Friday, May 22, 2015


My comments first, but below these is a great article from Crisis Magazine on kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue: I know there are those who wish to go back exclusively to the 1962 missal. They are a tiny minority. Don't get me wrong I love the 1962 Missal and would gladly serve a parish where it was exclusively used. But I love the revised Roman Missal too, especially since we now have the new and glorious revision of the English. It can be celebrated in an EF sort of way if celebrated in Latin with use of all the Propers or celebrated in a 1965 missal sort of way if all propers and parts of the Mass were chanted in the vernacular.

The greatest problem with the revised Roman Missal is what happened subsequent to its publication. There was immediately the calling forth of lay lectors who had little or no training or expertise in either proclaiming the Scriptures at Mass or formation in the Scriptures. Warm bodies volunteered and that's all it took.

Then standing for Holy Communion became an option and the illicit receiving of Holy Communion in the hand once indiscriminately chosen Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion came about started to occur until after the fact of its practice the USCCB approved it in 1977! I was in the seminary but receiving in the hand long before this approval!

Today in many large urban northeast metropolises, 88% of Catholics do not attend Mass and of the 11% who do, we're not sure they actually believe what the Church believes about transubstantiation and the real presence of Christ. This is shockingly sad!

Crisis Magazine has a good article on all of this and it is well worth reading as we approach the Feast of Corpus Christi in two weeks.

The single most important recovery of a lost liturgical practice even for the OF Mass is kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue. This, bar none, will bring back Catholic reverence, piety and devotion for the Most Blessed Sacrament! 

From Crisis Magazine: The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in the Church. The anxiety over the coming Synod on the Family is substantial and growing, with the German bishops’ recent moves to formally ignore the Church’s teachings on sexual morality and the family. Their corruption, and the decayed state of the Church in Europe, is a source of much distress.

The social and political situation in the United States is also of concern. Soon, the Supreme Court may declare homosexual “marriage” a constitutional right. The Obama era has been marked by a series of assaults on religious liberty and the Church’s future ability to freely exercise its prerogatives is uncertain.

It seems an apt time, therefore, for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to take stock of the state of affairs ad intra Eccelsiam. By clearly examining the health of the inner life of the American Church, the bishops can lay a better foundation for dealing with the challenges from the outside.

Of particular concern these fifty years after the Council ought to be the changes made to the liturgy in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s, implemented by, and under the authority of, the bishops’ conference. And the most fundamental of these changes relates to the manner of reception of Holy Communion at Mass, whereby the vast majority of today’s communicants receive Communion in the hand while standing.

In reviewing the challenges both inside and outside the Church, based upon several decades of experience, the bishops must ask themselves a simple, profound and concrete question: Have the changes to the manner in which the Faithful receive the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament assisted the Faithful in their understanding of, and active participation in, the mystery, beauty and essential purposes of the Holy Mass?

Reception of Holy Communion in the Hand

Today, the practice of receipt of Holy Communion at Mass in the hand is extremely widespread. Like other changes that followed the Council, many Catholics incorrectly associate this manner of reception with the “reforms” of Vatican II. In truth, the Council gave no permission to allow the Faithful to receive the Blessed Sacrament by hand, nor was it made part of the rubrics for the Novus Ordo missal of 1969.

The movement to permit this manner of reception grew in force after the close of the Council. The idea, it seems, was based on a kind of antiquarianism that associated reception in the hand with the practice of the early Church. It was also part of the effort to promote the understanding of the Mass as a community meal over the conception of the Mass as primarily a Holy Sacrifice.

It seems apparent, however, that these lofty concepts were hardly embraced or understood by the vast majority of the laity. For his part, Pope Paul VI perceived significant dangers in allowing for the practice. Responding to the pleas of a minority of progressive European bishops (sound familiar?) to permit in-hand reception, in May 1969, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship declared that “the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way [via the tongue] of administering holy communion to the faithful.” (See Memoriale Domini at para. 11.)

The Holy See apprehended the gravity of permitting a change in the solemn manner of the reception of the Blessed Sacrament. It recognized that the proposed change “carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering holy communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.” (See Id. para. 10.) By a two-to-one margin, the bishops worldwide voted in support of the position of the Holy Father.

