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Era of Peace

15-Sep-2000 -- EWTN News Brief

ST. PETERSBURG DIOCESE ENDS PERPETUAL EXPOSITION OF EUCHARIST

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, (CWNews.com) - The Diocese of St. Petersburg has issued new guidelines which, on September 1, ended the practice of perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes, and only allows worship of the Eucharist reserved in tabernacles.

The guidelines, "Concerning Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition, and Benediction," survey Church history on the the theology of the Eucharist, noting that the current practice of worshiping the exposed Sacrament arose only in the 13th century. That contradicts other historians and theologians who trace the practice back to the sixth century in Spain. The guidelines, which were sent to priests of the diocese in a June 12 letter from Bishop Robert Lynch, also claim that the focus on the Real Presence in the Eucharist overshadows the presence of Christ in the minister, the Word proclaimed, other sacraments, and the participation of the faithful.

The directive says that exposition of the Blessed Sacrament should take place within a fixed period of time in a liturgical service such as Benediction, or for a period of one or more days annually.

For parishes that wish to inaugurate adoration of the Blessed Sacrament the Bishop says they should "reflect on... their commitment of time and money to social services." Among other reflections, they should ask, "Are they as respectful and reverent toward Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament? .... Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? ... Do the eucharistic ministers reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender?"




Webmaster's comment - this false explanation that the worship of the Blessed Sacrament begun only in the 13th century is incorrect. In the book being translated about the Neocatechumenal heresy, you can read how this incorrect information was promoted by Kiko's Catechism, and this sounds suspiciously identical.

The Wanderer
Issue Date of 9-7-2000, National Catholic Weekly Founded Oct. 7, 1867 -
Our Second Century of Lay Apostolate

St. Petersburg Diocese Announces End Of Regular Exposition Of The
Blessed Sacrament 

By THOMAS A. DROLESKEY 


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. _ Fourteen years after the Bishops' Committee on
the Liturgy attempted a frontal assault upon all forms of solemn
eucharistic adoration, whether periodic or perpetual, which had grown
tremendously in this country during the early 1980s, efforts to attack
the tradition and the theology of such adoration continue. This reporter
documented the misrepresentation of eucharistic adoration which a priest
in the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, made in 1997. Davenport Bishop William
Franklin did nothing to correct the impressions left by the priest that
eucharistic adoration was no longer the mind of the Church. And the
assaults and misrepresentations continue unabated in some areas, most
notably in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., where Bishop Robert Lynch
has ordered the cessation of the regular exposition of the Blessed
Sacrament for adoration by the faithful. 

Although there are no chapels of perpetual eucharistic adoration in his
diocese, there are several parishes which expose the Blessed Sacrament
for periods of adoration each day during the week. This is to be stopped
by September 1. In a letter to priests dated June 12, 2000, Bishop Lynch
claimed that postconciliar documents and trends discourage the practice
of establishing chapels of perpetual eucharistic adoration and/or
exposing the Blessed Sacrament solemnly for adoration. Under the diocesan
guidelines, parishes may expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration only
once each year. He referred his priests to guidelines established by his
diocesan Office of Worship to find the "resources" which would "clarify"
the mind of the Church on this matter. 

The guidelines, entitled Concerning Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition,
and Benediction, present a distorted view of Church history concerning
adoration of our Lord in His Real Presence. "Eucharistic reservation and
adoration as we know it today began in the 13th century. At this time,
participation in communion by the laity was primarily 'visual,' that is,
seeing the elevated host was the high point of the Mass. They rarely
received communion. Among the reasons for this was a general feeling of
unworthiness, the use of a language (Latin) that was foreign to them, a
failure to appreciate the Eucharist as a shared meal, the assuming of the
laity's roles by the clergy, and a lost connection to the Church's roots.
By the 14th century, various forms of eucharistic devotions outside Mass
developed for the laity's participation, such as pilgrimages,
processions, and Forty Hours." 

The ideologically laden paragraph combines elements of truth with much
distortion and misrepresentation. Actually, as Fr. Benedict Groeschel,
C.F.R., attests in his book In the Presence of Our Lord, coauthored by
James Monti, "perpetual prayer in the presence of the Eucharist may have
appeared in Lugo, Spain, as early as the sixth century, and this practice
is known to have arisen in at least two other occasions by the middle of
the 13th century." The spread of perpetual eucharistic adoration in the
13th century was not an innovation but an organic development in the
Church on the part of both priests and the laity. 

