From a reader:
In recent days, I have heard it said a couple of times that praying the Stations of the Cross (in common) during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is not allowed. Is that true? Where is such a directive given? Thanks.
The USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship has an non-authoritative opinion piece about this in which the writer argues that Exposition is a liturgical worship of Christ while Stations is a devotion focused on the Lord’s Passion. She writes, “As commendable as such a devotion may be, it can never fulfill the purpose of eucharistic adoration, that is to draw us more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, neither the Stations of the Cross nor any other devotion should be prayed during exposition of the Eucharist.”
Not as bad as the Fishwrap’s Richard McBrien who ridicules Eucharistic adoration as “a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward”.
The USCCB piece a clearly a personal opinion piece by some nameless person. Note that the last paragraph begins with the pronoun “I”, as in “I would strongly encourage…”.
I do not see any reason why, in a communal observance of the Stations of the Cross, or Via Crucis, the priest or deacon leading them turning to the Blessed Sacrament each time he moves to each Station and each time he says “We adore Thee, O Christ…”.
In any event, I haven’t found any authoritative document which states in a clear way that Stations may not be prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed. When Stations is ended, there could be Benediction.
Is there some other document out there?
I am sure we could argue one way or another about this, but I think the argument against smacks of the same thinking by which people are assumed to be so thick that they will, in the presence of, say, more than one crucifix or more than one altar, or more than one statue of Mary, be struck by mental paralysis like Buridan’s Ass and maybe even fall to the floor racked by sobs of confusion.
On the other hand, in my experience, people who are used to Exposition and used to the Stations seem to be able to put it all together and grasp – mirabile dictu – that the Jesus they adore on the altar under the appearance of bread in the monstrance, is the same Jesus who suffered and died for them, the story of which Passion being related all around them during the Stations.
If there is some definitive document from the Congregation for Divine Worship on this, I would like to be corrected. Otherwise, I think we are free to do this, whether we want to or not.