Pope John Paul II has declared a formal "Year of the Eucharist" from October 2004 to October 2005. He has expressed concern with certain "shadows" that have obscured the true understanding and "adoration" of the holy wafer. Apparently some Roman Catholic clergy and members have moved away from idolizing the wafer to more of a "fraternal banquet."
This is highly threatening to the pope and the whole structure of Roman priestcraft. For over a thousand years the Eucharist has been "the center of the Church's life."
Few Protestants today understand the implications of this belief. To them, the bread and "wine" is a simple reminder of the new "testament" (agreement) between God and man of the redemption from sin bought by Christ's death in our place.
But over the centuries, popery has made the wafer, itself, the actual god of Roman Catholicism. They call it the dogma of the Real Presence. The Council of Trent declared that "in the sacrament of the most holy, Holy Eucharist is contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ."
Anyone who doubts that this wafer becomes a god need only to look at the activities related to its worship. To make the mysterious change from wheat wafer to the actual "body, blood, soul and divinity" of Jesus requires a specially ordained priest.
After this bit of magic, the wafer is treated like any other idol. It is placed for worship in a special little house called a tabernacle. Or it is displayed for "adoration" in a monstrance, a sunburst shaped stand where the "faithful" can bow before it. Or it is eaten during the mass as a continuation of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Sometimes the monstrance is carried in a parade, or "procession," in honor of the wafer god. Or it is placed in a chapel for "perpetual adoration" where faithful Roman Catholics rotate around the clock bowing and praying to it.
This wafer god has his own goddess. Pope John Paul II urges the faithful to "contemplate the Eucharist with the eyes of Mary" during this Eucharistic Year. Catholicism's view is that "it is through Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, that mankind meets the Savior of the world, the son of Mary. During this special year, the pope also celebrates the 150th anniversary of the "Immaculate Conception" where the Virgin Mary Goddess was declared to have been born without sin, thus giving her another attribute equal to Christ.
As a further inducement to diligently observe this Year of the Eucharist, Catholic World News announced that, "Pope John Paul II has granted a plenary indulgence for Catholics who participate in veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist." In other words, worship of the wafer god can get time in purgatory reduced.
Biblical support for this idolatry comes from a perverse interpretation of Luke 22 and John 6. Jesus' symbolic language tying His sacrifice to the New Covenant is interpreted literally. This neatly fits Rome's scheme of spiritual bondage. If you believe that the wafer is literally Jesus, then you must come to the priest to "receive Jesus." Since only the priest can forgive (absolve) your sins, you dare not try to find salvation in any other "church." And, because Christ's sacrifice is not sufficient to cleanse all sin, indulgences must be obtained to shorten your time in purgatory where you "purge" some sins by your own suffering.
Other biblical support is claimed by Acts 2:42 and 1 Corinthians 10: 15-17. But this hardly portrays the apostles and the early church as bowing in worship to their "bread." In fact, the Corinthian passage is in a context where Paul is discussing idol worship. Can there be any more abominable idol than the Pope's wafer god?