Do Our Actions Reflect Our Beliefs About the Eucharist?

Oct. 8, 2023

For the past few years, we have heard incessantly about the PEW study that said that less than a third of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. As I have shared with you, I have always had serious doubts about the accuracy of that study, because it makes no distinction between practicing Catholics and non-practicing Catholics. This past year, when we took the Disciple Maker Index, it showed that here at Mother of God around 75% of us believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament.
Last week a study was released by the Georgetown University Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which sought the same information, but asked the questions in a more careful way. This study confirmed that 66% of Catholics, who attend Mass on any kind of regular basis, believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Happily, that is much closer to my experience.
Amidst this good news, the study also had some less than good news. It showed that only 17% of Catholics who believe what the Church teaches about the Real Presence attend Mass on a weekly basis. That shocked me. I would never have guessed that.

The number of Catholics who attend Mass every week has dropped by 5 percentage points since before the COVID pandemic. Clearly many got comfortable staying home and watching Mass on TV. Eighteen percent attend less than weekly, but at least once per month. Twenty-six percent attend a few times a year, and 35% rarely or never attend Mass.
We have many Catholics who proclaim that they believe that Jesus Christ is truly present under the forms of bread and wine in the Eucharist but who do not attend Mass regularly. They believe in His presence but have clearly not experienced that presence, and have not come to a relationship with the Living Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
This tells us that the Eucharistic renewal that we are participating in here in the United States needs to focus less on the doctrine and more on the spirituality of Eucharist. It has often been said that the longest journey one makes in this life is the distance between our heads and our hearts. This is the problem. We have done a fairly good job with teaching the heads but have been less successful at reaching the hearts of the Catholic people.
I need to take this to prayer.

--Fr. Mike Comer
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