For overseas readers, NZ having enjoyed a few months of Level 1 (more or less normal life), is back up a level or two. Auckland (our largest city, about 1/3rd of our population) is in Level 3 (stay at home, church for 10 or fewer people, etc) and the rest of us at Level 2 (work from home if possible, schools open, church for 100 ir fewer people).
Natch it is time on ADU for another look at eucharists online.
Our guide is none other than Thomas O'Loughlin (previously featured here on ADU) who has had a few things to say in a YouTube post about eucharists in the time of Covid-19, reported here by the Catholic Herald.
The YouTube post is provocatively titled, Can you send an apple by email?
Note that we should presume O'Loughlin in a Catholic context is talking about viewing eucharistic services online, without domestic consumption of bread and wine; and not about "Zoom eucharists" meaning eucharists viewers participate in using their own bread and wine
According to the report, there are several lines of critique:
1. Online eucharists are not real experiences:
"The Catholic Church is selling “the Eucharist” and people short and is making a mistake by turning Mass into a YouTube experience.
“There are some things Zoom and YouTube just won’t do because real experiences are whole human experiences,” O’Loughlin said."
2. Communion is about community and an online experience is not a community experience:
"People wanting to have Mass on their TV or computer at home and priests supplying it sounds a warning about the real nature of the community, he said.
Challenging the meeting, O’Loughlin posed the question as to whether the Church had stopped being a real community and is being reduced to religious ideology."
3. In a note that could also apply to "Zoom eucharists", O'Loughline observes:
"He sounded a warning that we may be reducing the Eucharist to just getting communion, almost makes it a commodity!"
4. There are better ways of praying and worshipping virtually:
"O’Loughlin said that the Liturgy of the Hours, shared prayer, Lectio Divina, prayer together and scripture study we just some of the examples from the Church’s spiritual tradition that respects the characteristics of the liturgy and that are easily adapted to a virtual environment.
“Why did we pick on something so physical such as eating and drinking?” O’Loughlin asked."
5. Spiritual Communion is dangerous re-emergence of Jansenism (!!):
"Questioned on whether it was appropriate to use the readings of the day and make a “spiritual communion,” O’Loughlin sounded a stern warning.
Spiritual communion “is tied up with notions of unworthiness and impurity” and it is a part of a moral theology we left long ago, he said."
6. It's clericalism!! Bonus critique from an NZ Catholic liturgical leader:
"Host of the conversation, Dr Joseph Grayland, Director of Liturgy in the Palmerston North Diocese, New Zealand, says the idea for “Let’s Talk Liturgy” came about due to the disruption to worship brought about through the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Grayland says the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted laity and clergy alike.
Labelling online video Mass as a form of clericalism, Grayland says there are real concerns around the passive, observer approach and the personal nature of the “priest’s Mass.”"
Well. What do you think?
I have some thoughts but let's have your comments!