'Tolerated but not Encouraged'

I grew up in suburban Philadelphia, and as a kid in Catholic school Eucharistic adoration was a regular feature of our observance of the liturgical year, especially during Lent. As a practice, adoration has deep historical roots in the church in Philadelphia, roots that extend at least as far back as St. John Neumann, the city's fourth Catholic bishop. It was he who instituted the practice of Forty Hours' devotion across the diocese.  Only after leaving the Philadelphia area did I realize that this pious devotion is, well, somewhat rare in other parts. (No doubt such "old school" practices are the basis of a joke I've heard: What's the time difference between New York and Philadelphia?  When it's 9:00 in New York, it's 1949 in Philadelphia.)

Since elementary school, I can't say that adoration has played a huge role in my prayer life. This has not been true for a number of my friends, however.  Some who live in New York City (and elsewhere) have become involved with Catholic Underground, a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and find it very helpful for their spiritual lives. Catholic Underground combines private prayer during adoration with communal prayer, followed by a showcase of Catholic art and artists. Even without the formal organization of Catholic Underground, other friends have spoken of visiting chapels and churches that offer "perpetual adoration," and say that it is consoling to be able to spend time in places marked out as sacred.  These people are not zealots, holy rollers or would-be monks and nuns.  They are ordinary people who find adoration helpful in their spiritual journey. 

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So I was surprised to read this news blurb over at the Christian Century, responding to a prominent conference on Eucharistic adoration that took place this June in Rome. In it, Notre Dame theologian Rev. Richard McBrien says that adoration should be "tolerated but not encouraged." Noting the historical origins of the practice -- as a Counter-Reformation response to challenges about the Real Presence -- McBrien points out that some liturgists see it as "a step back to the Middle Ages." In his view, adoration "erodes the communal aspect" of the Mass, and "erodes the fact that the Eucharist is a meal." Adoration misses the point that "Holy Communion is something to be eaten, not adored." 

It strikes me that the "tolerate but do not encourage" idea is a bit harsh and also counterintuitive, especially since McBrien acknowledges that some find the practice "spiritually enriching." To return to the example of Catholic Underground, many of its participants are young adults -- a demographic not exactly taking churches by storm otherwise. There also seems little risk that adoration of the Eucharist will "erode" the community formed at Mass, since it often takes place in a communal setting. This is to say nothing of the fact that the overlap between adoration-goers and Mass-goers is presumably pretty high. 

There are indeed legitimate concerns surrounding adoraton -- I just don't think McBrien's getting at them in his comments above. It would be problematic if adoration were somehow being used to substitute for the Mass or were viewed as a remedy for a perceived general "unworthiness" to receive Communion. Likewise troublesome would be if individuals seek to use adoration as a litmus test, where one's views on adoration are a proxy for one's fidelity to the faith. Objections would also be warranted if individual proponents of the practice advocate the view that adoration is somehow the only form of valid personal prayer. In addition to being troublesome, this is also plainly false.

But barring these kinds of problems and distortions -- none of which are alleged to be particularly widespread in the article or elsewhere -- the "tolerate but not encourage" standard seems misguided. We should be encouraging people to pray, not just "tolerating" it. 

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Crystal Watson
6 years 10 months ago
I would agree with McBrien.  I don't really understand what the point of adoration of a host is.  If people want to feel closer to Jesus, why not talk to him in prayer?
6 years 10 months ago
I agree! This is an excellent reflection. Thanks.
Brendan McGrath
6 years 10 months ago
First, being from the Philly archdiocese and still within it, I'm glad to hear it get a shout-out!  I tend to be both traditional (not "conservative")and liberal - they say the Philly archdiocese is conservative, which I suppose in some ways it is, but whatever the case, it's certainly nice that in the period after Vatican II Philly generally didn't throw out all the beauty of the Catholic tradition - we still have statues, communion rails (they just removed the gates), the high altars behind the moved-up part of the altar, side altars, etc.

In college at Georgetown (I'm 29 now; graduated May 2005), I very much enjoyed adoration; it was the first time I'd ever really done it, and I loved it.  So, I'm one of those young people.

