One reads that large numbers of Catholics do not understand or accept the teaching of the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Can it be that the pews are filled with people who don't know what they are doing? I have heard homilies on the real presence so tentative it is unlikely they would enlighten or strengthen the faith. But copies of the Catechism are available in bookshops everywhere, even in greeting card shops. Maybe tongue-tied pastors ought to buy a copy for every parishioner. What will turn things around is the growing practice of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. At Notre Dame, a group of undergraduates has established this practice in one of the hall chapels, supplementing the Friday afternoon Eucharistic adoration in Sacred Heart Basilica.
It may well be that liturgical changes, scheduled and unscheduled, have drained the Mass of its awe and reverence. My wife, never easy prey to nostalgia, recently attended a Tridentine Mass and was reminded what it felt like to pray in church. Romper room music and bushels of bonhomie don't prepare one to receive Jesus in the sacrament, delivered with a mindless smile by an extraordinary eucharistic minister who might as well be offering cheese samples at the supermarket. With so little sense of the real presence being exhibited during the sanctuary mob scene that precedes communion, it is perhaps less surprising that belief has seeped away. - Ralph McInerny
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