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Earlier this week, Pew Research Center summarized their findings about U.S. adult Catholics and belief in transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as follows:
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.’”
Pew - Research - Center - Survey - Catholics
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.”
For those under age 40, the percentage drops to 26%.
Numbers - Mass - % - Versus - %
Granted, the numbers vary significantly between those who attend Mass “weekly or more” (63%) versus those who attend “monthly/yearly” (25%) or “seldom/never” (13%). Nevertheless, this new study shows that a whopping 37% of U.S. Catholics who attend Mass “weekly or more” believe that “the bread and wine are symbols,” rather than the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Steve Skojec of OnePeterFive has already pointed out, these tragic statistics don’t really demonstrate “a dramatic decline” over the past 25 years or so (similar results were published in 1994, as Skojec mentions). They do, however, confirm what traditional Catholics and others have known for decades: faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist has dramatically declined since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the so-called “liturgical reforms” that issued therefrom. And “this continuing downward trend,” as Skojec observes, “has occurred despite...
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