Sunday, March 1, 2020

A Great Question Regarding The Catholic Eucharist

"God says through the prophet Isaiah, "I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8). How do you [originally was being asked to John R. Waiss] reconcile this with the Catholic belief that every consecrated wafer has become the glory of God and is to be worshiped as divine?"

James G. McCarthy, Letters Between a Catholic and an Evangelical, p. 228


  1. Hi Jesse,
    I enjoyed reading this question, as a former RC missionary priest and now an evangelical christian. The flaw in this question is that the Eucharist (or Host) isn't seen as an extra or another god/God. A priest would argue that the body and blood of Christ is in the Eucharist and is the SAME body and blood contained in the process of transubstantiation. By worshipping the REPRESENTATION of Jesus in the Eucharist, they are worshipping the ACTUAL Jesus, since the Eucharist has changed into the same body of Jesus, and is no longer a Eucharist made out of bread. James McCarthy's argument is fraught with difficulties and is flawed, logically and philosophically...if you follow RC thinking.
    I remember once, during seminary, asking a priest if he truly believed in the change (transubstantiation) in the physical bread to the body of Jesus. He replied that he did. I asked if he would be prepared to allow me to apply rat poison or weed killer to the eucharist BEFORE it underwent this transformation, as its substance would have changed and the original eucharist would have disappeared. I was disciplined by the seminary for displaying a lack of faith and reverence for the 'body of Christ!' Go Figure!!
    Maybe, this might be a clearer and more practical question for the RC follower.
    The transubstantiation argument gets bogged down in platonic argument and revolve around discussions on incidents and accidences - heavy philosophical arguments around how bread can look and taste like bread, but not be bread at a philosophical level.

    1. Thaddeus,

      One doesn't have to get bogged down in the philosophical arguments. All one has to do is use common sense and logic, which is what McCarthy is doing. If you say each wafer is Jesus, the billions of wafers around the world are Jesus and you end up with an irrational argument.

    2. Hi Glenn, I get your point and I agree with it. My response is about how the Catholic Church would defend its position.

    3. "If you say each wafer is Jesus, the billions of wafers around the world are Jesus and you end up with an irrational argument." The Catholic church would hold the position that these are not billions of Jesus but representations of Him. In the same way that God can be everywhere/omnipresent at the same time doesn't mean that there are billions of Him. Unfortunately, their position isn't based on reality and common sense, but platonic philosophy and metaphysics.
      The poison argument I've used evangelising Catholics appears to be a bridge beyond which none will go. But, Glenn, I take your point. My training was mostly through Jesuits, and they've some very unscriptural, but QUITE convincing arguments to the unschooled and uninitiated. Thanks for your comments. :)

    4. Hah, "representations" are not the real object, yet they claim it is really Jesus' body and blood!

  2. Hello Thaddeus,

    I think that I agree with Glenn's response to your comment. The question which forms the basis of this post is a valid one.

    I also like the question that you brought up about adding poison before changing the substance of the communion elements.

    If you have not already visited the following link, then you might want to take a look at where I press many similar issues: