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Pope says Eucharist is ‘pulsing heart’ of Church

By on Monday, 27 June 2011

The Pope leads Benediction of the Eucharist outside the Basilica of St Mary Major last Thursday (CNS photo)

The Pope leads Benediction of the Eucharist outside the Basilica of St Mary Major last Thursday (CNS photo)

Pope Benedict XVI has said the Eucharist is the heart of Church life and an “antidote” to the increasingly individualistic global culture.

Addressing pilgrims on the feast of Corpus Christi, which commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, the Pope said the Eucharist was like the “pulsing heart” that gives life and meaning to everything the church does.

As the sacrament of Communion, it is able to transform people’s lives, leading them to God, he said.

“In a culture that is more and more individualistic – a culture in which we are immersed in Western society, and that tends to spread itself throughout the world – the Eucharist constitutes a type of ‘antidote,’ ” the Pope said.

“It works in the minds and hearts of believers and continually disseminates in them the logic of communion, of service, of sharing – in short, the logic of the Gospel,” he said.

The Pope said this spirit, nourished by the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, was evident in the lives of the early Christians, who lived fraternally and shared their worldly goods in common, so that no one was impoverished.

“And even in later generations through the centuries, the Church, despite human limits and errors, continued to be a force of communion in the world. We think especially of the most difficult periods of trial: what it meant, for example, in countries ruled by totalitarian regimes, to be able to gather at Sunday Mass,” he said.

Against the emptiness produced by a false sense of freedom, the Pope said, the Eucharist is like a medicine that helps people regain an attachment to the truth and the common good.

  • Kennyinliverpool

    If this is the case then why not have married priests – the shortage of priests is preventing access to the eucharist?

  • Aaron Lopez

    Because Kennyinliverpool, it’s not married priests that is the root of the problem. The problem of the ‘shortage of priests’, which is in fact an exaggerated myth, lies in the ill catechesis of the Church over the last fifty years.

    If the faithful were catechized as well as those that were around pre-Vatican II, not only would more respond to the vocation of Holy Orders, the lay would understand the reason for celibate priesthood. 

    We are very lucky to have a Pope who understands this and is making the correct decisions towards a more faithful, and more traditional liturgy, and encouraging a more prayerful lifestyle.

  • Aisake

    Please just try to evaluate what His Holiness has said that the Eucharist is the pluse of the Church which is us. He didnot said or emphasis anything about gender relation, please don’t take issues to be a weapon of dicriminate, judge, belitlle and destroyed what other has said.

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

    OUR POPE IS VERY TRUE. BUT THEN I WOULD ADD TO IT WHAT ONE OF OUR INDIAN  BISHOPS TRUTHFULLY OBSERVED FEW YEARS BACK: “THE EUCHARIST AN ANAEMIC RITUAL”. I HOPE I AM NOT MISTAKEN IN MY WORDING TAKEN FROM ONE COPY OF THE EXAMINER, MUMBAI, INDIA.

    WHEN THE BREAD OF HIS WORD IS NOT MADE THE FOUNDATIONAL REALITY FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO GROW IN FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, THE BREAD OF HIS BODY TURNS HOLLOW AND DRY AND STERILE. AND IN THIS CASE YOUNG PEOPLE MOVE AWAY FROM THE CHURCH LEAVING THE DRY RITUAL FOR THE OLD AND LESS ALIVE.

    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

    THE RIGHT THING IS  NOT TO HAVE MARRIED PRIESTS BUT TO GO BACK TO THE WAY JESUS HIMSELF RECRUITED HIS PRIESTS OR BETTER HIS APOSTLES.

    JESUS SELECTED HIS APOSTLES FROM  MEN WHO WERE MARRIED, MATURED  IN THEIR MARRIAGE AND THEN RETIRED GRACEFULLY AND JOYFULLY FROM THE SAME TO FOLLOW HIM…….NEVER TO LOOK BACK.

    EVER SINCE THEY REMAINED AS A WHOLE TRUE EUNUCHS FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD; CONSEQUENTLY THEY BORE FRUIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD: 100 %, 60%, 30%!

    WHAT A WONDER WHEN PEOPLE ARE AUTHENTIC!

    THOSE DREAMING OF A MARRIED CLERGY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ( IN SOME COUNTRY, I AM TOLD (IRELAND?) SOME 40% OF PRIESTS…..THEY ARE LIKE KINGS WHO WENT TO WAR WITH MIGHTIER KINGS WITHOUT COUNTING THE COST, THEIR OWN FITNESS AND RESOURCES….HAS NOT JESUS SPOKEN SOMETHING SIMILAR WHEN HE SPEAKS ABOUT THE FITNESS OF HIS APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES?

    IN MANY CASES PRIESTHOOD IN THE CHURCH IS ONLY A PROFESSION FOR PEOPLE WHO EITHER HAD NO CALL FROM CHRIST OR EVEN IF THEY HAD, LATER LOST IT DUE TO THEIR UNFAITHFULNESS. SUCH PEOPLE – THE CREEPERS THROUGH THE BACKDOOR  – TRY TO MAKE THE BEST OF BOTH THE WORLDS!

    LET US NOT SPEAK ABOUT PRIESTHOOD. INSTEAD LET US SPEAK ABOUT APOSTLESHIP AND START TO STORM THE WORLD FOR CHRIST THE LORD. CERTAINLY, THEN, EUROPE WILL COME BACK TO CHRIST. THIS IS ONLY TO START WITH THE WORLD.

    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Kennyinliverpool

    I can see your point, but weren’t a few of the apostles married? Didn’t Jesus heal an apostle’s mother-in-law?
    In terms of people using a ‘vocation’ as a job opportunity, yes I can see that this might be an issue, but surely the vetting procedure is there for that? Historically gay men entered the catholic priesthood to avoid persecution more than due to a ‘religious’ calling. This is not a criticism, just an observation from research literature.
    – I am also passionate about bringing Europe back to Christ! But I really feel that celibacy is not part of the Catholic tradition (I realize this is very arguably) but even in Canon law it could be changed tomorrow, but I feel that it is leading to church decline.
    why? Because studies show that a shortage of priests results in church decline, ex. Latin America, which has always had a shortage of priests, who were mostly foreign, educated and only really worked with the elites and private schools (but not some of the orders, and yes I realize orders formed the majority).

    But MORE importantly to some extent is GOD. If GOD is calling people to enter the priesthood then doesn’t that trump the other arguments?
    – Are we like the Pharisees who couldn’t see that God was doing something new?

  • Kennyinliverpool

    Okay so I agree with Fr Thomas – let us not obsess about priests…! 

    I think the main issue is a lack of prayer in churches. Whilst I am VERY LUCKY to have a prayer group who meet every weekday to say morning prayer / compline, I realize that this is incredibly difficult to find, especially in Liverpool. After I finish my masters and start working and have to move on from my university chaplaincy I am really going to struggle being part of a ‘real’ church community, as they are mostly rubbish.

    Has anyone tried introducing more prayers in a church…lol. People think you’re crazy and the priest shouts at you. 

    So maybe having less priests is good…? Yes, bring on celibacy!

  • Pgstocker

    The Eucharist transforms because we come to receive not bread, not a ritual or a blessing but Jesus Christ Himself. That is why St. Faustina said: All the good that is in me is due to Holy Communion. I owe everything to it. I feel that this holy fire has transformed me completely. Oh, how happy I am to be a dwelling place for You, O Lord!”