Responding to the ongoing Eucharistic meltdown

In the aftermath of the liturgical changes of the post-Vatican II era, we’ve seen a slow but sure slide into what might be called “Eucharistic irreverence,” instead of the “Eucharistic amazement” which St. John Paul II urged upon us.

A priest prepares to distribute Communion during Mass in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

When I was a very young priest, I served as administrator of a high school quite lacking in the most important elements of a Catholic school; it was my task to address those deficiencies, among which was that the school had never offered any retreats or days of recollection in its entire history! Within a month of the opening of school, I scheduled an afternoon and evening of recollection for the freshman class, ending with a Holy Hour. During Benediction, I thought I heard the two servers holding back some tears. In the sacristy, I asked the fellows what brought on that reaction. At first, in very “macho” fashion, they denied that they were on the verge of tears but eventually one of them said, “Father, I have never felt so close to Jesus in my life.” He and – as I discovered – most of his classmates had never experienced Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Permit me to highlight some points for ongoing reflection.

We have had a serious problem in the Church over the past several decades, a problem I have dubbed a Eucharistic “meltdown.” In the aftermath of the liturgical changes of the post-Vatican II era (many of which were never called for or even envisioned by the Council Fathers), I observed a slow but sure slide into what might be called “Eucharistic irreverence,” instead of the “Eucharistic amazement” which St. John Paul II urged upon us – and this suggests the lack of a proper understanding of the Holy Eucharist.

And so, in 1992, I enlisted the services of George Gallup to conduct a national poll to ask Catholics: “Which of the following statements about Holy Communion do you think best reflects your belief?” Only 30% of the respondents chose the first option: “When receiving Holy Communion, you are really receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.” Twenty-nine percent indicated “you are receiving bread and wine, which symbolize the spirit and teachings of Jesus and in so doing are expressing your attachment to His person and words.” Twenty-four percent believed that “you are receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, which has become that because of your personal belief.” Ten percent said, “You are receiving bread and wine, in which Jesus is really and truly present.” Finally, 8% said, “None of the above”; “Don’t know”; or they refused to answer.

In 1994, the New York Times ran a similar survey. In 2020, the Pew Research Center revisited the issue. Both came out with exactly the same results. In other words, over a 28-year period, we have less than one-third of Catholics who attend Holy Mass on a regular basis who believe the full truth regarding the Holy Eucharist. The Pew study set off alarm bells all over the Church. Last year, the bishops of our country produced a pastoral letter on the Blessed Sacrament and called for a “Eucharistic revival.”

What have I been getting at? Let me bring to my side none other than the great English convert of the nineteenth century, St. John Henry Cardinal Newman. As an Anglican clergyman, in 1836, he reproached his congregation at Oxford in these words:

To believe and not to revere, to worship familiarly and at one’s ease, is an anomaly and a prodigy unknown even to false religions, to say nothing of the true one. . . . . Worship, forms of worship — such as bowing the knee, taking off the shoes, keeping silence, a prescribed dress and the like — are considered as necessary for a due approach to God.1

Cardinal Newman was calling for a spirt of reverence in the presence of “the holy.”

The famous American convert to the Catholic Faith, Thomas Merton, at once an accomplished author and Trappist monk, describes in his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, his First Holy Communion, interestingly enough, at Corpus Christi Church but a few blocks from Columbia University. As I share his reflections, think back on your own first encounter with the Jesus who deigns and desires to come to us under the forms of bread and wine. Merton puts it thus:

I saw the raised Host – the silence and simplicity with which Christ once again triumphed, raised up, drawing all things to Himself – drawing me to Himself. . . . I was the only one at the altar rail. Heaven was entirely mine – that Heaven in which sharing makes no division or diminution. But this solitariness was a kind of reminder of the singleness with which this Christ, hidden in the small Host, was giving Himself for me, and to me, and, with Himself, the entire Godhead and Trinity – a great new increase of the power and grasp of their indwelling that had begun [in me] only a few minutes before at the [baptismal] font . . . . In the Temple of God that I had just become, the One Eternal and Pure Sacrifice was offered up to the God dwelling in me: The sacrifice of God to God, and me sacrificed together with God, incorporated in His incarnation. Christ born in me, a new Bethlehem, and sacrificed in me, His new Calvary, and risen in me: Offering me to the Father, in Himself, asking the Father, my Father and His, to receive me into His infinite and special love. . . .

What magnificent thoughts. Most of us could not fashion the words in so poetic and powerful a way, an experience of one’s First Holy Communion that would have been rather commonly shared until forty or so years ago. I still recall with devotion and emotion that momentous occasion in my life in 1957, kneeling at the altar rail of St. Rose’s Church in Newark. I can yet remember even the exact spot where I knelt at that rail and how the months of study and preparation seemed as nothing in the awareness that the God who had created both me and the universe was now coming to dwell within me in a new and wondrous manner. Having been baptized into Christ’s Body, the Church, which is likewise His Bride, I was now being brought into a union even more close and more intimate than that of marriage: Through the Eucharist, Jesus and I would become one. How I trembled at the prospect for which I had waited so long, not from fear (because I was never trained to relate to God in that way) but from love and joy. The priest was only two children away from me, now one. Finally, he stood before me and, signing me with the Sacred Host, prayed, “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam æternam” (May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life eternal). As I opened my mouth and pillowed Christ on my tongue, I knew I was entering upon a new mode of existence, destined for life eternal. We all need to recapture that enthusiasm, that innocence, that faith which brings us to appreciate precisely what the mystery of the Eucharist is in itself and for us.

Today, pondering the wondrous nature of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, we need one further consideration – the 2004 apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum, Domine (Stay with Us, Lord), of Pope John Paul II, who took his inspiration for the text, the beautiful “Emmaus story,” wherein the Risen Christ reveals Himself to two dispirited disciples, precisely in “the breaking of the bread.” It was with this document that he inaugurated the “Year of the Eucharist” for the Church Universal. Therein, he reminds us that in his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, he underscored the need for “all the faithful to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice with due reverence, offering to Jesus present in the Eucharist, both within and outside Mass, the worship demanded by so great a Mystery” (n. 10).

