Faith and reason vs. emotions and feelings

by Doug Lawrence

After answering literally thousands of questions about the Catholic faith, on-line and via email, at least one thing has become perfectly clear to me: Religious belief is based on both emotion (feelings) and intellect (reason) … but emotion trumps intellect, just about every time.

A case in point:

A non-Catholic reader asked: Why do Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, when the scriptures are clear that Holy Communion is nothing more than a symbolic commemoration?

I responded with a dozen Old Testament and New Testament Bible verses, some of them quoting none other than Jesus Christ, proving that scripture not only anticipates the Real Presence, but proves beyond a doubt that Jesus and the Holy Eucharist is the divine New Testament fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies.

I followed that up with numerous citations from the writings of the early church fathers, all of whom are in unanimous agreement that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

I mentioned the decrees of various church councils, the practices and beliefs of all the various Orthodox churches, and the fact that until the 15th century, every Christian on earth believed in the Real Presence.

Then I dealt with the various scientific and metaphysical aspects of the issue, followed by a definition of the word “sacrament”, along with some good examples of the most well known Eucharistic miracles.

Next, I explained the purpose and order of the Mass, and the central role of Jesus Christ and the Holy Eucharist in the everyday life of the world-wide church.

Finally, I pointed to the unanimity and consistency of belief, over a span of some 2000 years, on the Catholic side, vs. the many, varying, and often widely diverging opinions of the Protestant reformers.

Having responded in a clear, well organized, thorough, historical, theological, scholarly, polite, sensitive, charitable and forthright Christian manner, I clicked “send”.

A few days passed, and a reply to my original email had indeed arrived. It read:

Why do Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, when the scriptures are clear that Holy Communion is nothing more than a symbolic commemoration?

Since I could clearly see the full text of my earlier response incorporated into this email reply, I assumed that the reader had also seen it.

Once again,  I responded … but this time, on a more emotional level:

Catholics understand, based on all available evidence, that anyone who refuses to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is almost certainly destined to spend an eternity in hell. Thanks for writing!

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s