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.