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Saturday, June 14, 2014

On the Theology of the Eucharist: Beyond the Historical Divisions

According to a survey led by a sociologist at Catholic University and published in The National Catholic Reporter, forty percent of 1,442 American Catholic adults said "you can be a good Catholic without believing that in Mass, the bread and wine really become the body and blood of Christ—a core doctrine of Catholicism.” A reporter opines that this “could reflect the decline in Mass attendance. The survey finds it’s fallen from 44% attending at least once a week in 1987 to 31% in 2011, while those who attend less than monthly rose from 26% to 47%. When asked why they don’t go to Mass more often, 40% say they are simply not very religious.” What does it mean to say that someone is or is not religious? Looking back at the history of religion, a neutral party might half-joke that the adjective refers to the proclivity to spar over puerile theological distinctions as if Creation itself hung in the balance. In this essay, I illustrate how such a distinction bearing on the Eucharist (i.e., Holy Communion) can be diffused of its alleged historical significance as warranting Christian division under the taskmaster of (cognitive) uniformity as a placeholder for unity.

From: "On the Theology of Eucharist: Beyond Historical Divisions"