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The Real Presence

By Judie Brown

The Catholic diocese of Oakland, California, is in for an immense blessing. Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J. is organizing a diocesan-wide Eucharistic Congress to be held June 19-20, 2020.

Bishop Barber was shocked and dismayed at the results of a recent Pew Research Poll claiming that only 1/3 of Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. These findings inspired him to act. In preparing for the Eucharistic Congress, Barber wrote his flock:

We are reaching out to you for support. Your generosity and your prayer will allow this 2020 Diocesan Eucharistic Congress truly to be a vehicle for many to appreciate more fully the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, celebrate it with courage, and become messengers of His life in a world searching for meaning. . . .

This will not be our only response to the decline of belief in this central mystery of the Faith. I am charging our Pastors, Religious Education Directors, Catechists, and Youth Leaders to respond with classes and spiritual activities to reinforce the Church’s teaching of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Real Presence will also be the theme of our annual Catechetical Convention in August 2020.

In other words, Barber is feeding his sheep and is doing so with a sincere heart for the crisis of ignorance we face in our society today—a total lack of education on the truth that Christ is truly present—body, blood, soul, and divinity—in the Eucharist.

Similarly, there is another truth we must teach, and that is, from his biological beginning, a preborn child is a human being no different than you and me. Here merely resides elsewhere and is not visible to the naked eye.

The similarities between the truth regarding the real presence of Christ and the real presence of the preborn child are undeniable, though not everyone agrees.

Pro-abortion obstetrician-gynecologist Brenda Pereda, MD recently wrote that “abortion is extremely safe.” She claims that politicians with moral views on abortion are endangering “reproductive health that impact the lives of women.”

Pereda’s suggestions that abortion is safe and that “pregnant people” are political fodder for extremists exposes her deceptive tactics. Pereda has earned a medical degree in obstetrics and gynecology, yet she never learned the scientific truth that a human being exists from his beginning? We doubt that!

Pereda denies the real presence of the preborn child because she has a political agenda.

Sadly, Pereda is not alone, though in her case at least she did not identify herself as a Catholic. Not so with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) who recently argued that effective use of contraception would decrease the need for abortion. Of course, Eshoo is speaking with a forked tongue since she supports abortion in any circumstance. In fact, NARAL Pro-Choice America has given Eshoo a 100% grade on her voting record.

Eshoo, like so many pro-abortion Catholics, denies the fact that abortion is an evil practice that always results in the death of a member of the human family.

The truth of the real presence of the preborn child does not serve her political agenda.

Regardless, we who know the truth will continue to teach it.

We praise God for Church shepherds like Bishop Barber who have the courage, as St. John Paul II taught, to teach that “the Eucharist, as Christ’s saving presence in the community of the faithful and its spiritual food, is the most precious possession which the Church can have in her journey through history.”

We ask the Lord to give each of us the courage to never cease in teaching these truths. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist sustains us; the real presence of the preborn child compels us to fight for his right to live.

We go forth inspired by St. John Paul II’s profound words: “In the humble signs of bread and wine, changed into his body and blood, Christ walks beside us as our strength and our food for the journey, and he enables us to become, for everyone, witnesses of hope.”

The presence is real!