António Cardinal Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, was interviewed in the latest Ponto de Viragem podcast, published by the Portuguese Jesuit portal.
Cardinal Marto acknowledged that the Church, like society, has been surprised by the crisis that we are experiencing, and was unprepared to respond. She tried to adapt to the challenges that arose in a “slightly improvised” way, said the prelate. He went on to highlight the importance of technology and praised the creativity of pastors and laity for living the faith and supporting social needs.
Cardinal Marto, vice president of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference, mentioned Pope Francis as setting an example by placing the moral imperative to save lives above all else. For the Portuguese bishop, the suspension of public masses was an “evangelical act of love of neighbor.”
At one point in the interview, the prelate spoke about the way to receive Holy Communion, which has changed in many places due to the risk of contagion. Obviously referring to the faithful who wish to receive communion on the tongue, which is being denied in many places, he appealed to the faithful to show humility and accept the specific rules for this time of the pandemic.
The Portuguese bishop argued that communion in the hand was the appropriate way to receive the Body of Christ in the early Church. “Christ said ‘take and eat,’ he did not say ‘open your mouth,’” said the cardinal. He further explained that it is just as worthy to receive communion in one way or the other.
Without going into the debate about which of them is worthier, the cardinal’s argument is dangerous. It reminds me of the Protestant ‘Sola Scriptura,’ with which one ends up discussing what Jesus said or did not say. Is Tradition not precisely one of the main differences that separate us from them?
Why is he wearing that little red hat on his head? Did Jesus give them to the apostles? In fact, the word cardinal does not even appear in the Gospels, does it? Furthermore, what is a bishops’ conference, of which he is the vice president? Do they appear in the Acts of the Apostles? That does not ring a bell at all.
Translated by the staff of Fatima Today.
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