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Ed Rowan wrote:

Hi, guys—

Several weeks ago, the rector at the Co-Cathedral here in Charleston, West Virginia, told me Adoration and Church theology were in conflict. Since then, I have been active in drawing more people into daily Adoration, though the rector has become very uneasy. His words to me came about the same time the Bishop in St. Petersburg banned Adoration in his diocese. I wrote my Bishop to get some guidance on this theology thing. My Bishop responded and avoided any mention of the matter, then last Sunday, the rector devoted a portion of his sermon condemning those parishioners (me) who go to the Bishop seeking guidance. He said his background was sufficient to answer any questions relating to the faith.

  • Keeping in mind he told me face-to-face, that Adoration and Church theology were in conflict, where do I go from here?

I'm in charge of Adoration and would hate to step aside, however I would, to keep the rector from attacking people like me. I was just trying to seek some help from the Bishop on this issue; he is the actual the pastor here.

Some problem, right?

Ed Rowan

  { What should I do if both my bishop and pastor see Adoration in conflict with Church theology? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Ed —

You said:
Several weeks ago, the rector at the Co-Cathedral here in Charleston, West Virginia, told me Adoration and Church theology were in conflict.

The only way that statement could possibly be close to true is if, pastorally, Adoration was being promoted more than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As Catholics we believe that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the supreme and sole form of public worship to Jesus Christ, Our Lord and God.

Eucharistic Adoration does not undermine, but supplements and compliments it.
It is our personal worship of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Take a look at our "Pastor approved" [PDF] Eucharist Adoration Mission statement.

If your pastor has problems with this, more then likely, the problem is with your pastor, seeing our Cardinal, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, has always supported our Perpetual Adoration ministry here in the Natick area.

You said:
Since then, I have been active in drawing more people into daily Adoration, though the rector has become very uneasy. His words to me came about the same time the Bishop in St. Petersburg banned Adoration in his diocese. I wrote my Bishop to get some guidance on this "theology thing". My Bishop responded and avoided any mention of the matter, then last Sunday, the rector devoted a portion of his sermon condemning those parishioners (me) who go to the Bishop seeking guidance. He said his background was sufficient to answer any questions relating to the faith.

It sounds like you weren't the only one to write to the bishop. The issue at question is weather your pastor is meeting your spiritual needs, as he is required to do according to Vatican II. Obviously, he is not. You have a duty and a responsibility, as a Catholic, to make your spiritual needs known to your pastor and to tell him when he is not meeting your spiritual needs.

I usually say, "Father, In the spirit of Vatican II," then I quote "Canon 212 # 2:

§2 Christ's faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.

Warning: Quoting canon law to a priest or pastor usually will not make his day, but it is important because canon law exists to protect the lay Catholics from, what I would say are, poor priests or priests that need prayers.

I believe this is Jesus' way of protecting the spiritual needs of its members!

The following is from the Church's Code of Canon Law, Canon 212:

Title I : The Obligations and Rights Of All Christ's Faithful

Canon 212 §1 Christ's faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show Christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.

§2 Christ's faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.

§3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ's faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

You said:

  • Keeping in mind he told me face-to-face, that Adoration and Church theology were in conflict, where do I go from here?

I'm in charge of Adoration and would hate to step aside, however ...

If he has not told you to step aside, don't. I believe, you will get many graces for what you are doing. In cases like these, I would always start from the bottom and work up. If your pastor is not meeting your spiritual needs, write to your bishop, telling him the results of any conversation with your pastor. (He will probably ask if you have already talked to the pastor on the issue.)

If the local bishop is not meeting your spiritual needs as well, either write to a nearby Cardinal in your area or write to the Vatican Pro-Nuncio in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Apostolic Nunciature
3339 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008

If you are having a hard time resolving an issue with a bishop, sending a letter to these addresses would not hurt either:

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
VATICAN CITY

Archbishop William Levada
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio 11
00193 Rome, Italy

Giovanni Battista Re
Sacred Congregation for Bishops
Piazza Pio XII 10
00193 Rome, Italy

Francis Cardinal Arinze
Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship
Piazza Pio XII 10
00193 Rome, Italy

Hope this helps,

Your brother in prayer, your brother in Christ,

Mike Humphrey

John Griffin replied:

Hi, Ed —

Next time you run into someone who says it "ain't kosher", pass them the following.

In His Peace,

John


From L'Osservatore Romano August 5, 1991, Statutes Approved for the Recently Established Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.

Decree on Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration

With "a lively appreciation of the purpose of the 'Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration,' as an association of the faithful dedicated to promoting Eucharistic worship and devotion, and having as "a particular character of its apostolate of prayer that of perpetual adoration before the exposed Blessed Sacrament" (Statutes: Preamble);

Bearing in mind that the said Association has already promoted, over a considerable number of years, experiences of "Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration" in numerous parishes and dioceses of various countries, always with due respect for the liturgical directives of the Catholic Church and in communion with the Diocesan Ordinaries and the parish priests concerned;

Considering also that the said Association intends to develop communication and cooperation with other approved associations of Christ's faithful that pursue similar purposes;

After receiving the testimony of Bishops of various countries who know, appreciate and encourage the "Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration";

After having studied and revised the statutes of the Association and having found them to be in harmony with the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church;

Observing that "competent ecclesiastical authority alone has the right to erect associations of the Christian faithful which set out to teach Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship or which aim at other ends whose pursuit by their nature is reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority." (CIC Can. 301, 1)

The Pontifical Council for the Laity Decrees

The erection of the Association of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as a universal and international public association of the faithful, with juridic personality, in accordance with Book II, Part I, Title V of the Code of Canon Law, and the approval of its Statutes, the original text of which has been deposited in the Archives of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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