It’s no surprise at all that Catholics don’t know or believe about the Eucharist. After all, worship is doctrine and we are our rites!


At NRO there is something from John Hirschauer (William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at National Review Institute) about the huge percentage of Catholics who don’t believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist. We shouldn’t be in the least surprised. This is precisely what had to result after the last 50 or so years of erosion of Catholic identity in every sphere.

Of Course Most Catholics Don’t Believe in the Real Presence [Exactly… “Of course”!]

Mahatma Gandhi is often reported to have said something like: If Catholics really believed that God Himself were present in the Eucharist, they would crawl toward the altar on their stomachs. Long pants and a collared shirt would be a start.

The Catholic Mass, delicately constructed over the centuries and gradually ornamented with what the late Michael Davies called liturgical “accretions,” [Nothing, however, Superfluous – US HERE UK HERE] was rebuilt wholesale in the 1960s at Vatican Council II to better include (as if they had ever been excluded) The People. [aka El Pueblo]

The scene at the consecration in Novus Ordo Parish, USA in Year of Our Lord 2019 astounds in its portability. It proceeds like a ritual of perfect disregard: Father Bob, in the name of anti-clericalism, conscripts a lay army of “extraordinary ministers” to distribute the Host in their Sunday Mediocrities (Barb’s jeans and white blouse will no doubt suffice for Sunday brunch at the country club after Mass). Jan, Susan, Barb, and Gregg ascend the altar without genuflection or bow — this is The People’s house! — as Father Bob hands them what would, in a faraway time, be considered the Body and Blood of Christ. But this is The People’s feast, and the greatest threat to their unity as such is the One who brings not peace, but a sword.

No swords in The People’s house.

Like clockwork, The People (save one or two holdouts burdened by their “rigid” doctrinal formation) line up for Communion. Five of them — six, if you count the priest — have been to confession in the last calendar year, and one — priest inclusive — can recite the Act of Contrition without visual aid. Some third-rate hymn written in 1994 is played on the acoustic guitar in the background as one by one, the Blessed Sacrament is transferred from one unconsecrated hand to another. The Prince of Peace has been tried and found divisive; they’ll take peace instead. All the while, the Church continues Her interminable “dialogue” with modernity and her princes: pluralism, The Market, conscience, Patriarch Bartholomew, feminism, Pride &c.

Seventy percent of Catholics, per Pew Research’s latest figures, don’t believe in the Real Presence. Why are you surprised?

This is what has resulted from a systematic infiltration of the Church and methodical erosion of all the foundations of the Faith, especially her sacred liturgical worship.  Remember that worship is doctrine and that we are our rites.

This is what the libs want more of.  Truly.  They are dead set on dismantling the Church even more.  They are calling in the wrecking ball, as a matter of fact.  If they get their way, the Church will have been transformed outwardly into a global NGO.  There will remain a faithful remnant, of course.  Also, in the next few years we will probably see a massive drop in numbers of people who say they are Catholic.  Material goods will fall off and many places of worship will close.  The availability of priests will plummet before it goes slowly back up.  The previous generations sowed the wind and we must reap the storm.

What can you do.   Make sure you know your Catholic Faith.  Review and be ready to share it, to give reasons for the hope that is in you.  Gain indulgences when you can.  GO TO CONFESSION!  Be inviting to people. Show joy in your Faith!  That’s attractive.  Participate in the life of the parish.  Strive always to deepen your relationship with God, searching within for faults and listening carefully in prayer.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ellen says:

    I used to be an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, but several years ago, I felt that this was not really right. Our parish isn’t that big and Father is perfectly capable of giving out the Eucharist at Mass all by himself. Having 3 other people in the sanctuary is distracting. So I quit and at the same time began to receive on the tongue.
    I wish that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion would not be at Mass. I can understand how they would be useful for taking communion to the sick – after all St. Tarcisius took the Eucharist to prisoners in Rome, but at Mass? No.

  2. Lurker 59 says:

    Last Sunday, the fill-in priest, who is in charge of an important organ of the diocese, delayed Communion for five or more minutes because he wanted more ‘Eucharistic Ministers’ (sic) and kept asking for individuals to come up. This was after a homily that, given that we don’t know when the Lord is coming, we should enjoy our Sunday.

