Holy Eucharist

Social Conservatism and the New Nationalism

Jack Fowler, a longtime publishing executive at National Review, sat alone and lonely at the way back during the conference. A National Review writer sat among the press and wrote a first-day story. She reported it as straight news, no comment. To be sure, National Review editor Rich Lowry spoke to the crowd and did [...]

Gnosticism Still a Challenge to Christianity

Gnostic philosophy, like a noxious weed, thrives in the barren soil of our post-Christian culture. It also emits a foul odor akin to the smoke of Satan, filtering through the doors of the Church and influencing our anthropology, as well as severely compromising the integrity of our worship of Christ in the Eucharist. Catholicism is [...]

A Crisis of Faith Cannot Be Met by Liturgical Protocols

The unprecedented message of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI regarding the crisis of the clergy contained a surprising illumination that is so incisive it will probably be ignored for years: All problems connected to Holy Orders are related in some way to the Eucharist. Benedict wrote: Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern… What [...]

Proper Liturgy Needs Doctrinal Truth

“This is why respect for truth is ultimately inseparable from what we call worship. Truth and cult are inextricably united—one cannot exist without the other, however often history may have separated them.”  ∼ Joseph Ratzinger (1982) Liturgical thought today seems to downplay the importance of doctrine while elevating the significance of practice. The harmony of lex orandi [...]

A Pastoral Guide to Receiving Communion

The Baltimore Catechism reliably provides a catechesis on the Holy Eucharist: “The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.” Furthermore, “Jesus Christ is present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist under the form [...]

A Modest Proposal to End the Vocations Crisis

Allow me to touch a liturgical third rail: Communion in the hand. Before I do, look at the July 4th edition of La Croix International. It reports that of the 96 dioceses in the country of France, 58 produced not a single ordination to the Priesthood. Truth be told, this crisis is not restricted to [...]

How to Not Receive the Eucharist

There are thousands of articles explaining "how to receive communion," and thousands more explaining who may receive communion. But there are few articles about how to not receive the Eucharist. Notice I say "receive the Eucharist." I hate the phrase "receive communion." Communion is not a thing to be received, but a condition at which [...]

Yes, Virginia, the Real Presence is Really Real

Most Protestants and even some Catholics (arguably, 20 percent, maybe more) deny the predominately Catholic teaching that Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist. And many of those who accept the teaching betray little dis-ease receiving the sacrament in a manner that would have been unthinkable in a generation when the confessional lines were [...]

Corpus Christi and the Modern World

At first glance, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi seems primarily an internal church feast. However, once upon a time (especially when societies were more religiously homogenous) that internal faith found external expression in public processions with the Eucharist. In some places (e.g., Poland), public expression was never lost; in others, like the United States, it [...]

When the “Reformers” Abandoned the Eucharist

The first lines of Belloc’s 1936 book, The Characters of the Reformation, are these: “The break-up of united western Christendom with the coming of the Reformation was by far the most important thing in history since the formation of the Catholic Church fifteen hundred years before.” We live in a time when the Reformation is [...]

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 [...]

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