Answering the charge against "cannibalism"


#1

What do we say when charged with that? I really wouldn’t be able to answer that well.


#2

[quote=FuzzyBunny116]What do we say when charged with that? I really wouldn’t be able to answer that well.
[/quote]

Cannibalism is the consumption of dead human flesh.

The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is not dead, but the living Flesh and Blood of the Savior.


#3

You could start by directing your friend to the “Bread of Life” discourse in John’s Gospel (John 6:48-57.) Jesus declares himself as the Eucharist. When some of His followers find this hard to take… “How can this man give us his flesh to eat.” John 6:52) Jesus reaffirms that he who eats his flesh and drinks his blood shall have everlasting life and that unless we eat his flesh and blood we have no life within us. (John 6:55-57) Jesus also seems to be unconcerned with the fact that numbers of his followers depart rather than accepting his teaching as truth. Peter speaks for the Apostles, who stay when he confesses that Jesus has the words of eternal life and to whom would we go.

It is a hard teaching as evidenced by the loss of many followers, yet Jesus does not deny his literal intention that we eat his body and drink his blood.

Cannibalism is not an accurate description of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is an unbloody sacrifice - a real presentation of Christ’s body and blood in the form of bread and wine (The “substance” changes but the physical elements making up the bread and wine do not change.)


#4

Just remember: Anyone who calls Catholics cannibals is siding with the Gentile Pagans of the 1st century who said the same thing about the early Christians for the exact same reason!

If that’s not a testament to our doctrine’s truth, I don’t know what is!!!

NotWorthy


#5

[quote=Wolseley]Cannibalism is the consumption of dead human flesh.

The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is not dead, but the living Flesh and Blood of the Savior.
[/quote]

:amen:
Plus chapter 6 of St. John’s gospel as mentioned already. One point that really comes to mind for me is when someone, I forget who, said, Jesus gave His Apostles a command to DO THIS in memory of Me. (not, …and when you do this, remember me.)


#6

If I remember it correctly, there’s an ancient Roman author who charged early Christians to be practicing cannibalism because of the teaching about the Eucharist, so this charge is hardly new.


#7

In the Passover meal the spotless lamb sacrificed to God must be eaten by all that are present at the supper.


#8

[quote=Robert in SD](The “substance” changes but the physical elements making up the bread and wine do not change.)
[/quote]

Robert, I’m sure you meant to express what the Church believes, but lest anyone get confused, we should be careful how we explain the Blessed Sacrament. I hope I don’t sound condemning or too much of a stickler, but I think this is important.

The physical elements are part of the substance of the bread, and the bread is what changes. The accidental characteristics like color, shape, texture, taste do not change. [Perhaps this is what you meant by ‘physical elements’.] What had been the substance of bread ceases to exist and in its place Our Lord becomes present, under the appearance of bread. He sustains the accidental characteristics of bread while He is Himself present.

As for the canibalism charge, it was well said above: Cannibalism is the eating of dead flesh, while Jesus is the living bread. This is why the Church includes “soul” in the description of the Blessed Sacrament: the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ is present whole and entire under both species and in each portion of them. Because His soul is present, his body and blood are living in his glorified life.


#9

[quote=NotWorthy]Just remember: Anyone who calls Catholics cannibals is siding with the Gentile Pagans of the 1st century who said the same thing about the early Christians for the exact same reason!

If that’s not a testament to our doctrine’s truth, I don’t know what is!!!

NotWorthy
[/quote]

Hey NotWorthy,

What references do you have for this (writings of the Church Fathers would be great or secular sources)? It would help me out a lot.

Thanks,

God bless.


#10

"You say we’re cannibals for eating the flesh of Christ and drinking his blood as He commanded? Good for you – you just admitted the Miracle of the Mass does in fact occur.

"Can your church do any miracles?"http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif


#11

[quote=Semper Fi]Hey NotWorthy,

What references do you have for this (writings of the Church Fathers would be great or secular sources)? It would help me out a lot.

Thanks,

God bless.
[/quote]

In A Plea Regarding Christians, chap. 35, written about 177 A.D., Athenagoras of Athens addresses the charge of cannibalism made against Christians.

Around A.D. 112, Pliny the younger reported in a letter to the Emperor Trajan that the Christian Church’s ritual food was “of an ordinary and innocent kind” suggesting that some pagans had claimed otherwise.


#12

The flesh and blood of Jesus is not the flesh and blood of an ordinary human person but the flesh and blood of a divine Person, a subtle but important difference between cannibalism and Holy Communion.


#13

Here’s a link to Pliny the younger’s letter to the Emperor Trajan.


#14

[quote=FuzzyBunny116]What do we say when charged with that? I really wouldn’t be able to answer that well.
[/quote]

I think that is a good question. The way I resolve it, is like this.

I n the strictest sense it would be cannibalism, if what we ate looked like flesh/blood, smelled like flesh/blood and tasted like flesh/blood. Then one could very well say that we are indeed cannibals.

But, since it tastes like, and looks like bread and wine, we can’t possibly be cannibals.

I like to think of it this way, suppose you had a friend and he suddenly turned into a real loaf of bread. You and the others would stand agahast at this site. Probably turn away and start crying, then some other person unaware of what happened came along, saw the loaf of bread and starting eating it. Can you possibly charge him with cannibalism? I don’t think so.

Since what we eat looks and tastes like bread, we cannot be cannibals in the strictest sense.

Unfortunately, since the protestants think we are cannabals, for eating the flesh and blood of Christ, then why do they practice it symbolically? In other words, they are committing a symbolic act of cannibalism, since they believe it to be cannibalism.

Catholics aren’t cannibals because of transubstantion. Without transubstantion, then one is a cannibal. So the tables are actually turned on the accuser.!!:eek:


#15

I try to explain it this way, when talking to someone who has been “Saved”. When you are saved, what changes in you? “Well, on the outside I look the same, but on the inside I’m different”. So you look the same, but your different on the inside, so God will recognize that you are saved. “Exactly!”

Well, does Transubstantiation make sense to you, now? They usually answer “Yes”.

Now, I know there is more to it than that, but at least it tends to lift the veil from their eyes (or begins to lift the veil).

Notworthy


#16

Here is the answer I gave on a different post:

A cannibal eats and digests his victim. The one eaten is chewed up, destroyed, and digested.

In consuming the Eucharist, it is impossible to divide or destroy Jesus in any way. Even tearing the host apart into numerous particles simply means that Jesus is entirely present in the smallest particle. Jesus remains *whole, entire, complete, and living * throughout.

It is only the *appearances * of bread and wine which are metabolized, and it is under those appearances that Jesus is present, whole and entire.

In receiving Jesus, He is not divided; rather, we are united.


#17

[quote=FuzzyBunny116]What do we say when charged with that? I really wouldn’t be able to answer that well.
[/quote]

Fuzzy Bunny,

Not wanting to seem too far out, but IMHO the primary mistake of the regular cannibals is that they are eating the wrong person. If someone accuses me of cannibalism when I eat the Body of Christ, I reply that I am simply doing what Jesus told us to do.

  • Liberian

#18

[quote=FuzzyBunny116]What do we say when charged with that? I really wouldn’t be able to answer that well.
[/quote]

I’d say, “We’re just obeying Christ. How is that a problem?”


#19

You may want to point out that the early church were acusesed of cannibalism. And, ask why that is so?


#20

[quote=Wolseley]Cannibalism is the consumption of dead human flesh.

The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is not dead, but the living Flesh and Blood of the Savior.
[/quote]

Regarding the specification of human flesh, the person who makes the charge of cannibalism is denying the divinity of Christ, or asserting that Catholics deny it.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.