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Jesuit head of Asian Catholic news agency criticizes transubstantiation

May 25, 2010

Stating that “Catholics can become fanatical about one form of the Body of Christ in the bread of the Eucharist as the REAL presence of Christ,” Father Michael Kelly, the Jesuit CEO of the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News, criticized the doctrine of transubstantiation in a May 24 column.

In his column-- a critique of the new, more accurate liturgical translations that reflect the content and dignity of the original Latin-- Father Kelly writes:

Regrettably, all too frequently, the only Presence focused on is Christ’s presence in the elements of bread and wine. Inadequately described as the change of the “substance” (not the “accidents”) of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, the mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist carries the intellectual baggage of a physics no one accepts. Aristotelian physics makes such nice, however implausible and now unintelligible, distinctions. They are meaningless in the post-Newtonian world of quantum physics, which is the scientific context we live in today.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, on the other hand, teaches:

The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation." (no. 1376)


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  • Posted by: Bernadette - May. 26, 2010 4:38 PM ET USA

    Father, where's your Roman collar? Interesting to note that not one comment in the UCA News was in support of your claims, Father! The laity are catching up on 40+ years in the desert and "winter of discontent"!

  • Posted by: Bernadette - May. 26, 2010 4:28 PM ET USA

    Joseph Paul, you are waiting in vain. Nothing will happen to Father Kelly. The Jesuit order has apostatized and can no longer be counted upon to teach Truth. Of course, there are a few left; i.e. Fr. Fessio, Fr. Pacwa, Fr. Buckley, etc...but the majority have become social scientists and have run their once-famous universities into the ground. It is a great pity and St. Ignatius Loyola weeps. Their allegiance is no longer with Jesus and His Church. Do not entrust your children to them!

  • Posted by: - May. 26, 2010 12:51 PM ET USA

    Doesn't this priest believe in miracles?

  • Posted by: Alcuin - May. 26, 2010 11:11 AM ET USA

    Father Kelly clearly does not know how to program a computer. The substance/accident distinctions is the key to object oriented programming. In short, the distinction is only unintelligible if you're digitally illiterate...

  • Posted by: happyseaotter8027 - May. 26, 2010 1:12 AM ET USA

    This priest obviously does not understand Transubstantiation and is showing himself to be a fool by making public statements that reflect his confusion. I was under the impression that Jesuits are very schooled in theology; it appears this priest slipped through the cracks. It will be interesting to see what the Church has to say about his remarks.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 25, 2010 10:04 PM ET USA

    This world, yours, mine, and Fr Kelly's suffers from too much quantum physics and not enough telelogy. I have just read a tract published in London in 1685 to attack the "Catholick" belief in the Real Presence. It's even pre-Newtonian as young Issac has just arrived at Oxford, and yet Fr Kelly repeats its talking points: fanatical belief, superstition, a preference for this symbol of Christ's presence over all other symbols. Can't they come up with something new in 325 years?

  • Posted by: Athelstan - May. 25, 2010 9:38 PM ET USA

    It's getting awfully tiresome hearing heresy from Jesuits. Once the order was Catholic. Is it time to suppress the order once again, or just start cleaning house?

  • Posted by: - May. 25, 2010 6:56 PM ET USA

    I find transsubstantiation as taught by the Church a whole lot easier to accept than the notion that personal infallibility can inhere in an individual Jesuit.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - May. 25, 2010 3:53 PM ET USA

    Would you receive Communion from this man?

  • Posted by: Antonius86 - May. 25, 2010 10:17 AM ET USA

    Sadly this Jesuit must have failed his philosophy training. It's true that Aristotle's physics are, in fact, inferior to the science of the scientific revolution. HOWEVER, the doctrine of transubstantiation stands on Aristotle's METAphysics, NOT his physics. It's a metaphysical definition, not a merely physical one. That the substance of the bread and wine becomes Christ's Body and Blood, His Real Sacramental Presence, is true regardless of the latest quantum theory.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - May. 25, 2010 9:50 AM ET USA

    Foolish and erroneous remarks from yet another Jesuit off the beam. Modern physics has not invalidated all of Aristotle's philosophy of nature certainly not the concepts of substance and accidents. Plus in quantum physics there is a debate whether that substructure "really exists" or is simply a mathematical system which accounts for the appearances and allows predictability. Sadly it does not sound like this Jesuit really believes Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist.

  • Posted by: - May. 25, 2010 9:31 AM ET USA

    What is it with Jesuits and these delusions of grandeur?

  • Posted by: Joseph Paul - May. 25, 2010 6:24 AM ET USA

    He is not a Catholic. That simple. When is his superior going to stand him down? The thing the Church has been lacking is good governance whether it be from bishops or heads of religious orders. We are awaiting this one with interest.