Now beliefs like those can make Catholic beliefs about transubstantiation seem almost plausible in comparison. And yet the Raëlians have performed a nice experiment on Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist. They subjected consecrated hosts to DNA testing and found only wheat DNA. So if Jesus is really present, he's a plant.
Of course, Catholics will tell you that this result is consistent with their beliefs. Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist -- body, blood, soul, and divinity. It's just that it doesn't look (and taste) that way. The "substance" of the bread has been miraculously and completely changed into the "substance" of Jesus. Only the "appearance" of the bread remains.
Still, if Catholic doctrine is true, there should be some way to detect Jesus's presence in "the Blessed Sacrament." And there are many examples of Catholic "experiments" that claim to do exactly that. One of the most interesting of these involves Pope Francis.
Pope Francis's Eucharistic ExperimentThe story begins in 1996 when Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) was Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires. On the evening of August 16, a priest in Buenos Aires was distributing communion at mass, when a woman came up to him with a wafer (presumably consecrated) that she found at the back of the church.
Now the ordinary procedure in such cases is for the priest to consume the wafer, but he decided not to, since he didn't know where this wafer had been. So he did the next best thing: he placed it in a bowl of water and put the bowl in the tabernacle for safekeeping. (The idea here is that the wafer will dissolve in the water and the resulting solution can then be poured down a special sink in the sacristy which is plumbed directly to the ground instead of the sewer.)
Eight days later, on August 26, the priest opened the tabernacle and found this:
The priest contacted Bishop Bergoglio and asked him what to do. The future pope said to take a picture of it, and a picture was taken two weeks later on September 6. (The above picture is the one that was supposedly sent to Bishop Bergoglio.) In the meantime, the priest kept the whole bloody mess locked away in the tabernacle for three years, without telling anyone else about it.
Finally, in 1999, the now-Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed. So it was sent to Frederick Zugibe in New York for analysis. Care was taken, of course, not to tell Dr. Zugibe where it came from to avoid prejudicing the analysis.
The analysis showed that the sample contained human DNA and was composed of human flesh and blood. Dr. Zugibe was able to show that the tissue was from the left ventricle of a human heart, and he found that it contained numerous white blood cells. From these results, he concluded that the heart was alive and under severe stress at the time the sample was taken.
So what in bloody hell is going on here? If Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, why would he hide from the Raëlians while exposing himself to the pope? And why, if the Buenos Aires miracle actually happened, doesn't the pope talk about it now?
I think it's time to repeat the Buenos Aires experiment.
Now we just need some material to work with.