A couple weeks ago, I brought to your attention a 4 November piece at Catholic World Report by Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, which commented on the “Eucharistic Revival” which is underway under the impulse of the bench of bishops. Fr. McTeigue pointed out a serious difficulty in advancing a “Eucharistic Revival” without also striving to revive the Sacrament of Penance, confession. It makes sense, no? What sort of revival would it be were the number of sacrilegious Communions to increase even beyond what the horrifying numbers are now?
Right after, on 7 November, the CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress, Inc. (I’m not making that up), Tim Glemkowski, responded to Fr. McTeigue with an emotional defense. I debated getting into that piece here, with some “zisking”, but … the efforts for “Eucharistic Revival”, though perhaps a bit narrow, are nevertheless worthy and I didn’t think embarrassing this fellow was up to the mark. Besides, I knew in my bones that Fr. McTeigue would respond to the response.
Today at Crisis, Fr. McTeigue does indeed respond to Mr. Glemkowski.
Thus he begins…
Briefly, regarding form: I taught my rhetoric students that when an interlocutor begins his response expressing concerns about “tone,” keep your eye on his substance—because that’s where the weaknesses are most likely to be found. If he had the stronger argument, he wouldn’t focus on “tone.” I note that your first principal concern was about “tone.”
Fr McT defends his having actually read the relevant site and materials and having done a word search for “confession”, which one might rather naturally do, but for which he was criticized.
The Crisis piece is polite but vigorous. It may not be easy for Mr. Glemkowski to find his way back to his corner.
One chunk worthy of immediate attention…
I had already looked at the video you referred to (second introductory video for the Parish Year). Notice the conditional language in the video. A parish “could” offer extra opportunities for confession. A whole list of “coulds” were listed as options—confession was not referred to as a necessity. It was listed as one option among many. In other words, in terms of the evaluation of your argument, your reference to this video undermines rather than supports your cause.
It’s true that the Leader’s Playbook calls for “fidelity to the texts and rubrics of the Church.” Tim, what’s your basis for thinking that even “Parish Leaders” could name what those texts and rubrics are? What’s your basis for thinking that parishes on “liturgical autopilot” for decades will conform to liturgical law just because the Leader’s Playbook suggests it?
Will the Philadelphia parish that sang the Eagles fight song at Mass on Super Bowl Sunday readily conform? Will the parishes that use Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion even when such aren’t needed, readily conform? The parishes singing the heretical “Mary Did You Know?” at Christmas every year “because people really like it”—will they readily conform? Do you believe that they will do so because of the small print regarding liturgical fidelity that can be found in the Leader’s Playbook?
A small digression from your text: Tim, this points to a larger problem that I’ve not found in the materials for the Revival/Congress—Why did a revival become necessary? Something needs to be revived only when it’s been killed or allowed to die. How did Eucharistic devotion wither to such a degree that a national Revival and Congress are called for? Are we being asked to refill the leaky bucket without inquiring about the locations and causes of the leaks?
Eucharistic Revival. NO ONE will deny, I think, that it is needed. However, simply continuing to do more of what has been done for the last decades – which caused the problems a “revival” seeks to address – seems unlikely to produce long-term benefits.
Also, during the recent bishops meeting there was, if I recall correctly, some talk about a congress at a convention center of some sort and confessors were available. It seems that the number of people seeking the Sacrament of Penance was so great that a general call for more priests to help hear confessions was put out.