Pope Francis gave his usual Wednesday audience at St. Peters and was quoted by Vatican Radio below.
The text contains the follow statements, quoted as to clearly infer that Pope Francis said the following words: "Because Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a meal, there is a close relationship between families and the Mass...In this way the Eucharist becomes a school of inclusion, in which we learn to be attentive to the needs of everyone...The Eucharist reminds us that our bread is meant to be shared with all."
To be generous the the Holy Father, it is possible to read an analogy in these words, with Pope Francis using the Eucharist as representative of a meal, not a meal in and of itself and that family life should include family meals to bond them together like the Eucharist bonds the Church together. If so, it is a very odd analogy and one that for Catholics is worrisome.
The Anglican heresy, specifically in the writings of Archbishop Cranmer, made numerous attempts in his Book of Common Prayer to reform the Eucharistic component of the Anglican service to remove any doubt as to whether the communion wafer was the transubstantiated body of Christ or a symbol. Much of his effort surrounded the creation of a table and the communion wafer as a meal to be shared by the congregation -- in direct conflict with the holy Mass.
To see a Pope make references to the Eucharist in a Protestant manner is shocking because it necessitates two questions: (1) If it is "just" food for a communal meal, then how can you square this with the Eucharist as the body of Christ? (2) If it is "just" food, then there isn't any need to restrict access to it during the service.
Both of these questions have clear references to last month's Synod on the Family and substantive debates about rebellious bishops attempting to change Church doctrine. The Pope's comments here do not give calm to a Catholic heart.
I am legitimately concerned for the Pope's health.
It has been reported now that Pope Francis has fallen 3 times in the last several months on camera (and how many off camera) walking up and down steps. The Pope is a man of advancing years and along with various rumors during the Synod that the Pope has a brain tumor (though there were conflicting reports about whether this rumor had any legitimacy), one has to be concerned about what might be going on here.
Since I am not a doctor nor do I play one on tv, I am not about to cast further rumors on to the blogosphere. However, I also do not believe that this is simply a false step here and there.
Prayers for the Pope are truly merciful and should be included in one's prayers. The Lord will do with him what He must.