Fr. Richard McBrien is one of the best known Catholic scholars. And he’s often getting himself publicity by articles taking issue with Catholic teaching. Take this, for example: Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.
After clearing the air about an article that was in the Boston Globe (a good job), he then throws out some gratuitous swipes at the theology and practice of his church:
Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI’s personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.
Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.
Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.
Eucharistic adoration is inseparable from Catholic Eucharistic theology. The Catholic church believes that the substance of the bread and wine of the Eucharist are, when consecrated by the priest in the mass, transformed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, and that this presence perdures beyond the celebration of the mass. If you believe that, you will engage in Eucharistic adoration.
I think the reality here is that McBrien doesn’t really believe Catholic teaching. And yet he is a priest in good standing with a very public platform as a professor of Catholic theology.
Funny thing–some Catholics say the reason you have heresy in liberal Protestant churches like the ELCA is because there is no magisterium. Well, Catholicism has a magisterium, but it still can’t keep its own house in order.