Many people we know went to attend the Eucharistic Congress from Australia. Some of them only stuck it out for a day and a half and left in disgust as the talks had little to do with the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration. One expects that at a Eucharistic congress all talks would be focused on the Eucharist. Others commented that it was organised or hijacked by feminist nuns who obviously had their heyday in the 1970's. While there were Masses and Eucharistic Adoration and a Eucharistic procession the talks were totally disconnected from the Eucharistic theme. However some who attended said they couldn't find where the Eucharistic Adoration chapel was located.
What a wasted opportunity! Here was a chance to begin the new evangelisation of Ireland. This Evangelisation must be Eucharistic Evangelisation. This could have ushered in a new Eucharistic era in the history of the Irish Church. As lay people and youth are embracing Eucharistic Adoration and Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as the wave of the future, the old guard of modernist and liberal hippies and new agers and their fellow travellers cling to the rather bland and dated 70's approach as if the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI never happened.
Father Simon Henry writes : "...I recalled that last year someone involved with the Congress from Ireland told me that the Archbishop of Dublin had "forbidden" any talks on Eucharistic Adoration. I looked at the web-site of the Congress and found that there are, in fact, times of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with adoration and prayer. However, looking through the extensive programme of talks, I couldn't see any talks on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Perhaps I've missed them and am wrong and someone who is actually there could put me right. It does strike me as a little odd, as many of the thriving new communities in the Church are very focused on Adoration and indeed, Perpetual Adoration, of the Blessed Sacrament. Indeed, the Holy Father was speaking about this on Corpus Christi last week - a theme he has returned to quite often..."
Another priest on a blog also wrote: "...On a related note, as relayed to us by Father Henry, there was a decision to exclude exhortations to Eucharistic Adoration from Congress talks. This too takes me back to my time in seminary (the late eighties, early nineties) when it was common to hear that “the Eucharist was given so we could eat and drink It, not worship It”; and that “the Old Mass was too priest-centred”. But in all honesty, what have we got today? The Real Presence -to which the worship of latria is to be given- is placed in the corner like a naughty boy or shunted off to another room while the priest takes Its place at the apex of the ‘stage’ to face his audience/congregation. Surely, to remove the Lord from the apex and replace Him with the priest (who no longer faces the Lord rising in the East so as to lead His people toward Him but faces the people so as to engage them -often by humour and affectatious intonation in gesture and prayer) is to become more priest-centred than ever before?.."
It is time the Irish Church and much of the rest of the Western Church were dragged kicking and screaming out of the 1970's. They need to embrace the Third Millennium which Pope John Paul II consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as preparation for the new Eucharistic springtime of the Church. We want Peter, we want Mary and most of all we want Jesus in the Eucharist proclaimed as the source and summit of all Christian life and spirituality.