With regard to that joke about it still being 1949 in Philly, I suppose that for Fr. McBrien on this issue it's still 1970.
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
I can still remember vividly a member of a certain religious order (that might be known to folks at America) discovering that a 40-Hour Devotion (for the purpose of praying for peace in the context of neighborhood violence) was being concluded before Mass and, in his great displeasure, stormed by loudly with "We don't do this any more!". 

McBrien. Is. Wrong. (Flat out.)

And I write that as an adamant liturgical progressive. Devotions complement the liturgy, and the liturgy cannot sustain the burdens that replacing devotions would place on it. To attack, denigrate or marginalize public devotional prayer is to do likewise to an important nutrient that feeds social action.  

The jealously against devotions needs to be roundly rejected, O'Brien's salutary cautions being kept in mind. This jealously is a millstone around the neck of progressive liturgists.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 10 months ago
I have long been actively involved in Adoration and Contemplative Prayer groups.  For many years I even had a weekly hour (3-4AM) in which I would rise and go to the Adoration Chapel for my hour alone with the Blessed Sacrament.

I now belong to 2 Contemplative Prayer goups: one is at a Church parish and organized around a communal program of enrichment - usually a tape or DVD of teaching from a contemplative prayer teacher.  This group is large (25-50 people attend) and tends to be liberal.

The other meets on the altar of a local retreat monastery.  This group is small (4-5 people), very quiet and devout.  I barely know the other participants on a superficial level, but feel very bonded to them, spiritually.

I recognize (and need myself) a sense of the sacred in my life.  Sacred place and sacred time set aside for prayer.

But I get what Fr. McBrien is saying here.  Adoration of the Eucharist, in the sense of adoring a piece of bread, is wrong theology.  It takes Eucharist out of the relational into the realm of object.

I agree with Fr. McBrien.  There are plenty of ways to find sacred places and sacred times in life without having to distort the meaning of the Eucharist.
Brendan McGrath
6 years 10 months ago
To Beth and Crystal - But in Catholic doctrine, after the consecration, it's NOT a piece of bread anymore: it's the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ present under the appearances (accidents) of bread. 

Why does there have to be competition between Adoration and Communion?  It would seem as if they should, can, and do reinforce each other.  To appropriate a more liberal-soundin line, perhaps instead of theoretical argument against it, we should look to the lived experience of those Catholics who participate in Adoration?
ed gleason
6 years 10 months ago
As a 1940s altar boy we were instructed carefully when we served the 11AM high Mass on Sunday. Immediately after Mass and I mean immediately we were told to move with lightening speed to get the Benediction started. we get the robe, get the incense ready priest gets monstrance and move quickly so the pews would not empty out. Moving, music were quick but half left anyway.
PJ Johnston
6 years 10 months ago
At a sheerly pragmatic level, adoration can be great for gay and/or otherwise socially-marginal Catholics, particularly if it's not burdensome for a particular individual to be awake in the 2am-5am range when very few people are likely to be around.  You might have trouble with issues of guilt and/or social acceptance when you're meeting your Sunday obligation, but you can go off in the middle of the night to some place with perpetual adoration and just worship and feel the unconditional love and mercy and acceptance of God washing over your, and offer your own love in return without the static of these other things.  You could do something like this at home through contemplative prayer or the rosary, but probably in much less meditative surroundings, and there is something extra when you know that Jesus is present in the sacrament before you.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 10 months ago
Brendan (#7) - The bread is consecrated and becomes the body of Christ which is then broken and shared amongst us.  In my mind, you can't take this mystery apart, Eucharist is the consecrating, breaking and sharing.  Adoration of the consecrated bread is missing the full story and meaning.

Having been involved in Adoration for many years (the 1980s and early 90s, I'd say that those who were involved at that time were seeking a sacred place and time.  My time in the early mornings at the Adoration chapel were indeed peaceful and conducive to prayer.  I'd say that there was a heightened sense of the presence of God, which I probably attributed to the nearness of the Blessed Sacrament. 

But I have to admit that there was also an element of "superstition" associated with this early morning prayer practice.  Something overly pious and hokey and remote from my "real" life.  In retrospect, I look back and wonder what I was trying to prove - (that I was holy???) - but that may just be idiosyncratic to me.

