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New Document on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis, Has Been Released

by Ian on March 13, 2007

I have posted the entire text at The Catholic Liturgical Library. You can also read it at the Vatican website.

A couple of thoughts which I hope to follow up with some more analysis later.

  • If you were hoping for a document that was going to be as strong and encouraging as the list of propositions presented to the Pope by the bishops from the eucharistic synod, you are going to be disappointed.
  • If you were hoping for something that would address liturgical problems in some fashion that may curtail some of the silliness that still persists, you are going to be disappointed.
  • If you like the fact that recent Church documents have expressed a preference for the tabernacle to be in a highly visible place within the sanctuary, you are going to be disappointed.
  • If you hoped that the document would do something to promote the use of Latin and sacred music in the parish setting, you are going to be mostly disappointed.
  • If you were hoping for a theological treatise on the meaning and importance of the Eucharist, you are going to enjoy this document.

A couple of interesting things I noticed:

  • The document calls for the creation of a Eucharistic Compendium that "will assemble texts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayers, explanations of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal and other useful aids for a correct understanding, celebration and adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar". This could be a very good book on its own.
  • A footnote mentions the possibility of moving the sign of peace to a different part of the Mass.
  • There is a very nice discourse on the complementarity of pastoral care and Church law and how the two, when properly understood are not in conflict. I have frequently heard "being pastoral" as an excuse for breaking Church law as if the two are somehow opposed to each other.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robespierre March 13, 2007 at 11:56 pm

exciting!

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Cheryl Spooner March 21, 2007 at 9:46 am

It is always easy to be negative about something; but we, as Catholics, are to build up each other and to pay honor to our leaders, especially the Pope, who is The Annointed One of Christ. The list of negatives seems to do neither of those. It is great that you included a positive note at the end.

It is amazing to find that our own reverence for the Church, for her leaders, and for our brethren in the faith (and outside the faith) has more of an impact than any document. As believers in the beauty of The Church, we can ask for the grace to carry out with the utmost enthusiasm and reverence the messages from the Pope. It is our love that will show forth and be that great light to others, who will them “catch” our attitude. The Pope is only a first-star General; it is up to us who are in the foxholes to carry out his orders with joy, knowing that the battle plan he has given us comes from the King of Kings.

Cheryl

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Imelda March 22, 2007 at 10:47 am

I find it difficult to become too excited about papal documents because it is the practice of many in the American hierarchy to ignore the directives set forth (such as in the GIRM). For example, where have we seen “pride of place” for Gregorian Chant in the Mass? We as laity can embrace the teachings, but if our bishops and priests ignore them, we have no power to see them implemented and we are left with yet another example of unfaithfulness toward the Holy Father and the Church.

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