October 23, 2008


This was pretty much the breaking point for me as a young Catholic going to a Catholic high school. For some, it's the Immaculate Conception, but for me, it was Transubstantiation.

I remember the conversation pretty well:

“Father,” I said to the priest teaching the religion class (Father Joe, who was actually a very nice man who liked kids – no, not that way – and did a good job teaching both French and algebra), “I have a question about transubstantiation. Now, I understand that eating the host symbolizes taking Jesus into our hearts.”

“No, my son,” he said back. “It’s really the body of Jesus Christ.”

“But Father, it just isn’t. It’s a piece of bread. And usually it’s stale.”

“That’s an awful thing to say about Your Lord And Savior!”

“But it’s not My Lord And Savior. It’s a symbol of My Lord And Savior.”

“No, it isn’t. The miracle of the Mass is that this piece of bread literally and miraculously transforms into the body of Jesus Christ.”

“Well, that means that we’re all cannibals because we eat human flesh.”


“…human flesh that looks and tastes like stale bread. I mean, it’s obviously not made of meat.”

“You need to go see the principal now.”

The principal was also a priest, and it didn't go any better with him. That was pretty much the end of my being Catholic. It took me several years before I was comfortable with that, and several more before I was willing to publicly admit that I’d lost my faith, but that was it.

If religions want to gain rather than lose adherents, they should not make patently disprovable claims about reality. Whether or not a 15-year-old smarted off to his French teacher about the subject way back in the eighties, it is nevertheless an objectively verifiable fact that a communion wafer is quite obviously not made of meat (human or otherwise).


zzi said...

I just said, "present" when I went to class.

trumwill said...

You ever read V for Vendetta?

There is a sequence (I can't remember if it was in the movie) where V was taunting a corrupt pastor that he'd cornered, asking him if he really believed in Transubstantiation. The pastor said that he did, so V forced him to eat poisoned bread since, after all, it would turn to flesh when he ate it and no longer be poisonous. It was, of course, still poison.

It was a great scene.