Nonetheless, in the typical fashion of the times, the pope undercut his own declaration by allowing the various bishops’ conferences the right to permit Communion in the hand in their respective territories via a secret, two-thirds majority vote of the bodies. (See Id. at para. 11-12.)

In the United States, the bishops’ conference voted in favor of reception in the hand in 1977. The conference had rejected the practice in votes held in each of the preceding two years. Cardinal Bernadin, the outgoing president of the conference in 1977, apparently by means of parliamentary tricks, secured the two-thirds majority as one of his final “achievements” as conference leader.

The practice grew widely and quickly thereafter, and the American episcopacy seems committed to its maintenance. Discussing the implementation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the January 2012 Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship proclaims as follows:

With regard to receiving Communion in the hand, there is a significant development from the 1985 GIRM to the 2003/2011 edition. Whereas in 1985, Communion in the hand was granted by virtue of an indult received in 1977, in the Roman Missal, Third Edition, Communion in the hand is now ordinary liturgical law for the United States, though every communicant retains the equal right of receiving on the tongue. (See January 2012 Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship at p. 3; emphasis added.)

The support for this claim—that “Communion in the hand is now the ordinary liturgical law for the United States,” supplanting the need for the indult—is rather dubious, as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (“GIRM”) does not seem to support the notion. While the GIRM notes that a communicant may receive either by tongue or in the hand, it places a caveat on in-hand reception.

“The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed, in the hand, the choice lying with the communicant.” (See GIRM at ¶161; emphasis added). Thus, the description of the legal status on reception in the hand offered by the Newsletter seems inaccurate. 

Reception of Holy Communion While Standing

The practice of receiving the Blessed Sacrament while standing preceded the limited permission for in-hand reception.

In 1967, the Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated Eucharisticum Mysterium, wherein the Holy See declared that the Faithful may receive the Blessed Sacrament either standing or kneeling. Again, the bishops’ conferences were empowered to set the proper posture for their respective territories. (See Eucharisticum Mysterium at para. 32.) (This document also reminds us of the incredible speed at which the age-old liturgy was transformed, as it allowed the priest to sing aloud the Canon, an instruction that would become moot within two years.)

The American bishops, however, did not formally adopt a norm on the proper posture for the reception of Holy Communion until 2002. Such lack of formal direction, of course, did nothing to impede the removal of altar rails in countless parishes across the country, as the practice of taking Communion on one’s knees was nearly entirely abandoned.

In 2002, the USCCB formally named reception while standing as the proper posture for American Catholics. At that time, the bishops inserted language into the GIRM that, while not prohibiting a communicant to kneel, marked anyone who did so for “catechesis” so that he might come to learn the “reasons for” standing. (See GIRM 2002 at para. 160.) At the behest of the Holy See, the language on “catechesis” for those who wish to kneel was removed from the GIRM in 2010.

The Current State of Affairs

According to a 2013 study performed for Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate, only 63 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Nearly 1 in 5 believers in the Real Presence apparently hold to the belief without an awareness that it is taught by the Church. And of course well-over a third of Catholics do not believe at all in the Real Presence (and yet our bishops were eager to catechize those who kneel down before the Real Presence of the Lord!).

It is not here necessary to rehash other statistical information on the decline of American Catholicism following the Council and the changes to the Mass, such as the sharp drops in Mass attendance and vocations. While the experience of the last 50 years has not been uniformly negative, the tendency of the hierarchy to trumpet the “springtime of renewal” is a sad joke.

Furthermore, as the digital pages of this publication and so many other highlight daily, the American Church is increasingly isolated in a culture that is under constant, and effective, assault from an aggressive secularist, modernist ideology. Many American bishops have courageously and articulately proclaimed and defended the Church’s teachings on life, marriage and religious liberty, and yet, especially with marriage, there is a sense that the Church is rapidly losing ground and is, essentially, ignored.

In sum, we are not properly catechizing ad intra or ad extra Eccelsiam. The reasons for the problem are many, but at the core, the problem stems from our diminished liturgy, the diminishment of which is highlighted by the manner in which the Faithful receive Corpus Christi. Since, as the Council proclaimed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the liturgy is the “summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed” and is also “the font from which her power flows,” we must first graft the spiritual life of the Faithful wholly onto the liturgy before we can hope to broadly evangelize inside and outside the Church. And reverence before the Eucharist is the heart of liturgical spirituality.

