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Corpus Christi: A Cannibal Celebration?

Spurred on by a reflection shared by Father Martin Sirju “Corpus Christi and Real Presence the following redacted discussion took place on the CTCT group chat:

Father M

I have felt for some years now we need to have much deeper discourse and catechesis on Eucharistic theology. We say these things as a matter of course but do not know what the hearer actually hears or believes.


In this area … it’s still hocus pocus and “ineffable” mystery. i.e “we eh know”


Amen, as a person in the pew, over a long period of time and changes, I can say that there is  need for some serious reflection. What “I hear” ranges from too much piety or pie in the sky, to an over explanation, it sometimes sounds like mathematics, or too much teaching, I remember speaking about this in our Jamaica Conference.

The “hearers” know that something is lacking, but as good, obedient people we do not know how to communicate  our needs, so we put up and shut up, the hearers want a simple, authentic understanding of Eucharistic theology so they can make connections in their  everyday experiences, many are already making these connections and are not  listening to what they are hearing, a little metaphor might help: there is an ad which says “I no longer have time with wired bras, I want bras that fit my body,” that prompted an old woman to design to come up with something New and which helps the body to find comfort.


Ah feel yuh should send in a proposal for the November Conference on non-wired pots and pans Eucharistic theology…. But nah, yuh onto something. In 2019 a Pew survey showed that ⅔ of US Catholics do not believe that Christ is truly present in Eucharist. They believe it is a symbol.

Bp X.

Very interesting exchange/academic encounter. I have always believed that there is a deeper reality to plumb. Cannibalism seems to frustrate that deeper experience. When a man says to a woman, I could eat you alive – he is speaking to that deeper encounter… Since Roman Catholics and other Christians seem to be afraid of their sexual energy, we are left unfulfilled.  I am convinced that this is one area of marriage ministry we are neglecting. Or I am an idealizing celibate who should just shut up?


Yuh definitely shouldn’t shut up!


I believe it’s real, but I do not believe that we have it locked up in a place that only if you go before it you are showing your belief, I believe that Eucharist is everywhere, everyday, as I cook and share food to some of my neighbours, I know that is a Eucharistic act. On this Holy day, I know the Body of Christ is in this place as I ensure my elderly husband and the nurse have what they need, even though meh old back tired, and hurting; this morning I got up and sang the prayer to the redeemer, I planted some sweet potato vines, made breakfast for (my husband), watered the plants, for me that is all part of the Body of Christ.

Bp X

Right on, Gloria! How do we get that across to those who think only of adoring the bread/host?


You know, reading this makes me wonder if there’s a balance that we need to find in our theology. So to have a more robust pneumatology in our everyday spirituality in order to know the Eucharist in the every day, and vice versa, that our Eucharistic theology helps us know the Holy Spirit in the everyday more. You know, in this infinitely giving relationship. Reminds me a lot of the talk Sister Annette gave the other day too.


Most of us were taught that way, but I suppose some are kind of resistant to our belief. I can remember when we started to explore and dare to do theology, …a fine Catholic man, said, quite openly, “I will not allow you all to touch my faith”. He walked out of the group and stayed with CCR [Catholic Charismatic Renewal]. I believe that there are a lot of people who have deep insights, but they are afraid to speak.

I was like that once upon a time. I grew up in the system where everything was a sin and  Jesus did not accept sinners. Sadly there is still that kind of catechesis taking place. I have some thoughts. Maybe it is a slow, hidden process. Long ago our homes, whatever the composition, were places of learning, We learned how to value what we had, people were sacred, food was sacred, life was sacred. It gave us a sense that God was everywhere. No one person has the answer, We must find a way, or ways, to inspire change.


This is a very interesting exchange on Corpus Christi (CC). Thank you, dear Gloria, for your deep insights. For many years I struggled with how to catechise to Catholics and others about CC and felt discomfort with ecclesial teachings on this. I think it is a ‘mystery’ we can only talk meaningfully about in metaphorical and symbolic terms especially in a post-secular, postmodern context. This exchange ‘feeds’ (to stay in context) my sermon for this weekend. I appreciate all yuh remarks.


I am intrigued by this discussion. Thank you so much for pushing the faith outside of the confines of our denominational comfort zone. It also brings to mind a practice of early Methodists that created a link between the love-feast and the Eucharist.


I have been trying to figure out at what point did Paul’s understanding of meal and community as Body of Christ get thrown out for this strict separation between Mystical Body of Christ and Real Presence of Christ in Eucharist. The presence of Christ in Eucharist seems far greater than Christ in human beings. Ah fine dat rel strange. I and all had it. Hmm. Food (no pun intended) for thought.