In many countries, especially in the Americas, devotion of Roman Catholics to their church is increasingly ragged. What is Pope John Paul II's solution? Round-the-clock worship of the wafer-god.
In his Redemptor Hominis encyclical (special letter to all the church) he urges the church leaders to make adoration of the wafer the center of church life.
In response, many churches are asking their parishioners to join a 24-hour-a-day vigil before the "Blessed Sacrament." Special Roman Catholic missionaries are touring US Catholic churches establishing chapels of perpetual adoration of the communion wafer. They claim to have approximately 1,000 such chapels in operation.
"Perpetual adoration is simply a way of making Jesus the center of life of the people of God as the Holy Father has exhorted us," says Priest Martin Lucia, head of the missionary effort. But this is a strange "Jesus." Few Protestants realize that the Roman Catholic Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. Their Jesus is a round wafer made of wheat flour that has been blessed by an ordained Roman priest and magically turned into the "Real Presence" of Jesus. By this they mean that the wafer (along with the wine) becomes, according to the Council of Trent, "the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ."
After the "consecration" of the wheat wafer by the official priest the Council declares: "that there is a change of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into blood; and this change the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation."
Protestants are so accustomed to the simple logic that the elements are symbols of the covenant of the cross, that it is hard for them to believe otherwise. It looks like a wafer, it smells like a wafer, it tastes like a wafer but the pope says it is Jesus. And he expects a billion people to believe him?!
Further investigation reveals a diabolical bondage constructed around this head game.
If this wafer is really Jesus, then I cannot talk to Him just anywhere. I have to go where He is. And the pope's priests are taught to keep Him under tight control. He must be kept in a special box or displayed in a special stand (monstrance) in the church. I must go there to meet Him.
But to get to this Jesus I must have the help of a priest. He must first take the wheat wafer and magically "consecrate" it using some mysterious Latin words. Then if I want to "receive Jesus" I must stick out my tongue and let the priest place Jesus on my tongue. If I chew it and swallow it does this make me a cannibal?
And the pope also says that if I do not do this frequently my chances of going to heaven when I die are zero. Is this what Jesus really meant when he said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed?" (John 8:36)
Did He really intend for the pope and his priests to have that kind of control over my eternal destiny? Is not Jesus Himself the only priest I need?