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…  

Is The SSPX Now Fully Regularized?

Pope Francis has fully regularized the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), James Bogle, the ex-president of Una Voce International, told Gloria.tv (video below: see link – Ed)

Bogle stressed that the SSPX and the sacraments administrated by them, including marriages and confessions, have been formally recognized by Francis. The Society is also allowed to ordain to the priesthood whomever they see fit.

Francis further appointed SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay as a judge at the Rota Romana, the highest appellate tribunal of the Church, thus recognizing his authority.

“I don’t see how much more regular you can get than that,” Bogle concludes. He acknowledges, however, that there are a lot of intolerant bishops who still treat the SSPX as if it were irregular.

To them, Bogle answers that those who do not like the integration of the SSPX “better have the argument with Pope Francis.”   Click here to read more and view video

Comments invited…    

Can Only Catholics Be Saved? Really?

American Blogger, Margaret USA, is keen for us to discuss the following article, taken from One Peter Five blog…

“… thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matt 16:18-19)

It is a truth revealed by God that there is absolutely no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, instituted by Jesus Christ for the sanctification and salvation of the souls of men; how could there possibly be salvation outside the society instituted by Jesus Christ for our salvation?

The Catholic Church is not an invisible society, but a visible one, and there are not two Churches, one visible and the other invisible. It follows from this that it is necessary for salvation to be a member of the visible Catholic Church. There is no invisible Catholic Church. However, it is possible that a person could be, invisibly, a member of the Catholic Church, which is visible. Thus, a person in invincible ignorance of the true Faith who does not know of the necessity of membership in the Church for his salvation would not be held by the Almighty as guilty of a sin that he is not responsible for. Such a person might be, by grace, a member of the Catholic Church.

It is extremely dangerous, to say the least, to remain outside the Catholic Church, when the Catholic Church is the divinely instituted means of our salvation. One becomes a member of the Catholic Church either by baptism or by grace, and, visibly speaking, one becomes a visible member of the Catholic Church by baptism, because that is precisely the visible ceremony that makes men members of the Church. But Protestants, who do have a valid baptism, are not Catholics; for the Church is defined as the visible society of those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are united under the government of their lawful pastors under one visible head (that is, the pope). Protestants are, however, in an imperfect but real (or, to put it the other way, a real but imperfect) communion with us, and they are Christians, but they are not per se members of the Catholic Church. Catholics have used the phrase “separated brethren” to denote Protestants (and, I suppose, Orthodox and others) for two hundred years or so. The Second Vatican Council uses the phrase “fratres a nobis sejuncti” — the brethren separated from us. The word “separated” denotes the imperfection of the communion; the word “brethren” denotes the real communion that is, nevertheless, imperfect.

To state “there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church” does not mean that no Protestant, Jew, Muslim, etc., could be saved, but if he were saved, it would be by virtue of the Catholic Church and not his erring sect or religion. If he were saved, it would be because he was, by grace (or in the case of Protestants, by baptism), a member of the Catholic Church. Everyone who is in heaven is a member of the Church Triumphant and, ipso facto, a Catholic.

I do not think many people will deny that there are good and holy people in other religions. But this does not lessen the importance of the fact that all the graces in the world enter the world through the Catholic Church.

A person who knows that the Catholic Church is the true Faith, and refuses to enter it, cannot be saved. This is the perennial teaching of the Magisterium and is affirmed by the Second Vatican Council in the document Lumen Gentium.

The Catholic Church is the Church. It is not a part of the Church, or a denomination of the Church; it is the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, outside which there is no salvation. It is the only religion instituted by God Himself, and it is the only religion pleasing to God.

It is the duty of all men on Earth to enter the Catholic Church and to submit to her authoritative teaching. It is God who speaks to men, not through Scripture only, but also through the Sacred Tradition and the universal Magisterium of His Church. We must believe what Christ teaches us through His Church; faith that is at least implicit, in all that God has revealed, is necessary for salvation (and there are certain truths also that must be believed explicitly).

It is a great sin against charity to encourage people to persevere in their errors. Error will not save anyone. The truth of Jesus Christ — which includes the truth of His Church, which is His Immaculate Bride and His Mystical Body — will save people. People have a right to the full truth of the Gospel and should not be denied any part of it. They therefore have a right to know the truth: that Catholicism is the true religion; that the Catholic Church is the Church of God, which is endowed with authority, infallibility, and indefectibility, and will teach the true Faith and preserve the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ until the end of time. Membership in it is necessary for salvation.   Source

[Author] David Mitchell was born in England and lives there his wife, whom he married in December 2018. David was educated at the University of Durham and was received into the Catholic Church in 2008, while he was a student. He has a B.A. in music and an M.A. in performance and sings in his church choir, where he and his wife met. He has taught music and Latin and currently undertakes freelance music work.

