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Vatican tries to revive Eucharistic adoration
Christian Century ^ | June 16, 2011 | Francis X. Rocca

Posted on 06/16/2011 12:24:16 PM PDT by NYer

VATICAN CITY (RNS) For seven centuries, Eucharistic adoration -- praying before an exposed consecrated Communion host -- was one of the most popular forms of devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, the focus of beloved prayers and hymns and a distinctive symbol of Catholic identity.

Following the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the practice fell from favor, especially in Europe and the U.S. But over the last decade, under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the church has strongly encouraged a revival of the practice.

"No one eat this flesh, if he has not adored it before; for we sin if we do not adore," Benedict said, quoting St. Augustine, in a 2009 speech at the Vatican.

Next week (June 20-24), the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome will host an academic conference on Eucharistic adoration, where the speakers will include six prominent cardinals, focusing on the rediscovery of the practice.

At the same time, however, some theologians object to adoration as outdated and unnecessary, and warn that it can lead to misunderstandings and undo decades of progress in educating lay Catholics on the meaning of the sacrament.

Monsignor Kevin W. Irwin, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, said Eucharistic adoration by the laity originated in the 13th century as a substitute for receiving Communion at Mass. 

At the same time, he said, the church often encouraged a believer's sense of "personal unworthiness" to receive the sacrament -- which Catholics believe to be the body of Christ -- so many resorted to so-called "ocular communion" instead.

Eucharistic adoration was also used as a teaching tool to reaffirm the doctrine of the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist, said the Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a noted theologian at the University of Notre Dame.

For instance, McBrien said, devotion grew during the 16th- and 17th-century Counter-Reformation, in response to the arguments of some Protestant Reformers that the Eucharist was merely a symbol, not the actual body of Christ.

In the days when priests celebrated Mass in Latin with minimal participation by the congregation, the hymns and prayers associated with adoration gave lay Catholics an opportunity for public worship, Irwin said.

Liturgical reforms after Vatican II greatly increased the laity's participation at Mass, which Irwin said satisfied the "felt need for participation in public prayer." Irwin called that an "underlying reason" for the practice's decline.

In his final encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003), John Paul decried the rise of a "very reductive understanding of the Eucharistic Mystery" that discourages adoration. He and Benedict have unambiguously endorsed the practice.

In 2005, according to Vatican statistics, there were about 2,500 chapels around the world -- including 1,100 in the U.S. -- that offered so-called "perpetual" round-the-clock adoration. Many other parishes now offer "holy hours," when the consecrated host is exposed for silent prayer or for services that include readings and hymns.

Adoration is also central to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, one of the church's most dynamic and fast-growing movements, especially in the developing world.

American college students have proven particularly receptive to the revival of Eucharist adoration. Catholic University's student chapel regularly draws 150 or more to its two weekly holy hours of adoration, according to the campus chaplain, the Rev. Jude DeAngelo.

"There is somewhat more of an intimacy" in prayer before the exposed host, says Brett Garland, a CUA undergraduate from Ohio who's majoring in theology and religious studies. "There's a difference, too, because you know others have come there for that same reason. It's a call to prayer."

Adoration appeals because it facilitates a "passive spiritual experience," said Adam Wilson, a spokesman for the Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society. "It's a place where our Lord reaches out to the person, with the person having to do nothing but be present to our Lord," Wilson said.

The Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes a traditional sense of religious identity at Catholic colleges and universities, has sponsored a traveling campus exhibition on "Eucharistic Miracles" and recently released an online video promoting adoration among college students.

It is also appealing, Irwin said, as an "external manifestation of a unique Catholic identity," much like other traditional practices that have regained popularity, such as meatless Fridays.

Irwin also noted adoration's appeal to a growing number of divorced and remarried Catholics, who are forbidden to receive Communion but may participate in adoration. In addition, parishes that lack full-time priests are able to offer adoration as a form of communal worship in lieu of Mass.

