U.S. bishops new teaching document seeks to deepen “awareness” of the Eucharist

At their annual spring meeting last week, the US bishops voted decisively to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist.

Newsdesk (June 22, 2021 07:15 AM, Gaudium Press) Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated “As bishops, our desire is to deepen our people’s awareness of this great mystery of faith and to awaken their amazement at this divine gift, in which we have communion with the living God. That is our pastoral purpose in writing this document.” He continued that, “The Eucharist is the heart of the Church and the heart of our lives as Catholics. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ himself draws near to each one of us personally and gathers us together as one family of God and one Body of Christ.”

Archbishop Gomez explained that the USCCB doctrine committee will begin drafting the document, with regional meetings and consultations to follow, The bishops will consider the full document at their fall meeting in November.

A proposed outline of the document, advanced by the USCCB doctrine committee, included various sections on the Catholic Church’s Eucharistic teachings, including the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Sunday as a holy day, the importance of the works of mercy, and worthiness to receive Communion.

Eucharistic Revival

It is being advanced as the bishops also voted to launch a three-year Eucharistic Revival initiative, which will begin in 2022 and is planned to culminate in a national Eucharistic Congress in 2024.

Besides the Eucharistic Revival initiative, the USCCB’s working group recommended that the bishops issue a teaching document on the Eucharist as part of their 2021-2024 strategic plan “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ.”

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Such a document, while addressed to all Catholics, was needed to clarify the problems of Catholic public officials advocating policies contrary to Church teaching on grave moral issues, the working group said. The proposed document includes a subsection on “Eucharistic consistency,” or worthiness to receive Communion. The Church teaches that Catholics conscious of serious sin since their last confession cannot approach to receive Communion.

Archbishop Gomez asked Catholics to pray for the bishops as they draft and consider the document. “I invite everyone in the Church to pray for the bishops as we continue our dialogues and reflections. I pray that this will be a time for all of us in the Church to reflect on our own faith and readiness to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.”

(With Files from CNA)

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