I am increasingly worried by the way in which eucharistic adoration is being promoted by our bishops.
The documents of the Second Vatican Council seem to make it clear that the Eucharist should be at the heart of every Christian community, as the sacred meal in which they are able to be united with Christ and formed ever more perfectly into his living body in the world. After the council, these insights were never acted upon as fully as they might have been, but our Church had begun to have a fuller understanding of the Eucharist as the centre of the Christian community.
With the gradual development of eucharistic adoration and the teaching of the two previous popes, the whole emphasis seems to have changed, and we are returning to an understanding of the Eucharist as the means by which Jesus makes himself present to us so that we may adore him, especially when the Eucharistic Bread is exposed. It treats the Eucharist as an object for the gathering, not an activity of the gathering. The fact that the Lord whom we receive at the Eucharist is the one whom we go out to serve, and, dare I say it, to adore, in our neighbour, seems to have disappeared.
I feel very alone in this but it seems to me that the whole nature of the Church is being changed. Worrying, too, is the fact that the younger priests seem to come out of the seminary with this way of thinking already firmly established, and, of course, it does lead to the view of the priest as the only one who can effect the eucharistic presence rather than the one who presides at the eucharistic meal of the whole community.
Although it sounds an exaggeration, it is almost as if our bishops are promoting a heretical view of the Eucharist, and it makes me fear for our Church in the years to come. The injunction to “take and eat” seems to have been replaced by an order that I am not aware Christ ever gave: to kneel and adore. I would be interested to know if there are others who harbour similar fears for the future of the Church.
Derek P. Reeve
Retired Catholic priest, Portsmouth