(some) Catholics don't believe in the Eucharist?

Last night I was visiting with an acquaintance, a Baptist. I had mentioned that I had been over at our Church earlier in the evening, and he asked if our church was open 24 hours. I explained about our Adoration Chapel, and then felt called to share what it meant: the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ being truly present in the ‘host’, and that someone was there 24 hours a day. (That took a DEEP BREATH, because I knew it would be met with some resistance, at the least. But God had provided me with another answer that my friend had asked just moments before…so I trusted in Him.) He was amazed at our dedication :slight_smile: but then, keyed in on the Eucharist, asking about it.

I explained that the Eucharist is the actual Body of Christ. He *laughed *and said, “What? You think that Jesus Christ is here in XXXXXX (city)?” Firstly, I said Jesus Christ is with us ALWAYS spiritually; why not His Body? He is in every Catholic Church, physically. I called over to another Catholic, expecting him to back me up (since this is a BIG DEAL and big part of being Catholic, at least to me!); he told me that he doesn’t really know, because he doesn’t remember his catechism class! WHAT??? I’d seen comments here and there about some Catholics not believing in the Body and Blood of Christ, but hadn’t really encountered one in the ‘wild’. (TBH, my dad also told me he wasn’t sure; that startled both me and my mother; he’s an adult convert but has been Catholic at least since I was a small child, 40 years.) The person I asked considers himself a fairly devout Catholic. However, some comments he has made over the past few weeks concern me, when he says in a group about picking and choosing certain Catholic doctrine, but not others. But I still didn’t expect his response of not being sure…I almost fainted! In fairness, this gentleman is definitely socially challenged; he may also be challenged in other non-apparent ways, but also puts himself out there as being a devout Catholic. I’ve had many ‘gentle’ conversations, at his instigation, in front of others.

I don’t know if I was there to witness to the Catholic or the Baptist last night; perhaps both. I’ve never been ‘laughed at’ before regarding this, but I’ve never really shared it either; and I definitely expected a different answer than the one I got from the fellow Catholic! While each of us sins, and clearly acts against God and the Faith when sinning, we should still believe in the Catholic Church, in God and His Teachings. Why would you be Catholic and not believe in the Catholic Church? Am I incorrect in thinking that believing in the Body and Blood of Christ is a MAJOR part of Catholicism? This is My Body! This is My Blood!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. I also believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I truly believe that Jesus Christ is with us and we are receiving His, not the priest’s, Forgiveness. But I think there are even more Catholics who don’t believe in that, either.

Father, please help me to explain the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, not only to non-Catholics, but my fellow Catholics, in a way that is easy to understand. Please especially help my friends A and D to understand and believe in Your Body. Help me to be a good witness to Your Word. Thank you Lord for your gifts to us. Thank you for allowing me to share my Faith, Your Good News, with others. Help me to be a good model of Catholicism. Amen.

I think this is so sad. I think it has to do with the poor catechesis during the early years after vatican ll. I am not blaming Vatican ll for this, just that we did not transmit this on to our children as well as past generations. I think that is improving from what I see and hear.

On the other hand, I really liked Fr. Barron’s statement in the Catholicism series. Jesus said, " ‘This IS my Body’ " and what Jesus says IS!" (Caps are mine) I don’t think there is a better way to validate our belief.

Did you point out to both of them the very explicit words in the bible that you quoted here? Did your Baptist friend make the old “Jesus said he was vine and door also, but he isnt either of those” argument?? Does you Catholic friend just not remembe what he was taught or doubts the teaching?

You did a wonderful job witnessing. Well done.

One important point, though. Jesus is not physically present in the Eucharist. His Presence is a sacramental one.

I believe the statistic is that some 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence or in transubstantiation. This is mostly due to poor catechesis.

Catholic Aswers has a small pocket sized book,titled"Pillar of Faith,Pillar of Fire"
It contains numerous biblical verses supporting Catholicism.It would be handy to read this,memorize the various verses supporting the reality of Christ’s true presence in thevEuchrist.Also,you could give this little booklet away to those who question the veracity of our Catholic faith.:wink:

Poor catechesis on a very vital teaching preserved for us in St. John’s gospel, chapter 6


John recorded Jesus’ actual words, I am the Bread of Life. Many of His followers thought that teaching was too hard for them to accept. So they left. I compare those to the ‘Christians’ today who ‘follow’ Jesus but do not believe He gave us His actual Body and Blood.

As someone who has been denied this access to this sacrament due to having a lifelong marriage currently undergoing the knarled and convoluted convalidation process, it is agony being away from receiving the Eucharist. It grieves and scandalizes me that ‘Catholics’ like your friend who do not believe are given free access. May the Lord have mercy on them.

Knowing this, why are there not post catechism quizzes? Like refresher courses? You are talking about someone’s eternal soul! Not believing in the true presence is scandalous for a Catholic.


Those must be all the zombies I see at mass.

Thanks for the feedback.

I wasn’t able to share as much as I wanted to with my friends, but will be following up as I feel guided to do. I am looking at this as a process, a journey, a marathon, not a sprint, nor matter how much I want it to be. :slight_smile:

1.Where is this statistic from?

2.What size was the sample?

3.Was it carried out on practising Catholics, or on those who identified themselves as Catholics because of being baptised or because of their culture?

  1. And most important of all, how was the question phrased? For example, if it was ‘Do you believe that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist’, even the Pope himself would answer ‘no’, and would appear in the 70%.

Huh? What does this mean?

