Holy Eucharist

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

The Spiritual Roots of the Church’s Crisis

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis. The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of [...]

The Christmas Triad: Christ, Church, Eucharist

As a cradle Catholic long accustomed to the rituals and feasts of faith, the earliest memories I have coincide, most happily, with membership in what the comedian Lenny Bruce used to call the only the Church. And so there was never a time when Christmas was not an occasion for sheer wonderment and joy, an [...]

Contraception and Communion

It is puzzling: why do many Catholics receive the Eucharist, the source of all grace and the sign of being in communion with the Catholic Church, and yet support and practice contraception, abortion, and unnatural relationships such as homosexual “marriage,” all of which are in direct contradiction to the Church’s teachings? How can there be [...]

On Allowing the Unworthy Reception of the Eucharist

Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor accused Christ of insufficiently loving the “weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man.” Christ, he declared, cared only for those “great and strong” souls who would freely obey him for the sake of the bread of Heaven. So the Grand Inquisitor would “care for the weak too”—the “millions” who are too [...]

Teach the Faith, Please

While I generally find the profusion and milling-around of lay ministers of the Eucharist distracting and unnecessary, I found myself offering prayers of thanksgiving for one this past Sunday. We’ve recently moved and were attending a new and unfamiliar parish with a bewildering process for going forward to receive, including multiple lines of Eucharistic ministers [...]

On Gratitude, Grapes, and God

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino! ∼ Hilaire Belloc When my wife and I were first married—oh, about half a lifetime ago—there was no wine for us to drink at our reception. It was not that others had depleted [...]

The Worthy Reception of the Eucharist Neglected at the Synod

The 2015 October Synod on the Family has ended.   So, what came out of it? A final document was handed to Pope Francis that was a fine academic treatise on the family. But media reports say that Cardinals, archbishops and theologians are still wrestling over whether the Synod opened a way for "some" divorced and [...]

Sin and the Reception of the Eucharist

In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis reminds us that the Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” Amen to that. It is also true, however, that the Eucharist is not magic dust. The Eucharist, like Jesus during his ministry, “works” in relationship with the faith of [...]

The 2015 Synod: The Real Issue at Stake

When the Church gathers in Rome from October 4-25 for a much-publicized Synod, the centerpiece topic will be “The Family.” We are living in a time when the family unit, which is at the heart of the human experience, has taken on “hot button” status. That is troubling enough. But other fiery issues are also [...]

British Priests Speak Up for Marriage

Since almost the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops that considered the "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization" over a fortnight in Rome last October, the Church has been wrought with anguished debate on the future of marriage and human sexuality. That’s the way the matter has been reported in [...]

Marching Orders

I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street!   ~ Pope Francis What is the most important moment in the Mass? The Anaphora and the Institution Narrative? Yes, of course, from a liturgical and sacramental perspective. If you had to choose just one, what could be more important [...]

A Romantic Yearning for Our Eucharistic Lord

The thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations. ~ G.K. Chesterton Two of my former students are on the road to becoming Catholic, and both recently confided in me their frustration regarding Holy Communion—but it's not the reason you'd expect. You'd think they'd be struggling with [...]

What Cardinal Kasper Really Said About Divorce

A high profile debate is underway in the Catholic Church regarding communion for the divorced and remarried. As in most family quarrels, however, the real point of contention remains unacknowledged. Before pointing out the elephant in the living room, however, a little background is called for. Some Recent Developments Speculation has been growing for nearly [...]

The Eucharist

Let us read the words of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper in Saint Matthew’s Gospel (26:26-28), adding the words of the other sacred authors on the same subject: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and when he had given thanks (1 Cor. 11:24), broke it, and gave [...]

St. John Fisher, Marriage, and Moral Absolutes

In his October 2013 article on the question of communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, Cardinal Gerhard Müller underscored that the Catholic Church had risked much to uphold Christ’s teaching regarding true marriage’s indissolubility. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith singled out the fact that Catholicism had suffered the [...]

On Denying the Eucharist to Gay Couples

Yet another priest is under fire for enforcing Canon 915, the codicil of canon law that regulates who may receive Communion; or to put it more precisely, who may not receive Holy Communion and the reasons for that prohibition. It seems that Father Brian Sistare, of Sacred Heart Church in Woonsocket, R.I., has done the [...]

Defending the Real Presence

 “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” So begins one of the finest novels written in English in the last century, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford.  It is not, however, the saddest story ever told.  That distinction belongs to a tale told in Aramaic back in the first century, which was [...]

The Strange World of Garry Wills

These must be trying times for Garry Wills.  In 2001, he wrote a book blasting the papacy, Papal Sin:  Structures of Deceit.  But ordinary Catholics did not take up Wills’ call to turn St. Peter’s into a Congregationalist meeting house.  Instead, when John Paul II died in 2005, some 5,000,000 people came to Rome to [...]

The Chattering Classes Are Us

Catholics once had an intuitive understanding of sacred space: To enter a church, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, was to enter a different kind of environment, one of the hallmarks of which was a reverent silence. Some of that intuition remains. But much of it has been lost. Thus, within the past [...]

Taking Our Greatest Gifts for Granted

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island, probably most familiar to InsideCatholic readers for his dust-up with Rep. Patrick Kennedy last November, has recently turned his attention to matters of considerably less interest to the national media -- but one of even more gravity and importance to us Catholics: the Eucharist. ...as Catholics we have the [...]

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