Lawrence Feingold on the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Ministerial Priesthood

Feb 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Blog Posts

Dr. Lawrence Feingold

Two weeks ago, Lawrence Feingold of the Institute for Pastoral Studies at Ave Maria University, presented a teaching on the Catholic doctrine of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the ministerial priesthood, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. The audio of this teaching is available below, in two parts, each about 34 minutes long.


Part 1
 

Part 2
 

Download the mp3s here: Part 1 and Part 2.



In March of 2008 he presented a related talk for the Association of Hebrew Catholics. This talk was titled “Sacrifice and Priesthood in the Old and New Testaments.” Listen to that talk by pressing play, below:

Sacrifice and Priesthood in the Old and New Testaments
 

Q&A
 

Those mp3s can be downloaded here.

Discuss!

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  1. […] Themes of Salvation History Themes of Faith Themes of the Kingdom Themes of St. Paul Themes of the Early Church Fathers Themes of the Incarnation Mary, Daughter of Zion, Mother of God Man: Made in God’s Image Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Ministerial Priesthood […]

  2. CtC and company,

    These topics remain an obstacle for me to re-enter full communion with the RCC. More particularly, I see a strange mixture of Melchizedek and Aaron at the moment the priesthood-sacrifice was instituted.

    He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was by His death about to offer Himself once upon the altar of the cross to God the Father that He might there accomplish an eternal redemption, nevertheless, that His priesthood might not come to an end with His death…
    Council of Trent, Sacrifice of the Mass, Ch.1

    What exactly motivated the Fathers of Trent to think Christ’s Priesthood would end with His death ? And, why would He institute a succession of Priests who were subject to death ? It seems to be an incoherent break between the sacrifice and the indestructible life familiar to the Melchizedekian order.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  3. Eric,

    I think that you have in mind the sacramentally ordained priesthood, but I wonder if your objection would not also apply to the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10; cf., Romans 12:1), who are called to take up the cross and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24; cf. Colossians 1:24)?

    Andrew

  4. Andrew,

    Roman catholicism teaches two distinct kinds of priesthoods. I thought my questions kept them apart for
    consideration. I wondered the same thing about “death” effecting the universal priesthood. It forced me to ask a harder question. Why did God subject the “Priest forever” to death if that death might end his priesthood ? My faith was untouched by the union between “forever” and “death”. However, it withdrew cautiously when I considered that “death” might end his “forever”. I just wanted speculation on why the Fathers of Trent thought it might end with death.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  5. Eric,

    Christ’s priesthood on earth would have ended with his death, resurrection, and ascension if there were no means by which, after Calvary, his self-oblation, once-offered, is made efficaciously present on earth. However, because Christ instituted the Eucharist, which is the representation of his sacrifice under the forms of bread and wine, and is efficacious for the forgiveness of sins, his priesthood on earth did not come to an end with his death, but continues sacramentally until the end of time.

    Andrew

  6. Andrew,

    We are not too far apart:
    To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation….
    WCF, Ch.VIII, VIII.

    Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ, and his benefits….
    WCF, Ch.XXVII, I.

    You wrote:
    his priesthood on earth did not come to an end with his death

    Response:
    Christ intercedes from heaven through the Word and sacramental institution on earth. What is foreign and extraneous is the institution of “visible sacrifice and continual visible priests”. I understand “Christ’s priesthood on earth” to mean “in the days of his flesh” (Heb. 5:7). By linking his intercessory work to his flesh, Christ becomes the unique and unmatched Priest-Victim. As a King and law-giver, he instituted the memorial of everything great in the Priest-Victim pair. Death, resurrection and ascension end the days of his flesh, but Trent thinks the flesh must continue in some way to prevent nullification of the oath. What differs between the Father’s oath and an oath of man is law. God’s oath functioned as law. Trent makes clear that Christ instituted a New Passover and declared himself constituted a priest forever. What authority did he have from his Father to appoint priests when the oath says, “YOU are a Priest forever” ?

    The link between new and old priests is manifest:
    The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
    Hebrews 7:23,24

    Without an oath, this legislator turned to the old law, in a new way, to continue those days in the flesh. Is this not a strange mixture ?

    Eric

  7. Eric,

    I still think that your criticism of the Catholic priesthood, on the basis that the sacramentally ordained priests die (as opposed to Christ himself, who lives forever), tells equally against the priesthood of all believers, because we all die. If you accept the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, than this particular objection against the sacramental priesthood would prove too much.

    Christ has been given all authority in Heaven and in earth. By this plenitude of authority, he commissioned the Twelve with the ministry of reconciliation to ends of the earth. The sacramental priesthood of the New Covenant was established when Christ commanded the Apostles: “Do this in memory of Me.” It is perpetuated in succession from the Apostles, as indicated by St. Paul: “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you….”

    Even as each believer is a visible priest, ordained by Baptism to offer the spiritual sacrifice of their visible bodies (Romans 12:1), each Bishop and Presbyter is a visible priest, ordained by the laying on of hands to offer the visible, sacramental sacrifice of the Mass. Both kinds of priesthood are based upon an oath, that is, upon a sacrament of the New Covenant. This is not a strange mixture, but a blessed fulfillment of the Old Covenant:

    For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

    Christ is our high priest (Hebrews 4:14) and the shepherd and bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). His priesthood, pastorate, and episcopacy does not exclude other priests / pastors / bishops. Rather, the Christian ministry, both lay and ordained, is a participation in the ministry of Christ himself, in the Church, for the life of the world.

    Andrew

  8. Eric, you wrote:

    Roman catholicism teaches two distinct kinds of priesthoods.

    I think a point of clarification is in order here. The Catholic Church does not teach that there are two distinct kinds of priesthood, she teaches that there is only one kind of priesthood in the Catholic Church – the priesthood of Christ.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    The one priesthood of Christ

    1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the “one mediator between God and men.” The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High,” as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique “high priest after the order of Melchizedek”; “holy, blameless, unstained,” “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, “that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.”

    1548 … “Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.”

    The priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ, and there is, in the Church that Christ personally founded, two participations in the one priesthood of Christ; the participation of the “common priesthood of all the faithful”, and the participation of “the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests” (i.e. the participation of the ordained priesthood).

    For more on this, see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1544-1547.

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c3a6.htm#1545

    Eric, you ask:

    What exactly motivated the Fathers of Trent to think Christ’s Priesthood would end with His death ?

    Can you explain in more detail where you get this idea? What you quoted from Trent says this: “… that His priesthood might not come to an end with His death …”. Christ’s priesthood did not end with his death because Christ is a priest forever:

    … but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away
    Heb 7:24

    Dr. Feingold’s lecture is about the ordained priesthood, and he doesn’t touch on the topic of the common priesthood of the faithful. To be clear, the members of the common priesthood of the faithful can also act in the person of Christ (in persona Christi) if they choose to exercise their share in the one priesthood of Christ. The common priesthood of the faithful can act in persona Christi and offer to God the Father the atoning sacrifice for sin. See for example, these prayers said daily by members of the common priesthood:

    “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” – the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

    “O my God, in union with the immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day.” – morning consecration prayer of the Blue Army

    These prayers are priestly prayers because they are offering to the Father the atoning sacrifice (i.e they are offering to God the Father “the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ”; “the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world”).

    Do not most Protestants claim to believe the “priesthood of the believers”? If you would explain how you exercise your priesthood, perhaps I could better understand what you are objecting to in Dr. Feingold’s lecture. Dr. Feingold begins his lecture with a basic point – the role of a priest in all cultures is to be a mediator that offers sacrifice to God. How do you, as a priestly mediator, offer sacrifice to God? What is the greatest, most pure sacrifice that you can offer to God the Father as a member of the priesthood of the believers?

    Blessings to you Eric. I look forward to continuing this dialog.

  9. Andrew,

    The criticism is not intended to make death a stark point-for-point comparison between Aaronic and catholic priests. Death, per se, is not the disqualifying element because even Jesus died. A permanent death disqualifies when you examine the nature of the Melchizedekian priests. Only a calling from God, through the oath, constitutes a successor in this order. The universal priesthood is a clear-cut continuity between covenants, with each covenant assuming multiple priests, who discontinue their ministry through death. This cessation never caused anyone to judge the universal priesthood weak and useless like the Aaronic (Heb. 7:18). Death in the old sacerdotal impacted ministry differently than the universal, hence, catholic priests are subject to criticism on account of their similarity.

    Christ’s command to go make disciples and teach (Matt.28:19,20) commissioned the twelve to be teaching Apostles. Their ministry of reconciliation was already contained in the power of the keys (Matt.16:19). He sent key-holding officers to make appeal for God. Likewise, his command to memorialize (Luke 22:19) commissioned them to be Memorialists (ministers). Dividing the institution of the memorial from subsequent memorials takes the punch out of priestly claims. Did Christ offer the eucharist in memorial of a death not yet accomplished ? The King instituted a memorial and memoraltists.

    You wrote:
    Both kinds of priesthood are based upon an oath, that is, upon a sacrament of the New Covenant.

    Response:
    You shifted slightly from my use of the word “oath”. Excluding the eucharist, how do find a sacrament, oath, or promise in “Do this in memory of me” ? Belief in the eucharist as a visible sacrifice (propitiatory) must be supported before belief in the priesthood. What kind of sacrifice was that ? Christ’s immolation of himself, on the night he was betrayed, lacked the bloody sacrifice. Granting the catholic position, the Apostles offered a united once-bloody / now-unbloody sacrifice after the passion, but certainly not Christ before the passion. He instituted a memorial without observing one.

    Eric

  10. Eric,

    I still don’t understand what your objection is to the Catholic understanding of the ordained, sacerdotal priesthood of the New Covenant. Perhaps you could explain the basis for the following claim, which you make in the first paragraph of your last comment:

    Death in the old sacerdotal impacted ministry differently than the universal, hence, catholic priests are subject to criticism on account of their similarity.

    Neither do I understand the following claim, which you make in the second paragraph of your last comment:

    Dividing the institution of the memorial from subsequent memorials takes the punch out of priestly claims.

    Would you mind clarifying what you mean by this “dividing,” and how it tells against the Catholic Church’s understanding of the ordained priesthood?

    In answer to your questions in the concluding paragraph:

    The Eucharistic anamnesis (translated “in memory”) is a covenant oath insofar as the Eucharist is a “sacrament,” which is a sacred oath signifying, sealing, and renewing “membership in a covenant family.” (See Scott Hahn’s discussion of sacraments as covenant oaths in Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments, p. 76-87.) The anamnesis, in this context, invokes a sacred oath in that this word can be used for a kind of remembering which renders an historical action effectively present, e.g., in connection with a sacrifice (cf. Numbers 10:10). This is the kind of remembering that we find in biblical phrases such as “God remembered his covenant.”

    Finally, I am not sure why you claim that Christ did not observe the memorial, but only instituted it. The institution narratives clearly show that Christ was not only giving instructions, he was actually celebrating a rite. He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to the disciples.

    Andrew

  11. Mateo (re:#8),

    I was thinking about VII, Lumen Gentium, #10 in my comment on two kinds.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

    In comment #5, Andrew captures Trent’s thoughts on the death-priesthood relationship. I agree with the bulk of it.

    Though short, your presentation on the common priesthood of the faithful was robust. Since VII, it has occupied an important place in the spiritual life of catholics. Discomfort always follows when I consider Christ as an oblation for me to offer. I don’t think my priesthood includes Christ to be offered, however, exclusion of Christ would reduce my priesthood to a fiction. Through the Holy Spirit, I was efficaciously called and united to Christ. Baptism signifies this. I received his redemptive benefits and an anointing for priestly service. Indirectly, one could say that Christ is offered because he is the principal of all priestly offering. Praying is part of my role as a priest.

    You raised one of my objections to the lecture:

    You wrote:
    Dr. Feingold begins his lecture with a basic point – the role of a priest in all cultures is to be a mediator that offers sacrifice to God. How do you, as a priestly mediator, offer sacrifice to God?

    Response:
    Too much is assumed on the reason why men had priests and offered sacrifices. I don’t believe any cultures (from natural law / revelation) ever offered sacrifices to the God of heaven and earth (1Cor.10:19,20). To the best of my knowledge, all counter-examples presuppose a context of special revelation. Assuming I am a priestly mediator, my warrant comes from special revelation and is not hierarchical. I would not locate a basic point in what is natural.

    You wrote:
    What is the greatest, most pure sacrifice that you can offer to God the Father as a member of the priesthood of the believers?

    Response:
    Good question ! At the moment, and still open to many moments, my answer is myself (Rom.12:1,2) and anything entrusted to my care (family, work, property, etc…). “Myself” is sanctified by Holy Spirit of truth in the name of Christ.

    I am learning to let my various experiences dialog with themselves, so thanks for joining.

    Eric

  12. Andrew (re:#10),

    Permit me to give a stark point-for-point. I am criticizing the catholic belief that Christ commissioned priests according to the order of Melchizedek. These priests die permanently, stop ministering, and multiply in number (Heb.7:23,24). All three features are similar to the Aaronic priesthood. Aaronic priests were called by God without an oath (Heb.7:20,21), as opposed to Christ (Heb.7:21). No oath (see Heb.5:5,6) was invoked by Christ or His Father at the institution of the eucharist. On a daily basis, catholic priests offer the eucharistic sacrifice for their own sins and others (Heb.7:27). Also, the old law appointed priests who were weak (Heb.7:28), which is no different from catholic priests.