“. . . about 70% of self-described Catholics deny the Real Presence . . .” (Catholic Debate on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, 1998)

“. . . some 70% of Catholics in America deny transubstantiation . . .” (How to Receive Communion: Tradition, Abuses, Symbolism, and Piety, 1-28-00)

“Surveys show that 70-80% of Catholics deny the Real Presence, let alone transubstantiation.” (Agreements and Disagreements With Reformed Protestant Alastair Roberts’ Series: “Some Thoughts on Transubstantiation”, 1-31-05)

“Thus, by simply changing the meaning of words, traditional doctrines can be eroded. We see the same thing in the Catholic Church. “Real Presence” has been so eroded historically that 70% of Catholics have picked up this thinking, and deny transubstantiation, as defined by the Church.” (Second Dialogue With Alastair Roberts (Reformed) on Transubstantiation, 2-4-05)

I think you are overstating it. The figures I have seen from surveys done by Catholic polling groups, Pew, and possibly others, is around 50%. And it is not that 50% do not “believe”, but for many it is that they are not familiar with the teaching or are not sure what it means. To turn it around, it means that about half of surveyed Catholics have an understanding of the the Real Presence and personally accept it. And that is U.S. Catholics; the percents could be much different elsewhere.

There are two concepts that people need to learn: One is that the body and blood of Christ are present in the bread and wine in the Eucharist, and then what is meant by that. There is much confusion and mis-understanding about those concepts. As you say, the result of poor catechesis, but also a result of a “who cares” attitude by many Catholics.

Sorry, but you haven’t answered my questions, only repeated the claim made by Alastair Roberts, in the main. Where did he get the figure from? Who administered the surveys?
How large was the sample i.e. how many people took part? Unless it was a very large sample, that 70% can’t be reliably extrapolated to apply to all the billion Catholics in the world. For example, 21 out of 30 is 70%, but that 30 could just be a badly instructed catechism class in that particular parish.
To have a statistic meaningful for a billion Catholics, respondents would have to be in the thousands, and the level of education taken into account.
And again, most important of all, how was the question phrased?
If it was ‘Do you believe that Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament’, that’s one thing. If it was ‘Do you believe in transubstantiation’. that’s another.

In fairness, transubstantiation is difficult to comprehend and explain. Consubstantiation less so. Just sayin…

My first post simply said that that’s what I had heard. It was a comment, not an assertion. I don’t need to defend it.

Here are excerpts from actual surveys. The first is a survey done by CARA, a research department of Georgetown U.

Eucharist and Belief in the Real Presence
Nine in ten weekly Mass attendees (91 percent) say they believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist, compared to two-thirds of those who attend Mass less than weekly but at least once a month (65 percent), and four in ten of those attending Mass a few times a year or less (40 percent). Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a month, the youngest generation of Catholics (born after 1981) has similar beliefs about the Eucharist as Pre-Vatican II Generation Catholics (born before 1943).

The next is about a year or two old, and was done by a group at Catholic University.

Not quite half of adult Catholics in this study (46 percent) are knowledgeable believers (poster’s note: by this they mean these people know the Church teaching on the Real Presence and accept it).
The opposite of this type, and the second largest group in size (33 percent of respondents), are the unknowing unbelievers. They do not know what the church teaches regarding the Eucharist nor do they believe in this teaching. Among all those Catholics who do not know what the church teaches regarding the real presence, two-thirds are in this type.

And here is an excerpt from the Pew Research survey, which surveyed people of all faiths and then compared responses.

Many Catholics are unaware of their church’s teaching on this topic; while 55% of Catholics get the question right, more than four-in-ten Catholics (41%) say the church teaches that the bread and wine are symbols of Christ’s body and blood, and 3% say they do not know what the church’s teaching is.

Each of the surveys give numbers and data, and at least two of them surveyed 1,100 plus people. They seem to be quite consistent in the figures they provide, which seem to indicate about half of all Catholics understand and believe in the Real Presence, but that figure varies by demographic and frequency of Mass attendance.

I did not see any surveys that reported a figure as high as 70% for those who would deny the Real Presence, although it could be true for certain sub-groups (such as marginal Catholics, or millenial Catholics).

I will recommend that people do a little checking on their own before quoting facts and figures; it is really easy to do. And it is best not to quote from others who report that “surveys say” without providing actual documentation. There is a really good Dilbert cartoon that addresses what can result from doing that.

Hmmm. This has been bothering me for awhile but
I was afraid to discuss it as the Eucharist is always
a sensitive Mystery.

I was at a class for spiritual enrichment for adults
in our parish led by our CCDS director and a deacon.
Imagine my surprise when during a conversation about
the Eucharist they stated we receive Christ spiritually
only. I was jarred by this as I was taught fifty years ago
that we receive His Body and Bloo, Soul and Divinity
and moreover He lives within us for at least twenty minutes
after or longer.

I was afraid to say something cause how does a person
lead CCD and adult formation courses for ten years
and not know? So I’ve just been praying and meditating
on the Eucharist since…

Did they say spiritually, or sacramentally? It may be that the terms were confused, either in hearing, or in the explanation. As noted above in the thread, it is incorrect to say that we receive Christ physically; our belief is that He is present, body, blood, soul and divinity sacramentally, under the accidents of bread and wine. The Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano excepted.

Not everyone is a theologian; and people of strong faith and good intentions can say things incorrectly and yet still believe.

They just don’t make the best catechists.

Wish you had included the cartoon - except for copyright laws, Gotta love him!

Good post, and excellent recommendation. It is all too easy to misquote a study, particularly if the study was not read first-hand, but second-hand in the secular press. They tend to not get it right. And even reading it first hand is no guarantee that making a statement about it will be correct, particularly if the statement ends up being a reference rather than a direct quote of the exact finding.

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