Sunday, September 21, 2014

DO THEY BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE?



Tim, I am confused. Recently I saw Msgr. Bibi and told him I've heard that the NCW members do not believe in the Real Presence. He emphatically insisted they do. Other NCW members have insisted that they believe in the Real Presence also. Do they believe in the Real Presence in a different way than the rest of us?
Actually, your question sounds like a set up. Nevertheless, I'll take the challenge.

First I would ask Msgr. Bibi how he knows. Is it because he simply believes they do? Is it because a catechist told him so? Does Msgr. Bibi have a copy of Kiko's 13 volume Catechetical Directory so he can check? 


Of course, as the pastor of the parish wherein the Neo's have had communities for many years, nothing should be taught in the name of the Catholic Church that the pastor is not completely aware of, so he should in fact have a copy of Kiko's catechism. 

So ask him to see it and point out where it teaches, as our own Catechism does, that at the point of consecration, the bread and wine become the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. 

Unfortunately, Msgr. Bibi will most likely not be able to show you. And this is a major part of the problem. Kiko's catechism is reserved only for the catechists to see. Pastors do not qualify, unless of course they are full-fledge Neo's and catechists themselves. 

This is a very grave situation for a pastor. He is ultimately responsible before God for the eternal well-being of the souls in his parish, souls who are entrusted to his care. People attend the catechesis or join the communities because they are presented under the auspices of the parish which by extension incurs the de facto nihil obstat of the pastor. 

In short, people are led to believe they can trust the catechists and all that they teach because they FIRST trust the pastor who has presented and sponsored them. However, we can be sure that most pastors who sponsor the Neocatechumenal Way in their parishes DO NOT have access to Kiko's catechetical directory and thus do not fully know what is being taught. In fact, pastors are made to join communities as ordinary members (like the Archbishop has) and to sit at the feet of the catechists. 

This situation is not just severely disturbing, it is a grave danger for the pastors who both allow and submit to this. On Guam, the problem is magnified because of the Archbishop's complete seduction into the Neocatechumenal Way and his obvious willingness to put an "arduous and painful end" to the assignment of any priest who even questions it. 

Because we do not have access to Kiko's teachings in writing, and because we don't have thirty years to hang around and find out, we are left to surmise what is taught by what the members tell us and show us. 

In the matter of the Real Presence, we can be sure they do not believe the same thing we do because the do not DO the same thing we do. They sit to consume. We stand or kneel. And they do this despite the constant direction from Rome not to, a direction that is included in their statute, specifically in footnote 49. 

There is a theological reason why they sit, and it is Kiko's theological reason. We find it in his January 17, 2006 response to Pope Benedict wherein he refused to conform his manner of receiving communion to the liturgical books as Benedict had required:
...that in the Holy Eucharist the Lord makes present his love, dying and rising for them; and not only that, but prepares a table, an eschatological banquet, which makes Heaven present and where He himself, full of love, has them sit down and comes to serve them...
Kiko is a wordsmith and he has a lot of practice in making things sound legit, so one might wonder what is wrong with the lofty sounding language. Here's the short course. The "eschatological banquet" is the "Wedding Feast of the Lamb". It is heaven at the end of time. In heaven at the end of time, Christ will no longer be present under the appearances of bread and wine because he will be present to us REALLY. (Apologies to the theologians out there. This is an extreme abbreviation.)

So for Kiko, Christ is not SUBSTANTIALLY present under the appearances of bread and wine because his "eucharist" is already a participation in the eschatological banquet wherein Christ comes to serve him.

But of course we are neither in heaven nor are we at the end of time. This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks only of the "eschatological character" of the the sacraments (2776), and of how the Kingdom of God which has come in the person of Christ must grow "mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation (865). And paragraph 1090 speaks specifically to the eschatological anticipation inherent in the Mass.

This is why in our Mass we do not presume to sit and be waited on by the Lord. Rather we approach the Lord in fear and trembling (at least we should) to receive him Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. And even though the Church permits us to receive him standing and in the hand, Paul VI, the pope who gave the permission in Memoriale Domini, despaired that reverence for the Eucharist would be lost if we did so. (And how much more so if we sit!)

And then we must also ask the Neo's what they mean by the Real Presence. For us of course, the Real Presence means that Jesus Christ is SUBSTANTIALLY present under the appearances of bread and wine. He is not just "mystically" present or "especially present", nor is he simply "really present". 

Awhile back, our professor friend, Zoltan, presumed to explain what Kiko teaches regarding the Real Presence. And we have no reason to doubt that this is what Kiko actually teaches:
Actually, Kiko has an excellent explanation as of what happens when the bread turns into the Body. In fact, the texture of the bread remains bread and the make-up of the wine remains wine. But the Body of Jesus will appear mysteriously in it in a real sense. The same real sense as he is present in the communities and in His Church.
You should be able to see the problem here. For Catholics, real ones, Jesus Christ does NOT "appear mysteriously" in the bread and wine at the moment of consecration. The bread and wine become his ACTUAL Body and Blood. He is not mysteriously present. He is ACTUALLY present. Neither does he appear "in it". This way of speaking of the Eucharist is akin to Luther's belief in "sacramental union" wherein Christ unites with the bread and wine and mysteriously appears "in it". 

Zoltan clarifies this error further in his next sentence where he refers to the "same real sense" (his Real Presence) as the same Presence that is "present in the communities and in His Church." 

So yes, the Neo's do believe in the Real Presence. They believe that he is really present in the Eucharist in the same way as he is really present in the communities and His Church. The problem is that the Catholic Church doesn't teach that. Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharistic species is NOT the same presence as he is found in our communities or even in our proclamation of the Word. 

In fact, this belief in a wholly unique presence in the Eucharistic species is what separates us from most non-Catholic Christians and it is why non-Catholic Christians are not invited to participate in our communion. 

In the end, our real problem when we go to a Mass celebrated by a neo-presbyter is that we really can't be sure what they believe or intend. Their catechism remains hidden, and given the sermons of some of these recently ordained presbyters, we really don't know what they believe about anything other than the Neo saved them. 



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