Furthermore, the paragraph quoted above denigrates the use of Latin
(which conveyed the unchanging nature of the doctrines of the faith and
the universality of the Church) and attempts to state that the roles of
the laity had been usurped by the clergy during the Middle Ages. This is
nothing other than a self-serving effort to rationalize assaults upon
perpetual eucharistic adoration. 

Boasting as to how the "Liturgical Movement" recaptured the essential
spirit of the Eucharist and the liturgy, the St. Petersburg guidelines
assert that private devotion before the Blessed Sacrament, whether
exposed in a monstrance or reserved in a tabernacle, detracts from an
appreciation of the "Eucharistic Celebration" on Sunday. "Christ present
in the Eucharist presupposes his presence in the assembly gathered for
common prayer, his presence in the word, his presence in the minister,
and his presence in the sharing o the eucharistic bread and cup.
Therefore, private devotion and adoration of the reserved Blessed
Sacrament should lead the faithful to a fuller appreciation of the
communal dimension of the Mass." 

This attempts to establish a false conflict between an appreciation of
the Mass and private adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The
guidelines ignore the fact that one of the purposes of personal prayer
before the Blessed Sacrament is the sanctification of the individual
adorer. He is attempting to make reparation for his own sins and to give
honor and glory to the Blessed Trinity, conscious that he will face an
individual, not a communal, judgment. 

Additionally, the Mass itself is not an exercise in communitarianism.
It is the unbloody representation of our Lord's sacrifice to the Father.
The Church has always taught that the lay faithful participate in this
sacrifice chiefly by uniting themselves to our Lord's sacrificial
offering of Himself to the Father to effect our redemption. And those who
spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer develop such a profound
love for our Lord in His Real Presence that daily Mass becomes part and
parcel of their daily lives. The St. Petersburg guidelines, however,
attempt to convey the impression that people engaged in "private
adoration" may not appreciate the "communal" aspects of Mass. The
guidelines imply that those who engage in personal prayer before the
Blessed Sacrament are isolating themselves from the Mystical Body of
Christ when the truth of the matter is that those prayers help to build
up that Mystical Body. 

The guidelines go on to assert that "exposition has a beginning and an
end. By its very nature, it is not perpetual." Moreover, the guidelines
state, "The issue of 'perpetual' exposition of the Eucharist is being
advocated by some within the Church." What the guidelines do not state is
that Pope John Paul II is among the "some" who have strongly encouraged
perpetual eucharistic adoration. After visiting chapels of perpetual
eucharistic adoration in South Korea in 1984, the Holy Father stated that
it was his desire that such chapels be set up in every parish in the
world. The Holy Father himself erected a chapel of perpetual eucharistic
adoration in the Piazza Venezia in Rome at the request of Mother Teresa,
who was a proponent of the establishment of parish chapels of adoration.
The Pope instituted daily exposition (which takes place between 9:00 a.m.
and 5:00 p.m. every day of the work week) of the Most Blessed Sacrament
in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St. Peter's Basilica. 

The Groeschel-Monti book contains a number of papal statements in
support of eucharistic adoration before the Host exposed in a monstrance,
both periodic and perpetual. 

Apart from ignoring the fact that the Holy Father has been one of the
principal supporters of all forms of solemn eucharistic adoration, both
periodic and perpetual, the St. Petersburg guidelines state that any form
of such adoration "should normally take place in a chapel of [a]
religious community or association." What is left out of that statement
is that the Congregation for Divine Worship, upon whose authority the
guidelines rely for that last statement, has indicated that a diocesan
bishop may erect an association of the lay faithful for such perpetual
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The bishop may refuse to erect such
associations; as the custodian of the Blessed Sacrament, the bishop has
the right to grant or refuse requests on the part of the faithful to
organize themselves as associations to adore the Blessed Sacrament
perpetually. 

But it is a telling commentary about Bishop Robert Lynch that he
permits an intellectually dishonest set of guidelines to be published as
a means of explaining that the laity cannot organize themselves so as to
qualify canonically to establish chapels of perpetual eucharistic
adoration. 

