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I am merely making an observation here. I am not saying that this particular practice is wrong or anything like that.

Just stop and think about it. The Catholics believe that when blessed the host and wine become the body and blood of Christ. They mean it literally does, not symbolically. Is it just me or is that sort of creepy? That's right up there with sacrificing chickens and drinking snake venom. Please do not bother to explain the symbolic and holy meaning of this practice to me here unless you truly feel that someone else may benefit because I am already fully aware.

Now on the other hand, if you want to explain the holy and symbolic meaning behind sacrificing chickens to me, that would be kind of cool. :)

This is just a small thesis of mine, but I think the whole cannibalization deal was created to influence pagans to join the christian movement. At the time, sacrificial offerings were all the rage with the Roman belief system. Whether Jesus had the foresight to add this bit of persuation to his preachings or whether it was added later, I do not know, but it makes a bit of sense. Most religions(at the time) felt the need to please their gods by sacrificing something of worth. Is not their spiritual leader the highest offering possible? This bit of dogma made the transition from Paganism to Christianity simpler by adhering some similar traits.

Another example of the Christians's use of this persuasive tactic is Christmas, previously Saturnalia (where there was much "merriment") on the Winter Solstice(coincidentally close to Dec. 25'th? I think not). They had no clue when Jesus' birthday was, so they converted a Pagan holiday and included several of its practices:caroling, mistletoe,the candle procession(think Midnight Mass) and gift giving, to name a few(If anyone can think of anymore, I'd be happy to add them).

I will concede that it is more than possible that the pagans might have added some of these ideas/traditions after they had converted, and caused the current holiday amalgamation. Inevitably, we will never know the true origin and which came first, the practice or the pagans. Who is John Galt?.

TheAnglican has pointed out lots of interesting history, although I'd like to contribute two more points.

  • Catholics actually do believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ during the consecration. The official teaching by the Vatican is the essence of the bread and wine change while the physical appearance remain the same. However, there have been several occasions where the physical appearance change as well, the most famous of which is probably Lanciano.
  • The Catholic teaching about eating of the flesh and blood is not to appeal to cannibalistic pagans in past times as serendipitous13 suggested, but it is actually because Catholics view Jesus' sacrifice as the new Covenant between God and Man. The Old Covenant, which can be found in the book of Exodus, was handed down during Jewish slavery in Egypt. The Jewish people were freed by the intervention of God through the slaying of every first born Egyptian child and animal. The night of the slaying, the Jews were instructed by God to take an unblemished male lamb and kill it. They were then to take the blood and put it on their door, and for every member of the household to eat the lamb. They were then to repeat this practice every year and it came to be known as the Passover. Those were the terms of the Covenant. Catholics view Jesus' sacrifice as the one that frees humanity not from the slavery of the Egyptians, but this time from the slavery of sin and death. Jesus takes the place of the lamb and that is the reason Catholics believe they are eating of his flesh and blood. It is for this reason Jesus is also frequently referred to as "the lamb that was slain". 

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