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What is the ‘beating heart’ of the Church? The Eucharist

Genoa, Italy, Sep 21, 2016 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Eucharist is the source of mercy and the beating heart of the Church, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa has said.

He was appointed Pope Francis’ special envoy for the Italian National Eucharistic Congress, held in Genoa Sept. 15-18.

“I would say that this congress is the response to a world order without God. It is also a testimony – for the city of Genoa and for the country – that living a good and peaceful life is really possible when we are on Jesus’ side,” Cardinal Bagnasco told CNA.

The Archbishop of Genoa is also president of the Italian bishops’ conference. His envoy role was unusual, as for the first time since the Second Vatican Council, the Pope did not attend a Eucharistic Congress held in Italy.

From all over Italy, 900 delegates and bishops gathered for the congress, the theme of which was “Eucharist as the source of mission.”

“This congress renewed the love for Jesus in the Eucharist,” said Cardinal Bagnasco. “The Eucharist is the beating heart of the Church and of the People of God. Charity, missions, and works of mercy are born out of the Eucharist.”

Referring to the “world order without God,” Cardinal Bagnasco reiterated what he said Aug. 10, during the homily for the feast of St. Laurence, to whom the Genoa cathedral is dedicated.

In that homily, the cardinal noted that “even today, Christians experience martyrdom,” not only in the bloody, “classical” way, but also in new forms, “refined, but not less cruel; legalized, but not less unjust.”

He pointed his finger at a Europe that considers Christianity as “divisive” and at the world that “in the name of values like equality, tolerance and rights” claims to “marginalize Christianity” and establish “a world order without God.”

The cardinal told CNA that the euthanasia recently performed on a minor in Belgium – a terminally ill boy of 17 years – is “definitely one of the outcomes of a world order without God.”

“Only without God do we reach this point, as we have no more criteria for love and for living together, for loving others. Without God, we do not follow the rationale of love, but we rather follow the different rationale of effectiveness and of wellbeing at all costs.”

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