Comments invited…   

The Theology of Mass “Preference”

With increasing frequency, I hear people saying that, while they prefer the traditional Latin Mass (and attend it when they can), they still attend the novus ordo Mass;  generally speaking, it’s easier to get to the new Mass or, in some cases, the people concerned have commitments in their parishes which they are not yet ready or willing to relinquish.  Having educated themselves on the Mass controversy, and come to the conclusion that they really ought to be attending the traditional Mass, they are still somewhat (and naturally so) attached to their parish communities.   But are they right to continue to attend the new Mass, knowing what they now know? Here’s a short talk on the question of informed Catholics continuing to attend the new Mass…

Comment: 

Imagine the reaction of a judge in any courtroom you care to name, listening to  to a defendant accused of any crime, who, while admitting his guilt sought to excuse himself by arguing that he would have “preferred” not to have committed the crime at all, but…  Is that a defence?  Aren’t we all expected to conform our behaviour to comply with the law, whether road traffic laws or the moral law?  Try running a few red lights and telling the court that you’d really have “preferred” not to do so, or excusing the murder of your annoying neighbour by insisting that it really wouldn’t be your first choice of action, your “preference”, but… 

Why, then, do we think that it’s OK to swap the new Mass for the traditional Mass when it suits us, spuriously claiming that we “prefer” the traditional Mass, so that’s all right then?  

Answer:  it’s not.  It’s really not all right.  God more than “prefers” the traditional Mass; this is the worship that He wants from us, as is clear from the history and tradition of the Church – not to mention the decimation of entire congregations since the introduction of the new Mass in recent years.   So, what any of us “prefers” is irrelevant. Goodness, we might “prefer” to spend a couple of hours clap-happy singing in the nearest Pentecostalist church –  who cares?  “Preference” is irrelevant. Our duty is to give due and true worship to God. We are quite simply not doing that at the new Mass. 

If you have some cast iron evidence to the contrary, of course, let’s hear it!                                                               

Is Pope Encouraging Inter-Communion?

On the plane ride back from his trip to Romania, Pope Francis told reporters that since “there is already Christian unity,” there is no need for the faithful to “wait for the theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.” Some progressive Catholics have considered this to be evidence that the pope may be open to granting full Eucharistic communion to non-Catholics. If that is indeed what Francis meant — what else could he have meant? — then he is forcing the Church to address a series of rather difficult and uncomfortable questions.

Not least among them: What is the Eucharist? Is it a tool to be used to facilitate a “Christian unity” that the pope insists “already” exists? Or is it an expression of full communion with the Catholic Church? If the Church reverses herself and contradicts her unbroken Magisterium on the admission of schismatics and dissenters to the sacraments, what happens to her dogmatic integrity on other settled questions of faith and morals? Is the entire canon perpetually subject to the modish preferences of the current and future occupants of the Petrine chair? Most astounding, why is she unwilling to “wait for the theologians to come to agreement” before making a change of such gravity?

Theology, in St. Anselm’s classic formula, is fides quaerens intellectum — faith seeking understanding. If the pope’s goal is to formulate a discipline wherein faith is joined to right reason, there is nothing to fear in allowing rightly disposed “theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.” If his goal is to unshackle the Church from her bimillennial moorings, that is another project altogether, one that might not be aided by waiting for a consensus of theological opinion.   Click here to read the rest of this [worrying] report…

Comment:

The author of the above National Review report is manifestly correct in pointing out that: Popes throughout the centuries were undivided in their opinion on the subject. Particularly before the Second Vatican Council, popes were stark in their indiscriminate opposition to intercommunion, considering it a profanation and an abject evil to be avoided. Pope Pius IX put it rather precisely in his encyclical Amantissimus (1862), where he proclaimed that “whoever eats of the Lamb and is not a member of the Church has profaned.” 
Such precision is of little import to the “innovators” that Pope Pius XII warned the faithful about. Give the “innovators” of the post-conciliar Church enough time and they will wiggle their way out of even the Church’s most unambiguous statements of antiquity [emphasis added]. 

It’s getting to the stage where we are all going to have to check with our priests/bishops every time the Pope is quoted in the media, to ask if we are going to see this or that change (in this case inter-communion) in our own local churches, as we did when we learned that he had ordered a change to the words of the Our Father.  Outrageous. 

