Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.
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JW wrote:When I was a lad, I loved Benediction.
Me too. I boarded, and on Sunday evenings we left our classrooms at 7:10pm for Benediction, and were in the ref for supper by 7:30 unless it was one of the very elderly J's celebrating. I think it took a crew of a about a dozen servers: the youngsters carried torches, and you had to be 6th form to be a thurifer or MC.
We were also blessed with an extraordinarily talented Director of Music and Organist.
It's not a generation gap, it's a taste gap.
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In my parish we have Sung Evening Prayer and Benediction every Sunday shortly before the Evening Mass: exposition first, then EP, then 5-10 minutes' silent adoration, then Benediction, finishing with the Marian antiphon by the Lady statue - 35 minutes in all. Usually starts with about half a dozen, but by the end we have up to 30. (Personally, I'd prefer the monastic tradition of having EP before exposition/Benediction: mixing the liturgical and devotional makes me uneasy. On the other hand, would people come later if they knew the Blessed Sacrament was not to be exposed until after EP?)
When a priest or deacon is not available we have everything except the actual Benediction. A Eucharistic minister performs the exposition and reposition, a robed server performs the incensations, chants the prayer after the Tantum ergo and leads the Divine Praises. Parishioners are happy with this.
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I note that the original incentive for this thread was concern about attendance at religious services. I am sure that many people like the idea of 'eucharistic adoration'; but personally I find the actual title a real turnoff. Partly it is to do with the choice of vocabulary. It would be interesting to discover how many 'outsiders' (i.e. people who almost never go into a church) feel likewise, given the idea that 'eucharistic adoration' is supposed to be a tool for evangelisation.
For example the word 'eucharist' is a piece of technical shorthand for a most complex and contentious set of beliefs that mean nothing to or repel outsiders (such as the idea of 'eating' the body of Christ at communion). On the other hand 'adoration' can imply gushing over-the-top displays of emotion. It might also conjure up ideas of ancient Middle-Eastern grovelling before a potentially capricious deity. I do not regard myself as a linguist; yet the term 'eucharistic adoration' may have rather less off-putting connotations in other languages - such as Latin; and it is the act of translating the term into English that produces the problems I have. Perhaps someone could provide enlightenment.
'Benediction' seems to me a better title - though by no means perfect, given its old pre-Vatican II connotations. It is also perhaps too limited - as it suggests you just receive some sort of blessing, valuable though this may be for the true believer. Perhaps someone could come up with a title that reaches out to doubters like myself?
I also wonder whether other types of service might be as effective. For example Anglican Evensong retains a consistent attraction for many - especially in cathedrals, despite a reluctance to switch to the more modern language available in 'Common Worship'. In the early C19th most English catholic churches had similar evening services - the rise of Benediction and other 'devotions' is something that only really became popular from about the 1840s-1850s onwards.
The recent TV programme discussing how 'Christian' GB now is might also provide food for thought. I did not see it all; but one telling aspect was the emergence of non-religious gatherings that provided people with a sense of community i.e. holding a service without religion.
However the individualistic obverse surfaced in another important programme about holy places and relics that was recently re-shown. Benediction of course is relic 'worship' with a host substituted for the relic. Yet for me a relic or sacred place associated with a holy person somehow seems more potent than a host, despite the fact that the latter is associated with the most holy person of all - Jesus Christ. Given the apparent need amongst many individuals just to sit quietly in a holy place in the presence of something sacred; perhaps some thought might be given to how the ambiance associated with a eucharistic host, a relic, an icon and other sacred objects might be re-combined.