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FEBRUARY 26, 2005

A History of Distorting Catholic Truth

by Thomas A. Droleskey

[I was associated with The Wanderer from October of 1992 until January of 2001. Although I started Christ or Chaos as a printed journal in 1996 to give air to commentaries of mine, principally those promoting the Traditional Latin Mass and the Social Reign of Christ the King that were not accepted for publication in The Wanderer, I did do a number of hard-news investigative stories over the years. The last of these stories, published in September of 2000, concerned none other than a decision of the Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, the Bishop of Saint Petersburg, Florida, to end all periods of solemn Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the parishes of his diocese except for one time annually. Bishop Lynch desired to end a growing practice in his diocese of parishes having daily periods of solemn Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament so as to afford the faithful an opportunity to adore the King of Kings in His Real Presence.

[This story about Bishop Lynch's efforts to stamp out Solemn Eucharistic Adoration four and one-half years ago should be read in light of his current refusal to even publicly acknowledge that the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, spoke firmly on March 20, 2004, about the immorality of the removal of food and water from patients in situations similar to one of his own sheep, Mrs. Terri Schindler-Schiavo. As you will see from the story reprinted (and slightly redacted here and there to state things that were not possible to state in the pages of The Wanderer concerning the Modernists' hatred for the Traditional Latin Mass) below, Bishop Lynch has a history of distorting Catholic truth, preferring to ignore entirely anything that disproves his revolutionary Modernist agenda on both the doctrinal and liturgical fronts. An afterword will follow the re-printing of the news story.]

September, 2000: Fourteen years after the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy attempted a frontal assault upon all forms of solemn Eucharistic adoration, whether periodic or perpetual, which had grown tremendously in this country during the early 1980s, efforts to attack the tradition and the theology of such adoration continue. This reporter documented the misrepresentation of Eucharistic adoration which a priest in the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, made in 1997. Davenport Bishop William Franklin did nothing to correct the impressions left by the priest that Eucharistic adoration was no longer the mind of the Church. And the assaults and misrepresentations continue unabated in some areas, most notably in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., where Bishop Robert Lynch has ordered the cessation of the regular exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful. Although there are no chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in his diocese, there are several parishes which expose the Blessed Sacrament for periods of adoration each day during the week. This is to be stopped by September 1, 2000.

In a letter to priests dated June 12, 2000, Bishop Lynch claimed that postconciliar documents and trends discourage the practice of establishing chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and/or exposing the Blessed Sacrament solemnly for adoration. Under the diocesan guidelines, parishes may expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration only once each year. He referred his priests to guidelines established by his diocesan Office of Worship to find the "resources" which would "clarify" the mind of the Church on this matter. The guidelines, entitled Concerning Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition, and Benediction, present a distorted view of Church history concerning adoration of our Lord in His Real Presence.

Eucharistic reservation and adoration as we know it today began in the 13th century. At this time, participation in communion by the laity was primarily "visual," that is, seeing the elevated host was the high point of the Mass. They rarely received communion. Among the reasons for this was a general feeling of unworthiness, the use of a language (Latin) that was foreign to them, a failure to appreciate the Eucharist as a shared meal, the assuming of the laity's roles by the clergy, and a lost connection to the Church's roots. By the 14th century, various forms of eucharistic devotions outside Mass developed for the laity's participation, such as pilgrimages, processions, and Forty Hours.

The ideologically laden paragraph contains the very sort of falsehoods and misrepresentations that are the subject of my analysis of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal in G.I.R.M. Warfare. The diocesan guidelines distort the genuine history of the Church, disparaging the Traditional Latin Mass at a time it was producing sanctity throughout the apogee of Christendom. Additionally, a book published in 2000 attests that the practice of "perpetual prayer in the presence of the Eucharist may have appeared in Lugo, Spain, as early as the sixth century, and this practice is known to have arisen in at least two other occasions by the middle of the 13th century." The spread of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in the 13th century was not an innovation but an organic development in the Church on the part of both priests and the laity. Furthermore, the paragraph quoted above denigrates the use of Latin (which conveyed the unchanging nature of the doctrines of the faith and the universality of the Church) and attempts to state that the roles of the laity had been usurped by the clergy during the Middle Ages. This is nothing other than a self-serving effort to rationalize assaults upon the Traditional Latin Mass and the organic development of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.

