Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. has issued a message in response to the Pew Research Study, released August 5, which states that “only 31%” of Catholics “believe that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass BECOME AND ARE the Body and Blood of Christ.”
How bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Christ at the priest’s words of consecration at Mass is a mystery of faith to be sure but a mystery that responds to the Lord Jesus’ own command, “Do this in memory of Me.” Mysteries defy scientific explanations – that is why they are called “mysteries” – requiring either the belief of faith or disbelief. In his magnificent Eucharistic hymn, “Tantum Ergo,” one of the Catholic Church’s greatest teachers, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), reflected “what our senses fail to fathom, let us grasp through faith’s consent.” And, so, the Catholic Church has “grasped” from its very beginning and continues to do so to the present moment and beyond.
“This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in memory of me.”
If the faithful of the Catholic Church get this core belief wrong, what else could they hope to get right?