Work on New Document Is in Initial Stages
VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II is planning to write an encyclical on the Eucharist, a topic that Vatican sources say profoundly links his other papal writings.
ZENIT confirmed with the Vatican that the writing of the encyclical, announced on Italian public television RAI 2, is still in its initial phases.
The Holy Father sees in Christ's real presence in the Eucharist a profound link with all the writings of his pontificate, which began with the encyclical "Redemptor Hominis" (Redeemer of Man) in March 1979, Vatican sources explained.
At the same time, the new encyclical is expected to give the opportunity to bring together in a circular way -- a trait common in John Paul II's thought -- the ideas of this pontificate, one of the most prolific in history.
John Paul II has published 13 encyclicals, the last of which was "Fides et Ratio" (Faith and Reason), signed on Sept. 14, 1998.
In recent years, the Pontiff has given much attention to Sunday Mass, to the point that he dedicated an apostolic letter to it, "Dies Domini" (The Lord's Day), signed on May 31, 1998.
In his 2001 apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), No. 36, he wrote: "In many regions Christians are, or are becoming, a "little flock" (Luke 12:32). This presents them with the challenge, often in isolated and difficult situations, to bear stronger witness to the distinguishing elements of their own identity. The duty to take part in the Eucharist every Sunday is one of these. The Sunday Eucharist which every week gathers Christians together as God's family round the table of the Word and the Bread of Life, is also the most natural antidote to dispersion."
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America