“If the Eucharistic Revival doesn’t address these…”

There’s chatter about “Eucharistic Revival”.  I have my ideas about what will work, but I’m afraid that the spirit of Vatican II, at least under the control of the power-that-be, will not be able even to imagine giving them a try.

What sorts of things need to be addressed in order for there to be a Eucharist Revival… which I assume means belief in what the Church has always taught about the Eucharist as well as reception of Communion in the state of grace (i.e. the highest form of “active participation”)?

As seen on Twitter…

Let’s have a better look at that image:  [UPDATED with corrections on 18 Nov 22]

If people see the priest treating the Eucharistic Species with the reverence they deserve, why should they?  If people see the priest taking the greatest care in the details and also preaching about the Eucharist, there will be a knock-on effect.  And I don’t think it would take too long, either, because this is the Eucharist we are talking about!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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21 Comments

  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    Either you believe in the Real Presence or you don’t. Everything flows from that. Only Divine intervention will make Catholics believe in the Real Presence again, as they did when I was a child in the late 1960s, before the virus of VII infected the country where I grew up (Philippines). My late grandmother always believed in the Real Presence and she stopped going to Mass when guitar masses became the vogue. She stayed home, and like a rigid Catholic, prayed the Rosary daily at 6pm.

  2. RichR says:

    Gee. The Apostles didn’t do any of these things at the Last Supper, [And you know that… how, exactly?] but 11/12 of them had Eucharistic fervor unto martyrdom. Maybe our faith is more than the rites we practice. [That was incoherent.]

    While I love the old Mass (I’m an MC for our local parish’s TLM), I don’t operate under the assumption that my faith is narrowed because I mainly attend the new rite of Mass. I pray outside of Mass, I read the catechism, I study our faith, and I do acts of charity. Not having all of the enumerated accoutrements of the old rite at my normal Sunday Mass has not hindered my faith.

    I think we [You speak for everyone, now?] need to stop being so in awe of ourselves as Catholics and the history of our rites. Yes, the TLM is beautiful. Yes, there were some particularly goofy new Masses throughout the last 50 years. Yes, there are still abuses that need to be addressed (liturgical abuse is not native to the new rite nor foreign to the old). But most souls today will find their path to salvation in the new rites. [You are sure of that?] In fact, many of them may see their spiritual progress hampered if they were required to attend the old rite of Mass. [People often grouse about doing things that are harder.] The Church has always recognized different spiritual temperaments. What is good for some may not be good for all. I think we need to realize that lex orandi, lex credendi does not mean “if you go to the new rite of Mass you have less of a chance of getting to Heaven.” [Who made that claim?] It is what we are doing outside the church walls that we will be judged on. [?!? The one does not exclude the other. Review: Virture of Religion] And it is our missionary zeal, not liturgical glory, that ultimately converts sinners. [Another blanket statement.]

    Sometimes I wish Catholics would channel their energy away from liturgical debate and toward actual evangelization of pagans. [Liturgy doesn’t evangelize? It did me.] If Jesus were to come back right now, I wonder what he would say. [Here we go!] Would His first concern be whether or not the pipe organ and Gregorian chant were being used at Mass, [You mean in obedience to the Council?] or would He chastise us for letting outward piety be a substitute for interior conversion? [You read souls along with the Lord, now?] I know I fall prey to this temptation. I have to reorient myself at times when I think God’s primary battle is in the Catholic sanctuary instead of in my own soul. As if Christ frowns on the New Mass and sacraments. [Tree… fruits….] I can start to see liturgy wars as an “angels vs. demons” type of situation where people are literally choosing their eternal fates by which side they choose to be on.

    Yes, we should strive for having both liturgical beauty AND missionary zeal. But let’s not think the fate of souls hinges on which rite of Mass is said. [So, rites are indifferent?] Christ is more concerned [Again, you know this?] with your conversion of heart and conviction to save your wayward brothers with His Gospel.

  3. Danteewoo says:

    Fr. Z, where does all this bowing come from? I grew up always genuflecting every time I passed in front of the altar. Now, it’s bow, bow, bow. (Not me.) The Eastern Church bows, in the West we genuflect.

