I protestant friend of mine stated to me that she likes the Catholic Church but she doesn’t believe in the Real Presence during the Eucharist. She brought it up, not me. I gave a brief explanation from apologetics 101 as well as an analogy I’d read in 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist. Finally, she stated adimantly that she can’t believe that God would allow a priest to perform such as task because she’d meet some disgusting priests. Mind you, she grew up in rural southern Alabama. I never thought of her to be anti-Catholic because she goes to Mass regularly. In the years I’ve known her she has never mentioned anything like this. I was kind of blindsided by her comment and didn’t know how to respond.
Well, if the Catholic Answers tracts don’t help, ask her these questions:
Were David and Solomon stripped of their kingship because of their disgusting acts?
Were the Pharisees stripped of the chair of Moses for their sins?
Is anyone worthy to touch any sacred object?
If we are worthy, are we made worthy by our own works, or by God’s grace?
If by our works, that is heretical (Pelegianism), but if by Grace, then God can work through somebody who is not holy themselves.
If we are not worthy, then does she touch sacred objects, eg. Bibles, Rosaries, etc.?
If so, is it because God allows her, or despite being forbidden by God?
If God allows her, is it because of her own holiness or because of His grace? (And return to above questions)
Your question is too vague, really. You need to find out more precisely why she does not accept it, and then go from there. Then we can help you more.
A couple of questions for her:
Are all priest “disgusting”?
How would anything Christian get done if only sinless people could do them?
Thanks BostonCatholic, that gives me a place to start. I just didn’t know where to go with my response.
I am vague because I really have no earthly idea what prompted her response. I am positive she did not encounter priests growing up.
Christ allowed perfectly “disguting” people to touch Him all throughout His crucifixion. If He would allow all of those executioners to touch Him to commit an act of evil, how could He then not permit far less “disgusting” people to touch Him in an act of worship?
He allowed St. Thomas, after having abandoned Him and refusing to believe in His Resurrection, to touch Him and put His finger into Him.
He permitted the sinful woman to annoint His feet.
He sat at table with sinners.
Jesus allowed “disgusting” people to touch Him in all sorts of cases, because in His eyes, as ought to be in ours, there are no disgusting people. There are people whom are astray and on the wrong path, people who have faltered and are in need of our love and prayers to come back to the straight path. We’re all called to view others in this way, as did Jesus. Your friend ought to consider whether or not she is fulfilling this calling.
Presumably she also believes (incorrectly) that Mary was a sinner, so how could God choose to be born of a disgusting sinner? And how could God choose to be surrounded in heaven by all those former disgusting sinners?
Thanks again for the words of wisdom. The answer is so obvious as we are all sinners.
I can’t imagine that her response was thought out. She did mention that she doesn’t like being excluded from the Eucharist. Maybe this is her defense mechanism to make herself feel better.
In talking to your friend first I would determine what her background is as to the belief of the eucharist. A follower of Luther does not believe that the bread and wine are replaced, but rather that the elements are in sacramental union with the body and blood of Christ. Protestants from the reformed tradition tend to believe the elements are more symbolic. So there is a wide variaty of Protestant beliefs, once you know hers you have some place to start from.
It sounds like her main issue is the fact that some priests aren’t perfect. No one denies this. However, it isn’t the priest’s power that does anything, it is God, who is perfect. Why would God allow imperfect vessels to carry out his work? Because as part of creation, we are all sinners and all imperfect, so he doesn’t have much choice if he wants to be in communion with human beings.
Ask her to meditate on the Eucharistic passages from scripture: The 6th chapter of the Gospel of John, the institution narratives in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, especially his warning about failure to recognize the body of Christ in the Eucharist, the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and how they “recognized him in the breaking of the bread.”
Get her to read the Didache, St Ignatius of Antioch and St Justin Martyr.
Get her to read John 6: 61-58 Jesus is plain out telling us his presence in the Eucharist.
Oh yea, whatever the priest does cannot make the sacraments he gives imoral. When he steps on the alter he is acting in the person of Christ. (in persona christi) His actions do not have anything to with the sacraments he celebrates.