    The cross divides, in time, the Christ-instituted memorial from the Church-observed memorials. After Israel’s exodus, the passover memorial was instituted. With Christ, the order is reversed. Paul wrote that we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes (1Cor.11:26). Christ could not have proclaimed his death because the cross was in the future. He gave them something to memorialize after the death was accomplished. Instituting a memorial is like a man arranging his funeral before he dies. After death, others observe the memorial.

    Priestly claim:
    1. As high priest, Christ immolates himself in a visible-unbloody sacrifice under bread and wine.
    2. This is called the New Passover.
    3. This act is intended to be observed by the church as a memorial of the bloody sacrifice.
    4. A new sacrifice to be offered will need new priests.
    5. He establishes the Apostles (and successors) as priests.

    Weakening the claim:
    The unbloody was intended to represent the bloody. The thing represented must have been present at one time. The bloody was never present, therefore, it could not be represented. Christ’s immolation is different from the Apostles because it did not represent. No representation means no propitiatory sacrifice. In effect, it is classified as a mixed-sacrifice between foreshadowing the cross and the cross-less victim destined for the cross.

    You wrote:
    The Eucharistic anamnesis (translated “in memory”) is a covenant oath insofar as the Eucharist is a “sacrament,” which is a sacred oath signifying, sealing, and renewing “membership in a covenant family.”

    Response:
    Need to withdraw comments until I look at the book. Please note comment #9 where I wrote, “Excluding the eucharist…”. Though I am interested in what you wrote, the answer did not exclude the eucharist.

    You wrote:
    The institution narratives clearly show that Christ was not only giving instructions, he was actually celebrating a rite.

    Response:
    He celebrated Israel’s passover and instituted a memorial. You cannot celebrate, in memory, a death that has not occurred. At best, they celebrated in anticipation.

    Eric

  13. Eric,

    You wrote:

    I am criticizing the catholic belief that Christ commissioned priests according to the order of Melchizedek.

    But earlier you wrote:

    Through the Holy Spirit, I was efficaciously called and united to Christ. Baptism signifies this. I received his redemptive benefits and an anointing for priestly service. Indirectly, one could say that Christ is offered because he is the principal of all priestly offering. Praying is part of my role as a priest.

    This seems to imply that your (lay) priesthood depends upon your union with Christ. But that would only follow if Christ is a priest, since he cannot give what he does not have. So, it seems to me that, on your own understanding, the priesthood of the believer is a participation in the priesthood of Christ. But Christ’s priesthood is according to the order Melchizidek (Hebrews 6:20). So, it would seem to follow, from premises that you appear to hold, that your commission as priest is according to the order of Melchizedek, because your commission as priest depends upon a participation in the priesthood of Christ. But then your above-stated criticism of Catholic belief would also apply to your own belief.

    In reference to the Last Supper, you wrote:

    The unbloody was intended to represent the bloody. The thing represented must have been present at one time. The bloody was never present, therefore, it could not be represented….

    He celebrated Israel’s passover and instituted a memorial. You cannot celebrate, in memory, a death that has not occurred. At best, they celebrated in anticipation.

    What is both instituted and celebrated at the Last Supper is the sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood; i.e., the Eucharist: “This is my Body… This is my Blood of the New Covenant.” The consecrated species do re-present that which they signify, namely, Christ’s Body and Blood, which are in fact present in the Upper Room.

    Christ commanded his Apostles to “do this in memory of Me.” Separating the institution from the celebration of the Eucharist, as if Christ were doing one thing (celebrating the Passover) and giving instructions for another (celebrating the Eucharist) would make it impossible for the Apostles to obey the Lord’s command to “do this.” Rather than introducing this false dichotomy, the anamnesis clause (εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν) qualifies the manner in which “this” (τοῦτο) is to be done (ποιεῖτε). But the antecedent of the pronoun is the ritual action of Our Lord described in the previous verses; i.e., what he just did, which is what the Apostles are commanded to do. What he did was to re-present his Body and Blood under the forms of bread and wine. This is the kind of sacrifice that one would expect to be offered by a priest according to the order of Melchiziedek (Genesis 14:18). And it is the same sacrifice that is offered by (ordained) Catholic priests when they celebrate the Eucharist.

    There may also be a sense in which the Last Supper itself was celebrated “in memory of me”: According to Numbers 10:10, Israel’s sacrifices were for them a “remembrance” (LXX: anamnesis) of God. But this does not imply that God was not present at the memorial sacrifices, such that those sacrifices only served to call to mind the past, to the exclusion of the present (presence) and future. Rather, the anamnesis seems to bear the sense, along with recollection of past events, of “calling to mind” the God who is present, and who will always be faithful to his people. I agree that the Last Supper was celebrated in “anticipation” of Calvary, in the sense of looking forward to an event yet to take place: “this is my Blood, which will be shed for many….” But this anticipation would seem to fall within the ambit of anamnesis, as just explained.

    Andrew

  14. Hi Eric. I am following this conversation with great interest. I wrote a long post in response to your post # 11 addressed to me, but Andrew Preslar, in his post # 13, has hit the main points that I wanted to make (and then some!). So I won’t weary you with a redundant post.

    I would like to make a comment on what you said when you wrote that you are “criticizing the catholic belief that Christ commissioned priests according to the order of Melchizedek”. Andrew makes the point that “Christ’s priesthood is according to the order Melchizidek”. What Andrew is saying is a point that is also made in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the “one mediator between God and men.” [15] The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High,” as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique “high priest after the order of Melchizedek”; [16] “holy, blameless, unstained,” [17] “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,” [18] that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

    Footnotes:

    15 2 Tim 2:5.
    16 Heb 5:10; cf. 6:20; Gen 14:18.
    17 Heb 7:26.
    18 Heb 10:14.

    Eric, if I understand you correctly, you are objecting to the idea that Catholics believe that priests of the New Covenant are ordained into a priesthood that existed in the Old Covenant – the priesthood of Melchizedek. Is that correct? Such an understanding would be contrary to what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

    The Catholic Church teaches that the priesthood of Melchizedek is a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ. That is, that the priesthood of Melchizedek is an Old Testament type that finds its fulfillment in its New Testament antitype – the unique priesthood of Christ. When the CCC states that Christ is a “high priest after the order of Melchizedek”, the CCC is merely quoting the words found in Hebrews 5:10:

    [The Son] …being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek
    – Hebrews 5:10 Revised Standard Version

    To say that an ordained Catholic priest is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, it is only a way of saying that an ordained priest participates in the one priesthood of Christ. Actually, both the ordained priests, and all the members of the common priesthood of the faithful, participate in the one priesthood of Christ. The link you gave in your post # 11 makes that point explicitly:

    Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. – Lumen Gentium 10

    Blessing to you Eric.

    mateo

  15. Andrew (re:#13),

    Participation presupposes union with Christ. How do I participate in Christ’s priestly order ? The Most Holy Trinity, One God, commissioned my priesthood. As we both know, Scripture attributes diverse operations to each Person of the Trinity. God the Father called, and God the Son mediated, and God the Holy Spirit sanctified my priesthood (1Pet.2:4-10). God the Father called the Son by oath to belong to a unique order (Heb.7:17). After fulfilling his mission on earth, he ascended to the right hand of God making intercession as permanent High Priest. It is the Father who called me into a spiritual household through Christ, and, as High Priest over the household, mediates the sacrifices I offer to the Father (Heb.3:6; 12:16, Rev.1:5,6). My faithful brother Levi paid a tenth to Melchizedek through our father Abram, so the lesser was blessed by the greater.

    The High Priest is over the house of God (Heb.3:6). Anyone over another means they belong to different orders. Christ belongs to the order of Melchizedek. Therefore, the house belongs to a different order. It is through the sprinkling of the blood (1Pet.1:2), in covenant with God, (Heb.9:14) that makes priests. Christ alone fulfills the hierarchical aspect.

    Each priesthood has a distinct efficient cause; The Father effects Christ’s Priesthood through the oath, and in turn, effects the universal priesthood through Christ’s mediation and intercession. Provide the oath and I will acknowledge the hierarchical catholic priesthood. Or show why the oath is not necessary. I maintain that Christ, being under the Law (Gal.4:4) and sent by the Father, did not have authority to appoint priests in the order of Melchizedek, especially when it imitates Aaron.

    Response paragraph #2:

    ….at the last supper, on the night He was betrayed, that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be accomplished on the cross might be represented…. Trent, sacrifice of the mass

    I wrote: The unbloody was intended to represent the bloody…No representation means no propitiatory sacrifice.

    Please fit the bloody sacrifice into what you wrote, otherwise, it is subject to my description:
    In effect, it is classified as a mixed-sacrifice between foreshadowing the cross and the cross-less victim destined for the cross.

    R. #3:

    My comments caused some confusion. Christ celebrated Israel’s passover, but “do this” applies only to Lord’s Supper as you have shown.

    Maintaining the priestly claim creates an indomitable force against itself:
    For this reason He is the mediator of a new, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. ( Heb.9:15-18).
    And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness…(Heb.9:22).

    Release “bread and wine” from the weight of the priestly claim ! If bringing bread and wine for a name exchange constitutes a propitiatory sacrifice, then where is the blood of sacrifice ? I only see blood. Moses inaugurated the covenant holding the shed blood, but Christ only held blood in anticipation. Under the gaze of Scripture, the priestly claim presents an invalid covenant until the Apostles faithfully observe it. If this is admitted, then the foundation of the claim (Christ instituted a New Passover sacrifice) is shattered.

    R.#4:

    I don’t want to press my distinction to strain a gnat. Whatever sense this may have been, it could not have reached the fulfillment of the prophetic word (Heb.8:12). If anticipation can fall within the ambit of “remembrance”, then I would place it in the instituting of a sacrifice-less sacrament. No matter where remembrance is found, it still lacks the relevant component, i.e. actual death. In the moral order, willful intention is substituted for act when circumstances prevent the act from completing. The cross requires intention and completion (John 19:30).

    Are you willing to believe the first eucharist is not propitiatory ? When did Christ inaugurate the new covenant ?

    Eric

  16. Eric,

    In response to my argument that your (lay) participation in Christ’s priesthood is a participation in the Melchizedekian priesthood, you wrote:

    Anyone over another means they belong to different orders.

    Or the former could be given a greater (or a different kind of) participation in the same order. Is Christ a priest in some order other than that of Melchizedek? If not, then if your priesthood depends upon a participation in Christ’s priesthood, you are participating in his Melchizedekian priesthood.

    You wrote, in reference to the re-presentation of Christ’ Body and Blood at the Last Supper:

    It is through the sprinkling of the blood (1Pet.1:2), in covenant with God, (Heb.9:14) that makes priests.

    Neither of the verses that you cite makes or entails the claim that you make. Instead, it seems much simpler to suppose that (a) God makes priests, and (b) these priests offer to God whatever it is that he has commissioned them to offer. These points, which I take to be uncontroversial, and almost tautological, are important to bear in mind when considering the sense in which the Eucharist is properly called a sacrifice, and the sense in which those specifically commissioned to celebrate the Eucharist are properly called priests.

    You wrote:

    The Father effects Christ’s Priesthood through the oath, and in turn, effects the universal priesthood through Christ’s mediation and intercession. Provide the oath and I will acknowledge the hierarchical catholic priesthood.

    As Scott Hahn points out in Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments, “sometimes the oath and its consequences were symbolized by a wordless, physical sign, an oath-in-action, as when Israelites circumcised their sons.” The covenant oath signifies and seals the covenant relationship. At the Last Supper, Christ sacramentally offers the Body and Blood of the new covenant: “This is my blood of the new covenant.” Those who are united to Christ in this new covenant receive its benefits and accept its obligations. We are so united to Christ by means of the new covenant “oaths” (Latin: sacramentum). This union begins in baptism, which is the initiatory oath-in-action (sacrament) of the New Covenant. The Apostles and their successors are bound to this covenant by a specific oath-in-action (sacrament): The direct (through an immediate commission by Christ) or indirect (through the laying on of apostolic hands) commission to “do this in memory of me.” And of course the Eucharist is the supreme, sacramental oath-in-action (sacrament) of the New Covenant: the very Body and Blood of Christ, offered to God and given for us. By the gift of Christ in Baptism, each of the faithful is enabled to participate in the Eucharist, but only to some among the faithful is it specifically given to “do this,” i.e., celebrate the Eucharist. Thus, there are two distinct participations in the priesthood of Christ, lay and ordained, each of which is conferred by an oath-in-action (a sacrament).

    In response to my characterization (in comment #13) of the Last Supper / Eucharist as the sacramental offering of the Lord’s Body and Blood, you wrote:

    Please fit the bloody sacrifice into what you wrote …

    The physical immolation of Christ, i.e., the shedding of his blood on the Cross, “fits” into the sacramental immolation, i.e., the symbolic separation of Body and Blood in the physical signs of the Eucharist, in two ways: (1) The same Body and Blood, namely, the Body and Blood of Christ, that was given for us on Calvary is given for us in the Eucharist. (2) The Eucharist signifies the bloody sacrifice of the Cross by means of the sacramental separation of the Body and Blood of Christ under the species of bread and wine.

