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McBrien is backward, not adoration

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear Observer “Viewpoint” Editor, It pains me to publicly remonstrate a Catholic priest (especially following the recent inane clamoring for priestesses), but the latest public theological blunder by a University-affiliated priest cannot go without correction and admonition. In a Sept. 8 article in the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Richard McBrien casually dismisses a Papal endorsement of and declares regressive a centuries-old Catholic practice now burgeoning in popularity – quite the feat for our Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology. In the article, McBrien states,

“Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI’s personal endorsement of Eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice … it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.” He concludes, “Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.”

The value McBrien fails to see is better understood by our Holy Father, noting in Sacramentum Caritatis, “The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself,” and speaking to Polish priests in May 2006, “In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host … It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering.”

The “sporadic restoration” of adoration is described on Holy Cross College’s Web site: “The last two decades of the 20th century have witnessed an explosion of this kind of prayer … By 2000 A.D., the Church in the United States had been blessed with over 6000 special parish programs of organized weekly or daily Eucharistic Adoration … Hundreds of churches across America currently have programs of perpetual or nearly perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.”

Those who adore the Blessed Sacrament – myself included – will testify to the graces obtained and the prayers answered through adoration. Anyone at the University can adore the Blessed Sacrament each weekday, and hopes are high for perpetual adoration on campus. Backed by the Holy Father and nearly a millennium of history, devotions to the Sacrament continue to increase in frequency and fervency.

Should a Catholic priest with such a misconception of the Catholic faith be, or be called, a priest? This not being McBrien’s first heretical dissention, one must further question why the University of Notre Dame employs such a misguided theologian.


Kyle Sladek


St. Edward’s Hall

Sept. 29