Is the Eucharist Cannibalistic? Is cannibalism bad?

I was wondering if cannibalism is bad and it seems not since then the Eucharist would be bad.

But that’s a fairly controversial opinion so I would like some other opinions.

But perhaps this is a definition problem and the Eucharist is not cannibalistic because it is reasonable to eat the body of a man who could save your soul, or to eat a person if you are starving w/o any other options. In this case it wouldn’t be called cannibalism?


Cannibalism is normally related to murder. Evil. No problem there.

Conversely, we are commanded to eat and drink Christ’s Body and Blood. About nothing else are we commanded to eat and drink.

The concept of the Eucharist as “cannibalism” is a result of profound ignorance or bigotry on the part of tiny, fringe elements in Christianity.

receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is not cannibalism, although cannibalism is eating the flesh of another human being, but usually it’s dead flesh, cooked, and consumed for savage, barbaric, or ritualistic purposes,
but when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we are receiving Him whole, and alive, He comes into us and stays only for a short time(15 minutes or so) and then leaves…
when we receive Christ, we do not eat Him in the same way we would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we receive Him in our heart and soul and unite with Him in a physical manner, in such a way that He becomes one with you, and you with Him, it’s a union similar to marriage, becoming “one flesh”,

and as the previous poster said, cannibalism is bad because it’s murder, and also because the persons body after death must be given a proper burial, and to eat another human being which must be treated with respect even after death, is incredibly barbaric.
and as you can see, none of those things apply to how we receive Jesus,

so, i hope this helps, take care.

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so cannibalism is not “eating a human person” but to eat a human person after they are dead and/or cooked?

If this is true, then wouldn’t eating someone else when you’re lost on the high seas w/o anything else to eat, be bad? Even if the other person consents?

This seems to be against common sense though -but I’m open to other conclusions.

And if cannibalism is always murder, and all cannibalism is eating people after they are dead, then all eating people after they’re dead is murder which seems contradictory. Or all murder would be eating dead people which again seems contradictory.

I take what I said back until I do further study.

The Eucharist is the Risen Christ. Not Jesus incarnate (before the resurrection).

If you want to look at this in very literal terms, you can apply the same concept to sexual intercourse. Sex is very very holy when put into the boundaries of marriage and treated with dignity. It is the physical union of two counterparts into a single whole. Because sex is so degraded in today’s society, we have a hard time thinking about it that way.

If that doesn’t suit you, lets look at it in a different light! Matrimony and Ordination are exactly the same thing. In matrimony, you get married to another person to perfect your love for God. In ordination, you get married to God himself and him alone to perfect your love for him.

Lastly, look up some pictures of St. Basil’s cathedral. Did you know that the swirly doohickeys on the top of the building actually represent bedposts? Those bedposts are to the altar, or “bed”, if you will. Jesus wanted to be with us so bad (even after he “left”) that he literally comes into physical union with us, just as a man and a wife come into physical union during sexual intercourse when we receive him in the Eucharist. Our union with Christ does not create children, but it most certainly does reproduce grace just as life reproduces life.

Hows that for giving the 21st century a what for? Sex is waaaaaaayyyy more than people make it out to be. It’s holy!

Receiving the Eucharist is not cannibalistic because we are receiving the Glorified Body & Blood of Christ. If, for example, the 1st century followers had heard Jesus words “eat my body… drink my blood” and then actually eaten him after the crucifixion (ridiculous, I know, but hypothetically…) they would not be receiving what we receive in the Eucharist. That was the physical, earthly body of Christ ONLY. What we receive in the Eucharist IS the physical Body and Blood, but also the Soul and Divinity of Christ’s glorified Body. I hope that makes some sense.

The OP also raises an interesting question as to whether there is something inherently wrong with cannibalism. Certainly if a person was killed (even if they consented) for the purpose of being eaten, that would be murder. However, in the case of say, the Donner Party, who were forced by starvation to eat members of their party that had already died, was that wrong? It does seem disrespectful to the dead person, and may be an offense (if not a directly intended one) against belief in the resurrection of the dead. (Sort of like how the Church says you are allowed to ask for cremation after you’re death, but only if it’s NOT for the reason that you don’t believe in the resurrection of the body).

All that aside, though, the thing that I think might make cannibalism inherently disordered is that when you consume the blood of something, you absorb it’s essence. (I’m not sure how that works). It’s the reason the Jews for example would completely drain the blood from animals they were going to eat. They never consumed blood, because God’s OT laws said not to. The reason we drink the Blood of Christ at Mass is because we are absorbing the essence of Christ himself through receiving him into our bodies. This is what gives us all the indescribable benefits of Communion.

Anyway, maybe I’m just rambling, but it seems like consuming someone else’s body would be wrong because you’re absorbing some part of who they are. Their tissue is assimilated and becomes part of you.

I welcome someone more educated to fill in the large gaps in my understanding of this question.

Receiving the sacramental presence of the second person of the Trinity - flesh, blood or otherwise - and eating the flesh of an ordinary human being are two different things.

