Only 63% of Catholics in a recent poll stated that they believed in the true presence of Christ body, blood soul and divinity in the Eucharist. 20% Believe that it is only a symbol and 17% do not even know what the Church teaches on the Eucharist.
That is truly sad. Christ in John 6:22-59 make it CLEAR that he was literal in his meaning when he said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
Later on in John 6, it says that many grumbled about those words and left Jesus because of it. If Jesus was being figurative and not literal, then why did he not call after those leaving clarifying his words? In actuality, Christ does not. Instead he turns to his disciples and asks if they want to leave as well. This chapter of John’s gospel is not the only passage or gospel where Christ says this. In the 3 other gospels during Passover, Christ says “This is my body” and “This is my blood”. Matthew 26:26-29 Mark 14:22-25 Luke 22:15-20
The article linked HERE (via OnePeterFive) retells the true story of a priest saying mass who was interrupted at the elevation (twice) by a possessed man who was tormented by seeing the true presence and ran out of the church screaming “Even Demons believe and tremble” (James 2:19). It made the priest stop and think. Why does this possessed man see the true presence more than I can?
This question caused me to stop and think. I equate a difficulty believing with a mediocre reverence for the Mass and thus a mediocre reverence for the Eucharist. Even if unintentionally done, this irreverence through awful sappy music, haphazard and lackadaisical treatment of the parts of the Mass by laity and priests along with poor catechesis for both children and adults has largely contributed to this lack of understanding of the true presence as well as the large lack of belief in the true presence. If you want to see more belief in the True Presence, then treat the Mass and the Eucharist like it is truly Christ; Body, Blood soul and Divinity. Bring back kneeling at the Angus Dei and forever banish receiving on the hand (which started out as an irreverent abuse that was never suppressed) and instead instruct people to receive on the tongue or even kneel if they are able. Get rid of extraordinary ministers wherever possible. The hosts are TRULY Christ’s Body and Blood……not just some wafer to be doled out by just anybody, but rather by the Priests whose anointed hands give him the authority to change bread and wine into the Body, Blood soul and Divinity of Christ. Extraordinary ministers are only to be used in “true necessity” when….
a) there is no priest, deacon, or acolyte;
(b) these are prevented from administering Holy Communion because of another pastoral ministry or because of ill health or advanced age;
(c) the number of the faithful requesting Holy Communion is such that the celebration of Mass or the distribution of the Eucharist outside Mass would be unduly prolonged. (MY NOTE: that does NOT mean because you want to get out of Mass in 45 minutes flat.)
Pope St. John Paul II noted that handling the Holy Eucharist was “”a privilege of the ordained”.
If you really want to see more belief in the true presence, start treating it like the true presence through more reverence and less like a protestant service where no such transubstantiation occurs or they do not believe that transubstantiation happens. Only when the Eucharist is treated with the reverence that enforces the truth of the True Presence will more Catholics believe in it. You can teach and preach about Transubstantiation and the True Presence, but if you treat it like a circus side show, nobody will believe it.
In an televised town hall interview with Chris Matthews on NBC, presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked an entrapping question about whether women who got an abortion should be punished. Trump admitted that “There has to be some sort of punishment.” This in turn caused an uproar not just by the pro-death democrats, but also by the supposedly pro life movement including self professed pro life candidates such as Ted Cruz and John Kasich both of whom rebuked Trump for his comments and guaranteed that no women would be punished if they were elected President of the United States. First of all, the whole scenario of Chris Matthews’ gotcha question rests on abortion being made illegal and how the law would be carried out if abortion was made federally illegal. Under that if which I hope and pray does someday come true, it would not refer to anything in the past.
So why is it such a big deal to being pro life? I will tell you why. It is such a big deal because the claim that only the abortionist should be prosecuted for the murder of the child in the womb creates a self contradictory paradox. If I were to claim that every life is protected under the constitution from conception until natural death, that would mean that the law would deal with what we would legally call ‘murder’ in the same way as what is currently defined as murder. That means that anyone who commits murder should and would be prosecuted under the full extent of the law. Therefore to claim that women who have an abortion (which by definition would be murder) should never be prosecuted is contradictory to what pro-lifers would define as murder and defending life and denies the nature of it being murder if there is no consequence for taking someone’s life (murder). It can best be explained below looking at each premise using logic and syllogisms.
