"Oh Gates, lift high your heads, grow Higher Ancient Doors?"
Commentaries upon the psalms invariably point to the wisdom of the psalmist and the comfort to be derived from the psalms in our current age. It may be thought incapable of contradiction that when penning the words of psalm 24, the psalmist did not have in mind the events which unfolded in the archdiocese of Sorocaba this week. Those bold enough to visit the facebook page of the parish of Sao Geraldo Magela will be greeted by the blessed sacrament placed within a monstrance. Not carried aloft by the celebrant wearing the humeral veil. Nor positioned upon an altar for veneration. But, carried by a drone. A drone intercepted by a female member of the congregation not once, but twice, before the monstrance is retrieved by a person dressed as a priest. The affixing of the monstrance to the drone, the facial expression and posture of the priest and his general ease of manner as he retrieved it from the member of the congregation suggest this was an entrance with which he was in full agreement.
According to the Code of Canon Law, the term "Church" is reserved to a building which is itself sacred, intended for divine worship (c1214 CIC). Furthermore, c1210 confirms that within sacred places, only those things which are consistent with the promotion of worship, piety or religion are to be permitted; with anything discordant to the holiness of the place being forbidden. It may be suggested that these are mere environmental restrictions. What of the canonical norms concerning the reservation and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament? Canon 943 is particularly informative:
"The minister of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and of the eucharistic blessing is a priest or a deacon..."
Curiously, no provision is made for the use of a drone. Nor is this an issue which simply determines the identity of the pilot of the drone in question. The Church is by definition a sacred space; in which the sacred species may be received and venerated. It is not an aircraft hanger. Nor is the rite of exposition an occasion for the personal gimmicks or celebrity of any individual minister.
Perhaps, a more troubling question is what does it say about the Eucharistic understanding of those present who received the event with such jubilation? Were they rejoicing at the use of a drone to fly a monstrance into the Church, or, the arrival of the blessed sacrament? Viewers will doubtless form their own opinions. Perhaps we would do well to keep in mind the words of St Alphonsus Ligouri:
"You may be sure that of all the moments in your life, the time you spend before the Divine sacrament will be that which will give you more strength during life and more consolation at the hour of your death..."