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.
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?Click here to get to an introduction from the book...