Now that I have finished my critique of the beliefs of Roman Catholicism in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I will turn my attention to examining the most popular miraculous evidence used in favor of Catholicism. When dealing with claims to the miraculous, we must always keep the warnings of Scripture in mind:
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him” (Deut 13:1-4).
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thess 2:9-10).
If someone makes claims to signs and wonders, even if it appears from our perspective that a miracle has taken place, we must not follow that person if he teaches contrary to God’s Word because the Bible is our ultimate authority in matters of faith and practice. This was the teaching of the early church fathers as well.
One of the most common arguments used to support the truthfulness of Roman Catholicism is the appeal to eucharistic miracles. The miracles of the Eucharist are what are claimed to be eucharistic hosts which have been literally transformed into the real human flesh of Jesus Christ. They are not merely a change of nature, but also a change in the species or outward form of the bread. It is claimed that the miracle of Lanciano preserves the literal flesh of Christ since it is reported that scientists claim that what remains of the eucharistic host is genuine tissue from a heart.
But there is an insurmountable problem with using eucharistic miracles to argue for Roman Catholicism: they violate the definition of Chalcedon which is part of the Fourth Ecumenical Council which Catholicism teaches is infallible. The definition states:
“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”
According to this definition, to the two natures of Christ (his full humanity and full divinity) exist together in one person inconfusedly with “the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved.” Each nature of Christ has its own distinct properties which distinguish it from the other nature. The properties or attributes of both natures are communicated to the one person who is Christ, but they are not communicated to each other. His humanity does not become divinized and his divinity does not become humanized. Christ, with respect to his divine nature, is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present at once). But with respect to his human nature, as a man, he is not all-powerful, infinite in knowledge, and present everywhere at once. Both of these things are true at the same time.
The reason eucharistic miracles violate the definition of Chalcedon is because if these body parts truly come from Christ, then the property of each nature would no longer be preserved resulting in some form of monophysitism. The distinction between Christ’s physical body which cannot be in more than one place at one time would be blurred together with his divinity which is omnipresent. Eucharistic miracles result in the conclusion that Christ’s literal heart of flesh can be in more than one place at one time: in heaven at the right hand of God and on earth in Lanciano. His physical body would then take on the divine attribute of omnipresence imputing omnipresence to Christ’s physical body and blur the distinction between the two natures of Christ. If eucharistic miracles are true, then the definition of Chalcedon is false. But since the definition of Chalcedon comes from Pope Leo I when he was defining the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, it cannot be false according to papal infallibility.
This is the same argument Calvinists use against Lutherans because Lutherans believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist without believing that the nature of the bread is transubstantiated into the nature of Christ’s body. Since Christ’s physical body is in, with, and under the elements of bread and wine in Lutheranism, they must conclude that Christ’s physical body is literally present every time the Eucharist is celebrated. Lutherans teach that since Christ is literally and bodily present in the Eucharist, his physical body must take on the attribute of omnipresence blurring the distinction between the two natures.
If these eucharistic miracles are truly the literal body and blood of Christ, then why hasn’t the Catholic Church done DNA testing on them yet to determine if they come from someone of Jewish ancestry? Why haven’t they compared the DNA from these miracles with the DNA on the Shroud of Turin or the Sudarium of Oviedo to see if they match? The reason is because they are afraid that the results will not turn out in their favor. They have already been disappointed once with the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. If these eucharistic miracles are not from the body of Christ, then those who have been giving eucharistic adoration to them have been committing idolatry since they are not worshiping Christ.
The Catholic Church has a long history of manufacturing forgeries and these miracles are no different. If the flesh at Lanciano is heart tissue, then someone in the leadership of the church, driven by the philosophy that the ends justify the means, took heart tissue from the body of someone recently deceased and then presented it as a eucharistic miracle to aid the faith of the church. The fictional story behind it was created afterward to make it more believable. While it is claimed that this miracle took place in the eighth century, the first written record of the story behind it only dates back to 1636. This means that there is almost a thousand-year gap between when this miracle was alleged to have taken place and any written record about it.
The flesh of Lanciano appears to be rotten instead of being well-preserved as we would expect a miracle to be. Because the glorified body of Jesus cannot suffer decay and is imperishable, the flesh of Lanciano cannot be from the body of the risen Jesus (1 Cor 15:42). Jesus is alive forevermore, not partially alive in heaven and partially dead on earth (Rom 6:9).
Another reason eucharistic miracles are false is because they contradict Acts 3:21 which says that Christ’s physical body must remain in heaven until the time for restoring all things at his second coming. But if these eucharistic miracles are pieces from the physical body of Christ, then parts of him have not remained in heaven, but are also with us here on earth to be worshiped. Instead, Peter teaches that Christ will remain physically in heaven until the last day.
It should also be pointed out that many of the stories behind eucharistic miracles are anti-Semitic in nature involving Jews stealing eucharistic hosts only to have them spurt blood when they try to desecrate them. Does the Catholic Church really want to endorse these anti-Semitic stories as true? If these stories are not true, then it calls into question the truthfulness of the other stories associated with eucharistic miracles.
I have noticed in my research of claims to miracles in Catholicism that the evidence which is brought up to support these alleged miracles is almost never properly documented. The articles just quote each other in a circle spreading urban legends without any care to fact-check their arguments. It’s also frustrating because we do not have access to all of the scientific data we need in order to make a fair assessment of whether a true miracle has taken place. This is because the Catholic Church cannot allow the possibility that these alleged miracles could be proven frauds because they have already defined them as true. As a result, no new scientific testing is allowed that could potentially undermine their claims.