Fr. McTeigue responds to the response about the “Eucharistic Revival” without sufficient emphasis also on the Sacrament of Penance

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.

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  1. sibnao says:

    I am a housewife, mother and a teacher.
    If my little children are routinely snotty, disobedient, and foul-mouthed, who is to blame?
    If my grammar students end the year in my class still unable to punctuate a sentence or find the verb, who is to blame?
    If I find that my house is filthy and the laundry is piled high, who is to blame?

    Whatever I thought I was doing to raise my kids, teach my students, and organize my household WASN’T WORKING. Wouldn’t the first step be to try something different, perhaps seek advice from people older and wiser?

    Perhaps belief in the core truths of the Faith needs a different method of transmission than has been tried for half a century. Maybe those in charge of teaching, governing, and sanctifying should seek advice from those older and wiser in the faith — like the saints and previous popes who presided over times of great Catholic fervor and practice. I wonder if their advice will include having a lot of meetings.

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    “Why did a revival become necessary?”
    When that question is answered honestly, without equivocation, all the rest of the required corrections of the last sixty years will flow like living water.
    Rest assured, the answer will not be forthcoming anytime soon since the rushing waters would wash the current counterfeit away.

  3. defenderofTruth says:

    The sad thing is that while reverence and belief in the Real Presence is all but nonexistent, beliefs that heretical and schismatic sects are part of God’s Church, and thus don’t need conversion, and Jews and Muslims are likewise on the path of salvation and don’t need conversion is strong.

    It appears that then-Father Joseph Ratzinger’s insistance that the Second Vatican Council was called for ecumenism is correct, and Cardinal Spellman’s insistence that a Catholic council should be concerned with Catholics was not.

  4. Not says:

    We are told there is love of God and fear of God. Personally, I go to Confession out of fear of God. That Confession gives me love of God.

  5. TonyO says:

    It appears that then-Father Joseph Ratzinger’s insistance that the Second Vatican Council was called for ecumenism is correct, and Cardinal Spellman’s insistence that a Catholic council should be concerned with Catholics was not.

    There is nothing wrong with ecumenism. Christ told the apostles to go out making disciples of all nations.

    The Church is not “Ecumenism, Inc.” St. Paul says that there are MANY roles in the Church, not just one. Not all are apostles, just as not all are teachers and not all are healers. Bringing in new converts is one role, but not the only role. Once you have made someone a disciple of Jesus, you still have to minister to him, and that ministry is not “ecumenism” but other sorts.

    The biggest group of people that the Church of Vatican II ™ failed is young people baptized into the Church as infants, to whom it failed to minister properly: the reason most of them are not practicing Catholics is that failure. And that failure cannot be whitewashed with the idea that the Church was rightly “re-oriented” toward ecumenism. It cannot be ecumenical to fail to teach the young.

    Worse yet, the failure to teach the whole truth of the Gospel has helped to cause the profound failure of any new springtime in the Church, and has led to the error that God does not want the Church to evangelize and proselytize so that we get converts. (The effort to turn the word “proselytize” into a dirty word is part of that, one which Francis has bought hook, line and sinker.)

    Can I ask a question? The so-called “new springtime” in the Church: Is there any room for suggesting that the whole idea is wrong-headed from the start? In the early 30’s AD, the Church was a new thing in the world, not just one more in the long line of new religions. It is not merely one more part of the natural, cyclical manifestations of human nature. It was founded at a certain moment of time, with specific men as bishops, etc, founded by God himself, and it is the Mystical Body of Christ. It is likely that this entity has its own proper life cycle that exhibits different features for its beginning as opposed to later conditions. It is, therefore, likely that its BEGINNING period would manifest differently than its later stages. For example, the Church has bishops who are successors to the Apostles, but these bishops are not apostles themselves: one of the roles of apostleship was to be able to attest to personal witness to Christ, personal observation and experience of Christ in the flesh, personal experience of Christ in his delivering teachings, having walked with him when he was openly manifested in the flesh. The Church Militant could never again have a body of apostles here on Earth, without Christ coming again.

