A question to ponder

by Cathy I. Maxim

My daughter attended Franciscan University as a freshman last year. As a result, I was introduced to your thoughtfully provocative journal and decided that it might provide just the right forum for discussion of a question which has nagged me for some time.

Some months ago, I was accosted by a fundamentalist friend who asked me what Catholics believe. I responded with a recitation of the Apostles Creed. He then asked me which doctrine of faith was the most important in my estimation. I thought a moment and, realizing that as Christians we were in agreement on many issues of faith, I by-passed mention of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ and headed for the true heart of our faith which sets us singularly apart from all our Christian brethren. I told him that we believe that Jesus Christ is truly present always in the Blessed Sacrament. But, upon reflection later that evening, I was surprised to realize that this beloved doctrine, so central to our faith, was not mentioned either in the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed!

I am truly puzzled about this omission. But, more important, I am disturbed if not alarmed by reports of the vast numbers of Catholics who no longer believe in the Real Presence of our Savior in our tabernacles, or even, perhaps, at the moment of Transubstantiation! I cannot help but wonder if this would be the case today if one of our credos had included this teaching (perhaps citing the Last Supper as the first Mass?). Can anyone explain to me why so important an article of faith was not included in either creed?

I know little about liturgical changes or the ecclesial channels which implement them. But it seems the words of the consecration alone unfortunately do not disperse the doubts of all, nor the rampant heresy. Does anyone else feel, as I, that if a prayer proclaiming this belief were to be inserted into the liturgy, the faithful would at the very least be regularly called upon to state their belief in this truth, and that it might even provoke a thoughtful examination of conscience on this matter and help to rectify the distorted definition of the term “Catholic”?

Cathy I. Maksim

Mrs. Maksim is the mother of former FUS student Marjorie Maksim, who is currently seeking to enter the Nashville Dominican sisters. The family live in Santa Clara, California.