As has always been the case, the Mass is the greatest tool for teaching and handing on the Faith. The Church need not convert the entire body of believers into Thomistic scholars in order for the Faithful to fully understand and embrace the True Presence.

In a simple and profound way, the faithful can learn this truth merely through the reverent reception of the Blessed Sacrament and by observing the way in which we treat the Sacred Species. Its reception should be done in a manner that is unlike any other experienced in daily life.

In deep reverence, we come to Communion on our knees. Nothing else given to us requires us to kneel down in awe and respect.

We do not touch it, as we would any other object someone might give to us, for it alone is too holy.

We receive it with a paten under our chins, lest even a crumb fall to the ground. No other food is so honored.

Finally, it is essential for the episcopacy to be mindful of the geneses of Communion in the hand and the standing posture. Neither is the work of the Council. Sacrosanctum Concilium says nothing regarding a change in the manner of the reception of Holy Communion.

Neither is mentioned in the rubrics of the Novus Ordo; even the substantial changes instituted in the “Mass of Paul VI” gave no directive for these practices.

Indeed, Blessed Paul VI himself, the pope of the Council, refused to endorse in-hand reception and strongly counseled against it.

Thus, there is no reason given by the magisterium to retain these practices. Whatever abstract or academic notions prompted their adoption, the experience of the Church in the decades since shows that the underlying theology of the changes did nothing to catechize the faithful and enhance their devotion to the sacred liturgy.

The American bishops rightly wish to engage the culture on a wide range of issues, including the so-called “social issues.” Yet it is only the action of grace, the working of the Holy Spirit, that can ultimately convert hearts, and then minds. Until the Church fully reclaims the Sacred Liturgy and realizes the long-lost desire of the Council to draw the faithful into a deeper spiritual life, with the Liturgy at it center, the New Evangelization will not succeed.

Our shepherds need now to look to the inside in order to be prepared to reach to the outside. Promote honor and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament; the rest will follow.


Anonymous said...

Is it wrong, then, for those in the Eastern Orthodox tradition to receive communion standing? That has been their practice for centuries---and I have never heard anyone say they are "too liberal" in their liturgical practices (if anything, they probably think the West is too liberal on such matters, probably one impediment to any eventual reunion)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No it isn't wrong but correct for the Eastern Rites to receive standing. Kneeling never occurred in the East for Holy Communion as far as I can detect. Their piety and devotional practices centered more on iconography as a window to the sacred rather than Eucharistic adoration as the Latin or Western Rite would. The Latin Rite was very concerned about this and I think in the 7th or 8th century there was the iconoclasm movement that the Latin Rite finally named a heresy.

We shouldn't mix rites in terms of piety, devotion and styles of worship to include the Latin Rite standing for Holy Communion or receiving it in the way the East does. That is not our tradition.

We also have a much more highly informed Eucharistic theology and peity than the East. They reserve the Sacrament only for the sick, but have no such thing as genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament or of Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament although they do believe as we do about the Eucharist being the Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ. And you must receive both forms in an Easter Liturgy.

I don't think they would use the philosophical term of transubstantiation to describe the consecrations.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Eastern Liturgy, not Easter

Anonymous said...

The Eastern Orthodox do use the term "transubstantiation" but claim it enjoys no unique status in terms of describing their belief on the Eucharist. I think typically the Tabernacle is often on their altar but their is no strict requirement for such placement in their canon law. Nor do they define precisely when the bread and wine are consecrated during the Eucharist.

rcg said...

Were parliamentary tricks needed to change the practice of reception in the hand since it was accepted almost instantly across the land? I think the practice votes were the false returns. The other telling paragraph was that the Holy Father's decision to retain it was supported by a 2:! margin. That is terrific odds for a revolution. I am not sure that it matters what the Eastern rite does unless we want to emulate them in numbers as well as Liturgy. It is the respect that we must regain for the Presence. I have not seen a respectful NO Mass in over a decade. Perhaps my luck is bad, but the people in the congregation seem to expect what happens.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

In what way or ways do you find the Eucharistic theology of the West to be "more highly informed" than that of the Eastern Rites?

