Archive for category Closer

CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS

The Face of Christ in the Face of the Church

One of the fundamental teachings found in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio ineunte and the recent Rosarium Virginis Mariae, concerns the intimate and inseparable bond between Jesus Christ and his Mystical Body, which is the Church, through which he continues his saving mission among men who live through the centuries. This is certainly a subject that deserves some reflection, both for its current theological and pastoral importance.

1. Contemporary man needs to see the Face of Christ

The human person is “the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake” (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 24). “From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1703), which will have its fulfilment in the future life. Really, what God willed with the creation of the human person is that he/she reach total fulfilment (E. Colom – A. Rodríguez Luño, Chosen by Christ to be Saints. Elements of Fundamental Moral Theology, Rome 1999, pp. 66-67). To achieve such a goal is the last end and unifying principle of all of human existence. St Augustine expounds it with the famous expression: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You” (St Augustine, Confessions, I, 1).

This aspiration to the absolute good “is presented and lived by the Christian as the aspiration to holiness, understood as the fullness of divine sonship, which is realized on earth in the following and imitation of Christ” (E. Colom – A. Rodríguez Luño, lop. cit., p. 55). St Paul is extremely clear in this regard: God the Father “chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him … in love” (Eph, 1,4-5). This is the fundamental vocation of the human person, of every human person.

Only in Christ, therefore, can we fulfil our highest vocation, and thus satisfy our deepest desire and find an adequate answer to the many questions which lie in our heart.

Precisely for this reason, the human person, and particularly contemporary man, wants to see Christ: “We wish to see Jesus” (Jn 12,21). After recalling this request made to the Apostle Philip by the Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover, the Pope emphasizes in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte that “the men and women of our own day – often perhaps unconsciously – ask believers not only to “speak’ of Christ, but in a certain sense to “show’ him to them” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, 6 January 2001, n. 16). In effect, without Christ, and without the full consciousness of his original vocation, the human person’s earthly life loses its bearing and everything becomes confused and unclear. St Peter’s words have value for every age: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (Jn 6,68), you have the words of love.

In reality, “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being who is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love…. The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly … must … draw near to Christ” (John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptor hominis, 4 March 1979, n. 10), to see his loving face.

2. The Face of Christ in the face of the Church

1. The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium begins by affirming two basic teachings: “Christ is the light of all nations. Hence this most sacred Synod, which has been gathered in the Holy Spirit, eagerly desires to shed on all men that radiance of his which brightens the countenance of the Church. This it will do by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature” (Lumen gentium, n. 1). The Conciliar document emphasizes the sacramental character of the Church: she “in Christ, is a kind of sacrament or sign of intimate union with God, and of the unity of all mankind”. In speaking of the People of God, the text returns to this concept: “God … has established … the Church, that for each and all she may be the visible sacrament of this saving unity” (ibid., n. 9).

Henri de Lubac figuratively expresses this sacramental reality of the Church, observing that “If Christ is the sacrament of God, the Church is for us the sacrament of Christ” (H. de Lubac, Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, trans. by Lancelot C. Sheppard and Sr Elizabeth Englund, OCD, Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 1988, p. 76). The sacramental emphasis is, undoubtedly, the theological viewpoint which best allows us to understand not only the Christological but also the ecclesiological mystery. Affirming that the Church is a sacrament of Christ, in fact, means that her sole purpose is to make present and to reveal the face of Christ to every man; to “reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make his face shine also before the generations of the new millennium” (Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 16); in short, to be “the perennial epiphany” of the God-man, “a simultaneously human and divine being, in which the human is the instrument

and manifestation of the divine” (J. A. Möhler, Symbolik, 36, 6, ed. Monaco, 1985, p. 333).

2. In what way does the Church make Christ present and reveal his face? What should we respond to those who, like the Magi who came from the East to Jerusalem to adore Jesus, ask today as well, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” (Mt 2,2).

The Church accomplishes her work of making him present when she exercises her three-fold office of teaching, sanctifying and governing.

In the office of teaching, she makes present the face of Christ the Teacher, since he is present in his Word read in the Church and by the Church and interpreted by the Magisterium (cf. Dei verbum, n. 10,1-3; Lumen gentium, nn. 24-25; Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7,1). The authority of the Magisterium is exercised in the name of Jesus and is at the service of the Word of God, never above it (cf. Dei verbum, n. 10,2). It is Christ who speaks through the mouth of the Church.

In the office of sanctifying, the Church makes present and reveals the face of Christ the Priest. It is enough to recall a text from the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium: “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of his minister, … but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7,1).

Finally, in the exercise of the office of governing, the Church makes present the face of Christ the King (cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 21,1-2 and 27,1. See G. Philips, L’Église et son mystère au II Concile du Vatican, T. I. ed. Desclée, Paris 1967, pp. 248-252 and 349-354. Regarding the relativity and fallibility of concrete measures in the government of the Church, cf. the reflections of Ch. Journet, Il carattere teandrico della Chiesa, in G. Baraúna [dir.], “La Chiesa del Vaticano II”, ed. Vallecchi, Florence 1965, pp. 359-360). This is perhaps the place where the human element emerges with greatest clarity; but seeking to diminish its importance or relegate it to a secondary level would be nothing else than a refusal of the lex incarnationis. For this reason, the Constitution Lumen gentium recalls that the Bishops govern the particular churches entrusted to them “as the vicars of Christ” in his name (Lumen gentium, n. 27,1).

In sum, the Church is called to reflect his Face, the face of Christ Teacher, Prophet, Priest and King, in order that we can say of her in relation to Christ what Christ said of himself in relation to the Father: “He who has seen me, has seen the Father” (Jn 14,9). The basic mission of the Church is to be the transparence of Christ and of his face. Human beings have the inalienable right to be able to see the face of the Lord in the face of the Church, in order that in her and through her they can see and contemplate him.

We need to be accurate in what we mean. The Church, to whom the sublime mission has been entrusted to make present and reveal the face of Christ to the human person, is not only constituted by her structures, but also by all the members of the People of God. With the Incarnation in a certain sense Christ united himself to every human being (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 22,2), but He is present, in a special way, in each of the faithful. Such an intimate and profound presence can be explained in terms of identification.

St. Augustine expresses this with his usual concision: “Let us rejoice, therefore, and give thanks to God: not only have we become Christians, but we have become Christ Himself. Do you understand, brothers? Are you aware of the grace which God has poured out upon us? Be glad and amazed: we have become Christ! If Christ is the head and we the members, he and we are the complete man” (St Augustine, In Iohannis evangelium tractatus, tr. 21, 8).

In effect, baptism confers upon the one who receives it a configuration with Christ that here on earth is already real, though at the same time imperfect as a goal that is to be reached. The Christian has the face of Christ imprinted in his heart in an indelible fashion. He is not only alter Christus, but ipse Christus, in the classic, well-known expression.

The ultimate end of every human person essentially consists in a full and total identification with Christ, in being an ever more perfect reflection of his face. In thus expressing ourselves, we repeat one of the fundamental chapters of Pauline theology. Speaking of Christ’s intimate and vital relationship with those who are reborn in the baptismal waters, St Paul is extremely clear and precise, affirming: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2,20), words which apply to every baptized person (cf. II Cor 13,5; Col 3,4).

The Christian’s identification with Christ should be expressed in everyday life. He/she is called to make Christ present and to manifest his Face to others with a personal witness. Paul VI’s words are ever valid: “Contemporary man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, or if he listens to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (Paul VI, Discourse to members of the “Council for the Laity”, General Audience, 2 October 1974; ORE, 10 October 1974, p. 1). John Paul II also affirms: “Today people are slow to trust verbal affirmations and amphatic declarations, but they want deeds; so they look at these witnesses with interest, with attention and also with admiration. It could even be said that in order to function properly, the much desired meditation between the Church and the modern world needs witnesses who can infuse their own lives with the perennial truth of the Gospel and at the same time make it an instrument of salvation for their brothers and sisters” (John Paul II, Discourse to a group of scholars, authors of the hagiographical series “History of the Saints and of Christian Holiness”; ORE, 11 March 1992, p. 4).

3. The Face of Christ in the Saints and Witnesses of the Church

1. The face of Christ shines most intensely in the saints and witnesses of the faith, since in the virtue of their docility to the Spirit, the conformity with Jesus received in baptism appears most clearly in them: they have become more ipse Christus in participating in his life and mission.

But the face of Christ which is reflected in the Saints, and which they have in turn revealed to the world, is that of the Lord who died and rose again, of whom the Pope speaks in Novo Millennio ineunte: “As on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Church pauses in contemplation of this bleeding face, which conceals the life of God and offers salvation to the world. But her contemplation of Christ’s face cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One. He is the Risen One.

Were this not so, our preaching would be in vain and our faith empty (cf. I Cor 15,14)…. It is the Risen Christ to whom the Church now looks…. Gazing on the face of Christ, the Bride contemplates her treasure and her joy. “Dulcis Iesus memoria, dans vera cordis gaudia’” (ibid., n. 28).

This is what the saints have done. In the variety of their charisms and the plurality of their vocations, they have had the humble boldness to fix their gaze upon the face of the risen Christ, totally living their radical evangelical way of life as a fascinating adventure of the Spirit. They have reached the highest peaks of sanctity, contemplating him with love.

This is certainly the basic task of every Christian, who is called to be, first and foremost, one who contemplates the face of Christ. John Paul II emphasizes this forcefully in his recent Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, signed in St Peter’s Square, on 16 October 2002. In the Letter, the Pope is extremely clear and precise: “To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendour definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every disciple of Christ and therefore the task of each of us” (RVM, n. 9). The Saints are those who understood and lived intensely this mission as a true requirement of their Baptism. They have been the outstanding contemplatives of the face of the Crucified and Risen Lord.

By contemplating the face of Christ, moreover, they have “become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit” (ibid.).

By acting in this way, the saints have realized Paul’s words: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (II Cor 3,18; cf. RVM, n. 9).

2. By contemplating the face of Christ, the saints and witnesses of the faith imitate the Virgin Mary, who is the perfect exemplar of one who contemplates the face of the Lord. The Pope strongly emphasizes this in his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary: “In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary…. Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple…. It would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2,5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross…. On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1,14). Mary lived with her eyes fixed on Christ, treasuring his every word: “She kept all these things, pondering them in her heart’” (Lk 2,19; cf. 2,51).

With the help of grace, the saints and witnesses of the faith have tried exactly to do this: to contemplate the clear and glorious face of Christ, and to make it shine before the world of their time. They have done this with their personal testimony, and often with the sacrifice of their lives, which, for the Christian, is always the supreme testimony of faith in the Risen Lord.

3. For this reason, as the Pope notes, the Saints have always been the true makers of human history. “The real history of humanity is comprised of the story of sanctity…: the saints and blesseds all appear as “witnesses’, that is as persons who, confessing Christ, his person and his doctrine, have given concrete consistency and credible expression to one of the essential elements of the Church, namely sanctity.

Without such continual witness, the moral and religious doctrine preached by the Church would risk being confused with a purely human ideology. It is instead a doctrine of life; that is, it is applicable to life: a “livable’ doctrine based upon the example given to us by Christ Himself, who proclaims “I am the life’ (Jn 14,6), and affirms that He has come to give this life and to give it in abundance (cf. Jn 10,10)”.

Sanctity is not a theoretical ideal, but understood in the fundamental sense of communion with the One who is the incarnate holiness of the Father, it “is a particularly urgent need in our time” (John Paul II, Discourse, 15 Feb. 1992 op. cit.). Presenting sanctity to the faithful today more than ever, is for the Pope an urgent need of the pastoral action of the Church (cf. NMI, nn 30-31).

Yes. It is saints that the Church and world need. Saints who, after “having seen” the face of Christ, considered in its historical traits and in the ineffable mystery, have given “witness” to it (cf. Jn 19,35). The need is of saints who live with absolute consonance a bold evangelical style of life and Christian virtues.

