Corpus Christi Campaign Invites Lay Input to Eucharist Synod
Preparatory Documents Don’t Even Mention Priest Shortage
The FutureChurch/CTA Corpus Christi Campaign will encourage lay
Catholics to give their views on important issues which were not
mentioned or underemphasized in the preparatory documents for the
October 2005 International Synod on the Eucharist. (full text is
Astonishingly absent is any mention of the worldwide priest shortage.
Instead of asking how many priests and priestless parishes your
diocese will have in
ten years, Vatican officials want to know what “abuses” exist in
Eucharistic worship and if priests are obeying new liturgical norms from the
General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The fact that fully half of the world’s
parishes and missions do not have a priest, and hence no regular access to the
Eucharist at all, was mysteriously overlooked.
All over the world, priests and liturgical specialists
are now writing diocesan responses to the Lineamenta preparatory document.
In the United States, bishops must have their views in to the U.S.
by October 1. These will be gathered into a final report to the Vatican due December
31. The responses will
provide the basis for a working document for the synod, scheduled for Oct. 2-29,
Since early indications are that the Synod could
be in grave danger of missing the forest for the trees, FutureChurch and
Call To Action are pulling out all stops to make the priest shortage,
availability of the Eucharist
and Vatican II understandings of Eucharist a top priority on the Synod agenda.
Concerned Catholics can send preprinted
postcards to USCCB officials, U.S. Cardinals and their own bishops by
December 1, asking that
- Address the loss of Eucharist because of the worldwide
- Model our Eucharistic practice according
to Jesus’ table-
- Give greater emphasis to all the ways Christ’s
Real Presence is with us (the
gathered community, the Word proclaimed and the priest-presider),
as well as
in the sacred elements.
- Recognize that the Eucharist is more important than
and return to our early practice of permitting both married
and celibate priests.
- Recognize that women are “the Body of Christ” as
much as men and open the diaconate to the tens of thousands of
qualified women serving in the church right now.
In the meantime other aspects of the Corpus
Christi Optional Celibacy Campaign are expanding:
Priest Surveys Overwhelmingly Support Optional Celibacy Discussion
An amazing 67% (2375 of 3539) of priests responding
to an anonymous survey in 54 U.S. dioceses, supported open discussion
mandatory celibacy rule for diocesan priests. Many priests spontaneously
said they also supported ordaining women. FutureChurch and Call
To Action members are still conducting surveys in several other
dioceses. Click on survey results for individual diocese results and comments by priests.
Prayer, Petition Collection To Expand
A new phase of the campaign is an expanded
petition collection and prayer presence planned for
Advent. At press time, petition
signatures to the International Synod on the Eucharist number some
15,000. Eight thousand letters to USCCB President,
Bishop Gregory asking for open
discussion of mandatory celibacy were delivered at
the Bishops’ meeting last November. Eight thousand will be delivered this year, include 6,000 from the Twin Cities’ organization
Welcoming Vocations, 1000 from the Association for Pittsburgh Priests,
and 1000 collected from a joint ad in the National Catholic Reporter
by FOSIL, CTA and FutureChurch.
Press Conference at Denver Bishops Meeting On June 14
organized a press conference at the summer meeting of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops. Local Montrose, CO parishioners
led by Sharon Beshoar released the results of their surveys of
376 active and retired priests in the Denver and Pueblo dioceses.
Of those, 104 responded and more than 60
percent answered that they favor an “open discussion” of
mandatory celibacy rules. The story was covered by The Denver Post,
The Rocky Mountain News, the Associated Press, six TV stations
and two radio stations.
Fr. George Smiga speaks on “Biblical Roots of Eucharist” at
Cleveland Corpus Christi Celebration, one of 65 held around the country.
Corpus Christi Celebrations, Education Programs Increase
65 special celebrations of the feast of Corpus Christi were held
this year, an increase from 45 last year.
At least five were spearheaded by CTA groups and sister organization
in Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Nebraska and Belleville,
Ill. FutureChurch’s Cleveland celebration with Fr. George
Smiga, who spoke on Biblical Roots of Eucharist, drew over 130
people. CTA Cincinnati’s program included 34 faithful Catholics
who gathered to pray and discuss optional celibacy for diocesan
priests. A young adult shared a powerful story of his call to both
priesthood and marriage.