Solving the decline in belief of the Real Presence.


#1

Actions speak louder than words…

Recently during the feast of Corpus Christi. The homily was mostly about The Blessed Sacrament particularly our belief in it as Catholics.
We as Catholics are required to believe that Jesus Christ is physically and substantially present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion…the Most Blessed Sacrament.
During the homily the priest discussed an example of a recent class of children preparing for First Communion. The students were asked who believed that Jesus was literally present in the Eucharist. Out of 30 students, only three believed in the Real Presence, and the remaining 27 children believed it was symbolic. Yes, this indeed is sad, for I fear the same sort of problem must have been true in my First Communion class about 18 years ago. The priest kept preaching about how this is terrible and that we need to make sure children and all faithful believe in the Real Presence (at least the vast majority or as many as possible). He went to discuss poor education, and teachers whether religious or laity not pounding it into their heads that Jesus is truely physically present in the Eucharist.
This went on for several minutes as most homilies. During this time my frustration grew…I could not bear the thought of the lack of common sense on behalf of the majority of our Catholic religious and lay teachers of our faith. I can not understand for the life of me why they can not see the obvious and instead blame the lack of belief on a simple lack of education. So many in the church seem to think the decline in the belief of the Real Presence is because they are not taught properly on an intellectual and knowledge based level.
You can tell a child a thousand times that they shouldn’t do something, and they may not listen until they experience for themselves the painful reason why you (the parent) were once again correct.
When my father told me he loved my mother, all I could think was “sure dad, if you say so”. I knew he loved her when I could see him outwardly performing kind gestures toward her, perhaps even a simple kiss on his way out the door before work. The fact that he provided for us proved his love for us, his children.
Why would a forienger believe that millions died for this country and what it represents if the American flag was to be treated with little respect and indifference by the very soldiers sworn to protect it?
Why would a wife believe a husband loves her when he only gives her half his heart in everything he does? Why would God believe that we love Him when we so often do the same.

I can not understand why the leaders of our church are so blind as to not see that it is in the way we recieve Holy Communion that shows to all (internally or externally) what we profess and believe (not just what we say we believe)…Yet, the majority of our church does not kneel before our Lord and recieve Him as a Humble yet Divine Kiss…Those who we trust with our faith are not promoting or fostering this. What are our supposedly “fearless” bishops and leaders so afraid of in getting rid of Hand Communion and bringing back the rails and the reverence so utterly needed. If only our children could see the devotion shown to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament while kneeling and recieving our Lord Jesus Christ in this Most August Sacrament of the Alter…how could they not see that surely something greater than us must be in our sinful presence?
It is as if all the knowledge and wisdom learned in their studies, can not provide our clergy and laity with the temerity and fortitude to carry our and enforce standards that foster faith instead of apathy and instead catering to out comfort and pride.
Why can’t they stop giving us what we want, and give us what we NEED…That is what they are there for, to LEAD us.


#2

Good points, I’d love to see someone act on them. But there are none so blind as those who will not see.


#3

Two comments:

  1. Last year one of our first communicants did not receive the sacrament with everyone else. This decision was due to her interview with the priest. Apparently she did not understand, accept or take the sacrament seriously.

  2. I believe in the real presence. I am a bower and stander who receives in the hand and cherishes both species. I guess I don’t believe quite as much as a kneeler who receives on the tongue. I love my priest, bishop and pope and hope to follow them to Heaven.

Sorry, I guess that was three comments.

Christ’s Peace,


#4

I think the real reason that we do not believe in the Real Presence…is 3 fold.

  1. Our parents and godparents have failed miserably in setting examples for us…due to the decline of the family and society’s encouragement of it…Our institutions of the culture particularly marriage have been taking a direct hit…and so have our moral standards. No longer are we standing on a slippery slope, we are hurtling headlong into a parapet.

  2. We walk by faith…not by sight! Have we become so scientific, that everything we do must be proven without any doubt. Do we have to have a calculation available, a scientific table to plug into before we believe in things.
    Why are we so quick on the uptake of things that are dark, like witches, tarot cards, ghosts…but cannot believe in the Real Presence?

  3. We have moved away from we…the Body of Christ to just me, myself and I mentalities. The culture said it years ago, first there were magazines, like People, than “US” and now it’s ME. Fraternal institutions like the American Legion, Holy Name Societies, even youth groups…etc were bursting at the seams Well, if it was all up to me, than I am in seriously trouble. I need the help of God and His church here on earth which provides me with the sacraments to get me through my life. Let us return to Eucharistic adoration


#5

Terrible catechesis is to blame.

