01 July 2014, The Tablet

Austrian bishop warns Eucharist getting 'perilously scarce'

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Bishop Helmut Krätzl, a former auxiliary in Vienna, has warned that the Eucharist is in danger of “drying up”. In two interviews on the occasion of his diamond jubilee as a priest, he called on bishops to take up the Pope’s request “to make courageous suggestions” in order to stop this happening.

“We are silently accepting a scarcity of the Eucharist, which is already to a certain extent perilous, because we are not prepared to change admission to the priesthood. In my opinion that is irresponsible. We must open new doors including discussing that of priestly celibacy”, Bishop Krätzl said. The Eucharist should be available where people lived, he insisted. He did not agree with bishops who said the Eucharist should be worth travelling a certain distance to.

Bishop Kratzl endorsed recent statements of Bishop Erwin Kräutler Brazil’s of largest diocese, who he said had “impressively” described to him how consciousness of the Eucharist was lost if it was only occasionally celebrated in a parish. Catholics just drifted elsewhere, Bishop Kräutler had told him – and in Amazonia that was usually to the Pentecostal Churches.

On the question of communion for remarried divorcees, Krätzl said he was in favour of the Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) solution of 1970 of allowing remarried divorcees to receive communion in individual cases, a solution that did not call the indissolubility of marriage into question.

 

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