Different understanding of the Eucharist should be a problem

Priests' association disinvited from Eucharist congress

New York - First they were promised participation, then cancelled again. The clergy of an association of priests were supposed to take part in the National Eucharistic Congress in the USA – but this does not occur. Now the association itself is speaking out.

Published  on 09.07.2024 at 11:41  – 

Participation in the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress in the United States has been cancelled for an association of Catholic priests. As the internet portal "Crux" reported on Tuesday, the association sees the problem in its "expanded understanding of the Eucharist", which deviates from the core message of the event. The organisers, on the other hand, emphasise according to the report that they simply ran out of space. A year ago, the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) first asked to take part in the congress. In May of this year, it was accepted, only to be cancelled a month later.

This year's Eucharistic Congress is being organised by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and will take place in Indianapolis in the US state of Indiana. The aim of the congress is to renew and deepen the understanding of the Eucharist among Catholics. According to the US bishops, the programme includes various events as well as church services and processions. However, the priests' association itself has a different understanding of the Eucharist. "We do not denigrate adoration and worship, but narrow theologies and forms of piety do not limit our understanding of the Eucharist," said the association's chairman, Steve Newton. The Eucharist is seen as a transforming encounter with Christ that encourages people to "go out, live it and invite others to do so".

More than monstrances and processions

Topics such as social justice and synodality, especially in the way in which worship is celebrated and who takes part in it, are also important to them. "I suspect they see this as a threat or undermining their core message," says Newton, explaining the rejection. "The US bishops' conference looked at our website and ultimately saw who we are and that our understanding of the Eucharist goes beyond monstrances and processions," he said. According to its website, the AUSCP association has around 500 members. Its core values include the Gospel in the light of the Second Vatican Council, the promotion of human dignity and a synodal relationship with bishops and laity.

According to media reports, the major Eucharist event will cost around 14 million dollars. As Pope Francis' special envoy, Curia Cardinal Luis Tagle is to take part in the congress and celebrate the closing mass on 21 July. (mtr)