The Church Fathers on Transubstantiation

Dec 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Articles

This article is intended to be a resource showing the support for the doctrine of Transubstantiation in the Church fathers, and not a robust defense of the doctrine as defined by the Council of Trent.1 The Church fathers did not believe in a mere spiritual presence of Christ alongside or in the elements (bread and wine). This can be shown by three different types of patristic statements. The first and most explicit type is a statement that directly affirms a change in the elements. The second type is a simple identification of the consecrated species with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Because unconsecrated bread is not called the Body, and consecrated is called the Body, this directly implies a belief that a supernatural change has taken place at the point of consecration. The third and final type is a statement which attributes or demands extraordinary reverence for the consecrated species itself, and not merely the solemnity of communion in this sacrament.

We will summarize the significance of each type of statement and add some light commentary where expedient. The appendix will contain a few brief responses to anticipated objections as well as some scholarly support for early Christian belief in this doctrine and suggestions for further reading.

I – Affirmation of Change During Consecration
II – Simple Identification of Consecrated Species as the Body and Blood
III – Demand of Extraordinary Reverence
IV – Appendix

Introduction

The claim that the Church fathers believed in Transubstantiation is not a claim that any particular father commanded a precise understanding of the doctrine as formulated by Trent. Any given Church father could no sooner express this doctrine precisely in its developed form than could any given ante-Nicene father express the Niceno-Constantinoplitan doctrine of the Trinity. Yet this does not mean either that they did not believe it, or even that it existed in mere “seed form.” The Nicene doctrine of the Trinity can be detected not only in the early Christian writings and in the New Testament, it is an unavoidable development. That is, anything other than the Niceno-Constantinopolitan doctrine of the Trinity would be contrary to the Tradition of the Church. Likewise, the affirmations that the fathers made about the Eucharist were not only compatible with Transubstantiation, they were incompatible with anything less.


I – Affirmation of Change

Statements that directly affirm a change in the species clearly indicate that the speaker believed in what we now call Transubstantiation. The word ‘transubstantiation’ comes from the Latin trans (across) and substantiare (substantiate). 2 It simply means a change of substance. There are only two types of changes, substantial and not-substantial (i.e. accidental). That is to say, if a thing changes, it either changes into another substance (into another thing) or some non-essential feature of it changes. But if a non-essential feature of something changes, we continue to refer to it in the same way. When a man gets a hair cut, we continue calling him a man; but when a log is burnt, we begin calling it a pile of ash.

In some rare cases we do change a name for something after it undergoes an accidental change. But we only do this when the name is associated with the thing accidentally. Thus we no longer call a bachelor a bachelor after he marries (an accidental or relational change). We call him a husband. Yet the name “bachelor” is an accidental term in the first place. He is a man; he is accidentally a bachelor and later becomes accidentally a husband. Throughout the change he is referred to as a man, because that is what we call him in reference to his essence.

Now bread is not called “bread” accidentally but essentially. Therefore the only time it would be proper to call it something else is when it had changed (substantially) into something else. e.g. If we burnt it into a pile of ash, we would call it a pile of ash. We would not call it something other than bread if it only changed accidentally.

But the fathers spoke of the bread differently after the consecration. They referred to it as “the Body” which is compatible only with a substantial change. Therefore, when the fathers spoke of a change in the Eucharist, they were speaking of a substantial change. Since Transubstantiation simply means “substantial change,” they were speaking of what we now call Transubstantiation.

We will clearly see the concept of “substantial change” in the fathers below. Additionally, in AD 1079, nearly 500 years before the Reformation at the sixth council of Rome, Berengarius affirmed the following in an oath:

…the bread and wine which are placed on the altar are substantially changed into the true and proper and living flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord…3

The Fourth Lateran Council in AD 1215 also declared:

Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine; the bread (changed) into His body by the divine power of transubstantiation, and the wine into the blood…4

This was again confirmed by Pope Innocent III (AD 1208), the Second Council of Lyons (AD 1274), Pope Benedict XII (AD 1341), the Council of Constance (AD 1415), and the Council of Florence (AD 1439). 5 This shows that in denying Transubstantiation, the Protestants rejected centuries of official Church teaching. Later some Protestants claim to be rejecting only Trent’s declaration. But as we have already seen, there were official councils and documents that affirmed a substantial change in the sacrament long before Trent. Now let us examine the fathers to see whether or not they believed that the bread changed into something else during consecration or whether it remained the same.

For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change (transmutation) of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus. – St. Justin Martyr First Apology 66

Notice that St. Justin does not merely affirm that the food (bread) has been changed, but that it had been changed specifically by the Eucharistic prayer. The change in species is related to the host independently of the communicant. There is no hint here, or elsewhere in the fathers, that it depended on anything but the power of the Holy Spirit working in the consecration. This rules out the heresy of receptionism.6

When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him? – St. Irenaeus Against Heresies 5:3

For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity. – Ibid. 4.18.5

We give thanks to the Creator of all, and, along with thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings we have received, we also eat the bread presented to us; and this bread becomes by prayer a sacred body, which sanctifies those who sincerely partake of it. – Origen Against Celsus 8:33

The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ. – St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures 19:7

He once in Cana of Galilee, turned the water into wine, akin to blood, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood?Ibid. 22.2

St. Cyril goes on to explicitly profess what the Church is doing in the consecration, or rather, what God is doing in the consecration:

Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ; for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed. Ibid. 23.7

Now we, as often as we receive the Sacramental Elements, which by the mysterious efficacy of holy prayer are transformed into the Flesh and the Blood, ‘do show the Lord’s Death.’ – St. Ambrose On the Christian Faith 4, 10:125

We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit. – Theodore of Mopsuestia Catechetical Homilies 5:1

He did not say, ‘This is the symbol of My Body, and this, of My Blood,’ but, what is set before us, but that it is transformed by means of the Eucharistic action into Flesh and Blood.” – Theodore of Mopsuestia Commentary on Matthew 26:26

Rightly then do we believe that the bread consecrated by the word of God has been changed [Gr., metapoieisthai] into the Body of God the Word. For that Body was bread in power, but it has been sanctified by the dwelling there of the Word, who pitched his tent in the flesh. The change that elevated to divine power the bread that had been transformed into that Body causes something similar now. In that case, the grace of the Word sanctified that Body whose material being came from bread and was, in a certain sense, bread itself. In this case, the bread “is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer”7, as the Apostle says, not becoming the Body of the Word through our eating but by being transformed [Gr., metapoiumenos] immediately into the body by means of the word, as the Word himself said, ‘This is my Body.’ …He shares himself with every believer through the Flesh whose material being [Gr., sustais] comes from bread and wine . . . in order to bring it about that, by communion with the Immortal, man may share in incorruption. He gives these things through the power of the blessing by which he transelements [Gr., metastoikeiosas] the nature of the visible things [to that of the Immortal]. – St. Gregory of Nyssa The Great Catechism 37

He [Jesus] disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption. – Ibid.

The bread again is at first common bread; but when the mystery sanctifies it, it is called and actually becomes the Body of Christ – St. Gregory of Nyssa Sermon on the Day of Lights or on The Baptism of Christ

You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That Bread which you see on the altar, consecrated by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what the chalice holds, consecrated by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. Through those accidents the Lord wished to entrust to us His Body and the Blood which He poured out for the remission of sins. – St. Augustine Sermons 227

St. Augustine here anticipates the developed form of the doctrine of Transubstantiation with surprising clarity. According to St. Thomas Aquinas many years later, the accidents of the bread and wine remain after Transubstantiation without a subject. (Summa 3.77.1) 8 It is through these “accidents” that the Lord’s Body and Blood are revealed to us. That is why we say that the Body and Blood are contained under the species of bread and wine. The bread and wine, as substances, no longer exist as they have been wholly converted into the precious Body and Blood. 9

The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread10. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, becomes Christ’s Body.” – St. Augustine Sermons 234:2

It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. ‘This is my body,’ he says. This word transforms the things offered. – St. John Chrysostom Against the Judaizers 1.6

St. John Chrysostom explains that it is not the priest that effects the change; rather it is Christ Himself. This is why the claim that it amounts to a magician’s trick (or ‘monkey trick’ in the words of John Calvin) is false. It is not a trick but a miracle.

