I wasn’t really sure if this goes here, or in Philosophy. sorry if its in the wrong place XD Anyways, when attempting to explain the True Presence to non-Catholics, this is what I get allot of times. " Isn’t that cannibalism?" and I’ve never really found a good way to explain how its not. Any help?

Don’t they realize that they sound exactly like the unbelieving crowds in John 6? Guess not…

If it was so abhorrent and cannibalistic then why did Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ command it and why did the apostles and the early church all teach as being very important?

See my blog article The Eucharist IS Scriptural

First, no. Not cannibalism. Cannibalism is to eat the flesh of one’s own. Christ’s Eucharistic body and blood, is not of our own, but rather, of Heaven. Divine.

Secondly, consuming Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist, does not render any less of Christ. Cannibalism implies either the death of the one eaten, or diminution of the person, where part of the person is eaten. e.g.–if you severed and then ate the leg of a person, that person’s body would be diminished by the severed leg. He’d be less complete bodily, with no way of replenishing the lost flesh. Christ’s Eucharistic body and blood, is infinite. Christ is not diminished at all, by our consumption of His body and blood in the Eucharist; quite the contrary; Christ is expanded and multiplied, amplified, in this world, through us by and through consumption of His flesh, in the Holy Eucharist. We all become tabernacles of Christ. Christ remains in us and with us…yet Christ also remains Christ, en toto, notwithstanding our Eucharistic meal.

Third, for the sake of argument, supposing we were to concede that it is indeed cannibalism–so what? It is what Christ instructed the Apostles–and us–to do; it is what the Apostles did and instructed our fore fathers (ECF’s) to do; it is what our fore fathers did, and instructed their successors to do… It is THE Faith that Christ bequeathed to us. If it were cannibalism, then so be it. It is Christian. You either cozy up to the notion, and accept Christ and His Faith as the Apostles and their successors…did; or you reject Him, as the disciples did in John 6:66 did, and their successors–the Jews, and the protestants (so many of them, anyway).

IOW: I’d rather be a Christian cannibal, if one insists on characterizing the Most Holy Eucharist as such…than a non-Christian, non-cannibal, in order to conform to the morays of this world/life.

Because I believe in Christ.

No it’s not cannibalism.

In cannibalism, the victim is killed and parts of him are consumed. In the Eucharist, Jesus is not killed, He’s alive. He does not bleed, in fact, he doesn’t change in the slightest, like a victim of cannibalism clearly does. Those receiving are the ones who are changed. And we don’t consume “parts” of him. We receive him wholly and entirely, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in a way we can never fully comprehend. That is radically different from cannibalism.

Finally, we don’t receive our Lord in a cannibalistic form, but under the appearances of bread and wine. We’re not chewing on Jesus’ bones. What we see, feel, and taste “in the flesh” (the appearance of bread and wine) is NOT what we receive. It’s what you don’t see that you actually get - the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ.

Ditto this. We don’t metabolize human tissue. It is a sacramental reality.

Just to clarify. I /know/ its not cannibalism, I’ve just never really been able to explain that to non-catholics who equate it too that.Thanks for all the answers. Is there a simple way to explain it though?

I wouldn’t call this simple, but here is the Catholic reply

Assuming these non-catholics have some sort of eucharist, then they are practicing symbolic cannibalism. That is, if they believe that the bread and wine are symbolic of Christ’s body and blood, soul and divinity (I’m not sure the symbolic only crowd goes with the soul and divinity part.)

But they might not even really believe that it is symbolic of Christ’s body and blood. I have a theory that many non-catholic types don’t even hold to a symbolic presence. For if they did, believing that it was SYMBOLIC of Christ, His body and blood, then their service would look more like ours.

Real or symbolic: one shouldn’t really be able to tell the difference in the service. For then everyone would be acting AS IF it were Christ, his body and blood.

When Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead, his natural human body was also changed, glorified, supernaturalized, so that he really ought to be considered a different species now and, since cannibalism refers to eating one’s own species, eating Jesus in the Eucharist is not cannibalism.

Ask them if they believe the host becomes the body and blood of Christ. And when they say no, then ask them this, “If it isn’t, if is just bread and wine how can we be committing cannibalism?”

They first have to believe the host and cup are truly Christ’s body and blood in order to even begin the discussion.

Ask them if they call on the blood of Christ to protect them, as many do. How can they do that if Jesus died 2000+ years ago and he is now ascended into heaven? How does his death on the cross apply to us if he cannot be with us here except in Spirit?

Their theology is so incomplete they have no frame of reference to discuss the matter. Tell them that when they can answer your questions, you’ll answer theirs. Jesus often used this method to get his debaters to think for themselves and to stop baiting him, for that’s what your non-Catholic acquaintances are really doing.

I have always been a bit fascinated that at the last supper before the crucifixion that Jesus said then “this IS my body…” He had not even died yet.

He had just initiated the Apostles as his bishops and now he tured the Passover Feast into the first Eucharistic celebration. It was in anticipation of his death and resurrection, much like Mary’s Immaculate Conception was in anticipation of Christ’s death on the cross which redeemed her in her mother’s womb. We have to remember that Christ’s death is an eternal offering to the Father not just a one time event on earth.

In various NT verses we are told that all this happened before the foundation of the world:

Matt.13[35] This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

Matt.25[34] Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

John.17[24] Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.

Eph.1[4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Heb.4.[3] For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath,
`They shall never enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Heb.9[26] for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

1Pet.1[20] He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.

Rev.13[8] and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.

Rev.17[8] The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

It is Jesus, the Lamb of God. Eating lamb is not Cannibalism.

***The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! *(John 1:29)

Then invite them to Mass as your guest. Make sure you sit in the front row.


It’s not cannibalism because:

  1. Our Lord’s Body is not consumed (that is to say, we aren’t in any way harming or destroying Jesus)
  2. According to St. Thomas, it is present “by way of substance” and in a sacramental manner and not locally or under its natural dimensions.

In other words, we are talking about a mode of presence that transcends our normal categories. That’s why I have problems with the common Catholic habit of saying that the Presence is “literal,” although of course I understand that the reason for that language is to say that it’s not metaphorical or purely symbolic or “spiritual” in some nebulous subjective way.


If Jesus were another species, He couldn’t continue to be our Mediator. I think this is a mistaken approach.


Yes, it is the risen, gloried Christ we receive in the Eucharist. We’re not munching on bones and stripping flesh off them. The host and the wine remain the same in appear. Only their substance changes into the body and blood of Christ, under both species.

Thanks for the sharing the interesting question! Here is my typical response.

No, because in the Eucharist, we eat and drink the Body and Blood of God.

Della. Your post 12 is an excellent encapsulation of verses about how Jesus can transcend time. Thank you for posting it.

God bless.



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