Asking the Wrong Questions

Roman Catholics trying to understand the significance of Eucharistic Miracles are asking the wrong questions.
Roman Catholics trying to understand the significance of Eucharistic Miracles are asking the wrong questions.

This week Roman Catholics of the world rejoiced to hear of yet another eucharistic miracle that has been approved for veneration. In December 2013, a eucharistic wafer of bread was dropped during mass, “and red stains subsequently appeared on the Host.”  Tests performed on the wafer at the Department of Forensic Medicine in Wroclaw the Department of Forensic Medicine of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, indicated that the wafer contained “fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle. Tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress” (Catholic Herald, April 19, 2016). The forensic authentication of the miracle has Roman Catholics asking questions about its significance to faith and practice, and no doubt has some Protestants asking themselves if they are in the right religion. Those, of course, are the wrong questions.

Roman Catholic blogger, Philip Kosloski reported on the miracle in the National Catholic Register under the heading, “What is God Trying to Tell Us With This New Eucharistic Miracle in Poland?” Naturally, he concludes that God is trying to tell us to take care of the eucharistic wafer which is alleged to be His Son.

The eucharistic miracle occurred after the wafer was dropped, which raises to Kosloski the question of why the paten was not used during Mass. The paten is a plate used during communion to catch any wafers or crumbs that might fall during the service, and Kosloski notes that if the paten had been used as prescribed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, the wafer never would have been dropped in the first place. Since in eucharistic calculus the part is equal to the sum of the whole, to drop even a crumb of the wafer is to drop the whole “Jesus.” Perhaps, Kosloski observes, God is telling us to use the paten so “His Son” does not get hurt:

“We shouldn’t abandon the use of patens at Mass because it seems ‘outdated.’ The reason why we use patens at Mass is because of our love of God!

Why do we hold our children with utmost care, making sure we don’t drop them? Why shouldn’t we have the same care for the Eucharistic Host at Mass that is Christ the Lord! What we hold in our hands is not just bread!

Maybe this miracle came at the right time in our world, when many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ and during an era in the Church where the Eucharist is not cared for properly. The heart tissue [that was] found ‘bore signs of distress’ and maybe it was to show us Christ’s hurt when we do not take care of Him.”

We, on the other hand, are pleased to report that Jesus is not hurt when a crumb drops, His heart tissue is not stressed when the bread is broken, and He feels no pain when wafers hit the floor—not only because the wafer and the crumbs are not Jesus, but also because Jesus’ flesh is not perpetually slain in Heaven. All the Scriptural evidence declares that Jesus’ slaying is in the past and “It is finished”:

“…It is finished…” (John 19:30)

“…and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain…” (Revelation 5:6)

“…for thou wast slain…” (Revelation 5:9)

“…Worthy is the Lamb that was slain…” (Revelation 5:12)

Nevertheless, Roman Catholics continue to rejoice in the news of eucharistic miracles, since such miracles lend tremendous credence to claims of transubstantiation. The eucharistic miracles are alleged to be proof of Jesus’ “real presence” in the eucharist, and those miracles largely tend to manifest in two ways: with bleeding hosts, with speaking hosts, or both. The history of bleeding hosts is well documented, and the Polish miracle is just the latest example. Speaking hosts are also well documented.

According to Joan Carroll Cruz, author of Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints,  “Many saints have had the privilege of hearing the voice of Jesus speaking from consecrated Hosts” (Cruz, Joan Carroll, Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints,(Charlotte, NC: TAN Books,  ©1991) 249). One recent manifestation of the speaking host occurred in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2013, as reported by the Catholic News Agency:

“The pastor of Mary Mother of the Church, Father Jose Dolores Castellanos Gudino, said that on July 24, while he was kneeling in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, he saw a flash of light and heard a voice.