Far be it from me to censure the successors of the apostles, who with holy words consecrate the body of Christ, and who make us Christians. – St. Jerome Letter to Heliodorus

You will see the Levites bringing the loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wonderous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ….When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body. – St. Athanasius Sermon to the Newly Baptized

St. Athanasius, the great champion of Trinitarian orthodoxy, could not be any more explicit in affirming that a substantial change occurs at the consecration.

The following is a dialogue from Theodoret’s Eranistes on the subject of the miracle of consecration and the ‘change in nature’ it effects:

Eran.–You have opportunely introduced the subject of the divine mysteries for from it I shall be able to show you the change of the Lord’s body into another nature. Answer now to my questions.
Orth.–I will answer.
Eran.–What do you call the gift which is offered before the priestly invocation?
Orth.–It were wrong to say openly; perhaps some uninitiated are present.
Eran.–Let your answer be put enigmatically.
Orth.–Food of grain of such a sort.
Eran.–And how name we the other symbol?
Orth.–This name too is common, signifying species of drink.
Eran.–And after the consecration how do you name these?
Orth.–Christ’s body and Christ’s blood.
Eran.–And do yon believe that you partake of Christ’s body and blood?
Orth.–I do.”
- Theodoret of Cyrus Eranistes 2

Christ said indicating (the bread and wine): ‘This is My Body,’ and ‘This is My Blood,’ in order that you might not judge what you see to be a mere figure. The offerings, by the hidden power of God Almighty, are changed into Christ’s Body and Blood, and by receiving these we come to share in the life-giving and sanctifying efficacy of Christ. – St. Cyril of Alexandria Commentary on Matthew 26, 27

The body which is born of the holy Virgin is in truth body united with divinity, not that the body which was received up into the heavens descends, but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God’s body and blood. But if you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energises and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out. But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine and the water by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same. – St. John of Damascus Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4:13

St. John Damascene explains that Christ does not “come down” and hide Himself among the host as is often caricatured. The bread is assumed into His Body, that is, it is lifted up to His heavenly Body by a miracle which is analogically compared to the process by which ordinary food is assumed into the higher unity of a human being upon its consumption. In fact, non-miraculous transubstantiation (change of substance) occurs anytime we eat anything. Food is transformed into human beings by consumption and analogically, the bread is transformed into the Body of Christ by the miracle of the Eucharistic consecration.


II – Simple Identification of the Species

On the topic of the Eucharist, the Council of Trent declared:

If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema. – Session 13, Canon I

The following quotations will show that the early fathers would not have been anathematized by this canon. At the same time, those modern Christians who deny Transubstantiation are, by their rejection of Christ’s substantial presence, at odds with this canon of the Catholic Church. As argued above, it is not enough to profess a belief in Christ’s presence in the reception of the Eucharist, even if it is professed to be a substantial presence. The Church fathers made little or no mention of the communion process in describing the Real Presence as we will see below. Christ’s presence does not depend on our reception or our faith. The significance of the simple identification statements is that they do not merely say Christ is present alongside the host, or within the host, or that He is present with us in receiving this sacrament. They explicitly affirm that this host is the Body of Christ.

The fathers affirmed that His presence was contained in the Body and Blood and such simple identification is consistent only with a host that had been substantially changed, i.e. a consecrated host. If the fathers were speaking (merely) in a symbolic manner, they would be able to call the bread the Body even before the consecration. That is, if nothing actually changed about the bread itself during the consecration, then it would not be wrong to call it the Body before the consecration. But we saw above that the fathers did change how they referred to the host after the consecration. Further, we will see below that the fathers consistently referred to the consecrated host as the Body and to the unconsecrated host as bread. This is not only consistent with Transubstantiation–it doesn’t make sense unless we affirm the doctrine. Finally, some fathers even explicitly denied that the term “Body” was a merely symbolic reference.

I take no pleasure in corruptible food or in the delights of this life. I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who is the seed of David; and for drink I want his Blood which is incorruptible love. -St. Ignatius to the Romans 7:3

They [those with heterodox opinions] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. – St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 7:1

The Docetists denied that Christ had a physical Body. Naturally, they denied His metaphysical presence in the Eucharist. St. Ignatius is condemning their heresy. 11

If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood? – St. Irenaeus Against Heresies 4:33–32

If Christ was speaking metaphorically, there would be no difficulty in explaining what St. Irenaeus was attempting to explain. Either St. Irenaeus had not considered the idea that Christ might be referring to the bread as His Body metaphorically, or he (Irenaeus) was taking it for granted that Jesus spoke literally. Since St. Irenaeus refrained from explaining the matter, it is clear that he was asking the question rhetorically and was taking it for granted that Christ spoke literally and that his readers would have already known this.

He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. – Ibid. 5:2

‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’12 refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper – St. Hippolytus Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs

It is not bread and wine that are offered as a memorial, but the actual Body and Blood.

Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.’13 – Origen Homilies on Numbers 7:2

Among the early fathers, Origen and the Alexandrian tradition in general favored allegorical interpretations and leaned heavily in that direction. On several other occasions, Origen referred to the Eucharist as a symbol, as did his predecessor, St. Clement of Alexandria. Yet he also referred to it as the “true Body,” associating the Eucharist with John 6 where Jesus Himself explicitly affirmed the same.

After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink. – Aphraahat the Persian Sage Treatises 12:6

We speak in an absurd and godless manner about the divinity of Christ’s nature in us — unless we have learned it from Him. He Himself declares: ‘For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him’14. It is no longer permitted us to raise doubts about the true nature of the body and the blood, for, according to the statement of the Lord Himself as well as our faith, this is indeed flesh and blood. And these things that we receive bring it about that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Is this not the truth? Those who deny that Jesus Christ is the true God are welcome to regard these words as false. He Himself, therefore, is in us through His flesh, and we are in Him, while that which we are with Him is in God. – St. Hilary of Poitiers The Trinity 8.14

It would not make sense to bring up the possibility of doubting the veracity of the Eucharist, were it only a symbol. It is not feasible to think that anyone ever doubted that the bread represented Christ’s Body. St. Hilary’s quotation is only intelligible if we assume He was speaking of the possibility of doubting that the consecrated bread is actually the Body. Furthermore, his addition of the word “indeed” so as to match our Lord’s words, would be intentionally deceitful and misleading were he not intending to convey the actual and simple identification of the consecrated host as Christ’s Body. No one adds “indeed” to something meant to be understood metaphorically.

Since then He Himself declared and said of the bread, ‘This is My Body,’ who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, ‘This is My Blood,’ who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His Blood? – St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures 22.1

Unfortunately there are many Christians today who dare to doubt it; and what’s worse, many of them profess to be in harmony with the early Church fathers on this issue.

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul” – Ibid. 22:6,9

Notice that St. Cyril does not merely state that the true Body is present among the bread in some mystical sense but that the apparent bread is actually not bread. The introduction of the sense experience into the question of identification clearly shows that he is meaning to identify the host with the Body.

Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! Let us prove that this is not what nature has shaped it to be, but what the blessing has consecrated; for the power of the blessing is greater than that of nature, because by the blessing even nature itself is changed. . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ. – St. Ambrose The Mysteries 9:50, 58

Notice the order of the last sentence. According to St. Ambrose, we do not say it is Christ’s Body because Christ is in the sacrament; rather Christ is in the sacrament because it is Christ’s Body.

When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. – Theodore of Mopsuestia Catechetical Homilies 5:1

Here Theodore explicitly rejected a merely symbolic view of the Eucharist.

St. Augustine even says:

Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body.’15 For he carried that body in his hands. – St. Augustine Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10

What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. – St. Augustine Sermons 272

It does not require faith to understand something as a symbol. It does require faith to assert that what appears to be bread is actually the Body of Christ. It would not have made sense for St. Augustine to demand that men believe (against their senses) that something was a symbol. If one wanted to object that perhaps St. Augustine was simply exhorting men to believe that Jesus was actually present along with the bread, he (the objector) would have to use another text as proof because here St. Augustine said explicitly that the bread is the Body, not that the Body is present along with the bread or in the ceremony.

When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled [made purple in coloring] by that precious blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you lifted up to heaven? – St. John Chrysostom On the Priesthood 3.4.177

According to St. John Chrysostom, Christ is literally present on the altar.