Yet again, he teaches:

Faith demands that we approach the Eucharist fully aware that we are approaching Christ himself. It is precisely his presence which gives the other aspects of the Eucharist — as meal, as memorial of the Paschal Mystery, as eschatological anticipation — a significance which goes far beyond mere symbolism. The Eucharist is a mystery of presence, the perfect fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to remain with us until the end of the world. (n. 16)

In a striking image, the sainted Pontiff wants us to regard “the presence of Jesus in the tabernacle [as] a kind of magnetic pole attracting an ever greater number of souls enamoured of him, ready to wait patiently to hear his voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of his heart” (n. 18). He then urges us: “This year let us also celebrate with particular devotion the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, with its traditional procession. Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings” (n. 18). We do so today, in loving obedience to his plea.

His final request – we could say the last will and testament of the Pope has particular relevance for the Church in the United States as we – hopefully – participate in the “Eucharistic revival”:

O Sacrum Convivium, in quo Christus sumitur! The Year of the Eucharist has its source in the amazement with which the Church contemplates this great Mystery. It is an amazement which I myself constantly experience. It prompted my Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia. As I look forward to the twenty-seventh year of my Petrine ministry, I consider it a great grace to be able to call the whole Church to contemplate, praise, and adore in a special way this ineffable Sacrament. May the Year of the Eucharist be for everyone a precious opportunity to grow in awareness of the incomparable treasure which Christ has entrusted to his Church. May it encourage a more lively and fervent celebration of the Eucharist, leading to a Christian life transformed by love. (n. 29)

A great way to share with others what you have received today would be to ask your pastors to highlight the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (largely observed in this country this year on Sunday, June 8) with an afternoon of adoration, the traditional outdoor procession, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Preaching for the feast of Corpus Christi in 1856, little more than a decade after his conversion, Cardinal Newman made this bold statement to his Catholic congregation:

There is no feast, no season in the whole year which is so intimately connected with our religious life, or shows more wonderfully what Christianity is, as that which we are now celebrating. There is a point of view in which this doctrine [of the Body and Blood of Christ] is nearer to our religious life than any other.

We are brought into the unseen world.

How almighty love and wisdom has met this. He has met this by living among us with a continual presence. He is not past, He is present now. And though He is not seen, He is here. The same God who walked the water, who did miracles, etc., is in the Tabernacle. We come before Him, we speak to Him just as He was spoken to 1800 years ago, etc.

This [is] how He counteracts time and the world. It [the Blessed Sacrament] is not past, it is not away. It is this that makes devotion in lives. It is the life of our religion. We are brought into the unseen world.2

What an exhilarating thought: “We are brought into the unseen world.”

We need “apostles of the Eucharist.” We need you to be “apostles of the Eucharist.” Keep in your minds and hearts these few lines from Sacred Scripture:

“Stay with us, Lord.” (Lk 24:29)

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20)

“Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22:20 )

And take to heart this observation of an Evangelical minister, “If I believed about the Eucharist what you Catholics claim to believe, I would have to crawl up the center aisle on my belly to receive!” Are you willing to take up that gauntlet?


1PPS 8, 1; “Reverence in Worship” (30 October 1836).

2SN 127 (25 May 1856).

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About Peter M.J. Stravinskas 270 Articles
Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas founded The Catholic Answer in 1987 and The Catholic Response in 2004, as well as the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, a clerical association of the faithful, committed to Catholic education, liturgical renewal and the new evangelization. Father Stravinskas is also the President of the Catholic Education Foundation, an organization, which serves as a resource for heightening the Catholic identity of Catholic schools.


  1. People cannot know what they are not taught. I never hear anything about this from the pulpit.EVER. Nor do I hear anything about sin and the need for confession and repentance. Yesterday a priest in my parish made a mild reference for the need for confession. Mild because I supposed he was concerned about some over sensitive parishioner being affronted. This was probably the first time in DECADES I had heard this assertion from the altar. Priests need to stop fearing that speaking up will trigger a complaint and then a reprimand from an irate Pastor or Bishop. DO NOT assume congregants know this information and are just too sloppy to bother showing the proper respect for receiving communion. I had the opportunity to go to Catholic schools for the first 12 years of my school life. I was taught by nuns who knew their stuff and no stone was left unturned in our religious education. No everyone is so lucky. And pastors should not assume that even every Sunday church-goers “know” this stuff.I would respectfully suggest to any priest reading this, that if you care for the souls of your parishioners, you MUST tell your people more about the Eucharist and also about the reality of sin and the need for confession.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more…. especially if one is not taught… need more information even in our catholic schools, but especially in the homilies.
      Thank you for your input.

    • I agree with you. Priests should start preaching about all the things we must do to get to heaven. That is true love, not avoiding the Word of God. People want to know what they must do explained clearly. And offering confession once a week for 30 minutes before a daily Mass sends the message that the priests do not want us to come.

    • Seems to depend on what you’re complaining about. Parishioners who complain about lack of reverence t=for the tabernacle, as I know from first-hand experience, will likely be told to take a hike or not to be so “rigid” as the Pope has often characterized such people. But if others gripe that there aren’t nearly enough female lectors or altar servers, watch out. Now here’s something that we’ll correct immediately.

    • Toward the end of my 15-years at my former parish, one day the pastor’s homily was about the Seven Deadly Sins. I almost fell out of my pew because heretofore never was there any mention of sin and the need for Confession in a very liberal parish.

    • Amen.”Woe to you when men bless you…if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also…if salt loses its savor, it’s only good to be trampled underfoot.” -Jesus Christ

  2. All ministers of Holy Communion ought to be required to say the words: “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam æternam” when administering the Sacrament – even the so-called Exteaordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (who it turns out are never so “extraordinary”).

