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Office of the President 3211 FOURTH STREET NE + WASHINGTON DC 20017-1194 * 202-541-3100 + FAX 202-541-3166 ‘Most Reverend José H. Gomez “Archbishop of Los Angeles President MEMORANDUM To: All Bishops From: Most Reverend José H. Gomez, President Date: May 22, 2021 Subject: A Possible Document on the Eucharist, My Brother Bishops, ‘Now that the majority of the documentation for the June 2021 Plenary Assembly has been provided to you, I take this opportunity to remind you of the Conference’s process regarding the development of statements issued by the body of bishops. As you know, any document that would come from the entire body originates with a sponsoring Committee whose mandate most closely associates with the topic. In the case of a document on the Eucharist, the Committee on Doctrine is the relevant starting point. According to our procedures, the body of bishops must first be asked whether it desires to issue a document ona particular topic. Accordingly, Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, asked the Administrative Committee in March 2021 for time on the June Plenary Assembly agenda to ask this initial question of the body. ‘The Administrative Committee approved that request. Since then, the Doctrine Committee met to develop a brief outline to propose to the body in June. Its outline reflects recent guidance from the Holy See. The completed Action Item was approved by the Executive Committee on May 17 and then provided to you in the usual format. I am also attaching it to this letter for your convenience. Importantly, this Action Item does not ask the body to approve a final statement, but only whether drafting of a text may begin. If approved, the Doctrine Committee will develop a text. From there, the Conference’s usual process of consultation, modification, and amendment will take place as the document is presented for consideration at a future Plenary Assembly. As you will note, the focus of this proposed teaching document is on how best to help people to understand the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist as the center of their Christian lives. The purposes of the proposed document are consistent with our strategic plan: Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. 1 am grateful for the way the Committee on Doctrine has approached its work and for the ‘good counsel we have received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I look forward to our Plenary Assembly. UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS DOCUMENTATION COMMITTEE ON DOCTRINE SUBJECT: Proposal to Draft a Formal Statement ACTION ITEM #07: Does the body of bishops approve the request of the Committee on Doctrine to proceed with the drafting of a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church? VOTE: Majority of members present and voting (via Formstack electronic ballot) Spring General Meeting June 16-18, 2021 ACTION COMMITTEE ON DOCTRINE Members: Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Chairman; Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J; Bishop Daniel E. Flores; Bishop Richard G. Henning; Bishop Steven J. Lopes; Bishop James Massa; Bishop Robert J. McManus; Bishop Michael F. Olson. Consultants: Archbishop William E. Lori; Dr. Margaret Harper McCarthy; Msgr. Michael Heintz; Dr. John Cavadini. Staff: Fr. Michael Fuller; Dr. James Le Grys; Dr. Siobhan Verbeck. Proposal to Draft a Formal Statement In November 2020, the USCCB approved the 2021-24 Strategic Plan, “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ, Source of Our Healing and Hope.” Additionally, in late December 2020, the Working Group on Engaging the New Administration, established by Archbishop Gomez as President of the USCCB, recommended that the Conference produce a document on Eucharistic consistency. ‘The Committee on Doctrine discussed this matter and agreed to develop a proposal for a document that would place the topic of Eucharistic consistency within the wider context of Church teaching on the Mystery of the Eucharist. In light of recent surveys, itis clear that there is a lack of understanding among many Catholics about the nature and meaning of the Eucharist. This teaching document will address the fundamental doctrines concerning the Eucharist that the Church, as a whole, needs to retrieve and revive. This includes the call to all the faithful for ongoing conversion, moral transformation, and missionary discipleship. The statement will be addressed to all Catholics and will explain the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. “Receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is . .. the foremost source and expression of our communion with the Blessed Trinity and with one another” (Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper, p. 5). For this reason, every Catholic “should strive to receive Holy Communion regularly, gratefully, and worthily” (Ibid., p. 7). The document will include the theological foundation for the Church’s discipline conceming the reception of Holy Communion and a special call for those Catholies who are cultural, political, or parochial leaders to witness to the faith. Asa teaching document, itis hoped that this document would be a theological contribution to the ongoing work of the Strategic Plan providing a resource for parishes, catechists, and the faithful. ACTION: Does the body of bishops approve the request of the Committee on Doctrine to proceed with the drafting of a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church? Bishop Kevin C, Rhoades Chairman June 2021 Draft 14 May 2021 ‘THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH: Way IT MATTERS Committee on Doctrine ParTl “THE BUCHARIST, A MYSTERY TOBE BELIEVED"! Real Presence: For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink... This saying is hard; who can accept it? (In 6:55; 60). [The encounter with Christ in the Eucharist is discussed both pastorally and doctrinally] Sacrifice: This is my body, which wil be given for you; do this in memory of me (Lk 22:19), [The recovery of understanding the Eucharist as sacrifice] Healing: Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do, I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners (LK S:31-32). [The Divine Physician and the gift of healing from sin] ParTIT — “THE EUCHARIST, A MYSTERY TO BE CELEBRATED” Unity: The Eucharist is “a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity” (Sancrosanctum concilium, no. 47). [The Eucharist as a “symphony of minds” united in praise; the importance of Sunday as a day of obligation] Beauty: “Like the rest of Christian Revelation, the liturgy is inherently linked to beauty” (Sacramentum caritatis, n0. 35). [The need for beautiful and dignified liturgies, including preaching that inspire us] Identity: The Eucharist “is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life (Lumen gentium, no. 11). [Being a Eucharistic people and living that identity more completely in our daily lives] PARTI — "THE EUCHARIST: A MYSTERY TO BE LIVED” Moral Transformation: "I am the food of the mature... You will not change me into yourself like bodily food: you will be changed into me” (Augustine, Confessions VI. 16). [The Eucharist calls us to conversion ~ constant conversion] 1 These three parts follow the three headings in Sacramentum caritatis Draft 14 May 2021 + Eucharistic Consistency: 4 person should examine himsel/, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself (1 Cor 11:28-29). [The nature of eucharistic communion and the problem of serious sin] + Missionary Discipleship: “Jesus leaves us the Eucharist as the Church’s daily remembrance of, and deeper sharing in, the event of his Passover (cf. Lk 22:19). The joy of evangelizing always arises from grateful remembrance: it is a grace which we constantly need to implore” (Evangelit gaudium, no. 13). [The renewal of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and parish life]