‘Because the Bread is one, we, the many, are in one Body’16. ‘Why do I say communion?’ he says; ‘for we are that very Body.’ What is the Bread? The Body of Christ! What do they become who are partakers therein? The Body of Christ! Not many bodies, but one Body. For just as the bread, consisting of many grains, is made one, and the grains are no longer evident, but still exist, though their distinction is not apparent in their conjunction; so too are we conjoined to each other and to Christ. For you are not nourished by one Body while someone else is nourished by another Body; rather, all are nourished by the same Body. – St. John Chrysostom Homily on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 24.2.4

When you see [the Body of Christ] lying on the altar, say to yourself, ‘Because of this Body I am no longer earth and ash, no longer a prisoner, but free. Because of this Body I hope for heaven, and I hope to receive the good things that are in heaven, immortal life, the lot of the angels, familiar conversation with Christ. This body, scourged and crucified, has not been fetched by death . . . . This is that Body which was blood-stained, which was pierced by a lance, and from which gushed forth those saving fountains, one of blood and the other of water [symbolizing the sacraments of Communion or the Eucharist and Baptism] , for the world.’ . . . This is the Body which He gave us, both to hold in reserve [for worship] and to eat, which was appropriate to intense love; for those whom we kiss with abandon we often even bite with our teeth. – Ibid. 24.4.7

Let us therefore in all respects put our faith in God and contradict Him in nothing, even if what is said seems to be contrary to our reasonings and to what we see. Let His word be of superior authority to reason and sight. This too be our practice in respect of the Mysteries [Sacrament of Eucharist or Communion], not looking upon what is laid before us, but taking heed also of His words. For words cannot deceive; but our senses are easily cheated. His word has never failed; our senses err most of the time.
When the word says, ‘This is my Body,’ be convinced of it and believe it, and look at it with the eyes of the mind. For Christ did not give us something tangible, but even in His tangible things all is intellectual. So too with Baptism: the gift is bestowed through what is a tangible thing, water, but what is accomplished is intellectually perceived: the birth and the renewal. If you were incorporeal He would have given you those incorporeal gifts naked; but since the soul is intertwined with the body, He hands over to you in tangible things, that which is perceived intellectually. How many now say, ‘I wish I could see His shape [Gr. ton tupon], His appearance, His garments, His scandals.’ Only look! You see Him! You touch Him. You eat Him. He had given to those who desire Him, not only to see Him and fix their teeth in His flesh, and to embrace Him and satisfy all their love. St. John Chrysostom Homily on Matthew 82.4

And not as common flesh do we receive it [the Eucharist]; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. – Council of Ephesus, Session 1, Letter of St. Cyril to Nestorius

Notice that the third ecumenical council directly rejects the idea that the divine presence of Christ merely “indwells” in the Eucharist; rather the Eucharist “truly” is the “very flesh of the Word Himself.” This is incompatible with Reformed doctrine even while many Reformed Christians claim to accept the first four ecumenical councils. Notice, in case one would object that the context is reception, that St. Cyril is not talking about the act of reception, nor is there any reference to the reception as a cause of the Real Presence. His claim regards what is received rather than what happens when we receive. Objectively, what is received is the consecrated host, and this host is received as the true Body.

After the disciples had eaten the new and holy Bread, and when they understood by faith that they had eaten of Christ’s body, Christ went on to explain and to give them the whole Sacrament. He took and mixed a cup of wine. Then He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy, declaring that it was His own Blood, which was about to be poured out . . . Christ commanded them to drink, and He explained to them that the cup which they were drinking was His own Blood: ‘This is truly My Blood, which is shed for all of you. Take, all of you, drink of this, because it is a new covenant in My Blood. As you have seen Me do, do you also in My memory. Whenever you are gathered together in My name in Churches everywhere, do what I have done, in memory of Me. Eat My Body, and drink My Blood, a covenant new and old. – St. Ephraim Homilies 4,4

According to St. Ephraim, the Eucharist was explained directly to the disciples by Christ Himself at the Last Supper. This is why the early Christians did not need to rely exclusively on the Scriptures to discern the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Indeed, the earliest Christians did not have access to the New Testament. This is the source of the Apostolic doctrine of Transubstantiation. The Church has always confessed the Eucharist to be the true Body because Christ had explained this to the Apostles, and the Apostles explained it to the Churches.

The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, ‘This is My body,’ not, this is a figure of My body: and ‘My blood,’ not, a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. And again, He that eateth Me, shall live. – St. John of Damascus Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4:13

Again, St. John Damascene rejected a merely figurative view of the Eucharistic species. Notice that he was not only rejecting memorialism. He was referring to the very bread and wine (that is, the species of bread and wine) when he said that they “are not merely figures.” He insisted, as we have seen consistently from the fathers, in identifying the consecrated hosts themselves as the Body and Blood. He also associated the Eucharist with John 6.


III – Extraordinary Reverence

A third type of statement shows that the Church fathers believed that extraordinary reverence, even adoration, should be given to the species itself. Of course, many Protestants who do not believe in Transubstantiation exhibit significant reverence for the act of communion but not for the species itself. The quotations below show that the early Church went beyond a mere respect for the communion rite. They hallowed and revered the consecrated host. Respect for the host would also be consistent with Consubstantiation but Consubstantiation is not consistent with adoration of the consecrated host.

In the context of the Eucharist, Tertullian explains the Tradition of the Church:

We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground. – Tertullian The Crown 3:3-4

Similarly, Origen wrote:

You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish… how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting His body? – Origen Homilies on Exodus 13:3

And St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote:

He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’17. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord. – St. Cyprian of Carthage On the Lapsed 15–16

Finally, St. Augustine wrote:

He walked here in the same flesh, and gave us the same flesh to be eaten unto salvation. But no one eats that flesh unless he first adores it; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; and not only do we not sin by adoring, we do sin by not adoring. But does the flesh give life? Our Lord Himself, when He was speaking in praise of this same earth, said, “It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing.”…But when our Lord praised it, He was speaking of His own flesh, and He had said, “Except a man eat My flesh, he shall have no life in him.” Some disciples of His, about seventy, were offended, and said, “This is an hard saying, who can hear it?” And they went back, and walked no more with Him. It seemed unto them hard that He said, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you have no life in you:” they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally, and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, “This is a hard saying.” It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He says not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learned that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learned. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and says unto them, “It is the Spirit that quickens, but the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Understand spiritually what I have said; you are not to eat this body which you see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken. Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood. – St. Augustine Commentary on Psalms 98:9

St. Augustine affirmed that the Flesh we eat in the Eucharist is the same Flesh as when Christ walked the earth. Consequently, it is proper and right to adore it (the Eucharist). In fact, it is a sin not to adore it according to St. Augustine. But if the Eucharist had not actually been changed into the Flesh of Christ, it would be idolatry to adore it. Thus, either St. Augustine was advocating idolatry or he believed in Transubstantiation.

Approaching [the Eucharist] therefore, do not come forward with the palms of the hands outstretched nor with the fingers apart, but making the left [hand] a throne for the right since this hand is about to receive the King. Making the palm hollow, receive the Body of Christ, adding ‘Amen’. Then. carefully sanctifying the eyes by touching them with the holy Body, partake of it, ensuring that you do not mislay any of it. For if you mislay any, you would clearly suffer a loss, as it were, from one of your own limbs. Tell me, if anyone gave you gold-dust, would you not take hold of it with every possible care, ensuring that you do not mislay any of it or sustain any loss? So will you not be much more cautious to ensure that not a crumb falls away from that which is more precious than gold or precious stones?
Then, after you have partaken of the Body of Christ, come forward only for the cup of the Blood. Do not stretch out your hands but bow low as if making an act of obeisance and a profound act of veneration. Say ‘Amen’. and sanctify yourself by partaking of Christ’s Blood also. While the moisture is still on your lips, touch them with your hands and sanctify your eyes, your forehead, and all your other sensory organs. Finally, wait for the prayer and give thanks to God, who has deemed you worthy of such mysteries.- St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechesis Mystagogica V, 11-22

Notice that St. Cyril demanded that the faithful approach with great reverence. This would be unfitting if they did not believe that the bread and wine had actually become the Body and Blood of the Lord. He, like St. Augustine, also exhorted adoration of the sacrament.

Additionally, the well known practice of the ante-Nicene Christians carrying the consecrated Eucharist to the sick and shut-in only makes sense given that the bread had become the Body. If not, it would suffice to eat any bread so long as one believed that he was consuming Christ. Rather, the early Christians even risked their lives to transport the Eucharist. This is consistent only with Transubstantiation. St. Hippolytus also warned those Christians who did reserve consecrated hosts to be careful lest it should be consumed by an unbeliever or even a mouse. 18

Finally, on a slightly different note, St. Ignatius of Antioch explains that only an ordained presbyter or bishop can consecrate the Eucharist.