Boasting as to how the infamous "Liturgical Movement," critiqued so well by Father Didier Bonneterre in The Liturgical Movement: Roots, Radicals, Results (Angelus Press) recaptured the essential spirit of the Eucharist and the liturgy, the St. Petersburg guidelines assert that private devotion before the Blessed Sacrament, whether exposed in a monstrance or reserved in a tabernacle, detracts from an appreciation of the "Eucharistic Celebration" on Sunday:

Christ present in the Eucharist presupposes his presence in the assembly gathered for common prayer, his presence in the word, his presence in the minister, and his presence in the sharing o the eucharistic bread and cup. Therefore, private devotion and adoration of the reserved Blessed Sacrament should lead the faithful to a fuller appreciation of the communal dimension of the Mass.

This attempts to establish a false conflict between an appreciation of the Mass and private adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The guidelines ignore the fact that one of the purposes of personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is the sanctification of the individual adorer. He is attempting to make reparation for his own sins and to give honor and glory to the Blessed Trinity, conscious that he will face an individual, not a communal, judgment. Additionally, the Mass itself is not an exercise in communitarianism. It is the unbloody representation of Our Lord's sacrifice to the Father. The Church has always taught that the lay faithful participate in this sacrifice chiefly by uniting themselves to Our Lord's sacrificial offering of Himself to the Father to effect our redemption (see Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei). And those who spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer develop such a profound love for Our Lord in His Real Presence that daily Mass becomes part and parcel of their daily lives. The St. Petersburg guidelines, however, attempt to convey the impression that people engaged in "private adoration" may not appreciate the "communal" aspects of Mass. The guidelines imply that those who engage in personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament are isolating themselves from the Mystical Body of Christ when the truth of the matter is that those prayers help to build up that Mystical Body, especially during this time of revolutionary assaults against articles contained the Deposit of Faith and against the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. The guidelines go on to assert that "exposition has a beginning and an end. By its very nature, it is not perpetual."

Moreover, the guidelines state, "The issue of perpetual' exposition of the Eucharist is being advocated by some within the Church." What the guidelines do not state is that Pope John Paul II is among the "some" who have strongly encouraged Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. After visiting chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in South Korea in 1984, the Holy Father stated that it was his desire that such chapels be set up in every parish in the world. The Holy Father himself erected a chapel of Perpetual Eucharistic adoration in the Piazza Venezia in Rome at the request of the late Mother Teresa, who was a proponent of the establishment of parish chapels of adoration. The Pope instituted daily exposition (which takes place between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. every day of the work week) of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St. Peter's Basilica. There are several books that contain a number of papal statements in support of eucharistic adoration before the Host exposed in a monstrance, both periodic and perpetual. Apart from ignoring the fact that the Holy Father has been one of the principal supporters of all forms of solemn eucharistic adoration, both periodic and perpetual, the St. Petersburg guidelines state that any form of such adoration "should normally take place in a chapel of [a] religious community or association."

What is left out of that statement is that the Congregation for Divine Worship, upon whose authority the guidelines rely for that last statement, has indicated that a diocesan bishop may erect an association of the lay faithful for such perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The bishop may refuse to erect such associations. But it is a telling commentary about Bishop Robert Lynch that he permits an intellectually dishonest set of guidelines to be published as a means of explaining that the laity cannot organize themselves so as to qualify canonically to establish chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Indeed, the Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a decree in 1991 establishing an international Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, something which is entirely ignored by Bishop Lynch and the guidelines he authorized to be promulgated. If solemn adoration of Our Lord's Real Presence exposed in a monstrance is not to be practiced by the laity, either periodically or perpetually, then why did the Pontifical Council for the Laity specifically create an international association of the lay faithful called the Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration?