    One of the ways that the Church used to speak about this is that God endowed the early Church with many miraculous interventions, precisely on account of its being newly formed. Later on, the Church could use, as part of its repertoire, reports and accounts of those earlier miracles, which (obviously) it could not do in the first days. Hence there is to be expected that the Church in later times would never again undergo exactly the same stresses and difficulties and challenges as faced the early Church. It is, therefore, not reasonable to ever expect that the Church will experience growth and flowering in the same way again, as if “we’re doing it wrong” if conditions don’t exactly match those of the early Church.

  6. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    The point here is something that Charles Coloumbe has well described: “Consistency is the punishment of the servants.”

    We are the servants. We are required to give consistent accounts of our actions, thoughts, and positions: any error automatically commands our immediate dismissal. They are our masters. They owe us nothing, and we would only be so lucky as to have their blessed boot-prints trodden upon us. I personally find that this clears up a lot of the confusion. There won’t be any argument with them, they won’t admit to being wrong under any circumstances, etc.

    All we can do by our rhetoric is hope to rescue some of our co-cavernists from their spelunkial shackles. Turn around and see the sun, and suchlike Socratic stuff.

  7. monstrance says:

    The importance of the conduct of the Mass and Sacraments can not be over-emphasized.
    As Sargent Malone asked Eliot Ness in The Untouchables –
    “What are you prepared to do ?”

  8. Saint110676 says:

    At Pope Benedict’s Mass in Washington more than a decade ago, Cardinal Wuerl asked priests not to concelebrate with the Pope and bishops, but to be available thorughout the stadium before Mass for confession, at many stations set up, since the faithful had to arrive very early anyway, due to security, so why not give them the opportunity for confession while waiting for the Eucharistic liturgy. The same model can apply to the Eucharistic Congress masses, and other Eucharsitic celebrations both before and after this event.

  9. JDBenedictH says:

    While the content of Fr. McTeigue’s response makes perfect sense to me, he spends a number of paragraphs restating his personal CV and linking articles and videos, and looks like he’s trying to whack Mr. Glemkowski on the head with McTeigue’s own qualifications. Would not it suffice to say something like “I see what you’re saying, Tim, but the site does not give the impression of emphasizing confession for these reasons, etc. Would you be interested in my assistance in making some improvements?”

  10. Dan says:

    This stems from the primary mistake of putting the revival under the office of catechesis when it belongs with the office of liturgy..
    there will be no lasting Eucharistic revival without a revival of worship.

  11. BeatifyStickler says:

    Ad long as the Church is quiet on contraception, there will never be a Eucharistic revival. I said what I said.

  12. ajf1984 says:

    I have this vague memory of someone saying “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”* Yes, absolutely true–but there is such a thing as stabilizing the patient, ensuring his vital signs are sufficiently healthy in order to support more invasive procedures, yes? Or put it another way, don’t we treat the most urgent, life-threatening issues first and then move on to longer-term care? I think of the Confession–Communion duality in this way. If a cancer patient suddenly is rushed into the E.R. due to a massive, sudden, loss of blood, does the attending physician look at his chart to see when he can give him his next round of chemotherapy, or does he order multiple units of blood and try to repair whatever damage he can to prevent the bleeding? How much more so does the soul, mired in mortal sin, require the sacrament of Confession, the forgiveness of the sins and the grace needed to be strengthened against them in the future? Yes, this soul also needs her daily, supersubstantial Bread, but if she cannot process that nourishment because of the deathly grip sin has on her, of what use is the medicine? A hearty “Here, here!” to Fr. McTeigue, SJ (yes, you read that right) for his stance and his willingess, and ability, to defend the truth in charity!

    *Yes, I know it’s found in Evangelii Gaudium, quoting St. Ambrose. But St. Ambrose also writes in Concerning Repentance, Book II, “19. Therefore most evidently are we bidden by the teaching of the Lord to confer again the grace of the heavenly sacrament on those guilty even of the greatest sins, if they with open confession bear the penance due to their sin.” (emphasis added). So…necessity of Confession is still confirmed.

