USA: Dramatic Loss of Belief in Real Presence – What About UK Catholics? 

Transubstantiation – the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ – is central to the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’”

But a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most self-described Catholics don’t believe this core teaching. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.”

In addition to asking Catholics what they believe about the Eucharist, the new survey also included a question that tested whether Catholics know what the church teaches on the subject. Most Catholics who believe that the bread and wine are symbolic do not know that the church holds that transubstantiation occurs. Overall, 43% of Catholics believe that the bread and wine are symbolic and also that this reflects the position of the church. Still, one-in-five Catholics (22%) reject the idea of transubstantiation, even though they know about the church’s teaching.

The vast majority of those who believe that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ – 28% of all Catholics – do know that this is what the church teaches. A small share of Catholics (3%) profess to believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist despite not knowing the church’s teaching on transubstantiation.

About six-in-ten (63%) of the most observant Catholics — those who attend Mass at least once a week — accept the church’s teaching about transubstantiation. Still, even among this most observant group of Catholics, roughly one-third (37%) don’t believe that the Communion bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ (including 23% who don’t know the church’s teaching and 14% who know the church’s teaching but don’t believe it). And among Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly, large majorities say they believe the bread and wine are symbolic and do not actually become the body and blood of Jesus   Click here to read more...

Comment: 

This latest research (which confirms previous similar studies in the USA) reveals lots of things, notably the failure to teach the Faith in Catholic schools and pulpits.  This failure is every bit as true here in the UK as it is – manifestly so – in the USA. 

Catholics who reject the dogma of Transubstantiation show ignorance of Sacred Scripture because it was Christ Himself who said:  “For My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink….”  (John 6:56)  He did not even mention “symbols” of His Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity.  He gave us Himself as real food and real drink to sustain us on our spiritual journey and, from the very beginning, this was the belief of all Christians.  

How can this state of affairs be put right, then?  You can’t force someone to believe something but maybe somebody in authority should tell unbelieving Catholics that they are not free to reject any dogma of the Faith and still call themselves Catholics.  That might be a start?  

Since none of us is above temptation, we ought to frequently reflect on the glorious miracle that is Transubstantiation.  Feel free, then, not only to offer your comments on the Pew Center Research findings – especially as it relates to the UK – but post, as well, meditations on the Real Presence, quotes from the saints, favourite hymns and prayers, all with the aim of deepening our awareness and understanding of this wonderful gift from God, which, all too often, as we approach for Holy Communion, we may tend to take for granted.  Do we actually treat the Blessed Sacrament as a mere symbol?  Worth thinking about…  

41 responses

  1. Theresa Rose has just posted this link over on the Gaystapo thread – it demonstrates 200% that the Pew Center Research is right and extends to Canada as well… There is a warning at the top of the page about the shocking sacrilegious event which you can see on the video.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/dance-celebrating-homosexual-orgasm-in-church-sanctuary-shows-what-god-sees-in-the-hearts-of-many-priests

    These are evil-doers, gravely offending Our Lord in His Real Presence. I’d like someone to explain to me how it is possible to justify attending the Masses of “gay” priests and receiving “Holy Communion” from them.

    It is not clear from the text of the article that the dancers are actually priests but that is, in a sense, irrelevant. The priest(s) have permitted them to use the sanctuary and obviously, their bishop approves.

    Again, it’s a puzzle as to why there are still Catholics attending the novus ordo Mass. See the list at the end of the Lifesitenews report for a reminder of the corruption of the clergy and hierarchy; they are – the majority it seems – deeply involved in sexual immorality. Why would anyone still attend their Masses?

    • I took one look at it and was so disgusted I couldn’t read the rest of it.

      LifeSite News also reported that YouTube pulled a video of a teenage girl who was against LGBT “pride”.

      Now if they’d only pull that blasphemous, sacrilegious video down just as fast…

  2. I am stunned at that video – whether or not those two men are priests doing the dancing, the priests and bishop who allowed it clearly do not believe in the Real Presence.

    The dancing is pornographic. Obscene. Sacriligeous.

    I’m surprised that YouTube has allowed this video in the first place.

    As for the Pew Center Research – I’m not one bit surprised. You just need to see the way young people, even First Communicants, take the Blessed Sacrament to know that they don’t believe.

    If similar research were done here, it would probably show even higher figures of unbelief, IMHO.

    • MM,

      The video is all that you describe – obscene, pornographic etc.