    • Wow! You must have read the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, right? I’m not getting a “publican” kind of vibe from you.

    • The good Deacon is on to something. I would go a step further. I regret not having asked the belief in the Real Presence question in my 1st National Study on the Traditional Latin Mass in 2019. At the time, I thought is a foregone conclusion that north of 95% of TLM faithful would believe in our central Catholic doctrine. The Novus Ordo cannot fix the 30% reoccurring number because it was not designed to foster piety for Holy Communion; it is too anthropocentric. The faithful believed overwhelmingly in the Real Presence before Vatican II and they believe it now in TLM enclaves. What is in common you may ask? It is a simple deduction; the Mass of the Ages, the Vetus Ordo, the TLM.

      • Fr. Kloster, with all due respect, the priest holds the host in front of the person receiving and says, “The Body of Christ.” The person responds “Amen” (“so be it”). How much more direct and to the point does one need? If the person receiving doesn’t believe it is truly Christ, that’s on them, not the Church. The form of Mass has nothing to do with it.

        However, if the original Latin words, translated, were used in administering Holy Communion, a direct connection could be made between reception of the Eucharist as the path to Eternal salvation: “May the Body of Christ preserve your soul to life everlasting, Amen.”

        • I’m curious. Why might lead one to conclude that ‘TLM people’ believe or disbelieve in the same ways or in the same percentages as ‘NOM people’?

          I’m a lover of the TLM. The majority of my fellow parishioners drive one hour to Sunday Mass and another one hour from it. We dress for it. Women cover their heads. Men wear suits or sports jackets. The average time spent at Mass is 60-75 minutes. Most parishioners arrive early to pray either a communal rosary or silently meditate. The practice of regular confession is strongly encouraged, and so many arrive at the Church even earlier to avail themselves of that sacrament. Once/week Adoration with Benediction, annual Forty Hour and a Corpus Christi public procession are honored and attended well. Triduum services are packed.

          Reverence and sorrow at the stripping of the altar and repose of the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday is accompanied by many seriously bowed heads and tears. The Holy Thursday and Good Friday services typically extend beyond an arduous 2-3 hours in order to individually and silently remain, solitarily, alone with the beautiful Lord.

          Does any of the above suggest that only about 1/3 of the ‘TLM people’ believe in the Real Presence?

          • How I wish that such a Mass and congregation were reasonably close to me. Yet I contend also with the bizarre reality that it is precisely such groups that the Pope apparently seeks to crush and eradicate. Strange times to be a faithful Catholic, eh?

          • Glenn,
            I’m so sorry that you don’t have a TLM near you. I consider that you are doing penance for me and many others, so I thank you. My faith could probably not withstand the trial you endure on my behalf. With prayer for hope in deliverance from our strange and difficult times.

  3. An excellent article, Father. But, as I have previously posted, and in a previous article of yours that I have read, we did away with the signs and symbols of the real presence – Kneeling to receive, receiving on the tongue, only the priest’s consecrated hands touching the Eucharist, and many more.

    What we have now, as one online priest commentator put it is, “grab and go.” I don’t see things markedly improving as long as we have the grab and go procedure. And, there are so many in the Church invested in the current procedures (even to the point of forbidding reception on the tongue during Covid) that I don’t see anything changing.

    I would like to be wrong, but I don’t think that I am.

    • And less than ten minutes after receiving the body and blood of Jesus, the”faithful” are in some public area of the church downing coffee and donuts! Quite noticeably in our church the first ones there are Eucharistic Ministers. The host is still partly intact in the stomach and here comes solid food. What happened to “wait for 30 minutes after receiving before having something to eat.” Ask our pastor and he shrugs. There is no reverence anymore.

  4. Merton? A professional writer ensconced in a monastery. His love of art and beauty drew him into the Church. Or was it avoidance of military duty? Did he fall away? How did he die and what was he doing there? His journal makes him seem a self absorbed whiner. Are his pretty words just an art object, an ornament, in which he is so very prominent?
    JPII a saint? Funny how all the recent popes are sainted despite their manifest defects. One may wonder how our Lady of Fatima might see them?
    We poor slobs in the pews might wonder how Tom, Dick and Sally passing out the Eucharist like potato chips has affected belief in the Transubstantiation.Should we not kneel before receiving the Body and the Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from consecrated hands given to a life of service to Almighty God and His flock?

    • I realize that Thomas Merton can evoke strong feelings in people. I must say, though, that as a Berkeley ‘hippie’ and social science researcher in the mid-‘70’s, the writings of Merton were instrumental in my return to full communion with the Church. In his book, “The New Man”, Merton has a chapter titled something like “The Myth of Promethean Theology”, and he talks about where Prometheus thought that he could attain the power of the gods by stealing the fire of the gods. He always failed. Merton points out that what Prometheus did not know, was the the fire was in fact, a gift, given freely. It did not need to be stolen, nor could it be. That Fire of the Holy Spirit we receive initially in Baptism. I’ve found that to be a beautiful analogy to show the difference between the ‘New Age’ movement, Gnosticism, etc. and Catholicism. With the first, it is all about individual striving and achievement. With Jesus Christ, He knocks and only asks us to open the door and allow Him in.

      • Bud,
        My reply to you got maimed in ‘maintenance’ and ended at the bottom of the bin. Here is a proofread and edited version.

        “The Shack” stirred some of my acquaintance, children of Boomers, to ‘Christian’ belief. The fat black woman as God the Father (or was she the Holy Spirit?) cooking grits smelled good and turned them toward that idea of God.

        I agree that Merton was a gifted writer, but only a pope like Francis in a church like ours today could proclaim him a saint.

  5. A truly wonderful- and wholly true – article. May God make it so!

    Sadly, the hostility and worldliness of the hierarchy and those they surround themselves with (minimalist Christians of the various stripes) who control what is permitted and what is not (anything smacking of traditional practices) militate against such experiences and proclamations. The Mass is “celebrated” in the vast vast percentage of parishes as a very, very man-, community-centered “event” in a “space” with as much “active” stuff as can be thought up.

