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Pope John Paul II on the Eucharist

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 Contents - Nov 2000AD2000 November 2000 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pope John Paul II on the Eucharist - Michael Gilchrist
Canonisation of 120 Chinese martyrs: has much changed under communism? - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
Enneagram Workshop
Toowoomba's 'Creating Our Future' - or a recipe for further decline? - Michael Gilchrist
Irish missionary sisters combat AIDS in Africa
Fr Francis Harman RIP: bioethicist of distinction - Dr Joseph Santamaria
The right to work: central to the Catholic Church's social teaching - Patrick Byrne
The Great Jubilee: reaffirming the spiritual power of indulgences - Catherine Cavanagh
New lay apostolate: Confraternity of the Holy Name of Jesus - Barry O'Brien
Science and Christianity: can they co-exist in the new millennium? - Stephen Hitchings
Books: 'Lourdes: The Original File by a Skeptic Turned Believer' by J.B. Estrade - Katie Lindorff (reviewer)
Books: A CD-ROM 'Virtual Tour' of St Peter's Basilica - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: Casta Meretrix: An Essay on the Eccesiology of St Ambrose, Cardinal Biffi - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: Hungry For God: Practical Help in Personal Prayer by Ralph Martin - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: Martyrs And Saints In Catholic Liturgy by K.G. Mortensen - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Reflection: Brother Andrew (1928-2000): returning to spiritual basics - Brother Andrew

In a general audience in September, held in the presence of 35,000 pilgrims in St Peter's Square, John Paul II began a series of catechetical addresses on the Eucharist, "that great yet humble celebration of divine glory," as he described it.

This is timely, given widespread ignorance of the Church's Eucharistic teaching, thanks in large measure to weak or inaccurate catechesis in Catholic schools and colleges over many years. This lack of awareness of what the Holy Sacrifice really means has undoubtedly contributed to a lack of reverence during Mass as well as low Mass attendance rates in many countries.

During his first address, the Pope called the Eucharist "the principal expression of Christ's presence among us," while in his second, delivered on 11 October, he underlined the essential sacrificial character of the Sacrament: "Above all, the Eucharist makes the sacrifice of Christ present. Jesus is really present under the species of bread and wine, as he himself assured us ... However, the Christ who is present in the Eucharist is now the glorified Christ, who on Good Friday offered himself on the cross."

He then concluded: "Therefore, the Eucharist is a sacrifice: sacrifice of the redemption, and at the same time, of the new covenant, as we believe and as the Eastern Churches also profess."

At the end of his first address, the Holy Father declared: "The most exalted celebration of divine glory is undoubtedly the liturgy ... Christian worship is the most vital expression of the encounter between divine glory and the glorification that arises from the lips and heart of man."

These understandings, and those John Paul II includes in his remaining catecheses on the Eucharist, need to be central to whatever is taught on the subject in Catholic educational institutions or preached from pulpits.

Michael Gilchrist: Editor (E-mail:

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 13 No 10 (November 2000), p. 2

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