Washington D.C., Jun 7, 2021 / 20:01 pm
The U.S. bishops next week will deliberate and vote on whether to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist – despite the recent request of some bishops to delay such a discussion.
At the bishops’ virtual spring meeting scheduled for June 16-18, one agenda item that has received scrutiny is consideration of “Eucharistic consistency.” The agenda item is a “proposal to draft a formal statement” on “the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.” The proposal comes from the bishops’ doctrine committee.
In a May 22 memo to the U.S. bishops, the president of the conference – Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles – explained that the proposal for such a document came from the doctrine committee. The committee followed the administrative procedures for securing an agenda item on the matter, he said.
Further, the proposed outline of the document “reflects recent guidance from the Holy See,” Archbishop Gomez said, referring to a May 7 letter from the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, to Gomez and, by extension, the U.S. bishops.
Gomez added that “the focus of this proposed teaching document is on how best to help people to understand the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist as the center of their Christian lives.”
The conference will not be voting on any final text of a document, but simply on whether to begin drafting a document, he said. If the bishops approve the motion, they will still have the opportunity to deliberate and amend the document when presented in final form at a future meeting.
In its proposal, the bishops’ doctrine committee explained the two-fold need for a teaching document on the Eucharist.
First, the bishops’ three-year strategic plan – approved in November 2020 – has a Eucharistic title, “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ, Source of Our Healing and Hope.” Second, a special working group of the bishops – convened in the aftermath of Joe Biden’s election to the presidency – recommended a teaching document on “Eucharistic consistency.”