Defending the Eucharist and Militancy

Sometimes you have to take the gloves off to defend the traditions and practices of our Church. People often tiptoe when outsiders are crass, offensive, or provocative. The Citizen uses a defense of Transubstantion to illustrate the justice of militant apologetics.

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Facebook can be an interesting arena for religious discussion and a chance to practice Apologetics without fear of having something dashed in your face or being accused of ruining the party.  Sometimes, you gotta put the foot down and demonstrate a bit of ‘tough love’.

Somewhere along the way, we lost an element of the Church Militant in our conduct with others. That’s unfortunate – in doing so, we not only cede a debate, we might end up losing souls.

In a friend’s post, an non-Catholic wrote the following:

…the bread and juice are only symbols, and not the body and blood of Jesus. If that were true, would not the Roman Catholic Church be cannibalistic?

Nice. How do we respond to this? Forcefully but with evidence from Scripture and the Magisterium.

The “Real Presence” is a reference to Christ actually being manifest in the elements of the bread and wine. Catholics turn to the Catechism to help us understand the mysteries and practices of our faith…

“The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation (CCC, 1376)”

For those of of ‘sola scriptura’ bent, I offer the following….

“And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.”
Matthew 26:22-24

So, we have the Magisterium and Scripture itself that establishes that Christ – in instituting the Priesthood – also promises us that in the hands of the ordained, He will dwell in the elements of the Eucharist.

The cannibalism comment is trite, immature, and clear evidence the prejudices of the writer. It’s also very common. It’s not unusual for protestants to call it a ‘cracker’ or a ‘cookie’. This is not just unfortunate, it is an affront against the Lord Himself. Really? Yes indeed.

The Mass is a series of rituals leading to the Last Supper. Every Mass is a reenactment of the Last Supper and a plea that Christ will be present. Transubstantiation is a mystical thing. A consecrated host or wine would not test out as flesh or blood but the true substance of the Eucharist is mystically the Body and Blood. It contains the real presence of Christ just as he embodied a mortal form while never sacrificing His divinity. Or perhaps protestants are good with limiting the nature of Jesus the Christ?

To keep it simple, the doctrine of the real presence states that the bread and wine contain the actual presence of Christ in bodily form – physical form – as a result of the process of transubstantiation.
Here is some more fodder for the sola scriptura brigade…a tiresome lot if ever there was one.

“for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 28:26

This is pretty clear, isn’t it? Guess not for some. I have been told that this isn’t good enough. Well, how about this?

“The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat?  Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.'”

John 6:52-53

Why don’t Catholics share? Why do we make such a big deal about the Eucharist? And we do. The Citizen had to leave the pew at the behest of my Associate Pastor to stop a man from leaving the church with a Host concealed in his hands.

Corinthians deals with why we hold the Eucharist to be something that needs to be safeguarded.

“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 11:27

Unless you accept the Holy Church, Catholic and Apostolic, you cannot be worthy to partake of the Body and Blood. Does this mean that as a Catholic I am better? Nope. It just means that we have prepared for the sacrament and we have the ability to make ourselves worthy through reconciliation…another thing you lot don’t countenance.

Adults don’t insult the heart of people’s religious beliefs in pursuit of ‘true understanding’. As a teacher, I accept such ignorance from children, but an adult who touts himself as an intellectual? Sorry, no. Forgiveness requires a contrite heart. He isn’t looking for forgiveness and obviously isn’t looking for understanding.

Why should people who offend be dealt with authoritatively? Even harshly? Doesn’t Jesus say ‘turn the other cheek?” Sure. But he also calls us to be militant in defending and promoting our faith.

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”

Revelations 2:2

And

“Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you. ”

Luke 10:19

This whole smile and take abuse business is not what Christ wanted. It took guts to stand up against the pagans in the days of the early Church. People were ostracized and martyred. This was a full contact affair.

Today, we deal with atheists and protestants who are hostile to the One True Church. Yet many of our leaders ignore our obligations and preach ecumencalism above all. I won’t smile and ignore insults to the Eucharist or Mary. I am a soldier of the Church Militant and I will face Her foes vigorously and without hesitation. What about the passage in Matthew 7 about removing the ‘plank’ from one’s own eye? Well, like the parable about the adulterous woman, people seem to like to ignore the following verse. In the instance of planks and specks, Christ then enjoins us to

If a non-Catholic  wants to engage in a respectful dialog, let them approach respectfully and scripturally and I will be quite happy to catechize this lost lamb.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Luke 15:4-7

I’ve dealt with people hostile to Catholicism – the Army was full of Jack Chick fans, I guess. When someone approached me respectfully and challenged my faith, I answered with respect. When they were crass, I dismissed them with the contempt they brought to the table.

I have welcomed lost sheep before – gladly. I will put myself out to bring more of them home.

This doesn’t mean I will tolerate evil. Or bad manners.


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