Thursday, October 02, 2014
Just a passing thought: there is a gulf between pastoral practice and Church teaching. There always has been; remember St Augustine commenting on people reverencing the sun before entering the Church? He was willing to tolerate it, believing that it was his responsibility to persuade them to turn to Christ.
Well I suppose, I suspect I do not know, that many of those who come to Holy Communion are receiving unworthily, it is priests and the Christian community's responsibility to change behaviour, to 'sell' holiness to those disinclined to it. "I teach men to be good but still they are bad", is an ageless cry of any pedagogue. In most parishes men and women are receiving Holy Communion who are contracepting, or living in civil partnerships, concubinage, committing acts of sodomy, oppressing the poor, stealing from their employers, ignoring or mistreating their aging parents, addicted to pornography, dealing or using drugs, leaving their neighbour bleeding and beaten by the roadside, or simply denying Christ.
The big difference between our age and that of St Augustine is that most people receive Holy Communion without any thought, bishops and priests celebrate as if it is merely part of the job, some of us even dare to offer it daily or even more often, whether we are in state of Grace or not, unknown of until the modern era! And all really because of the personal Eucharistic piety of Popes since Pius X and since the Council we have lost the sense of conversion, and frankly of calling a spade a spade, a sin a sin.
One of things that makes me anxious about the Synod is that some might be inclined to reduce the gap between practice and teaching, and attempt to square the circle, without addressing the huge elephant in the room which is the Eucharist itself.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake