Adoration Without Exposition


This is taken from Zenit.

ROME, JAN. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: We have a very unusual problem in my parish regarding the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Our pastor is very devoted to the Holy Sacrament and dedicated to the adoration of the same. He spends long hours in the chapel and encourages all the parishioners to do the same. However, he believes that the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is unimportant and unnecessary. Christ is present in the tabernacle, and having the door of the tabernacle open or closed does not make any difference. His logic seems to be: that the parishioners should be taught to pray and adore the Blessed Sacrament all the time and that the practice of exposition in the monstrance is irrelevant and counterproductive to any real devotion. Your thoughts, please. — J.L., Cumberland County, New Jersey

A: The pastor’s devotion to the Eucharist is commendable, and our reader is surely thankful for this. The pastor also has a valid point in stressing adoration of Our Lord in the tabernacle, since reverence toward the tabernacle has often been neglected in recent times. It is necessary to do all that is possible to recover the spirit of silent prayer and adoration in many of our churches.

Adoration of Our Lord in the tabernacle is and remains the normal and most common mode of adoration. There is, however, a small number of Catholics who emphasize exposition of the Blessed Sacrament so much as to give the impression that they consider this to be the only authentic adoration.

That said, I think the pastor should go deeper into Church doctrine so as to discover that it is not a question of aut–aut but of et–et. Almost all magisterial documents recommend both practices. In some cases, they allude to exposition and Benediction as bringing to the fore certain doctrinal aspects that are less apparent in adoration in the tabernacle.

Thus, Pope Pius XII in his 1947 encyclical “Mediator Dei” speaks of how adoration has contributed to doctrinal progress with a deeper understanding of Christ’s presence outside of Mass. He points out that the different forms of Eucharistic adoration “have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth.”

Regarding Benediction, he says: “Of great benefit is that custom which makes the priest raise aloft the Bread of Angels before congregations with heads bowed down in adoration, and forming with It the sign of the cross.” This “implores the heavenly Father to deign to look upon His Son who for love of us was nailed to the cross, and for His sake and through Him willed […] to shower down heavenly favors upon those whom the Immaculate blood of the Lamb has redeemed.”

The 1967 instruction on the Eucharistic Mystery underlines the importance of both forms of practice:

“58. Devotion, both private and public, toward the sacrament of the altar even outside Mass that conforms to the norms laid down by lawful authority and in the present Instruction is strongly advocated by the Church, since the eucharistic sacrifice is the source and summit of the whole Christian life …

“60. Exposition of the blessed sacrament, either in a ciborium or a monstrance, draws the faithful to an awareness of the sublime presence of Christ and invites them to inner communion with him. Therefore, it is a strong encouragement toward the worship owed to Christ in spirit and in truth.”

It is possible to quote many other magisterial sources, such as Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Mysterium Fidei,” and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1378.

I believe the following texts from the two most recent Holy Fathers is sufficient to illustrate the point.

Pope John Paul II in his final encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” admirably summed up the doctrinal essentials:

“25. The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The presence of Christ under the sacred species reserved after Mass — a presence which lasts as long as the species of bread and of wine remain — derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed towards communion, both sacramental and spiritual. It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species.

“It is pleasant to spend time with him, to lie close to his breast like the Beloved Disciple (cf. Jn 13:25) and to feel the infinite love present in his heart. If in our time Christians must be distinguished above all by the ‘art of prayer,’ how can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament? How often, dear brother and sisters, have I experienced this, and drawn from it strength, consolation and support!

“This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium, is supported by the example of many saints. Particularly outstanding in this regard was Saint Alphonsus Liguori, who wrote: ‘Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.’ The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ in the spirit which I proposed in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio Ineunte and Rosarium Virginis Mariae cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord.

“In the course of the day the faithful should not omit visiting the Blessed Sacrament, which in accordance with liturgical law must be reserved in churches with great reverence in a prominent place. Such visits are a sign of gratitude, an expression of love and an acknowledgment of the Lord’s presence.”