    To enter “the unseen world” so beautifully preached, the Mass must be permitted (and encouraged!) to be celebrated in a way that permits such to be experienced. But, our “leaders” and “fathers” are hostile to any such true expression, and can persecute those who desire nothing more than to give due reverence to The Lord.

    Indeed, one wonders if they hold the very Faith that they are charged with preaching and defending.

    And for the greater numbers of such who are silent, they thus give their consent by not fighting for The Lord as the saints have done.

    Rise up, o Men of God!

  6. Reverence for the Eucharist starts with The Priest. If the Shepherd is fully aware of the awesome Presence, he will convey this in his own reverent celebration of the Holy Mass and he will teach and preach it without end. His parish will know — every soul in it — that Our Blessed Lord is with them even until the end of time, and they will act accordingly. It starts with the Shepherd.

  7. Dear Fr. Stravinskas,

    Thank you for the wonderful memory. Although I cannot remember the exact date, I also received my first communion one Saturday in May 1957. And it was at St. Rose’s Church in Meriden, Connecticut.

  8. How can it possibly be said that receiving the Eucharist in the hand, standing, is now to be considered “normative” when it is obviously more reverent to receive kneeling and on the tongue ?? Would appreciate a response from Father Stravinskas.

  9. Thank you, Fr. Peter, for the wonderful reminder of the most glorious, precious and unfathomable gift Jesus has bestowed on His children — Himself!

    And — please God! — we need our priests to remind us of it in their homilies!

    It’s astonishing, but true. Even those of us who are aware of the Reality of the Blessed Sacrament take Him for granted.

    Oh, Lord, we praise you and we thank you and we love you, forever and ever!

  10. At the May 13, 2011 Angelus, Pope Benedict remarked: “Although many people reject the notion of sin, it is a reality of life…” How, then, to restore faith in Christ and the Real Presence if “the faithful (?)” have lost even the sense of sin, and with it the sense of a transcendent God?

    Anticipating our dark hour, Cardinal Newman wrote “The Grammar of Assent” where he explains that abstract arguments and logical demonstrations (“notional assent”) about sin, redemption and even God finally do not convince. But, that what does convince—beyond any subtle doubt—is a personal response to things concrete (“real assent”). “Many a man will live and die upon a dogma: no man will be a martyr for a conclusion.” And, “Moses was instructed not to reason from the creation, but to work miracles.”

    Said Benedict (“The Ratzinger Report,” 1985): “what we need is not better managers, but more saints.” How many of us might believe in the Real Presence because we have seen the mysterious peace and radiating power of maybe one person who even now is a saint BECAUSE they believe concretely in the sacramental Real Presence?

    If the Church is not to become a barely-tolerated dhimmi for the next thousand years—under both Islam AND the radically secularist and degenerate West!—then there must be a Benedict Option which also clearly fosters solid engagement with the world (aggiornamento). This presence in (and not of) the world must be rooted not only on the Scripture and Church Fathers (ressourcement), but also in gifted sacramentality (what’s that?) and Christ’s overflowing generosity across space and time, personally in the Real Presence.

    Doesn’t the most promising strategy include (inclusivity!) restoring, not eradicating, Summorum Pontificum—not as a barely-tolerated dhimmi within the Church, but as challenged originally to leaven the Novus Ordo? And a Eucharistic Revival (and Coherence?) to illuminate a somnambulist (barely “walking together”?) Church and a darkened World—both now trailing off into a trackless waste?

    • Yes.

      A conundrum is the title of the movement: “Eucharistic Revival.” Is it not oxymoronic to imply the Eucharist needs reviving?!? How does our glorious Lord Jesus Christ need to be restored to some sort of life?

  11. The “Eucharistic meltdown” noted here is exacerbated by some conservative and highly partisan U.S. bishops’ teachings and actions to deny communion to prominent Catholic politicians. These bishops failed St. Pope John Paul II’s call for “Eucharistic amazement” because of their “Eucharistic weaponization.”

    • Is it weaponization to follow God’s laws? Those who receive Holy Communion when they are not in a state of grace choose hell over heaven. To refuse to allow them to sin is an act of love. The bishops have neglected their vocations by not following God’s laws.

    • In reply to Stevie Prince:

      I do not usually wish to respond to other commenters, but in this case I feel that I must.

      The “Eucharistic Meltdown” is actually exacerbated by liberal and highly partisan bishops who give communion to prominent Catholic politicians who promote, and actually work to increase, the murder, and I say again murder, of unborn babies.

      This is the accurate description of what is actually going on. If you oppose those few bishops who do teach and promote the proper disposition for receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, then I don’t know what else to say.

    • S Prince, your “logic” is sadly flawed and uber-worldly. You (and all of us) need to read and seriously reflect on St Paul’s words in the Bible. Do you accept the reality inerrancy? The Holy Spirit can’t be wrong(!!!). A person can’t support evil and be permitted to receive The Lord.

    • True indeed, the eucharist meltdown in the U.S. is worsened by the way the eucharist had been made a means of policing and enforcing obedience to doctrine on the part of a few extremist U.S. bishops who wanted to impose eucharistic ban on politicians. These bishops made the eucharist a disciplinary instrument, not a help for people on their journey, through the weaknesses of life. These bishops defied what Pope Francis famously said in Evangelii Gaudium, quoting early church fathers, the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” Yet all too often, “we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.”

      • “These bishops made the eucharist a disciplinary instrument….”

        Akin to saying the police use the law as a disciplinary instrument when they arrest a man who beats his wife.

      • So the act of facilitating mass murder and other crimes against humanity are merely “problems” of personal eccentricity that can and should themselves be validated and encouraged and “facilitated” by the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ?

    • Stevie, why should “prominent Catholic politicians” be exempt from the Church’s universal norms for receiving Holy Communion, especially when they often use their status as “Catholics” as a campaign strategy?

