The Triumph Of MTD
About one in three US Catholics understand and believe that this is the Body and Blood of Christ, as their Church teaches (Word On Fire video screengrab)
Let’s remind ourselves of the tenets of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, which Notre Dame sociologist of religion Christian Smith says is the de facto religion of American youth. He said that in 2005, but I think now we can say (and probably could have said back then) that it is the de facto religion of the American people:
+ A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
+ God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
+ The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
+ God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
+ Good people go to heaven when they die.
Pew Research Center, what do you have to tell us lately about MTD in America? Oh, wow, this is something:
Transubstantiation – the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ – is central to the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’”
But a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most self-described Catholics don’t believe this core teaching. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.”
Get this: only 50 percent of those surveyed even know that the Catholic Church teaches transubstantiation! Of that number, 28 percent believe the church’s teaching, but 22 percent reject it. That means slightly more than one in four American Catholics both know and accept the teaching of the Catholic Church on one of its most important, fundamental teachings.
Read the whole thing. For people outside the sacramental churches, especially the Catholic and Orthodox churches, it is impossible to emphasize strongly enough how devastating this finding is. Eucharistic theology is at the core of our understanding of reality.