    After citing portions of Hebrews 9, you made the following request:

    Release “bread and wine” from the weight of the priestly claim !

    This brings us back to my earlier point about what (or Who) makes priests, and what priests are obligated to offer in sacrifice. I cannot “release bread and wine from the weight of the priestly claim” because I am not God, and it is God who has commissioned priests, and instructed them to offer sacrifices. In Sacred Scripture, we find that God did appoint priests to offer unbloody sacrifices as well as bloody sacrifices, both being ordered to (as type to anti-type) the bloody sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross. Aaronic priests offered bread and wine as sacrifices to God (Leviticus 2:1-9; 23:13), which prefigured the Eucharist, even as the bloody sacrifices of the Mosaic covenant prefigured the Cross. The Aaronic priesthood was fulfilled and set aside (as to its operation; it remains valuable as a figure, or type) by the New Covenant in Christ’s Blood. But in the first place, before Aaron, Melchizedek was a priest of God, who brought forth bread wine in blessing Abraham (Genesis 14:18-19). Our Lord, being a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, did not set aside this order of priesthood, but carried it forward and fulfilled it by bringing forth bread and wine, and by the power of his creative word changing them into his very Body and Blood. This is an unbloody sacrifice that could not have been offered before the Incarnation, but which could be offered before Calvary, while pointing to and signifying the physical death of Christ on the Cross.

    It would, therefore, be wrong to assume that there can be no sacrifice without the shedding of blood. Furthermore, Christ’s sacramental oblation of his Body and Blood in the Upper Room is propitiatory, because (1) the oblation is Christ himself, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and (2) it is ordered to the bloody sacrifice on Calvary, being an unbreakable covenant oath, a promise of Christ himself (this is my blood which will be shed for you). The Last Supper was a proleptic participation in Calvary, as Christ realistically anticipated Calvary by offering up his own true Body and Blood in the sacrament.

    Just as it is a mistake to bifurcate the priestly action on the Cross from Christ’s priestly mediation in the heavenly Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:11-12), it is a mistake to drive a wedge between the priestly action on Calvary and the priestly action in the Upper Room. In the new covenant, there is only one high priest who offers only one sacrifice in more than one mode. That High Priest is Christ, who is also the Victim. The question of “when” Christ inaugurated the New Covenant is thus subordinate to the question of what is the substance of the New Covenant. That substance is Christ himself. He is the propitiation for our sins. His priestly ministry, his self-oblation, was indeed consummated upon the Cross, where his suffering on our behalf came to a climax and an end. But his priestly ministry was neither inaugurated nor extinguished upon Calvary. This one-oblation, once offered (in a bloody manner), is inclusive of the Last Supper, the Heavenly Throne Room and, therefore, every celebration of the Eucharist (Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 5:6; cf., Malachi 1:11).

    Andrew

  17. Mateo (re:#14),

    But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body ( Ecclesiastes 12:12).

    You wrote:
    Eric, if I understand you correctly, you are objecting to the idea that Catholics believe that priests of the New Covenant are ordained into a priesthood that existed in the Old Covenant – the priesthood of Melchizedek. Is that correct?

    That is, that the priesthood of Melchizedek is an Old Testament type that finds its fulfillment in its New Testament antitype – the unique priesthood of Christ.

    To say that an ordained Catholic priest is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, it is only a way of saying that an ordained priest participates in the one priesthood of Christ.

    Response:
    Catholics believe that Christ ordained priests into the New Covenant. Any priest can refer to his existing status as a priesthood, so Christ has a priesthood that is not Melchizedek’s; nevertheless, Christ has no other kind of priesthood than one ordered after Melchizedek. (Heb.7:15). You cannot remove the tribe of Judah from the Lion’s roar, nor the order of Melchizedek from the High Priest’s tears.

    Melchizedek is like the Son of God (Heb.7:3). What makes Melchizedek great is the fact that God called him to typify his own natural Son.

    ….declaring Himself constituted a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the form of bread and wine, and under the forms of those same things gave to the Apostles, whom He then made priests of the New Testament, that they might partake, commanding them and their successors in the priesthood by these words to do likewise: Do this in commemoration of me….Trent, S. of the Mass

    Trent unambiguously presents Christ making priests and a priesthood in the order of Melchizedek. This part of the council is the launching pad for my criticisms.

    “Priest after the order of Melchizedek” is seeking to use biblical language . In contrast, “priest participates in the one priesthood of Christ” is a statement designed to unify causation, ontological relations and distinct essences. “One priesthood” is the first cause and principle of two participations distinct in essence. I am challenging the legitimacy of one participation.

    Many blessings,
    Eric

  18. Eric, you wrote:

    Catholics believe that Christ ordained priests into the New Covenant.

    I would say, rather, that Christ, our true High Priest, offered himself as the true Paschal Lamb, and it is through Christ’s priestly offering of the Paschal Lamb that the New Covenant was inaugurated. That much is explicit in the New Testament:

    Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. … So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.” … [Jesus] said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
    Luke 22: 1, 8, 16-20

    I want to make a point about when the New Covenant begins, before I comment on when ordained priests of the New Covenant could offer the memorial of the new covenant ( i.e. fulfill Christ’s command to “Do this in remembrance of me.” )

    It is clear from Luke’s Gospel that Jesus ate a passover meal with his disciples when Christ gave his instructions to the Apostles for how to celebrate the memorial of the new covenant. All four Gospels testify that Jesus ate this passover meal a day earlier than the day in which the Passover seder would normally be eaten by the Jews that traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of the Pesakh. That is, the passover meal that Jesus presided over was held during the evening of the 14th of Nisan (the Day of Preparation,) and not during the evening of the 15th of Nisan when the seder meal was normally eaten.

    It might seem like a minor point that the institution narratives begin on the Day of Preparation, but I don’t think that this is a minor point at all. Especially since all four Gospels exlicitly make that point (See Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:14). The words Christ used in the institution of this memorial of the new covenant, explicitly declares that his Precious Blood is “poured out”. But the Precious Blood is not “poured out” until just before sundown on the Day of Preparation, and this pouring out of the Precious Blood has a significance that I think, perhaps, you are overlooking.

    The words “poured out” have particular meaning when one understands the liturgical rituals that the Temple Priests followed when sacrificing the Paschal Lambs on the Day of Preparation. During the daylight hours of the Day of Preparation, the Temple Priests put to death the sacrificial Paschal Lambs. During the sacrifice of the Paschal Lambs, the shed blood of these lambs was collected by the Temple Priests into special ceremonial cups made of gold and silver. What follows are some details about this liturgical ceremony involving the bloody sacrifice of the Paschal Lambs on the Day of Preparation:

    Rows of Priests Stand with Silver and God Vessels in their Hands

    As the Passover sacrifice is offered, the officiating priests of the Temple stand in rows while holding the silver and gold containment vessels to gather the blood from the sacrifice. The vessels are passed in a line from one priest to the next, until reaching the priest standing closest to the altar. He then sprinkles the blood of the Passover sacrifice on the foundation of the altar.

    Reference: p. 40, The Temple Haggadah by Rabbi Israel Ariel, co-published by The Temple Institute and Carta, Jerusalem, Copyright 1996

    ——————

    The entire people of Israel made the pilgrimage to the Holy Temple on each of the sacred festivals, but more arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover than any other time. … To absorb the sudden influx of such a huge number of people, it was necessary to make many technical and logistical arrangements. One was the introduction of many Passover ovens in many locations, to enable everyone to roast the Passover sacrifice after it was offered in the Temple, in preparation of the seder later that evening. This sacrifice differed from all those which were brought to Temple throughout the year in that the ordinary Israelites who brought them would participate in the preparation of the animal for the sacrifice. Although a delegation of Israelites took part in every sacrifice, generally speaking only the priests had an active role in the sacrificial service itself. The Passover offering provided one of the few occasions for the ordinary people to enter the Temple’s inner court, where the altar stood.

    Ref: p 38., A House of Prayer for All Nations, The Holy Temple of Jerusalem, Rabbi Chaim Richman, co-published by The Temple Institute and Carta, Jerusalem Copyright 1997

    There are several points that I want to make here.

    1.) The Paschal Lamb was ritually sacrificed by the Temple Priests at the Temple during the Passover liturgy.

    2.) The Paschal Lamb was offered as sacrifice to God by the priests of the Temple. Part of the sacrificial ritual offered in the Temple involved the pouring out of the blood of the Paschal Lamb on the foundation of the altar that stood in the inner court of the Temple.

    3.) The Jewish laity participated in this ritual sacrifice. Their participation was distinct, but in union with, the sacrificial ritual performed by the ordained Temple priests.

    A point about the blood of the sacrificed lambs. Some historians say that Jerusalem swelled in population to nearly a million people at the festival of Passover. Assuming there are ten people for every Paschal Lamb that was eaten at the seder, that would mean 100,000 lambs slain on the Day of Preparation. Even if that estimate is twice as high as it should be, that would still mean 50,000 lambs slain on the Temple Mount. That is a lot of lambs, and that is a lot of blood. The Temple priests “poured out” an enormous quantity of blood on the altar of the Temple during the Day of Preparation. Just before sundown on the Day of Preparation, the Temple priests washed clean the altar of the Temple with pure water. This water and blood flowed into special drains that emptied into the Kidron Valley. When Christ died on the Cross shortly before sundown on the Day of Preparation, there was, at the same time, a stream of blood and water flowing from the heart of the stone Temple on Mount Moriah.

    … this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:26-28

    … the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God … Deuteronomy 12:27

    The liturgical rituals that the Temple priests practiced on the Day of Preparation were Old Covenant types that pointed to their fulfillment in their New Covenant antitypes. Christ Jesus is the true High Priest that offers the true Paschal Lamb as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. The blood and water that flowed from the heart of the stone Temple is a type that finds is fulfillment in the Precious Blood and Water that flowed from the Sacred Heart of the true Temple on the Day of Preparation.

    O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You! – Closing Prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

    To understand what is going on during the memorial that Catholics call the Mass, I believe that it is helpful to see how certain OT types first found their fulfillment in their NT antitypes.

    Type: The stone Temple in Jerusalem
    Antitype: Christ, the True Temple

    Type: The Temple priests.
    Antitype: Christ, our true High priest.

    Type: On the Day of Preparation, the Temple priests strip off the skin off the Paschal Lambs.
    Antitype: On the Day of Preparation , the skin of the true Paschal Lamb is stripped of by the scourging at the pillar.

    Type: On the Day of Preparation, the Temple priests offer the Paschal Lambs as a bloody sacrifice to God.
    Antitype: On the Day of Preparation, the true High Priest offers the true Paschal Lamb as a bloody sacrifice to God the Father.

    Type: On the Day of Preparation, the blood of the Paschal lamb is poured out on the altar in the Temple.
    Antitype: On the Day of Preparation, the blood of the Paschal lamb is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.

    I could go on, but I hope you see the picture that I am trying to paint. Christ inaugurated the new covenant on the Day of Preparation when he, the true High Priest, offered the true Paschal Lamb as a sacrifice pleasing to his Father. On the Day of Preparation, Christ also commanded the Apostles to offer bread and wine in an unbloody memorial of the Paschal offering that he was about to make on Mount Calvary. It is only after the true Paschal Lamb has been offered up on Mount Calvary, that Apostles can then “Do this in remembrance of me” (“this” – the memorial liturgy that involves the blessing and breaking of the bread – “he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you …”).

    Eric, I am not sure what you mean when you say that “Catholics believe that Christ ordained priests into the New Covenant.” Catholics don’t believe that ordained priests are ordained “into the New Covenant”, rather, Catholic believe that ordained priests are ordained into the one priesthood of Christ –the High Priest that offered the true Paschal Lamb as an expiation for the sins of the whole world.

    Trent unambiguously presents Christ making priests and a priesthood in the order of Melchizedek. This part of the council is the launching pad for my criticisms. … I am challenging the legitimacy of one participation.

    Do I understand you correctly that you challenge the legitimacy of the ordained priesthood, but do not challenge the legitimacy of the common priesthood of the faithful? I must ask you on what basis you challenge to the legitimacy of the ordained priesthood that does not also challenge the legitimacy of the common priesthood of the faithful. If you would, please make that clarification for me!

    In defense of the legitimacy of the ordained priesthood, I would point out that it is not just the Catholic Church that makes a distinction between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the laity; it is every single church that has a two-thousand year old history that makes this distinction. For example, the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala, India and the Ethiopian Christians in Axum have always believed exactly what the Catholic Church teaches on this particular point. These Christians lived in isolation from the Catholic Church for a long, long, time (long before the Council of Trent). In disputing the legitimacy of the ordained priesthood, you are also disputing a foundational belief of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. All the churches with a two-thousand year old history would stand against you in your dispute with the Catholic Church on this point of doctrine.

    Eric, I have another question for you. You wrote:

    You cannot remove the tribe of Judah from the Lion’s roar, nor the order of Melchizedek from the High Priest’s tears.

