I read with interest the article in Look, March 18, 1958, entitled “Out of the Shadows.” It is the story of a Roman Catholic priest’s victory over alcoholism through Alcoholics Anonymous. The story was written by Al Hirshberg and the Catholic priest, “Father” Pfau, and was approved by the priest’s ecclesiastical superiors. After “Father” Pfau had overcome his alcoholism he relates how he almost slipped one day while saying Mass. In partaking of the wine of the Eucharist his system became upset with the desire for a drink. Two tablespoonfuls prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church for validity had not been enough to cause a reaction previously. This day, as he found out later, wine containing 22 percent alcohol had been substituted and he struggled with a “terrible, compulsive craving” for a drink.
According to Roman Catholic dogma when the priest consecrates the wine it becomes the actual blood of Christ. The Council of Trent stated,
…this holy Synod now declares anew, that through consecration of the bread and wine there comes about a conversion 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. And this conversion is by the Holy Catholic Church conveniently and properly called transubstantiation.
Webster’s Dictionary defines substance as “real, unchanging essence or nature of a thing; that which constitutes anything what it is, essential element or elements; characteristic components, material of which a thing is made.” In transubstantiation (so the theory goes) the “whole substance” of the wine is converted into the blood of Christ, and the wine becomes the literal blood of Christ.
Now this problem arises: If, when the priest consecrated the wine it turned into the blood of Christ why did it upset his system and stimulate his desire for alcohol? For that matter, what difference would it make as to how strong the wine was or how much he drank of it after he had consecrated it since the “whole substance” of the wine had been changed into the blood of Christ? He excuses this difficulty by saying that while the substance of the wine is changed, the alcohol has the same effect on the human system after consecration as it did before. If the “whole substance” (the essential elements, the component parts) are changed how could there be any alcohol in what he drank? Certainly the 22 percent alcohol was an essential element in the wine and must have been changed when consecrated. Imagine “Father” Pfau’s drinking of Christ’s blood with it containing 22 percent alcohol!
Roman Catholicism requires great faith, for it is a blind, unreasoning faith. This is clearly demonstrated in the doctrine of Transubstantiation. After the “magic words” of consecration the wine still looks like wine, it still tastes like wine, it still feels like wine, it still smells like wine, (and we find now that it still contains the same amount of alcohol), but it is the blood of Christ.
When Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper he said, “Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood,” and the Roman Catholics take this statement literally. When Jesus said, “The seed is the word of God” it is understood that the word of God is not literal seed, but that Jesus meant the seed represents the word of God. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper the disciples understood that the fruit of the vine represented his blood. The Roman Catholics admit without embarrassment the peculiar position they hold in saying that Christ’s literal blood was in the cup he offered and in His body at the same time! And now we find that one can become inebriated from drinking blood. “Father” Pfau’s admission is very interesting.