We must obviously re-double our prayers and use all the means available to us to bring about the spirit of faith that would lead to the Consecration of Russia – see www.fatima.org – and thus an end to this scandalous papacy. 

That’s what we – the humble laity – can do.  What about the clergy, the bishops, though.  Aren’t ANY of the UK bishops and priests remotely concerned, do any of them have a sense of duty that might lead them to DO something about this pope?  Interesting that the National Review report concludes with a quote from Pope St Pius X  – To echo the lament of Pope Pius X, “Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!” Yet, modern priests have embraced novelty.  Why is that?  By speaking out to warn against this Pope’s errors, priests may, of course, lose their position, their parish, their office – but they won’t lose their heads, as did our great martyrs of old.  Come on, there must SURELY be someone in the ordained class who will speak out to warn the faithful about this dreadful pontiff.  Or am I about to wake up in the “real world” again? And what, if anything, in practical terms, can we do if inter-communion is introduced in our parish? 

Pope Francis Attacks Tradition Again 

Aboard the papal flight from Romania — Pope Francis has criticized traditionalist Catholics who seek to “safeguard the ashes” of the past, saying the global church’s centuries of tradition are not akin to a container for preserved objects but instead like roots to be drawn on for future growth.

In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after his three-day visit to Romania, he singled out Catholic “fundamentalists,” who he said have a nostalgia for “returning to the ashes.”
Ed:  reflect for a moment on the fact that here, Pope Francis is, yet again, rubbishing Catholic Tradition.  Unsurprisingly, he departs from the teachings of the truly great popes, including saints and martyrs, the Fathers of the Church who went before him.  Here’s a couple of examples…

St. Irenaeus of Lyons  “Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?” 

Pope Stephen I, to St. Cyrpian of Carthage  “Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.” 

Francis continues…

“Tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the container of the ashes,” said Francis. “Tradition is like roots [of a tree], which give us nutrition to grow,” he explained. “You will not become like the roots. You will flower, grow, give fruit. And the seeds become roots for other people.”
Ed: what a load of… Talk about never saying two words when twenty will suffice.

“The tradition of the church is always in movement,” he said. “The tradition does not safeguard the ashes.”
Ed: by “ashes” we take it that he means the teaching of the Church, God’s revelation of dogma and the moral law…

St. Augustine  “The customs of God’s people and the institutions of our ancestors are to be considered as laws. And those who throw contempt on the customs of the Church ought to be punished as those who disobey the law of God.” 

The report continues…

Francis did not specify in his remarks whom he had in mind while speaking of Catholic traditionalists. But the pontiff has come under criticism during his six-year papacy from a vocal minority of Catholics, including some cardinals, who have expressed concern that he has not been clear in enunciating some of the church’s teachings.
Ed: don’t you just love the understatement?  “Expressed concern”? We’ve got Catholics questioning whether or not he really IS a pope! Priceless.  He’s widely considered the first Protestant Pope!  It’s a tad more than a bit of concern. Trust me on this.

Francis spoke about the church’s tradition after being asked about his relationship with retired Pope Benedict XVI.
Ed:  remember him? [pictured right].  He who asked us to pray that he “would not flee for fear of the wolves” and then did a runner?

Francis repeated his frequent characterization that having Benedict live in retirement at the Vatican is for him like having a grandfather at home. Francis said that going to speak with his predecessor always gives him strength.
Ed:  hardly surprising – they’re both modernists.  Only difference, Benedict at least looked the part, Francis… well… 

“I feel the nutrition coming up through the roots, and it helps me go forward,” said Francis.
Ed:  Oh, please…

St. Vincent of Lerins   “I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.”

The report continues…

Among other issues he spoke about in the half-hour press conference, the pope also made an impassioned plea for Catholics to pray for the future of the European Union, which he said has “aged” and is in danger of being “overcome by pessimism.”
Ed: it’s in danger of falling apart, and all because it was a very bad idea in the first place…

In his first remarks about the 28-member block since European parliamentary elections last week resulted in gains for populist parties across the continent, the pope lamented the appearance of what he called “new borders” across the EU and said the organization “has lost the goal of working together.”
Ed:  er…no… we just want to control our own borders and find new ways of working together. 

“Europe is not being attacked by cannons or bombs in this moment but by ideologies, ideologies that are not European, that come either from outside or that stem from small groups,” he said.
Ed:  by “small groups” he means, presumably the nation states like the UK who wish to make our own decisions, even our own laws!  Cheek of us!

