Tuesday 21 June 2011

Adoratio - Rome 2011

Bishop Reali of Porto-Santa Rufina (the local diocese),
Bishop Rey of Frejus-Toulon and Fr Florian Racine,
Founder of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, Bishop Reali, Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Fr Mark Kirby, Bishop Rey and Fr Racine.

Having risen at 3am yesterday to fly out to the Adoratio Conference, I was glad of a good night's sleep! The timetable is jam-packed with adoration, prayer and talks - the talks from some very well-known heroes of orthodoxy. We got off to a splendid start yesterday with Bishop Dominique Rey and Fr Mark Daniel Kirby.

Bishop Rey is like a breath of fresh air. He speaks with authority unlike these others... The inspiration behind the conference is that Adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is key to evengelisation and to the new evangelisation desired by the Holy Father. I might sum up in my own interpretation of Bishop Rey by saying that we are called to speak the Gospel in love and truth. Many have a great deal of love and speak of it to the world but they somehow think that love precludes also speaking the challenge of the fullness of the truth and so the substance of the message gets left out. Jesus Christ is the unique Truth that alone leads to salvation - and Bishop Rey is not afraid to say it. How very refreshing it is to hear a bishop acknowledge the depth of our need within the Church - that there are things wrong - and how impoverished we have become, not from failing to posses the Truth but from being afraid to speak it.

I made some notes of what he said and present a selection here, although the talks will be available on disc and in written form. These are just some of Bishop Rey's words that made an impression on me. My own comments in square brackets.

He recognises that the new evangelization must begin at home. Many in the Church are baptised but not evangelised. Following Vatican II we developed a pastoral programme based on integration, on listening to others. While this has truth to it and is good, it also has limits. We can't stop there. Our pastoral programmes have often become, in effect, an effacement of the Church. In doing so we have gone through a process of self-secularization that has robbed the Gospel of its force. The Christian is meant to be in the world but not of the world. The gospel is "set aside from the world and not aged by sin". Thus the new evangelisation is the duty awaiting every one of us.

This new evangelization needs to be accompanied with prayer -
particularly prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, contemplation of the Lord's sacrifice of His life. Otherwise the new evangelization would be only a new gimmick, a promotion, a publicity drive. Adoration of the Blessed sacrament is not a spiritual gadget but a means of personal transformation.

The Eucharist makes Satan run. [When did I last hear a bishop speak about Satan?]

The Bishop recognised that there are sterile spiritualities in the Church but
Eucharistic Adoration heals the Church of her sterile spirituality.

The weakening of our evangelising spirit, the fear of presenting the fullness of the Gospel challenge to the world, can only result in a crisis in our own identity. [Indeed it has.] Evangelization is an inherent NEED in the Church. However, it must be presented in the context of our
objective Faith. The Council of Trent reminded us that Christ is not present because we believe but rather, we believe because Christ is present. [Amen!] Where we compromise with the world, we have a disfigured Christianity. We have made the mistake of letting the Church become a [like closing our seminaries and churches instead of turning to prayer and penance and trusting that the Lord will provide?] consumer supplier where all is judged by efficiency, feasibility and cost - what the Bishop called actionism. Rather than this business model where an accountable result is required we must return to a reliance on prayer.

In the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we can leave aside the atrophied shimmer of the world and become what we adore - He who is good, beautiful and pure. [Amen and Alleluia!]

What I likes very much is that Bishop Rey is not afraid to admit that some things in the Church are not good. He does not pretend that all is well when it is not. I've noticed this tendency when a church or some other Catholic institution closes due to lack of numbers and failure of mission. The last Mass is hailed as one of "thanksgiving" and "celebration" when it should be one of penance and sorrow for the failure. It becomes a denial of our failure when we could renew our efforts to pray for grace, trust in God and hope in the future. Instead of closing, taking on a 24 / 7 adoration, penance and intercession.

It's the same note that is struck at funeral Masses. we no longer intercede and pray for forgiveness and the undeserved gift of eternal life but make it a "celebration" of the person's life, a "thanksgiving" for how marvellous they were - even if they were conspicuously absent from the life of the Christian community or even a notorious sinner, let alone a practising Christian still in need of forgiveness.

Are we terrified of admitting failure because it would mean doing something about it?


Andrew said...

Dear Rev Father Henry,I hope that you are having a wonderful time in Rome! Please can you tell me if holy Mass will be celebrated in the traditional form this coming Sunday 26th June?

Thank you and God bless, Andrew

Fr Simon Henry said...

ANDREW, Mass is as usual this Sunday.

Jane said...

Father: Thank you so much for this post. Do you happen to know whether the texts of ALL the talks are to be published on line.

I hope Fr Mark Kirby's talk was well received.
Any news of that?

GOR said...

After Vat II popular devotions were denigrated by the ‘experts’ – Rosary, Benediction, Processions and Adoration were all spoken of as practices of simple, uneducated people who didn’t know any better. Now we were much more grown up and didn’t need any of that. And of course kneeling was the stuff of peasants – not for us grownups. It’s hard not to see the work of Satan and his ”non serviam” in all of this.

How much we have lost was brought home to me recently by my daughter. She had gone to a bookstore called “Mystical Rose” in another town and came home marveling: “I didn’t know Mystical Rose was a title of Our Lady!” Embarrassment – for me. She should have known and I should have ensured she did.

Despite having gone to Catholic Grade School, Catholic High School and survived College still a practicing Catholic, she had never heard of the Litany of Loreto. I noted, weakly, that had we still had the popular devotions of my youth she would have been familiar with all of the titles given to Our Lady. Mea culpa.