  12. With all my heart I pray for the return to communion on the tongue only. We need to bring back the communion rail also. Too many abuses and our Lord falling on the floor far too much from the hand. Too many particles of our Lord falling and being stepped on. We must bring true reverence back to Him and make Him the center again. We must pray.

    • It is exactly that type of thinking that caused a dear friend of mine to become a Sedevacantist. The host contains the Glorified body of Christ. As such, it cannot be affected in any way by the temporal world. Jesus does not feel pain. When such things happen by accident, it would not have been a source of suffering in His Passion and death on the Cross. To be sure, deliberate disrespect would have. When Jesus broke bread at the Last Supper, does anyone seriously believe no particles of that Bread fell to the ground?

  13. Just before Communion the Priest elevates the host and says – “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”

    Or, in Latin – “Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea.”

    To me this sums up our faith better than anything else.

  14. I think you miss the point Stevie…the hnowledge of how and why when we approach to receive our Lord is what is important…if we are in habitual sin then we are not worthy…Jesus makes opportunity to always be able to receive him through repentance and confession…..He receives us with open arms then and we greatfully receive him….it’s our sin that separates us from him…to support abortion is a grave moral evil…politicians are to self deny themselves knowing they are in sin..sadly they are ignorant or to prideful to admit…that’s the issue not so called weaponization which is an affront to God and his mercy..

  15. I was in the Choir loft at the last First Communion classes actual receiving and their Teacher stood up in front to remind them to stick out their HANDS in a secure manner.

  16. Apparently it took a miracle for Our Lord to awaken the Church to the reality of Christ’s real Eucharistic presence. Although as noted by writer historian Sandra Miesel, “The institution of Corpus Christi as a feast in the Christian calendar resulted from some forty years of work by Juliana of Liège, a 13th-century Norbertine canoness known as Juliana de Cornillon. It was celebrated in Germany, Belgium, not by the universal Church.
    “The feast of Corpus Christi [as a universal liturgy] was proposed by Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, to Pope Urban IV, in order to create a feast focused solely on the Holy Eucharist, emphasizing the joy of the Eucharist being the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Having recognized in 1264 the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena, on input of Aquinas, the pontiff, then living in Orvieto, established the feast of Corpus Christi as a Solemnity and extended it to the whole Roman Catholic Church” (Wikipedia). Urban’s papal bull doesn’t mention the miracle [as correctly cited by Ms Miesel] since theologically a miracle wasn’t necessary, whereas it precipitated the institution as a universal celebration.
    Should we expect another miracle today? I would expect not, since we’re in a moment of apostasy and cynicism. The best approach lies in some comments that rightly criticize practice that dilutes the sacred mystery, and especially in Fr Stravinskas quote of Card Newman, and his own addition, “We need apostles of the Eucharist” (Newman). “We need you to be apostles of the Eucharist” (Stravinskas). And as comments add, we need priests to live and teach the truth of our greatest treasure.

  17. President Joe Biden believes in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, faithfully goes to Mass every Sunday, and receives holy communion. He should be the model of a Catholic life of eucharistic amazement, not just for the U.S. but for the world.

    • Joe Biden has been a zealous supporter of abortion for decades, has “officiated” at a “same-sex marriage”, and is an ardent advocate of gender ideology.

      Abp Charles Chaput is correct in saying Biden is an apostate:

      What all of this means for American Catholics and our 200-year struggle to fit into mainstream American culture should be obvious. We succeeded. But in the process, we’ve been digested and bleached out by the culture, rather than leavening it in a fertile way with a distinctive Catholic witness. Mr. Biden’s apostasy on the abortion issue is only the most repugnant example. He’s not alone. But in a sane world, his unique public leadership would make — or should make — public consequences unavoidable.

      When you freely break communion with the Church of Jesus Christ and her teachings, you can’t pretend to be in communion when it’s convenient. That’s a form of lying. Mr. Biden is not in communion with the Catholic faith. And any priest who now provides Communion to the president participates in his hypocrisy.

      But, of course, you would have to actually believe Church teaching about life, death, morality, and Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist to see it.

    • Yo, Solomon…
      it used to be that your name was associated with wisdom…as in not dismembering a newly-born child into two equal (equity!) halves. With the universality of natural law, even Mark Twain’s Jim understood what was self-evident in the dispute set before Solomon:

      “De’ spute warn’t ’bout a half a chile, de ’spute was ’bout a whole chile; en de man dat think he kin settle a ’spute bout a whole chile wid a half a chile, doan’ know enough to come in out’n de rain” (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1884 ).

      Even with the “n” word deleted throughout, one wonders if Twain’s masterpiece would ever be restored to school bookshelves, given its violation here of today’s political correctness.

        • Apparently not. But, then, sarcasm is not always easily recognized in print. (And I’ve seen people on social media saying essentially what you stated–but with complete seriousness.) Thank you for clarifying!

  18. That there is eucharistic meltdown should be mainly blamed on deacons, priests and bishops who preach homilies so bad or do not use the time to catechize the faithful so as to lead them to eucharistic amazement.

    • Francis is a significant part of this whole problem, so it’s probably best not to look to him for any possible solutions.

      • The text itself is not dependent on and not about the Pope himself. It is an exposition of biblical teachings and church tradition. Francis even cites and echoes St. Pope John Paul II about Eucharistic amazement. Try reading the text of church teachings themselves and be formed by church tradition rather than by the ideas of mere commentators.

        • Yet we have the Pope Francis appointed prefect to the DWD&S saying things like this about the Mass of the Ages:

          “The theology of the Church has changed,” argued Roche. “Whereas before the priest represented, at a distance, all the people – they were channeled through this person who alone was celebrating the Mass.” Now, though, Roche stated that “it is not only the priest who celebrates the liturgy but also those who are baptized with him, and that is an enormous statement to make.”

          So, in a mere sixteen years since Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, what he (Pope Benedict), said about the TLM is suddenly not suitable for the faithful? (according to Cdl. Roche):


          What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Jul 7, 2007

          No thanks, Hoel. I’ll stick with Pope Benedict and the saints.

