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According to Catholic doctrine regarding the Eucharist, the objects that look like bread and wine are instead literally Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity. In which case, when a Catholic eats the object that looks like bread, but is really God, is it correct to say that the Catholic is eating God, within the context of Catholic beliefs regarding the eucharist?

This seems a corollary of calling Mary the mother of God. When she conceived a little baby that appeared to be a normal human, but was in actual fact God, she was given the title "Mother of God". Similarly, when a Catholic eats an object that appears to be bread, but is really God, it seems like they are literally eating God, so would be called "eaters of God" in a similar fashion.

UPDATE: This question is different than "On the Eucharist and Human Digestion?". The digestion question is asking about the process, how does the body interact with the Eucharistic substance after it is eaten. My question is a syntactical question, not about the process, asking whether it is syntactically correct to say that Catholics literally eat God.

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  • Have you done any research into the Catholic Euchharist? christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/15895/…
    – Lesley
    Nov 10, 2023 at 17:52
  • @Lesley yes, I converted to catholicism in 2010, and have read a very large chunk of the Summa and most of the massive catechism.
    – yters
    Nov 10, 2023 at 20:03
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    @Geremia This question is very different than the one you flag as duplicate. I prefer you let the community decides. Nov 12, 2023 at 15:59
  • What do you mean by "syntactically correct"?
    – Geremia
    Nov 12, 2023 at 22:07
  • To know what "eating God" means, you first need to know what is involved in the process of eating. And you also have to distinguish between eating ordinary food and receiving Communion. (Note: We don't see "eat Communion" but "receive Communion" because the processes differ.) Hence, I still don't see how your question differs from "On the Eucharist and Human Digestion?".
    – Geremia
    Nov 12, 2023 at 22:07

2 Answers 2

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Yes.

There is no ambiguity here. Catholic Doctrine is simple and straightforward in its rites and rituals.

Communion is Eating the Christ

During Holy Communion one directly consumes the flesh of the Christ, Lord God:

Mark 14:22

Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, 'Take; this is my body.'

Christ is God, and God is Christ

Following from the previous statement, consuming the Flesh of God is directly equivalent to consuming the Flesh of Christ - as God is Christ, Christ is God:

John 10:30

I and the Father are one.

To Disagree or Think Otherwise is Heresy

To take one or even both of the above statements as ambiguous, let alone untrue, is heresy:

Deuteronomy 15:28

...if you disobey the Lord your God and do not faithfully keep all his commands and laws that I am giving you today, all these evil things will happen to you...

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  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I would also recommend reading the Help Center's sections on asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Nov 17, 2023 at 4:57
  • I think this answer would be better if it argued from Catholic theology and doctrine. Sola scriptura isn't really appropriate. Nov 19, 2023 at 8:16
  • Well if there are any other books written by God then I'd be glad to add them as references.
    – budgie5434
    Jan 9 at 20:03
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I think Catholics are more precise than you are. I would rephrase it as "Catholics are literally Jesus eaters" understanding Jesus as the human nature of God, a temporal effect and visible presence of God in the material world (for God's realm is spiritual heaven), with God providing Jesus as literally the lamb who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) to be eaten the way the Passover lamb is eaten as in the OT: unspotted lamb brought by a family, killed by the priest at the temple altar in Jerusalem, with blood spilled but the meat eaten in a thanksgiving meal with the family, except the Catholic priest did NOT do a fresh killing of Jesus, but the Eucharistic meal is a re-presentation of the single sacrifice of the Lamb at the Calvary thus placing the congregation of the mass literally around the Last Supper table following Jesus's command to the apostles in the first Last Supper with the priest becoming the "stand-in" for Jesus in the Last Supper. For a full length lecture about this (to correct any misunderstanding caused by my potential misrepresentation) hear Fr. Dominic Legge's 2021 talk Entering into Christ's Passion: The Mass as a Sacrifice which addresses many Protestant objections against Catholic understanding of the Mass.

Thus, it is improper analogy to reduce Jesus to God. Jesus IS God but also IS fully human (per Chalcedon), so in the Eucharist as a Paschal thanksgiving meal, we deal with the human nature of Jesus, not the eternal Trinitarian God, although since Jesus is the human nature OF GOD, the meal is salvific.

About your phrasing "the objects that look like bread and wine are instead literally Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity" I don't think Catholics would say that the transubstantiated bread and wine "becomes God" or "contains the soul of God" but the ritual is supposed to place us face to face with Jesus literally saying "this is my body" when he lifted the bread in the first Last Supper. In the Last Supper the apostles certainly did NOT perceive the bread to BE divine or soulful ! The right phrasing instead is that the regular bread and wine becomes REAL lamb where now in the 21st century re-presentation of a mass Jesus is FULLY PRESENT (in his human nature) in the transubstantiated bread to become our salvific meal since in the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist it's through Jesus's human nature that the grace of God flows to enter our soul and body in the act of eating. To say that the transubstantiated bread is divine and soulful would be to objectify God.

Similarly, Mary's title "Mother of God" conceptually means Mother of the incarnation of God, not the pre-existing being who gave spiritual birth to the spiritual Trinitarian God who existed before the world was created, which would create the chicken-and-egg problem. Why Mary got the title "Mother of God" is to emphasize that Jesus is not only fully human, but is also God; the context was the controversies regarding the precise nature of Jesus in the 5th century AD.

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  • I think you’re right - the common phrase is “body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ”. So as long as it’s understood it’s both body and divinity you’re in the clear.
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 10, 2023 at 22:54
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    So would it be correct to say that the Theotokos is likewise an imprecise title? Instead it should be said that Mary is the mother of Jesus, just like you state Catholics are eaters of Jesus?
    – yters
    Nov 12, 2023 at 15:50
  • @yters It's not imprecise; every title can have a built-in correct range of meaning that we should responsibly retrieve from the minds of the framer, in this case from around 5th century (see Wikipedia), just with any other key philosophical term such as "natural law" whose meaning has evolved over the centuries. I think Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and magisterial Protestants alike are looking to that period as the source of meaning, and we today should do the same as a matter of proper exegesis. Nov 12, 2023 at 15:55
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    As CCC 469 states: There is no “human Jesus” without “Jesus, God”.
    – ABM K
    Nov 12, 2023 at 17:04
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    In general, your answer doesn't really match up with what I've read in the Summa nor the Catechism. My understanding is we Catholics believe the bread literally turns into God, and is no longer bread. The substance in "transubstantiation" is the essence of what the object is, and at time T1 the substance is "bread" and at time T2 after the priest performs the ritual it is now "God". Are you yourself Catholic and answering from the Catholic perspective, or a non-Catholic answering from what you think Catholics believe?
    – yters
    Nov 12, 2023 at 21:28

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