Holy Eucharist

Feminists Blame the Victim in an Explosive Sexual Assault Case

The Title IX world turned upside down when Avital Ronell, a “world renowned” lesbian New York University professor, was “found responsible” for ongoing physical and verbal sexual harassment of Nimrod Reitman, her male graduate student. Reitman, who identifies as gay and is now married to a man, claims that Ronell, age 66, refused to work [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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