“United with christ”

Folded hands for prayer © shutterstock

Pope Francis has called Catholics to a sense of community in the face of the Corona crisis. The pandemic leads to the fact that many live "more or less isolated". An alternative would be spiritual communion.

Christians should "rediscover and strengthen the value of communion that unites all members of the Church," the pope said in a video address to noon prayer Sunday.

As in the previous week, the Angelus prayer from the papal library was broadcast on the Internet, but this time not also on large screens in St. Peter's Square to avoid crowds.

Private prayer at home

Francis addressed single people in particular. "United with Christ, we are never alone," he said. The pope recalled communion in prayer, but also so-called "spiritual communion" for people who are unable to receive the Eucharist physically. At the same time, he called on priests to be creative so that people would not feel abandoned.

Because of the Corona virus, public masses in Italy remained suspended. Under normal circumstances, Catholics are urged to attend
Sunday and feast day Eucharistic celebrations to be attended. Instead, the bishops recommended private prayer at home.

Possibility of "spiritual communion"

Regarding "spiritual communion," the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated in 1983 that in situations of persecution or shortage of priests, the
Catholics nevertheless participate in the Eucharist: "When, deeply guided by the desire for the sacrament and united in prayer with the whole Church, they invoke the Lord and lift their hearts to him, they have communion in the power of the Holy Spirit with the Church, which is the living body of Christ, and with the Lord himself."

"United to the Church by their desire for the sacrament, they are, though outwardly separated from it, inwardly and truly
fully united with the Church and therefore receive the fruits of the sacrament," said the document "Sacerdotium ministeriale," written by the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI., was published.

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