After a year and a half of waiting, the Vatican announced yesterday that the much-anticipated Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist will be released next Tuesday (13 March) – at last!!
The document, entitled Sacramentum Caritatis, is intended to summarise and conclude the deliberations of the 256 bishops from 118 countries who met in October 2005 to discuss the theme ‘The Eucharist: Living Bread for Peace in the World the Eucharist’. It will be introduced to the press at a briefing hosted by Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, who was the relator general for the Synod assembly, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops.
In a break from the usual practice, the Synod fathers made public an ‘unofficial’ list of the 50 propositions approved at the conclusion of their deliberations. These included encouragements to foster Eucharistic adoration, regular confession and a cycle of thematic homilies, as well as other more concrete steps such as moving the Sign of the Peace from after to before the Eucharistic Prayer.
However, it is reported that Pope Benedict XVI may go beyond these proposals and call for greater use of Latin in the liturgy of the Western Church, especially in the Eucharistic Prayer, and even an encouragement to celebrate the Mass Ad Orientem, or facing the same way as the people. This, of course, was the near-universal practice of the Church for 1,900 years until the time of the Second Vatican Council – even though the Council itself did not call for the change in any of its documents. If only we could also expect a reversal of other corruptions of the true intentions of the Council, such as the ripping up of altar rails, widespread rejection of the use of incense and the excesses of ecumenism.
The Vatican’s announcement made no mention of the other eagerly-awaited liturgical document allegedly on the Pope’s desk – that is the Motu Proprio on liberalising permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass in public. As soon as Our Man inside the Apostolic Palace’s broom cupboard hears anything more about that, we’ll be sure to let you know.