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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bishop Lynch explains why he doesn't allow perpetual Adoration in his diocese

It has been widely discussed of late through many sources that Bishop Lynch, of the St. Petersburg diocese (where Terri Schiavo lies waiting for death currently), does not alllow any Perpetual Adoration to take place in his diocese. It is not that he has outright outlawed in, it is that he has refused TO allow it when it has been requested of him. This has been going on since a statement entitled "Concerning Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition & Benediction" released June 1, 2000.

It is well worth a read, it is both sad and amusing. It quickly makes one realize why St. Petersburg has almost no vocations. Pray for this bishop.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Eucharistic reservation and adoration as we know it today began in the thirteenth century. At this time, participation in communion by the laity was primarily “visual,” that is, seeing the elevated host was the high point of the Mass. They rarely received communion. Among the reasons for this was a general feeling of unworthiness, the use of a language (Latin) that was foreign to them, a failure to appreciate the Eucharist as a shared meal, the assuming of the laity’s roles by the clergy, and a lost connection to the Church’s roots.

I love that, once again the arbitrary determination is that, while the earliest Christians were "pure," those darn medievalists were, well, "medieval." No references are given for these accusations against the intelligence, piety, and faith of Christians who happened to be born in the era of Sts. Francis and Dominic. Buffoons, all of them, apparently. But, somehow the EARLY Christians, now they knew what they were doing, we just need to go back to them to find the truth of the matter!

...Important as private prayer is, it should always lead the individual back to the Lord who is present in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the midst of his people. Christ present in the Eucharist presupposes his presence in the assembly gathered for common prayer, his presence in the word, his presence in the minister, and his presence in the sharing of the eucharistic bread and cup. Therefore, private devotion and adoration of the reserved Blessed Sacrament should lead the faithful to a fuller appreciation of the communal dimension of the Mass.

I love that. No matter how many Church documents carefully enumerate the absolute difference between Christ's presence throughout Creation and His Real Presence, both in time and space, in the Eucharist -- people like these liturginazis insist on making the people as much God as God's gift of the Eucharist is God! Maybe they think it makes up for only men being able to be priests.

HCWEOM permits and encourages that the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament take place in churches or oratories where the Eucharist is regularly reserved. There are two allowances for such expositions described below [annual extended period of Exposition and scheduled brief periods of Exposition] ...The solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for an extended period (one or more days) should take place “once a year” (HCWEOM, no. 86).

It is interesting to note that the very next section in the document they are trying to quote, Holy Communion and Eucharistic Worship Outside of Mass, says: "For any serious and general need, the local Ordinary is empowered to order prayer before the blessed sacrament exposed for a more extended period of time in those churches to which the faithful come in large numbers." (#87).

The section following it discusses that it is only permissible to replace the blessed Sacrament into the tabernacle from exposition twice a day (suggesting midday and at night) where there are periods of insufficient worshippers, thus also implying the possibility of a perpetual-type arrangement of Adoration in a parish setting.

But of course, who needs to know the context of the documentation? Shouldn't we be able to trust the bishop's statements?

...The issue of “perpetual” exposition (i.e., 365 days, 24 hours a day) of the Eucharist is being advocated by some within the Church... The general understanding of the Church is that this type of exposition is not to be the normal and continuous pattern in the parish. Parishes seeking dispensation from this rule must petition the Bishop and show good reason for its need. They also will need to show that they have attended to the primary form of Eucharistic activity—Sunday Eucharist.

Sorry, but if the "some within the Church" who are advocating perpetual Adoration are the Holy Father, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and most of the other bishops and cardinals in Rome and throughout the world, then I'll stick with the "some" who are advocating it, thank you very much... If it's good enough for St. Peter's basilica, it's certainly good enough for the little backwater diocese of "St. Peter's City" don't you think?

Although exposition of the Blessed Sacrament may help foster devotion to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, a parish’s first priority is well-planned and well-celebrated Masses. Parishes seeking to inaugurate or restore eucharistic devotions should reflect on their practices during the communion rite and their commitment of time and money (stewardship) to social services. Are they as respectful and reverent toward Christ’s presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament? Is the fuller expression of the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine being offered to the faithful at all Masses? Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? Does the parish carefully prepare enough communion for the gathered assembly instead of routinely going to the tabernacle? Does the eucharistic procession take its own time or is the focus to try to get through the communion rite as efficiently and expediently as possible? Do the eucharistic ministers reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender? Have the eucharistic ministers been properly trained and is their formation ongoing? Is the Eucharist being brought to members of the parish who cannot gather on Sunday because of sickness or advanced age? When these issues have been addressed, then the deeper understanding of communion that Christ intended in the Eucharist will be achieved

The whole point of the special sacredness of the Blessed Sacrament is that it IS supposed to be treated with a different level of reverence AT ALL TIMES than we are to treat other humans. Other humans are not God, they are creatures of God (and even children of God) but they are NOT GOD.

The bishop does realize, I hope, that in the early Church it was frequently the case that the faithful did not receive either the Body or the Blood at a typical Mass. Funny how he only wants to go back to the "early Church" when he sees it as being helpful to furthering his own idea of what is "proper."

"Look like bread" ?? Let me guess, he wants us to go back to loaves and fishes. It is true that ideally there should be Communion distributed that was consecrated at that Mass. But I question his motives for this... I wish he would explain a bit more instead of arbitrarily posing these questions as blatant challenges.

I wonder if the bishop ever considered the fact that his "religion" of social justice is presupposed by the fact that the people love God and want to serve and obey Him first? And then listen to His command to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless? How can people love who they do not know? It seems that the bishop's biggest gripe with Adoration is that it is distracting the people from their real mission of social justice. How odd then that this same bishop seems to care very little about the truly poor, the unborn and the Terri Schiavos of his diocese.

Complete statement: Concerning Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition & Benediction


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