“We wear ourselves out”, Archbishop Chiaretti of Perugia observes, “We wear ourselves out following the people to speak to them about Jesus Christ. On the contrary we should become saints ourselves, and then it will be the people who will seek us. We have seen this many times, for example, with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John XXIII…. How many people were attracted to them. They loved them, followed them, and not out of a morbid curiosity … but rather because they saw in these individuals the signs of the presence and the love of Jesus through their prayer, meekness, generosity, help for the needy, and love of the Church” (Archbishop G. Chiaretti, Archbishop of Perugia, Pastoral Letter for Lent 2001).

As the philosopher Jacques Maritain observed, Christian holiness is the fitting way to demonstrate the existence of a loving and merciful God to unbelievers, it is the only Gospel which contemporary man still reads, listens to, and understands.

“It is with holiness of life”, writes Archbishop Chiaretti, “that the Christian becomes “interesting’; even for a distracted public opinion. Interesting not because he works “miracles’ … but because he has the courage to go against the tide, he is not ashamed of his faith, rather he speaks of it with joy and enthusiasm, he shows consistency in all of his choices, he knows the personal price of the social marginalization to which he may be condemned, forgiving and loving those who place him upon the cross” (cf. ibid.).

John Paul II says in Novo Millennio ineunte that, strengthened by the experience of the face of the risen Lord, the Church continues on its path today with renewed hope, proclaiming Christ to the world at the beginning of the third millennium. This has been the constant path followed by the saints and witnesses of the faith. This is the path that we are called to travel, to live fully the Paschal Mystery of the risen Lord and to make his resplendent face known to the men of our time.

Christian holiness essentially consists in this: in being a reflection of the holiness of God which shines on the face of Christ. This is our duty, as Cardinal Newman emphasized in one of his meditations: “Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as you shine: so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from you. None of it will be mine. No merit to me. It will be you who shines through me upon others…. Make me preach you without preaching – not by words, but by my example and by the catching force, the sympathetic influence, of what I do – by my visible resemblance to your saints, and the evident fulness of the love which my heart bears to you” (Prayers, Verses and Devotion, John Henry Newman, Ignatius press, San Francisco, p. 389).

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins

Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

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Why College Students are Rediscovering Adoration

Students at AdorationHave you heard? Here you can buy college essays. There’s a new trend on Catholic campuses and it’s transforming lives. Students are rediscovering Eucharistic Adoration, a timeless Church tradition. There’s nothing difficult about it:

Just take some time for prayer in front of Jesus.’ Glorify Him.’ Beseech Him.’ Come to a deeper understanding of Him as you contemplate His tremendous sacrifice for you and all mankind.’ Love Him.

Could you not watch one hour with Me?’ That question alone justifies the time that we spend with our Lord.’ But there are other benefits:

  • Experience God&’s grace, inviting you to a genuine, personal encounter with Christ truly present in the Eucharist and helping you stay faithful to Him.
  • Find peace in the love Christ showers upon you. Take a break from your hectic schedule, put your soul at rest, and build the strength that you need to succeed in college and life.
  • Work out relationship problems and other troubles with Christ, who shares both your joys and your sorrows by His sacrifice laid out before you.
  • Root your studies, athletics, charitable and social justice work, and all endeavors in Christ by first pondering and sharing in His sacrifice.’ Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen put it best when he said, Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him.
  • Experience the greatest high of your college years, one that will transform you and bring you constant joy!

What is Eucharistic Adoration?
At Eucharistic Adoration, a priest or deacon places the Eucharist in the form of an unconsumed host into a monstrance, a “showcase” designed to allow the display and worship of Jesus in the Eucharist. Then, for a designated period of time, all are encouraged to visit Jesus to pray and worship. On a deeper level, Eucharistic Adoration is our response to Jesus&’ promise: And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. We worship in awe the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity whose entire person, body, blood, soul, and divinity, is REALLY PRESENT. Perpetuated through the centuries, the Church has developed the devotion of adoring Christ, exposed for all to see, in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
How do I participate?

  • Individual sessions of Adoration are typically for one hour at a time. Each one-hour session is called a Holy Hour. It&’s good to get into the habit of making at least one or two Holy Hours every week. By making this commitment, we gradually begin to want to spend more time with Jesus. If you&’ve never participated in Eucharistic Adoration before, it is good to start with just an hour. This, however, does not at all mean that visits for less than one hour are not acceptable. A visit can be 5, 15, or 30 minutes, or even just 30 seconds as you make your way to class. Jesus is there, ready and waiting to fill you with His love.

How do I get started?

  • Eucharistic Adoration requires the permission and participation of the priest(s) responsible for your campus church or chapel.’ But faculty, staff, or students often organize the program, especially by scheduling at least one person to be present with the Eucharist at all times that Christ is displayed.’ Contact your campus ministry about participating in Adoration or getting it started.’ For advice and resources, contact the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC).

 

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THE EUCHARIST:
TO BE LOVED, TO BE LIVED
A Pastoral Letter on the Centrality of the Eucharist
Dear Friends in Christ:
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. (Jn 6:53-54)
These words of Jesus remind us as clearly as possible of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Catholic Faith. The Eucharist is, in the simplest yet most profound of terms, the source of life. In giving us the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus gave us his very own body and blood, a priceless gift, one that enriches our spiritual lives here on earth and leads us eventually to the perfection of eternal life in heaven.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches us again of the importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Christian:

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life… For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself… By the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life… In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith. (#s 1324-1327)
The teaching and lived experience of the Church have helped us to understand more fully the many dimensions of the Eucharist. It is a sacrifice—the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; it is a sacrament—the real presence of Christ under the forms of bread and wine; it is a meal—the same memorial meal Jesus shared with his apostles at the Last Supper; it is a liturgical celebration—a public proclamation of our faith in sign and symbol.
The Eucharist is all this and much more. No single one of these dimensions is sufficient unto itself to fully reveal the meaning of the Eucharist; none of them can be overlooked in fully appreciating the magnitude of the gift. The Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery: to be loved, to be lived.
Our shared preparation for the coming of the Third Millennium also centers on and leads us to the Eucharist. As the Holy Father writes in “Tertio Millennio Adveniente,” “Since Christ is the only way to the Father, the year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Savior who took flesh in Mary’s womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of Divine Life.” (TMA, #55)
Certainly every active member of the Church recognizes and fully appreciates the centrality of the Eucharist in our individual Catholic lives and in the communal life of the Church. No person of authentic Catholic Faith will deny the teaching of the Church about the Eucharist.
And yet, because of human nature, we often take our gifts for granted, even the most special of our gifts— our life, our health, our family, our friends and our faith. It is even possible, because of our weakness and perhaps because the Eucharist is so readily available to us, to take the Eucharist for granted and to become less than clear about its meaning and importance.
Recent surveys throughout the nation have suggested that this is exactly what has taken place in the Church. And while the validity and meaning of the surveys can be questioned, they do raise up serious concerns and provide us with an opportunity of renewing our understanding and appreciation of the most Blessed Sacrament.
For some time now, in a number of different settings, I have been discussing questions related to the Eucharist. This topic has been presented at meetings of the Priests’ Council, the Pastoral Council and priests within their deaneries. I have discussed it formally and informally. These discussions have been extremely valuable and a number of important insights and suggestions have been shared.
It is encouraging to note, first of all, that the Church in Youngstown does truly understand the teaching of the Church about the Eucharist and appreciates it as the foundation of our spiritual life, the “sum and summary of our faith.” There is also a general consensus that most Catholics have a ready understanding of the Catholic teaching about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, that, “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, substantially contained’.” (Catechism, #1374) The conversations I have heard about the Eucharist are, therefore, most encouraging. And I might add that my own travels throughout the Diocese and my participation in the liturgies of our parishes have confirmed that estimation.
At the same time, however, most of our recent discussions have also suggested that we need constantly to affirm the teaching of the Church about the Eucharist, that it is necessary to stress again and again, the profound meaning of the Eucharist so that in fact we never lose sight of its beauty and importance. Some have suggested that, in particular, younger Catholics may not have received clear sufficient teaching about the Eucharist and that we have a special obligation to reach out to them with this message.
During our discussions I regularly asked what the Church in the Diocese of Youngstown might do to strengthen our understanding of the teaching about the Eucharist. In response, a number of very practical and specific suggestions were offered. I offer them to you here with the hope that they will provide a starting point for additional and prayerful reflection.
I. The key to maintaining our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the faithful and vibrant celebration of the Sunday Eucharist.
As Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, wrote in his recent pastoral letter about Sunday Mass: “We the Church assemble on the Lord’s Day, and that assembly, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, speaks and listens to the Word of God, makes holy and is made holy by its eucharistic praying and the sacred banquet of holy communion.” (“Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass”)
Cardinal Mahony’s words echo those of “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”: “It was above all on ‘the first day of the week,’ Sunday, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, that the Christians met ‘to break bread.’ From that time on down to our day the celebration of the Eucharist has been continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the same fundamental structure. It remains the center of the Church’s life.” (#1343)
I invite the parishes of the Youngstown Diocese to review their celebration of the Sunday Eucharist to be certain that it is both faithful and vibrant: faithful to the liturgical directives of the Church and vibrant in encouraging all of God’s People toward the “full, conscious and active participation” demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. And parishes should continue to reach out to those members who do not regularly attend Sunday Mass, inviting them to become a part of the Eucharistic community.
And in highlighting the centrality of Sunday Eucharist, we should not overlook the wonderful tradition of daily Mass, which is expected of our priests, and which many of the faithful find to be a source of great comfort and blessing in their lives.

II. Pastors and catechists should use special moments throughout the liturgical year to teach the people, especially young people, about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The liturgical year of the Church provides frequent opportunities to speak about the Eucharist. Such occasions would include the celebration of First Holy Communion in the parish, the Solemnities of Corpus Christi and Christ the King, Holy Thursday, the Easter Season, and other occasions when the Scriptures lend themselves to Eucharistic themes.
We should be especially attentive to children and young people to be certain that in the formative years of their lives, they are receiving clear and direct teaching about the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.
Our teaching about the Eucharist should be a constant, ongoing process so that the People of God are frequently reminded of the beauty of the holy mystery in their midst.