          • Hi Catechist Kev: check out in YouTube the “Reason and Theology” channel and watch the videos – and topics – you may have concerns about in its “Recovering from Radical Traditionalism” playlist.

          • I am familiar with Michael, Deacon Dom. He helped me publish a book on defending the faith about eight years ago.

            BTW, I assist at a NOM every weekend, but when I retire, I will be assisting at a TLM on Sundays. God bless you.

          • Catechist Kev: What the Cardinal has said is not new. It is the Vatican II teaching, with its retrieval of the more ancient sources and practices of the Church that it teaches that the subject of the Mass is not the priest (as in the pre-Vatican Mass) but the whole gathered people of God. What was made by Vatican II with the Mass was a “reform” (that is, containing elements of both continuity and change). Reform is not invention. Reforms on the Mass were always made through the centuries. Take the ritual language: at the Last Supper, it was Aramaic, then when the Church initially grew the local languages were adopted like for example Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, then with much bigger growth Greek and then Latin. With Vatican II Mass, the people’s languages all over the world are now used. These reforms were made not because of inventing something new in each period but because of each generations’ ever deepening understanding and appreciation of the meaning and essence of the Mass. They have not declared previous generations as having wrongly worshipped with every new developments. The unchanging essence and meaning of the Mass is the eucharistic celebration and memorial of the sacrifice of Christ. What changed and reformed were the ritual forms and ceremonial order of the Mass. With deep historical sense and theological reasons, with the Vatican II Mass, the Council has duly reformed the Mass and even retrieved and returned the more ancient elements to the Mass that got lost in time (that is, they are not in the Tridentine Mass): Prayers of the Faithful, Offertory of Gifts, and Kiss of Peace that highlight the laity’s proper dignity and role in the celebration. What was also retrieved and returned in the Vatican II Mass which the Cardinal pointed out in your reference is the more ancient and biblical understanding and theology that the subject or celebrant of the Mass is the whole gathered people of God, not the priest only as in the old Mass. The priest is not the celebrant, the gathered assembly is. The priest merely leads as presider. The whole celebrating assembly and portion of the Church (people and priest) participate in the high priesthood of Christ in offering the sacrifice. What Pope Francis has done is not to say that what was done before was wrong but that in his duty as Pope he is simply implementing Vatican II’s mandate of reform. The reformed Mass – in its ritual form and ceremonial order – or what we call Vatican II Mass, in its essence is the same Mass of the Ages; of the saints; of St. Pope John Paul II; and of Pope Benedict XVI.

          • To Deacon Dom: You say: “What the Cardinal [Roche] has said is not new.”

            And you are EXACTLY correct.

            Now, what do you think about a Cardinal thinking and saying that doctrine is new? What do you think about a Cardinal thinking and saying, “The theology of the Church has changed.”?

            Methinks Roche is one unknowing bird.

          • Dcn. Dom,

            I agree with what meiron said and asked you. I will still not bother reading Cdl. Roche. No thanks.

            Only 30% of NOM attendees believe in Christ’s True Presence in the Eucharist (fairly telling, I would say), but the problem is the TLM and its adherents?

            God bless you.

  19. In the urge of keeping the Church “White” in America, the Church invited a lot of Protestant minded Converts into the Church… Kind of like “Let’s Keep America’s Church White”…and/or, you asked the wrong Catholics.

  20. I visited a church recently where the altar boy held a paten under the Host as the person was receiving Communion. It’s a start.

  21. The informed, wise, and brave writers here on the Catholic World Report website give me hope that the destructive, hurtful madness of the “CONTINUOUS REFORMATION” of the Catholic Church mandated by the Vatican II Council (see that exact phrase in paragraph 6 of the Decree on Ecumenism) will pretty soon come to a stone-cold halt, and the full, clear, and unchangeable Holy Truth will once againt be taught, preserved, defended, conserved, adored, and worshipped.

    • I didn’t think it needed to be said, but just in case: CWR’s editors and writers do not view the Second Vatican Council as a source of “destructive, hurtful madness”; quite the contrary. Do we have some differences of opinions about some aspects or details of the Council and its texts? Without doubt. But, then, perhaps you are referring to certain folks making comments, which a different matter.

      Yes, “Unitatis Redintigratio” makes the following statement, which is not only not outlandish or heretic (as Gus appears to suggest), but is in keeping with a sound ecclesiology rooted in communio and conversion:

      Every renewal of the Church is essentially grounded in an increase of fidelity to her own calling. Undoubtedly this is the basis of the movement toward unity.

      Christ summons the Church to continual reformation as she sojourns here on earth. The Church is always in need of this, in so far as she is an institution of men here on earth. Thus if, in various times and circumstances, there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in church discipline, or even in the way that church teaching has been formulated – to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself – these can and should be set right at the opportune moment. (UR, 6)

      I do think the conciliar fathers purposefully used the term “reformation” here to contrast it with division commonly called “The Reformation” (see UR, 13), as a way of politely noting that authentic reformation is not found in schism, heresy, or disobedience, but in fidelity to Christ and the deposit of faith. In fact, the Council was not “mandating” continual reformation, but noting a fact: that Jesus Christ, the Head and Founder of the Church, is continually renewing and reforming the Church precisely because His Mystical Body consists of imperfect people.

