Half of respondents said that they “believe in the real presence of the Eucharist.” Thirty-eight percent said they do not believe this, affirming that “the bread and wine are symbols of the Body and Blood of Christ,” while 12% said they don’t know whether they believe in the Real Presence.
It is a revealed truth that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly, really, and substantially present in the Eucharist.
It is likewise de fide that the sacrament of penance is necessary for salvation to those who, after baptism, fall into mortal sin. Annual confession is a precept of the Church, and the Code of Canon Law states that “after having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.”
John Bergsma, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, told CNA that “Once again, this survey confirms what most practicing Catholics know from firsthand experience: that the state of catechesis in our communities is often fair to poor, and that many identify as Catholics without understanding or practicing the faith.”
He emphasized parents’ responsibility for the formation of their children, saying that “if parents want to ensure that their children are raised as Catholics in truth and not name only, they will have to do catechesis in the home, and especially model their faith for their children by their own habits of prayer and frequenting of the sacraments.”
While “some schools and parishes do a good or even heroic job catechizing the children and young people who come … parents cannot ‘outsource’ the job of catechesis—which is really the process of Christian discipleship—to others,” he said.