BEN DOUGLASS SAID:
The picture obviously contradicts Catholic theology of the Mass, and Steve ought to know better. The Body and Blood of Christ suffer no damage or corruption in being consumed. If one breaks a Consecrated host in two, Christ is present, whole, intact, and entire, in each part. If one breaks the host in one's mouth, Christ is present entire in so many pieces. He remains present, undergoing no intrinsic change, until the appearances of bread or wine break down, at which point His presence ceases entirely.
The quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia doesn’t make the distinction as to how this act of eating differs from ordinary acts of eating, which affect the thing eaten. But that isn’t its point. It is merely establishing that it is a literal act of eating.
But that highlights the duplicity of the Catholic appeal. The way it plays both sides of the fence.
On the one hand, when Catholics are assailing the view of the Lord’s Supper held by Baptists, Presbyterians et al., they accentuate the graphic, even cannibalistic, imagery of Jn 6. They insist that we should take the text at face value. Protestants trifle with the plain sense of the text.
They say that’s what the Jews found so offensive about Christ’s statement. That Jesus went out of his way to rub it in. And they say Baptists, Presbyterians et al. are recapitulating the rationalistic attitude of the unbelieving Jews.
When, however, Protestants like me simply take their interpretation to its logical conclusion (e.g. the zombie Last Supper), they wax indignant. They say this reflects an ignorant misunderstanding of Catholic dogma.
And, of course, it’s quite truth that the dogma of transubstantiation presents a far more buffered conception of the real presence. But that, too, exposes the duplicity of the Catholic appeal.
When, on the one hand, Catholics are prooftexting the real presence, they stress the uncompromising literality of Jn 6. When, on the other hand, Protestants say their interpretation is cannibalistic, they blink. They introduce buffers that you can’t find in the text.
Sure, transubstantiation is less graphic because the Host is indiscernible. Transubstantiation filters Jn 6 through a rarified lens that makes it safely abstract. Keeps the blood and gore at a polite distance. That makes the dogma more palatable. But at that point the Catholic theory of the real presence backs away from the graphic wording of its chosen prooftext
And, in the process, Catholics neuter the text. Render the text fairly inoffensive. They take the sting out of Jesus’ words. If only Jesus had favored his audience with a disquisition on Aristotelian metaphysics, distinguishing substance from accident, primary qualities from phenomenal qualia.