III. Parishes and institutions should carefully review how the Blessed Sacrament is handled.
In some of our discussions the point was made that the manner in which we handle the Eucharist is a powerful sign of what we believe about the Eucharist. It was also suggested that familiarity may breed carelessness with the Eucharist.
Questions to be considered: Do we carry, receive, distribute and reserve the Eucharist with obvious reverence? Do we remember that “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist?” (Catechism, #1377) Are we careful and prayerful as we purify the sacred vessels after Mass, knowing that they continue to contain the Body and Blood of the Lord? Is our use of language consistent with what we believe about the Eucharist: do we speak merely about “bread and wine” or do we refer to the elements as the “Body and Blood of Christ” they have truly become?
While it is not necessary to return to the scrupulosity that may have characterized some in the past, neither should we succumb to a secular, materialistic and casual approach to the Eucharist sometimes evident today.
IV. In churches where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a separate chapel, there should be a concerted effort to remind the faithful of that fact and to promote attention to the reserved Eucharist.
Liturgical law allows for the placement of the Blessed Sacrament in separate chapels in our churches, but the purpose of that reservation is surely not to distance the Eucharist from the people, but to encourage prayerful and distraction-free adoration of the Lord Jesus. As The Catechism reminds us, “The tabernacle is to be situated in churches in a most worthy place with the greatest honor. The dignity, placing and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle should foster adoration before the Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.” (#1 183)
Additionally, The Code of Canon Law states: “The tabernacle in which the most Holy Eucharist is reserved should be placed in a part of the Church that is prominent, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suitable for prayer.” (Canon #938)
The place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved should be very evident to the faithful, and “a special lamp to indicate and honor the presence of Christ is to bum at all times before the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved.” (Canon #940)
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, before and after Mass and on other private occasions, should be encouraged as a way of preparing for the celebration of the Eucharist and of extending its meaning.
The traditional Catholic practice of genuflecting upon entering and leaving the Church, and when passing in front of the Blessed Sacrament, should be maintained, as an external sign of our awareness of and respect for Christ’s presence.
V. Parishes should seriously consider the re-establishment of traditional practices that foster devotion to the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
As noted earlier, the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is clearly the center of the Church’s life. At the same time, the Sunday Eucharist does not exhaust the prayer of the Church related to the Eucharist. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with utmost care, exposing them to solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.” (Catechism #1378)
I commend the parishes of the Diocese that have maintained the beautiful practice of “Forty Hours” or “Eucharistic Days,” and other regular periods of adoration, and I invite other parishes to initiate these celebrations as well. “In churches and oratories where the Eucharist is reserved, it is recommended that solemn exposition of the blessed sacrament for an extended period of time should take place once a year… In this way, the local community may meditate on this mystery more deeply and adore.” (“Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist,” #86) Such devotions will also provide a fitting preparation for the coming of the Third Millennium which, as our Holy Father reminds us, is meant to be “intensely Eucharistic.”
A few of the parishes of the Diocese have received permission for “Perpetual Exposition of the Eucharist.” The Church does not envision this becoming a widespread practice. However, where it has begun, Perpetual Adoration has been a source of many blessings and graces. I commend the priests, deacons, religious and faithful who devote themselves to this discipline.
Some have maintained that the promotion of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will take away from the centrality of the Eucharistic celebration. It need not do so. In fact, proper devotion to the Blessed Sacrament will inevitably lead to a fuller participation in the Eucharistic celebration:
Outside the Eucharistic celebration, the Church is careful to venerate the Blessed Sacrament, which must be reserved… as the spiritual centre of the religious and parish community. Contemplation prolongs communion and enables one to meet Christ, true God and true man, in a lasting way… Prayer of adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament unites the faithful with the paschal mystery; it enables them to share in Christ’s sacrifice, of which the Eucharist is the permanent sacrament. (John Paul II, “Letter on the 750th Anniversary of the Feast of Corpus Christi,” #3)
Others have suggested that the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament causes people to withdraw from the cares and concerns of the world. But in fact, as the Holy Father writes, “closeness to Christ in silence and contemplation does not distance us from our contemporaries, but on the contrary, makes us attentive and open to human joy and distress and broadens our heart on a global scale.” (“Corpus Christi Letter,” #S) In recent times, the beautiful example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who every day spent considerable time with the Blessed Sacrament before serving the “poorest of the poor” helps to illustrate the Holy Father’s observation.
This dimension of the Eucharist is highlighted at the conclusion of every Mass with the words, “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.” Indeed it is through our lives of faithful and generous service that the meaning of the Eucharist is completely revealed.
In short, the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist, the reception of Holy Communion, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and our commitment to service need not and should not be exclusive of one another. In fact, these practices, taken together, help us to experience the fullness of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and motivate us to carry Christ to the world.
It should be obvious that this letter does not intend to present the full teaching of the Church about the Eucharist or its profound meaning in our lives. Nor does it attempt a full discussion of the themes contained herein.
The suggestions outlined in this letter were offered during the conversations about the Eucharist which took place in the Diocese of Youngstown, and I am grateful for all those who shared in these discussions with such obvious faith, insight and candor.
In my view, the most important thing is that the conversations about the Eucharist continue. And it is in our parishes that the teaching of the Church is best presented and devotion to the real presence of Christ best preserved.
Therefore I ask that in every parish of the Diocese these themes be discussed: from the pulpit and in the classrooms; in meetings of the parish councils and parish organizations. I request that this letter be the starting point of the conversation, but you may wish to provide other material as well. I call your attention especially to “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and its treatment of the Eucharist in paragraphs 1322-1419.
I believe that the Eucharistic faith of the Church in the Diocese of Youngstown is strong and clear, and for that we give thanks to Almighty God. May our anticipation of the Third Millennium, and our observance of this Lenten and Easter Season, allow us to be a truly Eucharistic people, a people that celebrates the Mass faithfully, receives the Lord worthily, adores His presence unceasingly, and lives the Eucharist in “a life poured out in loving service of the kingdom.” (Opening Prayer for the Feast of Corpus Christi)

Sincerely yours in Christ, Our Lord,
Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Youngstown, OH
Used with Permission from the Diocese of Youngstown, OH.

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Books:
A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, A. Vonier, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1946.
The Blessed Eucharist, Michael Muller, Baltimore: Kelley & Piet, 1868 (Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1973)
The Blessed Sacrament, Frederick W. Faber, Baltimore: John Murphy Co., 1855;
Catholic Faith in the Holy Eucharist, C. Lattey, ed. B. Herder Book Co., 1923.
Crossing the Tiber, Steve Ray, Ignatius Press, 1997 (whole section on the Eucharist).
The Eucharist, Aime G. Martimort, NY: Seabury, 1971;
The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church, Eugene LaVeriere, Liturgical Press, 1996.
The Eucharist in the New Testament: A Symposium, J. Delorme, P. Benoit et al, London: Chapman, 1965;
Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer, Louis Bouyer, tr. C.U. Quinn (Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1968).
The Faith of the Early Fathers (three volumes), William Jurgens, Liturgical Press, 1979.
For the Life of the World: St. Maximilian and the Eucharist, George Domanski, Peter D. Fehlner (trans.), 1993
The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, James T. O’Connor ($17.95 from Catholic Answers; call 1-888-291-8000)
The Holy Eucharist, C. Hedley, London: Longmans, 1907.
The Holy Eucharist by St. Alphonsus Liguori
The Holy Eucharist. Aidan Nichols, OP, Veritas Publications, 1991.
The Holy Eucharist, Bernard van Acken, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1958;
In Remembrance of Me, Aime G. Martimort, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1958;
Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue: IV: Eucharist and Ministry, published jointly by Representatives of the U.S.A. National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation and the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, 1970.
Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament, by Fr. Frederick A. Reuter, K.C.B.S.
The Mysteries of Christianity, Matthias Scheeben, tr. Cyril Vollert, St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1946 (orig. 1888), pp. 469-539 on Eucharist, Transubstantiation, Real Presence.
The Real Presence through the Ages, Michael Gaudoin-Parker, Alba House, 1998.
The Sacrifice of the Mystical Body, Eugene Masure, Chicago: Regnery, 1957;
This is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence, Mark Shea ($3.95 from Catholic Answers; call 1-888-291-8000);
What is the Eucharist?, Marie J. Nicolas, NY: Hawthorn Books, 1960;
Other Materials:
Adoration by Fr. Stan Fortuna (CD). Order online at www.francescoproductions.com.

