In the aftermath of the liturgical changes of the post-Vatican II era, we’ve seen a slow but sure slide into what might be called “Eucharistic irreverence,” instead of the “Eucharistic amazement” which St. John Paul II urged upon us.
When I was a very young priest, I served as administrator of a high school quite lacking in the most important elements of a Catholic school; it was my task to address those deficiencies, among which was that the school had never offered any retreats or days of recollection in its entire history! Within a month of the opening of school, I scheduled an afternoon and evening of recollection for the freshman class, ending with a Holy Hour. During Benediction, I thought I heard the two servers holding back some tears. In the sacristy, I asked the fellows what brought on that reaction. At first, in very “macho” fashion, they denied that they were on the verge of tears but eventually one of them said, “Father, I have never felt so close to Jesus in my life.” He and – as I discovered – most of his classmates had never experienced Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Permit me to highlight some points for ongoing reflection.
We have had a serious problem in the Church over the past several decades, a problem I have dubbed a Eucharistic “meltdown.” In the aftermath of the liturgical changes of the post-Vatican II era (many of which were never called for or even envisioned by the Council Fathers), I observed a slow but sure slide into what might be called “Eucharistic irreverence,” instead of the “Eucharistic amazement” which St. John Paul II urged upon us – and this suggests the lack of a proper understanding of the Holy Eucharist.
And so, in 1992, I enlisted the services of George Gallup to conduct a national poll to ask Catholics: “Which of the following statements about Holy Communion do you think best reflects your belief?” Only 30% of the respondents chose the first option: “When receiving Holy Communion, you are really receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.” Twenty-nine percent indicated “you are receiving bread and wine, which symbolize the spirit and teachings of Jesus and in so doing are expressing your attachment to His person and words.” Twenty-four percent believed that “you are receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, which has become that because of your personal belief.” Ten percent said, “You are receiving bread and wine, in which Jesus is really and truly present.” Finally, 8% said, “None of the above”; “Don’t know”; or they refused to answer.
READ ON BELOW…Responding to the ongoing Eucharistic meltdown – Catholic World Report
Responding to the ongoing Eucharistic meltdown – Catholic World Report