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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Stick a fork in We Are Church--they're just about done.

One of those remarkably predictable Catholic reform movements that have cropped up from time-to-time since Vatican II, We Are Church, started in Austria in 1995, has issued a desperate press release showing that they are 20,000 feet up, out of fuel, experiencing turbulence and more than 100 miles from the nearest airport. A whole thirty--that's 30.00-- people showed up at their gab-con, but that's not what made news. It was the spectacle of yet another batch of self-styled Catholics whizzing on their heritage that was noteworthy. The key grafs:

We equally hope that, while professing the mystery of Eucharist and believing the risen Christ is truly present in it, there should be full freedom in philosophical and theological discussions of this mystery, precisely because Scriptures do not explain the "way" of this "presence". This convergence in claiming the "presence" and maintaining freedom in the explanation of its possible "how" is what was envisaged by the ecumenical agreement achieved in Lima in 1981 in the document "Baptism, Eucharist, Ministries", which was also signed by Catholic theologians.
The contrary persistence of insisting upon “transubstantiation" dogma to explain Christ's presence in the Eucharist, as Instrumentum laboris does, triggers and strengthens a magical, materialistic, and legalistic mentality, in which Jesus is seen descending on the altar at the time the priest pronounces the words "This is my body, this is my blood...". That happens at the expense of the invocation of the Holy Spirit, of other holy moments of Eucharist and, obviously, of "convivial" or communal facets.

Translation: "We find the consistent Catholic teaching on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist deeply, deeply mortifying to us as 'thinking Catholics.' Our enlightened Protestant friends keep sniggering at us at all the best parties. Stop it. Stop it now!"

The fact that they have to call for the abolition of transubstantiation is actually a very heartening thing. Why? Because they have to up the ante to garner even a glimmer of attention any more. Having already demanded an "open" priesthood, "inclusive" liturgies and the dismantling of the governing body of the Church--who the hell is going to read yet another interminable presser/harangue about "democratic structures"?--now they have to hollow out the Sacraments to get noticed. Credit where it's due--it worked.

But it won't work next time--a screedy diktat about confirmation is going to get ignored. About the only thing left is the person of Christ Himself. So you can pretty much expect a Haightian rumination about "dead but alive in our hearts" in the near future. When that arrives: turn out the lights--the party's over.

Call To Action, you are on the clock.

[Hat tip to Mark for the heads-up.]

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