Let that Eucharist be held valid which is offered by the bishop or by one to whom the bishop has committed this charge. – St. Ignatius of Antioch Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 8:1

If the Eucharist were a mere symbol, it would not make any sense whatsoever to talk about a “valid” Eucharist or an “invalid” Eucharist. It could still make sense to speak of an illicit Eucharist, but not of an invalid Eucharist. If the bread and wine only symbolized, and did not actually become the Body and Blood, then anyone anywhere could achieve the same thing (symbolize Christ’s Body) whether or not they were ordained. It might be the case that they were wrong in doing so, since they should have done it in the context of the Church, but nevertheless it would not be invalid. This is additional evidence that Transubstantiation was believed by the Church from her earliest days.


IV – Appendix

i – Objections

1. Is the doctrine of Transubstantiation dependent on Aristotlean metaphysics?

On the contrary, (then) Lutheran scholar, Jaroslav Pelikan writes:

The victory of orthodox Christian doctrine over classical thought was to some extent a Pyrrhic victory, for the theology that triumphed over Greek philosophy has continued to be shaped ever since by the language and the thought of classical metaphysics. For example, the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 decreed that “in the sacrament of the altar… the bread is transubstantiated into the body [of Christ],and the wine into [his] blood,” and the Council of Trent declared in 1551 that the use of the term “transubstantiation” was “proper and appropriate.” Most of the theological expositions of the term “transubstantiation,” beginning already with those of the thirteenth century, have interpreted “substance” on the basis of the meaning given to this term by such classical discussions as that in the fifth book of Aristotle’s Metaphysics; transubstantiation, then, would appear to be tied to the acceptance of Aristotelian metaphysics or even of Aristotelian physics.

Yet the application of the term “substance” to the discussion of the Eucharistic presence antedates the rediscovery of Aristotle. In the ninth century, Ratramnus spoke of “substances visible but invisible,” and his opponent Radbertus declared that “out of the substance of bread and wine the same body and blood of Christ is mystically consecrated.” Even “transubstantiation” was used during the twelfth century in a nontechnical sense. Such evidence lends credence to the argument that the doctrine of transubstantiation, as codified by the decrees of the Fourth Lateran and Tridentine councils, did not canonize Aristotelian philosophy as indispensable to Christian doctrine.19

2. Does patristic reference to Eucharistic symbolism indicate disbelief in an actual change?

On the contrary, Catholics affirm that the Eucharist is also symbolic. Protestant historian Adolf Harnack helps explain the ancient mind on the topic of symbolism:

What we nowadays understand by “symbol” is a thing which is not that which it represents; at that time [antiquity] “symbol” denoted a thing which in some kind of way really is what it signifies.20

The Fathers clearly teach the Real Presence of Christ, that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. Harnack’s explanation of the ancient understanding of what it means to be a symbol explains how the Fathers could believe that the Eucharist was truly the Body and Blood of Christ and also a symbol. However, the Eucharist is real in a way that other “symbolic” things are not (this is understood now and in antiquity). This shows the weakness of the argument that denies the reality of the sacrifice of the Eucharist by relegating the mystery to symbolism. Since the modern mind apprehends ‘symbolism’ to mean that something is not real, whereas the ancient mind did not, this argument is weak. That is, the patristic use of the word ‘symbol’ in reference to the Sacrament does not connote what the modern use of the term ‘symbol’ connotes to us. And because of this, the patristic use of the term ‘symbol’ to refer to the Eucharist does not imply that the Fathers thought of the Eucharist as “merely symbolic” à la Zwingli.

3. Do some patristic statements indicate that a particular father disbelieved in substantial change?

Even if it were shown that a Church father disbelieved in Transubstantiation, it would only prove that that particular father was in error on this point. As shown above, the Church authoritatively defined it as dogma on several occasions including no less than four ecumenical councils. Here are some example quotations that are sometimes used in an attempt to justify one’s disbelief in Transubstantiation:

And extending His hand, He gave them the bread which His right hand had made holy: ‘Take, all of you eat this, which My word has made holy. Do not regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread, and do not scatter the crumbs; for what I have called my Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it. Take, eat, because this is my Body, and whoever eats it in belief, entertaining no doubt of faith, because this is My Body, and whoever eats it in belief eats it in Fire and Spirit. But if any doubters eat of it, for him it will be only bread. And whoever eats in belief the Bread made holy in My name, if he be pure, he will be preserved in his purity; and if he be a sinner, he will be forgiven.’ But if anyone despise it or reject it or treat it with ignominy, it may be taken as a certainty that he treats with ignominy the Son, who called it and actually made it to be His Body. – St. Ephraim Homilies 4,4

One way to read the bolded phrase above is to claim that St. Ephraim believed that the consecrated host was really bread but that if you had faith, you could receive Christ. Thus, the doubters only receive bread because they do not have the faith to receive the Body. The problem with this way of reading the phrase is that he explicitly states in this same passage that it is the Body. Above, we quoted from this same passage showing that St. Ephraim went into great detail and used explicit language to affirm his belief that the bread truly becomes the Body. Since he clearly affirmed a substantial change, either we must conclude that he contradicted himself, or “for him it will be only bread” must be read in another way.

In fact, there is another feasible way to read this phrase. The phrase should be understood as referring to the effect of the sacrament rather than the sacrament itself. A believer receives the Body unto salvation, but the doubter does not receive any benefit; for him it has the same effect as would normal bread. Since this way is fully compatible with the rest of what St. Ephraim said and the other way is a contradiction, this is the more probable way of interpreting his statement.

Another one sometimes used is this quotation from St. Augustine:

They said therefore unto Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” For He had said to them, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life.” “What shall we do?” they ask; by observing what, shall we be able to fulfill this precept? “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent.” This is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which endureth unto eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already.21

We have seen above that St. Augustine affirmed that the bread become the Body and that the communicants must adore it before receiving. So how is this quotation compatible with his other statements? St. Augustine is not denying Transubstantiation by affirming that we can receive Christ by faith. As St. Thomas Aquinas explained, there are two ways to receive Christ: spiritually and sacramentally. 22 To receive Him by faith is to receive Him spiritually, and to receive Him by consumption of the Eucharistic species is to receive Him sacramentally. Ideally, one would receive Christ in both ways at each communion. But in the case of the doubter above, he receives only sacramentally and does not receive spiritually because he lacks faith. St. Augustine in this passage is referring to the spiritual reception of Christ’s Body which is not opposed to the sacramental reception and far less does it disprove his belief in a substantial change in the Eucharist.

Two other quotations often used to argue against the historicity of Transubstantiation are from Pope Gelasius and Theodoret:

Surely the sacrament we take of the Lord´s body and blood is a divine thing, on account of which, and by the same we are made partakers of the divine nature; and yet the substance of the bread and wine does not cease to be. And certainly the image and similitude of Christ´s body and blood are celebrated in the action of the mysteries. – Pope Gelasius Tractatus de duabus naturis 14

You are caught in the net you have woven yourself. For even after the consecration the mystic symbols are not deprived of their own nature; they remain in their former substance figure and form; they are visible and tangible as they were before. But they are regarded as what they are become, and believed so to be, and are worshipped as being what they are believed to be. Compare then the image with the archetype, and you will see the likeness, for the type must be like the reality. For that body preserves its former form, figure, and limitation and in a word the substance of the body; but after the resurrection it has become immortal and superior to corruption; it has become worthy of a seat on the right hand; it is adored by every creature as being called the natural body of the Lord. – Theodoret, Dialogue II

On the contrary, W.R. Carson writes:

…it is assumed wrongly that by the words “nature” and “substance” the Fathers cited, writing centuries before heresies had made accurate definition and precise terminology necessary, intended to mean what the Tridentine Fathers meant by them. This is demonstrably untrue. The words ‘substance’ and ‘nature’ are synonymous with what at Trent were called the ‘species’ or ‘accidents.’ This is surely evident (a) from the context of the various passages, where a conversion (metabolen), to use Theodoret’s word, of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, is mentioned; (b) from the fact that they constantly and uniformly speak of such ‘nature’ and ‘substance’ as symbols; (c) from Leibnitz’ (a Protestant authority) well-known observation that the Fathers do not use these terms to express metaphysical notions.(53) (d) As regards Theodoret, from the confession of the Lutherans of Madgeburg that he is opposed to their doctrine and cannot be read with safety.(54) It should be added that the passages attributed to Theodoret and St. Gelasius occur in works that are considered spurious by many competent critics.23

This list is not an exhaustive; more could be cited for and against the doctrine but this is representative and contains the majority of the strongest objections from patristic sources.

