Document on Eucharist Underwent a Dozen Drafts

New Instruction Addresses a Key Concern of John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," on abuses regarding the Eucharist and the celebration of Mass, responds to one of John Paul II's key concerns, and went through a dozen drafts.



At a press conference today, Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, revealed that the work of preparation began even before the Pope announced its commission officially in the 2003 encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia."

The cardinal said that the instruction is the fruit of the intense collaboration of his congregation and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Before the publication of the encyclical, "we asked our member bishops, cardinals and others to send us the complaints and doubts that are expressed to have an idea" of the problems to be addressed, Cardinal Arinze explained.

"Then, the two congregations established a joint commission at the beginning of last year. The two prefects and secretaries revised this work," he added.

The first draft of the document was presented last May to all the members of the two congregations -- some 70 cardinals, archbishops and bishops. The text was then discussed last June.

"There was still much work after that, as a first draft always needs many changes. We then started the consultations and contributions. We have written some 12 drafts between May and two months ago," the cardinal said, adding with a smile "this is normal" for Vatican documents.