  13. Felsenwatcher says:

    I don’t know which came first, from a cause and effect perspective: the loss of faith in the True Presence or the loss of faith in the church’s teachings on sex. But what I can say is that I never hear of anyone leaving the church or failing to attend Mass because of the teaching that Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Eucharist. Or because of the doctrine of the Trinity, or the Immaculate Conception, or that there are seven sacraments, or the role of the saints, or the need to go to confession. No. Almost to a person, it’s because they want to do sexual things that the church has always said they should not do. This takes many forms: divorce, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, self abuse, sexual child abuse, and every other imaginable sexual perversion. It is almost always the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. They’re OK with the other eight.

    But is that the cause or the effect of loss of faith in the Eucharist? Or both?

  14. The “debate” isn’t really between Father McTigue and Mr. Glemkowski.

    The latter strikes me — from the linked article — as a faithful Catholic trying to carry out a mandate given to him by the bishops, and he probably has a lot of “collaboration” to deal with. It’s a difficult task. For example, I doubt Mr. Glemkowski has any objection to promoting the sacrament of confession.

    The other big questions, of course, have to do with fidelity to the liturgy, and even more broadly, does the liturgy have the best form and expression? But Mr. Glemkowski isn’t the guy to ask, as Father McTigue knows all too well.

  15. Felipe says:

    It just sounded like Mr. Glemkowski was doing his best to save face and his position, then accept fault. The corporation’s success is coming into question so of course he has to respond. Obviously because he is the “CEO of the revival”. I’m just glad to see that the effort is being made by a good priest (and a GOOD Jesuit) to shed light on the problems in the Church with solutions. The Lord deserves more fidelity from his faithful in the Church and that begins with me. I hope the Clergy and “church leaders” can bring the need for confession front and center. Let the Church preach a Gospel of repentance and the need for good holy confessions with more opportunities to go. May our clergy step up to become better confessors and preachers. Better ministers of the sacred mysteries with zeal for the Lord and not the acceptance or approval of the secular world.

  16. Fr. Reader says:

    “Ad long as the Church is quiet on contraception, there will never be a Eucharistic revival. I said what I said.”
    Sometimes I struggle to find an euphemism to talk about this during Mass when children are present. In any case I think adults understand what I want to say.

  17. Gladiator says:

    The “Eucharistic Revival” is only window dressing. It is up to individual parish priests to bring real devotion, reverence, love for the Most Holy Eucharist. Some committee that is concerned with “walking together” will not accomplish this.

    If we want Eucharist “Renewal” in the true sense it will demand concrete action. Returning to reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue only distributed by men in Holy Orders, eliminating these army’s of “Eucharistic Ministers.” (No matter how often priests try to correct the name it is useless, they want to be ministers, Modernists want them to be ministers). Encourage frequent Confession, at least monthly if not weekly. It’s not only about confession mortal sins, the sacrament confers grace to grow in holiness. Foster and demand silence in church. Our churches are NOT “gathering places,” they are temples, the house of God, the Holy of Holies.” Until we change the minds of clerics (of all ranks) and laity alike, there will be NO Eucharistic RENEWAL.

  18. Orual says:

    I agree completely with Gladiator. What’s the point of a Eucharistic Revival if the Church continues to allow practices that discourage belief in the Real Presence?

    Communion in the hand while standing, lay people distributing Communion, lay people swarming the sanctuary before Communion, the congregational ‘meet & greet’ (sign of peace) while Jesus is on the altar, priest with his back to the Tabernacle during Mass, lack of silence after Communion for prayer, all make it difficult to discern the reality of the Lord’s Presence.

    When I exclusively attended the Novus Ordo Mass, I began to realized these things, (especially the EHMCs and Communion in the hand) were causing a conflict for me and my belief in the Real Presence. Attending the TLM has resolved those conflicts.