Premise 1: Murder is the killing of another human being which should be punished under the law.
Premise 2: Abortion is murder by definition as the child in the womb is a human life.
Premise 3: Those women who get abortions should not be prosecuted.
Premise 1, 2 and premise 3 cannot both be true since premise 1 states that everyone who commits murder must also be punished/prosecuted under the full extend of the law which contradicts premise 3. If a person is truly pro life and claims to want to defend ALL human life, they cannot agree with premise 3. Purely from a logical and philosophical standpoint, this syllogism does not pass muster and remains invalid. But wait a minute you say. Women are the victims here because they are the victims or trauma and sometimes have been impregnated against their will?
First of all, rape (which would be against their will) happens in less than one percent of all abortions so to use that as the backbone of any argument justifying this ludicrous exception of women is illogical and statistically unfounded. And regardless while being conceived in rape might lessen the culpability of the mother, it certainly does not remove all culpability as long as the mother understands what she did and understands right from wrong…..the same as the standard for anybody to be competent to stand trial under the law. It could mean that a mother under certain circumstances could receive a lesser sentence than someone who knew what they were doing was murder and showed no remorse, but it does not remove all culpability.
Secondly, saying that women should not be answer for their taking another human being’s life because they had trauma in their life would be the same as me saying that all rapists and serial killers should not be prosecuted because they were abused and raped when they were children…..or better yet, a person who hires another person to kill someone should not be as guilty as the person who was hired to commit the murder. Both are ridiculous and false….in fact in cases of murder for hire, the actual murderer usually is not sentences as harshly as the person who payed that person to commit the murder. Usually the one who does the hiring is dealt with more harshly under the law because it shows premeditation on the part of the one doing paying for the murder. The argument “hasn’t the mother suffered enough?” is illogical and could easily be used to say that the serial killer has suffered enough having endured the horrors that he committed against his victims and thus should not be punished further.
If abortion is murder then you cannot make exceptions without contradicting your statement that abortion is murder. That is why I cringe and gnash my teeth when I saw so many in the pro life movement capitulate to this exception. It is equally as dangerous as those who say they are pro life but then argue that there should be exceptions for rape, incest etc. Donald Trump was right when he first said that there has to be some sort of punishment for a mother who has an abortion. It is consistent with being truly pro life and a true sense of justice. I do not however think that Trump did it for the right reasons. I highly doubt that he made that comment because he is truly pro life and/or truly cares about defending the lives of the unborn, but rather said it because he was pressured and trapped into answering by Matthews who admitted he was Catholic but then tried to make a distinction between the teachings of the Church on abortion (which he said he fully believed) and the law. My fears that Trump was not saying it out of conviction was confirmed when he hurriedly backed out of his on air statement only hours later and then in the days following said that abortion laws should not change. He was right…..but for the wrong reasons and the defense of life rests on a solid and consistent set of principles when if comes to defending life.
In many comments on other sites when talking about this topic, I had a few who accused me of being too”legalistic” and cold and unmerciful especially for a seminarian. I find these accusations to be hilariously laughable. For all those who countered my argument with….”But what about mercy?”, I will give a short explanation;
Mercy can only exist if justice first exists. Justice is one of the cardinal virtues after all.
“ Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”68 “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven” (CCC 1807)
If mercy exists as the rule without there being any justice……for example if I were to say that all rapists should receive mercy and not be punished under the law there is no longer justice for those victims of their rape. Justice is not just legal punishment, but fairness and balance. Justice brings balance between those who were wronged and those who wronged others.Having mercy without justice is cruelty….in this example, cruelty to those who were raped. In the same way having “mercy” for the mothers who KILLED an innocent life is cruelty and an imbalance to the extreme and abhorrent evil that was committed by taking an innocent and utterly defenseless life.
The great Catholic theologian and Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; [and] justice without mercy is cruelty.”To those who say that above argument is unfounded in Catholicism, theology and mercy, I would charitably suggest that you re-examine your Catechism.