‘Ring the bells so that everyone comes,’ the voice allegedly instructed. ‘I will pour blessings upon those present and the entire day. Take your small tabernacle for private adoration to the parish altar and put the large monstrance next to the small tabernacle. Don’t open the tabernacle until three in the afternoon, not before.’ ” (Catholic News Agency, Mexico archdiocese investigating possible Eucharistic miracle, August 2, 2013)

Such miracles as bleeding and speaking hosts often bolster the faith of Roman Catholics, and renew their devotion to the eucharist. They also impel professing evangelical Protestants to consider converting to Roman Catholicism. Such is the case of Russell Stutler, who was raised as a non-denominational evangelical Protestant, then became Anglican, and finally converted to Roman Catholicism. In his testimony, Why did I become a Catholic?, he explains that his conversion was in no small part due to the history of eucharistic miracles:

“If the Eucharist is what the Church says it is, and that Jesus is really present, then it should not be surprising to hear of miracles associated with the Eucharist. A lot of those miracles involved priests who did not believe the bread and wine really became the body and blood of Jesus, so God showed them the truth in very graphic way…” (Russ Stutler, Why did I become a Catholic)

The intended effect of eucharistic miracles is certainly met in the renewed eucharistic devotion of Roman Catholics and the piqued eucharistic curiosity of Protestants. What is God telling us in the eucharistic miracles? Should we show more care for the wafer, knowing that each little crumb is the “Son of God,” “Christ the Lord,” the creator and sustainer of the universe? Should we kneel more reverently, and adore more frequently before the whole “sacred Host,” as well as each of its parts? Should Protestants repent of their unbelief and bow before this wafer that maintains the whole universe by the power of its word, saved the world on the cross and still suffers for our sins?

Of course not. Those are all the wrong questions.

The correct question is, “What did Jesus mean in Revelation 13:15 when he warned us that the image of the beast would come to life and speak and cause people to be put to death?”

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)

The Scripture says “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11), and eucharistic miracles often involve a substance that when tested is shown to be human blood. As noted above, many eucharistic miracles involve a voice emanating from the eucharist. We note further that eucharistic miracles have been the cause of the murders of many Christians in history, as evidence by the 1228 eucharistic miracle in Alatri, Italy. Pope Gregory IX interpreted the miracle “as a sign against the widespread heresies regarding the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist” (Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association, Eucharistic Miracle in Alatri, Italy) and instigated the Papal Inquisition two years later.

We note as well that there are only three things in Scripture that can yield a mark on the hand and forehead: redemption of the firstborn (Exodus 13:12-16), teaching God’s word to our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, 11:18), and the use of unleavened bread:

“…And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes…” (Exodus 13:6-9).

Only one of those three can be fashioned into an idol to be worshiped: unleavened bread. Thus, Jesus’ warning to  us: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Revelation 13:16). The Image of the Beast is made of unleavened bread.

Those who have followed this blog for some time will recall that we believe Papal Roman Catholicism to be the Beast of Revelation 13:1-2, that the Apparition of Mary is the False Prophet of Revelation 13:11, and that the Roman Catholic eucharist is the Image of the Beast in Revelation 13:12-13. Those who wish to read more on this topic may refer to our articles:

Mother Mary Speaks to Me, Part 1
Mother Mary Speaks to Me, Part 2
In Vain Do They Worship Me
Like the Sun Going Down on Me
If This Bread Could Talk
It’s About the Bread
When “Mary” Got Busy

We of course believe, therefore, that the eucharistic miracles should be interpreted in the context of Scripture. We were warned that the Beast and his False Prophet would erect an Image that would come to life and be able to speak and cause people to be put to death, and place a mark in the worshiper’s hand or forehead. Therefore, be so warned. The god of Roman Catholicism is a wafer of bread, nothing more, and since the part is equal to the sum of the whole, the Roman Catholic would as soon worship a crumb as if it were God Himself. But it is a bread-god, fashioned by the hands of men, and is not to be worshiped, adored or carried about in procession.

Our God, of course, needs neither to be fashioned into an image by the hands of men, nor carried about for worship. We find it interesting to note that with one exception in all of Scriptures, images are portrayed as dead and mute:

“They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble” (Isaiah 46:6-7).