  19. hwriggles4 says:

    I don’t know if readers here have been to a Catholic men’s conference but the ones I have been to normally have several priests available for confessions. At a large venue this is very welcoming and the lines are long. I have been to some other Catholic conferences that have opportunities for Holy Hour (even private time Holy Hour) and Reconciliation.

    As someone who has rounded up priests for confessions at some of these conferences phone calls and emails normally begin months beforehand because priests are so busy. The last mens conference I attended there were 600+ men and I was glad we were able to get 21 priests. Some had not been to confession in a long time.

    I went to confession last Saturday afternoon and I was glad I got there 5 minutes after the posted start time because two priests had at least 25 people there already.

  20. Robert says:

    OK, I know I am skipping past all the important parts that I agree with, and asking a question about a peripheral point. But, are the lyrics of “Mary Did You Know” heretical? I’ve never liked that particular song particularly, but I just read the lyrics, and I’m not sure I spot an heresy. Just a bunch of questions to which the answer seems to be sometimes yes, sometimes maybe. So, without meaning to bring down the tone of this much more important discussion, I’m wondering if someone can point me to a heretical line?

  21. TonyO says:

    As someone who has rounded up priests for confessions at some of these conferences phone calls and emails normally begin months beforehand because priests are so busy. …I went to confession last Saturday afternoon and I was glad I got there 5 minutes after the posted start time because two priests had at least 25 people there already.

    I submit that the clause “because priests are so busy” is the culprit.

    My last pastor had confession 5 times a week: if you needed to go, you could get there. My current parish administrator holds confession 2 times a week, begrudgingly, and bad-mouths it in comments. He is not busier than the old pastor was.

    In Acts, St. Peter took steps because the Apostles were getting caught up in activities other than the ones for which they received their mission and consecration: the liturgy and the sacraments. A priest does indeed have lots of demands on his time, but he can darn well follow St. Peter and prioritize in favor of the sacraments. No priest-saint was ever canonized because he sorted the parish books better and shortened confession times.

    That said: Why, why WHY cannot pastors get together with their confreres in the vicinity and devise together a scheme that makes it so that out of 7 parishes, at least one has confessions on any given day, and (to some extent) some variation on mornings, afternoons, and evenings? This is not rocket science, people. Sure, it would require some give and take, some sacrificing “ideal” times for other stuff, a bit. But is it really that hard?

    Or is the truth of the matter that pastors are unwilling to take up the issue with their brother priests near them, because most of them don’t believe in confession?

  22. MB says:

    Go @BeatifyStickler! Boom! Who is this guy?

  23. TonyO:

    I will tell you that many of us priests are happy to hear confessions, and we wonder when we might schedule times that would work.

    We don’t have families or other jobs, so we can do it anytime. But what times will work for people?

    I cannot tell you the number of times I have written in my parish bulletin, asking this very question: what day or time would work for you, parishioner? I’ve asked, and asked.

    Not much of an answer.

    I have arranged for lots of hours of confession in Advent, and guessed about times. I would be happy to schedule different times, if they would work better. How would I know?

  24. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Robert,

    Since no one has answered your question, I might as well. The Wikipedia article on the song gives Fr. McTeigue’s objection, but then tries to soft brush it with the argument of poetic license.

    In brief, there are three possible places of contention. The first ( and the one Fr. McTeigue cites, I think) is contained in the opening stanza:

    Mary, did you know that your baby boy
    Would one day walk on water?
    Mary, did you know that your baby boy
    Would save our sons and daughters?
    Did you know that your baby boy
    Has come to make you new?
    This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

    Mary was conceived without Original Sin – she was not “delivered” sometime after her birth, so this last line contradicts the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Not only that, but it is unclear exactly to which deliverance it is referring: personal sin or Original Sin, once, for all time (for Original Sin), or with access to Confession for personal sins. Also, it makes it seem as if Christ will deliver Mary without her cooperation.

    This raises the entire question of what salvation means between Catholics and Protestants. Protestants do not have a consistent theology among themselves (you have the Armenians, semi-Armenians, Calvinists, and the like), so the lyric is vague, at best.

