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The Real Presence

  /   Thursday May 15, 2003  

If you’ve been Catholic for long, I doubt that have gone without hearing about the latest opinion polls that say anywhere from 55-70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. I have seen other polls that say from 62-70% of Catholics do believe in the Real Presense. So, what’s the problem? Take a look at how problematic some questions, if posed, can be:

Do you believe the the Eucharist is symbolic?

One can actually answer “yes” to this question and still be an orthodox Catholic. The Eucharist is a symbol, but it is what it symbolizes. The problem arises when one says the Eucharist is “just” a symbol. Only in that case is one denying the Real Presence.

Do you believe that Christ is truly present in the bread and wine?

This could lead faithful Catholics to answer “no” because it smack of consubstantiation. In other words, one could be misled to believe that the bread and wine are still there but Christ is present in them. This, of course, is heresy. The bread and wine actually become Christ, and there is no longer any bread or wine there. Therefore, this, too, is misleading.

To appropriate poll a group of Catholics, a question would have to be something like the following:

Do you believe that the bread and wine are changed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ at Mass?

This question reflects the teaching of the Church well. Only when something to this effect is asked do we get answers worth using. Even then, there may be some Catholics who are trying to be orthodox but who do not understand the teaching who may get caught. Still, such an answer would be indicative of a problem, just a different kind of problem.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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