Pew Research Center recently released results of a survey* focusing on the belief of transubstantiation. Up front, the study learned that 69% of Catholics surveyed, do not believe the church’s teaching of “transubstantiation.”
As my readers are aware, I’m not Catholic. That said; the belief that the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ is a substantial teaching of the church and to learn that nearly 70% of Catholics don’t believe it, is rather surprising.
Though a nondenominational minister, I was raised in the Lutheran church and it teaches the same view.
Transubstantiation is another example of a core-belief that few outside of academic circles even give attention to. I’m confident in saying that most had to pause a moment to figure out (or recall) what transubstantiation is.
It would be far from truthful if even I told you that I give it much thought; until now, as it took Pew Research to bring it to the forefront of our thoughts. This is of course, one of those things, most people learn but forget that they even knew, over time.
Now, let’s be serious. None of us were present at the last supper. None of us were in the room when Jesus spoke. Here’s the thing; while we can be taught that something is to be believed, this doesn’t translate into believing.
This is proven by the survey which shows that “43% of Catholics believe that the bread and wine are symbolic and also that this reflects the position of the church.”
Was Jesus telling us that the wine was indeed His blood shed for us? It is certain, that the bible records His words as, “This is My blood,” (Mar 14:24), (bold=author’s emphasis).
And Luke records Jesus saying, “do this in remembrance of Me,” (Luk 22:19), (bold/underline=author’s emphasis).
So, precisely what “this” was Jesus referring to?
Was He referring to the supper, as a whole? Was He referring to “This is My blood?” Was Jesus referring perhaps to something else? Could Jesus have instead been referring to the thanking which preceded each?
That said, don’t misunderstand the intent of the questions. They are indeed rhetorical. I’m not searching for someone to tell me what the truth is or give me an answer. I’m simply pointing out, once again, that none of us were in that room. I certainly wasn’t and therefore we discuss, study, and debate theology.
Surveying just a few of my Facebook friends and family (mostly Catholic), I found that they, for the most part as well, believe that it (Communion) is a symbolic event.
There are several theological beliefs that contribute to a person’s being, however, they are beliefs that don’t require any outside validation. I believe this one to be among them. And it certainly is not one that should be any cause for strife among parishioners or denominations.
Each of us must weigh the information at our fingertips. We must each, alone, determine what we believe.
While it is a great subject for discussion and by no means a trivial one, our salvation; our justification and righteousness, does not depend on our belief here; either for or against.
So then, we toss the topic back into the academic circles from which it came. For each of us, alone, it is not a debate but rather a conversation. It’s a conversation we can take to God; in prayer.
Tell me what you think…
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