      • 1. If the good and smart Catholics who are supporters of the Vatican II Council can, in the near future, bring an end to the destructive, hurtful madness that has prevailed in the Catholic Church since the Vatican II Council of 1962-1965, then I am all for it, and will hail, praise, thank, bless, and congratulate those good people. I will buy their books, attend their lectures, support their organizations!
        2. But we are now about 60 years into this dark period of destructive, hurtful madness in the Church. Catholic World Report has chronicled this era. Bishop Athanasius Schneider has spoken at length about this period of darkness.
        3. The Catholic bishops and priests are NOW carrying out Church blessing ceremonies for homosexual “marriages,” and no discipline is coming down on them from higher church authorities.
        4. Is it really unreasonable for people to see this as a manifestation of the “continuous (never-ending, open-ended, progressive) reformation” that’s been going on continuously during the last 60 years?
        5. The bad guys are winning, and have been winning, mostly, for 60 years now.
        6. Pope Benedict began the hopeful “reform of the reform,” but the progressive bishops were outraged and panicked, and suddenly Pope Benedict was out of office.
        7. The Catholic people are suffering horribly, much like the Hebrews who wept when they were in forced exile in Babylon. Psalm 137:1 says, “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.”
        8. So, can’t I be forgiven, or at least be empathized with, if I have my doubts that Vatican II supporters will EVER or can EVER end the six decades (and counting) of destructive, hurtful madness in the Church?
        9. How long altogether should Catholics give the Vatican II supporters to fix this? 100 years? 500 years? 1,000 years?
        10. At SOME point, wouldn’t it be reasonable to say: Maybe the texts of the Vatican II Council are the root of the problem. Maybe we should return to the tried and true pre-Vatican II Catholic doctrines, such as are found in the now ignored 1928 papal encyclical that condemned Ecumenism, or in the now ignored 1907 papal Encyclical that condemned Modernism? Maybe we should halt “continuous reformation” (which is a vague phrase that is wide open to a theologically Progressive interpretation) and go back to a policy of Counter-Reformation and the traditional mission of conversion to schismatics and heretics?

        • Gus: I see your confusion and your conflation of the teachings of Vatican II and the implementation of these teachings. Its similar to Jesus’ teachings or Christianity and the believers called Christians. Jesus’ teachings are without error, divine! Christians’ application of these and the way they implemented these are, as church history shows until today and surely until Jesus’ return, very imperfect, human! Likewise with Vatican II, the imperfections you cite here are all due to the limitations and sinfulness of those trying to implement – or sabotage – the teachings of the Council. The problem is not the teachings of the Council but its reception and implementation. I think you can relate well with Mahatma Gandhi when he said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” When you yourself in faith receive the teachings of Vatican II and look around you, I’m sure you can similarly say with me: “I like Vatican II, I do not like Catholics who do not properly implement – or who resist or sabotage – the teachings of Vatican II.”

          • 1. Deacon, thank you for that encouragement and perspective. I surely have a lot to learn, and appreciate all the help I can get.
            2. When you were studying to become a deacon, did you ever read, or even hear about the existence of, the 1928 papal encyclical that strongly condemned the doctrine and practice of Ecumenism (of the inter-denominational sort that was mandated by the Vatican II Pastoral Council)?
            3. If not, doesn’t that make you curious as to why that encyclical was never a part of your assigned reading in your formation as a deacon?
            4. And if there are other papal encyclicals that, according to some Catholic theologians, contradict the doctrines and mandates of the Vatican II Pastoral Council, wouldn’t you be curious to read those too, to see for yourself?
            5. And even if you believe it is impossible for an earlier papal encyclical to be contradicted by a document of a pastoral council, or by a later papal encyclical based on documents of a pastoral council, wouldn’t you be curious to see for yourself, with you own eyes, what those earlier Catholic popes were writing, saying, and directing with grave urgency and seriousness?

          • In your reference to the 1928 papal encyclical (“Mortalism Aanimos,” on religious unity), maybe it all depends on what Pope Pius XI—and the real Second Vatican Council—mean by “ecumenism”? The thesis sentence seems to be in Paragraph #2:

            The Council’s encouragement of ecumenical dialogue (not block-party sacrificing of crucial distinctions) is defensible and even urgent at our faithless, chaotic, and corrupt moment in history…

            Less defensible is that part of the Synodal Vademecum which infiltrates the results of a block-party approach into the sacramental Mystical Body of Christ. All additions and no deletions! A novelty enabled in 2019 by the implied equivalence of a “pluralism and diversity of religions,” in the Abu Dhabi Declaration with Islam. The issue, then, is not the apparent vagrancy of the Council itself as it is the innovations of the past decades and especially recent years stretching/contradicting the full Council Documents taken together.

            How to broadly reaffirm the universal and inborn natural law without also sabotaging the added, confirming, and greater Divine Revelation—the “deposit of faith” to be safeguarded by the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church?

            The papal encyclical of 1928, #2 reads: “Certainly such attempts [no distinctions, see below*] can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.”

            *”attempts”: Polyglot gatherings where “large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction [!] are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission.”

        • Mr. Gus it seems to me you mustn’t make things not temptations into temptations.

          Apart from its own wrongness it could entail you in a corollary, making things that are temptations, good considerations and things to try.

  22. Similarly, “The Shack” stirred some of my acquaintance, children of Boomers, were to ‘Christian’ belief. The fat black woman idea as God the Father (or was she rather the Holy Spirit?) cooking grits smelled good to them.

    I tend to agree that Merton was a gifted writer, but only a pope like Francis in a church like today’s could proclaim him a saint.

  23. I’ll never forget the day my parish priest introduced Pope Benedict’s Mass correction to the 30+ year mistranslation of the Latin “pro multis” (for many) into the vernacular “for all”. There were a few other changes ordered to the NO Mass also at that time, and some priests and bishops were apparently not happy about the reform of the reform. My pastor was one.

    On that day, my infamously liberal pastor decided, rather than to say, read, celebrate or pray the Mass, to follow the general order of the NOM, first reading each prayer, then launching into a deeply critical, highly idiosyncratic, and generally defamatory commentary on them, particularly the new changes. One could almost feel the ice of the sarcastic belittling contempt with which he offered the words, “for many” at the Consecration.

    I imagine the bishop may have received a couple letters from a couple knowing Catholics, but I was too lukewarm, not enough ‘in the know’ to act.

    After Mass I told my pastor I wasn’t sure I had attended Mass. “Yes, that was a Mass,” he said. Lukewarm and unknowing though I was, I smelled something bad.