And what do you mean by "more highly informed"?

Anonymous said...

The Protestant churches kneel but don't believe in the real presence. So what are they kneeling for? It doesn't make them believe in the Real Presence. They still think its just a symbol.

George said...

Fr Kavanaugh:

Perhaps Father Mcdonald could have commented with the word "developed" instead of informed. "Informed" can have a number of meanings among them "enlightened" and "illuminated", so I don't see a problem with using that term.
The differences between the East and the Latin churches make an interesting study. The Eastern Orthodox evidence a more static approach to liturgy and worship versus the more dynamic approach of our Catholic Church. Pews(or at least a place to sit) first came into use around 500 hundred years ago and from that point became more developed and refined. So for the longest time in her history, standing was the posture in Church. Is anyone surprised by that? There was simply no place to sit except the floor! What kind of person of any reasonableness would expect people of that time to do that? The Church is not unreasonable. When other forms of illumination came along, she did not require that candle light be retained for the purpose of lighting the nave and the sanctuary. The same as can be said about standing can likewise be said about kneeling. However, there are many passages in scripture that mention kneeling as a posture before God.
Here are a few:

Psalm 95:6 - O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

Matthew 15:25 - But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me".

Romans 14:11 - for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God".

Luke 22:41 - And he [Jesus] withdrew from them [his disciples] about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed

Acts 20:36 - And when he [Paul] had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Although they don't believe as we do (although I think many Protestant individuals do believe there is some sort of change) they do believe they are praying and worshiping and thus kneeling is very appropriate for these two things. I don't think Methodists kneel anywhere else in their churches as no kneelers are on their pews, but they will kneel at their altar railing for either prayer or receivng holy communion.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Just as the Latin Rite does not have an informed theology about the use of icons during Mass or at other times, so too the Eastern rites are not as informed about Eucharistic piety as Catholic understand this during and after Mass. This is pretty simple to comprehend.

jolly jansenist said...

Anonymous at 9:49, yes, but even protestants have enough sense to know that kneeling is the proper position to assume before the Majesty of God and while asking Christ to enter your wretched, sinful life. This may be one area in which Catholics may take instruction from prots…well, maybe not the only one, but there are not very many.

John Nolan said...

Anglicans kneel (or pretend to - the arrangement of chairs and hassocks makes full-scale kneeling difficult) when the priest says 'let us pray'.

Catholics stand for public prayer and kneel for private devotions. In the older rite they should stand for the 'Dominus vobiscum' which precedes the 'Oremus'.

The reason why people kneel for most of the EF Low Mass is that traditionally people made their private devotions while the celebrant and server got on with it. It's a bit silly when carried over to the Sung or High Mass where the people have a greater role; singing the Sanctus kneeling strikes me as perverse.

Still, no-one dragoons you into adopting certain postures in the EF Mass.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

What does "does not have an informed theology" mean?

What are the Eastern Rite Catholics lacking in their Eucharistic theology that leads them to stand for communion, to omit genuflections and Benediction?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The inadequacy of your seminary training is showing. Of course it is the development of an informed theology of adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament that led the Latin rite to implement kneeling, less frequent communions for the laity, the elimination of the cup due to a high, high theology of Christ's presence in every particle and drop of Holy Communion and also the development of Eucharistic piety that flowed from this highly informed theology from the Mass where Adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass evolved to the point of perpetual adoration chapels.

While the Eastern Church believes what we do about real presences they are not informed theologically about the pious devotions that accompany this belief as in the Latin Rite, just as the Latin Rite does not have an informed and very legitimate theology concerning the use of Icons during Mass and for private devotions.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

What does "they are not informed theologically" mean?

I understand the differences in practices between/among the rites. I also understand the history of how we came to have what we have in the west.

What you don't seem to understand is that I am asking a question about what YOU mean when you say "they are not informed theologically"?

Flavius Hesychius said...

Well... actually... we are 'informed' about the Eucharist; however, Eucharistic Adoration is seen by the Church as something contrary to the nature of the Eucharist and the sacraments in general. The Church does not view the Eucharistic species as something to be worshipped, but to be eaten for '...forgiveness of sins and eternal life.'

The Holy Mysteries are not ends unto themselves, but means to an end (salvation).

