BARI, Italy, DEC. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has studied the influence of relativism on the relationship of Catholic communities with the Eucharist.
Monsignor Nicola Bux's conclusions have been published in a book in Italian, "Il Signore dei Misteri. Eucaristia e Relativismo" (The Lord of Mysteries: The Eucharist and Relativism), with a preface by Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice.
Monsignor Bux is also a consultor of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, a professor of comparative liturgy, vice president of Bari's Ecumenical Institute, and a consultor of the international theological review Communio.
He has also published a dozen other books, including a 1996 work presented in Rome by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
In this interview with ZENIT, Monsignor Bux talks about the influence of relativism on the Church and on the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Q: The Eucharist and relativism: the title of your book is thought-provoking but disturbing. What do you mean exactly by linking the Eucharist with relativism?
Monsignor Bux: The book points out numerous attempts to diminish the truth of the sacrament. One of the most serious is to deny that Jesus Christ is present in the species of bread and wine on which the priest pronounces the words of consecration.
On the contrary, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms in Article 283 the efficacy of Christ's words and the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately this tendency [to deny Christ's presence] is also widespread among priests and catechists.
Q: "The crisis of Christianity is the crisis of its claim to truth," warn the Church's adversaries, as you write in your book. Is this true?
Monsignor Bux: This affirmation is true if one looks at the interventions of some ecclesiastics who are concerned not to wound sensitivity or who are even convinced that faith in Jesus Christ is not the only truth that saves man, but only one among others.
This affirmation is not true if one listens to the interventions of Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops united to him.
Q: At times Catholics themselves find it difficult to celebrate the sacraments with joy. What is happening?
Monsignor Bux: It is necessary to speak about the sacraments as the prolongation of the Lord's presence, who has come to love us as Father, to adopt us as orphans, to give us the strength of his Spirit, to nourish us with the Bread of his Life, to forgive the sins that weigh down and condition life, to cure our physical and spiritual illnesses, to give us the capacity to serve him and the people in the Church and the world, to establish a relationship of true and eternal love between man and woman, similar to his love.
Each one of these actions is a gesture that Christ fulfilled in his earthly life and continues to fulfill in his immortal life through his ecclesial body. We call such effective gestures and words "mysteries" and "sacraments," in keeping with the Greek and Latin tradition.
They give true joy as they renew, cure and give back to man the capacity to overcome evil and death. The liturgy should be capable of making one live like this, without trusting too much in words but in the eloquence and efficacy of the signs.
God has become incarnate, has taken on human nature to tell us that he saves us through the matter of water, of bread, of oil, etc.
Q: You say that there is "disturbance" in the face of Catholic thought. Why?
Monsignor Bux: St. Paul says: We have Christ's thought. The truth is Catholic because it is Christ that lives and it always has value, wherever it is and in all places -- as the medieval monk Vincenzo de Lerins said -- and does not conform to passing fashions. Wedding the latter, one ends up by being a widower.