4. Does Transubstantiation undermine the true corporeality of Christ’s Body?

John Calvin erroneously claimed that the ubiquity of Christ’s presence on Catholic altars was impossible because it would undermine the true corporeal nature of Christ’s risen Body.

On the contrary, this is false because Christ is not present in the sacrament as a thing is present in a place. St. Thomas explained that here. 24 That is, Christ is present metaphysically (or “after the manner of a substance”). It could also be said that He is present ‘supernaturally’ as opposed to ‘naturally.’ His Body is not subjected to physical laws and cannot be said to be present physically, insofar as ‘physically’ denotes that the thing belongs to the physical order in the way that ordinary physical objects do. 25 Therefore, Transubstantiation is consistent with the true corporeality of Christ’s risen Body. 26

5. Do the Eastern Orthodox reject Transubstantiation?

On the contrary, the Catholic Church affirms that the Eastern Churches have a valid Eucharist and that they have correct doctrine in respect to the Eucharist.27 This is evidenced by the fact that there is an open invitation (on the side of the Catholic Church) for Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters to receive Catholic communion. This would be impossible were the Church to understand them as rejecting the essential elements of Transubstantiation.

6. Is Transubstantiation tantamount to cannibalism?

On the contrary, this objection assumes the error of reducing the Eucharistic reception to a purely physical process. In the Eucharist Christ is not received physically, but spiritually and sacramentally as explained above. Also see this post on the Real Presence and Cannibalism.

ii – Additional Reading

Council of Trent on the Eucharist

Fr. Al Kimel on Transubstantiation (Long but well worth the read.)

W. R. Carson – The Antiquity of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation

Books:

Eucharist, by Louis Bouyer
A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, by Abbot Vonier, Peter Kreeft, and Aidan Nichols
The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, by James T. O’Connor

Finally, Protestant historian J. N. D. Kelly writes:

Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood.28

Hippolytus speaks of ‘the body and the blood’ through which the Church is saved, and Tertullian regularly describes the bread as ‘the Lord’s body.’ The converted pagan, he remarks, ‘feeds on the richness of the Lord’s body, that is, on the Eucharist.’ The realism of his theology comes to light in the argument, based on the intimate relation of body and soul, that just as in baptism the body is washed with water so that the soul may be cleansed, so in the Eucharist ‘the flesh feeds upon Christ’s body and blood so that the soul may be filled with God.’ Clearly his assumption is that the Savior’s body and blood are as real as the baptismal water. Cyprian’s attitude is similar. Lapsed Christians who claim communion without doing penance, he declares, ‘do violence to his body and blood, a sin more heinous against the Lord with their hands and mouths than when they denied him.’ Later he expatiates on the terrifying consequences of profaning the sacrament, and the stories he tells confirm that he took the Real Presence literally. 29

In Conclusion, it is clear that the doctrine of Transubstantiation extends in concept to the earliest days of the Church, was upheld and affirmed by several popes and ecumenical councils, and was then rejected by Protestants in the sixteenth century. The patristic support is heavily on the side of the Catholic dogma.

  1. Such a defense will be written in the future on Called to Communion. []
  2. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=transubstantiation&searchmode=none []
  3. As quoted by Denzinger Sources of Catholic Dogma, 355 []
  4. Ibid., 430 []
  5. Ibid., 424, 465, 544, 581, 698 []
  6. See also Council of Trent, Session 13, Canon IV: “If any one saith, that, after the consecration is completed, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the admirable sacrament of the Eucharist, but (are there) only during the use, whilst it is being taken, and not either before or after; and that, in the hosts, or consecrated particles, which are reserved or which remain after communion, the true Body of the Lord remaineth not; let him be anathema.” []
  7. 1 Tim 4:5 []
  8. There are strong reasons to believe this particular metaphysical nuance of the doctrine but the council of Trent did not directly canonize this Thomistic idea. In other words, there is some room for speculation on these grounds. One can accept Trent without affirming strict Aristotlean metaphysics. It should also be stated that Aristotle, for this very reason, would have rejected Transubstantiation as an impossibility since accidents cannot, according to him, exist without a subject. Ordinarily, St. Thomas would agree, but he considers this a uniquely miraculous event. []
  9. Council of Trent, Session 13, Canon II []
  10. Luke 24:16,30-35 []
  11. See also Kelly, J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, pp. 197-198 []
  12. Proverbs 9:2 []
  13. John 6:55 []
  14. John 6:56-57 []
  15. Matthew 26:26 []
  16. 1 Cor 10:17 []
  17. 1 Corinthians 11:27 []
  18. For more, see Chadwick, Henry The Early Church, pp. 262, 266 []
  19. Pelikan, Jaroslav The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, p. 44; emphasis added. []
  20. Harnack, Adolf History of Dogma 1888, I. p. 397 []
  21. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 25, 12. []
  22. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica 3.80.1 []
  23. Carson, W. R. The Antiquity of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation which can be read online here. []
  24. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica 3.76.5 []
  25. Unfortunately, the modern mind often uses the word “physical” to denote that something is “actual” as if “physical” were the opposite of “imaginary” or “untrue.” This is due in large part to the influence of materialism on the modern way of thinking. But the term “physical” means that the aspect described is relegated to the physical world, i.e. to matter. This is clearly not true of the Real Presence of Christ; hence we say metaphysical rather than physical, supernatural rather than natural. []
  26. See also St. Gregory of Nyssa The Great Catechism, 37 in which he anticipated and explained the answer to Calvin’s objection. []
  27. This is not to say that there aren’t Eastern Orthodox Christians who deny the dogma. []
  28. Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines p. 440 []
  29. Ibid., pp. 211-212 []
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  1. Tim,

    Good work compiling this. I have even recently seen the passages you highlighted as ‘objections’ by a Reformed apologist on another blog. You present a lot of good data to consider.

  2. Tim,

    Thank you so much for this excellent article. You have done great work!

    -David

  3. Tim,

    I echo both Sean and David: great work. I would be interested to see an open and charitable conversation begin on such a noble and important topic.

  4. Very nice work, Tim.

  5. Thanks guys. Most of the leg work was done for me already, I just had to put it together. It doesn’t take much work to agree with the fathers – that is, to just let the fathers speak for themselves. :-)

  6. [...] "FrancisJBeckwith"); ShareAnother terrific essay on one of my favorite websites, Called to Communion. Authored to Tim A. Troutman, it begins this way: This article is intended to be a resource showing [...]

  7. Excellent, Tim.

  8. Não escrevo e nem leio em Inglês, mais através da ferramente do google eu pude ver como é brilhante este artigo. Parabéns.

  9. André – Obrigado. (Eu também usei o Google!)

  10. Tim,

    Excellent article. One quibble:

    You stated that consubstantiation is not consistent with adoration of the host. I am not sure about this. After all, we adore Christ’s human body, on account of the hypostatic union.

    On a related note: Some Anglo-catholics use the above observation by way of arguing against transubstaniation, as being the sacramental equivalent of monophysitism. As it turns out, this argument by analogy does not hold much water. In the Incarnation of the divine Word, there was no pre-existing substance (i.e., a human being) that was united to the divine nature; whereas the Eucharistic change does involve a pre-existing substance (i.e., the bread and wine). Rather than pinning the Catholic doctrine with heresy by analogy, this Anglo-catholic argument versus transubstantiation ends up sticking itself with that ribbon, since it trades upon an adoptionistic conception of the Incarnation.

  11. Tim,

    I enjoyed your post greatly as well. The Lutheran and Roman Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is area where our doctrines are extremely similar. Take, for example Article X of the Augsburg Confession:

    1] Of the Supper of the Lord they [note: "they" is referring to what would be called the "Lutheran" churches] teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed 2] to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.

    This article was accepted by Johann Eck and the other writers in the Roman Confutation to the Augsburg Confession.

  12. Andrew & BW -thanks. I wonder why Luther called the mass idolatry if Consubstantiation is compatible with adoration. Perhaps BW can explain this from a Lutheran perspective?

    -Tim

  13. Andrew,

    I think consubstantiation is incompatible with Eucharistic adoration precisely because there are two substances present that can (and should) be distinguished — and the substance that merits our adoration is precisely the one that has no corresponding accidents on the altar.

