Roman Catholics like to claim there is a strong streak of rationalism on their side of the Christian Church, because Aristotle’s precepts were embraced by St. Thomas Aquinas, and even Paul said (Romans 1:20) that a person could so readily conclude that God exists by examining the things of Creation that there was no excuse for unbelief.
Catholics go on to say those truths which were revealed directly to the Church such as the teaching authority vested by Christ in his Apostles are not a faith issue but simply a matter of obeying that which was handed down to our generation through those same Apostles and their alleged successors the bishops.
Even the issue of the resurrection of Christ is not taken solely on blind faith, say Catholics (and I was one of them until the boy butt sex scandal), because many early Christians died rather than deny the resurrection, and it is human nature that people are not likely to be willing to die as a martyr for a hoax.
After Galileo showed the clergy of the Catholic Church the error of their inerrantist ways they no longer speak of the sun orbiting the Earth, and even embrace deep time and a modified form of Darwinism where their god still has some skin in the game. But when we get to the central devotion of Catholicism, which is the Eucharist, or the Blessed Sacrament, all this rationality goes right out the stained glass window.
Other denominations such as Lutheranism and Methodism believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but Catholicism alone embraces a particularly hardcore version called transubstantiation. It is the last thing to be believed by a convert and the first to go in a lapsed Catholic. The basic belief is that in every mass there is a miracle where bread and wine are literally transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus, which is then eaten by the parishioners.
That the flesh of Jesus still sticks to the roof of your mouth like any cracker, and the blood of Jesus still tastes like a chardonnay or a blush or a red (depending on what color carpet is installed in the sanctuary) is explained in a word salad thus: The substance of the wine changes into the substance of the blood of Christ by transubstantiation, and the body, soul, and Divinity of Christ become present by concomitancy. The accidents of the bread remain, while the accidents of Christ’s body are hidden, but not from the eyes of faith.
If you place a consecrated host under a microscope, you will see cells of wheat, complete with chromosomes of wheat DNA. These cells are part of the “accidents” which remain. The human DNA of Jesus’ body are also there, according to the dogma, because it is one of the accidents of Jesus, but they are hidden, but not from the eyes of faith. Obviously you are not using eyes of faith if you put a consecrated host under a microscope.
When I attended St. Philomena our priest was an alcoholic, but undergoing treatment. When he consecrated the Eucharist, the part that he was supposed to drink was not the wine we would drink, but non-alcoholic grape juice, by order of the archbishop. When he first took over the parish and did this thing which was quite out of the ordinary, he assured us, “Don’t worry, this works.” From this I concluded that even the alcohol in the wine is one of the non-hidden accidents that remain, along with the wheat DNA.
That got me wondering, what exactly was the substance of the wine that was transformed, and why do they call it the substance when it is the only thing about the transformation that cannot be substantiated?
After a few more Sundays of this, which hit right about the time in 2002 when the dioscese was using some of my weekly contributions of “sacrificial giving” to pay jackpot payouts to young men who were sexual abuse victims, I said to myself, “You know what girl? This is all bullcrap.” And that was that.