I'll develop this post more later, but I have to go preach to kids in a few minutes. I don't want to risk taking anything out on them, so I just have to get something posted now because I'm so upset.
I've had several conversations with folks lately regarding their concerns about Holy Communion and the H1N1 virus. The conversation starts like this:
"Father, I have concerns about the flu. When are we going to stop giving out the wine?"
To which I immediately respond, "We don't give out wine."
"But Father...the wine is given out at every Mass!"
Then I go for it: "Perhaps you mean to say that we minister the Precious Blood at each Mass?"
Having pointed out the telling error, I usually get a response like, "Ok, you know what you mean," or even a "whatever" from otherwise observant Catholics!
No, I don't think I know what you mean. No, not whatever! Do we really believe that this is not wine but the Precious Blood of Christ poured out from the Cross in the ratification of the New and Eternal Covenant?
Stop wondering why people don't come to church. Here's your answer. Catholics have ceased to believe in the Real Presence. I wouldn't bother either. Even more disturbing, most of the people with whom I have had this conversation have been older Catholics who were taught better. Who has untaught them the doctrine of the faith? Who?
And woe to us friars too! This is why we forsake our own chapel where we might pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and with images of the Capuchin saints on the windows to recite our office around a fake fireplace. It is an intense privilege to live under the same roof as the Blessed Sacrament! People go out of their way to pray in the Presence! But for us it is 'too far away' even though it's the same building!
Who has untaught us the faith?
< /rant >
Extra credit to someone who caught the Merton quote.