Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Cardinal Kasper Sees Eucharist as Sacrament of Unity
VATICAN CITY, AUG. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Eucharist, long regarded as a reason for the separation of Christians, is, in fact, a cause of unity, says Cardinal Walter Kasper.
The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity made that point about the Blessed Sacrament in a recently published book.
The volume, "Sacrament of Unity: Eucharist and Church," published in German by Verlag Herder, and in French by Cerf, explains that "to understand the Eucharist as the sacrament of unity is not something accessory. The unity of the Church is the reason why the Eucharist exists."
"The fact that in the present situation it is not possible, in the name of truth, that all Christians should gather around the Lord's one table and participate in the one Supper of the Lord, is a profound wound inflicted on the body of Christ and, in the end, a scandal," the cardinal writes.
"The unity of the Church is a gift of the Holy Spirit," he states, clarifying that "ecumenical unity" will not give origin to "another Church, or a new Church; on the contrary, it will be placed in the line of Tradition."
Here's a question for the theologically-minded of you (I know there's some of you out there). Is the Eucharist a sign
or a cause
of unity? Yes, Tom, I can say 'both/and', but the truth is we rarely hear of the Eucharist as a 'cause' of unity. The CCC
only speaks of "a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity." Yet, as we all know, a sacrament is an efficacious sign, so it must be intended to bring about what it signifies. But can this sacrament bring about a unity which does not already pre-exist in some way? If so, why the ban on intercommunion? Or is some minimal degree of inchoate unity a pre-requisite, which unity would simply be fostered and deepened by the sacrament? Yet this would sharply distinguish Eucharist from baptism, in which (as in the case of infants) no such pre-requisite is required, as baptism brings one from death to life. Discuss amongst yourselves.
# posted by Jamie : 8:37 AM