In re kneeling: we do not kneel on Sundays, as it is forbidden. And since the Divine Liturgy is on Sunday...

And actually, we have an equivalent to genuflexion: it's called a 'metany', where one crosses himself and then touches the floor (although, I think Romanians do it the other way around). There are several points during the Liturgy it's done, including the epiclesis.

And, no, we don't use the term 'transubstantiation'. That term is considered an unnecessary rationalisation of the Sacred Mysteries. Now, it might be encountered in writings from the so-called 'Latin captivity', which was a period of time wherein Russian churchmen felt the need (or, more precisely, were compelled by a Western-minded Tsar) to adopt Latin terminology (like the idea of 'seven sacraments') in order to appear 'Western'. This period of time ended when the Russian monarchy—the source of money for Russian churches in the US—was overthrown. It is impossible to overstate the influence the Russian Church had in Orthodoxy in the US, including the 40/50 years after the October Revolution.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Former PI: non capisco la tua domanda. si prega di spiegare se stessi.

FH: schismatic a like the Orthodox would put as you write. However those in the Eastern Church who never went into schism or those who returned to full Communion with the true Church headed by the Supreme Pontiff, would be most respectful to the Latin Rite's informed theology of the Eucharist as the Latin Tite would be of the Eastern Rite of the Roman Catholic Chirch's informed theology of icons.

George said...


" The Church does not view the Eucharistic species as something to be worshipped, but to be eaten for '...forgiveness of sins and eternal life.' "

Well, we Catholics believe in consuming the Eucharist as well. No difference between us there.

"Eucharistic Adoration is seen by the Church as something contrary to the nature of the Eucharist and the sacraments in general."

The consecrated host is the BODY and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Christ. Why would one not consider it proper to worship God under this different form?.
Is the consecrated host not Christ Himself? Certainly it is a mystery that He can appear to us in this way. He is God though, and has the power and will and desire to do so. As I read somewhere not long ago, Christ is as substantially present in the Adoration chapel as He was when He walked the earth.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Fr McDonald:

I don't know what this sentence means:

FH: schismatic a like the Orthodox would put as you write.

Ou... peut-être savons-nous utiliser français?

C'est la langue des gens civilisés...

Flavius Hesychius said...

The consecrated host is the BODY and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Christ. Why would one not consider it proper to worship God under this different form?.

Because it is the nature of the Eucharist to be consumed.

I should add, I suppose, that there seems to be a divergence regarding Western Eucharistic theology that hinges on a 'Bread/Wine' vs 'Body/Blood of Christ' dichotomy. This does not exist in the Orthodox Church, where there is zero conflict in the idea of the Eucharist being both at the same time (like the nature of Christ, human and divine).

This, I think, is where the transubstantiation controversy comes into play; but, I don't understand the ins-and-outs of the transubstantiation controversy. I've tried reading about it, but it goes right over my head.

I am open to correction regarding what I've written about the CC's theology on the Eucharist. I have never understood it beyond it being the Body and Blood of Christ, and I think prefer it that way, but for this discussion it's too important to not know; therefore, any errors herein should be .

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - I strongly suspect that you do, indeed, understand the question, and that you are having a great deal of difficulty answering it.

Read very slowly and you'll understand my question: What does "they are not informed theologically" mean?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No PI, no games, you tell me what it means because I don't think you know and thus you shift to me--I've answered, you don't like the answer--thus your problem not mine.

FH:I commented using my dang iPhone with auto correct.
"Schismatics like the Orthodox would phrase your objections in the negative way that you do--the uniates don't of course, they love the Roman Catholic Church as they are fully a part of it. The Orthodox are in schism.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - I don't know what YOU mean when YOU say, "they are not informed theologically."

I can't tell YOU what YOU mean, so why not tell us...?

George said...

In the consecrated species, Christ is fully present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In the Incarnation there exists a hypostatic union, an inseparable unity between The Divine and human natures. Christ in His human body is still God, so if He were to appear and one knelt down before His body one would be in fact kneeling not to the body as if it were a separate thing, but to God, the Second Person of the Trinity, inseparably united to the body.There cannot exist a hypostatic union between the Word of God Incarnate, or the God-man Christ, and the inert substances of bread and wine.
If the bread and wine remained, it would be idolatry to kneel (or even stand) and worship before it.
Christ did not say:" This bread is my Body."