The decree issued by the Pontifical Council for the Laity stated that "competent ecclesiastical authority has the right to erect associations of the Christian faithful which set out to teach Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship or which aim at other ends whose pursuit by their nature is reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority." The council therefore erected "the Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as a universal and international public association of the faithful with juridic personality." The omission of this fact in the materials published by the Diocese of St. Petersburg is remarkable. The bishop could, if he desired to do so, simply tell the lay faithful in his diocese to form a local chapter of the Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, thereby creating a juridic personality under his authority which has his permission to open and maintain chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and/or to engage in regularly scheduled periods of adoration before Our Lord exposed in the monstrance. Bishop Lynch has not only chosen not to do this, he has chosen not even to tell the people that they have the right to petition him with such a request. And the apparent purpose of his guidelines is to try to convince people that solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, whether periodic or perpetual, is not being encouraged by the Church. That is erroneous.

While modernist liturgists and theologians see Eucharistic adoration as an isolated, individual activity, setting it up requires quite an investment of time and effort on the part of a number of individuals. As the exposed Blessed Sacrament may never be left alone, captains and coordinators must work with each other to find adorers for each of the 168 hours of a week in those places where perpetual adoration has been established. Replacement adorers must be ready to be roused out of bed in the wee hours of the night to worship Our Lord if a designated adorer is unable to meet his or her commitment. Apart from the many ways in which solemn Eucharistic adoration of Our Lord in His Real Presence builds up the Mystical Body of Christ and helps to sanctify those who engage in it, such adoration also builds up a collaborative spirit among those who must coordinate the scheduling of adorers. All this helps to build friendships among people of disparate backgrounds, thereby creating the very community of Christian love and fellowship that the modern liturgists say is threatened by such adoration.

One can glean Bishop Lynch's ideological bent by reading the following paragraph, found in the "conclusion" section of the guidelines he authorized:

Although exposition of the Blessed Sacrament may help foster devotion to Christ's presence in the Eucharist, a parish's first priority is well-planned and well-celebrated Masses. Parishes seeking to inaugurate or restore eucharistic devotions should reflect on their practices during the communion rite and their commitment of time and money (stewardship) to social services. Are they as respectful and reverent toward Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament? Is the fuller expression of the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine being offered to the faithful at all Masses? Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? Does the parish carefully prepare enough communion for the gathered assembly instead of routinely going to the tabernacle? Does the eucharistic procession take its own time or is the focus to try to get through the communion rite as efficiently and expediently as possible? Do the eucharistic ministers reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender? Have the eucharistic ministers been properly trained and is their formation ongoing? Is the Eucharist being brought to members of the parish who cannot gather on Sunday because of sickness or advanced age? When these issues have been addressed, then the deeper understanding that Christ intended in the Eucharist will be achieved.

That statement stands on its own demerits. A well-planned and well-celebrated Mass? Such is the nature of a synthetic religion that its synthetic liturgy must created out of whole cloth over and over again as though it was an exercise in Stalinist long-range planning. And any implication that Christ is present in others in the same way that He is present in His Real Presence is contrary to Church teaching. It is heretical. We do not genuflect to our neighbor, even though he bears within his soul the divine impress. Yes, we are called to be respectful of others, no doubt. Worship and adoration belong to God alone. The other statements simply speak for themselves, and I cover most of them in G.I.R.M. Warfare.

Bishop Lynch's June 12, 2000, letter also dealt with the matter of the "renovation" of churches, mandating that parishes follow a set of diocesan guidelines dealing with such renovations. The usual sources for such guidelines, including Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, were cited. Those interested in assessing the intellectual honesty of those guidelines should get a copy of Michael Rose's book, The Renovation Manipulation.

As was the case just today, February 25, 2005, when attempting to reach Bishop Lynch about Terri Schindler-Schiavo, His Excellency did not return a phone call from me in 2000 seeking comment on the matter of the cessation of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. I had asked him the following questions in 2000:

1) Why did he omit all reference to his authority to erect associations of the lay faithful to engage in solemn adoration of Christ in His Real Presence?

2) Why is he opposed to the use of that authority to continue a practice encouraged by the Vicar of Christ and is grounded in the authentic Tradition of the Catholic Church?

A 2005 Afterword

As is the case presently with the Florida Catholic Conference's February 15, 2005, statement in the case of Terri Schilder-Schiavo, Bishop Lynch demonstrated in 2000 a definite propensity to distort Catholic truth to suit his own revolutionary agenda. He has ignored Pope John Paul II's reiteration of the basic Catholic moral principle that a preponderance of subjective circumstances can never make a morally illicit act justifiable to pursue. And he ignored Pope John Paul II's much-stated promotion of Solemn Exposition and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament when issuing his now infamous June 12, 2000, letter that was meant to end all such adoration in his parishes. Bishop Lynch not only does not tell the whole truth in his statements. He states things that are abjectly untrue.

