EW goes to catechism class

I am always amazed by the amount of information that we receive day after day, week after week, from faithful, and even faithless, GetReligion readers. We would be dead in the water if not for the many interesting URLs that people send us for "haunted" stories in their local media. We also enjoy learn quite a bit from many, even most, of the comments that we receive that are linked to the journalism issues that are at the heart of what we do.

Often, we hear from journalists linked to the publications that we write about and, often, these journalists -- for perfectly valid reasons -- may not want their comments published or their names used. Still, we appreciate the the feedback and information that they share.

With all of this in mind, thank you to the friend of the blog who spotted an actual Entertainment Weekly response to a reader who was concerned (and less angry than moi) in response to that silly, sad or, yes, despicable item that ran the other day linked to coverage of the now omnipresent "Lost Supper" promotional photos from ABC.

Lost? To catch up on this mini-drama, click here. One more time, here's the EW item itself:

FUN FACT! The Last Supper -- Jesus' final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion -- is commemorated by Christians through the sacrament of Communion, the eating of bread and drinking of wine in remembrance of Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection. Some Christians believe that when you eat the bread and drink the wine, the stuff actually converts into the body and blood of Jesus during digestion, although their appearances remain the same. (Which explains the weird carpentry aftertaste.) This miraculous conversion is known by a fancy term: Transubstantiation, "the conversion of one substance into another." Example sentence: "If Jack's 'Jughead' plans works, he and the castaways will be transubstantiated into a new reality."

As it turns out, a teacher in a Catholic high school wrote in to point out the error of writer Jeff Jensen's theological ways.

As often happens in this day and age, this material comes to us via Facebook. Here is the whole exchange and I would urge readers to check out the comments linked to Jensen's Facebook item:

A clarification on Transubstantiation

I received this gracious email from a reader and a More Knowledgeable Person About Transubstantiation Than I offering insight on my glib application of the concept in my recent EW.com analyzing the third and final Lost/Last Supper photo:

Jeff,

Have loved your Lost column for years. I have to correct you on this, though: "Some Christians believe that when you eat the bread and drink the wine, the stuff actually converts into the body and blood of Jesus during digestion, although their appearances remain the same. (Which explains the weird carpentry aftertaste.) This miraculous conversion is known by a fancy term: Transubstantiation."

There isn't any Christian denomination that believes the change in substance occurs during digestion. The teaching of the Catholic Church does indeed include transubstantiation, but we believe that the change in substance occurs during the Mass when the priest says the words of consecration. From that moment on, it is bread and wine only in appearance, and the body and blood of Christ in substance. This is why Catholics practice Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, wherein we spend time in prayer before the exposed Host, which is the Real Presence of Christ, remaining so even when unconsumed. This is also why any "leftover" hosts after Mass are reserved in the tabernacle behind the altar, and Catholic are always to genuflect when passing in front of the tabernacle.

Keep up the great work -- looking forward to Totally Lost!

Regards,

Tom McDonald Theology Dept. McGill-Toolen Catholic High School 1501 Old Shell Road Mobile, AL 36606

Yes, once again we see that words matter on the religion beat, even in the world weary pages of Entertainment Weekly.

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