I moved on to the practice of contemplative prayer, which feels a lot healthier and more integral to my life with others in the world.   When we do contemplative prayer on the altar, we are near to the Blessed Sacrament, but we don't "adore" it.

I personally don't know anyone who is still doing Adoration.  Like you, I would like to hear about their lived experience.
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
Action and contemplation are not in competition. It used to be that contemplation was elevated over action; to reverse the competition is no more virtuous. It's very Catholic to invert the problem one tries to solve, and, in doing so, perpetuate the problem. This dynamic is very much at work in McBrien's attitude on this point.
Crystal Watson
6 years 10 months ago
I'm not disputing real presence.  What I don't understand is why someone would want to "adore" Jesus in the form of a wafer.  It seems  to package God in a way that makes him easy to deal with - maybe that's what McBrien meant about turbing God into an object.
Anne Chapman
6 years 10 months ago
Beth, I have practiced Centering Prayuer for almost 10 years. I find that silent prayer is very powerful - sitting quietly and trying to calm the chatter and let God's voice be heard.  It's transforming.  It's a practice that I mostly do alone, generally at home, but any quiet place will do. Sometimes I meet with a group.  When churches started bringing back Adoration I was almost dismayed the first time I walked into a church to sit and pray silently and saw what could appear to be idol worship to those who know nothing of it.  A golden object with a circle, and in the circle a piece of bread - and people were adoring it.  It reminded me of scenes from movies like Indiana Jones. I can see why it creeps some people out.

But, I suppose some people find this way of practicing silence to be beneficial. But, it is not likely to be anymore beneficial than other forms of silent prayer. God is with us always and everywhere, not just in a consecrated host.  I have found that some (not making a blanket judgment, but reporting observations) of those most attached to practices like adoration, Divine Mercy Sunday, the nine First Fridays (yes, that's coming back too) novenas, etc, - practices often connected to indulgences- are very pious and a bit superstitious and often not really very spiritual.  They think that if they DO all the ''right'' things, they can earn their points (indulgences) and be guaranteed salvation. They seem to miss that all is gift - we can't earn anything - God is love, God gifts us with love, with grace, with presence - silent prayer (including adoration I assume) can open us to receiving that which has been there all along, And once we are open, then it works on us, and then our actions may also be transformed. We will never be worthy of all these gifts no matter how many pious practices we adopt - we can never earn these gifts of incalculable value - what we can be is accepting and humbly grateful for these unearned gifts.
Thomas Piatak
6 years 10 months ago
Here is an example of what comes of Catholics foolishly adoring a piece of bread:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UXLKmhd920

Good thing we have paragons of enlightenment like Richard McBrien to protect us from such backwardness.  Of course, there is the little problem that McBrien's beliefs have not inspired the creation of anything remotely as beautiful or profound as what rank superstition inspired, but we musn't let that fact deter the march of progress. 
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 10 months ago
My question: Is it THEOLOGICALLY valid to encourage veneration of the Blessed Sacrament?  Not being a theologian, I don't know the answer.  Are there theologians among us? 
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
Beth

Pope Paul VI himself, as Vatican II was concluding, issued an encyclical letter that treats the issue of Eucharistic devotion, both within and outside of Mass (nos. 56 & 57 in particular touch on it).

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_03091965_mysterium_en.html

For a Catholic theologian in our era to assert that it's not theologically valid to encourage veneration of the Blessed Sacrament would be to spit in the wind. I am sure it's been tried, but it's a fool's errand. 
 
Leo Zanchettin
6 years 10 months ago
While I can appreciate McBrien's concerns, and the concerns of others commenting on this post, there is one element that we should keep in mind: the sensus fidelium. We invoke this principle when issues like contraception and married priests are raised, so why can't we look at the growth of practices like Adoration through the same lens? If gazing on the consecrated Host helps some people get closer to God, well, good for them. It's not a mandated practice, and those who don't find much value in it don't have to participate. Much like praying the rosary. Or centering prayer, for that matter. 

