The Desacralization of the Holy Eucharist (Against the “New Theologians”)
By Matthew James Bellisario 2010
Since the Second Vatican Council we have witnessed the widespread desacralization of the sacraments in the Catholic Church. There has been great dissent within the Catholic Church by scholars who proclaim themselves to be a part of a “new theology.” We could examine each sacrament and how the infiltration of this “new theology” has in effect caused this mass desacralization. For example, baptism is often taught to new catechumens as being only a sacrament of the community, while completely neglecting the Church's long defined irreformable teaching on original sin. This leads them to question the Church's baptism of infants, as well as the effects that the Sacrament itself has on the soul. Despite the benefit we would receive from studying how each sacrament has been effected in recent years, our point of focus must first start with the treatment of the Divine Savior Himself, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We must focus our attention as to how Christ Himself has been treated by these “new theologians” of the modern age. In order for us to understand what has happened to the rest of our sacramental theology, or loss of in recent years, I believe we must first start with Christ.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the following, “Since the whole mystery of our salvation is comprised in this sacrament, therefore is it performed with greater solemnity than the other sacraments.” (Summa Theologiae, Tertia Pars, Q83, A 4) (1) Over the last 40 years or so there has been a drastic change in attitude towards Our Lord in this most Holy Sacrament. No longer is Christ the King of our Church, He has become Christ the social worker, Christ the psychologist, or Christ the revolutionary. In many parishes the Mass in its celebration no longer reflects what is actually happening in the Divine Liturgy. It no longer reflects Who it is that we receive in the Sacrament. We know in reading the Gospel of St. John, and by the infallible interpretation of this passage by the Church, that Christ gives us Himself in complete Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. “For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him” (John 6:56-57) No longer do we bow down to give God the glory, honor and worship due to Him in the liturgy or in the Sacrament. Instead we now turn to ourselves as the primary focus of “liturgy.”
It is easy to blame this turbulent upheaval of Eucharistic theology on the Second Vatican Council. Upon close examination however, we can see that this deconstructive attitude was alive and working behind the scenes well before the Council. We may even trace the rebellious roots back to the Protestant revolt of the 16th century and the following years of the so called “Enlightenment.” No, it was not the Council itself that spawned this desacralization, despite some who attended the Council who wanted this to happen; it was the Council that would be the victim of this “new theology.” It is the Council that would be hi-jacked by these “new theologians.”
The era after the Council became the era of learned scholars who suddenly knew more than Christ and the collective Magisterial Church of the past 2000 years. The arrogant “scholars” of the modern age sought to recreate their own vision of what the early Church was, and they tried to recreate how this early Church supposedly celebrated the liturgy of the Eucharist. In short, they tried to recreate God and the Church in their own image. This heavy reliance on historical criticism became a recipe for disaster. The mentality of modernism had now penetrated the minds of those inside the Church. This problem can also be attributed to the faulty philosophy of Descartes, Kant, Rousseau and later Nietzsche and others. They defined a “reality” where suddenly everything shifted away from objective truth; instead rationalism and subjectivism became the norm for determining “truth.” No longer was truth defined by the mind conforming to the object, but the object being conformed to the subjective perspective of the mind. This inferior philosophy was later mutated and carried into Protestantism by men like Soren Kierkegaard and Frederick Schleiermacher who taught that emotionalism was superior to rationalism. Catholicism did not escape these philosophical deficiencies. Thomistic philosophy was abandoned to deficient philosophers like Maurice Blondel who introduced his, “nouvelle théologie” in which freedom, action and emotion became the most important functions of religion. This outlines the foundation upon which the decline of faith in modern society, and now sadly that decline in the Church is built upon.
(Stay tuned for Part II)