Friday, June 8, 2012

Of The Eucharist, Theology And The Urge For An iPad

Pope Benedict leads the Corpus Christi procession in Rome (AP)

A few interesting pieces of news, this Friday morning.  

As we prepare for the Eucharist Congress next week, a theological symposium has been taking place in Maynooth with a number of excellent speakers.  The Papal Legate, Cardinal Ouellet gave an impressive talk on "The Ecclesiology of Communion, 50 Years after the Opening of Vatican II" (see a Zenit report here).

Among the things he spoke about, one concerned devotion to the Eucharist which "must not be belittled as a pious but now outdated custom" but rather, it is "a development of the living tradition, which felt the need to express faith in Christ's real presence in the sacrament in this way".  A wonderful reaffirmation of the faith of the Church in the Holy Eucharist.   There are some in the Church here in Ireland who should take careful note of these words. 

In Ireland there is a growing movement for adoration and many churches now have adoration chapels, and some even have perpetual adoration.  Our own bishop here in Meath, Bishop Michael Smith, has made it a priority of his episcopal ministry to promote Eucharistic Adoration within the diocese and he has been very successful.  I hope and pray the Eucharistic Congress will revitalise the faith of many in the Holy Eucharist.

The Holy Father addressed similar issues yesterday in his celebration of Corpus Christi in Rome.  Here's an interesting article on his homily.

I see the fall out from the CDF's Notification on Sr Margaret Farley's book Just Love is continuing.  Now the Catholic Theological Society of America have come out in her defence and are rebuking the Vatican for such a narrow-minded approach to theology.  It said in a statement that the Vatican's move "risks giving the impression that there can be no constructive role in the life of the Church for works of theology". 

One has to wonder where these people are coming from - can one really say that dissent and rejection of the core moral teachings of the Church, taken from the Gospel, is constructive and building up the life of the Church?  In reality it breaks down the life of the Church as it introduces a moral anarchy into the communion of the faithful and makes sinful practices a valid alternative to the life of virtue or even the norm.  Theological investigation does have a part to play in the life of the Church, assisting the Magisterium in proclaiming the Gospel and exploring in ever greater depth the faith which Christ has given to us. 

Theologians, however, are not the Magisterium.  They do not define the faith nor how it is to be lived.  And when they propose to validate a manner of life or lifestyle which is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Christ and the Commandments and then promote themselves as a teaching authority in the Church they commit the sin of simulation - posing as authentic teachers of the faith when they are not.  One would think that having had so many years of study behind them these theologians would realise that.  But then again, ideology is a powerful thing and can blind even the most brilliant of thinkers. 

This is where humility comes in.  The Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that theology must be studied on one's knees - he was right.  The first attitude one must have when it comes to studying theology is humility - not curiosity, not creativity, not the desire for fame, but humility because one must always remember that when it comes to theological investigation we are exploring the mystery of God (read today's Office of Readings - the first reading is from the Book of Job and humility before God: Job 40:1-14; 42:1-6).   However it seems some of our contemporary theologians think they are doing theology from their own little cathedras. 

And here's an interesting snippet.  The bishops of New Zealand have outlawed the use of the iPad for the celebration of Mass (their statement).  It seems some of their priests were using their iPads instead of the Missal for the liturgy.  I know that there is enthuasiastic discussion among some priests of how the iPad has all the texts you need and is very handy when travelling - no need to bring a Missal or breviary.  I would not be keen on it to be honest - call me a Luddite, but I prefer the book - there is something more reverent.  Of course I'm hopeless when it comes to Kindle and iPads - some friends are urging me to get one of each, but I am resisting.  I admit an iPad would be handy for work and internet when travelling, but the Kindle does not entice me at all: I love the feel of a good book. 


  1. Father, since the Divine Office (published by Collins) is a copyrighted text, how is it available on the ipad? I've never seen an official Kindle or other e-version, and so I wonder if the copies that are available are those of unapproved translations.

  2. In relation to the Congress, I'm astonished to read that RTE, in the persons of Joe Duffy and Eileen Dunne, have a role in the closing Mass. This is an absolute scandal. If it is correct, then I don't blame RTE for treating the Church with cynical contempt.

    1. Yes, Joe Duffy of Liveline is hosting the final ceremony. Quite odd. Here are the details:

    2. I am astonished that IEC organising committee should pick Joe Duffy for the Statio Orbis, there is no sensible explanation. The man has been waging a sly campaign against the Church for years. I can only assume that the organisers must be fools, and perhaps crawling sycophants who want kudos from RTE and the liberal establishment. Given that Mr Duffy has been a grand Inquistor tearing strips off faithful priests for years, those priests will be offended to see him on the altar wowing the crowds.

  3. Sadly, the Congress is riddled with erroneous, non-Catholic theology. Those who love God and His Church have been very sceptical about its authenticity and fearful of the further harm that might be done to people's faith. I had been very worried about how Holy Mass would be properly offered and the Blessed Sacrament worthily received and revered at this Croke Park event. If it is true that Joe Duffy who espouses a theology very removed from the Catholic Church and has used his RTE platform to denigrate the Church and the Faith and the Natural Law, then not only will I not be there but I shall protest it. It seems there is some orthodox and reverent theology and liturgy available at the fringe festival, e.g. at Kevin St and Dominick St - so the marginalised true Catholics have somewhere to attend.

  4. My wife and I have two sats booked ( since last Nov. ) for the closing Mass. But the news of Mr. Duffy's involvement is deeply disturbin. Either non-attendance or some kind of protest is in order. I have emailed the organising committee & Fr. Kevin Doran to protest, but no reply yet. Will others please do likewise. Otherwise the closing ceremony will turn into a travesty. The last straw is if Kenny ( Inda ) turns up.

  5. The organisers have bowed to anti-Catholic forces in much of the content and presentation of the Congress. There is some orthodox, true, Catholic theology, liturgy, etc. but it is bundled indifferently among heresies, talks by non-Catholics who do not recognise the Blessed Sacrament, the source and summit of the Catholic faith, the sine qua non of the Congress. And then there were the abuses in giving Holy Communion and the liberal use of a secularised presentation style and well-known anti-Catholic presenters. It would make one weep. Most of the faithful Practising and knowledgeable Catholics stayed away because the liberal politicisation and banalising of the subject matter of the Congress became clear a long time ago. Meanwhile not many of the dissenters would have been interested in a Eucharistic Congress under the auspices of the Holy See, in any case. Hence, very few people. It could have been packed out if the dissenting theologians and those who hate the Church and her teachings, were not part of it. The Congress comes over as ashamed at worst, conflicted at best. Not the way to attract believers or convert non-believers. Again it comes downto poor leadership on the part of Irish Bishops who refuse to stand up for the Faith and with the Faithful.