Before closing, it should be noted, however, that Bishop Lynch's revolutionary bias against regular periods of Solemn Eucharistic Exposition and Adoration has some foundation in the ethos of concilarism. It used to be the case before the Second Vatican Council (and the plethora of postconciliar documents on the liturgy issued in its wake) that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass could be offered before the Blessed Sacrament when exposed solemnly in a monstrance. It was the Tradition of the Catholic Church that there was no conflict between such solemn exposition and offering the Sacrifice of Calvary by an alter Christus. This was changed in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, as was the practice of genuflecting on both knees before the exposed Blessed Sacrament (although, thanks be to Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother, only the hard-core revolutionaries enforce this single-knee genuflection rule, and most of them do not believe in Eucharistic adoration to begin with and thus never offer it to the faithful).

More to the point, however, the unspeakable hatred of many bishops for Solemn Eucharistic Adoration is but a perverse extension of their hatred of the Mass of Tradition, the Mass that was about the worship of God and not about the worship of man, the Mass that reminded us of our sinfulness and the fact that we could lose our souls for all eternity, the Mass that stressed the hierarchical nature of the sacerdotal priesthood instituted by Our Lord, the Mass that clearly communicated the immutability of God and of His truths. The Mass of Tradition was an obstacle to the implementation of a Modernist doctrinal agenda. If the Mass could be changed radically and ceaselessly, then the path could be made wide open to convince the people that everything about the Faith was subject to change, yes, even involving matters of fundamental morality such as providing food and water to patients incapable of feeding themselves. A hatred of the Mass of the ages and of Solemn Eucharistic Adoration is founded in only one thing: a hatred of God as He has revealed Himself through His true Church.

Father Lawrence C. Smith had this to note after reading the piece, "Flying in the Face of Catholicism," that I posted on this site yesterday, February 25, 2005:

Subjectivism, relativism, and demonism. Bishop Lynch and the Florida Bishops' conference have gone over the edge. To suggest that one's personal subjective intentions determine the objective morality of an act not only flies in the face of Catholicism, it stands reality on its very head. This outrage by the hierarchy in the Sunshine State -- my goodness, what a misnomer -- is beyond the pale.

The upcoming Remnant relates two cases where the immemorial Mass was denied for the Requiem rites for deceased Catholics. The Florida bishops are on record as advocating murder in the name of compassion. Over 1,000 more cases of perversity involving abuse by priests of minors have been brought forward during the year when "zero tolerance" was to be the response of the American hierarchy to clergy committing sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance. What more will it take to wake people up to the fact that we have come to the end of the line, in terms of the fallen human elements of the Church abandoning the Divine Mercy?

Indeed, we must pray our Rosaries and spend time before Our Lord in His Real Presence to make reparation for our own sins and for those of our shepherds. The Church is divinely founded and maintained. She will last until the end of time. The jaws of Hell will never prevail against her, meaning that she will not be destroyed or obliterated from the face of the earth. This does not mean that those who hold ecclesiastical authority will maintain the Faith or that the faithful who follow them as they promote unprecedented novelties and innovations will not be confused. What this does mean is that we can never lose our faith in the midst of the genuine State of Emergency in which we find ourselves, understanding that Our Lord will lead His Holy Church out of this deep crisis when some pope actually does consecrate Russia to His Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. In the meantime, we must keep on our knees in tender supplication to Our Lady so that we will never be hardened in our hearts and that we will continue to pray with great trust in Our Lady no matter the seeming "lack of results" in human terms.

Men like Bishop Lynch may have ecclesiastical power. They do not have the Catholic Faith. While we pray that they regain the Faith of our fathers, we pray as well for their swift removal from their positions of power and for the restoration of Catholic truth as the foundation of all episcopal statements and actions.

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

Saint Athanasius, fierce fighter of the Arians, pray for us.

Saint Clare, the great apostle of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, pray for us.

Pope Saint Pius X, implacable foe of the Modernists, pray for us and pray for the current pontiff and his bishops.




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