I am kicking myself a bit for not realizing until we went to Mass tonight that this is the Feast of the Body of Christ. As a Eucharistic convert, I should have known ahead of time. I am reminded of a discussion that I had with my kids about my most recent show wherein we discussed, among other things, recent reports of cannibalism in the news. Catholics, as I noted on the show, are sometimes accused of cannibalism because we believe that we are receiving the Flesh and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. It occurred to me that if everyone would use basic reasoning, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist would not be such a difficult thing to get one’s mind around.
I asked my kids, why is cannibalism wrong? We could only think of two reasons. It’s wrong because (1) God doesn’t want us to eat other people, and (2) It shocks the conscience. It utterly disgusts us, so, it must be wrong…right? Well, no. In actuality, there is only one reason that cannibalism can be said to be wrong, and that is that God does not want us to do it. The Eucharist is, then, another matter entirely as it is a command of God that we eat His Flesh and drink His blood.
The “disgusting” argument is the reasoning that “gay rights” activists give in claiming that it is not reasonable to suggest that acceptance of same-sex marriage would lead to other forms of non-traditional marriage, such as marriage between siblings. For example, Chad Griffin told Bill Donahue that it is “ridiculous” to consider marriage between siblings, therefore, it’s not an issue in his mind. Because Chad Griffin subjectively believes incest is disgusting, in his mind it means that it is ridiculous to suggest a basis for legality of incestuous marriage. At the same time, he refers to our (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) disgust for same-sex relationships to be “bigotry” and, as such, no basis for rejecting same-sex marriage. This unwillingness to look at issues objectively is the basis for many double standards in political discourse. If Catholics are “bigots” for being disgusted by homosexuality, then does that not make Griffin a “bigot” for being disgusted by incest? And would it not also be “bigotry” for him to be disgusted by Catholicism?
If you don’t believe in God, then only that which disgusts you can be given as the ultimate basis for condemnation. Only those things which shock your conscience could be offered as being “wrong.” This is the ultimate in setting oneself up as judge and jury of the behavior of others. If your disgust alone is the basis for regulating incest, as it is for Chad Griffin, then you have set yourself up as the sole judge of others. You are the “elite” one who “knows better” than other people about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior.
What does this have to do with the Eucharist? A great deal. Again, the only reasons that we can say that cannibalism is wrong are that God doesn’t want us to do it and that it is repulsive to the conscience. But again, we cannot rightly judge behavior based on what is repulsive to us without making ourselves judge and jury over others. The “disgusting” argument is no argument at all. Objective truth is what we must stick to in determining right from wrong, not merely the things that we subjectively “feel” are wrong.
Considering that God commands us to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, it seems there is no rational basis to reject the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, even if it shocks the conscience. If you do not believe, then your conscience, like the conscience of those who accept “same-sex marriage,” is misinformed.
From Today’s Readings:
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.