Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North of Boston, MA
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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.