To call The Bread of Life cannibalism is to do an immense disservice to what the Eucharist really is. It would be akin to calling Michelangelo’s La Pieta just a rock or saying that the Grand Canyon just some hole in the ground.

If you want to call the Eucharist cannibalism, then you might as well call it a balogna sandwich. On second thought, why not just call the Eucharist ordinary bread, call Jesus a prophet or a teacher and walk away from the Church like the disciples in John 6:66 and go worship with the jehovah’s witnesses?

I reject the premise of the question out of hand.


If one were to check the ancient texts they would see that when Jesus said,” This is my Body" He was more precisely saying,” this is Me". (Aramaic) The Eucharist is a sacramental presence that is unlike any worldly parallel. When we consume the Eucharist we are partaking of the whole Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The Eucharist is the most intimate encounter that we can have with Christ this side of heaven. We cannot get lost in words that infinitely lessen the infinite Gift.

So to answer the question at hand, no the Eucharist is not cannibalism and to comment further on the topic is irrelevant.

I shall attempt an answer to my own question: It isn’t cannibalism because cannibalism connotes an evil. But the Eucharist is not evil so it is not cannibalism. The fact is that the Eucharist contains a human body and human flesh. Indeed, even if it only contained a body it would be cannibalistic. The point is though, that act of eating it, is not irrational -it is reasonable to do what God command and especially because the Eucharist is good for your soul. So therefore the Eucharist is not cannibalism because the latter is “irrationally eating another human.”

And indeed, if any eating of parts of a person was bad then breastfeeding is bad which also goes against the sense of normalcy.

A lot has been said here in logical terms that “of course cannibalism is bad”, and most of the arguments are made in terms of common sense.

However, the thread title does indeed ask if “cannibalism is bad”.

I would like to point out Romans 7:13 “Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful”.

We human beings are not capable of knowing the difference between good and evil on our own. Cannibilism is clearly defined as evil in:

[BIBLEDRB]Micah 3:1-4[/BIBLEDRB]:bible1:

The Church’s condemnation of Cannibalism is as clear as God’s condemnation of it in Sacred Scripture.

P.S.- I always remembered that there was at least one profitable thing I got from the lesser known book of Micah. :smiley:

But the “Haydock Commentary” seems to say that “skins” meant overly high taxes?

Has anyone in the Church stated, 1) what cannibalism was, 2) that it was bad, good, or indifferent?

In any case, we are still eating the true body of God. That can’t be bad, so whatever this is, it isn’t bad.

that is not what you asked in your title
NO the Eucharist is not cannibalism.
yes cannibalism is gravely wrong.

That is to say, eating a person -no matter what -is wrong?

Cannibalism is the devouring of human flesh as far as I’m concerned. Christ is anything but human. He is God, and God is not human, nor can you eat him. Jesus was human, but his body was not glorified at that point in time yet.

Our stomachs are much too small anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

Well Jesus was and is a human too. But I keep hearing that His Sacramental presence is the answer to my conundrum. But what is this Sacramental presence?

If the Sacramental Presence excludes His the accidents of His body, then 1) why do Eucharistic miracles have red, wet, blood dripping 2) why does the Council of Trent apparently state that Jesus is wholly in the Eucharist (even His bones) 3) in what sense is His body present if the redness, skin, etc. aren’t present?

And finally, the definition of cannibalism is “eating a human body” and so no matter what, eating the Body of God -accidents or not, is still cannibalism, assuming I have the definition of cannibalism right.

Did you read my previous post? If not here it is again:

If one were to check the ancient texts they would see that when Jesus said,” This is my Body" He was more precisely saying,” this is Me". (Aramaic) The Eucharist is a sacramental presence that is unlike any worldly parallel. When we consume the Eucharist we are partaking of the whole Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The Eucharist is the most intimate encounter that we can have with Christ this side of heaven. We cannot get lost in words that infinitely lessen the infinite Gift.

So to answer the question at hand, no the Eucharist is not cannibalism and to comment further on the topic is irrelevant.

But what does Sacramental Presence mean? And does it not include the fullness of Jesus’s body (flesh,bones, etc)? And if it contains the “body”, considering the flesh as accident, and if it contains the blood, and soul, etc. then it would still be cannibalistic.

Secondly, it is not evident to me how this is irrelevant, whatever is not evident to you can hardly be said to be proved or known, so it is not proved to me or understood at all, that this topic is irrelevant.

The Flesh we consume is not lost to the One Who gives us to eat. We receive Christ’s Glorified Body and Blood. Glorified now, His Body and Blood cannot be changed or diminished by our partaking of Him in the Eucharist (in contrast to cannibalism which changes by diminishment that which is consumed). He feeds our bodies and souls that we may share in that same glory.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, writing in A.D. 107:

“Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us …They abstain from the Eucharist and from the Prayer (i.e., the Mass) because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the same Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead” (Ignatius to the Smyrneans, 6, A.D. 107).

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