Movements appeal for changes to make Eucharist more accessible
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
International and U.S. Catholic movements pushing for changes in the
church appealed to the worlds bishops to discuss issues such as married
priests and inter-Communion that would make the Eucharist more accessible to
the Christian faithful.
Representatives from the international We Are Church movement and the
U.S. national coalition of FutureChurch were in Rome for a press briefing Oct.
4 about their lobbying efforts before and during the Oct. 2-23 Synod of Bishops
on the Eucharist.
The synod fathers have to consider the effect on the Catholic
community as a eucharistic people if we do not do something about the priest
shortage, said Sister Christine Schenk, a Sister of St. Joseph and
founder of FutureChurch.
If there are not enough priests to minister to the growing numbers of
Catholics in the world we will not continue to be a eucharistic people,
and we will not be able to continue to be made by the Eucharist, she told
Catholic News Service.
|Read more NCR coverage of the synod on the Eucharist|
Final draft rebuffs Latin Mass; priest shortage,
divorce squarely on churchs pastoral agenda
Posted Oct. 20, 11:00 a.m.
Gregory: Little change expected but synod had honest talk of pastoral realities
Posted Oct. 19, 11:00 a.m.
Draft propositions do not recommend changes in church discipline
Posted Oct. 18, 11:00 a.m.
Womens voices heard through interventions of 12 synod auditors
Posted Oct. 17, 12:15 p.m.
Statement on married priests likely in final list of proposals
Posted Oct. 17, 12:00
Outreach to Latin Mass Catholics proposed for final message
Posted Oct. 15, 9:32
Report #11: Problems acknowledged, synod bishops seek middle ground solutions. Posted Oct. 13, 1:15
Report #10: Despite frank talk, few breakthroughs expected from synod. Posted Oct. 12, 11:00 a.m.
Report #9: Key synod themes seem clear, but consensus may be elusive. Posted Oct. 11, 11:00 a.m.
Report #8: Inculturation of liturgy sparks debate at this and past synods of bishops. Posted Oct. 10, 11:30 a.m.
Report #7: Bishops of Global South link Eucharist and
justice, local cultures. Posted Oct. 8., 9:52 a.m.
Report #6: Discussion of celibacy and marriage clergy continue to hold center stage. Posted Oct.
7, 10:21 a.m.
Report #5: Environment, social justice emerge as eucharistic themes. Posted Oct. 6, 10:30 a.m.
Report #4: Divorced, remarried Catholics topics of frank synod discussions.
5, 3:00 p.m
Report #3: Priest shortage continues to roil synod of bishops. Posted Oct. 4, 2:01 p.m.
Report #2: Movements appeal for changes to make Eucharist more accessible. Posted Oct. 4, 2:00 p.m.
Report #1: Priest shortage takes center stage on synod's first day. Posted Oct. 3, 3:04 p.m.|
|Read The Word From Rome columns|
The final set of propositions; The case of viri probati; Some worry the synod lacked theological heft. Posted Oct. 21, 2:07 p.m.
Latin Mass a non-issue; Interview with Bishop Skylstad; Scola's 17 questions to
guide the synod. Posted Oct.
14, 10:46 a.m.
The synod so far; How to report on a synod; A view from Moscow; Document on homosexuals in seminaries will not create an absolute ban; Catholic left and right square off. Posted Oct. 7, 11:55 a.m.
Preview of the synod on the Eucharist. Posted Sept. 30, 8:05 a.m.|
In a survey sent to more than 15,000 priests in 55 U.S. dioceses, FutureChurch and a partner group, Call to Action, said 67 percent of priests
who responded agreed mandatory celibacy should be discussed at the synod.
The two U.S. groups said they also collected more than 35,000 signatures
on a nationwide petition asking the synod to consider optional celibacy and
female deacons as possible solutions to the priest shortage.
Schenk said that, according to Vatican statistics, the number of
Catholics worldwide increased by 42 percent, but the number of priests
decreased by 2 percent over the past 24 years. That has resulted in a
situation where half of the parishes and missions around the world do not
have regular access to the Eucharist, she said.
The people of God and their needs for the Eucharist must be (the
synod fathers) first consideration and be given precedence over
other issues, such as celibacy, she said.
Schenk also said the call to celibacy should be discerned
separately from the call to ordination. I am a celibate nun and
its a spiritual path ... that is not going to die out; it will continue
to flourish, she said.
But some men are called to be priests who do not receive the
celibate call, and its unjust and unfair to force it upon them if they
have not received that gift, she said.
Meanwhile, the international movement We Are Church said no longer
excluding people of faith from receiving Communion was one way to show
the primacy of the Eucharist.
Divorced and or remarried people who have not had their marriages
annulled should not be denied eucharistic fellowship, and neither
should members of other Christian communities, it said in a press
The contradictions of exclusions in the eucharistic assembly ...
are less and less understood by the lay faithful, it said.
The group said bishops, diocesan priests and lay people should be
kept free to make the Eucharist more shared and abounding.
Christ has come to heal the sick, not the healthy and he
calls all Christian people and churches to his table on only two
conditions: our awareness of being sinners and our wish to be faithful to his
will, it said.
October 4, 2005, National Catholic Reporter