    And bow before receiving Communion. I never do that. Just an Eastern Rite sign of the cross — I am almost a Ukrainian Catholic now (though Irish,) having been hiding out in that wonderful world for half of the last 48 years. One good thing to come out of Vatican II is that the liturgical reforms chased me to the East.

  4. Cornelius says:

    If unrepentant adulterers can receive Communion ala Amoris Laetitia, then it’s really not a big thing, is it?

  5. swvirginia says:

    I was traveling and attended a Mass at a church I had not been to before. After communion, the priest purified the vessels at the altar. As I was leaving after Mass was over, I thanked him for doing so, and I was surprised by his reply. He seemed irritated that I had said something, and remarked, “Oh, it can be done in the sacristy, too,” which seemed to be a way of saying he was not doing anything important.

  6. PCali says:

    I have one small quibble with that chart. If memory serves, the GIRM permits the use of both water and wine during the purification of the vessels. provided my memory is not in error, that should mean that it is “optional,” not, “suppressed.”

  7. CSSML says:

    I was led to the church by the Holy Spirit through an incredibly reverent NO mass with some intense preaching from a young polish priest on sin and good works. But, out of love for God attend the TLM as much as possible because He deserves the best worship we can give. Not that the NO is ineffective at giving God worship. But, the more intense the reverence, the greater the solemnity, the greater impetus to adore God as He is owed. which is to the best of our ability under the best prescripts of the Church.
    If the church says dig a hole for God (bad metaphor) and lets you choose from a heavy shovel or a spoon; which utensil provides the best means?

  8. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    @RichR

    “Sometimes I wish Catholics would channel their energy away from liturgical debate and toward actual evangelization of pagans.”

    The problem here, is, unless I go off to evangelize cannibals, the vast majority of people I meet will not be Pagans. They will be Incredibly biased and uneducated post-christians. Pagans had rites and ritual observances, and they understood that sacred things needed to be treated as such. We are dealing with moderns, eho have no sense of the sacred. Or virtue. Or beauty. No sense at all, really.

    God used the time before the birth of Christ to prepare humanity, to make ready the reception of divinity. The Fathers of thd Church called this the “Preparatio Evangelii.” With consumate skill, modern man tore this humanity out of humankind. We’re dealing with people who are far worse off than pagans. Ritual, liturgy, and tradition are a key part of rediscovering what we really are, instead of the inhuman monsters we’ve allowed ourselves to become. If the rocks are not first broken, the seed will not take root.

  9. Imrahil says:

    The thing about conversion of the heart is that our Lord is smart and works on the principle that good bait catches… well, I hesitate to say “fine fish” about us, but you get the idea. It is easier to convert with all one’s heart to the Lord if one is sure that He is good; it is easier to accept, or at least to “really accept” (in the sense of: more than “I know that’s a tenet of faith, so it must be true, but were that not so I’d totally think the contrary is true”), that He is good if you can join in people who praise Him, are serious about that, and coincidentally have fun doing so. “First he forces me with the thing called Sunday obligation; then I happen to stay for the devotion afterwards; then he just so happens to send to the same place me a collection of very fine people my age that might be friends, and all of a sudden it is nothing special to me if people talk about ‘one’s daily rosary’ and I happen to be found in strenuous foot pilgrimages – baited again with the part of it that is athletic challenge – or even couragously in right-to-life demonstration. ‘Though hast enticed me, o Lord, and I have let me be enticed.'” (Jer 20,7 translated by me in Bible-style to English from the German; King James has something slightly different.)

    The saints in Heaven cannot sin, as the theologians teach, because they are seeing God face to face, and who can sin when he has that. Is is not logical to assume that stepping into Heaven-on-Earth might generally be a good starting-point for us to convert our heart, rather than hearing “you have to convert your heart”?

    (And if you say, well that also, if perhaps not quite as much, defends worship&praise music – well, yes. That was intentional.)

  10. Lurker 59 says:

    @RichR

    You do realize that one of the abject failures of VII and the N.O. is the failure to instill a sense of “missionary zeal” in priests and laity, right? By every metric, it is a failure. VII is correct about there being a “Missionary Mandate of the Church”. It is real, it exists, it is an obligation. But following “the spirit of the council”^tm doesn’t bring that about – by any metric.

