Eucharist as sign of unity: best way to unite Catholics is faithfulness to Church teaching, says Cardinal Sodano

.- Today in Rome, world prelates are continuing to meet for the 11th General Synod of Bishops. Among the more heated debates, the topic of intercommunion and norms for receiving the Eucharist continued to take center stage at this morning's sessions.

Echoing some bishops who have questioned the Church's instruction that only Catholics should receive communion, Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen, Denmark said that, "From an ecumenical point of view," in his country, and "despite a generally positive atmosphere, the Catholic Church has noticed an increase in incomprehension concerning the question of inter-communion."

"The Catholic point of view on this is considered backward by other Christians," he said, “and this opinion is unfortunately also shared by some Catholics."

He also recalled what he called "the painful situation of the many divorced and remarried Catholics who cannot take part in communion"--a subject which has also been breached numerous times by the Synod thus far.

In contrast, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, pointed out that while "The Eucharist is always an invitation to the unity of all the disciples of Christ," and "always an agent of unity, due to the unifying grace it communicates to us," that there is "a delicate problem [in] the attitude we must show towards our separated brothers who wish to participate in the Eucharist celebrated in our Holy Church." 

The Cardinal stressed that, "to favor unity with our separated brothers, we must not be divided ourselves. And a sure way to avoid division is faithfulness to the existing discipline of the Church. ... Paragraph 45 of the last Encyclical by the late Pope John Paul II 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia' recalls: 'While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or ecclesial communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church."

He said that, "In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an inter-communion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established'."

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