The pivotal point of the Catholic Faith is the Eucharist. Catholics believe that in Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Bishop Manning's Reflection - "Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist" (October AD2000) - presents this Catholic belief simply and clearly.
We have the Pope, in addressing the Congregation of Divine Worship recently, stating that we must keep "a profound sense of the sacred" in our liturgy and in the November AD2000 we have a plea from James Connolly, looking for the "real" Catholic Church.
Regular readers of AD2000 need not be reminded of the progressive loss of the "sense of the sacred" in our liturgy, and particularly in respect to the Blessed Sacrament, that has occurred in Australia and elsewhere.
An old friend once told me that when he was stationed in Normandy after the invasion, he had the opportunity of visiting the local Catholic church quite frequently. When one of his non-religious soldier friends inquired the reason for this, my friend told him of his belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle. His friend responded that if he held such a belief he too would be there every moment that he could.
Over 20 years ago, early in 1980, the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship issued the Instruction Inaestimabile Donum - "on certain norms concerning worship of the Eucharistic Mystery" - expressing concern at the varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world.
The purpose of this document was to put a stop to the abuses that had been occurring prior to 1980, but the last 20 years have shown that that document, like so many other instructions from Rome, has been largely ignored.
It is up to our bishops and clergy to re-educate the Catholic laity in the Real Presence. To observe those present at many Sunday Masses one could well believe that Christ is not present. Instead of reverence we witness the bonhomie that must accompany the congregational emphasis now so prevalent. Instead of silence in the presence of our Creator and Saviour we have a babble of noise before and after Mass. It is at times nearly impossible to silently prepare for Mass or make one's thanksgiving afterwards.