After referring to the tragedy of the two World Wars, he pleaded: “Please, let’s not return to this. Let’s learn from history. Let’s not fall in the same hole.”

“I would say to believers, ‘Pray for Europe … for unity, that the Lord will give us this grace,’ ” the pope added later.

Francis had been in Romania May 31-June 2 for a visit that focused both on encouraging the country’s minority Catholic population and reaching out to the 16-million-member Romanian Orthodox Church.

Asked about his May 31 meeting with Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel, Francis called him “a man of great heart, and a great scholar.”

“He is also a man of prayer,” said the pope. “It is easy to get close to Daniel because I felt that he was a brother.”
Ed: well, yeah, he’s sure to be a “brother” – he’s a non-Catholic religious leader, for goodness sake!  It’s only those pesky “traditional Catholics” who are not brothers or sisters, remember? 

Francis said that ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox are built by walking together, and by jointly serving those in need. “There is already Christian unity,” he said. “Let’s not wait for the theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.”
Ed: Excuse me?  Is this a call to even more liturgical chaos “creativity”?

“The Eucharist is celebrated everyday with prayer, with remembrance of the blood of our martyrs, with the works of charity, and also wanting each other to be well,” he added.
Ed: “our martyrs”?  Are there schismatic “martyrs” in Heaven? 

Francis also addressed the prayer service he and Daniel hosted together, in which the two leaders both recited the Our Father prayer in each other’s presence, but separately — the pope going first in Latin, followed by the patriarch in Romanian.
Ed:  Latin?  Latin, Holy Father… Latin? You serious? You are in our [vernacular] prayers…  Worry not; you may still save your soul if you repent asap… Latin?  Whatever next! 

Some right-wing Orthodox consider it inappropriate for believers to pray with Catholics. The pope revealed that while the patriarch said the prayer in Romanian, Francis had said it again quietly in Italian. He said that from what he could see, “the majority” of the crowd gathered for the event at Bucharest’s new Orthodox Cathedral had prayed both times.
Ed:  well, there you go.  Not a wasted trip after all… Some folk said the Our Father twice! WOW!

“The people went beyond us leaders,” said Francis. “We leaders must have diplomatic balance, to ensure that we are going forward together. There are diplomatic rules that are good to safeguard, so as not to ruin the thing. But the people pray together.”
Ed:  I’m running out of sarcasm.  Help!

Making his first reference in the press conference to Catholic “fundamentalists,” the pontiff said that even some Catholics are “closed” on the issue of praying with Orthodox, thinking them schismatics.
Ed:  and you – of all the popes in history – are here to tell us we’re wrong? 

“There are Catholic groups who are a bit fundamentalist,” said the pope. “We must tolerate it, praying for them, so that the Lord and the Holy Spirit soften their hearts a bit.”
Ed: shucks thanks, Papa Francis.  I now know why the blogger who emailed me this article wrote only one word in his message – “unbelievable”!  Let me add with bells and ribbons on! 

Comments invited – needn’t be terribly polite – just printable 😀  

Pope Francis The Heretic – Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church… 

From LifeSiteNews…

Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter

April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Prominent clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy. They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime.

The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.

“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” the authors state.  Click here to read more, including list of signatories to date

Comment: 

The big question now is whether this latest approach to deal with this problem pope will meet the same fate as previous attempts, notably the Filial Correction and the Dubia.  Ignored.  If this Open Letter is ignored, what next?  And what will it tell us about the response – or lack of response – of the bishops around the world.  Is it likely, she said tongue in cheek, that the Scottish hierarchy will respond helpfully to this initiative – or, indeed, the bishops of the wider UK?   Am I right/wrong to be a  tad cynical?  Without betraying anyone’s trust or sources, or anything, she said coyly, but there IS concern about Papa Francis within the hierarchy of the UK – I won’t narrow it down any further – so what would you say to any wavering priest if you could speak to him privately in order to encourage him to sign?  This is your chance! Go for it!  

Here’s my private message to any priest with a conscience who knows perfectly well the damage being inflicted on the Church by this dreadful pope:  Father  X, you MUST sign this Open Letter.  No excuses.  Do you really want to be confronted at your judgement with the blank space where your signature should have been?  Of course not.  Unpopularity, disapproval, wagging fingers from brother priests who choose to remain complicit in this scandal, all will pass.  Your responsibility before God must trump all such fears.  Email your willingness to sign to openlettertobishops@gmail.com