VATICAN CITY (CNS): The recent debate over liturgical abuses and reception of Communion by dissenting Catholics is about to be taken to a global level as the Church prepares for the 2005 Synod of Bishops.
The synod’s topic is the Eucharist.
In recent days, bishops around the world have received a Vatican-prepared thematic outline that focuses in large part on the rules that govern celebration of the Eucharist – including who should and who should not receive Communion.
The 75-page outline, called the “lineamenta”, has not been released publicly by the Vatican. Catholic News Service obtained a copy of the document earlier this month.
The outline emphasises the sacramental and liturgical norms against shared Communion with most non-Catholics. It repeatedly makes the point that the Church does not have the power to give Communion to Catholics living in grave sin, to those “teaching error” or to “persons living an immoral life”.
The outline did not explicitly address the question of denying Communion to those in opposition to key Church teachings. Instead, it framed the question in terms borrowed from the early Christian writings of the Didache: “If one is holy, come; if one is not, repent”.
Some at the Vatican see the upcoming synod as the third step in a process of restoring liturgical order to eucharistic celebrations. The first step was Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on the Eucharist last year. The second was the document on liturgical abuses, released by the Vatican last month.