Friday, 15 May 2009
The Real Presence...
This evening our parish was visited by Raymond de Souza, EWTN host and lay apologist, on his UK tour.
The topic he spoke on was one which is dear to my heart: whether Jesus' presence in the Eucharist is real or just "symbolic". For any Catholic it's a no-brainer, but I was keen to hear what arguments Raymond would put forward.
I was a little unsure how the talk would go: I half expected a "typical" evangelistic type, rather like Scott Hahn... don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading Scott Hahn's work (in small doses) and admire his zeal, but it's all a bit exhausting, and doesn't translate well in the UK. There is a basic lack of understanding as to how far the de-Christianisation of Europe has progressed: America, for all its "separation of Church and State" is far more steeped in religion than the UK.
In fact, Raymond de Souza proved to be an inspirational and fascinating speaker. He spoke without any notes, but he never seemed to stray far from his central message: that Christ had not been speaking figuratively when he said that a person must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to inherit eternal life. I had already heard the arguments Raymond used, but his delivery was fresh and engaging, and he gave the topic an intensity I hadn't experienced before.
After a brief service of Benediction, there was an opportunity to buy some CDs and books - I managed to get a copy of Henry VIII's Defence of the Seven Sacraments, which Raymond de Souza had edited and supplemented - it comes with 2 CDs inside the cover. I knew that Henry VIII's treatise had defended the existence of the seven Sacraments (Luther maintained that there were only two, Baptism and the Eucharist) but I hadn't realised that Henry had also written arguments defending the primacy of the Pope. I look forward to reading the book.
The full itinerary of Raymond de Souza's tour can be found HERE, and if you are in the vicinity, I would really recommend making the effort to hear him in person. If you can't make any of the events mentioned, you can buy CD recordings of many of his talks.
Finally, I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Bernadette Bevans (of BevansInc.), who is responsible for co-ordinating Raymond's UK tour, and Gary Bevans, who painted the reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the church of Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex. The Bevans are also responsible for producing DVDs on various topics, such as the life of St. Edmund Campion and St. Philip Howard, through their company, Mary's Dowry Productions. Pop over and check them out!