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17:28-29)

All these images have one thing in common: they cannot save. The bread-god, nay, the crumb-god of Roman Catholicism, prophesied in Revelation 13, is the Scriptural exception to the rule of dead, mute gods. It comes to life and can speak. But it is unexceptional in this: it still cannot save.

Roman Catholics will of course object to that characterization, responding with indignation and accusations of insensitivity and bigotry for calling their god precisely what Jesus, Paul, the disciples and the apostolic church all called it: “bread” (John 13:18, Luke 24:35, 1 Corinthians 11:26, Acts 2:42)—as if calling their papal religion “the Beast,” and calling their favored apparition “the False Prophet,” and calling their eucharistic god “the Image of the Beast,” were all lesser offenses!

In response to their cry of indignation we borrow a summary dismissal from C. H. Spurgeon, who knew well how to turn such criticism back on the critics: “Of course, we shall be howled at as bigots, but we can afford to smile at that cry, when it comes from the church which invented the Inquisition,” an inquisition that was expressly targeted against those who would not bow to the bread idol (Spurgeon, “The Religion of Rome,” Sword and Trowel, 1873). Well played, Charles Haddon.

We will neither adore it, nor kneel to it, nor bow to it, nor revere it, nor respect it, nor even cease from our daily conversation as it passes nearby in procession or as you elevate it publicly in your idolatrous eucharistic flash mobs; nor shall we grant to the idolater the prerogative of dictating the terms of polite conversation about his antichrist idol. It is a bread god, a wafer god, a crumb god, nothing more, and we will call it just as it is. Roman Catholics have many times objected, and have as often demanded that we show some respect and stop calling it that.

Request denied.

And that is the proper response to Eucharistic miracles.

16 thoughts on “Asking the Wrong Questions”

  1. TIM–
    You are still asking the wrong questions. Ever see the movie Leap of Faith with Steve Martin and Debra Winger?
    There could be an alternate explanation of this “miracle”.

  2. Jesus said: “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 12:39

    I think the Scripture speaks for itself.

  3. Tim–
    Another thing that nobody seems to have mentioned. It’s a good thing that no one ate that particular wafer if it had actual human tissue in it. That would be considered cannibalism, which if I understand correctly is a real no-no, even for Roman Catholics. I would think there would have been more shock and horror over this. Maybe some Catholics actually do check their brains at the door before entering.

    1. Walt, they hold very similar views. Pretty interesting discussion on that topic can be found here: at http://www.byzcath.org

      http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/126091/Eucharistic%20Adoration

      Here is a key citation contained within the thread”

      Orthodox, however, do not hold services of public devotion before the reserved sacrament, nor do they have any equivalent to the Roman Catholic functions of Exposition and Benediction, although there seems to be no theological (as distinct from liturgical) reason why they should not do so. The priest blesses the people with the sacrament during the course of the Liturgy, but never outside it. (The Orthodox Church, p. 292)

      Thanks,

      Tim

  4. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your blog and this article, in particular. I’ve realized for some time that the papacy/roman catholicism is the beast out of the sea (as well as the man of sin, 2Thess 2:3, the little horn, Daniel 7, the Antichrist, 1 & 2John ). I recently started to suspect that the “eucharist” was the image of the beast, but I haven’t been able to figure out who the beast out of the earth/false prophet was. Your assertion that it’s the apparitions of Mary is very interesting and would fit with the other two figures. This reminds me of a podcast I heard by Chris Pinto, the topic of which was the vision of Don Bosco and the two pillars: atop one was Mary and atop the other was the eucharist and the pope steers Peter’s barge through them…something like that (going on my memory here.)

    Not that I agree, but some historicist protestants (which I am) identify the United States as the beast out of the earth/false prophet. They point to the idea that “beasts” in prophetic language identify nations, such as in Daniel Ch. 7 and expose the close inter-working between the U.S. gov’t and the Vatican in diplomatic and military enterprises. They have a lot of good information, but I haven’t come all the way to see it as prophetic fulfillment. At least, to this point in time.