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ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST
To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates,
Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries,
having Peace and Communion with the Holy See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
To examine into the nature and to promote the effects of those manifestations of His wondrous love which, like rays of light, stream forth from Jesus Christ-this, as befits Our sacred office, has ever been, and this, with His help, to the last breath of Our life will ever be Our earnest aim and endeavour. For, whereas Our lot has been cast in an age that is bitterly hostile to justice and truth, we have not failed, as you have been reminded by the Apostolic letter which we recently addressed to you, to do what in us lay, by Our instructions and admonitions, and by such practical measures as seemed best suited for their purpose, to dissipate the contagion of error in its many shapes, and to strengthen the sinews of the Christian life. Among these efforts of Ours there are two in particular, of recent memory, closely related to each other, from the recollection whereof we gather some fruit of comfort, the more seasonable by reason of the many causes of sorrow that weigh us down. One of these is the occasion on which We directed, as a thing most desirable, that the entire human race should be consecrated by a special act to the Sacred Heart of Christ our Redeemer; the other that on which We so urgently exhorted all those who bear the name Christian to cling loyally to Him Who, by divine ordinance, is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” not for individuals alone bur for every rightly constituted society. And now that same apostolic charity, ever watchful over the vicissitudes of the Church, moves and in a manner compels Us to add one thing more, in order to fill up the measure of what We have already conceived and carried out. This is, to commend to all Christians, more earnestly than heretofore, the all-holy Eucharist, forasmuch as it is a divine gift proceeding from the very Heart of the Redeemer, Who “with desire desireth” this singular mode of union with men, a gift most admirably adapted to be the means whereby the salutary fruits of His redemption may be distributed. Indeed We have not failed in the past, more than once, to use Our authority and to exercise Our zeal in this behalf. It gives Us much pleasure to recall to mind that We have officially approved, and enriched with canonical privileges, not a few institutions and confraternities having for their object the perpetual adoration of the Sacred Host; that We have encouraged the holding of Eucharistic Congresses, the results of which have been as profitable as the attendance at them has been numerous and distinguished; that We have designated as the heavenly patron of these and similar undertakings St. Paschal Baylon, whose devotion to the mystery of the Eucharist was so extraordinary.
2. Accordingly, Venerable Brethren, it has seemed good to Us to address you on certain points connected with this same mystery, for the defence and honour of which the solicitude of the Church has been so constantly engaged, for which Martyrs have given their lives, which has afforded to men of the highest genius a theme to be illustrated by their learning, their eloquence, their skill in all the arts; and this We will do in order to render more clearly evident and more widely known those special characteristics by virtue of which it is so singularly adapted to the needs of these our times. It was towards the close of His mortal life that Christ our Lord left this memorial of His measureless love for men, this powerful means of support “for the life of the world” (St. John vi., 52). And precisely for this reason, We, being so soon to depart from this life, can wish for nothing better than that it may be granted to us to stir up and foster in the hearts of all men the dispositions of mindful gratitude and due devotion towards this wondrous Sacrament, wherein most especially lie, as We hold, the hope and the efficient cause of salvation and of that peace which all men so anxiously seek.
3. Some there are, no doubt, who will express their surprise that for the manifold troubles and grievous afflictions by which our age is harassed We should have determined to seek for remedies and redress in this quarter rather than elsewhere, and in some, perchance, Our words will excite a certain peevish disgust. But this is only the natural result of pride; for when this vice has taken possession of the heart, it is inevitable that Christian faith, which demands a most willing docility, should languish, and that a murky darkness in regard of divine truths should close in upon the mind; so that in the case of many these words should be made good: “Whatever things they know not, they blaspheme” (St. Jude, 10). We, however, so far from being hereby turned aside from the design which We have taken in hand, are on the contrary determined all the more zealously and diligently to hold up the light for the guidance of the well disposed, and, with the help of the united prayers of the faithful, earnestly to implore forgiveness for those who speak evil of holy things.
The Source of Life
4. To know with an entire faith what is the excellence of the Most Holy Eucharist is in truth to know what that work is which, in the might of His mercy, God, made man, carried out on behalf of the human race. For as a right faith teaches us to acknowledge and to worship Christ as the sovereign cause of our salvation, since He by His wisdom, His laws, His ordinances, His example, and by the shedding of His blood, made all things new; so the same faith likewise teaches us to acknowledge Him and to worship Him as really present in the Eucharist, as verily abiding through all time in the midst of men, in order that as their Master, their Good Shepherd, their most acceptable Advocate with the Father, He may impart to them of His own inexhaustible abundance the benefits of that redemption which He has accomplished. Now if any one will seriously consider the benefits which flow from the Eucharist he will understand that conspicuous and chief among them all is that in which the rest, without exception, are included; in a word it is for men the source of life, of that life which best deserves the name. “The bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (St. John vi., 52). In more than one way, as We have elsewhere declared, is Christ “the life.” He Himself declared that the reason of His advent among men was this, that He might bring them the assured fulness of a more than merely human life. “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (St. John x., 10). Everyone is aware that no sooner had “the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared” (Tit. iii., 4), than there at once burst forth a certain creative fore;. which issued in a new order of things and pused through all the veins of society, civil and domestic. Hence arose new relations between man and man; new rights and new duties, public and private; henceforth a new direction was given to government, to education, to the arts; and most important of all, man’s thoughts and energies were turned towards religious truth and the pursuit of holiness. Thus was life communicated to man, a life truly heavenly and divine. And thus we are to account for those expressions which so often occur in Holy Writ, “the tree of life,” “the word of life,” “the book of life,” “the crown of life,” and particularly “the bread of life.”
5. But now, since this life of which We are speaking bears a definite resemblance to the natural life of man, as the one draws its nourishment and strength from food, so also the other must have its own food whereby it may be sustained and augmented. And here it will be opportune to recall to mind on what occasion and in what manner Christ moved and prepared the hearts of men for the worthy and due reception of the living bread which He was about to give them. No sooner had the rumour spread of the miracle which He had wrought on the shores of the lake of Tiberias, when with the multiplied loaves He fed the multitude, than many forthwith flocked to Him in the hope that they, too, perchance, might be the recipients of like favour. And, just as He had taken occasion from the water which she had drawn from the well to stir up in the Samaritan woman a thirst for that “water which springeth up unto life everlasting” (St. John iv., 14), so now Jesus availed Himself of this opportunity to excite in the minds of the multitude a keen hunger for the bread “which endureth unto life everlasting” (St. John vi., 27). Or, as He was careful to explain to them, was the bread which He promised the same as that heavenly manna which had been given to their fathers during their wanderings in the desert, or again the same as that which, to their amazement, they had recently received from Him; but He was Himself that bread: “I,” said He, “am the bread of life” (St. John vi., 48). And He urges this still further upon them all both by invitation and by precept: “if any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (St. John vi., 52). And in these other words He brings home to them the gravity of the precept: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you shall eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you” (St. John vi., 54). Away then with the widespread but most mischievous error of those who give it as their opinion that the reception of the Eucharist is in a manner reserved for those narrow-minded persons (as they are deemed) who rid themselves of the cares of the world in order to find rest in some kind of professedly religious life. For this gift, than which nothing can be more excellent or more conducive to salvation, is offered to all those, whatever their office or dignity may be, who wish-as every one ought to wish-to foster in themselves that life of divine grace whose goal is the attainment of the life of blessedness with God.
6. Indeed it is greatly to be desired that those men would rightly esteem and would make due provision for life everlasting, whose industry or talents or rank have put it in their power to shape the course of human events. But alas! we see with sorrow that such men too often proudly flatter themselves that they have conferred upon this world as it were a fresh lease of life and prosperity, inasmuch as by their own energetic action they are urging it on to the race for wealth, to a struggle for the possession of commodities which minister to the love of comfort and display. And yet, whithersoever we turn, we see that human society, if it be estranged from God, instead of enjoying that peace in its possessions for which it had sought, is shaken and tossed like one who is in the agony and heat of fever; for while it anxiously strives for prosperity, and trusts to it alone, it is pursuing an object that ever escapes it, clinging to one that ever eludes the grasp. For as men and states alike necessarily have their being from God, so they can do nothing good except in God through Jesus Christ, through whom every best and choicest gift has ever proceeded and proceeds. But the source and chief of all these gifts is the venerable Eucharist, which not only nourishes and sustains that life the desire whereof demands our most strenuous efforts, but also enhances beyond measure that dignity of man of which in these days we hear so much. For what can be more honourable or a more worthy object of desire than to be made, as far as possible, sharers and partakers in the divine nature? Now this is precisely what Christ does for us in the Eucharist, wherein, after having raised man by the operation of His grace to a supernatural state, he yet more closely associates and unites him with Himself. For there is this difference between the food of the body and that of the soul, that whereas the former is changed into our substance, the latter changes us into its own; so that St. Augustine makes Christ Himself say: “You shall not change Me into yourself as you do the food of your body, but you shall be changed into Me” (confessions 1. vii., c. x.).
The Mystery of Faith
7. Moreover, in this most admirable Sacrament, which is the chief means whereby men are engrafted on the divine nature, men also find the most efficacious help towards progress in every kind of virtue. And first of all in faith. In all ages faith has been attacked; for although it elevates the human mind by bestowing on it the knowledge of the highest truths, yet because, while it makes known the existence of divine mysteries, it yet leaves in obscurity the mode of their being, it is therefore thought to degrade the intellect. But whereas in past times particular articles of faith have been made by turns the object of attack; the seat of war has since been enlarged and extended, until it has come to this, that men deny altogether that there is anything above and beyond nature. Now nothing can be better adapted to promote a renewal of the strength and fervour of faith in the human mind than the mystery of the Eucharist, the “mystery of faith,” as it has been most appropriately called. For in this one mystery the entire supernatural order, with all its wealth and variety of wonders, is in a manner summed up and contained: “He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, a merciful and gracious Lord; He bath given food to them that fear Him” (Psalm cx, 4-5). For whereas God has subordinated the whole supernatural order to the Incarnation of His Word, in virtue whereof salvation has been restored to the human race, according to those words of the Apostle; “He bath purposed…to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in Him” (Eph. i., 9-10), the Eucharist, according to the testimony of the holy Fathers, should be regarded as in a manner a continuation and extension of the Incarnation. For in and by it the substance of the incarnate Word is united with individual men, and the supreme Sacrifice offered on Calvary is in a wondrous manner renewed, as was signified beforehand by Malachy in the words: “In every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a pure oblation” (Mal. i., II). And this miracle, itself the very greatest of its kind, is accompanied by innumerable other miracles; for here all the laws of nature are suspended; the whole substance of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and the Blood; the species of bread and wine are sustained by the divine power without the support of any underlying substance; the Body of Christ is present in many places at the same time, that is to say, wherever the Sacrament is consecrated. And in order that human reason may the more willingly pay its homage to this great mystery, there have not been wanting, as an aid to faith, certain prodigies wrought in His honour, both in ancient times and in our own, of which in more than one place there exist public and notable records and memorials. It is plain that by this Sacrament faith is fed, in it the mind finds its nourishment, the objections of rationalists are brought to naught, and abundant light is thrown on the supernatural order.
8. But that decay of faith in divine things of which We have spoken is the effect not only of pride, but also of moral corruption. For if it is true that a strict morality improves the quickness of man’s intellectual powers, and if on the other hand, as the maxims of pagan philosophy and the admonitions of divine wisdom combine to teach us, the keenness of the mind is blunted by bodily pleasures, how much more, in the region of revealed truths, do these same pleasures obscure the light of faith, or even, by the just judgment of God, entirely extinguish it. For these pleasures at the present day an insatiable appetite rages, infecting all classes as with an infectious disease, even from tender years. Yet even for so terrible an evil there is a remedy close at hand in the divine Eucharist. For in the first place it puts a check on lust by increasing charity, according to the words of St. Augustine, who says, speaking of charity, “As it grows, lust diminishes; when it reaches perfection, lust is no more” (De diversis quaestionibus, lxxxiii., q. 36). Moreover the most chaste flesh of Jesus keeps down the rebellion of our flesh, as St. Cyril of Alexandria taught, “For Christ abiding in us lulls to sleep the law of the flesh which rages in our members” (Lib. iv., c. ii., in Joan., vi., 57). Then too the special and most pleasant fruit of the Eucharist is that which is signified in the words of the prophet: “What is the good thing of Him,” that is, of Christ, “and what is His beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect and the wine that engendereth virgins” (Zach. ix., 17), producing, in other words, that flower and fruitage of a strong and constant purpose of virginity which, even in an age enervated by luxury, is daily multiplied and spread abroad in the Catholic Church, with those advantages to religion and to human society, wherever it is found, which are plain to see.
9. To this it must be added that by this same Sacrament our hope of everlasting blessedness, based on our trust in the divine assistance, is wonderfully strengthened. For the edge of that longing for happiness which is so deeply rooted in the hearts of all men from their birth is whetted even more and more by the experience of the deceitfulness of earthly goods, by the unjust violence of wicked men, and by all those other afflictions to which mind and body are subject. Now the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist is both the source and the pledge of blessedness and of glory, and this, not for the soul alone, but for the body also. For it enriches the soul with an abundance of heavenly blessings, and fills it with a sweet joy which far surpasses man’s hope and expectations; it sustains him in adversity, strengthens him in the spiritual combat, preserves him for life everlasting, and as a special provision for the journey accompanies him thither. And in the frail and perishable body that divine Host, which is the immortal Body of Christ, implants a principle of resurrection, a seed of immortality, which one day must germinate. That to this source man’s soul and body will be indebted for both these boons has been the constant teaching of the Church, which has dutifully reaffirmed the affirmation of Christ: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood bath everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (St. John vi., 55).
10. In connection with this matter it is of importance to consider that in the Eucharist, seeing that it was instituted by Christ as “a perpetual memorial of His Passion” (Opusc. Ivii. Offic. de festo Corporis Christi), is proclaimed to the Christian the necessity of a salutary self-chastisement. For Jesus said to those first priests of His: “Do this in memory of Me” (Luke xxii, 18); that is to say, do this for the commemoration of My pains, My sorrows, My grievous afflictions, My death upon the Cross. Wherefore this Sacrament is at the same time a Sacrifice, seasonable throughout the entire period of our penance; and it is likewise a standing exhortation to all manner of toil, and a solemn and severe rebuke to those carnal pleasures which some are not ashamed so highly to praise and extol: “As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, ye shall announce the death of the Lord, until He come” (1 Cor. xi., 26).
The Bond of Charity
11. Furthermore, if anyone will diligently examine into the causes of the evils of our day, he will find that they arise from this, that as charity towards God has grown cold, the mutual charity of men among themselves has likewise cooled. Men have forgotten that they are children of God and brethren in Jesus Christ; they care for nothing except their own individual interests; the interests and the rights of others they not only make light of, but often attack and invade. Hence frequent disturbances and strifes between class and class: arrogance, oppression, fraud on the part of the more powerful: misery, envy, and turbulence among the poor. These are evils for which it is in vain to seek a remedy in legislation, in threats of penalties to be incurred, or in any other device of merely human prudence. Our chief care and endeavour ought to be, according to the admonitions which We have more than once given at considerable length, to secure the union of classes in a mutual interchange of dutiful services, a union which, having its origin in God, shall issue in deeds that reflect the true spirit of Jesus Christ and a genuine charity. This charity Christ brought into the world, with it He would have all hearts on fire. For it alone is capable of affording to soul and body alike, even in this life, a foretaste of blessedness; since it restrains man’s inordinate self-love, and puts a check on avarice, which “is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. vi., 10). And whereas it is right to uphold all the claims of justice as between the various classes of society, nevertheless it is only with the efficacious aid of charity, which tempers justice, that the “equality” which St. Paul commended (2 Cor. viii., 14), and which is so salutary for human society, can be established and maintained. This then is what Christ intended when he instituted this Venerable Sacrament, namely, by awakening charity towards God to promote mutual charity among men. For the latter, as is plain, is by its very nature rooted in the former, and springs from it by a kind of spontaneous growth. Nor is it possible that there should be any lack of charity among men, or rather it must needs be enkindled and flourish, if men would but ponder well the charity which Christ has shown in this Sacrament. For in it He has not only given a splendid manifestation of His power and wisdom, but “has in a manner poured out the riches of His divine love towards men” (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euch. c. ii.). Having before our eyes this noble example set us by Christ, Who bestows on us all that He has assuredly we ought to love and help one another to the utmost, being daily more closely united by the strong bond of brotherhood. Add to this that the outward and visible elements of this Sacrament supply a singularly appropriate stimulus to union. On this topic St. Cyprian writes: “In a word the Lord’s sacrifice symbolises the oneness of heart, guaranteed by a persevering and inviolable charity, which should prevail among Christians. For when our Lord calls His Body bread, a substance which is kneaded together out of many grains, He indicates that we His people, whom He sustains, are bound together in close union; and when He speaks of His Blood as wine, in which the juice pressed from many clusters of grapes is mingled in one fluid, He likewise indicates that we His flock are by the commingling of a multitude of persons made one” (Ep. 96 ad Magnum n. 5 (a1.6)). In like manner the angelic Doctor, adopting the sentiments of St. Augustine (Tract. xxxvi., in Joan. nn. 13, 17), writes: “Our Lord has bequeathed to us His Body and Blood under the form of substances in which a multitude of things have been reduced to unity, for one of them, namely bread, consisting as it does of many grains is yet one, and the other, that is to say wine, has its unity of being from the confluent juice of many grapes; and therefore St. Augustine elsewhere says: `O Sacrament of mercy, O sign of unity, O bond of charity!’ ” (Summ. Theol. P. IIL, q. lxxix., a.l.). All of which is confirmed by the declaration of the Council of Trent that Christ left the Eucharist in His Church “as a symbol of that unity and charity whereby He would have all Christians mutually joined and united. . . a symbol of that one body of which He is Himself the head, and to which He would have us, as members attached by the closest bonds of faith, hope, and charity” (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euchar., c. ii.). The same idea had been expressed by St. Paul when he wrote: “For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all we who partake of the one bread” (I Cor. x., 17). Very beautiful and joyful too is the spectacle of Christian brotherhood and social equality which is afforded when men of all conditions, gentle and simple, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, gather round the holy altar, all sharing alike in this heavenly banquet. And if in the records of the Church it is deservedly reckoned to the special credit of its first ages that “the multitude of the believers had but one heart and one soul” (Acts iv., 32), there can be no shadow of doubt that this immense blessing was due to their frequent meetings at the Divine table; for we find it recorded of them: “They were persevering in the doctrine of the Apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread” (Acts ii., 42).
12. Besides all this, the grace of mutual charity among the living, which derives from the Sacrament of the Eucharist so great an increase of strength, is further extended by virtue of the Sacrifice to all those who are numbered in the Communion of Saints. For the Communion of Saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial fire, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity. For faith teaches us, that although the venerable Sacrifice may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honour of the saints reigning in heaven with God Who has crowned them, in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered-in accordance with an apostolic tradition-for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions.
13. That genuine charity, therefore, which knows how to do and to suffer all things for the salvation and the benefit of all, leaps forth with all the heat and energy of a flame from that most holy Eucharist in which Christ Himself is present and lives, in which He indulges to the utmost. His love towards us, and under the impulse of that divine love ceaselessly renews His Sacrifice. And thus it is not difficult to see whence the arduous labours of apostolic men, and whence those innumerable designs of every kind for the welfare of the human race which have been set on foot among Catholics, derive their origin, their strength, their permanence, their success.
14. These few words on a subject so vast will, we doubt not, prove most helpful to the Christian flock, if you in your zeal, Venerable Brethren, will cause them to be expounded and enforced as time and occasion may serve. But indeed a Sacrament so great and so rich in all manner of blessings can never be extolled as it deserves by human eloquence, nor adequately venerated by the worship of man. This Sacrament, whether as the theme of devout meditation, or as the object of public adoration, or best of all as a food to be received in the utmost purity of conscience, is to be regarded as the centre towards which the spiritual life of a Christian in all its ambit gravitates; for all other forms of devotion, whatsoever they may be, lead up to it, and in it find their point of rest. In this mystery more than in any other that gracious invitation and still more gracious promise of Christ is realised and finds its daily fulfilment: “Come to me all ye that labour and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you” (St. Matt. xi., 28).
15. In a word this Sacrament is, as it were, the very soul of the Church; and to it the grace of the priesthood is ordered and directed in all its fulness and in each of its successive grades. From the same source the Church draws and has all her strength, all her glory, her every supernatural endowment and adornment, every good thing that is here; wherefore she makes it the chiefest of all her cares to prepare the hearts of the faithful for an intimate union with Christ through the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and to draw them thereto. And to this end she strives to promote the veneration of the august mystery by surrounding it with holy ceremonies. To this ceaseless and ever watchful care of the Church or Mother, our attention is drawn by that exhortation which was uttered by the holy Council of Trent, and which is so much to the purpose that for the benefit of the Christian people We here reproduce it in its entirety. “The Holy Synod admonishes, exhorts, asks and implores by the tender mercy of our God, that all and each of those who bear the name of Christian should at last unite and find peace in this sign of unity, in this bond of charity, in this symbol of concord; and that, mindful of the great majesty and singular love of Jesus Christ our Lord, Who gave His precious life as the price of our salvation, and His flesh for our food, they should believe and revere these sacred mysteries of His Body and Blood with such constancy of unwavering faith, with such interior devotion and worshipful piety, that they may be in condition to receive frequently that supersubstantial bread, and that it may be to them the life of their souls and keep their mind in soundness of faith; so that strengthened with its strength they may be enabled after the journey of this sorrowful pilgrimage to reach the heavenly country, there to see and feed upon that bread of angels which here they eat under the sacramental veils” (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXII, c. vi).
16. History bears witness that the virtues of the Christian life have flourished best wherever and whenever the frequent reception of the Eucharist has most prevailed. And on the other hand it is no less certain that in days when men have ceased to care for this heavenly bread, and have lost their appetite for it, the practice of Christian religion has gradually lost its force and vigour. And indeed it was a needful measure of precaution against a complete falling away that Innocent III, in the Council of the Lateran, most strictly enjoined that no Christian should abstain from receiving the communion of the Lord’s Body at least in the solemn paschal season. But it is clear that this precept was imposed with regret, and only as a last resource; for it has always been the desire of the Church that at every Mass some of the faithful should be present and should communicate. “The holy Synod would wish that in every celebration of the Mass some of the faithful should take part, not only by devoutly assisting thereat, but also by the sacramental reception of the Eucharist, in order that they might more abundantly partake of the fruits of this holy Sacrifice” (conc. Trid., Sess. XIII. de Euchar. c. viii).
The Sacrifice of the Mass
17. Most abundant, assuredly, are the salutary benefits which are stored up in this most venerable mystery, regarded as a Sacrifice; a Sacrifice which the Church is accordingly wont to offer daily “for the salvation of the whole world.” And it is fitting, indeed in this age it is specially important, that by means of the united efforts of the devout, the outward honour and the inward reverence paid to this Sacrifice should be alike increased. Accordingly it is our wish that its manifold excellence may be both more widely known and more attentively considered. There are certain general principles the truth of which can be plainly perceived by the light of reason; for instance, that the dominion of God our Creator and Preserver over all men, whether in their private or in their public life, is supreme and absolute; that our whole being and all that we possess, whether individually or as members of society, comes from the divine bounty; that we on our part are bound to show to God, as our Lord, the highest reverence, and, as He is our greatest benefactor, the deepest gratitude. But how many are there who at the present day acknowledge and discharge these duties with full and exact observance? In no age has the spirit of contumacy and an attitude of defiance towards God been more prevalent than in our own; an age in which that unholy cry of the enemies of Christ: “We will not have this man to rule over us” (Luke xix., 14), makes itself more and more loudly heard, together with the utterance of that wicked purpose: “let us make away with Him” (]er. xi., II); nor is there any motive by which many are hurried on with more passionate fury, than the desire utterly to banish God not only from the civil government, but from every form of human society. And although men do not everywhere proceed to this extremity of criminal madness, it is a lamentable thing that so many are sunk in oblivion of the divine Majesty and of His favours, and in particular of the salvation wrought for us by Christ. Now a remedy must be found for this wickedness on the one hand, and this sloth on the other, in a general increase among the faithful of fervent devotion towards the Eucharistic Sacrifice, than which nothing can give greater honour, nothing be more pleasing, to God. For it is a divine Victim which is here immolated; and accordingly through this Victim we offer to the most blessed Trinity all that honour which the infinite dignity of the Godhead demands; infinite in value and infinitely acceptable is the gift which we present to the Father in His only-begotten son; so that for His benefits to us we not only signify our gratitude, but actually make an adequate return.
18. Moreover there is another twofold fruit which we may and must derive from this great Sacrifice. The heart is saddened when it considers what a flood of wickedness, the result-as We have said-of forgetfulness and contempt of the divine Majesty, has inundated the world. It is not too much to say that a great part of the human race seems to be calling down upon itself the anger of heaven; though indeed the crop of evils which has grown up here on earth is already ripening to a just judgment. Here then is a motive whereby the faithful may be stirred to a devout and earnest endeavour to appease God the avenger of sin, and to win from Him the help which is so needful in these calamitous times. And they should see that such blessings are to be sought principally by means of this Sacrifice. For it is only in virtue of the death which Christ suffered that men can satisfy, and that most abundantly, the demands of God’s justice, and can obtain the plenteous gifts of His clemency. And Christ has willed that the whole virtue of His death, alike for expiation and impetration, should abide in the Eucharist, which is no mere empty commemoration thereof, but a true and wonderful though bloodless and mystical renewal of it.
19. To conclude, we gladly acknowledge that it has been a cause of no small joy to us that during these last years a renewal of love and devotion towards the Sacrament of the Eucharist has, as it seems, begun to show itself in the hearts of the faithful; a fact which encourages us to hope for better times and a more favourable state of affairs. Many and varied, as we said at the commencement, are the expedients which an inventive piety has devised; and worthy of special mention are the confraternities instituted either with the object of carrying out the Eucharistic ritual with greater splendour, or for the perpetual adoration of the venerable Sacrament by day and night, or for the purpose of making reparation for the blasphemies and insults of which it is the object. But neither We nor you, Venerable Brethren, can allow ourselves to rest satisfied with what has hitherto been done; for there remain many things which must be further developed or begun anew, to the end that this most divine of gifts this greatest of mysteries, may be better understood and more worthily honoured and revered, even by those who already take their part in the religious services of the Church. Wherefore, works of this kind which have been already set on foot must be ever more zealously promoted; old undertakings must be revived wherever perchance they may have fallen into decay; for instance, Confraternities of the holy Eucharist, intercessory prayers before the blessed Sacrament exposed for the veneration of the faithful, solemn processions, devout visits to God’s tabernacle, and other holy and salutary practices of some kind; nothing must be omitted which a prudent piety may suggest as suitable. But the chief aim of our efforts must be that the frequent reception of the Eucharist may be everywhere revived among Catholic peoples. For this is the lesson which is taught us by the example, already referred to, of the primitive Church, by the decrees of Councils, by the authority of the Fathers and of the holy men in all ages. For the soul, like the body, needs frequent nourishment; and the holy Eucharist provides that food which is best adapted to the support of its life. Accordingly all hostile prejudices, those vain fears to which so many yield, and their specious excuses from abstaining from the Eucharist, must be resolutely put aside; for there is question here of a gift than which none other can be more serviceable to the faithful people, either for the redeeming of time from the tyranny of anxious cares concerning perishable things, or for the renewal of the Christian spirit and perseverance therein. To this end the exhortations and example of all those who occupy a prominent position will powerfully contribute, but most especially the resourceful and diligent zeal of the clergy. For priests, to whom Christ our Redeemer entrusted the office of consecrating and dispensing the mystery of His Body and Blood, can assuredly make no better return for the honour which has been conferred upon them, than by promoting with all their might the glory of his Eucharist, and by inviting and drawing the hearts of men to the health-giving springs of this great Sacrament andSacrifice, seconding hereby the longings of His most Sacred Heart.
20. May God grant that thus, in accordance with Our earnest desire, the excellent fruits of the Eucharist may daily manifest themselves in greater abundance, to the happy increase of faith, hope, and charity, and of ail Christian virtues; and may this turn to the recovery and advantage of the whole body politic; and may the wisdom of God’s most provident charity, Who instituted this mystery for all time “for the life of the world,”shine forth with an ever brighter sight.
21. Encouraged by such hopes as these, Venerable Brethren, We, as a presage of the divine liberality and as a pledge of our own charity, most lovingly bestow on each of you, and on the clergy and flock committed to the care of each, our Apostolic Benediction.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s on the 28th day of May, being the Vigil of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, in the year 1902, of Our Pontificate the five and twentieth.
LEO XIII

