Cannibalism, Cremation, and Sinful Priests

Fr. Josh answers questions about why Catholics are not cannibals even though we consume the body and blood of Jesus, why burial is preferable to cremation and spreading ashes, and why the sacraments are still valid (in most cases) even with corrupt and sinful priests.

And check out Audrey Assad’s song, Teresa, at the bottom of today’s shownotes! 

If you have a question, comment, or response for Fr. Josh, email us at You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!


Snippet from the Show

The Church will rise above this. Whenever the Church goes through this kind of turmoil, God will raise up a great number of saints. Holy men and women who are intentional disciples of Christ. Let us pray that we can be in that number of saints.




Glory Story (2:38)

Fr. Josh talks about taking a funny jab at the music minister at his church during a presentation, but the minister definitely got him back!

Fr. Josh’s brand new book, Broken and Blessed, is on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Catholicism list! Get your copy today!

Also check out Rejoice: Advent Meditations with Mary, featuring Fr. Josh along with Fr. Mark Toups and Sr. Miriam James Heidland.


Listener Feedback (7:22)


Cannibalism (11:21)

Why is Catholicism not considered cannibalism? I know it isn’t, but I don’t know how to explain the reasoning when other people question me about it.



Cremation (16:43)

What is the church’s position on cremation and spreading ashes instead of the traditional burying of ashes underground or in a tomb? If a person is cremated, can their remains be blessed in a church service afterward or does their whole body need to be passed through church? And, if the ashes are spread in water instead of buried, what does that mean for the deceased’s afterlife?



Sinful Priests (23:05)

Your show is great! I crack up every time while I’m listening in my car. I’m sure people looking at me may be wondering why I have a perpetual grin on my face! And I do know 70% of the songs you sing… Destiny’s Child… whaaaat! Anyways, I have a question in regards to the consecration of the host by a sinful bishop involved in the sexual abuse in the church. If a priest commits such heinous sins against children and young men, and then turns around and says mass that same day, does the Lord accept his sacrifice and allow transubstantiation? And, accepting the host from such evil makes me wonder are we accepting evil without even knowing it!?

One thing I know is that I will remain steadfast as a soldier of Christ! As a member of the body of Christ I am fasting, offering the rosary, and perpetually praying for healing and justice, and discernment in God’s message to us as a church in allowing this affliction. I know we will rise above such pain with more strength and more unity! Thanks so much for what you do in your vocation! You are truly touching hearts and changing lives!!



Universal Points (29:16)
    1. Cannibalism – Old school philosophy can be helpful for this, especially St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on substance and accidents. The substance is what something is, its essence, whereas the accidents of something is what it looks like, smells like, tastes like, etc. So the Eucharist has the accidents of bread and wine, but the substance of the body, blood, soul, and divinity Jesus Christ. Check out this article for more on transubstantiation.
    2. Cremation – Keep in mind that the reason cremation wasn’t allowed for so long was because it was once an act of rebellion against the Church. If someone is cremated, the ashes should be buried in a place of reverence as a reminder for us and future generations to keep them in our prayers. Check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says in paragraph 2301, “The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.”
    3. Sinful Priests – No matter where we are at or what we have done, we should always strive to be a bridge for others to God. We should use our gifts to draw others to God, even if we are in a state of sin.



Audrey Assad’s New Song, Teresa

Fr. Josh smiling


Meet Your Host, Fr. Josh Johnson:                            

While Fr. Josh was raised Catholic, he didn’t like the Church growing up. One day, in adoration, he fell in love with Jesus and received the call to become a priest. Now, Fr.Josh is the pastor for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Louisiana, and he is a presenter in two of Ascension’s programs: Altaration, and YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body.

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