Saturday, 25 August 2012

Liturgy help and the bread of life - still absent in Brisbane?

Surely the most crucial difference between protestant and Catholic beliefs goes to the Eucharist: Catholics believe it really and truly is the flesh and blood of Jesus that is consumed; protestants see the bread and wine simply as a memorial of the last supper.

Unfortunately, all too many Catholics, led astray by false teaching from their pastors and others in official positions, as well as a liturgy that serves to undermine rather than reinforce belief, have lost any sense of the Real Presence.

A reader sent me a classic example of the kind of subversion that is still occurring in many dioceses; this particular one comes from Brisbane

The bread of life discourse

There are certain Sunday readings that almost invariably generate a spate of erroneous sermons, last Sunday's Bread of Life discourse (St John 6: 51-58) in the Ordinary Form being one of them.

One thing though to give a sermon - we might, after all, have misheard or misunderstood!

Quite another, though, to include an entirely erroneous reflection on the Gospel in one's parish bulletin, as the parish of Holy Family in Indooroopilly (Brisbane Archdiocese) did last week.

And the reflection comes courtesy of serial offender, Archdiocesan Education Commission employee, Greg Sunter.

A literal interpretation is 'impossible'?!

Let's take a look at what Mr Sunter had to say (my comments are in red):

"This Gospel passage continues the 'Bread of Life' discourse that we have been following through the Gospel of St John for a few weeks now.  It overlaps with the reading from last week with Jesus announcing that his flesh is 'the bread of life'.  Not surprisingly, the Jewish audience is horrified by the idea of eating human flesh. [So far, ok] Jesus drives his point home further with his audience by also referring to the drinking of blood.  In Jewish tradition, even to touch blood made a person ritually unclean.  Any meat that was to be eaten had to be drained of blood according to kosher rules. [Is this little digression on Jewish food laws really necessary?  Surely the talk of cannibalism is enough to shock the audience!]  The words used by Jesus in this passage are so confronting that they cannot possibly be taken literally.  It is a complete overstatement of the image to try to make sure that a literal interpretation is impossible. [Oh really?  That would be why the crowd, including most of the disciples deserted Our Lord then, as this week's Gospel relates?!  In fact of course, the Church does take this passage extremely literally indeed, quoting it half a dozen times or more in the Catechism in relation to the Eucharist.  It is the basis for the teaching that 'The Eucharist is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus...' (CCCC 271), and that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is present sacramentally 'in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity' (CCCC 282).  And it is this teaching that can rise to rumours amongst the Romans that the early Christians practised cannibalism!]

The modernist view though...

Mr Sunter, however, rather than wanting us to take it literally goes on to try and explain away our Lord's famous 'hard saying':

"When the Gospel writer has Jesus speaking [is he suggesting that the 'Gospel writer' is not in fact recording what was really said, or that he was not writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?!] he is drawing on a very old image of eating and drinking as representing 'absorbing'; or 'comprehending'; or 'understanding' the message of the speakerIn this ancient understanding [not ancient at all, rather very modern indeed, not to say a modernist understanding!], to 'eat the flesh of Jesus' is to take into oneself and accept everything that Jesus stands for;  everything that Jesus teaches [by magic!]; everything that Jesus believes [Jesus believes?!  Jesus is God; he doesn't believe, he knows!  Yep another error].  It is an act of fait.  When we received Christ in the Eucharist, is this the depth of significance and purpose with which we take communion? [yep it is all about us in Mr Sunter's view.  Totally Pelagian, no grace involved.]

Mr Sunter then continues with some entirely speculative material on when the Gospel was written and its links to early Christian practice.

Sad stuff.

'Liturgy help'!

Mr Sunter's erroneous reflections (and there seem to be a quite a number of them around, all similarly erroneous on content), appear to be distributed by an organisation called Liturgy Help, which clams to be 'fully authorised by the Catholic Church to publish official liturgical texts online'.  Nominally operating out of Hobart (when is a new Archbishop going to be appointed!) it accordingly distributes texts, ordo and other material for inclusion in parish bulletins around Australia and overseas for a price.

The ACBC and Mr Sunter's bishop, surely need to take some action on this one!

Please pray for Archbishop Coleridge, charged with cleaning up the black hole of a diocese that is Brisbane, as well as all those charged with the prevention of the spread of error.

May they take the necessary action to clean this kind of stuff out and ensure that the actual faith is taught, not this subversion and error.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Hopefully it has already been done, but when outrageous direct denials of Catholic doctrines appear in the bulletin of a Catholic parish, as many parishioners as possible should protest to the parish priest orally, in writing, by email and demand that the blatatly false statements be corrected in the following week's bulletin (even though this won't prevent the damage that's already been done. And if the PP takes no action repeat the same to the bishop the following week. And all should write to the bishop asking that the offending author and organisation be withdrawn from accreduitation as a (presumably) episcopally-approved source of "Gospel reflections".