|Actuality rather than re-enactment|
A recent conversation with a liberal Catholic Priest produced an interesting topic for debate.
That is, how many modern priests believe that, at the Consecration, the bread and wine becomes the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord.
Transubstantiation as we call it.
I was rather fed up with receiving a barrage of veiled assaults on traditionalists (or, as he preferred to call them, "Puritans") and, more in an attempt to halt the flow rather than launch a counter offensive I asked him a simple (as I thought) question.
I have raised this issue in earlier posts and been berated for not producing evidence so we will treat the following as hearsay rather than statistical fact.
Back in either 1984 or 1985 some research was published (so I claim) that showed that 48% of priests in England and Wales did not believe in transubstantiation. The survey was from a base of 1,000 priests so, in market research terms, it was a small sample.
But that statistic, true or false, has stayed active in my mind ever since and I do speculate on just how many priests believe in the Mystery and how many just believe that what they are doing is remembering via a repeat of the Last Supper ritual.
So I asked this priest, whom I shall call Father Charles, having brought him up to speed on the research element, if, during the course of his socialising and meeting with his brother priests he had any idea of how many might believe or not as the case may be.
He looked as if he had bitten rather hard on a rusty four inch nail and, after a pause replied that it was a subject that had never cropped up in team meetings or retreats or days out for whatever purpose.
I found that rather hard to comprehend. Most professional people with a keen interest in their work tend to debate, discuss and dissect every particle of knowledge concerning their daily duties.
Most Catholics that I know (mainly of the orthodox kind, I have to say) also veer towards intense discussions on every aspect of the Faith; it's what we like to do; it produces greater knowledge and understanding - it is a good and wholesome pastime.
Surely a priest would know how his brothers feel about such an important issue?
So, perhaps those who attend OF Masses of the liturgically challenged kind, should stop and ask their priest if he does believe or if he is just doing the Protestant play acting thing.
It's a fair question, if asked courteously, and it would be most interesting to hear the answer.