    You have lost me with this. Would you please clarify this statement for me?

    Thanks for the interesting dialog. May God bless you abundantly.

    mateo

  19. Andrew (re:#16)

    You wrote:
    Or the former could be given a greater (or a different kind of) participation in the same order. Is Christ a priest in some order other than that of Melchizedek? If not, then if your priesthood depends upon a participation in Christ’s priesthood, you are participating in his Melchizedekian priesthood.

    Response:
    Christ’s as Mediator of the New Covenant prevents my priesthood from being designated after Melchizedek. Was I baptized in the name of Melchizedek ? You continue to see Christ as a link when the opposite true. We need to explore how each order interrelates to understand participation . First, I need to list the causes of each order:

    Establishing the order of Christ’s priesthood:
    First Cause- Christ’s sonship and indestructible life
    Efficient Cause- God’s oath placing Christ in a order
    Mediatorial Cause- no mediator

    Establishing the order of God’s House:
    First Cause- unique priesthood of Christ
    Efficient Cause- God’s calling (1Pet.2:9)
    Mediatorial Cause- Christ’s redemptive work and actual intercession

    Participation (being) must be distinguished from participants. Christ’s sonship-life is the first cause of participation (being) for any participants, but this aspect does not establish the House as a secondary cause, i.e. a different order. Secondary causation is established by the related-above causes (Rev.1:5,6). Receptivity of Christ’s power and grace (1Cor.4:7), in the secondary cause, is the reason for analogical-participatory usage of the word “priest”. The order of the House, as secondary cause, is a distinct essence participating in its first cause, without belonging to order of Melchizedek.

    Moreover, we see Christ’s priesthood determining the degree of remotion any participant enjoys. I maintain that the priesthood of all believers is the only essence participating in Christ. One other cause is the formal Kingly authority installing a kingdom of priests. As a priest, I have authority (form) to offer sacrifices. Since this unties the knot, I can revive my original criticisms against the catholic priesthood.

    You wrote:
    As Scott Hahn points out in Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments…

    Response:
    Sacrifice and priesthood are so united by the ordinance of God that both have existed in every law. Since, therefore, in the New Testament the Catholic Church has received from the institution of the Lord the holy, visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, it must also be confessed that there is in this Church a new visible and external priesthood….
    – Trent, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Orders

    The reason catholics think “do this in memory of me” is a sacrament-oath is in the institution of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. A sacrifice necessitates priests. What promise or oath is in this command ? Paul identifies a command with a promise (Eph.6:2). I cannot see anything similar to the efficient cause of Christ’s priesthood from what you provided.

    You wrote:
    The physical immolation of Christ, i.e., the shedding of his blood on the Cross, “fits”….

    Response:
    We have more than a Catholic-Protestant divide here. I think we disagree on what the Catholic Church teaches. The Catholic Church teaches that the Church-observed Eucharist is propitiatory and represents the bloody sacrifice. It does not teach that the first Eucharist was either of these. We are back to the institution-memorial distinct from the observed-memorial. Comb through EVERY magisterial document. The Catholic Church may believe it, but no explicit teaching is found. I think the belief and teaching are non-existent because the death of Christ was not actualized. Your attempt to “fit” in the bloody sacrifice was restricted to the Eucharist as a sacrament. The attempt fails when considering the thing signified was never actualized before the first Eucharist.

    You wrote:
    This brings us back to my earlier point about what (or Who) makes priests, and what priests are obligated to offer in sacrifice…

    Response:
    Did you ever wonder why Hebrews omits the “bread and wine” from its discussion on Christ-Melchizedek ? Hebrews goes out of its way to connect Melchizedek with Christ, over and above the Old Law. Only bloody sacrifices are discussed and there is no hint of the Eucharist sacrifice. A sacrament is a symbol of a sacred thing and a visible form of an invisible grace. Genesis 14 records Melchizedek observing a sacrament that includes a sacrifice of his lips. Christ instituted a better sacrament by following the same pattern.

    Matter – bread and wine
    Form- words of blessing
    grace signified- spiritual nourishment from the blessing
    sacrifice- blessing God of heaven and earth

    You wrote:
    The Last Supper was a proleptic participation in Calvary, as Christ realistically anticipated Calvary by offering up his own true Body and Blood in the sacrament.

    Response:
    The phrases joining the Last Supper and Calvary are contrived. You need a real death for a participation in a bloody sacrifice.

    You wrote:
    Just as it is a mistake to bifurcate the priestly action on the Cross from Christ’s priestly mediation in the heavenly Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:11-12)….

    Response:
    No wedge on my part. Christ offered a sacrifice of praise ( ) like Melchizedek ( ). Both sacrifices were priestly actions.

    There are seven sacraments of the New Law…which differ a great deal from the sacraments of the Old Law. For those of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ; these sacraments of ours contain grace, and confer it upon those who receive them worthily.
    – Florence, Decree for the Armenians

    And why do they contain grace ? The passion of Christ ! Your one oblation at the Last Supper is no better than the Old Law sacraments pronouncing.

    ….since in that new birth through the merit of His passion, the grace, whereby they are made just….
    – Trent, Decree of Justification

    You must always appeal to his passion and death to prove Christ is our propitiation. Subordinating “when” Christ inaugurated the New Covenant to this is acceptable. The Bible says the covenant is invalid without death. Christ was very alive when he said “new covenant”. Embracing a strict memorialist view has no problem with this.

    Eric

  20. Eric,

    Concerning my claim that both priests and laypersons participate in Christ’s Melchizedekian priesthood, you wrote:

    You continue to see Christ as a link when the opposite true.

    This claim, however, seems to be inconsistent with your claim that the “mediatorial cause” of the lay priesthood is “Christ’s redemptive work and actual intercession.” Isn’t a “mediatorial cause” a kind of link, by definition?

    Concerning the priesthood of Christ and the Church, your list of causes seems to be mostly ad hoc, both as to the selection of kinds of causality and the designation of each cause. Furthermore, it is unclear how your premises are supposed to yield the conclusion that you want, i.e., that the Christian ministry is not a participation in Christ’s order of priesthood. I cannot discern an actual argument, moving in a logical sequence from from premises to conclusion (as distinct from a jumble of assertions), in your presentation of the various kinds of causes and priesthoods. So far as I can tell, the knot, i.e., the internal contradiction in your theology of the priesthood, remains firmly tied.

    Concerning the Christian sacraments as covenant oaths, you wrote:

    The reason catholics think “do this in memory of me” is a sacrament-oath is in the institution of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. A sacrifice necessitates priests. What promise or oath is in this command ? Paul identifies a command with a promise (Eph.6:2). I cannot see anything similar to the efficient cause of Christ’s priesthood from what you provided.

    Each sacrament has its own promise / proper effect / specific grace. The eucharistic promise is contained in the words of institution: “This is my Body, which is given for you…. This is the chalice, the New Testament in my Blood … which shall be shed for you.” When the Apostles, and those whom they in turn ordained, “do this,” Christ is sacramentally present, with us and for us, in the consecrated Gifts.

    You wrote:

    We have more than a Catholic-Protestant divide here. I think we disagree on what the Catholic Church teaches. The Catholic Church teaches that the Church-observed Eucharist is propitiatory and represents the bloody sacrifice. It does not teach that the first Eucharist was either of these. We are back to the institution-memorial distinct from the observed-memorial. Comb through EVERY magisterial document. The Catholic Church may believe it, but no explicit teaching is found. I think the belief and teaching are non-existent because the death of Christ was not actualized. Your attempt to “fit” in the bloody sacrifice was restricted to the Eucharist as a sacrament. The attempt fails when considering the thing signified was never actualized before the first Eucharist.

    As I pointed out in a previous comment, “the thing signified” was “actualized” in the Upper Room; namely, Christ’s Body and Blood. The Eucharist is a sacrifice precisely because it is the sacramental re-presentation of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Christ gave his Body and Blood to the disciples at the Last Supper (par 1338). St. Thomas Aquinas teaches the same thing in the Summa theologiae, III, 81. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) article on the “Sacrifice of the Mass” goes into more detail, concerning the nature of the Last Supper as a true sacrifice:

    The main testimony of the New Testament lies in the account of the institution of the Eucharist, and most clearly in the words of consecration spoken over the chalice. For this reason we shall consider these words first, since thereby, owing to the analogy between the two formulae, clearer light will be thrown on the meaning of the words of consecration pronounced over the bread. For the sake of clearness and easy comparison we subjoin the four passages in Greek and English:

    Matthew 26:28: Touto gar estin to aima mou to tes [kaines] diathekes to peri pollon ekchynnomenon eis aphesin amartion. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.

    Mark 14:24: Touto estin to aima mou tes kaines diathekes to yper pollon ekchynnomenon. This is my blood of the new testament which shall be shed for many.

    Luke 22:20: Touto to poterion he kaine diatheke en to aimati mou, to yper ymon ekchynnomenon. This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.

    1 Corinthians 11:25: Touto to poterion he kaine diatheke estin en to emo aimati. This chalice is the new testament in my blood.

    The Divine institution of the sacrifice of the altar is proved by showing

    that the “shedding of blood” spoken of in the text took place there and then and not for the first time on the cross;

    that it was a true and real sacrifice;

    that it was considered a permanent institution in the Church.

    The present form of the participle ekchynnomenon in conjunction with the present estin establishes the first point. For it is a grammatical rule of New Testament Greek, that, when the double present is used (that is, in both the participle and the finite verb, as is the case here), the time denoted is not the distant or near future, but strictly the present (see Fr. Blass, “Grammatik des N.T. Griechisch”, p. 193, Gottingen, 1896). This rule does not apply to other constructions of the present tense, as when Christ says earlier (John 14:12): I go (poreuomai) to the father”. Alleged exceptions to the rule are not such in reality, as, for instance, Matthew 6:30: “And if the grass of the field, which is today and tomorrow is cast into the oven (ballomenon) God doth so clothe (amphiennysin): how much more you, O ye of little faith?” For in this passage it is a question not of something in the future but of something occurring every day. When the Vulgate translates the Greek participles by the future (effundetur, fundetur), it is not at variance with facts, considering that the mystical shedding of blood in the chalice, if it were not brought into intimate relation with the physical shedding of blood on the cross, would be impossible and meaningless; for the one is the essential presupposition and foundation of the other. Still, from the standpoint of philology, effunditur (funditur) ought to be translated into the strictly present, as is really done in many ancient codices. The accuracy of this exegesis is finally attested in a striking way by the Greek wording in St. Luke: to poterion . . . ekchynnomenon. Here the shedding of blood appears as taking place directly in the chalice, and therefore in the present. Overzealous critics, it is true, have assumed that there is here a grammatical mistake, in that St. Luke erroneously connects the “shedding” with the chalice (poterion), instead of with “blood” (to aimati) which is in the dative. Rather than correct this highly cultivated Greek, as though he were a school boy, we prefer to assume that he intended to use synecdoche, a figure of speech known to everybody, and therefore put the vessel to indicate its contents.

    As to the establishment of our second proposition, believing Protestants and Anglicans readily admit that the phrase: “to shed one’s blood for others unto the remission of sins” is not only genuinely Biblical language relating to sacrifice, but also designates in particular the sacrifice of expiation (cf. Leviticus 7:14; 14:17; 17:11; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Hebrews 9:10, etc.). They, however, refer this sacrifice of expiation not to what took place at the Last Supper, but to the Crucifixion the day after. From the demonstration given above that Christ, by the double consecration of bread and wine mystically separated His Blood from His Body and thus in a chalice itself poured out this Blood in a sacramental way, it is at once clear that he wished to solemnize the Last Supper not as a sacrament merely but also as a Eucharistic Sacrifice. If the “pouring out of the chalice” is to mean nothing more than the sacramental drinking of the Blood, the result is an intolerable tautology: “Drink ye all of this, for this is my blood, which is being drunk”. As, however, it really reads “Drink ye all of this, for this is my blood, which is shed for many (you) unto remission of sins,” the double character of the rite as sacrament and sacrifice is evident. The sacrament is shown forth in the “drinking”, the sacrifice in the “shedding of blood”. “The blood of the new testament”, moreover, of which all the four passages speak, has its exact parallel in the analogous institution of the Old Testament through Moses. For by Divine command he sprinkled the people with the true blood of an animal and added, as Christ did, the words of institution (Exodus 24:8): “This is the blood of the covenant (Sept.: idou to aima tes diathekes) which the Lord hath made with you”. St. Paul, however, (Hebrews 9:18 sq.) after repeating this passage, solemnly demonstrates (ibid., ix, 11 sq) the institution of the New Law through the blood shed by Christ at the crucifixion; and the Savior Himself, with equal solemnity, says of the chalice: This is My Blood of the new testament”. It follows therefore that Christ had intended His true Blood in the chalice not only to be imparted as a sacrament, but to be also a sacrifice for the remission of sins. With the last remark our third statement, viz. as to the permanency of the institution in the Church, is also established. For the duration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is indissolubly bound up with the duration of the sacrament. Christ’s Last Supper thus takes on the significance of a Divine institution whereby the Mass is established in His Church. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 11:25), in fact, puts into the mouth of the Savior the words: “This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me”.

