There was a time when the Church influenced the culture. It was a time when people took seriously the Word of God, those that studied the Word, and those that catechized the masses. This was a time when one took serious these things because they were brought up to have reverence for that which is sacred and holy, such as the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist – and rightfully so. Fear of the Lord is a gift of the Holy Spirit and I’m not talking about fearing the pains of Hell imposed upon you from an angry God that doesn’t approve of your lifestyle. That’s not what fear of the Lord means. I mean an awe of the God of the universe that is all loving and deserving of all your love and reverence.
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2-3)
Sadly, today, for some – many actually – the culture sees little wisdom in what the Church teaches. It holds very little sacred, holy, and deserving of all its love and reverence. It happens to be the very opposite these days. It’s become, for some time now, at its very worst, an institution to ridicule and in some cases persecute openly – and at best, something to poke fun at and joke about. But is it really?
Take for instance the list from BuzzFeed that’s making its way around the web: 19 Things That Still Haunt People Who Went To Catholic School or the equally offensive 24 Secrets Catholics Won’t Tell You. For many, sharing this on Facebook and Twitter is a form of entertainment. But at what, or who’s expense? I can only assume this is written from a Catholic’s perspective. After all, who else would know about the goings on of Catholic School life or Catholic life in general other than one that is Catholic or attended Catholic school? To be fair, they’re not all bad, (23 and 24 come to mind) but as a whole I find them troubling.
For some, this may seem like a harmless thing to do, to have fun at the expense of what others hold dear and sacred, but I see it as a telltale sign of what our culture has evolved into. What seems like harmless joking, can and does, over time, become a callous, Godless majority, devoid of respect for others, and in some cases a denial of religious liberty. Are my words too strong?
How does this sort of thing get started and then take root? There are multiple culprits here, but the main overarching cause, as I see it, is a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding stems from a poorly catechized generation of Catholics that simply don’t believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. If they did, how then could you explain them saying something like, “the Eucharist tastes like cardboard” or, “nobody gets tipsy off the Blood of Christ?” Let alone put it in a list online for the entire world to see, share, and joke about. This is after all, the Body and Blood of Christ we’re talking about.
I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he shall live forever. (John 6:51-52)
Even if you don’t mean any harm, by saying it and posting it, aren’t you overtly displaying a callous image of what many Catholics hold dear? And more importantly, aren’t you desecrating Church teaching and Christ himself? Or at the very least, aren’t you conveying your total lack of understanding of what it is you’re writing about?
If you’ve learned anything in CCD or Catholic School, other than at the very least, what it says in the Baltimore Catechism about the Holy Eucharist, (some are scratching their head saying, “What’s the Baltimore Catechism?”) wouldn’t that prove my point about being poorly catechized and thus potencially becoming callous to what should be held in high esteem and never joked about? For those that don’t know, let’s check it out, shall we?
In lesson 26 of part 3 from the Baltimore Cathechism it says:
343. What is the Holy Eucharist?
The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received.
This should be taught, but rarely is these days. Until you totally understand the true and complete meaning of the Eucharist, how can you then display a reverence for it, along with a respect for those that hold it dear? So you see it’s not entirely their fault, is it?
This is the crux of the matter, people. The unbelief of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist is what’s driving this heretical force amongst our very own ranks. Think I’m making this up? By their own admission, in “thing number 10” of the 19 things that still haunt people that went to Catholic School, they deny the real presence with a photo and caption from a real Instagram account of a devout Catholic that I can only believe doesn’t agree with its assertion.
According to American Catholics in Transition Hardcover – May 9, 2013 by William V. D’Antonio (Author), Michele Dillon (Author), Mary L. Gautier CARA at Georgetown University (Author) 63 percent of Catholics personally believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Personally I find most of what these two lists to offer to be extremely offensive and I totally fail to see the humor. If that makes me a stick in the mud, so be it. I had much rather side with God over man.
Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)