From Fr Robert Copsey
Sir, Is unity more important than truth? I write to you in my capacity as parish priest of Brockley. I recommend your paper as the best of the three.
Nevertheless, I am utterly appalled at the article (June 7) by Fr Ronald Rolheiser on the back page. What is he playing at? What is the point in such an article?
Of course unity is not more important than truth. The Eucharist is not the cause of disunity; rather it is peoples' opinions of the Eucharist which is the cause of disunity.
Fancy a priest asking for the precise theology of the Eucharist. A priest should not be unsure on this, but if he is then look at the definition of Trent. Fancy asking who may preside! Why use the word "president" at all? Why not use the proper word — "priest" then there is no need for the question. Why ask how often? Liturgical rules are quite clear on this (i.e. two Masses on a weekday and three on Sunday, never four). Why ask about vestments? There are rules on this too. Altars should be of stone but wood is allowed now should be so that the priest faces east with the people (but now this is not the case in most churches).
Is there confusion on who may "serve" the Eucharist. Yes there is but this should not affect what the Eucharist is, but it does; and this is where there is disunity. According to Tradition only a bishop, priest or deacon should distribute Holy Communion but our bishops have the authority to grant permission to lay people under the direction of their priests, and they have used their authority _ _too liberally. Questions about hymns, I am not too bothered with, but to follow on with: "How is Christ's presence in the bread and wine to be understood" is a bit of a bombshell!
In reading St Justin Martyr's account of an early Eucharist I see no connection in the type of situation described by Father Rolheiser. Where is the evidence of the painful divisions in the early Church?
How can a Catholic priest boldly state that "there is no single theology and practice of the Eucharist", and there is a "variety of theologies".
"The Lord's Supper" is a Protestant term. The Catholic Mass is what was banned in this country by the reformers.
Where I do agree with Fr Rolheiser is in his view that all Catholics attending Mass should be of goodwill to one another, i.e. acquiescing to each other in charity and service, if wishing to receive this sacrament.
Why should I tell my people to give up their right to be right on the Eucharist and let them become members of any one of a thousand difference groups who believe what they want to?
The principle of non-contradiction rules. A thing cannot be right and wrong at the same time. Either the Catholic definition of the Eucharist as defined in Trent is correct or incorrect.
If it is incorrect then the many other opinions may be right. If Trent-is-eorrect is. I go with Trent and Peter.
Yours faithfully, ROBERT COPSEY Brockley, London SE4.