    In the case of the hypostatic union, there’s only one “who”, and that quis is a Divine Person. The whole person — including the flesh — is worshiped with latreia on account of who that Person is. But as St John Damascene points out (de fide orth. 4.3), if we were by some “subtle distinction” to separate the flesh from the Person, the flesh should not be accorded latreia, but hyperdoulia, like the Mother of God. (Aquinas takes up this argument at ST III.25.1-2.) But we don’t do that, for the reasons you point out in your side-bar on the Anglo-catholic objection to Eucharistic adoration.

    But in the case of the Eucharist on a consubstantiationist understanding, no “subtle distinction” is required to separate the Person believed to be sacramentally present from the bread that is still substantially bread. So I can see why Luther and Lutherans would find Eucharistic adoration, at the very least, extremely dangerous, if not completely incompatible with consubstantiation.

    But I don’t really know. I, too, will be eager to hear BW weigh in on this.

    in Christ,

    TC

  14. T Ciatoris,

    I had a hunch that my coda on that particular objection to transubstantiation might point to something further by way of bolstering Tim’s claim. Thanks for filling in the blank. Yes, there is a difference between adoring flesh that has never been other than the flesh of a divine person, and adoring a host that has been other than the flesh of a divine person, and remains other, due to the persistence of that substance after consecration (per the Lutheran and Anglo-catholic opinion).

    I don’t know about others, but the Anglo-catholics that I was thinking of have no objection to eucharistic adoration. They have an objection to the notion that there remains, after 1054, a Catholic Church, whole and intact, continuing to teach with full authority. However, it is difficult to object to any dogma, qua dogma, without at some point suggesting that it is problematic in other respects. Thus the “monophysite” analogy, with the attendant implication that the substance of bread remains after the consecration (consubstantiation or impanation).

    In this context, the most significant aspect of this particular Anglo-catholic position (adoration sans transubstantiation), as well as the Lutheran position (whatever that might be) is the occasion to further explore Tim’s (crucial) thesis that certain patristic affirmations and instructions are compatible with nothing less than transubstantiation.

  15. T Ciatoris: I think consubstantiation is incompatible with Eucharistic adoration precisely because there are two substances present …

    Consubstantiation, then, is the doctrine that the Eucharist is true God and true bread, and Tim’s article shows clearly that no Church Father believed in that doctrine. Instead, the Church Fathers believed that the Eucharist is true God and true Man – a great mystery to be sure …

    Excellent article, Tim!

  16. Lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin loosely translatable as “the law of prayer is the law of belief”) refers to the relationship between worship and belief, and is an ancient Christian principle which provided a measure for developing the ancient Christian creeds, the canon of scripture and other doctrinal matters based on the prayer texts of the Church, that is, the Church’s liturgy.

    Reference: Wikipedia article, Lex orandi, lex credendi

    What do the prayers of the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church proclaim about the Eucharist?

    The words of the Ethiopic liturgy are representative of the faith of Oriental Orthodoxy: “I believe, I believe, I believe and profess to the last breath that this is the body and the blood of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, which he took from our Lady, the holy and immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.”

    The Eastern Orthodox Church Synod of Jerusalem declared: “We believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, … but truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin Mary, was baptised in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sitteth at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which, as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world.”

    Similarly the Western Roman Catholic Church greets what it sees as really in the Eucharist with the words of a Latin hymn of which a literal translation is: “Hail, true body, born of Mary Virgin, and which truly suffered and was immolated on the cross for mankind!”

    None of these Churches sees what is really in the Eucharist as a lifeless corpse and mere blood, but as the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity; nor do they see the persisting outward appearances of bread and wine as a mere illusion. This actual transformation, change or conversion of the reality, while the appearances remain unaltered – not the process or manner by which the transformation comes about, since all agree that this occurs “in a way surpassing understanding” – has been called transubstantiation or, in Greek, μετουσίωσις (metousiosis).

    Reference: Wikipedia article: Real Presence

  17. Thanks for those additional quotations Mateo. Very helpful and they would have been great in the brief section on Eastern Orthodoxy. The liturgical quotations were also important. I probably should have included some language from ancient liturgical sources as well. Since this article is intended as more of a resource than a robust argument, perhaps I will add them retrospectively.

  18. Andrew,

    Thanks for your patience with me, since I see now that I totally misapprehended at least part of the burden of your original comment as it relates to Tim’s (outstanding) article — i.e., whether some Anglo-catholics might prove to be an exception to the claim that Eucharistic adoration necessarily entails transubstantiation. (Although, maybe that’s an overdetermined way of putting it.) That’s interesting. To adapt Walter Sobchak’s phrase, I myself dabbled in Anglo-catholicism, but not nearly deeply enough to know for sure how to address this.

    TC

  19. Tim,

    Some good questions and discussion here. I’ll try to give a well rounded answer here to what was brought up concerning Lutheranism in the comments. Looking at your article again and the quotes from the Church Fathers, there’s not too much I would take issue with, and I believe some of these quotes found their way into the Lutheran Confessions. I am glad to be participating in this discussion because, not only do I learn more about your position, I also then dig deeper into what it is Lutherans believe teach and confess. I tend to either right very short posts that are unintentionally misleading, or long dissertation type posts, haha, so I’ll try instead to just give a complete answer instead. If I do misrepresent your position or arguments please let me know.

    One thing understand if you don’t already, is that consubstantiation is not the Lutheran position on the Holy Supper. It is often stated as our view, but this isn’t so. In fact, the Lutheran problem with consubstantiation is really the same problem it has with transubstantiation. In trying to say what happens in the change, namely that the bread and wine are wholly changed into the body and blood, that is where the Lutherans took issue. Both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, in the view of the Lutheran reformers, went too far in trying to explain “how,” when our Lord in fact gave us no details as to the how, He instead left that huge “how” question blank. In Lutheran theology, one doesn’t fill in the blanks with regards to what was revealed to us. You have leave the gaps as they are in the end, because we do not know (Yes, this does have to do with our understanding of sola scriptura, but remember, our understanding of it and that of other Protestants is somewhat different). Oh of course you can talk about and think about the gaps, and discuss the gaps, but when a “bridge,” so to speak, over a gap then becomes doctrine, that is where, to Lutherans, you have gone over the line. So keep that in mind.

    Our teaching on the Lord’s supper is summed up in fairly well by Article X of the Augsburg Confession posted above. Now, note that we do acknowledge that the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church does have the Lord’s Body and Blood present in the Eucharist.

    To your question as to why Luther called the Mass idolatry, he called it that for several reasons. As to idolatry with the Lord’s Supper, this was because of the procession and adoration of the consecrated host in the monstrance. As the Sacrament of the Altar goes, in Lutheran thinking, Christ told us to take and eat His Body and Blood, not process with it. I’ll post a quote on this at the end of my post but, with that said, the elements are treated with reverence and respect in our churches, so I guess as far as adoration goes, it depends what you mean by that. There’s a story told of Luther that one time, when conducting the Lord’s Supper, he accidentally spilled the wine chalice and went so far as to get on his hands and knees and lick it up off the floor because it is that precious a gift to us sinners (And just ask any group of Lutherans about common cup vs. the individual glasses debate, boy that can be a fierce one, but it also deals with people concerned about how the Blood of Christ is handled when it is distributed, again, a question of reverence). I know that’s a rather simplified explanation but bear with me here.

    For the Lutheran view, which, as I said, is neither transubstantiation nor consubstantiation, we must go to the Lutheran confessions. I’ll just copy from the site bookofconcord.org, haha as that is a bit easier than typing from my copy.

    First, might as well go to Luther’s Small Catechism, the Sixth Part, on the Sacrament of the Altar:

    What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

    Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

    Where is this written?

    Answer: The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write thus:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.

    After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Take, drink ye all of it. This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.

    What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

    Answer: That is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

    How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?

    Answer: It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words which stand here, namely: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins. Which words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, as the chief thing in the Sacrament; and he that believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

    There it is our understanding, simply put.

    Smalcald Article Part III, Article VI on the Sacrament of the Altar states the following:

    1] Of the Sacrament of the Altar we hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians…
    5] As regards transubstantiation, we care nothing about the sophistical subtlety by which they teach that bread and wine leave or lose their own natural substance, and that there remain only the appearance and color of bread, and not true bread. For it is in perfect agreement with Holy Scriptures that there is, and remains, bread, as Paul himself calls it, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break. And 1 Cor. 11:28: Let him so eat of that bread.

