Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Does The Roman Catholic Eucharist Entail Cannibalism?

  • Discussion:
          -Tim Staples of Catholic Answers wrote an article titled What Catholics Believe about John 6, where he attempts to address the charge of transubstantiation involving cannibalism. The author provides three lines of reasoning as to why he believes that particular objection to be invalid, which will be examined here as follows:

         "First, Catholics do not receive our Lord in a cannibalistic form. Catholics receive him in the form of bread and wine. The cannibal kills his victim; Jesus does not die when he is consumed in Communion. Indeed, he is not changed in the slightest; the communicant is the only person who is changed. The cannibal eats part of his victim, whereas in Communion the entire Christ is consumed—body, blood, soul, and divinity. The cannibal sheds the blood of his victim; in Communion our Lord gives himself to us in a non-bloody way."

          The Roman Catholic Eucharist does indeed imply cannibalism, as it includes literally consuming the human flesh of Jesus Christ. Eating only part of a victim does not remedy this dilemma, but only further enhances the repulsive, graphic implications of transubstantiation. A cannibal does not cease to qualify fitting under that label just because he or she has eaten a whole victim or does so in a different manner.

          The claim that one eats soul and divinity is inherently illogical. Souls are immaterial. Divinity is spiritual. But eating is a physical process. One cannot eat a soul. One cannot eat divinity. That is simply the reality of the nature of things themselves.

          Furthermore, it is self-contradictory to assert that "in Communion our Lord gives himself to us in a non-bloody way" because it is believed that the sacrament is His body and blood. How can one partake of the blood of Jesus in a "non-bloody" fashion?

          If the Eucharist really is God, then how come so few (if any at all) Roman Catholics fall on their knees out of fear and reverence as did the Apostle John who saw Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:12; 17)?

          "Second, if it were truly immoral in any sense for Christ to give us his flesh and blood to eat, it would be contrary to his holiness to command anyone to eat his body and blood—even symbolically. Symbolically performing an immoral act would be of its nature immoral."

          The usage of symbolism does not suggest as a logical consequence a literal understanding or act practiced.

          Jesus says throughout the New Testament that He is life to us. Eating and drinking is the way in which we maintain that life. He is not "the bread of life" because we actually eat Him. His death, His sacrifice, His body and shed blood, are the means by which we live.

          How come the inspired writers of the New Testament never clarified that the Eucharist was not cannibalism?

          "Moreover, the expressions to eat flesh and to drink blood already carried symbolic meaning both in the Hebrew Old Testament and in the Greek New Testament, which was heavily influenced by Hebrew. In Psalm 27:1-2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, and Revelation 17:6-16, we find these words (eating flesh and drinking blood) understood as symbolic for persecuting or assaulting someone. Jesus’ Jewish audience would never have thought he was saying, “Unless you persecute and assault me, you shall not have life in you.” Jesus never encouraged sin. This may well be another reason why the Jews took Christ at his word."

          It would be an exegetical fallacy to assert that because something has a negative connotation in certain contexts, that it always has that same meaning or intension. It is very clear from the passages of the Lord's Supper that He is not telling His disciples to persecute or assault Him. Metaphorical references to eating and drinking are used in other texts to mean ingesting realities provided by God (Psalm 34:8; Isaiah 55:1; 1 Peter 2:2-3).

          One biblical problem for the Roman Catholic dogma of transubstantiation is that the so-called miraculous occurrence conflicts with the nature of the miracles that take place throughout Scripture. Two examples would include the marriage at Cana (John 2:1-10) and the doubting Thomas touching the resurrected Christ's pierced hands and feet (John 20:26-29). Unlike the Eucharist, scriptural miracles were recognizable to our five senses.

          If transubstantiation is true, then the consecrated elements should taste like human flesh and blood. But that is obviously not the case here. The communion elements taste like bread and wine even after consecration by the priest. The literalist interpretation of the Lord's Supper is absurd beyond all measure. There is something wrong with a proposition which tells us that things are not correspondent to the reality of our surroundings.

          If transubstantiation is true, then that would mean the full human body of Christ is literally inside the stomachs of partakers during the liturgical service. Even getting His entire body into our mouths at one time would be an impossibility. These conclusions are nonsense, as our digestive system would obviously be holding far beyond its natural capacity.

          Jesus Christ has a material body just as we all do. That means His body and blood would have been consumed a long time ago. His body and blood would have been all eaten up. His body and blood would have been gone two thousand years ago, thereby making transubstantiation in future generations a logical impossibility! The literalist interpretation of the Lord's Supper is loaded with metaphysical and theological problems. Nothing is sacrificed during the Mass except one's own common sense.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent! Gave me lots of chuckles.

    Another thing, if the consecrated bread and wine is left open to the element, they will decay. Christ's body never decayed.

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  2. I really like this post! I was going to mention the contradiction of the Eucharist being the literal blood of Christ being offered in a nonbloody fashion but you already covered it. Yeah it's illogical.

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