(ZENIT News – Porta Luz / Washington, D.C., 24.10.2023).- Almost two-thirds of American Catholics believe in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist, although only 17% of adult Catholics go to Mass at least once a week, according to a recently published study (click to read) by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) of Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.).
The 2022 survey of those identifying themselves as Catholics, published on September 26 and entitled” Eucharist Beliefs: A National Survey of Adult Catholics” found that 64% of those surveyed believe in the Real Presence; that Jesus Christ, Son of God, is really present in the Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. The conclusion was extracted from the open and closed questions posed to those surveyed about their understanding of the Church’s Doctrine on the Eucharist and other questions to clarify their beliefs.
In this connection, CARA pointed out that they sought the greatest possible transparency in planning the survey and, hence, they began with the following “question without help and open: In your own words, what do you believe happens with the gifts of bread and wine after the Consecration during the Mass?”
The result of the survey shows that “the majority of those that do not believe in the Real Presence do not reject the teaching, given that they don’t know that it is what the Church teaches,” notes the CARA Report.
The survey’s objective was to test or clarify the findings of a Pew Research Center survey published in August 2019, according to which. . . “only one-third of American Catholics (31%) said they believe that ‘during the Catholic Mass, the bread and wine really become the Body and Blood of Jesus.’”
Hence Pew’s research was part of the reasons for the National Eucharistic Revival that the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of the United States (USCCB) launched last year, and that included a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. The initiative intends to “inspire a Movement of Catholics throughout the United States to be healed, to convert, to be formed and to unite in an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, who will then be sent on mission ‘for the life of the world,’” states their Web page.
Although the new CARA study shows that more Catholics believe in the Real Presence than in the Pew study, it still stresses the need of the Eucharistic Revival, said Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, President of the USCCB’s Evangelization and Catechesis Committee.
“It’s still not good news,” said Bishop Cozzens to OSV News. “What it reveals is that there are . . . people that say they believe in the Eucharist, but they don’t go to Mass. In that sense, they have obviously not had a real encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist.”