According to news reports, Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times got himself in hot water the other day. Keller suggested that reporters concentrate on the religious view of political candidates for offices where such a view might affect job performance.
Among his comments, Keller said that that Catholic belief in the Eucharist is analogous to believing in aliens. “I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ,” he said.
Well, Keller is right. Catholics believe (and yes, I do not like that word) that the wafer and the wine when consecrated become the actual body and blood of Christ. That means that Catholics in communion are eating the actual blood and body of Jesus.
Forgetting the cannibal and vampire aspects for now, let’s consider this. If in fact the wafer and wine turn into Jesus, it will be easy to test. I wonder why no one has figured this out before?
Get some consecrated wafers and wine and send them in sterile conditions to an analytical lab. In a few days you should have back a complete analysis of the wafer and wine contents.
That will tell us once and for all if the Catholics are right or wrong. If they are right, then all the rest of us including all protestant churches and denominations will have to change our minds about a few things.
If they are wrong and there is no change from wafer to flesh and wine to blood, then the Catholics are wrong. If they are wrong, then they will have to switch to the wafer and wine (or grape juice in most protestant churches) being strictly symbolic and not real.
The alternative to this is that they will have to abandon their communion as a false doctrine and make up some story for the faithful as to why it does not work.
There is still another out for the Catholics, and one that I’ll bet they will use. They will probably explain that while the wafer and blood do not physically change, it does change somehow theologically to the real Christ body and blood. In fact you can find this in Eucharist explanations. They will explain that the wafer and wine are changed in “reality” or “presence” even though the actual appearance is not changed.
Thus, it is all double talk. A basis of logic and argument is that something is what it is said to be, or it is not. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, as the Catholics are trying to do here. .
Of course, somebody in the Catholic Church will have to explain to me why the above is not the symbolic version that the Protestants use. They will also have to explain how they can save face with the faithful when they are obviously wiggling around on this.
There – I have solved one of the major theological questions of our time. Just get some wafers and wine and do a simple test. It is so easy. And here I thought that some of this religious stuff would be so difficult.
But I still think that after testing, a wafer is still a wafer and wine is still wine. Call me a skeptic.