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A Message from the President

I am writing to announce the formation of the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges.  I hope that you will consider joining the ASCC.  As a member, you will have the option to receive the Cardinal Newman Society’s Higher Education Alert and periodic updates from the ASCC.
The Cardinal Newman Society sponsors the National Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC) to foster networking and fellowship among students engaged in Church renewal and strengthening the religious identity of Catholic colleges and universities in the United States.
At many Catholic colleges and universities, students are actively engaged in promising efforts to strengthen the religious identity of their institutions and develop a campus life conducive to Christian living.  The Cardinal Newman Society has identified dozens of Catholic campus groups across the country with widely varying approaches: Bible studies, Eucharistic adoration societies, campus newspapers, and community service groups, among others.  The Cardinal Newman Society finds in these groups great promise for the renewal of Catholic campus life.
However, these groups suffer similar problems.  These groups often enjoy vibrant leadership one year but lack such leadership the next.  Student leaders often have little experience or training in club leadership, organizing events, and recruiting members.  Student leaders also lack communication and fellowship with other faithful Catholic students on their campuses and at other institutions.
I believe that a national association is needed to foster communication and fellowship among Catholic student leaders, provide training and resources for successful leadership, and assist students nationwide to replicate successful models of student activity on their own campuses.
I hope you will join us in our efforts to renew Catholic campus life, one student at a time.
God bless!
Thomas P. Harmon
President, Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
Gonzaga University ’03

