I am new to this board. I have a hypothetical question that has me really questioning the truth of transubstantiation. The implications run deep. As I ponder it, it all tends to lead me to the evangelical position against idolatry, making graven images, etc…
I posted to the Ask forum and received a Private answer defending Transubstantiation, but not really addressing the big problem that I am trying to point out.
I’m sure you have pondered what would happen if an evil man slipped the host in his pocket at communion with bad intentions. I even found a thread here on this topic. Ultimately, the result was, the evil man will have to answer for his actions at the judgment.
But my question is a little bit different.
It is for the time being, a hypothetical question. Keep in mind that I am not a troll, looking for a fight with Catholics. I am a Catholic, born and raised, and I am currently raising my children to be Catholic, along with my Catholic wife. Although I will admit that life experiences coupled with deep prayer and reflection has caused me to question many of the issues that Catholics are always getting into debates over with evangelical protestants. But this is a real and honest question. So here goes:
If the host is manufactured by reputable company, with a bad employee, and that bad employee defaces the bread with satanic symbolism before it is shipped, yet nobody notices it due to the skilled camouflage techniques used, then when the Priest attempts to consecrate it at the mass, does transubstantiation take place?
My initial, Catholic reaction is yes, but when you really start to look into the ramifications, I have to switch to NO. Here’s why:
Thousands of Catholic parishes practice “perpetual adoration”. During this practice, the consecrated host is displayed as the real body of Christ in a monstrance.(spelling?) I have a very hard time believing that God would take part in a process where the congregation ultimately worships and adores the bread with satanic symbols physically written on it, albeit subtly and unnoticeably.
Likewise, when the lay minister holds the bread up and says “the Body of Christ” and I say “Amen”. I have a hard time believing that God would allow His precious body within such a physical vessel.
This leads me to the real reason why God forbids idolatry. Human error, or even malice, can lead to the adoration of a tainted substance.
One possible way to say that it IS truly consecrated and therefore the real Presence, is to say that the consecration “cleanses” the bread of its tainted state. After all, even if it ISN’T purposely defaced, it is still just bread prior to consecration, and thus consecration cleanses it the same in both cases. One problem I have with such an answer is, the bread didn’t NEED cleansing, because its substance is specified for that very reason. No levening. Another problem I have with such an answer is, consecration has no effect on the visible physical properties of the bread, and it is the physical properties that have been purposely defaced.
This, to me, is very troubling, as I know for a fact that there are such factions in this world that would seek to do such things.
BUT WAIT. Before you answer this, please keep in mind that you are not allowed to say “this would never happen.” The facts of the question require that the pre-consecrated bread is defaced with satanic symbolism in such a way that the people do not notice it.