Indeed, the Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a decree in 1991
establishing an international Association of Perpetual Eucharistic
Adoration, something which is entirely ignored by Bishop Lynch and the
guidelines he authorized to be promulgated. If solemn adoration of our
Lord's Real Presence exposed in a monstrance is not to be practiced by
the laity, either periodically or perpetually, then why did the
Pontifical Council for the Laity specifically create an international
association of the lay faithful called the Association of Perpetual
Eucharistic Adoration? The decree states that "competent ecclesiastical
authority has the right to erect associations of the Christian faithful
which set out to teach Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to
promote public worship or which aim at other ends whose pursuit by their
nature is reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority." The council
therefore erected "the Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as
a universal and international public association of the faithful with
juridic personality." 

The omission of this fact in the materials published by the Diocese of
St. Petersburg is remarkable. The bishop could, if he desired to do so,
simply tell the lay faithful in his diocese to form a local chapter of
the Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, thereby creating a
juridic personality under his authority which has his permission to open
and maintain chapels of perpetual eucharistic adoration and/or to engage
in regularly scheduled periods of adoration before our Lord exposed in
the monstrance. 

Bishop Lynch has not only chosen not to do this, he has chosen not even
to tell the people that they have the right to petition him with such a
request. And the apparent purpose of his guidelines is to try to convince
people that solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, whether periodic
or perpetual, is not being encouraged by the Church. That is erroneous. 

While modernist liturgists and theologians see eucharistic adoration as
an isolated, individual activity, setting it up requires quite an
investment of time and effort on the part of a number of individuals. As
the exposed Blessed Sacrament may never be left alone, captains and
coordinators must work with each other to find adorers for each of the
168 hours of a week in those places where perpetual adoration has been
established. Replacement adorers must be ready to be roused out of bed in
the wee hours of the night to worship our Lord if a designated adorer is
unable to meet his or her commitment. Apart from the many ways in which
solemn eucharistic adoration of our Lord in His Real Presence builds up
the Mystical Body of Christ and helps to sanctify those who engage in it,
such adoration builds up a collaborative spirit among those who must
coordinate the scheduling of adorers. All this helps to build friendships
among people of disparate backgrounds, thereby creating the very
community of Christian love and fellowship that the modern liturgists say
is threatened by such adoration. 

One can glean Bishop Lynch's ideological bent by reading the following
paragraph, found in the "conclusion" section of the guidelines he
authorized: 

"Although exposition of the Blessed Sacrament may help foster devotion
to Christ's presence in the Eucharist, a parish's first priority is
well-planned and well-celebrated Masses. Parishes seeking to inaugurate
or restore eucharistic devotions should reflect on their practices during
the communion rite and their commitment of time and money (stewardship)
to social services. Are they as respectful and reverent toward Christ's
presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of
Christ in the Sacrament? Is the fuller expression of the Eucharist under
the forms of bread and wine being offered to the faithful at all Masses?
Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? Does the parish carefully
prepare enough communion for the gathered assembly instead of routinely
going to the tabernacle? Does the eucharistic procession take its own
time or is the focus to try to get through the communion rite as
efficiently and expediently as possible? Do the eucharistic ministers
reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender? Have
the eucharistic ministers been properly trained and is their formation
ongoing? Is the Eucharist being brought to members of the parish who
cannot gather on Sunday because of sickness or advanced age? When these
issues have been addressed, then the deeper understanding that Christ
intended in the Eucharist will be achieved." 

That statement stands on its own demerits. Any implication that Christ
is present in others in the same way that He is present in His Real
Presence is contrary to Church teaching. We do not genuflect to our
neighbor, even though he bears within his soul the divine impress. Yes,
we are called to be respectful of others, no doubt. Worship and adoration
belong to God alone. The other statements simply speak for themselves. 

Bishop Lynch's June 12 letter also dealt with the matter of the
"renovation" of churches, mandating that parishes follow a set of
diocesan guidelines dealing with such renovations. The usual sources for
such guidelines, including Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, were
cited. Those interested in assessing the intellectual honesty of those
guidelines should get a copy of Michael Rose's penetrating book, The
Renovation Manipulation. 

Bishop Lynch did not return a phone call from The Wanderer seeking
comment on the matter of the cessation of perpetual eucharistic
adoration. If he cares to respond, he can answer the following questions:
1) Why did he omit all reference to his authority to erect associations
of the lay faithful to engage in solemn adoration of Christ in His Real
Presence? 2) Why is he opposed to the use of that authority to continue a
practice encouraged by the Vicar of Christ?
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