Finally, our present Pope touches on this theme in the postsynodal exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis,” Nos. 67-68:

“The practice of eucharistic adoration

“67. With the Synod Assembly, therefore, I heartily recommend to the Church’s pastors and to the People of God the practice of eucharistic adoration, both individually and in community. Great benefit would ensue from a suitable catechesis explaining the importance of this act of worship, which enables the faithful to experience the liturgical celebration more fully and more fruitfully. Wherever possible, it would be appropriate, especially in densely populated areas, to set aside specific churches or oratories for perpetual adoration. I also recommend that, in their catechetical training, and especially in their preparation for First Holy Communion, children be taught the meaning and the beauty of spending time with Jesus, and helped to cultivate a sense of awe before his presence in the Eucharist ….

“Forms of eucharistic devotion

“68. The personal relationship which the individual believer establishes with Jesus present in the Eucharist constantly points beyond itself to the whole communion of the Church and nourishes a fuller sense of membership in the Body of Christ. For this reason, besides encouraging individual believers to make time for personal prayer before the Sacrament of the Altar, I feel obliged to urge parishes and other church groups to set aside times for collective adoration. Naturally, already existing forms of Eucharistic piety retain their full value. I am thinking, for example, of processions with the Blessed Sacrament, especially the traditional procession on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Forty Hours devotion, local, national and international Eucharistic Congresses, and other similar initiatives. If suitably updated and adapted to local circumstances, these forms of devotion are still worthy of being practiced today.”

From this, it seems clear that the Church desires the practice of both adoration in the tabernacle and exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. If well-prepared, exposition should lead to more-frequent visits to the tabernacle and to a deeper living of the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

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How Do You Interpret?



Q. You do not hold to what the Scriptures plainly say. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon’s and etc. claim to hold to the Scriptures. They “interpret” the Scriptures in their own way. What I am asking you is, how can you possibly “interpret” the Scriptures in a way that actually contradicts what the Scriptures plainly say and call in “interpreting” them?

A. We Catholics interpret the verses based on the literal meaning first. But if this contradicts other scriptures then we look for an explanation other than the literal meaning.

Protestants do this with:

John 6:51 Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”

Most non Catholics reject the belief that we actually eat the flesh and blood of Jesus in communion. But that is what Jesus literally said we must do in these verses. So, Protestants interpret these verses, actually they only interpret a later verse and never even deal with the above verses. They actually just ignore them.

We all do this interpreting with this verse, also in John 6, because both Protestants and Catholics get physically hungry and thirsty despite having consumed the “bread of Life” according to their respective traditions.

Jn 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

And this verse too, since as far as I know both Protestants and Catholics physically die, eventually.

Jn 6:50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.

So, I hope we can agree that even non Catholics, do not actually take every single verse absolutely literally. Therefore, since every verse in the Bible does not necessarily have to be taken dead literally, verses must be explained. The differences in these explanations are precisely what has given rise to the the ongoing fracturing of Protestantism. And Protestants extol this diversity despite the fact that Jesus, in scripture, literally said, He wanted us all to be ONE.

Other times a verse, if taken dead literally, as in “call no man on earth father,” contradicts other scriptures so then we must look for an explanation that does not detract or nullify any of the verses. This calls for study and interpretation. The reason we do not take the verse about calling no man “father” on earth literally is explained in this post–>Call No Man Father

I do not say that the Protestant interpretation is illegitimate. It is perfectly fine to interpret it that way. But, the problem with your interpretation is that you multiply the other verses (in the linked post above) that must then be explained just in order to interpret that one verse literally and use it to condemn Catholic practice.

You run into the same thing with the verses about the brothers and sisters of Jesus. There is nothing inherently wrong with the interpretation that these were the SIBLINGS of Jesus and CHILDRENof Mary and Joseph. If all you have is the words of scripture of course you would interpret them that way.

But the Catholic Church has lived and been present throughout all of Christian history. The the literal interpretation contradicts historical information and other teachings that Mary was ever a virgin and had no other children. While this is not in scripture it was always and everywhere believed and handed down from the infancy of Christianity. So, since we cling to all that St. Paul taught, both oral and written, we do not interpret the verses about Jesus’ brothers and sisters literally. I explain this in another post–>Who Were the Brothers & Sisters of Jesus?