    We are now in a position to appreciate in their deeper sense Christ’s words of consecration over the bread. Since only St. Luke and St. Paul have made additions to the sentence, “This is My Body”, it is only on them that we can base our demonstration.

    Luke 22:19: Hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis datur; touto esti to soma mou to uper umon didomenon; This is my body which is given for you.

    1 Corinthians 11:24: Hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur; touto mou esti to soma to uper umon [klomenon]; This is my body which shall be broken for you.

    Once more, we maintain that the sacrifical “giving of the body” (in organic unity of course with the “pouring of blood” in the chalice) is here to be interpreted as a present sacrifice and as a permanent institution in the Church. Regarding the decisive point, i.e. indication of what is actually taking place, it is again St. Luke who speaks with greatest clearness, for to soma he adds the present participle, didomenon by which he describes the “giving of the body” as something happening in the present, here and now, not as something to be done in the near future.

    Concerning the Melchizedekian priesthood as discussed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, you wrote:

    Did you ever wonder why Hebrews omits the “bread and wine” from its discussion on Christ-Melchizedek ? Hebrews goes out of its way to connect Melchizedek with Christ, over and above the Old Law. Only bloody sacrifices are discussed and there is no hint of the Eucharist sacrifice. A sacrament is a symbol of a sacred thing and a visible form of an invisible grace. Genesis 14 records Melchizedek observing a sacrament that includes a sacrifice of his lips. Christ instituted a better sacrament by following the same pattern.

    In his discussion of the Aaronic priesthood as compared to the priesthood of Christ, the author of this Epistle focuses upon bloody sacrifices, i.e., the physical immolation of the victim(s). The author is not concerned to describe the nature of the ordained Christian priesthood established and sustained by Christ. (There is, so far as I can recall, no mention of “pastors,” “bishops,” “presbyters,” or “deacons” in the Epistle to the Hebrews.) Obviously, the ritual “bringing forth” of bread and wine is a point of commonality between Melchizedek, the Aaronic priesthood, Christ, and the New Covenant priesthood. The author of Hebrews did not deny this point by not raising or developing it. He simply focused on other aspects of Christ’s priesthood vis-a-vis the Aaronic priesthood.

    I had argued that “the Last Supper was a proleptic participation in Calvary, as Christ realistically anticipated Calvary by offering up his own true Body and Blood in the sacrament.”

    In response to these words, you wrote:

    The phrases joining the Last Supper and Calvary are contrived. You need a real death for a participation in a bloody sacrifice.

    I don’t see how these “phrases” are any more “contrived” than the phrases that Christ used in joining the Last Supper to his impending bloody sacrifice.

    In response to my claim that it is a mistake to bifurcate Calvary and the Last Supper, you wrote:

    No wedge on my part. Christ offered a sacrifice of praise ( ) like Melchizedek ( ). Both sacrifices were priestly actions.

    That is only part of the truth. Both Melchizedek and Christ offered bread and wine (in the latter case, bread and wine consecrated, so to be changed, becoming the Body and Blood of Christ). Melchizedek is called a priest of the most high God when he “brought forth” bread and wine and pronounced a blessing. And in the Last Supper, Christ brought forth the bread and wine and pronounced a blessing, speaking the words of Institution, the same words that every Catholic priest speaks when doing what Christ did in the Upper Room, in obedience to his command.

    Finally, you wrote:

    You must always appeal to his passion and death to prove Christ is our propitiation. Subordinating “when” Christ inaugurated the New Covenant to this is acceptable. The Bible says the covenant is invalid without death. Christ was very alive when he said “new covenant”. Embracing a strict memorialist view has no problem with this.

    Which is precisely why Christ appealed to his passion and death during the Last Supper. However, he used the present tense when referring to his Body and Blood in the sacrament, which he called, also in the present tense, the New Covenant. He was not referring to an invalid covenant, because Our Lord himself, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, is the substance of the New Covenant, as indicated at the conclusion of comment #16, where I described the relation between the Last Supper, Calvary, and the Eucharist.

    Andrew

  21. Mateo (re:#18),

    You wrote:
    I would say, rather, that Christ, our true High Priest, offered himself as the true Paschal Lamb, and it is through Christ’s priestly offering of the Paschal Lamb that the New Covenant was inaugurated.

    Response:
    All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

    For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.(Hebrews 9:17)

    Now the New Covenant sacrifice can run concurrently with every shadow, type, bloody-unbloody sacrifice that occurred in time. Dead men validate a covenant. Christ died from the from the creation of the world. Therefore, Christ validated a covenant from the foundation of the world.

    Please do not think me rude, I appreciate the time spent gathering this information. Finding parallels and type-antitype relations between Old and New strengthen my faith. Everything you have compared and contrasted is subsumed under the passage in Revelation. “When” means everything and nothing because Christ has always been dead. We cannot find the constant to observe the variables.

    You wrote in comment #14:
    Eric, if I understand you correctly, you are objecting to the idea that Catholics believe that priests of the New Covenant are ordained into a priesthood that existed in the Old Covenant – the priesthood of Melchizedek. Is that correct?

    This was the answer:
    Catholics believe that Christ ordained priests into the New Covenant.

    You asked:
    Do I understand you correctly that you challenge the legitimacy of the ordained priesthood, but do not challenge the legitimacy of the common priesthood of the faithful?

    Response:
    Yes, based on catholic priests lacking the first and efficient causes of Christ’s priesthood. (see comment #19)
    First Cause- Sonship and indestructible life
    Efficient Cause- God’s swears the oath

    You wrote:
    In defense of the legitimacy of the ordained priesthood…All the churches with a two-thousand year old history would stand against you in your dispute with the Catholic Church on this point of doctrine.

    Response:
    Stand against you ? If God is for us, who is against us ? I will stand or fall to my Master just like those churches.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  22. Andrew (re:#20),

    You wrote:
    This claim, however, seems to be inconsistent with your claim that the “mediatorial cause” of the lay priesthood is “Christ’s redemptive work and actual intercession.” Isn’t a “mediatorial cause” a kind of link, by definition?
    Response:
    It does seem inconsistent. Using “Christ as a link” is equally ambiguous as “participation in Christ”. At least there was an attempt to fix these terms into a wider structure of explanation. You may remove it from the list of causes because it is dispensable. Here is my attempt to make it seem more consistent:

    You continue to see Christ, the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, as a link (lay priesthood is in the order of Melchizedek through participation in Christ the High priest) when the opposite is true.

    I am intentionally juxtaposing Christ the High Priest and Christ the Mediator. God’s calling of His priestly people established, made, constituted, and organized them in this world. God, through the mediator of the New Covenant, effected continuity between the Old covenant people and New Covenant people. In this respect, Christ himself belongs to the larger entity named “People of God”. But this belonging is also accompanied by His unique role as High Priest (after Melchizedek). Christ, as High Priest, relates to the people as one in a hierarchical ordering. Grace and power are lavished on the second order to perform their ministry as priests. What is it that limits the act of lavishing from causing a univocal participation, signified by the word “priest” ? Maintaining that lay priesthood is in the order of Melchizedek is the same as a univocal participation. Being baptized into the name of Christ is initiation into our analogical participation.

    You wrote:
    More generally, your list of causes appears to be ad hoc….
    Response:
    I admit to not having a planned list. Honestly, I was surprised to see you press your concerns in light of the CCC#1541:
    The liturgy of the Church, however, sees in the priesthood of Aaron and the service of the Levites, as in the institution of the seventy elders, a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant. Thus in the Latin Rite the Church prays in the consecratory preface of the ordination of bishops…

    The mere fact that there is a ministry of the New Covenant prefigured by Aaron-Levites permits me to raise objections found in Hebrews. It is clearer now that you were never interested in the content of my answers. Very little was offered to address the points I raised. When opportunity arose, you began to tie knots that required more information and energy to untie. Anyone who wishes to view my comments will see a genuine attempt to touch the most relevant aspects of our topic.

    You wrote:
    Each sacrament has its own promise / proper effect / specific grace. The eucharistic promise is contained in the words of institution….
    Response:
    If each sacrament has its own promise, then why does the institution of priesthood receive its promise from the eucharist ? Your position imposes sacrament on Christ’s command because you believe Christ offered the sacrament as sacrifice.

    You wrote:
    As I pointed out in a previous comment, “the thing signified” was “actualized” in the Upper Room; namely, Christ’s Body and Blood. The Eucharist is a sacrifice precisely because it is the sacramental re-presentation of the Body and Blood of Christ….
    Response:
    Only one of the sources you supplied is magisterial. The Eucharist you reference describes a Church-observed Eucharist (emphasis is mine in the following citations):

    CCC#1364
    In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the CHURCH CELEBRATES THE EUCHARIST, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present….

    CCC#1366
    The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (MAKES PRESENT) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:
    [Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all TO OFFER himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, TO ACCOMPLISH there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice WHICH HE WAS TO accomplish once for all on the cross WOULD BE re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.

    You wrote:
    In his discussion of the Aaronic priesthood as compared to the priesthood of Christ, the author of this Epistle focuses upon bloody sacrifices….
    Response:
    The King of Salem brought bread and wine for Abram. Catholic teaching is myopic at the very point it wishes to prove Eucharistic prefiguration. Melchizedek and Christ were Kings, but Aaron was not.

    You wrote:
    ….impending bloody sacrifice….
    Response:
    The fact that two distinct modes of offering are taught favors my position. Every attempt made to “fit” the bloody sacrifice is confined to the unbloody mode. The bloody mode is the reason your position fails.

    You wrote:
    That is only part of the truth….
    Response:
    It is only a part from your perspective. I am advocating a reformation from the fruits of your perspective.

    That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense, and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions; yea, of gross idolatries. – WCF, XXIX, VI

    You wrote:
    Which is precisely why Christ appealed to his passion and death during the Last Supper….
    Response:
    Why stop at the Eucharistic altar in your regression from the cross ? Go to the beginning (Rev.13:8)

    Eric

  23. Eric,

    You wrote:

    I am intentionally juxtaposing Christ the High Priest and Christ the Mediator.

    Which is a problem for your position, since a priest is, first of all, a mediator. Now it is true that the converse does not hold: a mediator is not necessarily a priest. However, Christ has made us all *priests* to his God and Father (Revelation 1:6), not simply mediators. Neither the lay nor the ordained priesthood’s participation in Christ’s priesthood is univocal. No Christian is a priest in exactly the same way that Christ is a priest: “Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Hebrews 8:4; cited in the Cathechism of the Catholic Church, par. 1545).

    You wrote:

    The mere fact that there is a ministry of the New Covenant prefigured by Aaron-Levites permits me to raise objections found in Hebrews. It is clearer now that you were never interested in the content of my answers. Very little was offered to address the points I raised. When opportunity arose, you began to tie knots that required more information and energy to untie. Anyone who wishes to view my comments will see a genuine attempt to touch the most relevant aspects of our topic.

    Two responses: (1) The ordained priesthood of the New Covenant is related, through Christ the high priest, to the Aaronic priesthood as antitype to type. The author of Hebrews is not warning Christians against considering the Aaronic priesthood as a type, he is warning them against going back to the Old Covenant priesthood itself, which has been fulfilled by Christ. As I mentioned in my last comment, the author is not discussing either the lay or ordained Christian ministry–he does not mention the priesthood of the believer or the offices of bishops, presbyter, and deacon–except by implication, insofar as these are a participation in the priesthood of Christ. (2) Observing that your comments are unclear does not amount to a lack of interest in those comments. Nor does pointing out the tension between various comments amount to tying knots in them. I don’t doubt that you are genuine in your attempts to get at the heart of the matter (i.e., whether there is an ordained Christian priesthood), but being genuine does not amount to being perspicuous!

    You asked:

    If each sacrament has its own promise, then why does the institution of priesthood receive its promise from the eucharist ?

    Because the Eucharist is that sacrifice which the New Covenant priests are commissioned to offer. Christ bestowed Holy Orders on the Apostles directly, in giving them his Body and Blood with the command, “do this,” and in breathing the Holy Spirit upon them for the power of forgiving sins (John 20:23), and in entrusting them, St. Peter in particular, with the government of his Church (Matthew 16:18-19). These Holy Orders are passed down by the Apostles to other men through the laying on of hands, which is the oath-in-action containing both the command to teach, govern, and sanctify and the grace by which to carry out this ministry (2 Timothy 1:6).

    In response to the material I provided indicating that Christ did indeed sacramentally offer his Body and Blood in the Upper Room, you wrote:

    The Eucharist you reference describes a Church-observed Eucharist …

    When I referred to CCC 1338, I meant to refer to 1339:

    Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood:

    Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover meal for us, that we may eat it. . . .” They went . . . and prepared the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”. . . . And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.”

    You wrote:

    The King of Salem brought bread and wine for Abram. Catholic teaching is myopic at the very point it wishes to prove Eucharistic prefiguration. Melchizedek and Christ were Kings, but Aaron was not.

