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I think I understand them a little better now

Okay, now I think I am starting to understand. I participate fairly regularly in the discussions on the Richmond Catholic blog site. Though this isn’t my home diocese, I do visit pretty frequently. This diocese is home to many “innovative” liturgies. Tabernacles are often out of sight (and out of mind). It is common to see a cross without a corpus. The language of the liturgy is often altered to avoid using male pronouns for God. (God’s rather than His) The most recent discussion has degenerated a bit, but has come down to talking about the True Presence of Christ.

There is a contingent of commentators who see no difference between Christ’s presence whenever two or three are gathered in His name and the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Their comments run like this:

I am shocked that you believe adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is MORE important than caring for God's people. I believe they are equal. Aren't we supposed to see Christ in each other. Disregard or give less than what they need and we do the same to Christ.


WE are the real presence!


WE are church and WE are eucharist. These holier-than-thou people who take this eucharistic adoration stuff to the extreme, get on my nerves. If we're supposed to be worshipping the "eucharist", then why has the Second Vatican Council de-emphasized this dark-ages type of practice?

This explains it. If this is your belief about the Eucharist, then of course you see no need for a Tabernacle. You would see no need to bend your knee in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. If Christ is as present to you in your neighbor as He is in the Eucharist, then of course you would view the fellowship with your neighbor as central to the liturgy as your reception of the Body of Christ.

However, if you believe that Christ is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament, then of course you would want His place of repose to be prominently placed in the sanctuary. You would want to sit in His Presence and pray. You would join the parish community to worship, praise, adore and receive Him, not each other.

What I don’t understand is why these people always seem to treat Eucharistic Adoration as a detriment to social justice issues. This is not an end sum game. Time spent before the Blessed Sacrament does not necessarily take away from time spent in works of mercy. Rather, it often strengthens and nourishes us to be more generous.

Pope Benedict XVI addresses this very well in paragraphs 36 and 37 of his encylical Deus Caritas Est

36. When we consider the immensity of others' needs, we can, on the one hand, be driven towards an ideology that would aim at doing what God's governance of the world apparently cannot: fully resolving every problem. Or we can be tempted to give in to inertia, since it would seem that in any event nothing can be accomplished. At such times, a living relationship with Christ is decisive if we are to keep on the right path, without falling into an arrogant contempt for man, something not only unconstructive but actually destructive, or surrendering to a resignation which would prevent us from being guided by love in the service of others. Prayer, as a means of drawing ever new strength from Christ, is concretely and urgently needed. People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone. Piety does not undermine the struggle against the poverty of our neighbours, however extreme. In the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbour but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service. In her letter for Lent 1996, Blessed Teresa wrote to her lay co-workers: “We need this deep connection with God in our daily life. How can we obtain it? By prayer”.

37. It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work. Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God's plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work. A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to his will can prevent man from being demeaned and save him from falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism. An authentically religious attitude prevents man from presuming to judge God, accusing him of allowing poverty and failing to have compassion for his creatures. When people claim to build a case against God in defence of man, on whom can they depend when human activity proves powerless?

I will say a prayer for those who do not yet appreciate the awesome gift we have in the Eucharist. I will remember them this Friday when I kneel in Christ’s presence in Eucharistic Adoration.

UPDATE: Jimmy Akin addresses this issue brilliantly on his blog. Please take a look!


Suzie Q. said…
Catholic Mom, I just added a comment at the Richmond Catholic website before I read this link. I live in the Diocese of Richmond, and I just wanted to let you know that we all don't think that way!
Anonymous said…
I find that absolutely hoffifying. Their CCD teachers are going to have some 'splainin' to do.

-Christine the Soccer Mom

(Can't comment as me because my blogs are Beta and that feature isn't there yet. Sorry!)
Anonymous said…
Oh, and as Suzie Q. mentioned, I, too, am in that diocese.

Catholic Mom said…
I do know many wonderful Catholics in the Richmond Diocese so I know not everyone has that view of the Eucharist. But it certainly does explain what I often see when I visit Richmond or Virginia Beach.I hope Bishop DiLorenzo sees this too. It would certainly be good to focus a little catechesis on the doctrine of the True Presence.
Anonymous said…
you are just too good to be you bake too *smile*
Michelle said…
I received my catechesis from that diocese in the 80's and they haven't changed any. My mother actually apologized a few weeks ago for assuming, wrongfully, that my CCD teachers were doing their job.

