Propositions of the Synod of Bishops
The Vatican published propositions, or pastoral suggestions, of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The first part is entitled 'The people of God educated to faith in the Eucharist' and begins with a theological reflection. It encourages priests to make more energetic efforts to enable the faithful to take part in Sunday Mass. The Synod Fathers encourage a revival of Eucharistic adoration.
They see the necessity for a renewed pedagogy of conversion, which would make the faithful use more often the Sacrament of Penance. The Fathers confirmed the significance of celibacy in the Catholic Church and the need to explain it to the faithful. The Synod Fathers call for renewed efforts to encourage priestly vocations. They suggest special spiritual care for altar-boys, to popularise the Adoration of the Eucharist in the intention of vacations as well as to organise diocesan vocational centres and minor seminaries.
One should reconsider the age when the Sacrament of Confirmation is ministered and whether the First Communion should follow it in the Latin rite.
The second chapter examines participation in the Eucharist. More active lay participation in the liturgy was suggested. The bishops should explicitly make an end to abuses of celebrating Eucharist by substituting other contents for liturgical texts. The Synod stresses the role of Sunday as the Lord's Day.
The third chapter is entitled 'The missionary life of the Church, as nourished by the Eucharist'. We find expressions of gratitude for priests, deacons and all people who help prepare and celebrate the Eucharist. Priests are called to celebrate it daily even if there are no faithful present. Those who are divorced and illicitly remarried 'cannot be admitted to Holy Communion,' but the document emphasizes that they remain a part of the Church community. The next proposition is on admitting non-Catholics to Communion.
Ecumenical co-celebration is generally not possible. Whereas under certain strictly defined conditions admitting non-Catholics to sacraments of Communion, Penance and the Sick is possible and even recommended. The Holy Father will publish a post-synodal document based on the propositions.