    Being attentive to biblical typology–in this case, Melchizedek, priest of the most high God, bringing forth bread and wine for Abram –> Christ, priest according to the order of Melchizedek, bringing forth bread and wine for his disciples–does not amount to myopia. However, ignoring or brushing aside such types could be a form of denial. As I pointed out in a previous comment (#16), the Aaronic priesthood prefigures both the physical sacrifice of Christ on Calvary and the sacramental sacrifice of the Eucharist. Melchizedek, on the other hand, prefigures Christ in a distinct way: as both priest and king, he is of the same priestly order as Christ. He also performs a similar priestly action, bringing forth bread and wine with a blessing. The prefigure of Melchizedek complements the type of the Aaronic priesthood.

    You wrote:

    The fact that two distinct modes of offering are taught favors my position. Every attempt made to “fit” the bloody sacrifice is confined to the unbloody mode. The bloody mode is the reason your position fails.

    Well, the Catholic position is that there are at least two distinct modes of offering the Body and Blood of Christ (sacramental and physical). If the Catholic position favors your position, then perhaps your position is more Catholic than you realize or care to admit! Every attempt to relate the physical sacrifice to the sacramental sacrifice must keep these modes distinct, else we have moved from relation to conflation. The Catholic understanding of this relation does not “fail” because it recognizes the distinction of the bloody sacrifice upon Calvary. The Catholic understanding depends upon this distinction.

    Finally, you wrote:

    Why stop at the Eucharistic altar in your regression from the cross ? Go to the beginning (Rev.13:8)

    The question presupposes that there is only distinction (hence, a bifurcation) between the Eucharist and Calvary, and not also a real relation. But if there is a real relation, such as Catholics hold, between the Eucharist and the Cross, as expressed in the words of Our Lord, “this my Body, which is given for you … this is my Blood, which is shed for you,” then the Eucharistic altar is not a regression from the Cross, but is rather a participation in that most holy and acceptable sacrifice.

    Your reference to Revelation 13:8 as “the beginning” of “the Eucharistic altar” indicates that, in your mind, the adoration of the Eucharist and / or celebrating the Eucharist as a sacrifice is rooted in the adoration of the satanic Beast. In reality, of course, the adoration of the Lamb of Revelation 5 is antithetical to the adoration of the Beast of Revelation 13. It would be a confusion and a blasphemy of the first order to conflate these two acts of worship. I don’t think that you intend any such conflation; you simply don’t believe the Words of Institution. That is, and has been all along, at the heart of our disagreement.

    Andrew

  24. Andrew (re:#23),

    You wrote:
    Which is a problem for your position, since a priest is, first of all, a mediator. Now it is true that the converse does not hold: a mediator is not necessarily a priest….

    Response:
    My objections to “your commission as priest is according to the order of Melchizedek”, in comment #13, were founded on that “not necessarily”. It is the reason for the word juxtaposition. To be sure, Christ holds both offices, but their respective operations relate differently to the priesthood of all believers. You wrote that Christ has made us all priests. That “made” contains the major problem between us, i.e., sacramental theology. My theology views the instrumental cause of priest-commission through union with Christ by faith. Baptism does not effect what it signifies, hence, my identification of the efficient cause in the call of God. The problem you see is in my lack of conformity to catholic teaching on how we begin to participate in Christ. For clarification, do you agree that “our priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek” is tantamount to univocal participation ? If not, then why do we enjoy this designation as non-natural sons of God with destructible lives ?

    You wrote:
    Two responses….being genuine does not amount to being perspicuous!

    Response:
    Point well taken on the last part. Your patience towards my deficiencies is appreciated. Response to (1): The Reformed position is warning Catholics not to return to the OT priesthood. This is the backdrop to the strange-mixture of Melchizedek and Aaron (comment #2). We see striking similarities (comment #9) between the audience of Hebrews and the catholic hierarchical priesthood. R.(2): With sincere respect, I must challenge your discovery of tensions in my comments. Those tensions entered in the first part of comment #7. Your comments assume belief that the sacraments of baptism and holy orders begin participation, therefore, tensions did not emerge from my ideas. For the record, I agree that my position would show inconsistencies if catholic sacramental theology was in it.

    You wrote:
    Because the Eucharist is that sacrifice which the New Covenant priests are commissioned to offer….

    Response:
    Since, then, we are about to treat of the Sacraments in general, it is proper to begin in the first place by explaining the force and meaning of the word Sacrament, and showing its various significations, in order the more easily to comprehend the sense in which it is here used. The faithful, therefore, are to be informed that the word Sacrament, in so far as it concerns our present purpose, is differently understood by sacred and profane writers.

    By some it has been used to express the obligation which arises from an oath, pledging to the performance of some service; and hence the oath by which soldiers promise military service to the State has been called a military sacrament. Among profane writers this seems to have been the most ordinary meaning of the word.

    But by the Latin Fathers who have written on theological subjects, the word sacrament is used to signify a sacred thing which lies concealed. The Greeks, to express the same idea, made use of the word mystery. This we understand to be the meaning of the word, when, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, it is said: That he might make known to us the mystery (sacramentum) of his will; and to Timothy: great is the mystery (sacramentum) of godliness; and in the Book of Wisdom: They knew not the secrets (sacramenta) of God. In these and many other passages the word sacrament,­ it will be perceived, signifies nothing more than a holy thing that lies concealed and hidden.

    The Latin Doctors, therefore, deemed the word a very appropriate term to express certain sensible signs which at once communicate grace, declare it, and, as it were, place it before the eyes. St. Gregory, however, is of the opinion that such a sign is called a Sacrament, because the divine power secretly operates our salvation under the veil of sensible things.

    Let it not, however, be supposed that the word sacrament is of recent ecclesiastical usage. Whoever peruses the works of Saints Jerome and Augustine will at once perceive that ancient ecclesiastical writers made use of the word sacrament, and some times also of the word symbol, or mystical sign or sacred sign, to designate that of which we here speak. – Roman Catechism, On the Sacraments

    It seems to me that too much weight is being placed on the sacrament-oath connection. We can agree that the sacraments serve as badges or tokens of our profession. More importantly, they serve as signs of God’s sacred promises to his people. Apart from Scott Hahn, more magisterial teaching is required to elevate the oath aspect to the level of God’s swearing concerning his Son.

    You wrote:
    Being attentive to biblical typology….

    Response:
    Attention to Kingship is the myopic condition. Christ the King brought bread and wine to the sons of Abraham like the gifts Melchizedek the King brought to Abram. As King, Christ had legislative authority to institute a sacrament of the New Law. It is even reasonable to infer that Melchizedek instituted a sacrament (comment #19) by his regal power. The verbal blessings alone, as sacrifices of praise, constitute the priestly element. Offering the sacrifice of bread and wine, under Aaron’s priesthood, is typologically fulfilled in the bloody victim on the cross. One bloody immolation covered every bloody-unbloody offering under Aaron’s priesthood.

    You wrote:
    Well, the Catholic position is that there are at least two distinct modes of offering the Body and Blood of Christ (sacramental and physical)….

    Response:
    Yes! I think we disagree about what the catholic church has expressly taught. I maintain that the church has committed herself to the representation-propitiation character of the church-observed eucharist only. The institution of the unbloody sacrifice was to have this character after the bloody sacrifice. Your position, also presented in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1911), is to have the unbloody begin and perpetuate the bloody. The church may grant freedom for such a teaching, but it is not at the level of magisterial teaching. CCC#1366 states the church-observed eucharist applies the fruits of the cross. How could the first sacramental eucharist apply the fruits of a tree not yet grown ? You keep demonstrating a tree and fruit at the first eucharist. Keeping to the distinction between instituted-memorial and observed-memorial avoids the problem.

    Finally, you wrote:
    The question presupposes that there is only distinction (hence, a bifurcation) between the Eucharist and Calvary, and not also a real relation….

    Response:
    Before the cross, any and all participation in the cross can only be classified as mystical, spiritual, anticipatory and intentional. Not until after the cross, can it be said to be a full sacramental participation. Adding the first sacramental eucharist to the participation renders it a lone member of a mixed class. I truly do not know a better way to describe it; In effect, it is classified as a mixed-sacrifice between foreshadowing the cross and the cross-less victim destined for the cross (comment #15).

    The first part of Rev.13:8 should not have been quoted. It added nothing to my point. My mind never connected beast worship to Lord’s Supper or catholic teaching on the subject. However, it is difficult to see how you can say I don’t believe the words of institution in light of Vatican II. If our profession is an act of belief, then that act must have belief.

    Though the ecclesial Communities which are separated from us lack the fullness of unity with us flowing from Baptism, and though we believe they have not retained the proper reality of the eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Orders, nevertheless when they commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper, they profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and look forward to His coming in glory. Therefore the teaching concerning the Lord’s Supper, the other sacraments, worship, the ministry of the Church, must be the subject of the dialogue. – VII, Decree on Ecumenism, #22

    Eric

  25. Eric,

    Before I respond to your last comment, I want to recap this lengthy exchange, so to re-focus and to give you the opportunity to do likewise. There is some new material in your last comment, but also much that is repetitive. Joining in the spirit of recapitulation, here is my understanding of where we have been, up until your last comment:

    (1) You objected to the Catholic doctrine of the ordained priesthood, according to which this priesthood is considered to be, by a participation in Christ’s high priesthood, a participation in the priesthood of Melchizedek. Your original question / objection (comment #2) referred to the deaths of ordained Catholic priests as opposed to the endless life of Melchizedek and Christ. Later, you wrote that the mortality of Catholic priests is not the disqualifying factor; rather, the disqualifying factor is that authentic Christian priests are not ordained with an oath, but by God’s calling (1 Peter 2:9). Christ, on the other hand, was ordained in the order of Melchizedek by an oath (Hebrews 7:21).

    I responded by pointing out that (a) the priesthood of all believers as well as the ordained priesthood seem to depend upon a participation in the priesthood of Christ, who is called our high priest. My basic intuition is that this involves our participation in the priestly order of Melchizedek, because Christ is not named a priest in any other order. If we set aside the order of Melchizedek, then it seems that we must set aside any notion of the believer’s (lay or ordained) participation in the priesthood of Christ. (b) The distinct priestly nature of the ordained ministry is constituted by the fact that only some believers are appointed to celebrate the Eucharist. It is by being ordained to “do this” (i.e., celebrate the Eucharist) that a Christian is made to participate in a particular way in the priesthood of Christ. Thus, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, there are two distinct participations in the one priesthood of Christ, both of which are brought about by an oath-in-action; i.e., a sacrament: we are made priests in the universal priesthood by Baptism; the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood is conferred by ordination to celebrate the Eucharist. I raised this point, about the sacraments as oaths, in response to your revised objection to the Christian’s participation in Christ’s Melchizedekian priesthood.

    (2) From there, your objection to the Catholic understanding of the priesthood became two-fold: (a) On the one hand, you continued to maintain that the Christian priesthood is not a participation in the order of Melchizedek. The reasons that you gave include: There are different levels and different causes of Christ’s priesthood versus the believer’s priesthood; therefore, you concluded, Christ and the believer must be ordained to two different orders of priesthood. Christ is a priest in the order of Melchizedek, and the believer is a priest in some unspecified order. (b) The other part of your objection is itself two-pronged: (b1) You maintained that celebrating the Eucharist is not offering a sacrifice because it is not a bloody sacrifice, by which I take you to mean that there is no physical immolation of the Victim in the Eucharist. (b2) Furthermore, you maintained that Christ did not actually celebrate the Eucharist in the Last Supper, but only celebrated the Jewish Passover, while merely instituting the Eucharist, which I take to mean that he gave instructions for doing the latter, without actually doing it. The reason that you gave is that Christ said to “do this in memory of me,” namely, in memory of his bloody sacrifice (physical immolation / suffering and death) on the Cross, which would be impossible to remember before it actually occurred.

    I responded to the first part of your objection by claiming that the distinctions you draw regarding different causes of priesthood are not particularly clear (at least, I am not sure what you mean by each putative cause), have the appearance of arguing in reverse, from the conclusion to the premises (i.e., you assume that Christians do not participate in the order of Melchizedek, and then come up with categories of causality based on that assumption), and that in any case your conclusion does not follow from your premises, because those premises are consistent with the denial of the conclusion; namely, it would be logically consistent both to grant those distinct levels and causes of priesthood and to maintain that a high priest and his fellow priests belong to the same order of priesthood, since one order can have various grades of participation. It could be that Christ fulfills the priestly order of Melchizedek completely in himself, and Christians participate in this same order to various degrees and in various ways. I maintained that it is ad hoc to stipulate that our participation in Christ’s priesthood in the order of Melchizedek would be univocal participation, while, presumably, our participation in Christ’s other, unspecified kind of priesthood would not be univocal. We agree that no Christian is a priest in the same sense that Christ is a priest. A limited participation in Christ’s priesthood, whether in the order of Melchizedek or some other, unspecified order, is shown not to be univocal by the very fact that our participation is limited, while Christ possesses the fullness of the priesthood.

    Furthermore, drawing the distinction between priest and mediator does not justify your speculation that there are two priesthoods in Christ: one in the order of Melchizedek and another in some other order, with Christians participating only the the latter, unspecified order. This multiplying of distinctions in the priesthood of Christ also appears to be ad hoc, i.e., stipulated in order to avoid the conclusion that by participating in Christ’s priesthood, Christians, to some degree, participate in the order of Melchizedek.