McBrien acknowledged that some Catholics find adoration "spiritually enriching," but said many liturgists see it is a "step back into the Middle Ages."

"It distorts the meaning of the Eucharist," McBrien said. "It erodes the communal aspect, and it erodes the fact that the Eucharist is a meal. Holy Communion is something to be eaten, not to be adored."

For that reason, McBrien said, the practice should be "tolerated but not encouraged."

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Worship
KEYWORDS: adoration; eucharist; eucharisticadoration
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To: ArrogantBustard
Some people worship The Lord in Church.

Some people worship The Lord in the natural expanse of His creation.

Some people worship the lord in the bathroom mirror ...

Well said, my friend.

41 posted on 06/16/2011 2:36:12 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so..)
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To: cthemfly25

We are very fortunate to have our adoration chappel open 7 days a week, 24 hrs/day.

It is very well received by our parishioners.

42 posted on 06/16/2011 2:43:25 PM PDT by PDGearhead (Obama's lack of citizenship)
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To: NYer

I’m a relatively new member of a non-RCC form of Catholicism. I joined, was Baptized and Confirmed in the Anglican church about 3 years ago. Fr. McBrien is an ordained member of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.

So why is it that I have a deeper appreciation for this practice than he does? Why is it that I have a firmer grasp on the importance of this practice than he does? He’s taken the Holy Orders for crying out loud! He supposedly spent years in training, prayer and meditation to become one of the guiding lights of Christ’s church on Earth. I’m some geek who likes to read a lot.

I would be lying if I said I made a regular practice of participating in Eucharistic Adoration. I’m not even sure if my parish does that, honestly. I should find out. But to say it shouldn’t be encouraged is beyond ridiculous. I certainly hope he finds a way to screw his head back on straight.

43 posted on 06/16/2011 2:47:38 PM PDT by HushTX (I make libs rage quit.)
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To: Mr. K

Honoring God is pretty high on their list obviously. And it should be.

44 posted on 06/16/2011 2:53:37 PM PDT by vladimir998 (When anti-Catholics can't debate they just make stuff up.)
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To: HushTX
I’m a relatively new member of a non-RCC form of Catholicism.

Anglican Ordinariate? I am a Roman Catholic, practicing my faith in a Maronite Catholic Church. Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:

"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).

Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.

To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:


The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).

A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern (or Anglican Rite) Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.

45 posted on 06/16/2011 2:57:15 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: frogjerk

Fridays, 5-6 pm

46 posted on 06/16/2011 3:10:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: ottbmare

parishes with 24/7 Adoration receive several blessings from the Lord.

1. Long lines of people coming back to and using the Sacrament of Penance regularly. Our priest had to add hours to his weekly schedule. (This is good) One time, I believe during a Lenten Penance Service the church was completely packed. All the eight priests who came to hear Confessions were astrounded.

2. Parishes with 24/7 Adoration will have more vocations. Check that one out — the vocations come from the many dioceses, but I’ll be that perpetual adoration is encouraged.

47 posted on 06/16/2011 3:16:06 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
At one of the parishes I volunteer with here in So Cal the Confirmation team (mostly 17-25 year old) routinely participate in 24 hour Adoration in conjunction with their retreats and Catechist activities. Warms my heart!
48 posted on 06/16/2011 3:17:33 PM PDT by Shark24
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To: frogjerk

Alright, I’m jealous! ;)

My parish: 7-8 Thursday nights (gotta go)

In the city where I work, the parish there has Adoration Monday through Friday after Mass at noon, until 4:30 or so. Haven’t yet been, thinking that I’ll leave work early tomorrow for it. Sometimes it’s tough on thursday nights, so perhaps friday afternoon will be better.

49 posted on 06/16/2011 3:19:06 PM PDT by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Not for that hour :). Besides it’s a good form of worthless.

