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Vatican II did not downplay Eucharistic Adoration, says Pope

By on Friday, 8 June 2012

Benedict XVI celebrating Mass outside the Basilica of St John Lateran (AP)

Benedict XVI celebrating Mass outside the Basilica of St John Lateran (AP)

A misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council has led some Catholics to think that Eucharistic Adoration and Corpus Christi processions are pietistic practices that pale in importance to the celebration of Mass, Benedict XVI said yesterday.

“A unilateral interpretation of the Second Vatican Council has penalised this dimension” of Catholic faith, which is to recognise Jesus truly present in the Eucharist and worthy of adoration, the Pope said during a Mass marking the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The evening Mass outside Rome’s Basilica of St John Lateran preceded a moment of silent adoration and the Pope’s traditional Corpus Christi procession with the Eucharist through the streets of Rome.

In his homily, the Pope told the thousands of people gathered on the basilica lawn that it is important to recognise the centrality of the celebration of Mass, the moment in which the Lord gathers his people, nourishes them and unites them to himself in offering his sacrifice.

But if Christ is seen as present in the Eucharist only during Mass, “this imbalance has repercussions on the spiritual life of the faithful,” who need to be aware of “the constant presence of Jesus among us and with us”, the Pope said.

“The sacrament of the charity of Christ must permeate all one’s daily life,” he said.

Celebration and adoration are not in competition, the Pope said. “Worshipping the Blessed Sacrament constitutes something like the spiritual environment in which the community can celebrate the Eucharist well and in truth.”

Pope Benedict said Mass is most meaningful when the faithful recognise that in the Blessed Sacrament the Lord is present, “awaits us, invites us to his table and then, after the assembly disperses, remains with us with his discrete and silent presence”.

Spending time in prolonged silence before the Eucharist “is one of the most authentic experiences of our being Church”, and it finds its complement at Mass when Catholics “celebrate the Eucharist, listening to the word of God, singing, approaching together the table of the bread of life”.

Truly entering into communion with someone, he said, is accompanied by “exchanging glances and intense, eloquent silences full of respect and veneration”.

“If this dimension is missing, even sacramental communion can become a superficial gesture on our part,” the Pope said.

Pope Benedict said another misunderstanding – one influenced “by a certain secular mentality” of the 1960s and 1970s – was the idea that the Bible teaches that with the coming of Christ, rituals and sacrifices no longer should have meaning. Basically, he said, some people believe “the sacred no longer exists”.

It is true that Christ inaugurated a new form of worship, one tied less to a place and a ritual and more to his person, but people still need “signs and rites”, the Pope said. In fact, without its annual Corpus Christi procession, “the spiritual profile of Rome” would change.

Preceded by members of parish eucharistic associations, children who recently made their first Communions, religious, seminarians, priests, bishops and cardinals walking to the Basilica of St Mary Major, Pope Benedict rode on the back of a truck facing the Blessed Sacrament, which was held in a gem-studded gold monstrance.

Thousands of people carrying candles walked behind the Pope. People watching from the sidewalks behind metal barriers tossed flower petals in front of the truck and joined in singing Eucharistic hymns and reciting litanies.

Darkness fell as the procession made its way to St Mary Major, and the evening ended with the Pope blessing the crowd with the Blessed Sacrament.

  • Benedict Carter

    So very MANY Vatican II “misunderstandings”!!!!

    Hahaha! None of us need to read another word about that disaster in the Church’s history to know that it was rotten from top to bottom. 

    God bless the Pope for trying to give that Council a Catholic narrative that its own documents cannot bear. Best thing to do Holy Father would be just to tear up the offending “Declarations”, which don’t belong to the Deposit of Faith anyway, and tell the truth about the catastrophe enabled by them.

  • C_monsta

    “the constant presence of Jesus among us and with us” – how would the Pope know if Jesus wasn’t there?

  • Tonym

     What
    ignorance of the Catholic teachings you display! We know that  through transubstantiation at
    Consecration the bread and wine are actually changed into the Body, Blood, Soul
    and Divinity of Christ, even though they don’t look (or taste) like they are.

    We also know that Jesus  Christ is
    present in a physical form throughout the proceedings, but he uses more special
    magic to make sure no one can tell he is really there.

  • Bob Hayes

    Pope Benedict XVI once again speaks wisely: his emphasis on the need for periods of silence in our worship is a theme he has previously addressed. The pace of secular life lifestyles, the influence of the happy-clappies and – above all – simple bad manners have pushed silence to the periphery of our worship. We need to restore the place of silence in bringing us closer to Christ. Thank you and God bless the Holy Father.

  • Isaac

     How do you know that Jesus prefers silence to happy clappy songs? I think you might be mistaken there

  • Bob Hayes

    And how do you know that Jesus prefers happy clappy songs? My point, as I am sure you read, was that silence has been pushed to the periphery.

  • Isaac

     Jesus can have silence any time he pleases, but he only hears our songs when we sing to him, probably.

