucharist, man recognizes his need for Another to give him new energies for the battle of life. A world without adoration would be a world made only in man's measure. A world that is no more than a world of production would make life unbearable. A world without adoration would not only be irreligious, it would be an inhuman world!"
ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM JOSEPH LEVADA, PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH. "A certain artificial opposition between homilies with doctrinal characteristics and those with liturgical ones has prevented the catechetical formation of the faithful, making it difficult for them to practice their faith in the modern secularized world. This false dichotomy can be overcome only by showing how the doctrinal aspect is that which draws the most profound meaning from Sacred Scripture, in a similar way to the liturgy itself, bringing us to meet Christ, our Redeemer. Thus I propose that the Synod makes its own the recommendation (cf. no. 47) to prepare a pastoral program - not to be imposed but to be proposed to those who preach during Sunday Eucharistic celebrations - on the basis of a three-year partition of the lectionary, linking the proclamation of the doctrine of the faith to the biblical texts in which such truths are rooted, and making reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to its recently published Compendium."
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