Draft propositions do not recommend changes in church discipline
NCRonline.org will post daily reports from the Bishops Synod on the Eucharist through Oct. 22. Bookmark this page or check back with NCRonline.org to read more coverage of this international Catholic event.
By John L. Allen Jr.
Draft propositions presented to the Synod of Bishops Tuesday morning
acknowledge priest shortages, divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, and
relations with non-Catholics as important pastoral priorities, but do not
recommend changes in existing church discipline, sources told NCR Oct.
The draft propositions are being discussed tonight and tomorrow in 12
small groups organized by language, where amendments can be proposed. The final
propositions, which will represent the synods recommendations for action
to Pope Benedict XVI, will be put to a vote Saturday morning.
The draft propositions were not released to the public, but sources
shared them with NCR on background.
The small groups submitted 287 draft propositions, which synod officials
reduced to 50 for the draft presented Tuesday morning.
Proposition 11 deals with the question of the viri probati, the
ordination of tested married men. It states that the issue was discussed among
the small groups, and the general consensus is that this is not a path to
Other propositions call for greater emphasis on vocations in parishes
and families as a way of responding to the shortage of priests.
|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 p.m.
Outreach to Latin Mass Catholics proposed for final message
Posted Oct. 15, 9:32 a.m.
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.|
Proposition 40 touches on the question of divorced and civilly remarried
Catholics. It states that while such Catholics cannot be admitted to the
Eucharist, because their situation stands in objective contrast to the
Word of God, nevertheless they should be the object of special pastoral
attention, should be encouraged to participate in community life, and should be
in dialogue with a priest or spiritual guide.
Proposition 41 deals with the admission of non-Catholics to the
Eucharist. In essence, it argues that for Catholics, eucharistic communion
implies full communion with the church, and for this reason inter-communion is
not generally possible, nor is ecumenical concelebration permitted.
At the same time, it notes, in individual situations granting
non-Catholics who desire it access to the sacraments of penance, anointing of
the sick and the Eucharist is possible and even encouraged.
Proposition 46 treats the question of pro-choice Catholic politicians.
It says that Catholic politicians and legislators ought to feel
themselves challenged in conscience about the grave
responsibility of supporting iniquitous laws. It says that a
distinction between ones private opinion and public stance on such
matters is not tenable, and that this situation should be considered in
relationship to eucharistic truth. It goes on to cite 1 Corinthians 11, a
warning from Paul about receiving the Eucharist falsely.
In that sense, the proposition is largely a word-for-word reflection of
a proposal made in one of the Spanish groups by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez
Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as previously
reported by NCR.
A paragraph has been added to Lopezs proposal, however, which
injects a degree of nuance, with potentially important implications for
In applying this orientation, it says, bishops ought
to practice the virtue of prudence, taking into account the concrete local
With this addition, the proposition in effect does not call for a
universal Communion ban on pro-choice Catholic politicians that would override
the case-by-case judgment of individual bishops.
On other matters, proposition nine deals with the Eucharist and
polygamy, essentially affirming that Christian marriage is a permanent union
between one man and one woman, and situations in which this is not the norm
represent a call to Christian conversion.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana told reporters during a Vatican briefing
Oct. 18 that polygamy presents a complex challenge for African pastors.
You cant just say to a man, let the others go and stay with
the first wife, he said, Theres a question of justice. You
can ask the man to provide for her on-going security, setting up a small
business for her, for example. But then theres still her need for a
sexual partner. You cant just say to everyone they should be celibate.
You dont want to expose them to prostitution and so on.
Turkson emphasized that the propositions as they stand are just
proposals, and still can be amended based on small group discussions.
Several propositions deal with formation of priests for presiding and
preaching at the Eucharistic liturgy. Proposition 19, for example, calls for
practical assistance in the preparation of homilies, including the idea of a
manual to be prepared by the Vatican with model homilies keyed to
Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Proposition 23 suggests moving the Sign of Peace in the Mass to
immediately after the Prayers of the Faithful, hence before the Eucharistic
Prayer, and also affirms existing rules that the priest is not to leave the
sanctuary during the Sign of Peace. Proposition 28 affirms the existing norms
in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal for the placement of the
Tabernacle, which calls for location in a prominent place.
Proposed amendments to the propositions will be submitted on Wednesday,
with the final draft circulated on Friday ahead of Saturdays vote.
One synod participant told NCR on Tuesday morning that in his
view, the propositions faithfully reflect the discussion on the synod
Another participant, however, expressed dissatisfaction.
I wonder why in the hell they brought us here and put us through
all this, he said Oct. 18, to say absolutely nothing more than what
has been painfully said for decades.
This participant expressed hope that since Benedict XVI listened to most
of the discussions, he might come up with more innovative responses to some of
the pastoral problems identified in the synod.
John L. Allen Jr. is NCRs Vatican correspondent. His
e-mail address is email@example.com.
October 18, 2005, National Catholic Reporter