  • amator Dei

    Eucharistic devotions became less popular when people became used to celebrations of Mass that they were more able to relate to than in the days of the old Latin Mass – through use of the vernacular language, a richer variety of Scripture readings, simpler, less fussy ceremonial etc. Devotions acted perhaps as a substitute for this kind of engagement. Interesting that they should be coming back where there is a desire to keep people at arm’s length from the sacrament all over again – bringing back Latin (or pseudo-Latinate “English”), insisting you cannot reverently receive communion except on the tongue and kneeling etc. Yet another example of how the leaders of the Church today are sadly betraying the great inheritance of Vatican II and betraying the people of the Church.

  • rjt1

    I’m sure the Pope would be glad of your advice about the interpretation of the Council.

  • Jae

    “Be STILL, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

  • Jae

    Mr. Benedict, I must say I have missed you to be on our side when we are defending the faith against the modernists on this site. If you could just refrain your attacks against the valid Council of VII and put all your energies defending the faith against the clear threat to our shared beloved faith, it does makes a lot of sense, don’t you think?

    Beside the fact if you are wrong about the Council unless you are infallibly right, then you are just offending the Holy Ghost because it’s only the Spirit who has the power to call a valid Ecumenical Council, see Acts of the Apostles and Sacred Tradtion.

  • Bob Hayes

    But it is in silence that we listen to Him.

  • karlf

    Can you hear him speaking? Can you actually hear the voice of Jesus?

  • karlf

    Fantastic!

  • karlf

    That was God who said that (he used to talk to people back then), not Jesus

  • karlf

    Faith is pretending to know things you don’t know

  • Venite Adoremus Dominum

    amator Dei –
     
    It is tragically revealing and truly sorrowful when one finds themselves betrayed by adoration of the Eucharistic.

  • Bob Hayes

    I am not sure what is the intended drift of your post?

  • karlf

    What do you actually mean when you say ”
    we listen to Him”?

  • Scyptical Chymist

     You do not seem to grasp that Jesus IS God as is the Father, the God of the Old Tesament and the Holy Spirit who comes to us (“speaks”) in those periods of quiet and prayer.  We have just celebrated Trinity Sunday which should have focussed minds on the Trinity of persons and the oneness of God.

  • karlf

    But what do you actually mean when you say ”
    who comes to us” and “speaks”?

  • Bob Hayes

    What I think you need Karl is a good summary of the Catholic Faith: you could start with the Catechism. You will find the answers to these and other questions.

  • Sweetjae

    I know its not Jesus obviously because psalm was written before He was born…hmmm but technically it’s still Jesus who said that,  primarily because He is God existing before Psalm, get the point?

  • Sweetjae

    Are you a christian, karlf? If not, then  you will never have any slightest clue of what we are talking about in here. The objections you post could be discussed in another thread or you can google the untenable position of atheism.

  • Sweetjae

    I think our friend karlf here is not even a christian, correct me if i’m wrong karlf.

  • karlf

    I think I’ve got the point – so it was Jesus who killed all the men, women and children of the world apart from Noah and his family, and sent a plague that killed 1000s of Israelites?

  • karlf

    I’m looking for the truth. If you are talking about truth of reality, then I want to hear about it. Otherwise I think you should stop pretending to know things you don’t know.

  • cam

     Is Jesus not God?

  • Sweetjae

    Yes, One and Only…oh by the way if you are judging God according to your standard, think again missy, you are not god.

  • Sweetjae

    Do you really wanted to know the  Truth? Or you are just here to bug people with Faith? We are not pretending that something can exist out of nothing, that’s your faith not ours.

    So following your logic, since you don’t know how, what and where the origin of life came from, then stop pretending to know yourself and your mother, get the drip?

  • karlf

    I said that you are pretending to know things you don’t know – that is the meaning of faith. 
    I am not pretending to know how the universe or life originated. But saying that God created it all using magic is just an archaic response of childlike fantasy that leads nowhere. Get the drip?

  • karlf

    the God of the Old Testament is nothing like Jesus – he slaughters millions, condones rape and war and slavery. I must say I’m glad I have different standards to him – more akin to those of Jesus

  • karlf

    Muslims feel the same way about communicating with God as you do, but you consider them to be deluded

  • amator Dei

    Revealing of what? Being united with Christ in the Eucharist (the whole point of it) is something much greater than merely adoring him at a distance and a much greater cause of rejoicing. No sorrow here at all, the exact reverse in fact. Come, let us adore the Lord because we can live in him and he in us.

  • Bob Hayes

    Karl, you are on here ‘avin’ a larf. I will leave others to join you in the play pen. God bless.

  • karlf

    This is a serious issue – that you refuse to tackle my last, valid comment demonstrates this well

  • Anton Goos

    First of all, if one doesn’t share the faith of someone, but does know things of it, he has the right to bring those arguments to the table. Here at seminary I’ve learned that we should be looking for the truth, and talk about with each other, not fighting each other. Faith indeed, reveales parts of the truth which can’t be known throuw reason, and by that guides reason. Credo ut intellegam (I believe so I understand). True. God doesn’t use magic, but has created all things. We believe He created heaven and earth, out of LOVE!. One thing I would like to explain to mr. karlf, is that we believe that the Bible is not a history book, but is the written Tradition, with historical parts and also stories, to make clear the working of God and how God is amongs us through the course of history. The God of the Old Testament is the Same as the God of the New Testament. Christ has tried to help us understanding the Old Testament, to help us understanding the Father. Let the Love of God sound in our replies, for Christ told us to love one another as God (the Fahter) has loved us.

