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March 13, 2007


fr. frank

Well, maybe there’s nothing NEW here, but there is a new emphasis and that’s good.

(21) Confession - go frequently; no General Absolutions; have to be in the state of grace.
(29) Marriage/divorce -- it’s all about “love for the truth” and the reality of the situation. Don’t compromise the “truth” in favor of being “pastoral” (cf. B16 Address to Roman Rota January 2006): no communion for divorced and remarried. (This is nothing new, but it addresses a much discussed issue at the synod.)
(42) Music: now this is new. A statement that not all music is equally good. There’s such a thing as objective beauty. And another plug for Gregorian chant.
(43) Homily: make them better.
(53) Active participation: this picks up a theme much emphasized by Cardinal Arinze and that is active participation is not the same as having a specific ministry/role in the liturgy; it’s more a matter of interior preparation/connection . . .silence, recollection, confession, being in the state of grace, etc.
(62) Latin: this is new. A clear statement that Latin is the preferred language for “large scale celebrations.” I haven’t seen that statement before.
(67) Adoration: perpetual adoration to be available in densely populated areas (that’s a new expression); Children should be taught to make visits to the Blessed Sacrament as part of their prep. for First Communion. (I haven’t seen that statement before.)
(68) Tabernacle: clear preference to put it in the center of the apse, if there is not side chapel.
(93) Compendium: in others words, “to be continued.”

In all, it’s a very readable document and will be very useful for Catechesis on the Holy Eucharist and many other things besides.


celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, (182) that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin.


News stories on the recent apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist (SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS) are causing some confusion with regards to communion and Catholic politicians. The document does not say anything about denying communion to Catholic politicians. While it tells bishops they are “bound to reaffirm constantly these values,” it does not tell them to deny communion to prochoice politicians.

What it does say is that politicians must make decisions based on fundamental values. These values include “respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms.” It goes on to say “These values are not negotiable.” While the exhortation is obviously referring to abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, it also includes “the promotion of the common good in all its forms” among the values that are “not negotiable.” As a result, the exhortation can be seen as endorsing the consistent ethic of life as proposed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. If communion is going to be denied to politicians based on this document, it would have to be denied to those who do not support “the promotion of the common good in all its forms.”

There follows the complete text of paragraph 83.

83. Here it is important to consider what the Synod Fathers described as Eucharistic consistency, a quality which our lives are objectively called to embody. Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms (230). These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature (231).

There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them (232).

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