Have there ever been any studies or surveys of reasonably significant size that indicate how many Catholics believe in transubstantiation or would at least claim that they do?

  • It is not an easy thing to accept, even Christ's diciples walked away after explaining it. It is a constant battle in our catechesis. Yet there he is, body blood soul and divinity, humbling himself and pouring out his greatest gift, himself.
    – Marc
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


Pew research does some awesome polls on questions like this.

About half of those polled (52%) say, incorrectly, that Catholicism teaches that the bread and wine used for Communion are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus. Just four-in-ten people correctly answer that, according to the Catholic Church, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus. Even many Catholics are unaware of their church’s teaching on this topic; while 55% of Catholics get the question right, more than four-in-ten Catholics (41%) say the church teaches that the bread and wine are symbols of Christ’s body and blood, and 3% say they do not know what the church’s teaching is. Still, Catholics perform better on this question than does any other religious group.

-Pew Research Who Knows What About Religion

Also this site made a nice graphic.

In conclusion I think it's safe to say that about 40-50% of Catholics believe in the real presence. I hope that helps!

  • 1
    By the way, it is not the Catholics alone who believe in transubstantiation. Orthodox Churches in India , for instance, celebrate Holy Communion during the Mass. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 7:24
  • 1
    Well it's probably accurate Catholic theology to say that the emblems are symbols, but they're not only symbols. Polls are tricky.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 9:14
  • It's not clear to me whether this poll distinguishes transubstantiation from consubstantiation, i.e., from the doctrine (I think proposed by Luther) that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ but also remain bread and wine. Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 23:13
  • I suspect the poll is about the US. Further questions: Are "Catholics" them who self-identified as catholic or those who where baptised catholic (or converted later)? What says "I know what the Curch teaches" about "I belief this"? Are transsubstatiation and other forms of "actually become" (e.g consubstantiation) differntiated? Do "normal" people know the difference?
    – K-HB
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 18:28
  • "Real presence" is not identical to "transubstantiation". One can believe in the former, but not the latter at the same time without a contradiction.
    – SLM
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 23:23

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