    For my part, I cannot tell that it is a particular point of Catholic theology to explicitly affirm that the universal priesthood is a participation in Christ’s priesthood in the order of Melchizedek. It could be that I can take it or leave it, theologically. It just seems more reasonable, less vulnerable to Ockham’s Razor, to take it. On the other hand, you can maintain that lay Christians participate in the order of Melchizedek and still maintain that ordained priests do not participate in the order of Melchizedek simply by maintaining that there is no such thing as an ordained priesthood (as distinct from the universal priesthood of Christians) in the New Covenant. That is the really important point of difference between us, and it was the subject of the next part of my response to you:

    I responded to the second part of your objection to the Catholic theology of the priesthood by agreeing with (b1) to the extent that there is no physical immolation of Christ (in the sense of killing Christ) in the Eucharist. However, I argued that there is a sacramental immolation of Christ in the Eucharist, as evidenced by the sacramental separation of his Body and Blood under the signs of bread and wine. I then pointed out that bread and wine offerings are explicitly called sacrifices in Sacred Scripture, and that these elements are specifically associated with the priestly order of Melchizedek (Genesis 14). So, showing that the Eucharist is not a bloody sacrifice (in the sense of a physical shedding of blood) is not sufficient for showing that the Eucharist is not a sacrifice. My response to (b2) was to point to the Institution narratives themselves, in which Christ is actually doing what he told the disciples to do; namely, taking bread, blessing it, breaking it, pronouncing the words “this is my body … this is my blood” and giving the consecrated gifts to his disciples. I further pointed out that this action corresponds ontologically to the sacrifice on Calvary for the very reason that the very same Victim, Christ himself, is offered in both settings. The distinction between the Last Supper and Calvary is a distinction in the time and mode, not the substance, of the sacrifice. The distinction between the Last Supper and the first Eucharist celebrated after Calvary is a distinction in time, not substance or mode. The anamnesis of the Last Supper involved a calling to mind in anticipation of Calvary, while the anamnesis of the first Eucharist celebrated after Calvary, and every subsequent Eucharist, involves a calling to mind in recollection of the Lord’s death.

    I need to wrap-up this recap. Hopefully, the preceding brings us up to speed, except for a few new points in your last comment, concerning sacraments as oaths and / or mysteries. In my next comment, I want to consider and respond to that, and also explain what I meant by claiming that you do not believe the Words of Institution. Finally, I want to explain how the question of whether or not the consecrated elements really are what Jesus says they are is at the heart of our different conceptions of the Eucharist as a sacrifice.

    As for Revelation 13:8: If you didn’t want the first part of that verse to be quoted, then you should have referenced or quoted only that part of the verse which you had in mind (13:8b). No one here can read your mind. Obscurity is a deficiency in communication, and I am only pointing this out in order to encourage you to avoid “responses” that amount to little more than enigmatic innuendos, which impair our conversation.

    Andrew

  26. Eric,

    Okay, moving on to your new points.

    Regarding Christ as priest and mediator, you wrote:

    To be sure, Christ holds both offices …

    So far as I can tell, “mediator” is not an office that Christ holds in distinction from the office of priest. Christ is called a “mediator” four times in the New Testament, and each time it is with reference to his sacrifice on Calvary. “Mediator” is a description of what Christ does, with respect to us and God, precisely as our sacrificial high priest. So there is no warrant in these two words, mediator and priest, for you to divorce the Christian from Christ’s priesthood in the order of Melchizedek, such that Christians do not participate in that priestly order.

    Regarding whether the cause of being made a priest is (a) Baptism (for the universal priesthood) and Holy Orders conferred by the laying on of apostolic hands (for the hierarchical priesthood), or else (b) the calling of God: This is a false dichotomy. God calls people to Baptism and Ordination, and by these means he makes them priests, both lay and ordained. God’s calling does not dispense with the means of grace. But even if God’s calling did dispense with the means of grace, it would not follow that Christians do not participate in the priesthood of Christ, for reasons given above.

    Concerning sacraments as oaths and / or mysteries: As the section that you quoted from the Catechism of the Council of Trent says, the Christian authors certainly mean more than the secular authors by the term “sacrament.” But they chose that word for a reason, in translating the Greek μυστήριον. By tracing the sacramentum, or “oath,” through Sacred Scripture, as Hahn has done, one finds that an oath is a bond of covenant kinship, often enacted with a visible sign (e.g., placing a hand under the thigh). Thus the Latin word for sacrament evokes Old Testament images and themes. By the power of Christ, sacraments / covenant oaths are filled with new power and meaning, not by destroying the old, but by fulfilling it.

    In response to my claim that being attentive to biblical typology is not myopic, you wrote:

    Attention to Kingship is the myopic condition. Christ the King brought bread and wine to the sons of Abraham like the gifts Melchizedek the King brought to Abram. As King, Christ had legislative authority to institute a sacrament of the New Law. It is even reasonable to infer that Melchizedek instituted a sacrament (comment #19) by his regal power. The verbal blessings alone, as sacrifices of praise, constitute the priestly element. Offering the sacrifice of bread and wine, under Aaron’s priesthood, is typologically fulfilled in the bloody victim on the cross. One bloody immolation covered every bloody-unbloody offering under Aaron’s priesthood.

    I do not understand how the first sentence in this paragraph is supposed to be a criticism of my reading of biblical typology. In what follows, you attend to Kingship. Is your reading therefore myopic?

    You continue to maintain, I think, that the Catholic Church teaches that Christ did not consecrate the elements of bread and wine at the Last Supper, such that they became his Body and Blood. However, I have already shown, by citing CCC 1339, that the Church does expressly teach this. You insist that: “The institution of the unbloody sacrifice was to have this character after the bloody sacrifice.” Well, Eric, I’m sorry, but you don’t get to make up doctrines and then claim that what you just made up is what the Catholic Church teaches! At least, I’m not going to let you get away with it. Consider what the Catechism of the Council of Trent says, about the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper:

    That its institution was as follows, is clearly inferred from the Evangelist. Our Lord, having loved his own, loved them to the end. As a divine and admirable pledge of this love, knowing that the hour had now come that He should pass from the world to the Father, that He might not ever at any period be absent from His own, He accomplished with inexplicable wisdom that which surpasses all the order and condition of nature. For having kept the supper of the Paschal lamb with His disciples, that the figure might yield to the reality, the shadow to the substance, He took bread, and giving thanks unto God, He blessed, and brake, and gave to the disciples, and said: “Take ye and eat, this is my body which shall be delivered for you; this do for a commemoration of me.” In like manner also, He took the chalice after he had supped, saying: “This chalice is the new testament in my blood; this do, as often as you shall drink it, in commemoration of me”.

    This brings us to the Words of Institution, which I claimed that you do not believe. Let me specify the sense in which you do not believe what Jesus said: You have been presupposing a “strict memorialist” position during our conversation. Strict memorialists, like other Protestants, do not believe that the consecrated elements are what Jesus says they are. The Catholic Church teaches that the consecrated Bread is truly his Body–not “also” his Body, as though it remained bread in substance (which is a heresy found among Lutherans and some high church Anglicans), nor only a token of his Body, as though the consecrated elements were not, in substance, the Body and Blood of Christ (which is a heresy found among Baptists and Calvinists). Likewise, the consecrated Wine is truly his Blood. The doctrine of the Real Presence is an integral part of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice, inclusive of the Last Supper. It seems to me that, over and above disagreeing with the Catholic doctrine of the priesthood, you have failed to understand the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice (inclusive of the Last Supper) through not taking into account the implications of the Real Presence. Perhaps I should have explicitly raised this point much earlier in our conversation.

    That long quote that I gave earlier, from the Catholic Encyclopedia, explains that the Blood of Christ was truly “poured out” at the Last Supper, and his Body broken, as a propitiatory sacrifice. This is not a physical sacrifice, because Our Lord is not slain in the Supper, but the sacramental sacrifice is a true sacrifice because the Victim is truly present under the forms of bread and wine, which signify his death by the sacramental separation of the Body (the consecrated Bread) and Blood (the consecrated Wine). That reality, Our Lord’s Body and Blood, was actualized at the Incarnation. His self-oblation presupposes his Body and Blood. Because these are present in the Upper Room, they could be, and were, re-presented in the Last Supper, wherein Our Lord offered himself in the sacramental sacrifice. This sacrifice was prefigured by Melchizedek bringing forth bread and wine, and by the grain and wine oblations of the Levitical priesthood. Of course these are all sacrifices of praise. But praise does not exclude matter, nor is it limited to the lips. Perhaps you are the one being a bit myopic, in refusing to see the association of the elements of bread and wine with the priesthood in the order of Melchizedek. You can keep fighting against the obvious priestly action presented in the Institution narratives, but you can’t make it go away:

    Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover meal for us, that we may eat it. . . .” They went . . . and prepared the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”. . . . And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.”

    Andrew

  27. Andrew (re:#25),

    (1) My questions / objections began with a problem of coherence. Specifically, Christ instituting priests subject to death when death itself was a hindrance to continuing his own priesthood (see Trent). Closely related to this was sacrifice and the nature of the Melchizedek order. Exchanges up to #12 developed the details. Development assumed that the Aaronic priesthood and Christ were in contradistinction. So, I raised passages from Hebrews to highlight similar features between the Aaronic and catholic priests . I presented, but left undeveloped, the exclusive nature of the Melchizedek order through an oath and indestructible life.

    Your responses to this first phase reached #13. They included: (a) an indirect challenge to my use of death in #3 (b) In #7, you urged me not to pursue this because it would prove too much and offered a summary of catholic teaching related to authority, sacraments, and Christ’s priesthood. Here you introduced sacraments as oaths. (c) In #10, you returned to the issue of death effecting ministry and expressed not understanding my objection. Also, you expanded sacraments as oaths related to the Eucharist. (d) In #13, you compared a statement of mine with one from my exchange with Mateo in #11. This turned the focus from death to Melchizedek.

    (2) From there I entered a second phase stretching from #15 to #24. Due to a lack of understanding (#10), I changed my disposition from only arguing to explaining and arguing. My explanations appeared to have caused confusion. Leaving aside the death issue, I wanted to concentrate on eucharistic sacrifice and Melchizedek order.

    A. Melchizedic (#15,19,22,24)

    I presented the origin of my priesthood and how it participated in Christ’s priesthood. An argument was given to show the distinct orders between Christ and the House, which kept Melchizedek relative to Christ only. Adding a list of causes and their relationship to participation (being) was designed to explain and augment my beliefs. They were not used primarily to argue for the previously established distinction. The reason for the distinction was in my assumption that “order of Melchizedek” implies a specific oath from God and an indestructible life. This part of phase 2, in conjunction with the mediator-priest distinction, needs more explanation beyond this re-cap.

    B. Eucaristic Sacrifice (#9,12,15,19,22,24)

    The catholic priesthood and eucharist begin to merge together. I presented a strict memorialist view including the commissioning of the Apostles as memorialists. Memorialists were commanded to observe the memorial instituted at the Lord’s Supper after the death of Christ. Based on my interpretation of catholic teaching, the instituted memorial was not regarded as a re-presentation or propitiatory sacrifice until after death. In my opinion, and not according to catholic teaching, this would classify the first eucharistic sacrifice into a mixed sacrifice. We discussed Melchizedek and Aaron’s typological role, when the new covenant was inaugurated, the blood-unbloody immolation of Christ, and many other points I don’t wish to rehearse.

    Your responses stretched as far as my questions/objections in phase 2. I am deciding to let your re-cap of responses stand. If you want more explanation or clarification, then I will do my best to provide it. We seem up to speed and ready to go forward.

    Eric

  28. Eric,

    Thanks for the clarification. The following was very helpful, towards understanding where you are coming from:

    Development assumed that the Aaronic priesthood and Christ were in contradistinction.

    That is part of the truth. However, I do not think that the relation between type and antitype is merely one of contradistinction. Foreshadowing to fulfillment is a much richer relationship than that. It is true that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews goes to some lengths to highlight the differences between the order of Aaron and the order of Melchizedek / Christ’s high priesthood. But those differences do not exhaust the nature of the relation between these orders. The author of Hebrews does not present us with an exhaustive typological reading of the Old Testament priesthood, nor does he present us with any account of the ordained Christian episcopate / presbyterate. So a typological reading of the Aaronic / Levitical priesthood, which sees more than discontinuity between the Covenants, such that there is a fulfillment of of the Levitical type in the New Covenant orders of bishop, presbyter, and deacon, is not ruled out by anything in Hebrews, even though such a reading is not developed there. I am assuming that you are not a classical dispensationalist, and are open to a richer biblical hermeneutic than is found in that school of thought. If you are thus open, and if you keep looking, I cannot help but believe that the Institution narratives will eventually bring you around to seeing why Catholics believe that the Apostles and their successors are priests in the order of Melchizedek and antitypes of the Aaronic priesthood. Those narratives are dripping with priesthood and sacrifice.