    What Luther articulates here is first, like what Melancthon wrote in the Augsburg Confession, is that the true Body and Blood of Christ are present in the Sacrament. Then, secondly he says that the bread and wine do remain after consecration, just as Paul refers to it. The problem here isn’t so much that transubstantiation is incorrect, but instead that it goes a step too far in trying to explain what takes place. By that I mean in discussing what happens to the substances and accidents.

    Now as to adoration if you look at the Formula of Concord at the end of the Lutheran Confessions written by Martin Chemnitz and the rest of the second generation Lutheran reformers, they wrote quite a bit about the issues with the Calvinist and Zwinglian teaching of the Lord’s Supper, but also discussed the Roman Catholic understanding a bit. In the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, Article VII on the Holy Supper, they state:

    [Let us now come also to the second point, of which mention was made a little before.] To preserve this true Christian doctrine concerning the Holy Supper, and to avoid and abolish manifold idolatrous abuses and perversions of this testament, the following useful rule and standard has been derived from the words of institution: Nihil habet rationem sacramenti extra usum a Christo institutum (“Nothing has the nature of a sacrament apart from the use instituted by Christ”) or extra actionem divinitus institutam (“apart from the action divinely instituted”). That is: If the institution of Christ be not observed as He appointed it, there is no sacrament. This is by no means to be rejected, but can and should be urged and maintained with profit in the Church of God. 86] And the use or action here does not mean chiefly faith, neither the oral participation only, but the entire external, visible action of the Lord’s Supper instituted by Christ, [to this indeed is required] the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking [manducation] of the consecrated bread and wine, [likewise the partaking] of the body and blood of Christ. 87] And apart from this use, when in the papistic mass the bread is not distributed, but offered up or enclosed, borne about, and exhibited for adoration, it is to be regarded as no sacrament; just as the water of baptism, when used to consecrate bells or to cure leprosy, or otherwise exhibited for worship, is no sacrament or baptism. For against such papistic abuses this rule has been set up at the beginning [of the reviving Gospel], and has been explained by Dr. Luther himself, Tom. IV, Jena.

    This gets back to what I said, earlier, that Christ gives us His Body and Blood for eating, that one does what Christ intended with the elements in the Sacraments.

    There’s plenty more one can dig through on the Eucharist in the Confessions, but I hope what I have written up here does help and clarify what Lutherans understand on the matter. If something’s not clear or confusing, let me know and I’ll try to elaborate. Looking back, maybe I did say too much in saying our doctrines are quite similar, but I really enjoyed the quotes of the church fathers.

    BW

  20. TC,

    No patience required, for my part; at least, none but that needed to ponder your informative and insightful reply. Part of my original comment might have been misapprehended, but that was the least part, while the greater, measured by relevance to the article, was effectively addressed. It is of course both an interesting and a little known fact that some Protestants, while rejecting transubstantiation, approve eucharistic adoration. But it is at least as interesting (for me) to consider whether or not they can do so with theological consistency, and in fidelity to the Fathers. You have spoken to the former, Tim the latter. If anything, I beg patience of both of you, for my having pursued the same question in such an awkward connection, thus falling so short of perspicuity.

    [I fear that the above, while sincere, might come across as sort of affected 19th century. Been watching Deadwood, which is full of highly wrought, though frequently impolite, sentences. Bear with me while I shake it out of the system.]

  21. I have a question. I do not think that it is pointless to look at what Church fathers. I just wonder, what are the implications supposed to be?

    Even if every single early Church document, apart from Scripture, is in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church, what does this show?

    I have told protestant friends of mine that the early Christians lived their faith just like Catholics, and it didn’t seem to hold much weight. I think they thought that even if I am right, it doesn’t prove much. Also, the books of the Bible are earlier historical documents, so they just respond: well, the life of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is much more like my church, so it’s of little importance that you have historical documents showing that there were people in the past who agreed with Catholic teachings.

    Best,
    Mark

  22. Mark, (re: #21)

    You wrote:

    Even if every single early Church document, apart from Scripture, is in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church, what does this show?

    It shows that either the Catholic doctrines we find in the early Fathers were received from the Apostles, or that there was a massive, immediate, universal, unrecognized and unchallenged apostasy from the apostolic faith. Not only is that latter claim highly implausible, it has very serious theological implications as well. See our Ecclesial Deism article.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  23. BW (re: #19),

    You wrote:

    Both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, in the view of the Lutheran reformers, went too far in trying to explain “how,” when our Lord in fact gave us no details as to the how, He instead left that huge “how” question blank. In Lutheran theology, one doesn’t fill in the blanks with regards to what was revealed to us. You have leave the gaps as they are in the end, because we do not know.

    On what basis or ground do you assert that the Church Fathers Tim quotes above (in support of the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ), were “filling in the blanks” when they taught this doctrine, and were not drawing from the oral Tradition that had been passed down to them from the Apostles? (On the relation of Scripture and Tradition, see Dei Verbum, paragraphs 8-10, and the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent.) It seems to me that by assuming that the Church Fathers were not drawing from the oral Tradition when they taught what Tim quoted above, but were just making things up or engaging in speculation, you yourself are “filling in blanks.” You seem to acknowledge that your position presupposes sola scriptura, but since Scripture does not itself teach sola scriptura, nor was sola scriptura handed down orally in the Tradition, therefore it seems to me that the assumption of sola scriptura is itself a “filling in the blanks.” (See, for example, here, or see my “Is Sola Scriptura in the Bible? A Reply to R.C. Sproul Jr..”)

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  24. Bryan, (re #22) [thanks for responding]

    I don’t know why it shows that. It seems that for the either/or statement to be meaningful, there at least needs to be some concept of apostolic faith which you have in mind, and that this concept says something about the relationship between Church tradition and orthodoxy.

    How does the fact that the Church fathers upheld these beliefs show that they are in fact received these beliefs from the apostles. For some of the earlier Church fathers, there is probably historical proof for thinking this; but does this hold for all of the Church fathers?

    I hate to sound like the skeptic here, especially since I am a Catholic. I actually do think that showing what the Church fathers believed is useful and helps make a case for the truth of the Catholic faith; I was just wondering what some of the people here might think about WHY this data makes a case for the truth of the Catholic faith. I myself don’t think I am quite ready to articulate it in a useful manner- though If asked, I would give it a run. Some, actually probably all, the writers on this blog have a much better working knowledge than me of theology, and so that is why I am asking here.

    Unless I think tradition is authoritative, all this proves is that, historically, the Church has historically agreed with me. I have learned, by reading comments here at CTC, that some protestants do think that tradition is authoritative sometimes in some sense.

    Best,
    Mark

  25. Bryan,

    I apologize for not clarifying that I don’t see any problems with a great deal of the quotes from the Church fathers that Tim listed above. Cyril is quoted on the topic in our Confessions, as Justin is, and John the Damascene I do believe. Honestly, it appears that many of them are giving evidence and backing to the Real Presence. The Epitome to the Formula of Concord (the Epitome is like a condensed version of the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord) rattles off a list of Church Fathers to see on the topic. See below,

    “15] 6. We believe, teach, and confess that the body and blood of Christ are received with the bread and wine, not only spiritually by faith, but also orally; yet not in a Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, heavenly mode, because of the sacramental union; as the words of Christ clearly show, when Christ gives direction to take, eat, and drink, as was also done by the apostles; for it is written Mark 14:23: And they all drank of it. St. Paul likewise says, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? that is: He who eats this bread eats the body of Christ, which also the chief ancient teachers of the Church, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Leo I, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, unanimously testify. ” – Epitome to the Formula of Concord, Article VII

    If we’re just discussing that there’s a change, or a transformation, if you prefer, from the elements into the Body and Blood of the Lord, Lutherans have absolutely no problem with that. And if that’s all that Tim is saying, then I agree with the article all the more. Remember, Johann Eck, in the Confutation to the Augsburg Confession (AC) had no issues with Article X of the A.C.

    But if we’re discussing what happens to the substances and accidents, which I thought Tim had briefly mentioned, where the bread’s substance is completely annihilated, that’s where Lutherans say, “You’ve gone too far there.” And not so much in talking, discussing, and writing about it, but in making it official church teaching and binding consciences to it. That is where we take issue. As Luther notes in the Smalcald Articles, cited above, Paul does still refer to the bread as bread (and note Body and Blood of course too), and Christ being Almight God can put His Body and Blood in the Supper in any way He chooses and we weren’t told how.

