Today, we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). Thanks for joining me.
Claim #3: I am a Catholic because Jesus is really, truly, personally, literally present in every consecrated host in the world.
In this chapter, Kreeft touches upon the Roman Catholic church’s doctrine that its priests supernaturally transform bread wafers (and wine) into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. For Kreeft, consuming Jesus via communion is an all-important component of his faith. “I need Him,” writes Kreeft (p. 13). Surplus Jesus wafers are stored above Catholic altars in locked boxes called tabernacles. A red candle (designated the “sanctuary lamp”) perpetually burns near every Catholic altar signifying Jesus wafers are present in the tabernacle.
Catholics come to church on off hours to reverently worship the “hosts” locked away in the tabernacle box. Kreeft likens the sanctuary lamp to the beckoning candle he imagines the father in the parable of the prodigal son placed in his window as a symbol of love and forgiveness to his wayward child. Kreeft challenges skeptics of the “real presence” to visit a nearby Catholic church and to pray a prayer asking Jesus if that is really him locked up in the tabernacle box. Kreeft is satisfied that God will reveal the truth of the real presence to sincere supplicants.
Roman Catholicism grievously misinterprets John 6 and the Last Supper accounts in the four gospels to mean a literal eating of Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of eating His body and blood as a metaphor for accepting/trusting in Him as Savior. We see that “believe” is used nine times in the “Bread of Life” discourse in John 6. Belief/trusting in Christ as Savior is the thing, NOT physically eating him. Catholics line up at mass every Sunday to allegedly “receive” Jesus into their mouths, while they have never received Him as Savior by faith alone.
Catholicism runs into all types of problems with this literal interpretation. What about prior to the standardized manufacture of communion bread wafers, when the Lord’s Supper consisted of communally-shared loaves of bread, with Jesus bread fragments and Jesus crumbs flying all over the place? What about when a sick Catholic involuntarily vomits up the Jesus wafer? See here. What about when a Catholic church building catches on fire and the Jesus wafers face immolation? See here. What happens to the Jesus wafer as it descends down the digestive tract and into the toilet? See here. Billions of Catholics have “received” Jesus Christ via communion over the centuries with no evidence of any change in their life.
Kreeft suggests that the truth of the “real presence” will be revealed to sincere supplicants. We cannot go by subjective feelings and affirmations regarding important religious truths. Every devout Mormon will swear to a subjective “burning in my bosom” regarding the alleged truth of the Book of Mormon. As in the first two chapters, Kreeft provides no Scriptural references to defend his belief in the “real presence.” Rather than using God’s Word as their authority, Kreeft asks seekers to use his communion-rail prayer.
Receiving Jesus means believing/trusting in Him as Savior by faith alone. Scripture makes this clear:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12
There are Scripture verses that certainly teach we are to remember the Lord with reverence and worship as we take the Lord’s Supper, symbolic of His broken body and shed blood sacrificed for believers (e.g., 1 Corinthians 11:17-34), but God did not intend that we are to worship the piece of bread!
God’s Word tells us that Jesus Christ presently sits at the right hand of God the Father as Mediator for all those who trust in Him as Savior by faith alone. He is NOT a victim on Catholic altars or locked away in hundreds of thousands of Catholic tabernacle boxes all over the world.
“11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrew 10:11-14
I am NOT a Catholic because I do NOT believe in the bogus “real presence” of Jesus Christ in the faux Jesus wafers. Catholicism substitutes this spiritually deadly doctrine of allegedly eating Jesus in the place of genuinely trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. This is such sad and sickening delusion, folks.
Next week: Claim #4: I am a Catholic because the Catholic religion is from God, not just from man.