I never thought I would be writing this but for once I must take issue with the writings of Father Richard McBrien regarding eucharistic adoration (The Catholic Messenger, 9/10/09).
Fr. McBrien asserts that “…it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today…. Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological and spiritual step backward, not forward.” I would strongly disagree with this assertion and I’m sure a large number of other readers of this newspaper will disagree with it as well.
Any devotional practice can be taken to extreme and abused. Such excesses are destructive and detrimental to spiritual growth. This is not limited to Roman Catholic devotional practices. The fundamentalist practice of believing the Bible is the literal word of God is a prime example. Eucharistic adoration, as long as it leads back to and reinforces the importance of the Mass can be a very meaningful and spiritually enriching practice.
Granted, it is not a practice that is essential to Catholicism and is not practiced by all Catholics (eucharistic adoration as practiced in the west would be foreign to Eastern Orthodox Christians).
That being said, Fr. McBrien’s statements in regards to the practice will not be well received by those of us who regularly take part in eucharistic adoration and find much fulfillment in doing so.