    If you want to evangelize the pagans, you have to teach them that Jesus, alone, is the name by which all may be saved, and to whom all must bow. He has accomplished salvation by being both priest and victim, offering once and for all the August Sacrifice of His total Person — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Altar which we are all called to worship, adore and receive (in a state of grace).

    The NO simply doesn’t say that clearly whereas the other Rites do (TLM, Ordinate, Eastern Rites, etc.).

    If one wants greater Eucraistic Devotion then priests have to have personal devotion and the devotion, that is the liturgical action, had better be clear in its devotion.

  11. hwriggles4 says:

    In my 20s I was a Eucharistic Minister at a Catholic college I attended. As I have learned more about the Eucharist (I grew up in the 1980s) I have found that I prefer to receive the Eucharist from either a priest or deacon. At most parishes I have attended within the past 12 years I can usually without distraction receive Holy Communion from a priest or deacon.

    I do find at some parishes Eucharistic Ministers are overused. (If 1500 are at Mass – that’s acceptable to have a few but if there’s 50 uh, no) It also seems to vary by parish who is allowed to be a Eucharistic Minister. In my 20s the two places I attended Mass emphasized that a Eucharistic Minister must be baptized, confirmed, be a practicing Catholic (not a “C and E”) and if married marriage must be in the Church. In college the pastor also emphasized that if we were Eucharistic Ministers we were to set an “example” of our lives since we represent the Church (I think readers will get it).

  12. Hidden One says:

    To my mind, it is more urgent, and even more important, to get priests (et al.) to follow the existing NO rubrics than to improve those rubrics. For one thing, those who disobey now will likely also disobey later.

  13. BeatifyStickler says:

    @RichR. The traditional rite of Mass evangelized my entire family. My five siblings have kept the faith because of the traditional Mass. I will always be in awe of our rites and sacred patrimony handed down to us through the centuries. Blessed Columba Marmion, Idelfonso Schuster, Pius X probably don’t hold the sentiments you do about being in awe with our rites. St. Philip Neri and his confrère Giovanni Animucia Palestrina devoted much attention and care to the beautification of our Rites. John-Henry Newman was in awe of
    Our rites. The Benedictines have devoted their lives to our Rites. Only traditional monastery’s are growing and that’s a fact. Our rites and the harrowing prayers have kept me Catholic. The change of our rites destroyed the faith in Canada. DESTROYED IT and that’s a fact. Let’s just say the majority of the boomer generation of Catholic men in Canada felt similar to an Evelyn Waugh with a Cardinal Heenan to help them. To say otherwise is ignorant and naive. The majority of converts or reverts I have seen have all been under the Traditional Mass. The Huron Indians of my country were literally evangelized through Gregorian Chant and the traditional rites. That as how they evangelized them as they spoke neither language of one another. A funny anecdote of how children view the faith. Im a truck driver and my shift went longer than expected through the night. We told our five year old that we might head to the local parish with the novus Ordo. He started to cry and said, no, could we please go to the Catholic Church with the Latin. He’s five. I’ve never discussed liturgical rites and differences with my five year old, but he inherently view the two as different religions. Yes, the age old wisdom of the Church will always ring true; how we pray is how we believe. A lesson in history would do you well and as all of us could use more of, a drop of humility.

  14. Not says:

    Growing up when the only Mass was the Latin Mass, there were a fair amount of Priest who were not the best in their sermons. Some were gruff, some were jovial. The Mass was always beautiful as it is today.
    The Novus Ordo is more about all the people up on the altar and the Priest coming on to give a sermon on the “migrants” and the “climate” This is not made up. I have been to a variety of the Novus Ordo’s and this has been the topic pushed by the Priest.
    The beauty and the Reverence of the Latin Mass is what makes converts. A Priest who gives a good sermon helps. P.S. Only thing we miss about Covid is Fr.Z sermons.

  15. MB says:

    Rich R – Thank you. I thought you made some good points.

