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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics are gathering in Rome for a conference on the eve of the Amazon Synod to reinforce the centrality of the Holy Eucharist to Catholic belief.
The conference, called "Every Knee Shall Bow — The Majesty and Infinite Love of Holy Communion," will be held on Saturday at Santo Spirito in Sassia — yards away from St. Peter's Square. The church is also called the official sanctuary of the Divine Mercy devotion in Rome.
Contributing speakers will include Cdl. Malcolm Ranjith — the former secretary at the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cdl. Raymond Burke, Bp. Athanasius Schneider and Msgr. Nicola Bux, a theologian and former consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The gathering will focus on reinforcing the Church's long-held tradition of kneeling and receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.
In a September interview, Cdl. Robert Sarah asserted, "The decline of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus the Eucharist is at the heart of the current crisis of the Church and its decline, especially in the West."
"The profound crisis that the Church is experiencing in the world and especially in the West is the fruit of the forgetting of God," he said, adding, "If our first concern is not God, then everything else collapses. At the root of all crises ... is the forgetting of the primacy of God."
In August, a poll revealed 69% of self-identified Catholics think Holy Communion is merely a "[symbol] of the body and blood of Jesus Christ," with less than one-third of all Catholics saying they believe "during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus."
The poll also shows more than 1 in 5 of Catholics (22%) know the Church's teaching on the Real Presence in the Eucharist but reject it.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reacted with a Facebook post asking Catholics, "What are some ideas to solving this issue? We want to hear your opinion."
While the USCCB suggested it's own booklets telling Catholics to read about "how Jesus wants to transform your life through this sacrament of his Body and Blood," the majority of those responding advised traditional practices most U.S. dioceses and archdiocese have abandoned:
Very few bishops, however, reacted to the information revealed in the poll.
Peoria, Illinois, Bp. Daniel Jenky responded, "I believe it is a grave obligation for me to try to state as clearly as I am able some basic truths about the Blessed Sacrament," adding, "The clergy and faithful therefore share a perennial responsibility before Almighty God to pass on Divine truth to future generations, in season and out of season, uncompromised and undiminished."
Jenky noted, "Yet today, we are forced to admit that for several generations, the Church may not have effectively passed on even some core elements of Catholic Christianity to those whom may now constitute the majority of our members."
Bux said in a September interview that if a priest "first obliges a believer to stand up to receive Holy Communion, or comes to remove kneelers from the church, it means that the devil has entered the temple."
He added that the devil "pushes priests to remove this element that recalls the First Commandment: to love the Lord your God and serve him alone!"