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A Catholic priest consecrating Holy Communion. Photo by Josh Applegate via Unsplash.

By Anita Crane, Human Life International, August 23, 2019

Many Americans take polls seriously, and many Catholic Americans are discouraged by Pew Research Center’s survey about a so-called majority of Catholics who don’t believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist. However, we should beware of any poll, survey or study that claims findings on the thoughts or beliefs of all Catholics or all Americans. We should beware because it’s impossible to survey all Catholics or all Americans.

Gregory Smith, an associate director of Pew Research Center, alarmed Catholic bishops, HLI President Father Shenan Boquet, other priests, and laypeople with his article: “Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ.”

Smith opens with this: “Transubstantiation – the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ – is central to the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that ‘the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’”

That’s true, but starting with the second paragraph, Pew makes sweeping and misleading statements:

“But a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most self-described Catholics don’t believe this core teaching. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion ‘are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.’ Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that ‘during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.’” ….