The founder of Protest-antism believed in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Luther on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?

And you might find this post interesting also.
Mary Did Not Have Sex “UNTIL” Jesus was Born.
Q. the Scriptures say, “1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a BISHOP,[a] he desires a good work. 2 A BISHOP THEN MUST BE BLAMELESS, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach…(1 Timothy 3: 1-2; NKJV)”

A. Regarding the requirements for a bishop I understand your interpretation. But Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom and the authority to rule the Church. And at the time that that verse was written priests and bishops WERE married. Peter had been married. And celibacy is a practice NOT a DOGMA of the church and could be changed. In fact, we do have married priests in the Catholic Church, but no married bishops.

Anyway, if you look at the passage in context it is not about marriage and the necessity of it in order to be a minister of the Church. It seems to be more about morality and the reference to one wife adverts to definite adherence to Christ’s teaching against divorce and remarriage. Which Protestant just ignore for the most part.

Jesus never taught that one MUST be married. St. Paul was NOT married. We know nothing about the marital status of the other apostles. They do not seem to have been married at the time Jesus called them. Never-the-less, married men were ordained to the priesthood in the early Church. But, because of the example of Jesus and Paul and probably of the other disciples as well, the fact that in Heaven there is no marriage, and for practical reasons a celibate priesthood became the norm.

This is merely a discipline/practice it is not dogmatic and it could change at some time in the future. But that is very doubtful. Click the link for a summary of a book, The Case for Clerical Celibacy.

The verse about a bishop being a husband of one wife can be understood to be more about a bishop being chaste and pure than about marriage being qualifier for being a bishop.

Communion on the Hand in the Early Church



History of Communion: Tongue/Hand



Some Considerations on Holy Communion in the Hand
The original article can be found here–>HISTORY OF COMMUNION

The history of Communion in the hand is often presented in certain quarters as follows:

From the Last Supper on, Holy Communion was, as the norm, continually given in the hand. So it was during
the age of the martyrs. And it continued to be so during that golden age ofthe Fathers and of the liturgy after the peace of Constantine in 313 A.D. And it continued to be the common practice until at least the tenth century. Thus for over half of the life of the Church it was the norm.

An argument for the above is held to be found in a text of St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s fifth Mystagogic Catechesis (21f), which he preached to neophytes in 348 A.D., in which he counsels the faithful to “place your left
hand as the throne of your right one, which is to receive the King [in Holy Communion]” (apudL’Osservatore Romano. English edition of June 14, 1973, p.6). This Father of the Church further counsels great care for any Fragments which might remain on one’s hands.

According to some critics’ version of history, popular in certain quarters, Communion on the tongue became the universal norm in this way: During the Middle Ages certain distortions in the faith and/or in approaches
to it gradually developed. These included an excessive fear of God and an over-concern about sin, judgment and punishment, as well as an over-emphasis on Christ’s divinity– so emphasized as to down-play His sacred humanity or virtually deny it; also an over-emphasis on the priest’s role in the sacred liturgy, and a loss of the sense of the community which the Church, in fact, is. In particular, because of excessive emphasis on adoring Christ in the Holy Eucharist and an over-strict approach to moral matters, Holy Communion
became more and more rare. It was considered enough to gaze upon the Sacred Host during the elevation. (In fact, in certain critics’ minds the elevation, exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament find their
origins during the ‘unfortunate’ Middle Ages, a period whose liturgical practices we would do well– so they think– to rid ourselves of.) It was in this atmosphere and under these circumstances, they argue, that the practice of Communion in the hand began to be restricted. The practice of the priest placing the consecrated Bread directly into the mouth of the communicant thus developed and, they think, was unwisely imposed.

The conclusion is rather clear: We should get rid of this custom. We should forbid or at least discourage the Communion-on-the-tongue practice whereby the faithful are not allowed to “take and eat,” and should return to the pristine usage of the Fathers and Apostles, namely, Communion in the hand.

