Several years ago, in the context of a course I was teaching, I suggested that the erosion of faith in the Most Holy Eucharist was, in fact, fostered by a number of liturgical and disciplinary changes:
-- Minimalistic approach to the fast before Holy Communion.
-- The offering of the Holy Sacrifice by the priest facing the congregation.
-- The removal of the communion rail and obfuscation of the sanctuary as "the holy place."
-- The relegation of the tabernacle to the side of the sanctuary.
-- The reception of Holy Communion standing, and in the hand.
-- The introduction of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Taken together, these changes sent a chilling message to the Catholic faithful (and even to confused clergy): "Folks, the Blessed Sacrament just isn't all that we thought it was."
The Protestantization of Catholic Worship
Let it be noted, en passant, that while all of these changes are a cause of scandal to Eastern Orthodox Christians, not one of them would be considered offensive to mainstream Protestants. When one begins to worship like a Protestant, one begins to believe like a Protestant.
The cumulative effect of these changes, compounded by a woefully deficient sacramental catechesis and by certain lamentable theological, liturgical, and moral sensibilities in seminaries during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, is the current Eucharistic Crisis. Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004) remains, in most dioceses, a document that is virtually unknown. Pope John Paul II's Year of the Eucharist seems to have faded into oblivion; his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003), and his Apostolic Letter, Mane nobiscum, Domine (2004) seem not to have been assimilated at the parish level. Pope Benedict XVI's Sacramentum Caritatis (2007) is, in many places, unknown.
Adoration and Reparation
Adoration in a spirit of reparation is more than ever necessary. Where are the adorers and reparators who will console the Heart of Jesus, wounded by the irreverence, coldness, indifference, and sacrilege that He receives "in the house of them that loved Him," and in the Sacrament of His Love?
As for the much discussed "reform of the reform," might it not be a case of too little too late? Can anything apart from a Divine Intervention, a new sacerdotal Pentecost, obtained through the intercession of the Maternal Heart of Mary, bring about the change of heart that is needed?