It is my understanding that the priest’s intention to consecrate is necessary for transubstantiation to take place. I know that there are Catholic priests out there that do not believe in the Real Presence. If the celebrating priest does not believe he CAN confect the Eucharist, is it possible that he therefore doesn’t INTEND to consecrate, even if he says the correct formula? How can he intend what, to him, is impossible?
If a priest intends to consecrate the loaf of bread back in the rectory during the mass, does it happen? I’m wondering if a priest who lost his faith or had malice in his heart towards God for some reason, could he consecrate a whole pita bread factory (assuming that is valid matter) out of malice for the Eucharist?
“I know that there are Catholic priests out there that do not believe in the Real Presence…”
Responding to this sort of speculation is difficult. This line of inquiry is usually unhelpful. Speculative curiosity about hypothetic situations can lead to meditation and contemplative prayer, but it can also lead to a idleness and gossip that is antithetical to the Christian life.
Yes, there may be priests who do not believe in the Real Presence. Yes, of the 400,000 + ordained men currently alive, there are probably some who are horrific sinners of dissipate faith, dissolute life, and dispassionate evil. We should pray for them.
Imagine the horrors of hell. Then multiply that a hundred fold for a priest who goes to hell.
Imagine, particularly, the pain experienced by a priest who loses faith in the Blessed Sacrament and then dies.
After death, he no longer has need of faith. He has knowledge. He knows, in a manner more full and more acute than the holiest of mystics alive today knows, the reality and profundity of the Eucharist which he once held in his hands. Now he is for all eternity shut off from the blissful sight of that marvelous gift.
How he must scream in agony.
We should pray for all priests, but especially for priests who have doubts or who have lost their faith and lost their way.
There are multiple stories of perfidious priests and the Eucharist. There is the sad tale of Father Charles Chiniquy, who clashed with the bishop of Chicago in the 1850’s and ended up being suspended and excommunicated for his intransigence. (It’s not good to die excommunicated.) He became a fanatical Protestant who wrote books against the Catholic Church and created horrible lies about the Church’s supposed involvement in the assassination of Lincoln. He, according to some rumors, upon receiving notice of his excommunication, walked out in the street in Chicago and saw a passing bread truck and pronounced the words of consecration over it. The story, as it is told, is full of holes. Other versions of this faux legend surface every few years but there is no proof that it happened.
Were it to happen, woe betide the priest who did it. Suffice it to say that were something like this to happen, the priest would be in a world of eternal hurt in the afterlife.
Happier are the stories of priests who doubted the reality of the Eucharist but became convinced because of an interior or exterior Eucharistic miracle. Consider the miracle of Lanciano, where are kept to this day a monstrance holding the remnants of a Host which was shown to be real flesh and a chalice containing globules of coagulated blood, some thirteen centuries after the miracle took place.
The Holy Spirit is with the Church until the end of time, guiding Her and guarding Her from error. Despite the sinfulness of priests and their perfidious actions (along with the perfidy of laity as well!), Holy Church will continue to provide the real sacraments to the world. That is all we really need to know.