What really gets me is that, in their mind, there is only way to serve and please God. If you aren't performing corporal works of mercy, you aren't a good Catholic. What about the spiritual works of mercy which include praying...oh, and bearing wrongs (or perceived wrongs) patiently?
Tony said…
Some of those comments are unbelievable. I really had to comment to the woman who is the "bread and cup minister".

The "smoke of Satan" has indeed entered the sanctuary in the guise of the "spirit of Vatican II".

If Satan is to succeed, he first has to convince us to take our eyes off Jesus. He seems to have a twofold victory in some places in that diocese. People are relegating Jesus to a side closet out of sight and out of mind, and have convinced themselves that they are Jesus!

We really need to pray for them.

Most Blessed Virgin Mary, never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection or implored they help was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother. Before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful O Mother of the Word Incarnate. Despise not my petition, but in thy mercy hear and answer me, Amen.
Glad I visited your blog before visiting Richmond Catholic today. How painful! I may have to avoid that site until it all calms down. I understand that parishes there are a mixed bag, but I had a great experience in that diocese, with a truly superb parish. They had "almost" perpetual adoration and I've been going through withdrawal ever since our move. That parish was a much smaller parish than the one I am in now, yet it managed to fill up those adoration hours; my current parish is HUGE but can only muster daytime hours twice a week -- not workable for a homeschooling mother!

I'll never understand why some people need to create a tension between the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. That parish I was privileged to be a part of had BOTH. Adoration, May Crowning, rosaries, well attended First Fridays and Saturdays. They also supplied the nearby food pantry, had an active K of C, visited nursing homes, took up signatures to petition lawmakers (of course, on life issues and not on fair trade issues, ha ha).

Sorry for rambling. I send my heartfelt prayers back to all of you in Virginia!
Argh! Like pushing on a bruise, or picking at a scab. . . I just had to look.

Those comments were truly distressing. Bravo for trying to stand up to them, Catholic Mom, but it seems like spitting into the wind.

Very scary that "catechists" don't understand Church teaching. I think the diocese needs to be doing a lot more with their catechists than requiring them to attend that psycho-babble "abuse prevention" class, and perhaps require that they understand THE FAITH!!!
Catholic Mom said…
As I commented on Jimmy Akin's Blog, I guess the answer is catechesis, catechesis, and more catechesis accompanied by prayer, prayer, and more prayer!
Barb, sfo said…
I just attended that stupid "abuse prevention" clas last night. The Boy Scouts do this subject WAY better. I think my husband let the presenter know that, too!

That whole mindset...I ran into it this weekend when a choir member told me that I needed to change a song (I was substituting for the choir director) because the pastor had said it was "never to be sung in his church." She took issue with that--"I thought this was OUR church." Uh, no, it's not. It's actually God's church....
Catholic Mom said…
I appreciate those of you who have gone to the Richmond Catholic site and added your support for the Truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Alas, this task is above the power of mere mortals. I will continue to speak the truth, but it will be the Holy Spirit who must change hearts. Take note of this comment left in response to Tony's explanation of the priesthood:

The High Priestess of Hampton Roads Replies: First, I've been a CCD teacher for many years and this has NEVER been such a huge issue as some people are now trying to make it; Why the sudden emphasis on eucharist?! As I've said before, WE are eucharist. And if I'm so wrong, why do so many male priests agree with me? Secondly, you have a pre-vatican 2 sexist view; I can't be "Persona christi" when I pass out the bread or cup every Sunday just because I'm a woman? You could benefit from being in one of my classes. WE ARE ALL IN THE PRIESTHOOD by virtue of our Baptism! My own parish priest reminds us of this every Sunday.

Tony said…
Catholic Mom,

I think we have been trolled, and quite effectively (at least for me). I'm going to see if I can get the troll to admit (she?) was trolling.
Catholic Mom said…

I agree. I stopped commenting after one of the "High Priestess"'s later comments becaused she seemed so over the top. That said, having been to Mass multiple times in the Richmond Diocese, much of what was written on the thread is very believable. I did see a priest use a dinner plate size "host" that was scored. Then the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist helped the priest break it up into individual pieces for distribution.

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