    People don’t believe because they ARE listening to what is being said and done. It is not that they are not believing because they are not listening or because they are choosing not to believe. The average pew sitter’s beliefs are in fact consistent with what is being preached and what is being done “at that thing they do on Sunday”.

    That is the scary bit.

  3. Kerry says:

    When Justice Clarence Thomas’ book, My Grandfather’s Son was published, he was on the Hugh Hewitt radio program, talking about it. Hugh asked him something like, “…and raised Catholic, and in the south, and…” something else.
    In his marvelous, mellifluous voice he said, “Oh yes Hugh, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity”. At that instant, because he believed, I believed.

  4. Bob B. says:

    This reminds me of the book “Catholics” by Brian Moore (made into a movie called ” The Conflict” with Martin Sheen and Trevor Howard). The basic plot is that, in the not too distant future, the Fourth Vatican Council has mandated numerous changes, such as Transubstantiation is only symbolic, no private Confessions, the distinction of venial and mortal sins is no longer in use, and the Amsterdam World Council could overrule the Vatican. There are other examples in the book and the movie, where Martin Sheen (who doesn’t dress like a priest, except for special occasions) is Rome’s hatchet man and Trevor Howard is the abbot of the “errant” abbey (which says Mass in Latin). If I remember right, Lourdes in closed, too.
    Are we that far away from all of this today?

  5. Philmont237 says:

    I went to daily Mass at [name and location redacted] Air Force chapel. There were four (yes 4) of us in the congregation. When it came time for Communion, the priest actually looked up and said, “Are any of you extraordinary ministers?”
    None of us stepped forward so he said, “Okay, I’ll distribute the Precious Blood too.” It took an extra 90 seconds at the most.

    No reason to distribute the Precious Blood in addition to the Blessed Sacrament under the form of bread. No reason for an EHMC. Yet, With only four people this priest felt he had to have one.

  6. teachermom24 says:

    “Participate in the life of the parish. ”

    This is hard when the parish is run by the “70%”. I know our priest believes the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist as he has preached on it several times, but the parish coffers depend on the “70%” so he has to appeal to them. Now instead of “the Eucharist will draw them” it’s “being a ‘welcoming community’ will draw them.”

  7. tho says:

    The SSPX is our only bulwark against us all becoming protestants. I love and admire the FSSP and other traditional groups, but they are one Amazon Synod away from the Novus Ordo. And shame upon shame, how about the billions of donated dollars, that have been spent, to pay off people who have been preyed upon by our pedophile clergy. Alas, I am only quoting what I read, and I apologize to the majority of our own true and faithful priests.

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    At least one child knew enough to ask questions, and her mother took the trouble to answer:

    From Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World (just published on August 5):

    Sally Read converted from atheism to Catholicism when her daughter, Flo, was only four years old, but it did not take long for the child to become aware that many friends and relatives did not share her mother’s newfound faith. This consciousness of “two worlds” led to a great many doubts in Flo, and some rebellion. Two nights before her First Communion she suddenly questioned whether she should receive the Eucharist.

    Sensing the precarious nature of faith in an overwhelmingly secular world, Read began writing down the compelling reasons for holding on to both God and Church. Taking the Annunciation as her template, she explored common experiences of the spiritual life as she meditated on each part of the story recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

    Drawing on Scripture, the saints, and the lives of people she has known personally or professionally as a nurse, Read shows how God is with us always—even in suffering, spiritual dryness, and depression. Although inspired by a mother’s loving response to a daughter, this book will speak to any believer engaged in the bliss and the bewilderment of a relationship with God.

  9. roma247 says:

    It’s past time to start re-evangelizing.

    Articles like this make this project sound more and more tantalizing:

    Books like Treasure and Tradition make things like the Real Presence not only easy to understand but also too beautiful to resist. I’m all for seeing that book in the hands of more Catholics.