      What, I would like to know, are the Catholics who live in Montreal doing about it?

  3. I agree about the video – absolutely it is a shocker.

    However, I don’t see how it is possible to presume that because of the Pew Center findings in the USA, Catholics in the UK are the same in their beliefs.

    I would be amazed if the majority of Catholics in the UK don’t believe in the Real Presence. Why go to Mass and Communion?

    • Anonymous,

      You gotta be kidding. The decline in church attendance in the UK alone is evidence of the loss of divine and Catholic faith – including belief in the Real Presence. The whole novus ordo “experience” is designed to make the supernatural “ordinary” – and I would be amazed if any similar research in the UK showed us to be any stronger in Eucharistic Faith than our cousins in the USA.

  4. In watching that pornographic video – I wept because of the grave offence committed against Our Lord in His Real Presence.

    No matter what is the status of these dancers, whether priests or secular, this should never have been allowed at all. It is all the more shameful that a Bishop approves of this being done within the Sanctuary.

    • I totally agree with you Theresa Rose. The grave offence to God in his Real Presence is what makes this evil dance so shocking.

      I copied this from the end of the Lifesitenews report because I think it gets right to the heart of the issue:

      “God has permitted this video, so that we might understand that homosexual priests and prelates are not men dealing with a little after-hours/off-duty problem with custody of their thoughts.

      No. This video is a graphic expression of what God himself sees in the hearts and minds of so many men occupying Church sanctuaries around the world as they sacrilegiously offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  5. A little 8 year old girl I know who is due to make her first Holy Communion next year told me she was looking forward to getting the “holy “bread”! This is a child at a Catholic primary school. I doubt if she is receiving any sort of proper Catholic education.
    Judging from the way most people go up for Communion, in the hand, standing, I doubt if many really believe in transubstantiation at all. If so there would be no hubbub in the church before Mass, no casual handling of the sacred vessels, And certainly no so called extraordinary ministers. It is heartbreaking to see what has happened to the Church in the last 50 years or so.and how many priests really believe? Very few I guess or they would not permit such abuses in their parishes.
    As for the video, well it is beyond shocking. Two men cavorting in their underwear before the Blessed Sacrament? It has to be from Satan. God help us all.

    • Elizabeth,

      Your comment is of particular interest to me right now because I have been enjoying the privilege of helping to prepare my 6 year old Great Niece for her First Confession and First Communion; she’ll be 7 in February, so will be receiving the Sacraments at some point next year, probably August.

      Having taught secondary and sixth form, I had to give careful thought as to how to teach a six year old. I remembered that one of the educational psychologists, whose name escapes me at the moment, insisted that even very young children could be taught anything, difficult concepts etc as long as the teacher had thought it through carefully beforehand.

      Well, just a few weeks into her lessons and I have been delighted at my Great Niece’s responses. Now, obviously, not everything learned at this stage will be fully understood, but we need to remember that if the knowledge is embedded, it will make sense later. Standing at the edge of a pavement or path in a very quiet location and insisting on “look right, left, right again” over and over until the child “gets it”, will only really make sense when he/she is standing at a pavement edge on a road thick with traffic.

      So, I am very pleased to show off the fact that my little Great Niece can do the following:

      1) define grace as “God’s life”
      2) explain that there are two kinds of grace
      3) name sanctifying grace and actual grace
      4) explain that sanctifying graces comes through the sacraments
      5) explain that actual grace comes to us when we need practical help
      6) tell the story of Adam & Eve (she could do that before these lessons) and
      explain that they disobeyed God by breaking His law which is why we need
      Baptism – she can explain that the baby being baptised hasn’t sinned
      7) she can identify Baptism as a Sacrament
      8) she can say the words that priest says when he baptises a baby .
      8) she can explain that because we sin after Baptism, we need to confess
      9) she can explain that it is Our Lord to whom we confess, not “just” the priest
      10) All of the above and much more!

      With some very simple memory prompts and examples to illustrate the teaching, a child can very easily be taught the key doctrines of the Church. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching her. What happens in schools today is utterly ridiculous, lazy non-teaching, as a primary school teacher friend of mine said the other day when we discussed my astonishing transformation into an expert on all things primary educational 😀 Children love to be challenged, they love learning difficult concepts, and trying to understand them. I just can’t comprehend the modernist’ mindset at all – unless – as RCA Victor suggests – they have deliberately set out to destroy the Faith in young people. Shocking.

