As a Protestant I was taught that during the Early Church pagans accused the Christians of being cannibals in reference to Communion. It seemed like a huge distortion of the truth regarding communion and eating a cracker and drinking a bit of grape juice. But I figured it must have been because they heard that Jesus said, “This is My Body, eat it and …This is My Blood, drink it….”
Now, as a Catholic, and because of the teaching of transsubstantiation, with the bread and wine becoming the real presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus, the misunderstanding is not as hard to fathom. But the depth of error, in the 2nd Century, of the author Minucius Felix’s Octavius is amazing. Compared to this, Protestant errors about the Catholic Faith seem minor.
Sometime between 150-270 A.D.the reference in Minucius Felix’s Octavius
Now the story about the initiation of young novices is as much to be detested as it is well known. An infant covered over with meal, that it may deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be stained with their rites: this infant is slain by the young pupil, who has been urged on as if to harmless blows on the surface of the meal, with dark and secret wounds. Thirstily – O horror! they lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are pledged together; with this consciousness of wickedness they are covenanted to mutual silence.
The Roman critic appears to have gotten the details of the Nativity and the Eucharist all mixed together. Which is itself significant. The Nativity story involves a journey to Bethlehem (which means “House of Bread” in Hebrew, and “House of Meat” in Arabic), and placing Jesus in a manger, that is, a food trough. Jesus’ Flesh is the Bread upon which Christians feed. So the Romans were inadvertently right in seeing a connection to the two, even if they screwed the details up badly.
An English Lutheran put it simply:
“If what you believe and teach concerning the Supper of the Lord, couldn’t be misinterpreted by some people as sounding like cannibalism, then your understanding and/or teaching of the Supper is deficient.”
The early Christians believed something about the Eucharist that sounded like cannibalism to outsiders. If we don’t believe that today, we’ve lost their faith. And when Jesus’ Jewish critics accused Him of teaching that He was going to give us His Flesh to eat, He didn’t deny it, but reinforced their point.
Taken from Whispers in the Loggia
“This Absurd, Savage Violence”
With almost 40 of the over 100 hostages taken during last night’s Mass at Baghdad’s Syrian-Catholic cathedral now reported to have been killed in the attack, at today’s Angelus for All Saints Day, the Pope made the following appeal, translated here from the original Italian:
Last evening, in a grave attack on the Syriac-Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, there were scores of deaths and injuries, among them two priests and a group of the faithful there for Sunday’s Holy Mass. I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, even more ferocious in that it has been inflicted upon defenseless people gathered in God’s house, which is a house of love and reconciliation. I express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, now stricken again, and I encourage its pastors and faithful alike to be strong and firm in hope. Beyond these savage moments of violence, that continue to tear apart the peoples of the Middle East, I would lastly like to renew a heartfelt appeal for peace: it is a gift of God, but it is also the result of the efforts of men of good will, of national and international institutions. May everyone unite their strengths to end every act of violence!
In comments to Vatican Radio, an unnamed source in Iraq’s Catholic leadership said that the siege “represents a new and terrifying change in strategy by terrorists… it means all Christian parishes in Iraq are [now] in danger,” and Baghdad Latin auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni said that the country’s already-embattled “Christian community no longer feel safe, not even in the House of God.
“[T]his attack will have a very negative influence on those who until now had chosen to remain in Baghdad,” Warduni added, “with many saying they are ready to leave”.
In the tragedy’s wake, the leaders of the country’s Eastern and Western Catholic churches gathered at the hub of the capital’s almost 9,000-