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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pastoral Letter

If you went to Mass between the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers today, you probably got a copy of Bishop Steib's Pastoral Letter on the Year of the Eucharist. It's a nice document, emphasizing the fact that the Blessed Sacrament is an act of God's love. However, Steib's typist or type setter must have had a shortage of articles, because throughout the document, the word the is missing before Eucharist. So you have "In Eucharist we . . ." What is that?

First they dropped Holy . . . now they're dropping the . . . I shudder to think what will be amputated next.

St. Gotteschalk, patron of linguists, pray for us.

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Blogger Dennis said...

What's going on is that Bishop Steib is using the word in a more conservative, that is to say, older way. In Greek, the word "Eucharist" means "thanksgiving." You don't put an article in front of it.

When used in this sense, Eucharist is the Host AND the Sacrament AND the liturgy. And (while I haven't thought this all the way through) my gut response is that it can probably do duty for the concept of Comunio as well.

Consider that we would say, "In music, audible vibrations travel through the air." We might also say, "In the music we can feel the suspense building." Either is correct, but one is more expansive than the other.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Hmmm, I guess that's ok, then -- I'd only ever heard it used like that by heretics (things like "we are Eucharist"), so I was a little perplexed. Thanks for the clarification.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

Hmm... In the greatest possible charity, one might say that someone who says "we are Eucharist" is simply being hyperbolic a little poetic in trying to get across the idea of Church as the Sacrament of to the world.

You probably know this, but while we talk of 7 specific Sacraments, we also talk of Jesus as the Sacrament of God, and the Church as the Sacrament to the world (in the sense that the Church is a sign institued by Christ to give grace, and not merely a sign because it is what it signifies).

But people who talk like that "We are Eucharist" also say things like "Let's break open the word and see our story within the story," and I usually just nod politely and throw up later.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Der Tommissar said...

Equivocation and verbal quibbles do not build the faith. The person who wrote that letter for the bishop knew what she was doing by just using "Eucharist". It's an attempt to muddy the waters of belief so as to plant the seeds of different belief in regards to the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

In the meantime, said person can fall back on some interpretation of ancient Greek to show she "intended" something orthodox all along.

Didn't the "Spirit of Vatican II" say that teachings should be clearer and more easily understandable by the laity? That's why Latin had to go, right?

Oh yeah, that rule doesn't apply when you want to subvert the faith.

10:24 AM  

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