    Some Dispensationalists who are aware of the false teaching of the roman institution will claim the papacy is the false prophet, but not the Antichrist, who they expect to be a powerful world leader who will make a covenant with Israel and rebuild the temple, demand worship, persecute those who won’t worship him, etc. They are deliberately misled, as all the distinctive teachings of Dispensationalism were originated in the Jesuit Counter-Reformation with the intent to misdirect the identification of the papacy as the Antichrist unanimously taught by the Protestant Reformers and many other Evangelical teachers for hundreds of years. This has unfortunately been very successful to the point that many, if not most, Christians are not aware of history and the crimes of the popes and their persecutions of true Bible believers and that this is fulfillment of prophecy in Scripture (2Thess 2:3-10, Dan 7:19-21.) They think the prophecies will be fulfilled during the last days’ 7-year Great Tribulation (a period in which many believe they will escape by the secret rapture of the church, in the first part of Jesus’ two-part second coming just prior to the commencement of the seven years – a twisted and false teaching) rather than throughout the history of the church.

    The consequence of this is devastating, because many (not all) evangelical Christians are willing to accept that roman catholics are Christian and do not evangelize them. Some have gone to the extent of joining with romanists in spiritual enterprises and are falling for the deceptions of ecumenism. Many are adopting horrendous romish practices such as the spiritual exercises/spiritual formation and other forms of mysticism such as contemplative prayer, lectio divina, etc.

    How does an ordinary Christian help others see the truth of these things in the context of Biblical prophecy? It seems that so much teaching within evangelical churches militates against seeing the truth about the meanings of these prophetic figures and events. They are intended by the Lord as warnings and as a source of comfort that He will fully defeat them, but how will His people know that these are the wolves (Papacy/evangelical false teachers who are friendly to him) in the midst of the sheep in the days that we now live? Most evangelicals don’t want to hear any criticism of Rome, let alone that it fulfills these prophecies, because its “unloving,” which, again, assumes that roman catholics are Christian.

    Even my non-dispensational church, which upholds the Westminster Confession of Faith, rejects that the papacy is that Antichrist and Man of Sin. Even though that explicit teaching was in the original 1647 WCF, they no longer believe that’s true and have adopted the revised teaching of Chapter 25. Since they don’t acknowledge this, they aren’t seeing the the marian apparitions as the false prophet and the eucharist as the image of the beast either.

    Some say that that this (Rev 13 and the current state of the church) will play out with the papal Antichrist and his adherents attempting to bring all people into his one-world religion to worship the “eucharist” (Image of the beast) which, from some things I’ve read and heard, is the goal of Rome’s “new evangelization.” This has happened in history, but is there some future fulfillment remaining? Of course, Christ’s elect have not and will not do this as the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. What do you think, about how this will play out? Point me to a previous article if you’ve addressed this in the past.

    I’m grateful for your contending for the faith. You are doing your part in trying to inform Christ’s sheep. The prevalence of Dispensational futurism in the U.S. has lead to a dearth of alternative explanations of the meanings of the figures in Revelation, so I’m grateful for yours. I’m reading your other articles to see why you think these are the fulfillment of the prophecies in Rev. 13 as part of my effort to come to a correct understanding.

  5. Contendia,

    You wrote:

    “Some say that that this (Rev 13 and the current state of the church) will play out with the papal Antichrist and his adherents attempting to bring all people into his one-world religion to worship the “eucharist” (Image of the beast) which, from some things I’ve read and heard, is the goal of Rome’s “new evangelization.” This has happened in history, but is there some future fulfillment remaining?”

    Can you provide me more information on this idea that the current papacy and “new evangelization” is attempting to create a global, one-world worship of the “eucharist”?

    I’m not familiar with this information, but it would not surprise me. I find it extremely hard to see the eastern Orthodox, Protestant and the other 18,000+ “Christian” denominations all seeking to worship the Eucharist, but the more I read history the more it becomes obvious how many simply follow the masses and how few learn for themselves. I think the internet has changed a lot of this “blind following the blind” concept in history, but still it shocks me how many follow TBN, Joel Osteen and Harry Potter theology.