A few years ago I was an RCIA sponsor. If there was one thing God did for the person I was sponsoring was to impart upon her a strong knowledge of the Mass through me.

Around noon of the Holy Saturday, the RCIA group had a short meeting. The person in charge of RCIA (a Benedictine brother) asked if there were any last minute questions.

A rather bright man asked in earnest “does the Church still believe that the bread and wine is the Body and Blood?” I could feel my face go pale as I scanned the room. 5-6 others who were coming into the Church that night (and 2-3 sponsors) listened closely for an answer – as if they did not know…


#6

[quote=TJD]Two comments:

  1. Last year one of our first communicants did not receive the sacrament with everyone else. This decision was due to her interview with the priest. Apparently she did not understand, accept or take the sacrament seriously.

  2. I believe in the real presence. I am a bower and stander who receives in the hand and cherishes both species. I guess I don’t believe quite as much as a kneeler who receives on the tongue. I love my priest, bishop and pope and hope to follow them to Heaven.

Sorry, I guess that was three comments.

Christ’s Peace,
[/quote]

I fully agree with you and don’t think I could’ve said it any better.
Pax tecum,


#7

[quote=TJD]Two comments:

  1. Last year one of our first communicants did not receive the sacrament with everyone else. This decision was due to her interview with the priest. Apparently she did not understand, accept or take the sacrament seriously.

  2. I believe in the real presence. I am a bower and stander who receives in the hand and cherishes both species. I guess I don’t believe quite as much as a kneeler who receives on the tongue. I love my priest, bishop and pope and hope to follow them to Heaven.

Sorry, I guess that was three comments.

Christ’s Peace,
[/quote]

Those who receive when kneeling and/or on their tongues are not “stronger believers” than those who receive standing/in hand.

Kneeling/tongue is neither a product of stronger belief, nor will the practices impart a “stronger belief.”


#8

Perhaps this is not what you were getting at but your comment is good to clear up what I am getting at:
None of us can say who believes “the most” in the Real Presence by how they recieve…it is not a competition of any sort, and we can not know another person’s heart. I am speaking of outsiders looking in. Our faith is an interior thing, but there are ways that those looking from the outside in can see that we don’t just talk big and flowery, by that we actually act upon it.

To me, personally, I would like if we all were to recieve Communion kneeling. I see it as a more beautiful way to go about it. Why?..Well…there is a respect we reserve for God alone, just like there is a respect reserved for a spouse alone. I like to bring myself to certain people in certain ways because of what they mean to me. I may embrace a family member upon greeting them, but were I married, the embrace I would be much more extravagent so to say. It would be nice to be afforded the chance at church “officially” to show that much more respect to God.


#9

I agree with you that it has to do with education. We have extraordinarily poor catechesis in this country.

I disagree with you that Communion in the hand or Communion rec. standing is part of it. It was the practice of the ancient Church to rec. Communion in the hand and there were no rails and no rad trad literature or website will ever make it otherwise. We constantly remind Protestants to read history and yet a large number of Catholics on this site believe absolute fairy tales when it comes to the history of the Mass. Your signature calls us back to the primitive. Well, communion in hand and no rail were the primitive practices of Holy Mother Church. It is one thing to call for them as signs of reverence for Our Lord in the Sacred Species, it’s another altogether to blame the Pope, the Bishops, or the Council (I realize you didn’t use that word, but others have) for a lack of belief in the Real Presence. There may be lots of reasons, such as an irreverent, cynical society that believes in nothing in cannot taste or touch or feel, or a society that prefers to believe in “spiritualities” that don’t challenge them, that allow them to feel all “warm and fuzzy” while they are contracepting or aborting or ordaining active homosexuals or women or blend a variety of beliefs into an awful monolith of syncretism. We need to do a better job of teaching, of witnessing, of testifying. I personally believe that this is primarily a problem in the West. And, apropos of nothing, I rec. Holy Communion on the tongue.


#10

[quote=JKirkLVNV]I agree with you that it has to do with education. We have extraordinarily poor catechesis in this country.