    Have you ever started a theological book, and about 50 pages in the author says something completely off the rails? It’s devestating. You don’t know whether or not to trust anything else the author said. The Eucharistic Revival is like that for me. A lot of the speakers involved in our local events here are talking about things like immigration, LGBTQ inclusion, racism etc. The guy who just happened to write the book “Becoming a Eucharistic People,” and who also just happens to serve on the USCCB’s revival board, is also a professor at a major “Catholic” University which loves to bestow honors on noteworthy democrats despite their public profession of views contrary to the Catholic faith. They’re using Jesus vulnerability in the Blessed Sacrament as another tool to promote their poisonous liberal agenda. It’s a trick; and I’m tired of being tricked.

  16. The Vicar says:

    In regard to the chart above “Practices of eucharistic Devotion in the Mass,” it strikes me as a priest that the most important thing a priest can do is be properly prepared for the celebration of the Mass. Much of this comes beforehand.

    No text or book has had a greater impact on my understanding of the liturgy than the various biographies about Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

    His biographies don’t talk about purifying vessels or making the sign of the cross over the communicant. They talk about his astonishing presence of mind, or the mystical connection that he had with Christ suffering on the cross while he recited the Eucharistic Prayer.

    Reading these accounts was a revelation, and forced me to rethink being ultra present and hyper aware of what I am doing. Not the people in the pews, but the realization that the EP is a prayer directed towards God that requires the priests full attention.

    Padre Pio would spend a half an hour meditating on Mass intentions. But beyond that, Padre Pio was aware that Mass gives glory to the Father, which takes place because Christ’s death on the cross glorifes the father.

    This mysticism is what is important in the Mass.

    In fact, the original attempts at reforming the Tridentine Rite were intended to recapture the mystical encounter of the Mass, rather than to focus on the rubric of the execution (not that they are not important, but they are not an end).

  17. grateful says:

    If someone said the churches are giving away a million dollars, or if a famous sports player was appearing the lines would be a million miles long.

    There, but for you go I.

  18. Fr. Reader says:

    @RichR:
    “And it is our missionary zeal, not liturgical glory, that ultimately converts sinners”
    “Ultimately”… it’s God grace…

    “Sometimes I wish Catholics would channel their energy away from liturgical debate and toward actual evangelization of pagans. ”
    This is a trick. A false dichotomy between a “debate” and “evangelization.” In reality, I would say “I wish Catholics would channel their energy away from evangelization-of-pagans-debate and toward actual liturgy.
    I really think we waste a lot of time discussing about “evangelization” instead of worshiping God and praying.

  19. “Fr. Z, where does all this bowing come from?”

    It seems to be post- or very late medieval, perhaps in imitation of secular court ritual — e.g. genuflecting to the empty throne.

    In the Dominican Rite, other than the genuflections of the priest when handling the Host, we only genuflect to the Tabernacle on entering and leaving the church at the be beginning and end of the Mass or other rite. Otherwise the proper gesture is a profound bow, even when briefly leaving the sanctuary to get something from the sacristy. I suspect this represents the older Roman practice as well.

    On the other hand we never turn our backs on the Tabernacle — something Roman clergy do all the time.

  20. WVC says:

    @RichR – Why on earth did you pick an article about increasing reverence for the Eucharist to try to start a “liturgy doesn’t matter” argument? Do you sincerely think that the points made in the chart aren’t valid? That reverence for the Eucharist can be helped by ignoring the liturgy?

    As far as the Liturgy Wars go – if you’re tired of them, then go talk with Pope Francis. The vast majority of folks who love the Vetus Ordo weren’t trying to suppress the New Mass. We weren’t actively trying to stop folks from attending the New Mass or receiving sacraments in the New Rite. We were very happy to do our thing and let other do their thing. It’s Pope Francis who decided that was intolerable and launched a crusade against us. So, by your reasoning, we’re now and fault because we don’t just lay down and die?

    As far as “picking sides” and “angels vs. demons” – all I can say is, the side that has publicly manifested a hatred of the Traditional Rite and wants to destroy the Vetus Ordo includes the same folks who are rabidly pro-LGBTQ+, pro-contraception, practically pro-abortion, and literally participate in public ceremonies honoring pagan idols. So . . . . you tell me. Do you think the Pachamamma is evangelizing a lot of folks to Christ?

  21. HvonBlumenthal says:

    WVC: my thoughts exactly.

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