Flavius Hesychius said...

He also said, (Matt. 26:26, DRV)—'Take ye, and eat.'

Christ didn't say 'Take ye, and put into a monstrance.'

Honestly, I wasn't trying to start an argument; only to say we don't have an 'uninformed theology' regarding the Eucharist.

Our theology is just that—ours. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches do not share the same beliefs regarding the Eucharist, aside from it being the Body and Blood of Christ.

To quote Fr. Alexander Schmemann:

The Purpose of the Eucharist lies not in the change of the bread and wine, but in the partaking of Christ, who has become our food, our life, the manifestation of the Church as the body of Christ. This is why the gifts themselves never became in the Orthodox East an object of special reverence, contemplation, and adoration, and likewise an object of special theological “problematics”: how, when, in what manner their change is accomplished.

—The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom, p.266

As for me, all I know is that the Eucharist is necessary for salvation. Anything else is, as far as I'm concerned, irrelevant. I'm a linguist, not a theologian. Seriously, I'm content saying the Eucharist is a mystery. I don't need flowery language to provide a rational explanation for it.

Anonymous said...

PI, I think that you understand what Fr McDonald means by "they are not informed" because Flavius himself demonstrates that he has not been informed how adoration of the Blessed Sacrament developed over the centuries. For instance, the early hermits reserved the Eucharist in their cells at least in the middle of the third century. Principally it was reserved so the hermits could give themselves Holy Communion but, conscious that it was the body and blood of Christ, there hermits treated the sacrament with great reverence and they carried the sacrament on their persons when they moved from one place to another. The monks also carried the Blessed Sacrament on their person. St Comgall was once attacked in a field but when the attackers saw the sacrament he was wearing around his neck the attackers would not touch him.
Gradually, the Blessed Sacrament came to be reserved and we have many stories from the lives of the saints of how adoration of the Blessed Sacrament fortified them - St Thomas More being one such saint. St John Paul The Great, for example, wrote many of his encyclicals in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The story is also told of how he like to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament when he travelled overseas but frequently this kept him at least 10 minutes late for his appointments. On one trip to avoid being late a request was made to keep the door of the chapel closed so the Pope wouldn't go in. However, on the way to his appointment the Pope paused outside the closed door of the chapel, opened the door and went in and was 10 minutes late for his appointment.
Who among the Orthodox was as astute as St John Paul The Great I wonder.


Flavius Hesychius said...


There's a difference between an 'uninformed theology' and 'Flavius himself demonstrates that he has not been informed how adoration of the Blessed Sacrament developed over the centuries.'

I guess I should point out that I'm not Orthodoxy's spokesperson. Saying 'Flavius himself' doesn't mean anything. I wasn't born Orthodox, and I'm still learning beyond the basic 'Orthodoxy 101' stuff. In fact, Jan, it might surprise you to learn I am a former Catholic (even though the CC says there's no such thing) who used to go to Adoration at 4 AM everyday. Which means if I have no understanding (as you claim) of the who's and why's of Adoration—well it certainly isn't my fault or the Orthodox Church's, is it? No, I'd say it was the fault of the parish through which I became Catholic... which was Fr. McDonald's...

Hell, I haven't even condemned the practice, nor have I said it's illegitimate. I have only given the reasons (to the best of my understanding) why the Church does not have the practice—whereupon you and George have found it necessary to rake me over the coals for... well, I don't know why.

According to Catholic Encyclopedia:

No trace of the existence of any such extra-liturgical cultus of the Blessed Sacrament can be found in the records of the early Church. Christian Lupus, indeed, argues that in the days of St. Ambrose and St. Augustine it was customary for the neophytes to adore, for eight days following their baptism, the Blessed Sacrament exposed, but no sound proof is adduced. It first appears in the later Middle Ages, about the beginning of the thirteenth century. It certainly may be conjectured that such adoration was really connoted by the fact of reservation in the early Church, especially in view of the evident desire to have the Eucharist represent the unity and continuity of the Church, as it is unlikely that there should not be some continuation of the adoration evidently given to the Host at the Synaxis.

