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Catholics tell US bishops how to restore belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist

Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen

August 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last Friday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked lay Catholics on Facebook for advice following the release of a troubling Pew Research survey that found only 3 in 10 Catholics actually believe the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ during Mass.

The laity overwhelmingly responded by calling on the USCCB to reinstitute traditional liturgical practices. 

More than 1,100 comments and hundreds more “likes” revealed Catholics want bishops to combat unbelief in the Real Presence by, among other things, giving communion on the tongue, saying Mass ad orientem, moving tabernacles to the center of the church, restoring Latin chant, and scaling back the role of extraordinary Eucharistic ministers. 

Fr. Richard Heilman of Wisconsin wrote that “banal, casual, modernized and secularized liturgy that no longer lifts the soul to God” is to blame for lack of belief in transubstantiation. Fr. Heilman runs the Roman Catholic Man blog. 

One commentator, Tim Kline, who is not Catholic but said he is “sympathetic” to it, admonished the bishops for allowing priests who “scandalize the church” to administer communion. He also criticized them for letting “pro-choice politicians” and unrepentant sinners receive it. Not stopping these occurrences, Kline said, is to tell the world that the Eucharist is meaningless. “Start treating it like you believe it is the Real Presence,” he said.

Kline’s comment was given nearly 100 “thumbs up” and prompted multiple responses. It went viral with help from several prominent Catholic writers.

The blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam took a screenshot of Kline’s statement and posted it on Facebook under the headline “A Protestant corrects the USCCB on the Real Presence.” Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute also shared Kline’s comments, writing “When a Protestant displays more reverence for the Holy Eucharist than US Bishops do, you catch a glimpse of just how bad things have gotten.” Steve Skojec from OnePeterFive.com also promoted Kline’s remarks on his Facebook page.

Some who responded to the bishops’ plea for help were unsure if the tradition-minded suggestions would actually be implemented. 

The Pew Research survey found that among weekly Mass-attending Catholics only 63 percent of them believe in transubstantiation, meaning 37 percent of weekly Church goers don’t believe in the real presence. Among the 37 percent who don't believe in transubstantiation, 23 percent don’t know what the Church teaches on it and 14 percent do know but reject it.  

Contact the USCCB by calling (202) 541-3000.

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