50 posted on 06/16/2011 3:20:23 PM PDT by cthemfly25
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To: frogjerk
Our Lady's Warriors>Dissent>Speakers

Fr. Richard McBrien Claims that a future Pope must overturn the infallible document disallowing women "priests" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).
Fr. Richard McBrien Says, among other things, that Jesus did not establish the Catholic Church, and calls into question the virginal conception of Jesus and the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, and promotes dissent.
Fr. Richard McBrien Supporter of Call to Action.

51 posted on 06/16/2011 3:23:54 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Some one point to where it says inthe bible that you must ‘adore’ the Eucharist before you “do this in memory of me”

This is all made up ceremony. It is silly

52 posted on 06/16/2011 3:42:18 PM PDT by Mr. K (CAPSLOCK! -Unleash the fury! [Palin/Bachman 2012- unbeatable ticket])
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Never met him nor have I been there. I just hear my mom complain that not many churches have adoration. Now I know why.

I’ll be in Jtown this weekend. I’ll be hitting the Saturday mass @ OMOS.

53 posted on 06/16/2011 3:46:14 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: NYer

This is rather long. I apologize. A lot of things came into my head as I was typing and I wanted to get them out. Given how much I respect your knowledge and opinion I figured it was worth diving into these things. I went ahead and posted it publicly in case anyone else wanted to chime in or in the hopes that others may benefit from our discussion. Most of this is not directly relevant to the article posted above. I apologize.

No, we are not an Anglican Ordinariate. At least not that I am aware, and I think that’s something that would be pretty clear. I’m in the Fort Worth diocese, apparently known best for Bishop Iker and his ongoing tussle with PB Schori. We’re amongst the masses that decided we had tolerated enough of the nonsense of the Episcopal Church of the USA and realigned under the Province of the Southern Cone and are affiliated with the ACNA.

Long story short, I don’t know what it means for the future of our parish and our diocese, but I know where I stand. And I know what I believe.

I believe you provided me with a long and in-depth link regarding ecumenism and similar material, and I was supposed to get back to you on it. I don’t think I ever did. Honestly, it was way over my head and I am still trying to make sense of all of it. The material in your post, the one to which I am responding, is much more manageable for my limited experience. Even still, I’m not sure how it applies to me.

As comes up in many of the Catholic Caucus threads, and elsewhere, I consider myself a staunch supporter of the Roman Catholic Church and all such Catholic churches, including the Orthodox traditions. It just happens that I was Baptized and Confirmed by Anglican clergy rather than Roman Rite. I don’t know what the situation is with our diocese or parish and the Ordinariate thing that’s going on, or the apparent mass migration of many Anglicans. What I do know is that I have never been so sure of a person’s dedication to God, Christ, the Church and the Word as I am of Bishop Iker and Fr. Reed. If they swim the Tiber- I believe that’s the saying- then I guess I will too. If they don’t we’ll just have to see what God has in store for me.

To this day I struggle with the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. I don’t consider the history of the Anglican Church to be spotless or without its faults, especially considering the popular notion of why there IS an Anglican Church. But I also know the Church in general, including all its many parts, has hiccups throughout history. More to the point, I struggle with what the history of our Church means for ME and my relationship to the many parts. And frankly, I never expect to get a satisfactory resolution to my problem. So, instead, I just do the best I can.

I was aware of the idea that all those many parts comprise the “Catholic Church,” especially given that Catholic is a fancy word for “universal,” or something to that effect. I also know that the Anglican Communion was born out of the culture of schismatic thought that was so prevalent during the era of the reformation.

Still, I’m always stuck on the issue of “Apostolic Succession” and what it means for ME in regards to taking the Eucharist at any given Mass. Obviously I recognize our clergy and their Holy Orders. Obviously I recognize our liturgy. And obviously I believe that the consecration of the Host is valid. If I didn’t recognize these things then I would be wrong to take Eucharist at our parish and to have been Baptized, Confirmed and Married there. So, how do I reconcile this with the idea that only those Baptized by clergy within the line of Apostolic Succession may take Eucharist at Roman Catholic (and other such) Mass? In theory, I should be just fine to take Communion. Of course, that’s not the popular thought amongst many Roman Catholics I know, so out of respect I politely refrain from taking the Eucharist.