Mission Statement

The Cardinal Newman Society’s national association of students, the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC) is designed to serve students at Catholic colleges and universities interested in preserving and building up the Catholic identity at their schools through a
variety of means.
The organization assists in fostering collaboration among existing groups and individual students at Catholic institutions throughout the country and acts to help students found groups concerned with living the Catholic faith in a way that is faithful to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and guided by the Apostolic Constitution on Higher Education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

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ASCC Student Conference 2003
The Eucharist on Campus
Sunday, November 9, 2003
Washington, D.C.
Keynote Speaker:
Fr. Pacwa
Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
Rev. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J. received his B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Detroit, Summa cum laude. He received his Master of Divinity and S.T.B. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Loyola University, Magna cum laude. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 and then continued his studies receiving a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Vanderbilt University in 1984. He has taught at the high school, university and seminary levels. He has lectured at conferences and churches around the world and has appeared and hosted hundreds of international radio and television programs.
His fluency in twelve languages, including Biblical languages, Arabic, and European languages, plus his extensive travels throughout the Middle East for over 20 years, has afforded him a unique understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. As a Jesuit Priest, Catholic Theologian and Teacher, Father Pacwa is best known for hosting hundreds of programs on the Eternal Word Television Network – better known as “EWTN” where he currently hosts two Programs – “Threshold of Hope”, “EWTN LIVE.” In addition, Father Pacwa can be seen several times daily on EWTN praying “The Holy Rosary in the Holy Land.” He has visited the Holy Land 44 times, leading over 1,000 Pilgrims to Jerusalem. Father Pacwa has authored two books: Father Forgive Me for I am Frustrated and Catholics and the New Age. Hundreds of his video and audio tapes are produced and distributed through his new Catholic apostolate “Ignatius Productions” (founded in 2000) — which is incorporated under the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius Productions films Father Pacwa teaching at holy places and shrines around the world.

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Press Releases

Bishops Back Out of Commencement Ceremonies

May 22, 2003

Following protests by Cardinal Newman Society, three bishops have canceled planned appearances at the commencement ceremonies of the College of the Holy Cross (MA), College Misericordia (PA) and the University of Scranton (PA).
Cardinal Newman Society has protested the selection of MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews to speak at both the University of Scranton and the College of the Holy Cross because of his abortion-rights position.  In his television commentary and newspaper columns, Matthews has publicly
declared “I’m for abortion rights,” even appearing to endorse partial-birth abortion for severely handicapped babies.
Bishop James Timlin of Scranton, Pennsylvania, will not attend the University of Scranton’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, citing a policy of refusing to share a stage with public abortion-rights advocates. Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester, Massachusetts, announced yesterday that
he will not attend tomorrow’s Holy Cross ceremony for the same reason.
“Holy Cross will confer an honorary degree on a Catholic person who publicly espouses the view that, in some cases, people have a right to terminate a life in the womb,” Bishop Reilly said.  “I cannot let my
presence imply support for anything less than the protection of all life at all its stages.”
Alumni are protesting the selection of Matthews, led by the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society (www.hccns.org) and Charles Millard, who chaired the Holy Cross board of trustees from 1977-1982 and served another 22 years as a trustee.  Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things
magazine and president of the Religion & Public Life Institute, also weighed in last month with a statement critical of the college.
Holy Cross president Rev. Michael McFarland, S.J., has responded to the protests by falsely claiming that Matthews’ views are consistent with Catholic teaching.
Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty of Scranton, an advisor to Cardinal Newman Society, did not attend College Misericordia’s ceremony on Saturday because of concerns about the commencement speakers, journalists Cokie and Steven Roberts.
Although Cokie has written in the couple’s syndicated column that she “tends to favor pro-life arguments,” her husband, “who is Jewish, is more sympathetic to the pro-choice side” (May 25, 1997).  Steve’s writings portray both pro-life and radical feminist activists as extreme, whereas the “middle” or “moderate” position agrees “that a woman has a right to choose abortion, but the right is not unlimited” (U.S. News & World Report, April 12, 1993).  The Roberts’ joint column also has repeatedly echoed Steve’s call for “moderation” on the abortion issue, endorsing restrictions on abortion but espousing abortion rights.  The Roberts have labeled those who respect the dignity of all human life as extremists,
while labeling individuals like Christine Todd Whitman–who vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion–as moderates.
The Cardinal Newman Society protest is part of its annual survey of commencement speakers whose public actions and statements are opposed to Catholic teaching.  See www.cardinalnewmansociety.org for a complete list.  The Society has teamed up with the American Life League (www.all.org),
which is also protesting pro-abortion commencement speakers as part of its “Crusade for the Defense of our Catholic Church.”

Catholic Colleges Alter Websites That Sent Students to Planned Parenthood

December 10, 2002
FALLS CHURCH, VA — Catholic universities that promote Planned Parenthood on their websites are feeling the heat of recent publicity and public outrage, with at least two of them quickly removing or hiding the offensive web pages following negative publicity.
Early this week, leaders of the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges (ASCC) and its parent organization, the national Cardinal Newman Society, complained that the websites of at least eight Catholic universities in the United States directed students to Planned Parenthood for information, services, and even employment.  ASCC and the Cardinal Newman Society are dedicated to the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic higher education.
LifeSite News (www.lifesite.net) and several pro-life organizations reported the scandal, which involves Boston College; DePaul University in Chicago; Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.; John Carroll University in Cleveland; Loyola University of Chicago; Santa Clara University; Seattle University; and the University of San Francisco.  DePaul is a Vincentian university; the other seven are Jesuit institutions.
Where the University of San Francisco once posted a “Pregnancy” page (www.usfca.edu/shep/pregnancy.htm) linked to promotions for Planned Parenthood and the local Women’s Community Clinic, the site now reads, “This portion of the web site is currently being reviewed.”  But although the links have been removed, the pages promoting Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Community Clinic are still online at www.usfca.edu/shep/pregnancy_link2.htm and www.usfca.edu/shep/pregnancy_link1.htm.  USF touts Planned Parenthood as a source for pregnancy testing and counseling, birth control, and emergency contraception (which causes early abortion), but it fails to mention Planned Parenthood’s role as the nation’s leading abortion provider.  The Women’s Community Clinic provides pregnancy testing and counseling and referrals to abortion clinics.
Georgetown University apparently removed a “sex health and safety” page from its website after LifeSite News reported that the page linked to a Planned Parenthood website, promoted the morning after pill (an abortifacient), and encouraged the use of sexual aids including dental dams and latex gloves for “safer sex.”  But the page, formerly at www.georgetown.edu/student-affairs/healthed/sex.htm, is still identified by the website’s search engine.  Georgetown’s website continues to promote the use of condoms and dental dams on its “STDs/HIV” page (www.georgetown.edu/student-affairs/healthed/stdhiv.htm).
“The website changes are heartening, but they are just the beginning,” said Thomas Harmon, ASCC President and a senior at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.  “We intend to ensure that all of these web links are removed from the universities’ sites.”
The websites are only the latest signs of Catholic universities’ reluctance to implement Ex corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education.
“In Ex Corde Ecclesiae, one of the requirements of a Catholic university is that all official actions and commitments must be in accord with the university’s Catholic identity,” said Patrick Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society.  “Anything that is announced or promoted by a university’s website is an official action.  By promoting Planned Parenthood or taking any step that might drive students toward Planned Parenthood for an abortion is not only a violation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, but also a scandal and a terrible crime against young women.”
In a Vatican address last Thursday, Pope John Paul II demanded that Catholic university administrators “be vigilant in maintaining rectitude and Catholic principles in teaching and research in the heart of their university. It is clear that university centers that do not respect the Church’s laws and the teaching of the Magisterium, especially in bioethics, cannot be defined as Catholic universities.”
“Catholic college students are leading the renewal of Catholic higher education,” Harmon said.  “ASCC’s emphasis is on positive campus programs to teach and promote the Catholic faith, but when an outcry is needed, college administrators will hear us loud and clear.”
Other websites protested by ASCC include:

  • Boston College provides a toll-free number to Planned Parenthood in its listing of local “Hospitals and Clinics” at www.bc.edu/bc_org/svp/house/offcampus/phone.htm.

 

  • DePaul University’s Department of Sociology offers internships at Planned Parenthood (http://condor.depaul.edu/~soc/undergraduate_descriptions.htm), and its Women’s Studies Program lists Planned Parenthood among several career opportunities for its students (http://condor.depaul.edu/~wms/careers.html).
  • The Student Health Center at John Carroll University (www.jcu.edu/studentl/Health%20Services/information.htm) lists Planned Parenthood among its “counseling sites.”
  • The Women’s Studies Program at Loyola University of Chicago (www.luc.edu/depts/women_stu/links.html) provides links to Planned Parenthood as well as pro-abortion organizations including the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation.
  • Santa Clara University refers students to Planned Parenthood (www.scu.edu/SCU/Projects/SourceBook/Medical/menu.htm ), explicitly touting abortion, pregnancy testing, and family planning.  The university’s Student Health Center promotes a website, noting that “one of the best things about this site” is its links to resources like Planned Parenthood.
  • Seattle University’s Wismer Center, an interdisciplinary program to address issues of diversity and justice, includes among its “Activism” resources (www.seattleu.edu/wismer/links.htm) links to Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and the Feminist Majority Foundation.  The university’s Wellness and Prevention Center page (www.seattleu.edu/student/wellness/Resources2001v2.html) also links to Planned Parenthood and the Seattle Gay Clinic for HIV/AIDS testing and to pro-contraception websites like www.unspeakable.com for information on sexually transmitted diseases.

For more information about ASCC or Cardinal Newman Society, see the organizations’ websites at www.catholiccollegestudents.org and www.cardinalnewmansociety.org or call (703) 367-0333.