I disagree with you that Communion in the hand or Communion rec. standing is part of it. It was the practice of the ancient Church to rec. Communion in the hand and there were no rails and no rad trad literature or website will ever make it otherwise. We constantly remind Protestants to read history and yet a large number of Catholics on this site believe absolute fairy tales when it comes to the history of the Mass. Your signature calls us back to the primitive. Well, communion in hand and no rail were the primitive practices of Holy Mother Church. It is one thing to call for them as signs of reverence for Our Lord in the Sacred Species, it’s another altogether to blame the Pope, the Bishops, or the Council (I realize you didn’t use that word, but others have) for a lack of belief in the Real Presence. There may be lots of reasons, such as an irreverent, cynical society that believes in nothing in cannot taste or touch or feel, or a society that prefers to believe in “spiritualities” that don’t challenge them, that allow them to feel all “warm and fuzzy” while they are contracepting or aborting or ordaining active homosexuals or women or blend a variety of beliefs into an awful monolith of syncretism. We need to do a better job of teaching, of witnessing, of testifying. I personally believe that this is primarily a problem in the West. And, apropos of nothing, I rec. Holy Communion on the tongue.
[/quote]

Going back to the past it may be that the early Christians recieved Our Lord standing…that is fine, but doesn’t make it better.
I am not a “traditionalist”, nor a “modernist”/“progressive”. My best hope would be that people consider me Orthodox and true to the faith, but even then, I just want to be truely Catholic…
Then what would describe me…well I know both the radical traditionalist and the radical modernist are wrong. I believe in the Orthodox faith and hope always for this truth. In all reality, I am what you would call a Romantic. I do not want reverence because of a bunch of traditionalist propaganda I’ve read…I demand it because I want to love.
I should hope there is not a problem with this. :wink:

BTW…yes I would prefer a primitive way in our church as my name here implies, but just because something was first or the origional, doesn’t always mean it is better. For the most part, the primitive ways are better as I see it in my imagination…but sometimes you have to deal with things on a case by case basis…:smiley:

May God Bless you,


#11

They have this thing in my diocese called XLT Adoration. It’s mostly geared towards kids and teens, but people of all ages show up, including the young adults group (20s or so) in my parish. Basically it’s divided into three parts. The first pasrt is a praise session. The band plays music and people do all sorts of hand motions and stuff–kind of made me skepitcal of the orthodoxy the first time I went. But after that, there is a guest speaker. We’ve had a priest, two nuns, and the bishop so far at the one’s I’ve attended. Here is where the Real Presence is hammered home. I think they really do an excellent job here talking about the Real Presence and the importance of the Eucharist. After that comes some traditional Adoration (with the incensing by the priest and everything). It really seems to me that the young people there really understand what’s going on. I’ve even seem a few of them with tears coming down their cheeks during Adoration. Has anyone else had experience with this program?


#12

I agree with Primitive on basically every point.

Let’s be clear…in the West knealing to revieve the Eucharist is the most ancient practice and its evidenced in the Earliest of Christian writing.

Can we not look at the so-called ‘reform’s’ made after V2 and see their results as an UNMITIGATED FAILURE? I say yes.

Pope Paul VI warned that ‘Communion in the Hand’ could lead to a loss of faith in the real presence. I think he was right about that and its time to recieve on the tongue as is the Tradition both East and West.

The Tabernacle being moved out of the sanctuary (which was against Vatican II) is also a factor in that loss of faith.

The Altar Railes being removed was also in violation of Vatican II and therefore the sacrad space should be restored.

Kneeling to recieve should be availeable and I’m not bothered by people standing but the Old methods and practices fostered the belief in the Real Presence. This new stuff does not.


#13

when I was struggling w/ the issue of the “real presence”, I prayed that GOD would give me a “private revalation” during mass, HE did!!

after this I started studying EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES w/ a passion, then I started RCIA as soon as possible, in RCIA I did not hear @ these miracles I was studying-- I believe if studies like this are added to RE classes things might start to turn around


#14

[quote=Primitive]Going back to the past it may be that the early Christians recieved Our Lord standing…that is fine, but doesn’t make it better.
I am not a “traditionalist”, nor a “modernist”/“progressive”. My best hope would be that people consider me Orthodox and true to the faith, but even then, I just want to be truely Catholic…
Then what would describe me…well I know both the radical traditionalist and the radical modernist are wrong. I believe in the Orthodox faith and hope always for this truth. In all reality, I am what you would call a Romantic. I do not want reverence because of a bunch of traditionalist propaganda I’ve read…I demand it because I want to love.
I should hope there is not a problem with this. :wink:

BTW…yes I would prefer a primitive way in our church as my name here implies, but just because something was first or the origional, doesn’t always mean it is better. For the most part, the primitive ways are better as I see it in my imagination…but sometimes you have to deal with things on a case by case basis…:smiley:

May God Bless you,
[/quote]

A laudable post! God bless.