    [Updated:I should add that of course we cannot adopt any typological interpretation that is logically inconsistent with anything else in Sacred Scripture. So your interpretation of “many priests,” “an indestructible life,” and “made priest by an oath,” if the correct interpretation, would undermine the Catholic’s typological reading of the priesthood according to which the New Covenant offices of bishops, presbyter, and deacon are typified by the Old Covenant sacerdotal offices. Again, as I understand it, your interpretation of those verses in Hebrews is that the New Covenant priesthood is not only limited to one order of priesthood with one high priest who is the one true priest offering only one bloody sacrifice once and for all (Catholics agree with all that), but also exclusive of any limited, analogical or sacramental participation in this priesthood by individuals other than Jesus. Like I said originally, this seems to prove too much, since we both agree that there is a universal priesthood of believers in Jesus. Which brings us back to:]

    It is also extremely helpful for me to know that you were merely explaining your views about Christians’ participation in Christ’s priesthood, because I had thought you were offering an argument to the end that Christians do not participate in Christ’s priesthood, but rather in his role as mediator. But I am still not sure that I understand your position: Are you claiming that the Christian (lay or ordained) does not participate in Christ’s priesthood, but only in his “office” of mediator? If so, then I think that your position is problematic, for reasons given in my previous comment concerning the identification of Christ’s mediation with his priesthood. It is also problematic because even if Christ’s office of mediator could be separated from his priestly office, and if the Christian’s participation in Christ’s ministry is relegated to a participation in his office as mediator, then it would be inexplicable to refer to the Church as a “kingdom of priests” rather than a “kingdom of mediators.” If, on the other hand, you do think that Christians participate in Christ’s priesthood, then you have yet to specify how this could fail to be a participation in the order of Melchizedek. Remember that our participation in Christ, our union with him, is not amorphous, but is distinctly cruciform: we are united with him in the likeness of his death; we take up our crosses and follow him; we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. But Christ’s cruciform ministry culminates in a crucifixion, and his self-sacrificial death on the Cross is what the author of Hebrews cites as Christ’s high priestly action in the order of Melchizedek. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Christian priesthood(s), if participating in Christ’s priesthood, is (are) for that very reason participating in the priesthood of the order of Melchizedek.

    I want to ask two more related questions, regarding your position on the ordained Christian ministry of bishops/presbyters: (1) Do you recognize this office (or these offices) in the Church? (2) Is it your position that any Christian, that is, anyone among the universal priesthood, is authorized to celebrate the Eucharist, or are bishops/presbyters alone authorized to celebrate the Eucharist?

    Andrew

  29. Andrew (re:#26 & 28),

    Moving onward and upward…

    You wrote:
    So far as I can tell, “mediator” is not an office that Christ holds in distinction from the office of priest….

    Response:
    Customarily, mediator is a catch-all term for Christ’s offices and work. The WCF has an entire section devoted to Christ the Mediator, wherein, all the classic three-fold offices of Prophet, Priest and King are proposed. I submit the following for consideration from the CCC: Part 1, Sec.1, Article 1, III / #1539 / #1544 / #1546 . Christ as mediator and priest are proposed as distinct, but related in different ways to revelation and the people of God.

    You wrote:
    Regarding whether the cause of being made a priest is….

    Response:
    No dichotomy between the call and means was proposed. We differ on the means. My means, or instrumental cause, is faith uniting us with Christ and participation in his priesthood. God’s call (efficient cause) effects through faith.

    You wrote:
    Concerning sacraments as oaths and / or mysteries….

    Response:
    I am wondering if my initial reaction should have continued (comment #12). The disadvantage of not having the book troubles me, because so much of this topic hinges on the nature of the first eucharist. It seems like we cannot find a resolution. I promise to secure the book and read it for possible future exchanges.

    You wrote:
    I do not understand how the first sentence in this paragraph is supposed to be a criticism of my reading typology.

    Response:
    My reading would be myopic if I did not bring the Kingly-Priestly connection together. It is the King-Institution portion that remains the distant object of sight in catholic teaching. To the best of my knowledge, Catholic teaching does not make the Type / Anti-Type connection the way my comments did.

    You wrote:
    You continue to maintain, I think, that the Catholic Church teaches that Christ did not consecrate the elements of bread and wine at the Last Supper, such that they became his Body and Blood.

    Response:
    I do not maintain that. This is a dogmatic teaching proposed with full authority in the Catholic Church.

    You wrote:
    This brings us to the Words of Institution, which I claimed that you do not believe….

    Response:
    I always knew the Real Presence and transubstantiation must be addressed. My current and future understanding of Catholic doctrine will be our responsibility. Prayer, study and exchanges deepen understanding. Raising it now was best because it covers the question of idolatry, and that can heighten emotions beyond critical thinking.

    You wrote:
    That long quote that I gave earlier, from the Catholic Encyclopedia, explains that the Blood of Christ was truly “poured out” at the Last Supper, and his Body broken, as a propitiatory sacrifice….

    Response:
    As I understanding it, there are two ways “represent” is used regarding the eucharistic sacrifice. First, all consecrated eucharistic sacrifices, before or after the cross, have the species of bread and wine “represent” the body and blood of Christ. Through concomitance, the whole Christ is said to be “represented” by the species of bread and wine. Next, the sacramental separation (physical in the sense of separating the species) “represents” his sacrifice of the cross (see CCC#1366). Taken together, the species-representation, the presence of the whole Christ, species-separation representation, and the present tense word usage constitutes the eucharistic sacrifice.

    It is doubtless that death and Christ’s bloody sacrifice are united. How does death, APART from the death of the bloody sacrifice, unite with the unbloody sacrifice ? WHAT is it in the unbloody sacrifice that leads someone to think death and Christ’s unbloody sacrifice unite ? Unbloody means the non-physical separation of blood from the body, which results in non-physical death. Are both modes mutually interdependent to signify death ? Or can each signify death (be death) on their own ?

    —————————–

    (re: #28),

    You wrote:
    That is part of the truth….

    Response:
    I believe the narratives drip with priesthood and sacrifice apart from the word blessings as sacrifices. If they did not, then I could not maintain their proclamation of his death. This sacrament was instituted to put forth Christ as a mediator and priest of the New Covenant. His promise is the giving of himself, i.e. my body…my blood, unto redemption. The most vivid elemental sign is the separation of the bread and wine. One purpose for being instituted was to commemorate his priestly offering. I believe the blessing / thanks to be the only thing offered God.

    The book of Hebrews does not rule out any possible typological reading of continuity between the Aaron / Levite priesthood and the New Covenant appointed bishops, presbyter, and deacon. Indeed, the richness in typology is the interplay of continuity and discontinuity. Also, it does not rule out continuity between A / L and priesthood of all believers.

    The scriptures steer my objection away from logical inconsistency. The origin of the A/L priesthood and universal priesthood was God’s calling and Law giving. Both belong to God. On the one hand, scriptures show the continuity between the old and new universal priesthoods. Their ministries were and are subject to death and member-multiplication, but being subject in this way is not degrading. On the other hand, scriptures show a discontinuity between Christ and A/L priesthood. Death and multiplication are explicitly mentioned as degrading to ministry. In contradistinction, Christ is one and lives forever. Incoherence is in the idea that Christ would continue his own priestly order and ministry in a manner just contradicted. The greater comprehends and uses the lesser, unless the greater demonstrates its greatness by contradicting the lesser. I am open to counter-examples proving me wrong on the point, assuming the examples deal with priesthood specifically.

    Questions for clarification:
    1. Are you claiming that the Christian (lay or ordained) does not participate in Christ’s priesthood, but only in his “office” of mediator?
    2. Do you recognize this office (or these offices) in the Church?
    3. Is it your position that any Christian, that is, anyone among the universal priesthood, is authorized to celebrate the Eucharist, or are bishops/presbyters alone authorized to celebrate the Eucharist?

    Answers:
    1. Every Christian participates in Christ’s priesthood and mediatorship.
    2. Yes, I am Presbyterian.
    3. If celebrate is administer, then bishops/presbyters alone are authorized through the Word and power of the keys.

    God the Father swore an oath effecting (efficient cause) Christ’s time-bound placement in the order of Melchizedek. Before creation, Christ’s Sonship and indestructible life, destined a prefiguration of himself by Melchizedek being in his likeness (Heb.7:3). In turn, Christ rises up as another priest according to Melchizedek’s likeness (Heb.7:15). The one who comes after was already before. This means Christ caused (first cause) the ordering to begin with Melchizedek and end with himself; or, we can say that the First Cause caused the order that places itself after the one prefiguring. No mediator brought these two persons together.

    Any priest ordained into a order of priests is said to have their own priesthood. This is something like each pope has his own pontificate, even though he belongs to the order of popes. Christ was placed in the order of Melchizedek, but enjoys his own unique priesthood. So unique, in fact, that the one preceding him was already in his likeness. The reciprocal nature of “likenesses” in Christ-Melchizedek is the reason I think any participation in the “order of Melchizedek” would be univocal for us.

    God’s calling effected (efficient cause) the Old Covenant People’s placement in the priestly order of a Household. Before creation, God destined the Old Covenant, with its people, to be a prefiguration of a New Covenant and its people. As mediator of the fullness of God’s revelation, Christ reconciled (prophet, priest and king) the old and new into one people called by his name. This is wider and more encompassing than the priestly dimension, but it includes a unique servant- High Priest who is over the House. On the one hand, God through Christ (mediatorial cause), constitutes and establishes this household order by fulfilling the prefiguration; but, on the other hand, Christ as High Priest caused (first cause) the people to be analogically-participating “priests” in himself. Special attention should be given to Christ made like his brethren in all things (Heb.2:17), but without sin and separate from sinners (Heb.4:15, 7:26).

    Eric

  30. Eric,

    You wrote:

    It is the King-Institution portion that remains the distant object of sight in catholic teaching.

    I do not understand what you mean. Could you expand on this?

    You wrote:

    Incoherence is in the idea that Christ would continue his own priestly order and ministry in a manner just contradicted. The greater comprehends and uses the lesser, unless the greater demonstrates its greatness by contradicting the lesser. I am open to counter-examples proving me wrong on the point, assuming the examples deal with priesthood specifically.

    The universal priesthood, consisting of believers who are many and who each die, is a counter-example to your incoherence thesis.

    You wrote:

    The reciprocal nature of “likenesses” in Christ-Melchizedek is the reason I think any participation in the “order of Melchizedek” would be univocal for us.

    That Christ was like Melchizedek in some respects, and Melchizedek like Christ in some respects, does not entail that if anyone else were to participate in Christ’s unique priesthood that participation would be univocal; i.e., to be a priest in the exact same way that Christ is a priest.

    Andrew

  31. Andrew,

    (1) Reading the following responses together should give the expansion you want. Kingship is pushed away when Aaron is considered in Eucharistic typology.

    Comment #19:
    Did you ever wonder why Hebrews omits the “bread and wine” from its discussion on Christ-Melchizedek ? Hebrews goes out of its way to connect Melchizedek with Christ, over and above the Old Law. Only bloody sacrifices are discussed and there is no hint of the Eucharist sacrifice. A sacrament is a symbol of a sacred thing and a visible form of an invisible grace. Genesis 14 records Melchizedek observing a sacrament that includes a sacrifice of his lips. Christ instituted a better sacrament by following the same pattern.
    Matter – bread and wine
    Form- words of blessing
    grace signified- spiritual nourishment from the blessing
    sacrifice- blessing God of heaven and earth

    C #22:
    The King of Salem brought bread and wine for Abram. Catholic teaching is myopic at the very point it wishes to prove Eucharistic prefiguration. Melchizedek and Christ were Kings, but Aaron was not

    C #24:
    Attention to Kingship is the myopic condition. Christ the King brought bread and wine to the sons of Abraham like the gifts Melchizedek the King brought to Abram. As King, Christ had legislative authority to institute a sacrament of the New Law. It is even reasonable to infer that Melchizedek instituted a sacrament (comment #19) by his regal power. The verbal blessings alone, as sacrifices of praise, constitute the priestly element. Offering the sacrifice of bread and wine, under Aaron’s priesthood, is typologically fulfilled in the bloody victim on the cross. One bloody immolation covered every bloody-unbloody offering under Aaron’s priesthood.

    (2) The counter-example does not prove me wrong. You must show Christ instituting the universal priesthood, whose members multiply and die, after He contradicts their multiplicity and death with His individuality and indestructible life. This would be incoherent. Unlike the Aaronic priesthood, multiplicity and death accompanied the universal priesthood in the old and new covenants.

    (3) I am arguing that Christ alone is in the order of Melchizedek on account of God’s oath and indestructible life. For me to assume the designation entails having both. What else is there to justify designating anyone after the order of Melchizedek ? My use of the phrases “Christ’s unique priesthood” and “order of Melchizedek” are not exactly the same. We do not participate in Melchizedek, even though Christ belongs to his order. Every imitation and likeness we have as priests derives from Christ. Does this mean we participate in Christ’s unique priesthood univocally ? No, because we belong to a different order (the household priests) related to Christ as passive-active recipients of His priestly work. One could counter with a participation in Melchizedek through his blessing of our father Abram. This is far from being designated after his order, right ? Would it mean we have two priests over the house ?

    Eric

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