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Bishop Thomas Tobin
Without A Doubt
Friday, June 20, 2003
The Eucharist in Ten Sentences
Introduction
1) The Church draws her life from the Eucharist.
2) To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood.
3) The liturgical reform inaugurated by the Council has greatly contributed to a more conscious, active and fruitful participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar on the part of the faithful.
4) The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation.
5) The Eucharist spurs us on our journey through history and plants a seed of living hope in our daily commitment to the work before us.
6) The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church.
7) If the Eucharist is the centre and summit of the Church’s life, it is likewise the centre and summit of priestly ministry.
8) The celebration of the Eucharist cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection.
9) Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life.
10) By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift.
Introduction:
The problem with documents of the Church is that nobody reads them. At least, most people don’t read them and therefore they don’t have nearly the impact they might otherwise.
I fear that the same fate awaits Pope John Paul’s recent and beautiful Encyclical Letter on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, in which he highlights the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, and discusses some very important themes related to the topic. As a public service, then, I’d like to outline the Pope’s Letter in ten selected sentences and offer a brief reflection on each. I do so with the realization that such a summary will be woefully inadequate, but also with the hope that it will encourage you to read the Encyclical in its entirety.
1) The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. (#1)
The Eucharist stands at the heart of the Church, and throughout its history the Divine Sacrament has traveled with the Church, filling it with hope, even in the most difficult of times. As the Pope says later in his letter, “Every commitment to holiness, every activity aimed at carrying out the Church’s mission, every work of pastoral planning, must draw the strength it needs from the Eucharistic mystery.” (#60)
2) To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood. (#6)
Christ is present in many ways when the liturgy is celebrated – in the Word, in the assembly, and in the priest, for example. But the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is very special, is called “real” – not because the other means of presence are not real, but because it is a presence in the fullest sense: a substantial, abiding presence in which Jesus Christ the Son of God is wholly present.
3) The liturgical reform inaugurated by the Council has greatly contributed to a more conscious, active and fruitful participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar on the part of the faithful. (#10)
Full and active participation continues to be the ultimate goal of the liturgical renewal. At the same time, however, liturgical renewal involves a great deal more than exterior changes of language and posture. It calls for an authentic interior renewal that helps us receive worthily all the blessings and graces offered by the sacred liturgy.
4) The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation. (#10)
The Pope talks about the “shadows” that have also accompanied the liturgical renewal of recent years. These include the disappearance of Eucharistic adoration in some places; confusion over sound faith and Catholic doctrine about the Eucharist; a “reductive” interpretation of the Eucharist that strips it of its sacrificial meaning; and unhealthy ecumenical practices.
5) The Eucharist spurs us on our journey through history and plants a seed of living hope in our daily commitment to the work before us. (#20)
Devotion to the Eucharist is much more than a personal spiritual exercise. The Eucharist has profound apostolic implications that lead us to evangelization and service. We cannot worthily receive the Body of Christ and at the same time neglect the needs of his brothers and sisters. The celebration of the Eucharist “increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility for the world today,” the Pope insists.
6) The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. (#25)
Eucharistic adoration is strictly linked to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Pope reminds us. He urges pastors to encourage Eucharistic exposition and adoration in their parishes, even by their personal example. And he quotes Saint Alphonsus Liguori who wrote: “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us.”
7) If the Eucharist is the centre and summit of the Church’s life, it is likewise the centre and summit of priestly ministry. (#31)
Throughout the Encyclical, the Holy Father reminds us of the intrinsic connection between the Eucharist and the Ministerial Priesthood. He points out that a parish always “requires the presence of a presbyter who alone is qualified to offer the Eucharist.” (#32) And the Eucharist is essential to the priest himself. Without it, priests run a very real risk of losing their spiritual focus. And he emphasizes that priests should celebrate the Eucharist daily, “for even if the faithful are unable to be present, it is an act of Christ and the Church.”
8) The celebration of the Eucharist cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection. (#35)
Here the Pope teaches that the Eucharist always presumes a “bond of communion” that is both invisible and visible. The invisible bond refers to the spiritual, and it is for that reason that only those who are in the state of grace are disposed to receive the Eucharist. The visible bond refers to the structure of the Church. Therefore, only those who are “fully incorporated into the Church” are permitted to receive the Eucharist. In simple terms, to receive Holy Communion, an individual must be a Catholic, and must be free of grave sin!
9) Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life. (#53)
At first glance the Scriptures are silent about the relationship between Mary and the Eucharist, the Pope acknowledges. But everything about Mary’s life relates her to the reality of the Eucharist. In the mystery of the Incarnation, Mary was the first to welcome the Body of Christ. Her Fiat is a prelude to the Amen every Catholic says in receiving Holy Communion. In bearing the Son of God in her womb, Mary became the first tabernacle. In witnessing her Son’s sacrifice on Calvary, Mary experienced the sacrificial meaning of the Eucharist. And is there any doubt that Mary participated with the first disciples in the “Breaking of the Bread?”
10) By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift. (#61)
An authentic appreciation of the Eucharist requires us always to preserve all the dimensions of the Eucharist — sacrifice, sacramental presence and banquet. And along with maintaining the essential doctrinal elements, we should be conscious of the personal blessing it is for us! “In the humble signs of bread and wine, changed into his body and blood, Christ walks beside us as our strength and our food for the journey, and he enables us to become, for everyone, witnesses of hope.” (#62).
With that, the Pope concludes his wonderful Encyclical on the Eucharist. His letter is a stirring reminder that the Eucharist is the finest gift God has given us, a gift always to be treasured, loved and lived!
Read Pope John Paul II’s
Ecclesia de Eucharistia.
Used with Permission from the Diocese of Youngstown, OH.

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The Catholic University In Crisis
The Catholic university is one of the most important and influential organs
in the life of the Church.  There, the Church educates her future leaders
in light of the faith and inculcates in them a sense of apostolate and,
hopefully, vocation.  This is where the Church engages the culture
intellectually.  As such, the Catholic university is hugely significant
in the movement to evangelize the culture and transform it into a culture
of life.  As the Holy Father says in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Catholic
universities are called to continuous renewal, both as ‘universities’ and
as ‘Catholic.’  For what is at stake is the very meaning of scientific
and technological research, of social life and of culture, but, on an even
more profound level, what is at stake is the very meaning of the human person.”
No one is more concerned with the transmission of the authentic meaning
of the human person than are those gathered at this conference.  It is,
therefore, necessary to attend to the state of the Catholic university today.
Most Catholics know that our Catholic colleges are not what they once
were, but those same Catholics are often unaware of how urgently renewal
is needed.  Without an immediate rededication to the spiritual as well
as the academic development of students, the faith of another generation
is at stake.
Catholic identity discussions today center around the mandatum for theologians
and issues of institutional fidelity to the Church.  But despite their
importance, Catholic identity and the reasons for the mandatum are awfully
abstract ideas, and sometimes the debate and confusion over these abstract
ideas obscure the urgent and pronounced problems that exist in today’s American
Catholic colleges and universities.
The bottom line is that students at Catholic colleges tend to emerge from
those colleges less devout, practicing their faith less, and believing less
that the Church teaches.  For example, support for legalized abortion
among Catholic colleges students increased shockingly from 40.4% to 58.5%.
As part of the powerful secularizing trend in Catholic higher education
since the 1960s, Catholic universities have largely descended into a spirit
of fideism.  That is, while claiming to profess the truths of the Catholic
faith, Catholic universities actively avoid “imposing” that faith on their
own institutional functions.  They have adopted a secular understanding
of the relationship between faith and reason.  To a large extent, they
have preferred a religious studies model of religious education over that
of theology.  Theology is essentially ecclesial in character and takes
the teachings of the Magisterium as its data and first principles, whereas
religious studies is an anthropological study of religion.
Other departments in the Catholic university, especially the natural sciences,
no longer, for the most part, see themselves as having any sort of relationship
to the faith.  Student life policies at many Catholic universities
are indistinguishable from those of secular universities.  Health Centers,
in order to avoid being judgmental refuse to label any reproductive choices
as immoral, including abortion and contraception.  A few colleges even
refer students to Planned Parenthood.  A vanishingly small amount of
Catholic colleges offer programs to encourage chastity among students.
In order to receive government funding, many universities have dissociated
themselves from their religious orders (a move that many legal scholars
now judge was unnecessary and imprudent).  So, most Catholic universities
are owned and governed by a lay board of governors or trustees.  So,
they lack any sort of official ties to the Church.
There have been hopeful signs, though.  University administrators,
for the most part, see that American Catholic higher education has problems
and see the strengthening of Catholic identity as the major question to be
answered in the early part of this century.  The problem is getting them
to define Catholic identity in the same way that the Catholic Church defines
Catholic identity.  So far in the debate about Catholic identity, there
have been only two viewpoints heard: the American Catholic hierarchy and
the faculties and administrations of American Catholic universities.
That discussion has gone something like this: Ex Corde Ecclesiae
is released, followed by an outcry from theologians and university administrations.
The U.S. Catholic bishops listen sympathetically to protests that Ex Corde
violates academic freedom.  Then, they release a draft of norms to implement
Ex Corde seemingly designed to placate the apoplectic Catholic
intelligentsia, but the norms are so vague about who implements Ex Corde
and how it should be implemented that they might as well not have released
anything.  Unsurprisingly, Rome shoots down the norms.  The intelligentsia
become even more disgruntled.  So, the U.S. Bishops release an implementation
document that the Holy See can finally approve.  The Catholic intelligentsia,
especially theologians, cry foul and claim the pope wants to squelch academic
freedom.  So, most bishops in the U.S. decide to placate the schismatic
theologians again and declare that the most controversial part of Ex
Corde
, the requirement that all theologians have a mandate from the
local bishop to teach Catholic theology, will be a private matter between
the bishop and the theologian.  The rest of the document has received
hardly a glance since the norms came out.
Perhaps you may have noticed what is conspicuously missing from the whole
process: any sort of serious appraisal of the interest of the Catholic student.
Both the U.S. bishops and the faculties and administrations of Catholic universities
have altogether ignored this most fundamentally important piece of the puzzle,
acting as if the university is simply a community of scholars with no end
other than their own intellectual edification.  Certainly there has
been no talk of the responsibilities that both the Bishops, as teachers of
the faith, and the universities, as Catholic educational institutions, have
to Catholic students.
If Catholic universities were merely research institutes or think tanks,
the exclusion of the student’s perspective makes sense.  They are not,
though.  Both the proximate and the final end of activity in the university
is the education of students.
The right to academic freedom is a vitally important part of university
life, as the pope declares consistently throughout Ex Corde.
But, because the education of students is the most fundamental end of university
activity, the right of academic freedom must be limited.  The right
to academic freedom may be exercised only so far as the right of the student
to be educated in the truth is respected.  In the case of the theologian,
he or she may exercise the right to academic freedom so far as the right
of the student to be educated in the true teachings of the Church is recognized.
Theology (or religious studies) departments are free to pursue almost whatever
course of study they find fitting as long as, at a Catholic university,
they honestly teach the authentic Catholic faith when they say they are
teaching Catholic theology.  If they find this distasteful, they are
then free to renounce the inaccurate adjective, “Catholic.”  They are
not free to define Catholic faith for themselves, in violation of the Bishop’s
canonical right and duty to teach the faith and the right of the student
to receive instruction in the authentic teachings of the Church at a Catholic
institution.
Of course, there are other compelling arguments against absolute academic
freedom, the best of which are outlined briefly in Ex Corde and fleshed
out significantly in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Instruction
on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian
and even further unpacked
in Cardinal Ratzinger’s essay, The Nature and Mission of Theology.
The First Buds of a New Springtime at Catholic Universities
It has been frustrating for me and the rest of the members of the advisory
board that has created the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
that university administrations and faculties are interested in selfishly
protecting their own rights and uninterested in the rights of us faithful
Catholics who, in choosing to attend Catholic colleges, expect an honest
education in the faith, opportunities for genuinely Catholic service to those
in need, and a campus culture that supports the living out of the life of
faith.
In the last few years at Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington), I have
worked with many of my fellow students and with an administration that is
supportive of the aims of Ex Corde to build the kind of campus culture
of life envisioned by the Holy Father.  We have accomplished an astonishing
amount in a few short years.  There has been a palpable shift in the
campus culture.  Mass attendance is way up, perhaps as much as an astonishing
250%, including and especially daily Mass, there are dozens of Bible studies,
a wide array of new faith-based clubs that have emerged and continue to
emerge, a Catholic fellowship group, weekly Eucharistic adoration, Rosary
groups, the exponential growth of Gonzaga Right to Life, a full RCIA class,
the proposed development of a St. Vincent de Paul Society conference group
on campus, and much more.
This Catholic mini-Renaissance is, I hope, a small prelude and pre-figuration
of what the pope has been calling for when he speaks of the “New Springtime.”
Being fairly isolated in Eastern Washington, we at Gonzaga, at least among
the students, thought that what we were doing at Gonzaga was pretty much
unique.  That changed when I started my job for the summer, an internship
at the Cardinal Newman Society.  As I was familiarizing myself with
the various activities of the Cardinal Newman Society, I kept coming across
small signs of similar renaissances at other Catholic universities.
The most interesting thing to me at that point was that these renaissances
were happening at fairly diverse campuses.  They were happening, for
example, at small places like Benedictine College in Kansas and St. Mary’s
College of Ave Maria Unviersity in Michigan, at medium-sized campuses like
Gonzaga in Washington state and Desales University in Pennsylvania, and at
very large campuses like Notre Dame.
Finally, I came to an article written about three years ago about the revitalization
of Catholic culture at Notre Dame, which, as I understand, is not a small
thing at all.  This article was really the first in-depth account of
a Catholic revitalization at a university I had read, and I was astonished
at how similar many of the initiatives at Notre Dame were to those we were
working on at Gonzaga.  At the same time, there were initiatives at
Notre Dame that we at Gonzaga had not thought about, but which I had a feeling
could be fairly easily tried at Gonzaga.
What struck me about most of these goings-on, though, was that they were
largely student-initiated and student-maintained, with varying degrees of
assistance or hostility from the faculty and administration.  Right
after I read the article about Notre Dame, I got up from my chair, went into
the office of my boss, Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society,
and said something like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there were some kind of
organization out there to link and support all of these grass-roots Catholics
activities at these colleges?”
At a small, fairly young organization like the Cardinal Newman Society,
it’s always pretty dangerous to air an idea about a new project.  His
answer was something along the lines of, “Yeah.  Go for it.”  Then,
reading through Ex Corde itself, I found this line that seems to precisely
address the project of the ASCC: “Various associations or movements of spiritual
and apostolic life, especially those developed specifically for students,
can be of great assistance in the developing the pastoral aspects of university
life.” (ECE 42)
The Proper Role of the Student at a Catholic University
A natural question at this point is: What is the proper role of a student
at today’s Catholic universities in light of the legion of problems I have
outlined briefly?  The student goes to school in order to be educated.
At best, the proposition that students have some sort of positive role to
play in the renewal of Catholic higher education seems tenuous.  Students
have neither the teaching authority of the episcopal office nor the authority
that comes from expertise and greater knowledge possessed by university
faculty members and administrators.
Nevertheless, the student has the right to expect certain things when attended
a university calling itself Catholic.  Among others, that student has
the right not to be deprived of the truths of the faith through distortions.
In essence, the Catholic student has the right not to be scandalized.
If such a situation exists, as it very often does, then the student has the
right to petition the Church, as all of the faithful do, and to demand correction
by the university.
Further, the Catholic student necessarily has the right to engage in Christian
apostolate.  Because all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ
by virtue of their baptism, they also share in the teaching authority of
the Church.  As Dominican Father Michael Sweeney says in his essay reflection
on the importance of the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles
Laici
: “Each Christian has authority to speak for the whole Church in
presenting Christ to the world, and each Christian is called to exercise
authority for the sake and mission of the Church.”  He continues:

Christ has conferred upon you — through baptism and anointing
— the authority to teach the world about Him.  You have the authority
to speak in His name.  But you have also been given the power to do
so.  In other words, when you speak to others about Christ, the Holy
Spirit will move the hearts of others to hear you — exactly, that is, to
the degree that you really do speak with and for the Church.  The result
is that the person will respond, not simply to you, but to Christ speaking
through you.

In other words, the faithful Catholic, including students, teach with authority
when they proclaim Christ while in communion with the Church.
Christifideles Laici is a treasure trove for Catholics.
The Second Vatican Council was much less about saying Mass in the vernacular
than it was, perhaps most significantly among other things, an unprecedented
emphasis on and theological development of lay vocation.  Christifideles
Laici
is the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation on lay vocation written
in the authentic spirit of Vatican II.  Catholic students benefit from
this wisdom as much as the rest of the faithful.
In Christifideles Laici, the Holy Father defines the vocation
of the lay faithful as being to “seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in
temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God” (CL
9).  In this context, lay Catholic share in Christ’s mission as priest,
prophet and king.  Lay Catholics are to offer themselves as sacrifices
in their daily lives and work, to proclaim Christ, and to spread His kingdom
through the world and through time.  (CL 14)
Put simply, the mission of the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
is to help Catholic students live their lay vocations at Catholic colleges
and to help make them aware of the power and authority they share in by
virtue of their baptism.  Because that power and authority come from
being in communion with the Church, we also insist that our members be entirely
faithful to the Catholic faith as it comes to us through the Magisterium
of the Church.
The Association Itself
The ASCC’s mission statement reads: “The Cardinal Newman Society’s national
association of students, the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges
(ASCC) is designed to serve students at Catholic colleges and universities
interested in preserving and building up the Catholic identity at their
schools through a variety of means.  The organization assists in fostering
collaboration among existing groups and individual students at Catholic
institutions throughout the country and acts to help students found groups
concerned with living the Catholic faith in a way that is faithful to the
Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and guided by the Apostolic Constitution
on Higher Education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.”
Because of the roughly fifty year process of secularization, especially
intensive in the seventies through the nineties, Catholic universities, for
the most part, fail spectacularly to live up to their institutional commitments
to the Church.  The personnel on the faculties, in the administration,
and on the boards of trustees are largely uninterested for the pope’s call
for a New Evangelization and the creation of the culture of life.
Because of the consequences of tenure among faculty members and the fact
that most universities have dissociated legally and officially from their
religious orders (including Notre Dame), there is simply no way juridically
to force universities to live out their Catholic mission faithfully.
The bishops have, thus far, shown an alarming reluctance to stand up for
the faith scandalized terribly at American Catholic universities.
Instead, the prefer to abandon their obligations to the faithful Catholics
working at those universities and attending them as students in favor of
placating schismatic theologians and university administrators who have,
thus far, shown themselves to be completely unwilling to teach the faith
faithfully.
Because they consider, strangely, the bishops and the governors of the
Church to be, somehow, an outside element in relation to the operation of
the Catholic university, which stands in opposition to the understanding
of the Church, which is that the Catholic university is “born from the heart
of the Church,” (ECE 1), most faculties and administrations have
not made the reforms called for by the Holy Father.  I suspect that
they will not reform if the only impetus to renewal comes from an element
they consider to be “outside.”
This is where the ASCC comes in.  Our strategy is to change the campus
culture first.  Out of that renewed, inspired culture, the students
themselves will demand that their university lives up to its moral and, frankly,
fiduciary responsibility to be Catholic.  So, the ASCC will launch projects
designed to strengthen the Catholic identity and the culture of life on campus.
In Ex Corde, the Holy Father lists four essential characteristics
a Catholic university must have.  These are:
“A Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university
community as such; A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic
faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to
contribute by its own research; Fidelity to the Christian message as it
comes to us though the Church; An institutional commitment to the service
of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent
goal which gives meaning to life.” (ECE 17)  The ASCC hopes to
serve the Church by strengthening the Catholic identity of Her universities,
especially in these four critical areas.
The main foci of the ASCC are to link and support already existing student
initiatives on campus and to help students start initiatives on campus that
help to strengthen the Catholic identity of the school.  I have, therefore,
structured the organization into departments that deal with the types of
clubs found on campuses.  They are:
1.  Pro-life activities: Most Catholic colleges have a pro-life
club on campus.  There are particularly active pro-life clubs worthy
of emulation at schools like Franciscan University at Steubenville and Gonzaga
University.
2.  Prayer and Devotions: This department will promote a variety
of activites, from Eucharistic Adoration, to Rosary groups, to various initiatives
to establish and educate about Catholic devotional practices and the life
of prayer.  One of the most acute regrets of many young Catholics is
that they have not been introduced to the incredible depth and breadth of
Catholic prayer life.  This department will try to promote various
traditional Catholic prayers like the Angelus, the Divine Mercy Chaplet,
the Novena, etc.  Many of the small, consciously orthodox colleges like
Thomas Aquinas College and Ave Maria University feature an exceptional devotional
life.
3.  Evangelism, apologetics, and Catechetics:  The vast
majority of Catholics at Catholic universities around the country are either
badly catechized or not catechized at all.  There is, therefore, a
great need for this sort of activity at college.  So, this department
is concerned with students who want to learn the faith, how to defend it,
and how to transmit it.  There are excellent programs in this vein
at Marquette University and at St. Louis University.
4.  Bible Studies:  This one goes without saying.
Holy Scripture has been and will continue to be an unending source of inspiration
for Christians.  Whatever we can do to promote the study of the Bible,
we will try to do.  I am aware of good Bible Study programs at the
Unviersity of Dallas and at Notre Dame.
5.  Retreats: For many students, a huge part of their spiritual
development at college happens through the retreats program.  These
are usually, but not always, put on by the campus ministry office, led by
university staff, but crewed by students.  As the crew, students have
influence on how the retreat is organized.  Because of the disproportionately
large influence retreats have on students compared to the time spent at the
retreat, it is very important that the student have a well-formed retreat.
This department is dedicated to the dissemination of ideas about what works
and what doesn’t on retreats.  I am aware of excellent retreat programs
at Gonzaga University and at Notre Dame.
6.  Catholic Fellowship:  At many universities, the campus
culture is not conducive to a genuinely Catholic culture.  So, it is
necessary sometimes to create a group specifically for the development of
Catholic fellowship.  The model we will use for this department is
the program I helped developed at Gonzaga University, the Newman-Stein Fellowship.,
which combines elements of most of the other departments.
7.  Student Liturgies:  Frequently, students are given
a large role in the planning and the carrying out of liturgies on campus.
This department will serve those students active in student liturgies.
8.  Service:  Too often service programs at Catholic universities
are divorced form their foundation in the faith.  This department will
seek to assist and create service programs interested in doing the works
of mercy.  Benedictine College and Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio)
both have strong Catholic service programs.
9.  Student Publications: Anti-Catholic media bias is not confined
to major press outlets.  It has also crept into many publications at
Catholic universities, including here at Notre Dame.  This department
will work hand in hand with the Cardinal Newman Society’s Campus Media Project
to found and support alternative Catholic newspapers or official student
papers with strong commitments to the faith.  Excellent Catholic newspapers
exist at Boston College and Georgetown University.
10.  Women’s Issues: Among the strongest anti-Catholic forces
at Catholic universities are the Women’s Studies programs, which have, for
the most part, bought into a postmodern, secular view of the woman.
This department is dedicated to helping students interested in the Church’s
beautiful, authentically liberating message about what it means to be a
woman.  Along with the Men’s Issues department, one of the projects
of this department will be the promotion of the Holy Father’s theology of
the body.  This department will also actively promote vocations to
the religious life.
11.  Men’s Issues:  This department will be devoted to
assisting students and student groups interested in promoting and living what
it means to be a Catholic man.  It will assist the Women’s Issues department
as explained and promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
12.  Faculty/Administration Relations: As many students have
found, dealing with administrations and faculties, both those that are hostile
and those that are friendly, is a challenging task at best.  This department
focuses ways to work with faculties and administrations.
In addition to the departments of the student association, the ASCC also
has planned several projects to further its mission.  They are:

  • The Student Handbook, which provides an introduction
    to the Cardinal Newman Society, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the thought
    of John Henry Cardinal Newman.  It also provides guidance on how to establish
    a club on campus, suggestions for officers, how to write a constitution,
    and a few suggested activities.  It also includes a list of organizations
    with missions friendly to that of the student association which students
    can contact for resources.
  • The Speakers Bureau, which consists of an extensive
    list of speakers who address topics relevant to students at Catholic colleges
    along with contact info, suggested honoraria, and an outline for a speaker’s
    contract.  At present, the speakers list includes over 80 high-profile
    Catholic speakers.
  • The Annual Conference is held upon the conclusion of
    the Cardinal Newman Society’s annual conference, the ASCC’s conference will
    address issues specifically relevant for students.  It will provide a
    basis in theory, nuts and bolts training, and time for fellowship and networking.
    The first conference was held on November 10, 2002, in Washington, D.C.
  • The Web Site will be the depository for information
    accessible by the general public, including a speaker’s list, essays and
    articles dealing with Catholic higher education, links to organizations
    with missions friendly to the goals of the ASCC, and tools for networking
    among students and student organizations, including a bulletin board system,
    a weblog, and a list of various groups at Catholic colleges and universities
    working to renew Catholic culture and their activities.

The Association is still very young.  The theory is in place, but
we still have to hammer out, concretely, we will go about performing our
mission.  Someone once said that the Christian should pray as if everything
depended on God and to work as if everything depended on him or her.
That’s what we plan on doing.  So, please pray for us.  I would
be grateful if you would join me in beseeching the Blessed Mother of Our
Lord for her intercession on behalf of the ASCC.
Hail Mary . . .

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