Transubstantiation


#1

How do I explain this to someone who insists that we are “cannibals” if we are eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ as we claim to do when receiving Holy Communion? I have no idea how to defend this, as I am a “revert” and not up on “all things Catholic” although I am reading and learning.
Thanks in advance for your help,
~ Kathy ~


#2

If they are protestants, you can appeal to the Bible. The apostles had the same question of Jesus.

Note: there is another thread on the topic of John 6 going on now so you might want to check in on it, too.

[quote=John 6:52-58] The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats 19 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.

This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."
[/quote]

If they are not protestant, then tell them that we may seem like cannibals, but we didn’t have to kill anyone to eat His flesh and drink His blood because He already died for us, then rose from the dead, and meanwhile graciously invited us to partake. They won’t understand it but they might see there is no point in asking you any more questions.

Alan


#3

[quote=AlanFromWichita]If they are protestants, you can appeal to the Bible. The apostles had the same question of Jesus.

Note: there is another thread on the topic of John 6 going on now so you might want to check in on it, too.

If they are not protestant, then tell them that we may seem like cannibals, but we didn’t have to kill anyone to eat His flesh and drink His blood because He already died for us, then rose from the dead, and meanwhile graciously invited us to partake. They won’t understand it but they might see there is no point in asking you any more questions.

Alan
[/quote]

I wish I could send my partner to you, so you could explain this. I must warn you however, he is SDA. Maybe YOU could convert him !
Thanks,
~ Kathy ~


#4

Cannibalism is the eating of physical, dead, human flesh. Christ is not dead, nor is is He (only) human, nor is His presence in the Eucharist physical (it is sacramental). So their charge of cannibalism denies both the divinity of Christ and the Resurrection. It also denies the goodness of God (that He would command us, even symbolically, to perform an evil act). On top of that it denies God’s omnipotence (“how can this man give us his flesh to eat?”). It also supposes that we somehow have the power to injure Christ who is in heaven.

Why is cannibalism wrong? Because it involves injury (usually death) to another. We cannot injure or kill Christ, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Unlike cannibalism, in the Eucharist it is eternal life derived from eternal life, not mortal life derived from mortal death.

Ask this question back: why did Christ tell them to pretend to be cannibals at every one of their Lord’s Suppers? The fact is that eating and drinking God, either actually or symbolically, is not an evil act. The only people who see it as an evil act are those who do not have the faith to see it for what it really is.


#5

Funny, in the early Church the pagans accused the Christians of the very same thing. This charge is as old as the day is long. I think the answer above is the correct one. It is a sacramental real prescence, not a prescence in which we are eating human flesh (physical).


#6

[quote=Katie1723]I wish I could send my partner to you, so you could explain this. I must warn you however, he is SDA. Maybe YOU could convert him !
Thanks,
~ Kathy ~
[/quote]

I’m flattered by your confidence in my blather production capabilities, especially since I know my own heart. :o

Send away. I’m not sure what is SDA, but if it doesn’t kill me I suppose I can grow from it!

I’m pleased to talk to people of different beliefs. Usually the worst thing that happens when I talk to people of other faiths is that I give them more to think about regarding their own faith. At best they see Christianity in a new light.

It just occurred to me that I typically only get into arguments with other Catholics! Maybe I’m some sort of contrarian; if someone doesn’t know something, I treat them with respect but if they claim to know something, then I challenge their assertions. It’s like I think I’m God who has to humble those who exalt themselves and vice versa. If others are putting Catholicism down, I do challenge them to back up their claims, and show them where they are typically guilty of whatever they are accusing us of. (As in, guilt is in the heart of the accuser.) I’m so mixed up that maybe I’m just right to talk to other people who are mixed up. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah, well. I do have a good time, a lovely family, and plenty of excess pride to try to steer this into a discussion about me, me, me! :bounce:

Alan


#7

[quote=thessalonian]Funny, in the early Church the pagans accused the Christians of the very same thing. This charge is as old as the day is long. I think the answer above is the correct one. It is a sacramental real prescence, not a prescence in which we are eating human flesh (physical).
[/quote]

I agree, but I wonder whether this is actually a stumbling block for some Catholics. Depending on what issue we are discussing, we sometimes talk as if the “real presence” implies that it is, in fact, real human flesh – as if by saying it’s “sacramental” we are actually saying it’s “imaginary.” That would be especially true if we considered sacraments as mere rituals. This could be one of those mysteries that require a larger understanding than we normally know how to reach.

Alan


#8

SDA is Seventh Day Adventist. Very anti-Catholic in my experience.


#9

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