…from a very interesting perspective.
Michael Carden describes himself as “an out gay man, a biblical scholar and currently (Jan 2009) an honorary research advisor in the School of History, Philosophy Religion and Classics at University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia.” He has “a long history of trade union, queer community and AIDS activism in Brisbane”, and “counts [himself] as a fringe Catholic by religion” who “sit[s] across the boundaries of a variety of catholic communions including the Roman one.”
I refer you to his three part (so far) anaylsis:
I appreciate his anaylsis because I believe it to generally be either “wrong for the right reasons” or “right for the wrong reasons”.
Except in one matter in particular in which I believe he is absolutely right, and that is in regard to the Eucharist:
I used to attend St Mary’s fairly regularly but by 2002 had effectively walked away from it as I believed that it had stopped performing any kind of eucharist that I could recognise as such…
The whole life of the church, indeed its very existence is grounded in the eucharist. Without the eucharist there is no church period…
I also noticed that the eucharistic prayers began to change. More and more it seemed that St Mary’s had developed its own anaphora or eucharistic prayer. More and more these prayers began to abandon the standard characteristics of what made a eucharist a eucharist. In the end the only thing eucharistic about it the was the words of institution. But the prayer as a whole lacked any explicit reference to Christ let alone to anything of the sacrificial real presence. Without the words of institution it could have been used in any sort of religious setting Christian or non-Christian with no problem whatsoever. In other words it had been evacuated of any meaningful content whatsoever. Hence I walked. It’s a bit like turning up for a vegan feast and constantly being presented with spare ribs. What was happening at St Mary’s was a communion service of some sort but not a eucharist.
Or, I would say, like turning up for a spare ribs feast and being offered a vegan dish. But then, I am an unrepentant carnivore (having a tough time during lent. I made a fairly tasty meatless version of chow mien for tea last night, though, a sort of cabbage curry… The kids liked it, believe it or not. But that’s another story…)