For those who’ve left the Catholic Church “Substitution for Jesus Christ” is not there!
Pedophilia, mistrust of Clergy, and now a Pandemic requiring absence of church attendance are among the excuses many parishioners have used to decry their once faith in the Catholic Church.
When Catholics leave their church for another denomination they may answer, if asked, “I wasn’t being fed at St. _______. The preaching and fellowship is better and if I want communion the pastor told me to believe whatever I wanted to.” Really!
There are parishioners who will get out of their pews to receive the Eucharist thinking that it’s now time to follow the rest and go through this ritual, never believing that what they’re partaking of is the real presence of Christ. Perhaps they forgot the excitement and awe of receiving their first Holy Communion as young children, and the understanding that Christ has now entered their lives through the existence of a living God. Maybe some never understood the realism of what we call Transubstantiation. Not a symbol, but the living Son of God who through the Incarnation to the Cross on Calvary/Resurrection remains in the Eucharist forever. These are what are known as Nominal Catholics; “In name only”.
This is the one reason we as Catholics seek the Eucharist and holds believers together. Yes, sometimes the absence of dynamic preaching and the fellowship we may desire leaves an empty feeling. But using the excuse to forgo the Living Presence of Christ is a lame reason to pass by the doors of the Catholic Church for any old denomination that tantalizes our latest whims.
One woman I am familiar with left the church for a more dynamic denomination that preaches healing. It does exist but there must be more to worshiping God than just healing alone. We give praise to the Father through the Holy Mass first, and the Easter Triduum is repeated at every Mass. Reception of the Eucharist is a sharing in this three day celebration which encompasses the very belief of our faith. Healing and preaching are integral and they enhance the Eucharist, but they do not replace the living presence of Christ. To leave the Catholic Church in which our total belief rests, for a lesser denomination, may place an obstruction to the salvation of a Catholic’s soul. It would become a mistake to discard a treasure that has been secured by the Blood of Christ on Calvary and fought for through the Martyrdom of Saints.
FYI, this pastor moved to Florida once the pandemic hit, and the one time healing ministry disappeared as well. That reflects the lasting ministry where the presence of Jesus never was.
When Jesus was ascending back to heaven, he promised to be with us always until the end of the age. See Matthew 28: 20. That did not mean he would be a thought without substance. When the priest elevates the host and chalice with the words “This is my Body and similarly this is the chalice of my Blood “ are not words without truth, but realistic as the Holy Spirit descends upon the elements and the risen Christ is made present in both bread and wine. And that essence of divine life remains indefinitely. This occurs through a Catholic priest and can never be a “make it what you want to believe” outside the Catholic Church. Giving up this truth could be the worst decision a believing Catholic could do.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Spring 2021