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Catholic Vegetarians?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have no idea if this is the right forum for this question, but here goes. We are happily vegetarian family forr whom it is time to enroll dd #1 in CCD classes for first communion preparation. When I mentioned this to dd, she looked me in the eye and said, "I'm not going, and you can't make me." Shocked (more by her choice of battles than by her willingness to fight), I inquired as to the problem with CCD classes (she loves going to church, I thought she would get a kick out of this). She replied, "I don't want to eat the body of Christ; I won't be a vegetarian anymore. And they can't change my mind."

Has anyone else faced this issue? Please help. I'm at a loss (and I almost have a Master's in Catholic theology)! Do I stay uninvolved and send her to the class anyway to let someone else deal with her issue, or do I try to homeschool the material and pray it somehow works itself out?

Any advice would be helpful (if you can stop laughing long enough to give it). Thanks.
post #2 of 14
Wow! I never thought of that! I grew up Catholic but don't really practice anymore. DD is in Catholic school. I am vegetarian. You may wanna cross post in Spirituality.

Here is my take: She is not killing, harming, or physically ingesting flesh. Even a Priest will tell you the wafer placed in your moth is flour/water. If she nelievesit is His body, what does that mean, Catholics are cannibals? hmmm, that would be a whole new issue. Mention this to her and if I get a chance I will do a search for you...
post #3 of 14
I have never heard of this either. I would just explain to her that the wafer is merely a symbol of Christ and not actually Christ himself. I would go to your priest and ask him to tell her what the wafers are made of. Hopefully that is a tiny bit helpful.

Good luck!
post #4 of 14
Also, I think this would be good in the Spirituality forum. Let me know if it's OK for me to copy it and put it there. Just PM me or something! Thanks!
post #5 of 14
The kickcer is Catholicism teachesit is NOT just a symbol, but becomes that of the body and blood of Christ, tis where it gets DEEP! I have bben doing web searches but no luck, but plenty of Christians for vegetarianism sites!
post #6 of 14
Well, I've been Catholic all of my life and have actually had this discussion with my priest. It is clear that the wafer is not meat but is flour and water. I understand that when they bless the wafer and wine they say that it "becomes the body and blood of Christ" but it is not meat. It's what's in your heart that makes it what it is. It is a symbol just as the prayers that we say are symbols of our belief(s). I think trying to explain it too deeply to a 7 or 8 year old would be a mistake.
post #7 of 14
I think the Body of Christ is a spiritual connection and that it means you are taking in part of the Holy Catholic Church. I may be wrong. :
post #8 of 14
ok, not trying to be a smart ass, I swear, but:
Does she eat goldfish crackers? If she does then it might be useful as a discussion tool.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
It is fine to cross-post in Spirituality for me. In fact, please do, I don't know how to paste it over there.

The inability to use the symbolism route is what is making this tough; if we were Protestant, we would have it made! Yes, the wafer itself is flour and water, but my understanding is that "transubstantiation" occurs during the blessing, and the wafers and wine miraculously "become" the body and blood of Christ. That is why they must all be consumed, not stored, and why debate has raged over whether it is OK to chew the host.

Someone mentioned that trying to explain this to someone so young is a mistake. Well, she raised the question and I have been raising her vegetarian, so I think an honest attempt to answer is in order. Also, the Church holds off on First Communion until "the age of reason" presumably so that the child can understand and will be able to give informed/educated consent, unlike at baptism, when parents unilaterally make the decision for the child. Obviously, many seven year olds are not permitted to refuse First Communion, so there is another opportunity to deal with these questions at Confimation. I do believe, however, that if you are going to introduce your child to the practice of (any) religion, and if you hope it will be meaningful for them, then you should make an effort to ensure that they understand what they are doing.

I might be missing something, but I don't get the Goldfish analogy. Also not trying to be a smart-ass, we aren't talking about gingerbread men; so I'm sure you have something deeper in mind.

Thanks for the food for thought, so to speak.
post #10 of 14
As I said, remind her if she takes it TOO literally she'd be saying that she as a Catholic is a cannibal. Do you have a trusted Ctaholic person like Priest, or Nun to talk to her about it?
post #11 of 14
Well, I'm a Protestant meat-eater, but this is my thought. The point of being vegetarian is so that you don't cause animals to die. We already caused Christ to die because of our sins. There's nothing she can do to "fix" that. Partaking of the body won't be causing new death; rather, it's possible because Christ already died for us. Becoming a Christian actually makes His death not be in vain.
post #12 of 14
And may I congratulate you on having such a deep thinking daughter - even though this would be easier if she wasn't!
post #13 of 14
Meg's Mom in a recent discussion on alcohol in pregnancy, revealed what the real deal may be. "It's blood, but it retains the properties of wine". [so it's still alcohol]. So, it's flesh, but with the PROPERTIES OF BREAD. It's spiritual blood and spiritual flesh, kinda. Not symbolic, but not ordinary bread or wine either. (a voice pops into my head saying "MAGIC BREAD!") You need to find a Jesuit to talk about this with. They're always good with this stuff. And since Christ's sacrifice removed the need to make animal sacrifices, for a veg, that's a great thing. Person, with the capacity to refuse, chooses to die, not the animals who have no choice in the matter.

It sounds to me like there's a deeper spiritual or emotional issue than just the host. That might be the easiest excuse rather than rebelling or rejecting it directly and saying "Mom, I don't want to be Catholic." Can she talk with a CCD teacher, or a friendly youth-oriented person at church? Or maybe you can wait for her confirmation until she's ready? It would be worst, IMO for her to go along without being committed to a future life as a Catholic. Perhaps a good comparative religions class (the Jesuits are good at those too) would help her understand more so she can embrace it for both what it is, and for what it isn't.
post #14 of 14
I would explain that Christ gave up his body as a sacrifice. I would also show her the story in the Bible this comes from. Matthew 26: 26 is a specific verse, there are other references.

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