    He passed away some five or so years later. Meanwhile, I was called to a more reverent parish and was out of town at the time so didn’t have to decide whether to attend his Requiem. More people than the parish census were there, according to reports. He apparently was revered and lauded and mourned as if he had been a rock star.

    • I wonder if it occurred to your pastor and the many others like him that “for all” includes the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.?

      • Probably not, right?

        The thought probably didn’t cross his mind that if the once-and-for-all sacrifice was for everyone, no one would enter hell. And, if that were true, his priesthood would be irrelevant. He would then have no platform. Where would he go to be adulated? Party City? The opera? \

        • Good question, no answer. And many thanks for your kind remarks and prayers in response to my earlier comment above. I’m replying here since there was no reply arrow to your post. We’ll keep the faith, come what may. The gates of Hell shall not prevail.

  24. When we meet with God in private prayer, we are instructed to not babble on with many words, because our Heavenly Father knows what it is that we need, even before we seek that. Thus, God is present at those times that we implore His help. The Church holds that God is, in fact, “omni-present.” That means that God is present everywhere, and fills the universe with His Spirit. God is not just present in the Eucharist. God is present here and now, and it is the separation of the knowledge of the presence of God that is sin. Separation from God is sin. God’s presence is revealed to those who seek knowledge of His presence through signs. If a person were to seek to know the presence of God, then they should request that God grant them a sign. Something very unusual will probably happen. I have experienced this quite often. This is the element of the Gospel that needs to be promoted — the mystical element of the Church. And the Cup of wine of the New Covenant, in Christ’s blood needs to be discussed as often as the Eucharist, I think.

  25. The author makes reference to “‘the Eucharistic amazement’ which John Paul urged upon us.” That statement is qualified by this excerpt from WITNESS TO HOPE: THE BIOGRAPHY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II, by George Weigel: “In February 1973, Wojtyla represented the Polish Church at the International Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne, Australia.” (222) What impression did the future Pope leave with, at the conclusion of that congress? “But he confessed in his diary that he thought there had been a bit too much on the Church discovering itself in the Eucharist, rather than on the Church discovering Christ.” (223)

  26. Could make for a great homily
    Christ’s Holy Sacrifice The Mass-
    Christ Sacrifice Ever Present Time Since God Is Outside of Time
    The Heavenly Liturgy United With The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
    If only people realized the most precious gift the Lord has given us through the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
    Christ’s once and for all Sacrifice on Calvary is ever present in Time.
    Christ’s Last Super, the Passion, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection are made present in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and at each and every Mass said throughout the world

  27. Poll Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass and you’ll be pleased with the results. We know that we’re receiving the Body of Christ and that we’re there to worship God in the manner He intended. Arch Bishop Vigano has called for a universal return to the Latin Mass,the abolishment of the the Novus Ordo and the scrapping of Vatican 2 and the accompanying irreverence that has emptied churches and seminaries. The ONLY part of the Church growing are Traditional Latin Mass orders and parishes.

  28. Meiron & Catechist Kev (in your comments earlier above): if you care to listen to the actual audio of the interview, what the Cardinal referred to as “change” contextually in that flow of the interview meant what I pointed out earlier above which is the Vatican II teaching (which technically is a return to the more ancient Biblical and Patristic view) of the whole gathered people of God (laity and priest) as the subject and celebrant of the Mass as they both participate in the high priesthood of Christ with the priest leading as the presider. Below is a link to the interview audio:
    The news story begins at 05:12 and Cardinal Roche can be heard beginning at 10:36.

    • Vatican II teachings are NOT NEW to those who’ve not slept through the last 60 or so years.

      Roche said, “The theology of the Church has changed. If he had intended to refer to VCII, it would have been correct for him to have said, “The theology of the Church changed [at VCII].”

      We who are not fools do understand them, don’t we?

      • Cardinal Roche is too smooth, or worse. He goes on to say that in the past the priest represented all of the people as a sort of funnel. Not quite so…

        Instead, the ordained priest acts alter Christus—not alter populatio—and, it is concurrently through/with the priest that the Holy Spirit renews and extends the singular sacrifice of Golgotha in an unbloody way, across space and time. Ours is a Eucharistic Church, more than a congregational gathering.

        The purpose of the vestments is not to adorn the so-called “presider” (nor to compensate for the people in jeans and sweatshirts!). But to render the priest—as alter Christus—invisible (!) to the transcendent mystery of the Mass, the Consecration, and Real Presence (CCC 1374). One key ambiguity (not an invalidity) of the Novus Ordo is that, instead of offering ourselves, the people at least seem to be fondling the act of Consecration itself, if still through “the hands” of the priest.

        All that is needed now to complete the revolution toward an “inverted pyramid” church (lower case!) is to redefine the “backward” nuptial relationship between Christ and his Church…as is well underway with the redefinition of “marriage;” and even binary sexuality—under the vanguard der Synodale Weg.

  29. Fr. Stravinskas, the footnote does not say when in the timeline of Luther’s life or career, the event described, took place. It would be helpful to know.

    Also I think with Luther some pertinent riders always should be added explaining the related departures that actually came about that he endorsed.

  30. Vatican II teachings are NOT NEW to those who’ve not slept through the last 60 or so years.

    Roche said, “The theology of the Church has changed.” If Roche had intended to refer to VCII, it would have been correct for him to have said, “The theology of the Church changed [at VCII].”

    We who are not fools do understand them, don’t we?

    • Yes it is both long in coming and well-developed already.

      Certain priests are always talking about “cells” while at the same time not really showing what they mean or the direction things would take. I think it becomes necessary to identify particular events and focal points as well as where they repeat and multiply, if there is any new “example” being added on by or through these subsets and if there is some answering going on up and down in the arrangement.

      ‘ But there quickly arose an interpretive theory after the Council, which has since come to be known as the “Bologna school” of theology, since its main proponents were centered there, which claimed that the actual documents of Vatican II did not really matter as texts with a specific theological meaning and trajectory. ‘

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