Sacramentum caritatis

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Sacramentum caritatis (English: The Sacrament of Charity) is the first post-synodal (Rome, October 2, 2005 – October 23, 2005) apostolic exhortation by Pope Benedict XVI. It was signed February 22, 2007.

The document expounded on the sacrament of the Eucharist. Following an introduction, it consisted of three parts, each presenting a different perspective of the Church's understanding of the Eucharist.


This 32,000 word document concerns the sacrament of the Eucharist and is divided in three parts revolving around the Eucharist as a mystery (1) to be believed, (2) to be celebrated, and (3) to be lived.

To be believed

Because the Eucharist does not offer us any mere thing but the very person of Jesus Christ it is to be considered the source and summit of Christian life. The Eucharist is par excellence, the mystery of faith itself because our faith is contained in it. Faith is first of all awakened by God's word and then nourished and made to grow in the encounter with risen Jesus Christ who is present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Paragraphs 7-11 interprets the bible as presenting Jesus freely giving himself in sacrifice for us and bringing about the new and eternal covenant of the radical newness which is contained in every Eucharistic celebration. He is literally the bread of life which came down from heaven (ref Jn 6:51). These same paragraphs together with paragraph 12 present the Trinitarian dimension present in the Eucharist where Jesus was sent by the eternal Father and conceived at his birth by the power of the Holy Spirit. The bread and wine transubstantiate into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the same way: as sent by the Father and transformed by the Holy Spirit (par# 13). Since the beauty of the Eucharist pertains directly to Christ in his person, it enables the participants a glimpse into the eschatological state of affairs (par # 33).

To be celebrated

In the celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus Christ shows us how the truth of love can transform even the dark mystery of death into the radiant light of the resurrection. Through the Eucharist, He becomes all in all, present in his totality within the members of the Church (par #36). The individual members make up the spiritual stones of the Church. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love. The new man sings a new song. (par #42)

To be lived

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