08 September 2009

Fr. McBrien feels Eucharistic Adoration is a Waste of Time

In a recent column for the National Catholic Dissenter, one of its leading dissidents, Fr. Richard McBrien, opines that "Eucharistic Adoration is a doctrinal, spiritual, and theological step backward, not forward." The fact that he is still on the faculty at Notre Dame is yet another reason to call into question their commitment to being a Catholic university.

Here is an except of the article from NCR,

The practice of eucharistic adoration began in the 12th century, when the Real Presence of Christ was widely rejected by heretics or misunderstood by poorly educated Catholics. The church saw eucharistic adoration as a way of reaffirming its faith in the Real Presence and of promoting renewed devotion to it. [It is Fr. McBrien who seems poorly educated. In his book In The Presence Of Our Lord, Fr. Benedict Groeschel explains how this devotional practice is rooted in the teachings of the Church Fathers and may have arisen in practice around the 6th Century. He also addresses critics of this devotion, "This dark side of the human response to the presence of Christ is in itself intriguing and provides a horrifying echo of the cries of the evil spirits often reported in the Gospels, 'What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?"

However, as time went on, eucharistic devotions, including adoration, drifted further and further away from their liturgical grounding in the Mass itself. Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.

Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually. [Perhaps Fr. McBrien could explain why belief in the Real Presence is at a low point probably on par with the 12th century despite our being so much more highly developed than the Neanderthals of the Middle Ages. ]

Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.

Fr. McBrien finds difficulty in speaking favorably of the devotion, here are some people who would disagree with him.

"The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout the body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me."
- Saint Damien of Molokai, Apostle of the Lepers

"We must visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament a hundred thousand times a day."
- St. Francis de Sales

"I hope that this form of Adoration, with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will continue into the future. Specifically, I hope that the fruit of this Congress results in the establishment of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world,"
- Pope John Paul II, at the 45th International Eucharistic Congress, Seville, Spain, June 1993

When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now,"
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"The Rosary, especially prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, is a powerful means of spiritual grace. In all of our efforts to promote the sanctity of human life, prayer is our first and strongest resource. May we rely upon the power of our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament and the intercession of His Blessed Mother to guide and help us in fostering a greater respect for human life and an end to abortion in our society..."
- Most Reverend Thomas Daily, Bishop of Brooklyn

"When St. John Mary Vianney arrived at the obscure little village of Ars, someone said to him with bitterness, 'Here there is nothing to do.' 'Therefore there is everything to do,' replied the Saint.

"And he began immediately to act. What did he do? He arose at 2:00am in the morning and went to pray near the altar in the dark church. He recited the Divine Office and prepared himself for Holy Mass. After the Holy Sacrifice, he made his thanksgiving; then he remained at prayer until noon. He would be always kneeling on the floor without any support, with a Rosary in his hand and his eyes fixed on the tabernacle."
- from Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, by Fr. Stefano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D

"Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the solution to our problems of declining vocations."
- Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu
(This quote might explain a lot in understanding Fr. McBrien's attitude. After all he supports married priests and women priestesses as a solution to the vocations crisis.)

"Do you want many graces? Go and visit the Blessed Sacrament often. Do you want few graces? Visit the Blessed Sacrament rarely. Do you want none at all? Then never pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament,"
- St. John Bosco

Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar. The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world," - -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Given the foul and fetid garbage that Fr. McBrien continues to spew forth perhaps it would be better if he spent some time on two bent knees.
For an abundant source of quotes on the beauty of Eucharistic Adoration you can read them at the Real Presence website.

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