Understanding Roman Catholicism


During the mass, priests allegedly have the power to supernaturally turn the bread and wine into the actual and literal body and blood of Jesus Christ:

"The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation." Pg. 347, #1376.

This Catechism quote reveals that the Catholic church still adheres to this doctrine which was defined at the Council of Trent:

"At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood." Pg. 336 # 1333

The Catechism even specifies when Christ comes into the eucharist and how long He stays:

"The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ." Pg. 347 #1377

Since Catholicism is teaching members to partake in literal cannibalism, this doctrine requires serious examination. To begin with, we must determine this doctrine's origin. Is it from God, or is it a tradition of men? Catholicism insists it is scriptural, citing the words of Jesus in John 6:

"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:53-54

Though this one verse does appear to teach cannibalism, if you read the entire passage in context, the meaning becomes clear. Right before making that statement, Jesus said:

"... For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John 6:33-35

This teaching is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Eternal life comes through believing in Jesus Christ, not eating His body. The Lord goes on to further clarify:

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life..." John 6:40

Again, Jesus points out that eternal life comes through believing in Him. When the Lord's disciples murmured at His words, Jesus explained:

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63

Jesus was talking spiritually, not physically. He was explaining that spiritually, all life comes through faith in Him, not eating His body.

Nowhere else in the Bible does God endorse cannibalism. In fact, God forbids the practice:

"But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." Genesis 9:4

"... No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood." Leviticus 17:12

God would never command His children to do something He had already forbidden.

The Biblical purpose

Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 11 shed even more light on this matter:

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:23-24

When Jesus said, "Take, eat: this is my body," He was not suggesting that they reach out and begin eating His literal body. To even suggest such is ridiculous. He was speaking spiritually about what He was about to accomplish on the cross.

Notice how that verse ends: "...this do in remembrance of me." Observing the Lord's Supper is a remembrance of Christ's work at Calvary, not a reenactment. The same is true of Christ's blood:

"After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:25

Jesus Himself taught the same lesson to his disciples at the Last Supper:

"And he (Jesus) took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19


Since transubstantiation is another unscriptural Catholic tradition of men, several more intriguing questions await an answer:

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17

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Understanding Roman Catholicism 1995 by Rick Jones

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