BY FREDDY GRAY
CARDINAL Cormac MurphyO'Connor has welcomed Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis.
The Cardinal, one of 12 members of the post-synodal commission which helped to draft the document, said he was impressed by the Pontiff's intellectual achievement.
He said: "I am full of admiration for the subtle way in which Pope Benedict XVI has woven throughout Sacrament= Caritatis an appreciation of the Synod reflections with the themes he considered in Deus Caritas Est."
He added: "I know that my fellow bishops in England and Wales will use Sacrament= Caritatis in helping their priests and people to deepen their love of the Holy Eucharist."
The Cardinal, who was away on retreat last week, said that he had already asked his Westminster archdiocese to focus on the importance of the Eucharist in the next few years.
"As Pope Benedict says, what the world needs is God's love, it needs to encounter Christ and to believe in Him. The Eucharist is thus the source and summit not only of the Church's life but also of her mission."
In the Exhortation Pope Benedict XVI stressed the need to preserve the sanctity and beauty of Catholic worship. He ordered a sharp improvement in the quality of liturgical music. calling for a stop to "musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy".
He wrote: "We cannot say that one song is as good as another."
Instead of "generic improvisation" the Pontiff requested a popular revival of Gregorian Chant. He also appealed for wider use of Latin in Masses, particularly at large-scale celebrations of the Eucharist. "CO express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church". He called for seminaries to school priests thoroughly in Latin and in chanting plainsong.
Dr Alcuin Reid, a liturgical scholar, described the document as "a sound tutorial for clergy and laity alike in Eucharistic theology and liturgical practice".
He said: "Pope Benedict is moving us away from a dated concept of liturgy whereby the community itself has sometimes been seen as both the author and the object of worship, to a renewed appreciation of Catholic worship as primarily the Church's worship of Almighty God in which we are called actively to participate."
Sacrament= Caritatis will be made available by the Catholic Truth Society from today.
Stuart Reid: Page 10 Editorial comment: Page 11