    1. Hi Walt,

      Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. I wanted to go back and review/listen again to some of the sources I could recall where I’ve heard this idea that the “new evangelization” of the Roman institution is to attempt to ecumenically draw everyone into their system by a common worship of the “eucharist” as they define it as the real presence of Christ.

      The best presentation of this idea, I think, is given by Roger Oakland of Understanding the Times and Lighthouse Trails ministries. There are numerous similar presentations given by Roger about this that can be found on YouTube, usually given the title, “Another Jesus.” Indeed, he wrote a companion book by the title, “Another Jesus: the eucharistic christ and the new evangelization” which can be found either at LighthouseTrails.com or Amazon.com. He usually gives this presentation as one in a series of 3 or 4 related presentations at church conferences.

      Here’s a link to what appears to be his most recent presentation on this topic:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ3AAv9adb4

      Here’s a link to his book:

      http://www.amazon.com/Another-Jesus-eucharist-christ-evangelization/dp/0979131529/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1461774197&sr=8-3&keywords=roger+oakland

      I would just note that while I think most of what Roger says in his presentation/book is accurate and helpful in understanding this deception, it seems evident that he holds to Dispensational futurism, so I believe he comes to some incorrect conclusions. Nevertheless, his information is very valuable.

      Another source I’m familiar with is a debate, of sorts, conducted about a year ago at a special chapel at Grove City College. There is a Newman Club there for roman catholic students and they hosted an alternative chapel with Protestant and catholic speakers explaining what each side believed was the best basis for “ecumenical unity.” T. David Gordon, a professor at the college, gave Sola Scriptura as the best basis for unity from the Protestant perspective. For the roman catholic perspective, Scott Hahn, an outspoken advocate of the “new evangelization,” gave…wait for it…the “eucharist”! as the the best basis for ecumenical unity. While he never used the words “new evangelization” in this presentation, this “unity” around the worship of the wafer god is their goal in attempting to subsume the church and subjugate the world (my conclusion.) There are a number of YouTube videos with Hahn giving explanations of the link between the “new evangelization” and the “eucharist”, but I’m so not interested in watching/listening to him for over an hour!

      Here’s a link to an audio file of the chapel, which took place on March 12, 2015:

      http://iismedia7.gcc.edu/events/2015/Chapel/031215_AltChapel_CatholicProtestant.mp3

      Warning: Dr. Hahn’s sophistry will make your head spin and your eyes glaze over all at once! Proceed with caution. 😉

      For the record, I don’t agree with a number of the things Dr. Gordon said. Just because he was the spokesman for the Protestant side doesn’t mean he represented true, Biblical Protestant Christianity well in this forum.

      I’ve heard this idea in other places as well, but it’s usually mentioned incidentally as one point in a greater discussion. The two above sources are good representative examples of the idea, I think.

      If you watch/listen to either or both, let me know what you think.

  6. A couple brief, interesting commentaries this week regarding Eucharistic Miracles and their desired effect on Protestants.

    The Bloody, Enchanted Host
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sickpilgrim/2016/04/the-bloody-enchanted-host/

    Eucharistic Miracles and Protestants?
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2016/04/eucharistic-miracles-and-protestants.html

    Both are written from the perspective that if nothing else can convince the Protestants to worship the Eucharist, the miracles certainly ought to. Both are interesting reads.

    Tim

    1. TIM K–
      You said: “Both are written from the perspective that if nothing else can convince the Protestants to worship the Eucharist, the miracles certainly ought to. Both are interesting reads.”

      Like Abraham told the rich man in Luke 16, they have the scriptures. If they won’t believe scripture, why would they believe miracles? There is plenty of proof of the real presence in scripture. (Transustantiation is only the Catholic explanation of the real presence. To the rest of us it is still an undefined mystery.)

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