Right now that’s not a big issue. It doesn’t matter so much if I refrain from taking Communion at a Roman Catholic Church, since I almost never find myself attending Mass at a Roman rite parish. I live within walking distance of the parish, so I have a convenient place to attend Mass. The problem I will face comes in my near future, as I will be joining the Army and have no idea if I will be stationed somewhere with reliable access to a parish in communion with the ACNA or the Anglican Communion. I refuse to attend Mass at an Episcopal Church as I cannot abide the heresy PB Schori is implementing. I guess my views on this would border on Donatism (something I only recently learned of), but I cannot conceive of attending Mass in a church that supports the claim that Christ’s divinity is “irrelevant” and welcomes any and every challenge to the teachings of the Church.

So where do I go? If there is an ACNA parish nearby then I’m set. If there’s not then I am left with few options. I’ll gladly attend Mass at a Roman Catholic parish, but the problem of taking the Eucharist arises. My views on the Apostolic Succession issue don’t outweigh my driving need to respect the traditions and wishes of the Roman Catholic Church- that is to say that I should not take the Eucharist there because I was not Baptized by RCC clergy. Maybe I missed something important that you said, maybe I’m safe to take it for all the reasons I listed. You’ll have to correct me if I have this wrong. But my understanding of the matter is sorely weighed down by years of an outsider’s understanding.

Regardless, I go back to what I said in my original post. As someone who is not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, who was not Baptized or Confirmed by RCC clergy, and is newly entered in a non-RCC Catholic tradition, it boggles my mind that I have a greater respect for the traditions of the Church than an actual priest.

Sorry this was so long. I’m verbose and have a lot on my mind.

54 posted on 06/16/2011 3:56:21 PM PDT by HushTX (I make libs rage quit.)
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To: NYer
step back into the Middle Ages

Not a moment too soon.

55 posted on 06/16/2011 5:48:39 PM PDT by annalex (
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To: Mr. K

No, it isn’t silly.

If Jesus were to walk in front of you right now, would you fall to your knees and adore him?

Well, Jesus is full present in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. And I will fall to my knees whether you like it or not.

Woe to those who do not respect the Lord.

56 posted on 06/16/2011 5:52:06 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Mr. K
If I were to give you something and say that the thing I give you is not what it appears to be, would you not look?

And if I then say: "This is the body of Christ broken for you" and you believe me, wouldn't you adore your Savior?

The Protestants who question the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist have no faith in Him, and so we look silly to them. No surprise there:

the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him (1 Cor 2:14)

57 posted on 06/16/2011 6:16:02 PM PDT by annalex (
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To: NYer; Elendur; it_ürür; Bockscar; Mary Kochan; Bed_Zeppelin; YellowRoseofTx; Rashputin; ...

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

58 posted on 06/16/2011 6:21:30 PM PDT by narses ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." Chesterton)
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To: NYer
I was healed of a non-threatening but quite distressing phyical problem during prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on the Vigil of Pentecost. I just knew then that "the power of God was on Him to heal," and receiving Communion the next morning was the kicker.

No recurrence in five days - and it's been a tough week! - after having this problem every day since early May.

59 posted on 06/16/2011 6:24:56 PM PDT by Tax-chick (One step ahead of the jailer.)
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To: cthemfly25
time with our Eucharistic Lord; time spent in worship and adoration; time spent telling Him our problems and seeking answers. Through this deeply intimate form of adoration you learn to see how the Lord answers our prayers; you grow in discernment seeing His goodness in things not before recognized.

Beautifully said.. I was able to spend more this week at Adoration and it's the only way for me to find peace and answers in these troubled times

60 posted on 06/16/2011 7:34:13 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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