      • From my experience talking to First Communicants (family and friends) I doubt very much if they learn anything about grace and sin. I must test them, casually, in future, to see what they do actually know.

      • Editor,

        I have friends in teaching who would be very surprised that a six year old could learn all that about grace etc.

        Not wanting to give you a big head but, really, could it be that you are a particularly gifted, maybe an outstanding teacher and that explains your success, but that in the normal run of things, kids of that age just wouldn’t be able to learn all that terminology – sanctifying grace, e.g. I don’t think I knew about that before my First Communion.

        • Michaela,

          When I was in post, “outstanding” was one of the categories used in Ofsted Inspections. I never made it in there, sorry to say.

          I’m a very ordinary, run-of-the-mill teacher, so I’m sorry if I’ve given any other impression. Indeed, only a couple of weeks ago, I was showing a teacher friend one of my favourite exercises used in lessons with pupils across the age range in various contexts, but, like another favourite, very successful, lesson of mine it really wasn’t “mine” at all – as I explained to my friend, these were creations of one of my colleagues which she generously shared with me. As I say, “ordinary, run-of-the-mill” best describes my teaching career.

          I do believe that the educational psychologist was correct who said that even very young children can be taught very difficult concepts if the teacher thinks it through carefully – the story of St Therese of Lisieux being taught about God’s life/grace in her soul using a glass of water is a case in point.

          • Editor,

            I absolutely agree….you are a very ordinary, run of the mill, teacher. Just kidding!

            No, I agree that children are absolutely able to remember and learn something of these important terms if the teacher has thought it through. My daughter is only five and enjoys learning about Holy Communion. They don’t need to be able to understand everything.

  6. I always remember the event which occurred during the pontificate of – I think JPII but it could have been Pope Benedict. He was visiting a country (I think it was Germany) and was being driven to his next organised destination, when he asked the driver to make a stop at a Catholic church they were passing as he had a special devotion to the dedicated saint. The church was empty, but the security team were on high alert, and they sent in specially trained dogs to sniff out any potential danger and to discover if there was anyone hidden who may be a threat. The dogs led the security team straight to the tabernacle and gave them the sign that someone was “hidden” inside.

  7. The loss of belief in the Real Presence is the result of a well-orchestrated and thorough catechetical and liturgical revolution after Vatican II. No stone was left unturned to mask and obscure the true nature of the Real Presence, along with the sacrificial nature of the Mass, in order to transform the Church into, essentially, another Protestant denomination. Even the lyrics of the insipid, cloying Novus Ordo music selection speak of things like “holy bread,” “sacred meal,” and “community.”

    One must ask the bishops, if the Eucharist is the “source and summit of Christian life,” then why did the Church promulgate a liturgy and adopt a catechesis that creates an operative denial of this? I’m sure the answer would be…crickets…

    I think the best way to counter this is for bishops to promote and mandate at least weekly Adoration in all their parishes, concluded with Benediction, but preferably Perpetual Adoration along with periodic exposition.

    • RCA Victor,

      Well said.

      In one parish I attended in England, one of the hymns which really took my breath away (and not because I was singing!) was the entrance hymn “Welcome to the Birthday Party”. You can listen to it and read the lyrics if you click on this link https://lnwhymns.com/Hymn.aspx?ID=192

      To be honest, I couldn’t remember the words – I think I blocked it from my mind – but when I Googled just now, the above link came up so I think it would be too much of a coincidence that there are two hymns with that outrageous title.

      I know with your expertise in music you’ll have a tough time keeping a straight face but there’s no excuse for the rest of you – behave!

  8. I have emailed both the Archbishop of Montreal and the Parish Priest of St Peter the Apostle, plus the editor of the Montreal Gazette to express our shock at this sacrilege. Then I submitted the following comment on the Catholic World Report site, after reading part of this article
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/08/09/church-of-st-peter-the-denier/

    COMMENT SUBMITTED TO CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT

    Sorry, but I stopped reading at the description of that evil, obscene performance as “… tastefully done as such things go.” Unbelievable.

    We are discussing this scandal on the Catholic Truth blog in the context of the decline of belief in the Real Presence – clearly, nobody who believes in the Real Presence would have given permission for such evil to be performed in the Presence of Our Lord – or participate in any way.

