Monday, September 21, 2009

Catholics Invented Transubstantiation Like Newton Invented Gravity

"Transubstantiation"?! What's that mean?

It's a six-syllable word that means the whole Christ is really, actually, present in the Eucharist. Otherwise known as "blood-spurting crackers" or "[expletive deleted] crackers" by, ah, serious thinkers. (More at " 'Self-Satisfied Ignorance?' Eucharist, Quran, and Atheist Book Trashed" Another War-on-Terror Blog (August 5, 2008))

Here's how the Vatican puts it, in part:
"The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as 'the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.' In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist 'the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.' 'This presence is called "real" - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be "real" too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.' "
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1374, excerpted from 1373-1377, see 1413, also see references under Eucharist)
The "[expletive deleted] crackers" actually are crackers, in one sense of the word. "Cracker" is a term used to denote:
  1. "A thin crisp wafer made of flour and water with or without leavening and shortening; unsweetened or semisweet"
  2. "Redneck ... (a poor White person in the southern United States"
  3. "A programmer who cracks (gains unauthorized access to) computers, typically to do malicious things... "
  4. "Firecracker, cracker, banger (firework consisting of a small explosive charge and fuse in a heavy paper casing)"
  5. "Snapper, cracker bonbon (a party favor consisting of a paper roll (usually containing candy or a small favor) that pops when pulled at both ends" (Princeton's WordNet
Definition #1 applies to the Host used at Mass. And, yes: the Catholic Church has rules about what sort of "cracker" we use. For good reason, under the circumstances. The "crackers" have to be made of wheat, using water, and nothing else.1 A more archaic or poetic way of describing them would be "unleavened bread."

And yes, the Catholic Church is picky. About some things: particularly when they directly involve the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Like I said the other day: "God is large and in charge." (September 13, 2009) Of all the people I don't want to cross, He tops the list. And Jesus, who said "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." (John 8:58)

No wonder there's been a bit of controversy about Jesus over the millennia.

When Moses asked God what His name was, "God replied, 'I am who am.' Then he added, 'This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.' " (Exodus 3:14) In this context, I AM is a proper name. Jesus said, in effect, that he is God.

Moving along.

Transubstantiation: A Hard Idea to Swallow

A character in a book made a crack about Christians practicing ritual cannibalism. He was right, in a way.

If Jesus had been interested in marketing his ideas, or shaped his campaign by studying the contemporary equivalent of opinion polls, He wouldn't have said this:
"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 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.' " (John 6 53-58)
I'm a 'civilized' person who grew up in a 20th-century Western culture. I have a deep-seated aversion to cannibalism. So did Hebrews of the 1st century.

Using Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation for me to understand Jesus' apparently going out of his way to alienate his followers and enrage his enemies is to assume that the 'hard saying' was (1) true and (2) important.

New on the Blogroll

Someone discussed transubstantiation, and made a pretty good job of it. He points out that the Church invented transubstantiation like Newton invented gravity in the sixth paragraph.

So, I added Fallible Blogma to the blogroll.

Here's a link to that post:
Related posts, about the Eucharist and rules:

1Here's what the Catholic Church says, in part, about preparing the hosts:
"The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools...."
(Chapter III, The Proper Celebration of Mass, 1. The Matter of the Most Holy Eucharist, Redemptionis Sacramentum (On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist), Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, (Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect; Domenico Sorrentino, Archbishop Secretary) Translated into English)


David Torkington said...

Thinking out of the box in a special way.

Brian Gill said...

Thank you, David Torkington.

(Weeks late - I'm catching up on comments. Sorry about that.)

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Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

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