THE CHURCH must rethink radically its understanding of the Eucharisit so that it is the worship of Christ's poor and a commitment to the poor. according to a booklet*' published yesterday.
In the booklet Fr David Morland, OSB, a Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a member of the Catholic Commission for International Justice and Peace, writes that the Church "has am enormous opportunity today really to become an effective sign of hope and life in the world for all men."
The majority of Mass-going Catholics, Fr Morland claims, do not see the necessary link between their worship and action for justice. He suggests that the renew ed liturgy is not always welcomed because it presupposes a living community which does not neally exist. Yet the liturgy, particularly the Eucharist, is essential to social justice, he says, because it re-enacts Christ's life, death and resurrection, which "lays bare the roots of evil and injuskice and points to the only way to eradicate them."
Fir Morland goes on to examine the Church as the sacramenu: of Christ, Which should be obedient to his example. As Christ was concerned more with people, especially the poor, than whin formal religion, so must his foltowers be. "If, the Church is said to be in the world," writes Fr
Morland, "to give voice to the voiceless, that voice is to be the voice of praise of God. But this means that the Church cannot celebrate the Eucharist authentically i.e. according to its true meaning, unless it is the celebration of the poor. the oppressed."
To share in the Eucharist authentically, therefore, the Church must strip itself of "vested interests, concern for maintenance, false securities," Above all. he stresses, the Church in the rich north has to extract itself from the structures of injustice which keep the south in poverty.
For this _ transformation to come about, says Fr Morland, the universality of the Church can be a great help. And the time is right for change because "the papacy enjoys unprecedented spiritual authority in the world as well as the Church and in the light of constant urgings of recent Popes to apply the mind and energy to world injustice, such an understanding of the 'Eucharistic life of the Church' and its implications would have the strongest backing of the highest authority in the Church,"
*The booklet, entitled The Eucharist and Justice' is available f ram: Commission for International Justice and Peace, 38140 Ecclesione Square, London SW1V 1PD.