The instrumentun laboris or working document for Eucharistic synod scheduled for October was released today. Predictably the American media chose to focus only on the newsy matter of pro-abortion Catholics receiving Communion, but the document is much more broadly focused. An example of the misrepresentation is this AP article which says that “the Vatican singled out divorcees who remarry and Catholic politicians who support abortion” for criticism. They weren’t singled out, but were included in a whole litany of issues related to the Eucharist.
Following on the previous post about the planned ecumenical summit in Instanbul, there will be a contingent of non-Catholic Christians present. They won’t take part in the main synod discussions, but will be allowed to join in the small group discussions. It looks like there really is a full-court press of ecumenism to heal the schisms in the Church.
The working document itself outlines a broad agenda. (Sorry, subscriber only, but non-subs will be able to read it in a day or two; you really should subscribe... hint, hint.)
It’s a long document and breaks down into four sections and a conclusion, focusing on the Eucharist in today’s world, the teachings of the Church, the Eucharist in the life of the Church, and the Eucharist in the mission of the Church. Among the major trends it addresses are the weakening of a sense of the mystery and sacredness of the Eucharist, including a flagrant disregard for the Sunday obligation and of the need for confession of mortal sin. A related topic is the disagreement of many Catholics with the Church on life and sexual issues, which is where the politician topic comes up.
This should be an interesting prelude to some action from Rome on the Liturgy. In may in fact be the liturgical focus that has been predicted ever since Benedict was elected. However, I would not expect immediate results in October. Usually it takes some months for the results of the synod to be compiled and then presented to the Pope from which he will then create the apostolic letter of constitution based on the work of the synod. Perhaps we can expect to see the result next spring or summer.
Until then, the Pope can still take action or issue documents as he wishes so it doesn’t rule out something before then. I’ve seen some people predicting action on a universal indult for the Tridentine Mass by the end of the year. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know where they’re getting their information, but I’m skeptical.