Besides, Jan, your example of the third century monks doesn't actually say anything about adoration in the sense being used here. 'They showed great reverence' doesn't cut it. 'Great reverence' is still shown to the Eucharist without it being Eucharistic adoration.

Who among the Orthodox was as astute as St John Paul The Great I wonder.

The real question, of course, is whether or not JPII would approve of you using his name to say 'My saints are better than yours!'

George said...


I didn't take your comments as starting an argument. I take it as an opportunity to explain what we Catholics believe.

He also said, (Matt. 26:26, DRV)—'Take ye, and eat.' - We Catholics do exactly that.

Christ didn't say 'Take ye, and put into a monstrance.' - No He didn't. You are correct. Somewhere along the passage of time though, ( as Jan put in her comment ) since what we were partaking of was Christ Himself, it was figured out and decided that we can worship an adore Him in this form. It is He, Christ, the Second Person of the Triune God after all, so why not? In this way we are acting on what we believe. All this does not take away from the fact that for us Catholics (just as for the Orthodox) it is still a mystery.

The Purpose of the Eucharist lies not in the change of the bread and wine, but in the partaking of Christ.

Of course the purpose is not in the change. Without the change though, we would not be partaking of Christ.

At least you do provide an opportunity for us to have some understanding of the Eastern position.

Anonymous said...

Eugene Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) in 1931:

“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucia of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a Divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul...I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the true Faith of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.”

“A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?"

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

FH are you fickle? Didn't you become a head over heels Catholic over a year a go???? What truths are you now rejecting as an Orthodox? You could have joined an Eastern Rite of the full communion of the Catholic Church. While their theology isn't as informed about Eucharistic piety as the Latin rite just as the Latin Rite isn't as informed about iconography piety, there is mutual respect.
You remind me of the sower and the seed --the shallowness of your roots--fickleness! Get thee to confession and back to the full communion of the Church!

Flavius Hesychius said...

Sorry, George; I'm very, very sunburnt right now, and Jan's last statement (regarding JP2) was snotty and annoyed me more than it should have.

I have no problems with EA (Euch. adoration), and I'm not sure many Orthodox would either; however, a severe Latin-phobia exist in the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the US. Most of it originates from the end of the 'Latin captivity' I mentioned earlier. The end of Russian hegemony has resulted in the rise of the Greek Archdiocese under Constantinople as American Orthodoxy's de-facto leader. Because they've never had to deal with having Latinisation pushed onto them (in Russia it was a result of Peter the Great wanting to westernise Russia) it has resulted in a very 'Easternisation' of American Orthodoxy. The Greek Archdiocese refuses to even consider the idea of a unified American Orthodox Church because it would a)deprive Constantinople of wealthy Americans, and b)mean the end of it's cultural and religious dominance in American Orthodoxy.

(Lol...aren't Orthodox politics exciting...)

And, Fr M: No, I'm not fickle. I'm merely aware of which dogmas I do not find veracious. I tried the Eastern Rite. After all, I never gave up much of the theology I had learned as an Orthodox catechumen from before the CC was a blip on my radar. But that was the problem: I was standing with feet on both sides of the door, and I had to choose one or the other. So I did, and I don't regret any of it.

The funny thing is... everyone who knows me personally isn't surprised I'm Orthodox now. Apparently, they've always seen it coming.

Anonymous said...

Flavius, I didn't know that you are a Catholic albeit lapsed. Why settle for part of the truth when you have the whole truth at your fingertips and are rejecting it? You have literally thrown God's gift back into His face. Therefore, that confirms to me that you are at least ill informed of the Faith.

As regards the Blessed Sacrament, the fact that St Comgall (510–520 – 597/602) was saved through carrying the Blessed Sacrament on his person shows that the body and blood of Christ is there for more than just Communion and was reserved from the earliest centuries. To wear something on one's person shows the reverence and veneration owed to the Blessed Sacrament. I didn't realise that the Orthodox do not have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - what a loss to them. I have even had a non-Catholic friend say to me when she has trouble she always heads to a Catholic Church to pray because she senses a presence there not found in Protestant churches and I have learnt something - not found in the Orthodox Church too. It seems to me you are trying hard to prove to yourself you are on the right path but the more you search the more you will understand you are on the wrong one ...