  10. Pius Admirabilis says:

    And then you go to your local FSSP church (sadly not a personal parish), and you find that 80 % of the people went to Confession sometime in the last two weeks, and the ones who didn’t don’t receive the Lord in His sacramental form. Most of them know their faith, they know about the Real Presence and Transsubstantiation, and they honor the Lord with genuflections, and can’t wait to get down on their knees for the Offertory and the Canon.

  11. Last night I watched Rick Steves’ ‘Luther and the Reformation’ ( It’s worth watching even if just to see the transformation of churches that took place (a preview of VII’s), but there’s much more to learn and agonize over (what Protestants and now [c]atholics believe).

  12. RosaryRose says:

    Yes! Father said “show joy in your faith”. I recently heard the conversion story of Roy Schoeman, who was raised Jewish, lost his faith, had a mystical experience and is Catholic. Before he went on the altar to give his talk, he genuflected. He knew it was sacred space. His story is on you tube.

    Pray the rosary daily! Our Lady of Fatima gave us instructions for these days. Fear not! She is watching over the Church, but we have to ask for help before we receive help. A daily rosary will strengthen you. It must be powerful if the modernists abhor it.

    At Fatima, we were given this prayer. I think it’s specifically for these days:

    “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask forgiveness for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love You. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended, and by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”

  13. pattif says:

    At least he said “Precious Blood”and not “wine”.

  14. Sandy says:

    Thank God for the Baltimore catechism and all the teaching that went with it! Some of us have lived through this decline and it is very depressing. Just recently a priest at a parish we visited was intent on having people receive under both species. He referred to the Host as the Body of Christ and specifically avoided calling it “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity”, to give the impression that you must receive from the “cup” to receive the Blood of Christ. I guess I should be glad that at least he spoke of the Body of Christ at all.

  15. The “Jan, Sue, and Barb” phenomenon exists in every Catholic parish: good parish ladies who want to “do something” for the Church and feminism-bullied pastors who feel guilty because women can’t be priests–so how’s about we let them do everything else at Mass?

    So these ladies, vastly outnumbering their male counterparts (the pitiful handful of “Greggs”), buzz around the altar filling every conceivable niche: acolyte, Eucharistic minister, lector, cantor, usher, pianist, choir member, you name it. They typically occupy a majority of seats on the parish council–because what pastor wants to look prejudiced against women? They teach the RCIA classes, ensuring that no red-blooded male will ever be among the converts.

    My own parish is staffed by Dominicans: good, holy, orthodox men–but they’re pushovers for the church ladies. A few years ago a previous pastor decided to discontinue female foot-washing on Holy Thursday, replacing all the lay foot-washees, male and female, with Dominican friars, many of them elderly retired priests who live at our priory. That lasted for a couple of years–until the church ladies apparently complained–so now we’re back to female foot-washing. Fortunately for me, Holy Thursday is not a holy day of obligation–although in practice, I’ve switched to the Holy Thursday Mass at the Tridentine-rite parish, where there is no foot-washing at all.

    One reason why hardly any Catholics believe in the Real Presence these days is obviously poor catechesis–or more likely, no catechesis whatsoever. But another is: If you’re receiving Holy Communion–in the hand–from the red-painted fingernails of a nice church lady who is grinning cheerfully at you as though she’s offering you an especially delicious canape, what would you believe?

  16. Ejohnson says:

    There are reports on the internet back when Pope Benedict was Fr. Ratiziner in which he professed there would be a smaller church. There are articles all around about how “casual attitude to reception of Holy Communion central to moral crisis in Church.” And a “Well celebrated mass is the best catechism.” Our previous Pope, (and growing camp which still thinks is current Pope) knew the realities the Church faces.

    Great plug for Fr. Jackson’s book. I’m going to reread it again soon.

    The Japanese Catholics held onto the faith by the recitation of the Rosary for 200+ years before the return of missionaries.

    Our Juventutem group is reading through the catechism of St. Piux X. Fr. Ripperger recommends the Spirago catechism. Daily rosaries, 15 decades broken up through out the day. There is a video on rule of life by Fr. Ripperger recommending a regimented prayer life. Angelus said three times daily at six, noon and six. There are ways to keep the faith alive. I know mine has never been stronger.

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