    This stanza is unacceptable for Catholic ears. The attempt to say that it is merely poetic is nonsense as poetry is meant to express truth in a beautiful way, not heresy.

    Secondly, the lyrics:

    Did you know that your baby boy
    Has walked where angels trod?
    When you kiss your little baby
    You kiss the face of God

    This implicitly denies that Mary understood anything about the Annunciation and the Visitation. The angel, Gabriel, clearly told Mary at the Annunciation:

    And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

    Elizabeth prophesied at the Visitation (and, by the way, prophesied can be used in the present tense):

    and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
    And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
    For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
    And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

    Mary already believed. She already knew. She gave birth to God’s Son. She may not have completely understood what that meant, but let there be no doubt that she knew. Asking the question: “Mary did you know,” betrays a profound misunderstanding of who Mary is.

    Finally, the lyrics:

    Mary, did you know that your baby boy
    Is Lord of all creation?
    Mary, did you know that your baby boy
    Would one day rule the nations?
    Did you know that your baby boy
    Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
    That sleeping child you’re holding is the great, I Am

    Insults both Mary and Gabriel, who plainly told Mary at the Annunciation:

    And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
    For with God nothing will be impossible.”

    The universe was barren at the beginning:

    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    The creation of Christ in Mary’s womb, in the void, as it were, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed it, brought forth the Light of the World. Let there be The Light. The creation of Christ in Mary’s womb was an act more magnificent than the creation of the universe because it created matter, ex nihilo, in the flesh of Christ, but, unlike the creation of the universe, brought God along with it in a hypostatic union.

    So, Mary knew that her Son was the Lord of all creation, even if she did not completely understand it. Faith has two components: explicit Faith, that which you know, and implicit Faith, knowing that you don’t know the complete deposit of Faith, but, nevertheless holding to those part that you don’t currently know, but hope will be understood in the future.

    This song is a Protestant take on Mary and an impoverished understanding of the true dignity of She who is the Queen of Angels and the Mother of God, it is. The author should take some time to really think about what it means to be the mother of Existence, itself.

    I suppose all of the answers to the questions posed in the song by the author would be answered for him if he would convert to an authentic Catholic Faith.

    Mary was full of grace. The author doesn’t seem to understand what that means. He treats her like a mother of a future superhero, not as the mother of God. To quote Wordsworth:

    Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
    With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
    Woman! above all women glorified,
    Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
    Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
    Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
    With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
    Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
    Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
    Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
    As to a visible Power, in which did blend
    All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
    Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
    Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

    Yes, people grow in knowledge and grace, but what to make of a woman full of grace who knew that she did not know everything, did not need to know everything, but pondered everything her Child did in her heart, the perfect contemplative, the perfect bride of a perfect spiritual marriage?

    This song asks for contemplation from the perfect contemplative. Can you not now see how defective it is?

    The Chicken

    P. S. How do you explain to someone that sin can also seem beautiful at the time? No doubt this is a beautiful musical sound, but beauty without truth is exactly the Protestant defense of how they think they will stand before God at the judgment: covered in Christ’s beauty hoping that the Father will not see the sin beneath.

  25. sibnao says:

    @Fr Martin Fox: To answer your question: Having confession available before every Mass is super helpful. (Including Sunday!) Also after Mass. Not having to make another trip really simplifies things for a lot of people. Also, depending on where your church is located, a noon Mass/confession time. The downtown parishes in my city always have many penitents/worshippers, because people can stop in on their lunch hours.

    In my opinion, Saturday afternoon is generally a very bad time to offer confessions, because that is usually the only day for all our errands, activities, and social events. The suburban parish nearest me, though, has confession first thing on Saturday morning. And one city parish has Saturday later evening (8-9 p.m.). With all these places, there is explicit preaching about the need for confession. Also with most of these places, there is a full hour allotted, so that people who get in a line with 6 people in front of them have a hope of making it to the box before the time is up. And the priests seem to understand that people need to get in and out, so the lines move pretty well — not a lot of conversation in the confessional, in other words. One downtown parish has adoration and rosary during confession time every weekday noon Mass. Super wonderful!

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