#15

[quote=Agomemnon]I agree with Primitive on basically every point.

Let’s be clear…in the West knealing to revieve the Eucharist is the most ancient practice and its evidenced in the Earliest of Christian writing.

Can we not look at the so-called ‘reform’s’ made after V2 and see their results as an UNMITIGATED FAILURE? I say yes.

Pope Paul VI warned that ‘Communion in the Hand’ could lead to a loss of faith in the real presence. I think he was right about that and its time to recieve on the tongue as is the Tradition both East and West.

The Tabernacle being moved out of the sanctuary (which was against Vatican II) is also a factor in that loss of faith.

The Altar Railes being removed was also in violation of Vatican II and therefore the sacrad space should be restored.

Kneeling to recieve should be availeable and I’m not bothered by people standing but the Old methods and practices fostered the belief in the Real Presence. This new stuff does not.
[/quote]

Is it in the Bible? Did the Apostles receive at the Last Supper while kneeling? I think not – they were likely reclining, and they almost certainly received in their hands which became the practice in the early Church. But maybe you could point me to the book/chapter/verse?

How about in the early Church? Where was it written in say the first 100 years that people knelt to receive the Eucharist? I couldn’t find any mention in the Didache. I would be interested in reading a reference that supports kneeling during this period. Thanks.


#16

[quote=Agomemnon]I agree with Primitive on basically every point.

Let’s be clear…in the West knealing to revieve the Eucharist is the most ancient practice and its evidenced in the Earliest of Christian writing. But the Church came out of the East, and this wasn’t the earliest tradition.

Can we not look at the so-called ‘reform’s’ made after V2 and see their results as an UNMITIGATED FAILURE? I say yes. Do you speak of the Council or the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II” (a largely Western, modernistic phenomenon)? If the latter, I agree. If the former, I don’t. And this communion in the hand and no communion rail was a reversion to ancient practice, as was the reception of the Most Sacred Blood from the Chalice by the laity.

Pope Paul VI warned that ‘Communion in the Hand’ could lead to a loss of faith in the real presence. I think he was right about that and its time to recieve on the tongue as is the Tradition both East and West. I have nothing, but reverence for Pope Paul VI of happy memory, but that was his prudential judgement. If he absolutely didn’t want it, he shouldn’t have allowed it. I loved HHJPII and he deplored reception in the hand, yet he did not forbid it. It was certainly in his province to do so. As I said, I rec. on the tongue, but the practice of rec. in the hand is far older.

The Tabernacle being moved out of the sanctuary (which was against Vatican II) is also a factor in that loss of faith. This I cannot argue with. It’s difficult to teach the Real Presence if the Real Presence isn’t in the room.

The Altar Railes being removed was also in violation of Vatican II and therefore the sacrad space should be restored. I’m afraid I’d have to read up on this to comment. There is an actual document that dictates rails to seperate the sanctuary? If there is, then it is obvious disobedience to remove them.

Kneeling to recieve should be availeable and I’m not bothered by people standing but the Old methods and practices fostered the belief in the Real Presence. This new stuff does not.
[/quote]

Again, historically you are mistaken. This isn’t new stuff, just stuff not seen by this generation. It is actually the most ancient practice.


Please do not mistake me, I think it is critical that we reinforce this greatest teaching of the Church, that Our Lord is entirely present in the Sacred Species, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and in such a way that it is the merest accident that those Sacred Species retain the appearance of bread and wine (that’s why we call them “accidentals”). But as a teacher, I find it frustrating when we don’t get to the heart of an issue. I do not believe communion in the hand and the absence of altar rails is what has lead to this sad state of affairs. It’s near heretical priests and nuns (and yes, that’s part of the “Spirit of Vatican II”), and possibly parents who either don’t know the truth of the Faith themselves or who know it, but aren’t teaching their children with diligence for whatever reason.


#17

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Again, historically you are mistaken. This isn’t new stuff, just stuff not seen by this generation. It is actually the most ancient practice.


