Notre Dame's dissident par excellence seems to have outdone himself.
In an article appearing today on the National Catholic Reporter website (no surprise there), Fr. Richard McBrien dismisses Eucharistic adoration as a "step backward," "notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement " of the devotion.
The not-so-good Father even goes so far to imply that only illiterate Catholics would feel any need for this "extraneous eucharistic devotion."
The practice of eucharistic adoration began in the 12th century, when the Real Presence of Christ was widely rejected by heretics or misunderstood by poorly educated Catholics. The church saw eucharistic adoration as a way of reaffirming its faith in the Real Presence and of promoting renewed devotion to it.
However, as time went on, eucharistic devotions, including adoration, drifted further and further away from their liturgical grounding in the Mass itself.
Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.
Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.
Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.
Thank you, Fr. McBrien, for letting me know that I'm too well educated to sit for an hour and adore Our Lord.
I'm sure Jesus appreciates it, too.