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Eucharistic encyclical and the priesthood (letter)
In his most recent encyclical, Ecclesia De Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II has provided priests and laity with a profound and inspiring definition of the intrinsic relationship between Christ, the Eucharist and the Church; and of the priest's identity intimately connected with these saving realities.
In times when the truth and meaning of priesthood have been subjected to unremitting questioning, with the priest often regarded in merely secular terms as "facilitator" or "co-ordinator", the Holy Father has reaffirmed for the whole Church the distinctive and sacred mystery of the priest's sacrificial standing "in the person of Christ" when he celebrates the Eucharist from which the Church derives redeeming and sanctifying efficacy.
As well as offering renewed vision, heart and purpose to the ordained - theologically, spiritually and pastorally - the Pope's encyclical is also a great encouragement for the growing number of seminarians in Australia and other places (May AD2000).
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 5 (June 2003), p. 14
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