Excellent News! The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., D.D., Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, just last week published a wonderful letter “to the priests, deacons, seminarians, religious, teachers, catechists, sponsors, parish leaders, our Catholic movements and organizations, and all the faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.”
He wrote in response to the results of an August 5th Pew Research Center poll with the headline: “Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ.”
What heartbreaking news, but read on and see how Bishop Jenky clearly responds:
…Being grounded in true doctrine is therefore absolutely necessary for living our precious Faith. …Yet today, we are forced to admit that for several generations, the Church may not have effectively passed on even some core elements of Catholic Christianity to those whom may now constitute the majority of our members. A shocking example is evidenced by a recent opinion poll that indicates that in the United States, more than half of today’s Catholics may no longer believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. …So as your bishop, I believe it is a grave personal obligation for me to try to state as clearly as I am able some basic truths about the Blessed Sacrament.
VERY CLEAR TEACHING OF THE TRUTH
He then clearly teaches what Catholics must believe (emphasis mine):
It is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church, revealed by the Holy Spirit and [therefore] preserved from any possibility of error, that the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ are truly and substantially present in the Most Holy Eucharist.
This is not an opinion to be measured against any opinion poll but rather Divine Revelation as expressed by the absolute authority of Scripture and Tradition. The Lord once said: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall live forever, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:54) So for any Catholic to deny the Real Presence is, in a certain sense, to deny Jesus and place themselves outside of the convictions of our Faith. The clergy and faithful therefore share a perennial responsibility before Almighty God to pass on Divine truth to future generations, in season and out of season, uncompromised and undiminished.
And further in he states:
It is Catholic doctrine that the Most Blessed Sacrament is at all times to be given the latria [official worship] of the Church, because through the power of the Holy Spirit, the consecrated Bread and Wine truly become the glorified Body and Blood of Christ. We therefore rightly recognize and adore the Most Blessed Sacrament as our Lord and our God.
So clear! CLICK HERE NOW to encourage and THANK Bishop Jenky.
A VERY INTERESTING CONCLUSION
Finally, he touches on how he thinks this lack of belief by Catholics in the Real Presence has become so widespread (again, emphasis mine):
I rather suspect that it was not so much our teaching about the Real Presence that has changed during some recent decades but instead a noticeable decline in our ritual reverence and recognition. What had once been universal practice in any Catholic church regarding attentive silence and a whole bundle of other rituals such as genuflecting, blessing with holy water, the Sign of the Cross, kneeling, intentional architecture, the location of the Tabernacle, multiple candles, bells rung during the Liturgy, carefully prepared sacristies and sanctuaries, the care of sacred vessels and linens, prayers before and after Mass…encouraged a kind of shared awe before something experienced as numinous and wondrous.Contemporary American culture tends to be relentlessly informal and sometimes our churches may seem more like hotel lobbies than an awesome House of God.