The month of March included among other events, two important interventions on the part of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI: the publication of the post synodal apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis on the Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church, and his address to participants at a Conference on the 50 Years of the Treaty of Rome - Values and Prospects for Europe Tomorrow, promoted by the Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conferences of Europe COMECE.
The post synodal apostolic Exhortation is a “mature fruit”, of the long itinerary of the 11th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (held 2 - 23 October 2005) said Cardinal Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice, relator general at the Synod, presenting the document. “If on the one hand the Exhortation is a mature fruit of that itinerary - the Cardinal said -, it also intends explicitly to open the way for more in depth reflection. Its goal is to offer basic lines for commitment to foster in the Church renewed Eucharistic impulse and fervour”.
The Exhortation has three parts each of which focuses on one of the three dimensions of the Eucharist: Eucharist, mystery to believe; Eucharist, mystery to celebrate; Eucharist, mystery to live. These three parts “are so closely connected that their contents shed light on each other. In fact an important result of the work of the synod is to eliminate certain dualisms - for example between the Eucharistic faith and the rite, celebration and adoration, doctrine and pastoral care - still present to a certain extent in the life of the ecclesial community and in theological reflection”.
Of great weight was the address which Pope Benedict XVI gave to the Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe. Among other things the Pope recalled the Christian roots which formed the continent of Europe and explained “A community built without respect for the true dignity of the human being, disregarding the fact that every person is created in the image of God ends up doing no good to anyone. For this reason it seems ever more important that Europe be on guard against the pragmatic attitude, widespread today, which systematically justifies compromise on essential human values, as if it were the inevitable acceptance of a lesser evil. This kind of pragmatism, even when presented as balanced and realistic, is in reality neither, since it denies the dimension of values and ideals inherent in human nature. When non-religious and relativistic tendencies are woven into this pragmatism, Christians as such are eventually denied the very right to enter into the public discussion, or their contribution is discredited as an attempt to preserve unjustified privileges. In this historical hour and faced with the many challenges that confront it, the European Union, in order to be a valid guarantor of the rule of law and an efficient promoter of universal values, cannot but recognize clearly the certain existence of a stable and permanent human nature, source of common rights for all individuals, including those who deny them. In this context, the right to conscientious objection should be protected, every time fundamental human rights are violated..”