I agree that more traditionally-minded Catholics should not use Adoration as a litmus test of people's orthodoxy. But neither should progressively-minded Catholics use it as a litmus test of people's heterodoxy. It's just another way to pray. Plain and simple.
Jesse Manibusan
4 years 9 months ago
Leo, well stated. Thank you.
Kay Satterfield
6 years 10 months ago
One comment I have heard about a quality some people really like about being Catholic is the sense of sacredness in church.  I think people who are drawn to Eucharistic Adoration find the experience of praying in a quiet church special like mentioned by PJ Johnson's comment (#9). Unlike McBrien's judgment, my experience of this practice is that it is done in community as there are usually others present with you.  I have even dragged my children to it to give them the experience of being still before God.  I really think our culture with the constant, constant flow of information and cell phones and internet not to mention just the everyday struggles, a person needs that moment to just be quiet and still before God to gain his/her bearings.  Eucharistic Adoration can allow this opportunity.  It shouldn't be just seen as just for the outwardly pious.  
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
+1 to Leo's comment.
Thomas Piatak
6 years 10 months ago
Maria,

Thanks for the link.  While Mozart had difficulties with the hierarchy of his day, especially his first employer, the Archbishop of Salzburg, there is no doubt, listening to his ''Ave Verum Corpus,'' that he believed every word that he set to music.  And one is tempted to add, listening to that sublime piece, that God believes it, too.

But Mozart also said something relevant to this debate.  In one of his letters, he wrote that he could never live in a Protestant country because only Catholics could understand the emotion he put into the Masses he composed, especially the Agnus Dei.  He viewed contemporary Protestantism as coldly rationalistic.  The same critique can be offered of McBrien.  He views Eucharistic Adoration as conflicting with one of his ideas, failing to consider the strong emotional pull it has for many Catholics.  Eucharistic Adoration ''works,'' just as lighting votive candles before saints' statues ''work,'' as anyone who has ever visited churches in secular Europe and seen all the lighted votive candles can attest.  Suppressing such practices because they conflict with some intellectual's ideas is foolish, and such suppression leads, at best, to the coldly rationalistic faith Mozart decried.

Thomas Rooney
6 years 10 months ago
What Leo said.

I am another one of them liberal/progressively minded Catholics (check out some of my other postings if you don't believe me) who finds enormous value in Eucharistic Adoration.  One of the main reasons I remain Catholic is the physicality of our faith, the Sacraments and the sacramentals.  I worship God as a Catholic because the Sacraments and sacramentals give me something I can touch, taste, and feel, to engage my physical senses in the supernatural worship of God.  I know, I know...blessed are they who have not seen but believe.  There's a reason I was named after the Doubting Apostle I guess. 

I've heard it quoted before that "If it's just bread, why bother?" or something in that vein; I'm not sure to whom the quote can be attributed.  I agree...if it were only a meal, who would sit in front of it in prayer?  But as Catholics, we believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  If that is the case, if Jesus remains under the accident of the Bread, the question for me becomes, "Why WOULDN'T we pray in front of it?  How COULDN'T we pray in front of it?" 

Thomas - liberal, progressive AND scapular-wearing, Eucharist-adoring Catholic.
Patrick Molloy
6 years 10 months ago
McBrien should be tolerated but not encouraged.
6 years 10 months ago
Eucharistic adoration can be a great  inspiration to a number of Catholics as can many personal devotions (say to the blessed Mother.)
I think that it has also been used as a strong point of "distinctive Catholicism" to emphasize  our didfference from those who see Communion as "symbol."
Insofar as it distances us from community as a soutce of pride, obviously that's a problem.
For I think McBrien, in noting that the history of the practice came originally  when communion was quite infrequent, does not want the message of the central meaning of the sacrament to be dominished.
What;s sad is that this should just be another controversy in the community of eucharistic believers.
Adam Rasmussen
6 years 10 months ago
Patrick, you just made my day. ROFL
Leo Zanchettin
6 years 10 months ago
Tim:

I wonder if it would be worth asking Fr. O'Brien to join the conversation here. Perhaps he could expand on his comments at The Christian Century and tell us why he thinks it should be only tolerated. And perhaps he could respond to the people who have posted about their positive experiences in Adoration. I, for one, am really interested in what he might have to say.
Vince Killoran
6 years 10 months ago
I thought Fr. O'Brien had a valid point and I haven't read anyone here that directly refutes him in a persuasive manner.  It's great to read that Catholics value adoration on a personal level but he was making an argument based on theology.
David Nickol
6 years 10 months ago
In the Christian Brothers high school I attended, unless my memory is faulty, we paused in the middle of every class and someone spoke the words, ''Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.'' I wonder if practices like Eucharistic Adoration lead one to assume that when not in church, they are not in the holy presence of God. For those who believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, placed in a monstrance on an altar, in what way is adoring him that way different from adoration looking at a statue, a picture, or just up at the sky?
David Nickol
6 years 10 months ago
Suppose a priest, fearing something unexpected might happen that would threaten the Eucharist, secretly places an unconsecrated host in the monstrance and displays it for Eucharistic adoration. Supposing no one but the priest ever knows, would the experience be any different for those who participate in the Eucharistic adoration? 
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
Vince

Paul Paul VI rejected McBrien's dichotomization between the meal vs adoration dimensions of Eucharist.  It's both/and, not either/or....

McBrien posits a false problem, and seems well armed with rationalization to dress it up. He may have his private opinion and rationalize a position vis vis Paul VI and what his teaching synthesized , but it's not worth much on this point, except as a nodding head of the usual commentariat suspects called by journalists to provide balancing viewpoints. 

Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
What I find funny here is the concern expressed over the idea that, somewhere, someone in the pews is going to think the wrong thing, whereas if that concern is directed at McBrien, it might be considered inappropriate....
 
Vince Killoran
6 years 10 months ago
P.P. VI simply acknowledged the practice-not condemning it to be certain, but not spending much time discussing it either.  It's not a ringing endorsement. Compared to  the Mass it received scant attention in the documents of Vatican II.

I think Fr. O'Brien's concern is with a return to a passive laity that is increasingly marginalized by recent liturgical changes. He has a good point. For the record, he is a well-established theologian who provides a careful analysis.  Please don't make him out as a marginal figure and a crank. 
Stephen Murray
6 years 10 months ago
We are unworthy of so great a Gift, but we are made worthy by it.
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
Vince

The reason PPVI didn't spend much time on it is because it would not have occurred to Catholics in 1965 that Eucharistic adoration would be a problem. He's certainly not seeing it as in tension with the conciliar reforms. 

McBrien's concern as you state it is not well addressed by denigrating Eucharistic adoration as such. He may be well respected, but even well respected theologians mistate and overstate their cases. Such as here. This does not help the concern as you outline it. 

PS: A reminder. I am a liturgical progressive. I champion the postconciliar reform. But McBrien's view on this matter is not properly viewed as part of that reform as such, and I am frankly concern it is a bad distraction from supporting the reform that still needs to be supported.
Vince Killoran
6 years 10 months ago
"I am frankly concern it is a bad distraction from supporting the reform that still needs to be supported."

Just to be clear, Fr. O'Brien isn't providing the "distraction"-he was weighing in on the possible pitfalls of how increased EA might take away from the centrality of the Eucharist. In championing the Eucharist I suspect he was focusing on Vatican II's CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY which, as we all know, held the Liturgy to be "the summit & source" of the life of the Church. EA doesn't approach this status but some Catholics in the pre-Vatican Church treated it as if it did.

Just as EA developed within a certain medieval context so too does it exist today within a context, i.e., it's "valid" of course (please, no more citations of recent popes approving of EA)- but how does it work in practice, alongside the Mass and the laity understanding and relationship to the sacraments?
Crystal Watson
6 years 10 months ago


First of all, I find repulsive the kind of tier system that this seems to encourage - those who aren't "worthy" to take communion, should  just go and stare at it instead.

Someone asked ... "if Jesus remains under the accident of the Bread, the question for me becomes, "Why WOULDN'T we pray in front of it?  How COULDN'T we pray in front of it?" "

 I think adoring Jesus in the form of a wafer is weirdly reductive. Seeing him as physically present yet not intentionally present leaves out everything about him that makes him him - what he preached, what he did, and any chance of interaction. It puts God in a box and objectifies him in a way that I worry allows people to believe that through devotions they can control their level of holiness.


Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
Vince, 

No, his argument is a distraction itself. If instead he said it should be "encouraged, rather than merely tolerated, with a view towards its essential connection to the Eucharistic Liturgy", it would not be a distraction.

But McBrien* preferred to be pithily provocative and dismissive - and that's a distraction. He's not serving Sacrosanctum Concilium well in that. Just because I may agree with him on many things doesn't mean I am going to applaud his doing so in this context. I have as little regard to progressive shibboleth-making as I do with traddie shibboleth-making: that is to say, absolutely none.

* PS: O'Brien is the author of the column, whose concerns I share. 
Vince Killoran
6 years 10 months ago
When people disagree with us they are not necessarily being "provocative."

I'll step back at this point since I don't think we're addressing the substantial points.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 10 months ago
Fr. Richard McBrien is a theologian at a Catholic University (Notre Dame).  As I understand it, the role of the theologian is to better explain the nature of who God is and who we are as revealed by Christ and Scripture.

I can find no THEOLOGIAN who refutes McBrien's explanation of the mystery of the Eucharist and why Eucharistic Adoration practice could distort the meaning of that mystery.

Good theology is why I am Catholic.  I want a road and a way that will lead me to fuller truth and freedom in my life, greater realization of the mystery of God and my participation in that mystery.  I do not want to get stuck in practices that lead me toward superstition or false piety or ever more ego.  I need good theology.

All this nonsense about McBrien being too provocative and distractive is attacking the messenger, not the message.