Please do not mistake me, I think it is critical that we reinforce this greatest teaching of the Church, that Our Lord is entirely present in the Sacred Species, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and in such a way that it is the merest accident that those Sacred Species retain the appearance of bread and wine (that’s why we call them “accidentals”). But as a teacher, I find it frustrating when we don’t get to the heart of an issue. I do not believe communion in the hand and the absence of altar rails is what has lead to this sad state of affairs. It’s near heretical priests and nuns (and yes, that’s part of the “Spirit of Vatican II”), and possibly parents who either don’t know the truth of the Faith themselves or who know it, but aren’t teaching their children with diligence for whatever reason.
[/quote]

It is both teaching and action…
If I ask a friend “would you die for me?” and they said “yes” I expect them to live up to their promise.
Words and actions must coexist, and be a proof.


#18

What is the point of receiving in the hand? Why was this practice changed? I know I’ve read at least one really early Church father who when describing Mass mentions reception in the hand, however I can see many benefits to reception on the tongue: our hands have not been washed like the priest’s have, they are not washed afterward in a way to make sure no particles are lost, people cannot sneak hosts away as easily, there is less of a chance of dropping the Host since the paton can remain under the host, while the person usually is walking away as they put it in their mouth with their hand, etc. On the other hand, I can’t really think of any benefits to reception in the hand. So why would we go back to reception in the hand? What’s the point?


#19

[quote=Genesis315]What is the point of receiving in the hand? Why was this practice changed? I know I’ve read at least one really early Church father who when describing Mass mentions reception in the hand, however I can see many benefits to reception on the tongue: our hands have not been washed like the priest’s have, they are not washed afterward in a way to make sure no particles are lost, people cannot sneak hosts away as easily, there is less of a chance of dropping the Host since the paton can remain under the host, while the person usually is walking away as they put it in their mouth with their hand, etc. On the other hand, I can’t really think of any benefits to reception in the hand. So why would we go back o reception in the hand? What’s the point?
[/quote]

The host was concealed and used for nefarious purposes long before the popes allowed the return to reception in the hand.

I wash my hands before Church, with soap. The priestly ablutions are ritual ablutions. Soap isn’t involved, so the emphasis there isn’t really hygienic. I’m not saying his hands are disease ridden, but they probably aren’t any cleaner than anyone else’s. He, too, exchanges the sign of peace, turns the pages of the sacramentary, etc.

Hosts today tend not to crumble (indeed, sometimes I wonder if they’re actually intended to disolve!) as they once did.

Reception in the hand was the most ancient way. Reception on the toungue was, relatively speaking, an innovation. Why, may I ask, can we not leave it up to the prudential judgement of the communicant? The current and last 3 popes have seemed to be content that we should. As I said, it falls within their purview and they allow it. I’ve heard some people say that they don’t like having someone with their fingers near/in their mouth. I don’t really get that, as I rec. on the tongue, but okay. I just don’t think that this is the reason for Catholics not believing in the Real Presence.


#20

[quote=JKirkLVNV]The host was concealed and used for nefarious purposes long before the popes allowed the return to reception in the hand.

I wash my hands before Church, with soap. The priestly ablutions are ritual ablutions. Soap isn’t involved, so the emphasis there isn’t really hygienic. I’m not saying his hands are disease ridden, but they probably aren’t any cleaner than anyone else’s. He, too, exchanges the sign of peace, turns the pages of the sacramentary, etc.

Hosts today tend not to crumble (indeed, sometimes I wonder if they’re actually intended to disolve!) as they once did.

Reception in the hand was the most ancient way. Reception on the toungue was, relatively speaking, an innovation. Why, may I ask, can we not leave it up to the prudential judgement of the communicant? The current and last 3 popes have seemed to be content that we should. As I said, it falls within their purview and they allow it. I’ve heard some people say that they don’t like having someone with their fingers near/in their mouth. I don’t really get that, as I rec. on the tongue, but okay. I just don’t think that this is the reason for Catholics not believing in the Real Presence.
[/quote]

I don’t really think it’s the reason for a lack of belief in the Real Presence either, but I still don’t see the point. I know in America, the bishops started allowing it without permission so they were then just given permission. I don’t know, there just doesn’t seem to be any real upside while there are some downsides (see e-bay for example).

As for the lack of belief in the Real Presence, I think it has to do with Liberalism, Humanism, Rationalism, and the rest. “It’s unreasonable to my modern enlightened sensibilities that the little wafer is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, therefore I don’t believe it is. I’m too smart to believe hokey unscientific stuff like that.” That’ what I think the problem is.


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.