“Many expectant mothers are often suffering from loneliness, and common events, such as baby showers, are not part of their reality,” he continued. “Parishes, by listening to what some of the spiritual, social, and emotional needs of the people are, can accompany women — even with small acts of kindness.”
“Concrete gestures, not mere ideas, show forth the maternal, tender face of the Church that is truly pro-life,” he added.
The apostolic nuncio cited the Eucharist as a second example showing that “Realities are more important than ideas.”
“We can have all the theological ideas about the Eucharist — and, of course, we need this — but none of these ideas compare with the reality of the Eucharistic Mystery, which needs to be discovered and rediscovered through the practical experience of the Church, living in communion, particularly in this time of pandemic,” he said.
Pierre’s address came as the U.S. bishops prepare to vote on a new document emphasizing Church teaching on the Eucharist. The apostolic nuncio stressed the importance of a “true encounter with His Real Presence.”
“There is the temptation to treat the Eucharist as something to be offered to the privileged few rather than to seek to walk with those whose theology or discipleship is falling short, assisting them to understand and appreciate the gift of the Eucharist and helping them to overcome their difficulties,” he said. “Rather than remaining trapped in an ‘ideology of the sacred,’ synodality is a method that helps us to discover together a way forward.”
He said that the “same could be said with respect to race relations.”
“Everyone here certainly condemns racial injustice,” he noted. “But is it merely the idea of racism that is wrong? How tangibly as Church could we respond to the lived reality of what some members of society must daily confront?”
He repeated a question that he asked at the June bishops assembly: “What type of Church are we?”
In addition to the world, the “Church too is wounded — by the abuse crisis, the lingering effects of the pandemic, and the polarization afflicting society,” he said. “This is the reality which must be engaged.”
“The Church needs concrete action, involving everyone, action which mediates the presence of Christ in the human reality of our hurting world,” he said. “In my mind, the way this concrete action is actuated is through synodality.”
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Former Washington, D. C., correspondent Katie Yoder covered pro-life issues, the U.S. Catholic bishops, public policy, and Congress for Catholic News Agency. She previously worked for Townhall.com, National Review, and the Media Research Center.