"Lent is an opportunity to approach the latter, to confess well and to encounter Christ in Holy Communion. The encounter with Him gives meaning to our life," said Pope Francis.
His words followed his catechesis on the "Our Father," in which we ask for "daily bread
," in reference "not only for food for the body, but also the gift of the Eucharistic Bread, nourishment of the soul."
"We see a special reference to the Eucharistic Bread, which we need to live as children of God. We also implore forgiveness for our trespasses, and to be worthy to receive forgiveness we commit ourselves to forgiving those who have offended us," remarked the Pope.
The Eucharist is safeguarded by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:27, who writes
: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord."
The Pope's clarity regarding the proper reception of the Eucharist in his Wednesday audience contrasts the doctrinal ambiguities in his exhortation on marriage and the family. Published in 2016, Amoris Laetitia
has led dioceses around the world to open Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried in certain situations.
Since the publishing of Amoris Laetitia
, bishops and bishops' groups in Argentina
have issued pastoral instructions that allow for civilly divorced and remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Communion, contrary to longstanding Church teaching and practice.
The Holy Father approved
in December a papal rescript published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis
(AAS), the official register of the Holy See, raising the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia
that opened Communion to those in invalid unions in certain cases to the level of "authentic Magisterium." The interpretation is from the 2016 directives of the Buenos Aires bishops published in the AAS and a private letter
from the pope that praised their interpretation.
The leading prelates held these "New Momentum Conferences" February 19, 21 and 23 at Boston College, the University of Notre Dame and Santa Clara University. Bishops in Canada
, however, have issued statements reaffirming Church teaching.
More than 250 academics and priests signed a Filial Correction
addressed to Pope Francis in July over some serious misgivings about the effects of these passages in the document. No answer has yet been received from the Holy Father.
Its Latin title, Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis ("A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies"), states that the pope in Amoris Laetitia, "and by words, deeds and omissions, may have upheld seven heretical positions about marriage, the moral life and the reception of the sacraments, causing such heretical opinions to propagate in the Church."
The letter was originally delivered to Pope Francis on August 11, but after no response from the Holy Father, the signatories publicly released it on September 24.