    I have written to both the Archbishop and the priest – in the light of the huge number of child abuse scandals, male on male – to ask if they are homosexuals, because it’s unthinkable that anyone who is not of that inclination would permit such behaviour in a Catholic sanctuary. I have also written to the local press since Canada has a large Scots-origin population. Where, I wonder, is the Catholic population of Montreal, to permit such shocking sacrilege?

    “Tastefully done”? I doubt if Our Lord thinks so. Ends.

    • Editor,

      I think it’s good that you’ve written to the archbishop, priest and paper about this evil video but I think those clergy are too far gone to be bothered by emails from laity in far away Scotland. Also, the press has annihilated the Canadian clergy for their shocking child sexual abuse scandals so this will seem small fry to them now, disgraceful as that is.

      • Margaret USA,

        Thank you for that alert. I’ve now replied to Carl and to the priest who thinks a schism will truly come … not apparently realising that the hierarchy/clergy is already well and truly IN schism… from the Faith of our Fathers.

  9. That video with the homoerotic dance is just horrendous.

    Both the priest and his Ordinary who permitted it, should be sacked. In saner times they would have been.

    As for the Catholic population of Montreal – I don’t know much personally about the Church in Canada but I’ve heard it’s among the worst places in the world for clergy child abuse. Now I know why, with the clergy and bishops steeped in such filth.

  10. I took one look at it and was so disgusted I couldn’t read the rest of it.

    LifeSite News also reported that YouTube pulled a video of a teenage girl who was against LGBT “pride”.

    Now if they’d only pull that blasphemous, sacrilegious video down just as fast…

    • Margaret USA,

      That’s yet more evidence of the diabolical disorientation foretold at Fatima. It’s just unbelievable to be witnessing this first hand, after reading about Fatima all those years ago in my youth. I couldn’t imagine what was to come – but now the reality has set in. It’s really incredible.

  11. Read this article of what happened when a father took his 7 year old son close to the Altar rails following Mass. The Consecrated Host had been accidently dropped – read what the priest did. This made a great impression on that boy.

    https://cor-mariae.com/threads/the-day-the-host-dropped-by-john-vennari.5028/

    Perhaps some will take up this prayer of reparation for sacrileges committed.

    O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee most profoundly and I offer up to Thee the Most Precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

    • Theresa Rose,

      That is a beautiful article – truly beautiful.

      Every Catholic who still takes Communion in the hand ought to read that, also all the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. I can’t see how anyone could read that article and still touch the Sacred Host – and still call themselves a Catholic.

    • Theresa Rose,

      What a beautiful article and a nice surprise to see that the boy concerned was John Vennari, RIP. How he must be missed in the work of the Fatima Center!

  12. Saint Josemaria Escriva was once asked by a teacher preparing children for their first Eucharist how to go about it. His answer was to make sure that you always use the word “transubstantiation” – the child won’t understand it, but it will really annoy the Devil.

    • Chris McLaughlin,

      I agree – it’s very important to teach children the real names for everything to do with the Real Presence, especially transubstantiation.

      In fact, that’s what the sex-educators say, LOL – they should be taught the names of the body parts so if it’s right to teach the names of body parts to small children, why not transubstantiation, sanctifying grace etc?

      • Nicky,

        Excellent point about the sex-educators. Well said. The same “educators” who would ridicule the idea of teaching a child how to pronounce/spell “transubstantiation” think nothing of handing a child books with explicit images of body parts, and getting them to recite the names over and over.

        You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

    • Chris,

      Too true – children love to be taught difficult words and ideas and will ask if they should learn them by heart for homework! I remember with one class, having completed a lesson which involved copying out the Ten Commandments, some discussion, and then giving a homework which did NOT involve learning them by heart, only to find hands going up and pupils asking if they COULD learn them by heart along with the other homework! This was no exceptional group, ready to be added to the Communion of Saints, trust me. I was very pleasantly surprised and next lesson began with a game, which turned out to be a lot of fun, shooting questions around the room to see who had, in fact, learned the Commandments – there were no failures, as far as I can remember! As I soon had occasion to point out, however, reciting them was one thing, keeping them quite another 😀

      The wimpish approach to education, in vogue for far too long now, does a real disservice to young people who love to be challenged and, more often than not, rise to the occasion. Big time.

  13. An excellent sermon by Fr on the true presence and how the desecration of the churches in the sixties possibly fuelled the apostate times we find ourselves in.
    Some moving pictures during sermon.

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