Rearranging the Chairs at the Synod

There was a time, not so very long ago, when the raging controversy among Catholics was about how best to receive Holy Communion. Would greater reverence be shown when receiving Our Lord on the tongue, which had been the custom for centuries, or in the hand, which not a few innovators were proposing as somehow more fitting? How quaint it all now seems up against a backdrop of widening apostasy, in which an alarming number of Catholics no longer even believe in the Eucharist. What difference can it possibly make how you receive Jesus if there is so little certainty that it is Jesus whom you receive?

Such a long way we have come from the halcyon days of Hilaire Belloc, who, when asked if he actually believed that the bread and wine became the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Jesus Christ, replied that he’d believe they’d been changed into an elephant if the Church had told him so.

Those days are far gone, leaving us with a situation unimaginably worse than anything we have faced before. Indeed, not since the Arian crisis of the fourth century when the divinity of Christ came under heavy fire, have the times been so out of joint. It is not only belief in the Eucharist that has fallen away, every faith item on the shelf looks less and less secure as well, including the very structures of reality itself. Perhaps the prophets of modernity were right, after all, when they assured us that in the coming age everything solid would melt into thin air.

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