instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, June 11, 2004

The Sacred Body of the Lord Jesus

I often come across the term "orthodox Catholic" used as though being an orthodox Catholic were a big accomplishment. Being orthodox, having correct beliefs, is certainly important, but it's like being a non-cannibal: necessary, but not really exalting.

The Christian does not seek orthodoxy, but Christ. (Cherchez la téléologie!) In finding Christ, he finds orthodoxy. In seeking orthodoxy as an end, he will find neither Christ nor orthodoxy.

So I am very happy to learn that there is a Year of the Eucharist beginning in October. Catholics with unorthodox beliefs about the Eucharist may come to the correct belief. Catholics with orthodox beliefs about the Eucharist may deepen their personal relationship with the Christ they profess.

Coincidentally, perhaps, Cardinal McCarrick's newspaper column this week also touches on what he referred to a few weeks ago as "the Sacred Body of the Lord Jesus in my hands":
Over the last few decades, many Catholics have sadly moved away from the mystery of the Eucharist. Sometimes under the pressures of the secular media or of friends whose faith is weak or non-existent, they have adopted a pseudo-anthropological or "politically correct" approach to the great Sacrament of the Altar. They call it merely a symbol of the Presence of Christ, or something reminding us of the Presence of Christ, or a poetic way of speaking about the Lord. All of this is false and harmful and it obscures the whole point of our Eucharistic faith. It is indeed the Lord, the Sacred Body of Jesus....

I believe that this controversy about receiving the Eucharist will give us two most important gifts. First, it will remind us clearly of what the Blessed Sacrament really is - the very Body and Blood of Christ. Secondly, it will remind us that we should not approach the altar if we are not properly disposed by the way we live our lives. Unless we are deeply in communion with the Lord and His Church, we should not receive His Sacred Body and Blood in Holy Communion. In my responsibility to teach the Good News of Jesus here in our local Church, I'm always thinking of you and praying that I will teach it well.