Vincent Gaitley
4 years 9 months ago
In this context, "tolerated but not encouraged" is as silly as "spiritual but not religious". Unfortunately some in the important places of the Church are "religious but not spiritual". Disdaining Adoration for not being communal or a meal is incomprehensible, and for the record, adoration is not "staring" at the Eucharist. I'm a Philadelphian and sometimes I wish it really was 1949, but silliness in devotions rises only from the utterances of the post-modern minds who flee their (and our) heritage.
Bruce Snowden
4 years 9 months ago
I’d like to add this simple, personal “addendum” to what’s already been explained and posted in “Tolerated but not Encouraged.” True, Eucharist is essentially a meal, but really more than a meal – a Real Presence. I fail to see why one cannot spend time savoring that Real Presence, that heavenly meal, and where better than in the “dining room” of say, a Chapel, where it was served. Yes, for those of us who believe, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament gives opportunity for those who dined on that fantastic meal to relish the memory. And because we deal mysteriously with the “Meal” itself, joyfully consumed, spiritually digested and assimilated in the person of the Resurrected Jesus unto Everlasting Life, sitting in the present of that Divine Meal offers opportunity to better understand the “Spiritual Ingredient” of the meal,Jesus, developing a special intimacy with the Lord. This reality of Faith is tongue-tying, eliciting from one’s heart a babbling, response, “Wow! Thank you Jesus!” Kind of the language of little ones uttering first words . Yes, “little ones” recalling the words of Augustine that, “Mary gave milk to our Bread” the Bread of Angels, bread and milk, food for “little ones” children. The best way to understand Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is to approach it as a little child, theology helpful, but the “babble” of love best! Here’s a brief, true story that tries to illustrate my point. Once I decided to spend some quiet time before the Blessed Sacrament. I positioned myself as close to the tabernacle as I could get, jsut as one loves to position oneself as close as posible to a lover, or good friend. But I soon discovered all I was doing was falling asleep! As a kind of “discipline” of my sleepy self I decided to focus on the tabernacle door imagining I was trying to open it, but sleep still ruled around me! Unexpectedly in my sleepy condition I “heard” the words, “Come on in!” In my imagination I must have thought it was Jesus, so imaginatively I responded, “Where, Lord?” The answer was immediate, “In the tabernacle with Me!” Now wide awake at last, I wondered what it all meant and in a moment I understood. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament offered me friendship, intimacy as one friend to another. I also understood immediately that it wasn’t just me - Jesus is everybody’s best friend, and wants everybody to be his best friend too. So, there it is, one learns a lot in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and things that one may already know become clearer. Please don’t just tolerate Eucharistic Adoration. Encourage it!
Thomas Rooney OFS
4 years 9 months ago
I'm about as liberal as they come, but I think Fr. McBrien is way, WAY off the mark here.
Bruce Snowden
4 years 9 months ago
Curiosity driven I scanned through the up to then 44 postings on “Tolerated But Not Encouraged” to discover that most tend to tolerate Eucharistic Adoration, some would discourage it and a few, assuming that the Catholic Church is right that in the Eucharist is present, not only the Resurrected Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, but also the entire Trinitarian Godhead, Father, Son, Holy Spirit wholeheartedly approve of it. I am one of the few. I’m at a loss to understand negative opinions, since if what the Church says is true it would be an overwhelming privilege to sit in the Eucharistic Presence of God enthroned in mysterious resurrected physicality. THERE the God who spins universes on his fingertips, the One who used the "something" of nothingness as creation potpourri, on, and on, is present in a singularly unique manner, nowhere else repeatable! To sit in the presence of the Eucharistic Christ is a much greater privilege than to sit in the company of any Church, Federal, or Civic dignitary. Far more privileged than to visit any great museum of art, to gaze ecstatically on artistic mastery, where the “real presence” so to speak of the individual artist may be felt! If it is true what the Catholic Church says, and I firmly believe it is true, we shouldn’t just walk to church, but do what a Protestant Minister once said he would do, if he believed as Catholic do, that Christ is physically present in Eucharist, he would not walk to Church, but KNEEL all the way to Church! Why then all the contrary chatter?
Tim O'Leary
4 years 9 months ago
Excellent comment, Bruce. A belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist seems to be the first thing that goes missing from cafeteria Catholics. This belief keeps us close to the Eastern Churches, closer even than many self-identifying Catholics in the West.
Bruce Snowden
4 years 9 months ago
Hi Tim, - Thanks for taking time to comment on my Eucharistic post and I'm especially pleased for the positive response. We're dealing here with fundamental Catholicism, what one must accept to be authentically Catholic. But unfortunately, many through flawed catechesis, leading to incorrect conclusions, have become a "pick and choose" Catholic, good people all, but misinformed . Bishops, Priests Deacons, lay folks too, all who teach the Faith, need to concentrate on evangelizing the evangelized before any other outreach. It would be great if the NCCB would mandate that for one year all Sunday homilies would systematically explain Catholic Faith to the faithful using perhaps the Catechism of the Catholic Church as guide. As Bl. JPII once said, " In these days Truth is often mistaken for the opinion of the many." And "Truth is not truth because we believe it. Truth is truth whether we believe it or not." Amen!
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 9 months ago
Contemplation of the host is like, and can lead to, contemplation of being. It is meditative. Sometimes leads to things like Teilhard's meditation on matter. Not bad stuff there. The Eucharist is primarily a meal, of course. But is it necessary to impose boundaries on religious encounters with God.
Laicus Romanus
4 years 9 months ago
How does the eucharist adoration compare with other adorations (marial adoration, saints adoration, relics adoration, lighting of candles, etc.) ? I thought that being Christ-centered it compared quite well. Also the other day I visited the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis near Paris, and while the whole looks like a big museum filled with tourists devoid of a religious purpose, a small chapel on the side dedicated to eucharist adoration contained one or two persons who were praying. Without that chapel and the one or two people in it, the religious significance of the whole building would seem to be lost. By the way, the cover picture of the April 22 2013 issue ( http://americamagazine.org/sites/default/files/issues/2013/pdfs/04-22-13_web.pdf ) seems to be a eucharist in a monstrance, and an encouragement.
Bruce Snowden
4 years 9 months ago
Laicus, I don't know if I'm reading you right as it seems so obviously incorrect when you say, "How does the Eucharistic Adoration compare with other adorations ...". There is NO comparison. Only God and Jesus Christ, the God Man, are adored, to everything else veneration is given including to the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the saints and holy objects, including relics. It's true, loosely speaking one may say, "I ADORE that gal!" That's just romantic hyperbole, just like excitedly asserting, "I LOVE that car!" One may LIKE and inanimate object, but one cannot LOVE it. I apologize if I have misinterpreted what you meant.

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