Even setting aside the more obvious problems I have with the Catholic church’s positions on queer and trans issues, there are a number of things about Catholicism that just don’t make sense to me. Oh, certainly, many of them could be considered relatively small and picky — details, if you will — but the thing about the Catholic church as an institution is that the details matter. It’s very fussy about its details. In particular, today, I’m going to focus on transubstantiation.
I remember upsetting my mom when I was younger by comparing transubstantiation to cannibalism, transubstantiation being the process by which the bread and wine for communion literally become the body and blood of Jesus (I think it’s a belief unique to Catholicism; I know that it’s one of the key beliefs of Catholicism). It made perfect sense to me: either it is merely a symbolic process, and the bread and wine are only representative of the body and blood, or — if Catholics are truly to believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus (which is what I’ve always been taught) — they are engaging in some form of cannibalism. Logically, I can’t find a way around that. What I learned in first communion class and twelve years of Catholic school is that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus — it’s not a symbol; it’s not merely filled with the presence of Jesus — it becomes the body and blood (in every way that matters, except for physical form).
However, despite all of the negative connotations of cannibalism, I’m not necessarily saying that I believe it would be bad — morally wrong — of them to engage in this if it were considered cannibalism. After all, no one is really being harmed: regardless what they think the bread and wine becomes, in a physical sense, it remains bread and wine (which means that there’s no one actually missing parts of their body because of this). Additionally, if you really follow the theory back, Jesus did this all willingly (and it’s not as though people eating him is what killed him). So, even if Catholics were actually committing cannibalism, I think it would mostly fall into the category of consensual actions Jesus undertook exercising his free will (going with the idea that he would have the right to do what he wanted with his own body, although now that I think of it, the Catholic church has rules that limit what you’re allowed to do with your body, and I’m fairly certain that allowing people to eat it isn’t allowed). Despite all of that, and disregarding that transubstantiation is seriously taught as fact, I imagine that most Catholics get around the cannibalism ickiness by treating it as a form of symbolism.