It is a compelling story. It is too bad that it is not true.

The sacred Council of Trent declared that the custom whereby only the priest-celebrant gives Communion to himself (with his own hands), and the laity receive It from him, is an Apostolic tradition.

(1) A more rigorous study of available evidence from Church history and from writings of the Fathers does not support the assertion that Communion in the hand was a universal practice which was gradually supplanted and eventually replaced by the practice of Communion on the tongue. Rather, facts seem to point to a different conclusion: Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461) is an early witness of the traditional practice. In his comments on the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel he speaks of Communion in the mouth as the current usage: “One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith.”

(2) The Pope does not speak as if he were introducing a novelty, but as if this were a well established thing.
A century and a half later Pope St. Gregory the Great (died in 604) is another witness. In his dialogues he relates how Pope St. Agapitus performed a miracle during Mass, after having placed the Body of the Lord into
someone’s mouth.

We are not claiming that under no circumstances whatever did the faithful receive by their own hands. But under what conditions did this happen? It does seem that from very early times on, it was usual for the priest to place the Sacred Host into the mouth of the communicant. However, during times of persecution, when priests were not readily available, and when the faithful took the Sacrament to their homes, they gave Communion to themselves by their own hand. Rather than be totally deprived of the Bread of Life, they could receive by their own hand. The same applied to monks who had gone out into the desert, where they would not have the services of a priest and would not want to give up the practice of daily holy Communion. St. Basil the Great (330-379) indicates that reception of Communion by one’s own hand was permitted precisely because of persecution, or, as was the case with monks in the desert, when no deacon or priest was available to give It.

(3) In his article on “Communion” in the Dictionaire d’Archeologiae Chretienne, Leclerq declares that the peace of Constantine in 313 A.D. served toward bringing the practice of Communion in the hand to an end. After persecution had ceased, evidently the practice of Communion in the hand persisted here and there. Church authority apparently judged that it invited abuse and deemed it contrary to the custom of the Apostles.

Thus the Synod of Rouen, France, in about 878 directed: “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywomen, but only in their mouths” (“nulli autem laico aut feminae eucharistiam in manibus ponat, sed tantum in os eius”).

(4) A non-ecumenical Council of Constantinople known as “In Trullo” in 692 A.D. prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themselves (which is of course what happens when the Sacred Particle is placed in the hand of communicants), and decreed a censure against those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon.

Promoters of Communion in the hand generally make little mention of the evidence we have brought forward, but do make constant use of the text attributed above to St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived in the fourth century
at the time of St. Basil. But scholars dispute the authenticity of the St. Cyril text, according to Jungmann-Brunner, op. cit., p. 191, n.25. It is not impossible that the text is really the work of the Patriarch John,
who succeeded Cyril in Jerusalem. This John was of suspect orthodoxy, as we know from the correspondence of St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine.

But is it not a form of clericalism to allow the priest to touch the Sacred Host and to forbid the laity to do the same? But even priests were not allowed to touch the Blessed Sacrament except out of some need to do so.
In fact, other than the celebrant of the Mass itself, no one else receiving Communion, not even a priest, could receive It in the hand. And so, in the traditional liturgical practice of the Roman Rite, if a priest were
assisting at Mass (and not celebrating) and if he wished to receive Holy Communion, he did not do so by his own hand; he received on the tongue from another priest. The same would be true of a Bishop or even a Pope. When Pope St. Pius X was on his deathbed in August of 1914, and Holy Communion was brought to him as Viaticum, he did not and was not allowed to receive in the hand. He received on the tongue according to the law and practice of the Catholic Church.

This confirms a basic point: Out of reverence it seems better that there be no unnecessary touching of the Sacred Host. Obviously someone is needed to distribute the Bread of Life. But it is not needful to make each
man, woman and child into his own ‘eucharistic minister’ and multiply the handling and fumbling and danger of dropping and loss of Fragments. Even those whose hands have been specially consecrated to touch the Most Holy Eucharist, namely the priests, should not do so needlessly.

