Pope Warns Secularism Can Infest Church

Cautions Against Worship Lacking Heart

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ROME, JUNE 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is warning of a "serpentine secularization" that penetrates the Church and is manifested in "formal and empty Eucharistic worship."



The Pope celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi today in Rome, presiding over Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran and then processing with the Blessed Sacrament to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

In his homily, the Holy Father illustrated the importance of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, telling the thousands of pilgrims that this faith "cannot be taken for granted."

"Today there arises the risk of a serpentine secularization even within the Church, which can convert into a formal and empty Eucharistic worship, in celebrations lacking this participation from the heart that is expressed in veneration and respect for the liturgy," he cautioned.

According to the Pontiff, "the temptation is always strong to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, letting oneself be carried away by earthly activities and worries."

And nevertheless, he added, the Eucharist is "the bread of eternal life of the new world that is given us today in the holy Mass, so that starting now the future world begins in us."

"With the Eucharist, therefore, heaven comes down to earth, the tomorrow of God descends into the present and it is as if time remains embraced by divine eternity," the Bishop of Rome explained.

He didn't hide his joy at being able to accompany the Blessed Sacrament along the path to St. Mary Major; he invited the faithful to raise up this prayer: "Stay with us, Christ, give to us the gift of yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life.

"Free this world from the venom of evil, of violence and of hate, which contaminate consciences; purify it with the power of your merciful love."