Bishop Roche’s address to Synod – Summary
Bishop Roche spoke at this morning’s session of the Synod. His intervention was a reflection on the sacrifical nature of the Eucharist. The summary of his contribution is as follows:
Developments in some post-Conciliar approaches to Eucharistic catechesis have sought to provide a point of experiential access by employing the notion of the meal as the overriding category of understanding. A theology of the Eucharist viewed predominantly through the lens of the meal is deficiently devoid of the Eucharist’s necessary and intrinsic link with Calvary and Christ’s sacrifice.
One result of a catechesis of Eucharistic presence, but not of sacrifice, is difficulty in distinguishing the superiority of the celebration of the Mass over a Celebration of Word and Holy Communion.
Reception of Holy Communion becomes the significant element, not being caught into Christ’s once and for all sacrifice of Calvary through the Mass. I believe this to be problematic not least of all for those who are separated by the circumstances of their lives from receiving the sacraments.
An impoverished appreciation of the irreplaceable nature of Eucharistic sacrifice also has obvious implications for understandings of the priesthood. Facilitating the reception of Holy Communion becomes as relevant and important as being present at the celebration of the Mass.
We need to re-connect the reception of Holy Communion with the offering of the Mass through which we are caught up into Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Holy Communion properly belongs to the Mass as the fruit of a sacramental act in which we encounter Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
In this discussion the value of the place of Eucharistic adoration becomes all the more important for our prayer and contemplation. Christ’s presence and his offering are united, flowing from and pointing towards the Mass, that sacramental celebration where Christ’s offering of sacrifice and presence in Holy Communion are held in rightful unity.