As for the present situation, in those countries where the indult for Communion in the hand has been granted by the Holy See, an individual bishop may forbid the practice; but no Bishop has authority to forbid the
traditional way of receiving Our Lord on the tongue.

But surely the Apostles received Communion in the hand at the Last Supper? It is usually presumed that this was so. Even if it were, though, we would point out that the Apostles were themselves priests, or even Bishops. But we must not forget a traditional custom of middle-eastern hospitality which was in practice in Jesus’ time and which is still the case; that is, one feeds his guests with one’s own hand, placing a symbolic morsel in the mouth of the guest. And we have this text of St. John’s Gospel (13:26-30): “Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give this Morsel when I have dipped It.’ So when He had dipped the Morsel, He gave It to Judas… So, after receiving the Morsel, he [Judas] immediately went out…”

Did Our Lord place this wet Morsel into Judas’ hand? That would be rather messy. Did He not perhaps extend to the one whom He addressed later in the garden as “friend” the gesture of hospitality spoken of above? And if so, why not with Holy Communion, “giving Himself by His own Hand”? —

CANADA. Fr. Paul McDonald, Pastor, St. Patrick’s Church, 123 King St., Pt.
Colborne, Ontario L3K 4G3.

EDITOR’S NOTE TO READER: If any of you fear that Fr. McDonald has drawn
some of this material from mistaken historical data, and you can cite
precise sources which show anything Father says to be inaccurate or
misleading, he and we would be grateful if you would write us about it. —
A.M.S.

Early Church Beliefs In the Eucharist



Q. Did the Christians in the first three centuries believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist?

A. Yes. They certainly did!

110 AD–St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John wrote:

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ. Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6,2)

“I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” (Letter to the Romans 7,3)

150 AD–St Justin Martyr wrote to the Emperor of Rome :

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66,20 )

180 ADSt. Irenaeus, was the bishop of Lyons, France and a student of St. Polycarp who sat at the feet of the Apostle John. St. Irenaeus wrote :

“He (Jesus) has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies, 5,2,2 )

350 AD St Cyril of Jerusalem, in a teaching to those coming into the Church wrote in:

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures:(Mystagogic 4) 22,6 )

Thus we see that the Christian Church, at the very beginning of its history taught and believed that the bread and wine of communion was transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Jesus’ discourse on the Bread From Heaven in John 6 and the plain sense of His words at the institution of Communion at the Last Supper. “This is My Body” This is My Blood”

This is the same Church that Jesus founded on Peter and the Apostles.

This is the same church that Jesus promised the Gates of Hell would never overcome.

This is the same Church that chose the books of the Bible out of all the other books floating around the ancient world, at the end of the fourth century.

This is the same Church that was called Catholic at least as early as 110 AD.

This is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Ancient, but ever young.

Why Can’t Protestants Take Communion in a Catholic Church?



Q. Why can’t Protestants receive communion at the Catholic Church?

A. To protect them from Judgment.

1 Corinthians 11: 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be
guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

Since, Protestants do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as we do, they do not discern or recognize that Jesus’ body is present under the appearance of bread and wine. We would be allowing them to eat and drink judgment upon themselves. The prohibition is actually very charitable but, unfortunately, it is usually seen as a rejection.

Evidence of this interpretation of this passage is supported by St. Justin the Martyr :

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…”
-Justin Martyr –FIRST APOLOGY, 66,20–(150 A.D.)

Q. Why do we call the bread “The Host”?

A. Our use of this term, to refer to the consecrated bread, comes from the Latin word hostia, which means ‘victim’. We believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the consecrated bread and wine on our altars. The mass is a re-presentation of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. Therefore, Jesus is the victim of sacrifice and we call the bread the host/victim to help us remember that it is no longer bread but the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ given to us to strengthen and keep us on the journey to Heaven.

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Cardinal Arinze on Reception of Communion Kneeling and on Tongue



He cites Redemptionis Sacramentum and the GIRM