8. Oct, 2019

The Amazon Synod and the disturbing language around the Eucharist

In an article posted by the Archdiocese of Melbourne (https://melbournecatholic.org.au/Reflections/the-sacrifice-at-the-heart-of-holy-week) we understand the true nature of the Mass as Sacrifice, and as propitiation or expiation – meaning that celebrating Eucharist is foremost an act of appeasing God for sin.

"On the cross, Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice of ‘propitiation’ for sin. In Romans 3:25, St Paul tells us that “God set forth (Jesus) as a propitiation by his blood”. To propitiate means to atone for wrongdoing. Jesus did not have to propitiate for his own sin; it was for our sin that he died. But the good news is that through this propitiation, Jesus reconciled us to God. Sharing in this sacrifice means that our sins no longer stand between us and friendship with God."

To further our understanding we read in the catechism, number 1367:

"The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."

This is in stark contrast to what is being taught at the current Amazon Synod.

In an opening address by Card. Hummes (http://www.sinodoamazonico.va/content/sinodoamazonico/en/news/-report-of-the-relator-general--claudio-card--hummes.html) we read:

Thus, “the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end” (LS, 100). It is thus that God has definitively connected Himself to His entire creation. This mystery is accomplished in the sacrament of the Eucharist.”

From propitiation the ongoing Sacrifice of the Mass is reduced, or even redefined, as something that holds, guides and connects us. This is disturbing language. Previously, in this same paragraph we read:

"The Apostle Paul writes, “For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him (...) whether those on earth or those in heaven.”(Col. 1,19-20). In Laudato si’ we read that, “This leads us to direct our gaze to the end of time, when the Son will deliver all things to the Father, so that “God may be everything to everyone” (1 Cor.15:28)."

What is omitted in this text (i.e., the scriptural quotation) is that reconciliation came at the cost of “his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1, 20). Is there any wonder that what is missing in the Cardinal’s presentation about the Eucharist are the elements of Sacrifice and propitiation for sin, proper the Sacrament?