  • Venite Adoremus Dominum

     “Come, let us adore the Lord because we can live in him and he in us.”

    Yes, truly present, He awaits us in every Catholic Church, in every Tabernacle throughout the world where His grace and mercy, through His Sacraments, can be sought and found until the end of time. Fortunately for you my physical and intellectual presence in appreciation and adoration of this reality and very great gift will not interfere with your physical and intellectual absence.

  • amator Dei

    The presence of God is not confined to the sacrament of the Eucharist, to church buildings or to the Catholic faith, but is found in infinite varied ways throughout the world and throughout time. In heaven there will be no sacraments, no religion, no Catholic faith – only God. Fortunately for you my physical and intellectual presence in appreciation and adoration of this reality and very great gift will not interfere with your physical and intellectual absence.

  • rjt1

    I would suggest that faith is accepting things on the word of another, whether on the word of another human being (accounting for 99% of what we rightly refer to as knowledge in the ordinary sense) or of God.

  • karlf

    this article in the Irish Times is quite relevent: 
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0606/breaking34.html

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    That is meaningless. It is well known that many people call themselves “Catholics” out of habit, but don’t bother to attend Mass. This is caused by the severe crisis of the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. The Church is recovering (for example, the number of seminarians is going up and orthodox religious congregations have a healthy number of vocations).

    That “article” was just rhetorical vomit from an intolerant bigot who is leading a campaign of hate to deprive an entire class of people from unalienable human rights (such as article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

  • karlf

    Dawkins believes people should have the right to believe whatever superstitious nonsense they choose – buraq, Vishnu, ley lines, fairies etc.
    The point is that Catholics pick and choose what they want to believe. Do you believe in transubstantiation? If not, why not???

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Of course I believe in transubstantiation. You missed the point – many “catholics” disbelieve in transubstantiation because they are not really Catholics.

    And Dawkins wages campaigns against the human right to religious freedom. He is a bigot.

  • karlf

    Religious freedom! How do all those millions of Muslims, indoctrinated from birth to believe that the Koran is the word of God, have any religious freedom?

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    They have more philosophical “freedom” (in your conception of the term) than atheist Marxists, who are indoctrinated into thinking that _everything_ is caused by class struggle and that whenever the media criticizes Fidel Castro or the PRC it is because “the media is bourgeois”, etc.

    If you had any coherency, you would spend a lot of energy in criticizing Marxism.

    But you don’t; because, like many other Dawkins cultists, you are moved not by love of Truth, but by hatred against people whose beliefs you find “ridiculous” and “superstitious”.

  • Sweetjae

    Right between the eyes!

  • karlf

     You assume too much. I do actively criticise Marxists -  mainly for their dogmatic denial of certain aspects of human nature.
    I don’t hate anyone for holding superstitious beliefs, as I would not blame anyone for how their experience of life has influenced their outlook. It is the psychological aspect which I find interesting, but also frustrating.

    Again – If a child is raised to live out their life believing that Allah is monitoring their every thought and deed – that they have to live by the teachings and laws of the Koran, what sort of freedom is this? Where is their mental freedom? Don’t you agree that this is a terrible afflication for so many millions of people?

  • karlf

     See above

  • Tridentinus

     As much as I disagree with virtually everything Richard Dawkins says,
    I’m afraid that I have to agree with him in this instance. http://www.irishtimes.com/news

    The 13th session of the Council of Trent declared that anyone who “denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are
    contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together
    with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently
    the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue” and anyone who “saith,
    that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance 
    of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our
    Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular
    conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the
    whole substance of the wine into the Blood – the species only of the
    bread and wine remaining which conversion indeed the Catholic Church
    most aptly calls Transubstantiation, let him be anathema.”

    This does not mean that a Catholic has to be knowledgeable as to
    Aristotle’s theory of substance and accidents. Catholics of my
    generation were all consistently and without equivocation taught in
    their schools and in their preparation for First Holy Communion that
    after Consecration, the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood in the
    Chalice were the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Transubstantiation to us was merely a word used to
    describe this phenomenon or ‘Mystery’ as it is often referred to in the
    Eastern Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Churches and where the word
    ‘metousious’, the greek translation of the latin word ‘transsubsantiatio’,
    is often used to explain it.

    This definition is denied by the vast majority of Protestants throughout
    the world so any Catholic who does not subscribe to it, i.e. doesn’t
    believe it is true, thereby denying it, must be called a Protestant.
    Mr Dawkins, however much one might disagree with what he says and
    writes, has, I’m afraid, hit the nail on the head. ‘Catholics’ who
    deny Transubstantiation are ‘de facto’ Protestants and can only be
    described as such.