    Now you’re right in that I did presuppose sola scriptura a bit, though I was merely trying to show the Lutheran view of the Supper and how we too believe the Body of Blood of our Lord is present on the altar. I didn’t want to drag the thread off topic into that or something but instead wanted to clarify that our view isn’t consubstantiation either.

    Our view of sola scriptura, which is sort of sprinkled around a bit in the Book of Concord, is first something I think you’d heartily agree with and you’ve probably heard before, in that doctrine cannot contradict what is revealed in Scripture. Then secondly, which I think you’d probably disagree with, is that what is not discussed or revealed in Scripture you cannot make dogma, doctrine, etc because scripture is our only infallible resource. Please look at that statement carefully in what it says and doesn’t say. I know we could go round in circles about that statement but I didn’t think that was the purpose of this thread. But take notice, our view of sola scriptura is somewhat simpler than other Protestants.

    Now if you want to get into how it is received, what is being done in consecration, and what are the benefits, we could have discussion on that too, as there are a couple differences there.

    Hope that helps,

    BW

  26. I apologize, at the end of my response in #25, I don’t mean to imply there are differences in how the Sacrament is received, at least not that I am aware of. I mean to say I think there are a few differences with what is done in consecration and the benefits of the Sacrament for the Christian.

    BW

  27. BW,

    You’ve said that there isn’t much that you disagree with in the Fathers, but this isn’t sufficient for us to understand your position. In particular, do you agree with Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechesis on the Eucharist, as follows?:

    “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul”

    And Chrysostom:

    “This is the Body which He gave us, both to hold in reserve [for worship] and to eat, which was appropriate to intense love; for those whom we kiss with abandon we often even bite with our teeth.”

    And Chrysostom again:

    “Let us therefore in all respects put our faith in God and contradict Him in nothing, even if what is said seems to be contrary to our reasonings and to what we see. Let His word be of superior authority to reason and sight. This too be our practice in respect of the Mysteries [Sacrament of Eucharist or Communion], not looking upon what is laid before us, but taking heed also of His words. For words cannot deceive; but our senses are easily cheated. His word has never failed; our senses err most of the time.”

    And John of Damascus:

    “so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same.”

    And Augustine:

    “That Bread which you see on the altar, consecrated by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what the chalice holds, consecrated by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. Through those accidents the Lord wished to entrust to us His Body and the Blood which He poured out for the remission of sins.”

    What do you think the Fathers meant when they told us to reserve the sacrament? What do you think they meant when they told us to adore the sacrament? What do you think they meant when they told us repeatedly to ignore our sense of sight and taste — that these are accidents which err, but God’s words (so literally interpreted) never fail? Do you think what they are saying is consistent with consubstantiation? And if what they are saying is not consistent with consubstantiation, then why do the Lutherans allow themselves to believe in consubstantiation? Do you think that what they are saying is inconsistent with worshiping the host before consuming it (which is all we do, as far as I know — we don’t let His Body and Blood go unconsumed; we just wait a while sometimes, and while we wait we worship)? And if what they said is not inconsistent with worshiping before consuming, then why the Lutheran novelty of explicitly condemning such worship?

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  28. BW,

    As Luther notes in the Smalcald Articles, cited above, Paul does still refer to the bread as bread (and note Body and Blood of course too), and Christ being Almight God can put His Body and Blood in the Supper in any way He chooses and we weren’t told how.

    After the consecration, it is called bread symbolically. It is still under the symbol of bread because it retains the appearance of bread. However, as the fathers explicitly say above, it is not bread.

    If Lutherans were right, and the bread remains, the fathers would have been mistaken to say that it changed into the Body. When something changes into something else, it ceases being itself. That is the quintessence of change. When x changes into y, x no longer exists; y exists. When bread changes to the Body, bread no longer exists; Body exists. That is what it means for something to change. Therefore, either the fathers were making a universal philosophical error in using the term “change” or they believed that the bread no longer remained after consecration. What the fathers said is not compatible with consubstantiation.

    If they had believed in consubstantiation, they would not have spoken of the bread changing into the Body but of the Body being superimposed on the Bread or entering into the bread or being made co-present with the bread which would have been an entirely different sort of change. They certainly had those words in their vocabulary; they could have said it. But they didn’t. For that reason, if you say that you agree with most of what the fathers said above, you are misunderstanding the implications of what they said.

    that’s where Lutherans say, “You’ve gone too far there.”

    This gets us to the heart of our disagreement. The problem with the Lutherans saying “you’ve gone too far there” is that they do not have the authority to say that. Christ gave the keys to Peter, not Luther.

    Besides that, the council of Trent did not dogmatize any thing that was not fully contained in the fathers. The word “accidents” does not appear in the 13th session of Trent which deals with the Eucharist.

  29. K Doran @ 27, (and Tim @ 28),

    Please don’t misunderstand me. Please see again what I wrote in comment #19 and again in #25.

    The Lutheran position IS NOT consubstantiation. If you had to call it something, I think the term “sacramental union” is used.

    Yes, we would look at the comments of the Fathers and concur with them. We chew the Body of Christ with our teeth. I might not be articulating this right, you’ve pointed me perhaps some things that aren’t as clear as they could be. The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord. I think the only issue is in saying the bread and wine aren’t really there at all anymore. I may be saying too much and overemphasizing that point though. Let me dig around again later and see if I can find something to clarify.

    Again, for our position, look at the Small Catechism and Article X of the A.C.

    Christ’s Body and Blood are there on the Altar. We don’t know how. When Christ says “IS my body,” and “Is my blood,” we believe Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the Body and Blood of our Lord.

  30. BW,

    I have heard that Consubstantiation isn’t truly the Lutheran position. I really don’t know what to make of this claim. What I understand of consubstantiation is that the bread & Body are both co-present which is exactly what you just said. You said that you deny that the bread isn’t there. Well, “x is not here” is false, then it must be the case that “x is here.” Therefore you have articulated your position as the belief that the bread and body are co-present, which position I take to be Consubstantiation.

    What I hear you saying is that “we don’t want to deny that the bread is there” but as I explained, if something changes into something else, then it is no longer there. It has become something else. All substantial changes involve the passing of one substance and the actualization of another. I showed in the article why it must be a substantial change spoken of by the fathers and not an accidental change. Therefore, the change spoken of by the fathers involves a passing away of bread and a coming-to-be of the Body. A thing can no more change and remain (insofar as it is changed) than can a square become a circle while retaining its four points. Even God cannot make that happen.

    Additionally, I did a little digging. I don’t want to try and act like I know what the Lutheran position is but what you said now appears to me to be incompatible with the Formula of Concord:

    For the reason why, in addition to the expressions of Christ and St. Paul (the bread in the Supper is the body of Christ or the communion of the body of Christ), also the forms: under the bread, with the bread, in the bread [the body of Christ is present and offered], are employed, is that by means of them the papistical transubstantiation may be rejected and the sacramental union of the unchanged essence of the bread and of the body of Christ indicated. – FC Solid Declaration VII, 35; Triglot Concordia, 983.

    This explicitly states that the bread is not changed which is a direct and utter contradiction of what the fathers said above and of what the Catholic Church has always taught.

  31. BW,

    I hate to pile on another comment in response to you, but nonetheless…I’m confused. You said:

    Both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, in the view of the Lutheran reformers, went too far in trying to explain “how,” when our Lord in fact gave us no details as to the how, He instead left that huge “how” question blank.

    On the contrary, in my (limited) understanding, neither transubstantiation nor consubstantiation is primarily concerned with explaining “how,” but simply with declaring “what.” What is that on the altar after the consecration? Is it just bread, but now symbolizing (however weakly [say, Zwingli] or strongly [say, Chauvet]) Christ’s Body? Is it bread and Christ’s Body (consubstantiation)? Or is it just the Body of Christ (transubstantiation)? The language of “substance” answers the question, What is on the altar? Tim’s article tries to show how the Fathers answered it.

    As to the Lutheran position, the quotes you’ve provided above make it pretty clear to me that the Lutheran answer to what is on the altar is “Jesus and bread.” If you want to redefine consubstantiation and transubstantiation such that they primarily answer “how” rather than “what,” fine, but know that that’s not what the Catholic Church means. On our understanding of consubstantiation, Lutherans clearly adhere to consubstantiation: Jesus and bread.

    If the language of transubstantiation and consubstantiation makes you uncomfortable, let’s bracket it. The difference between Lutheranism and Catholicism on the Eucharist is not that the Catholics “go too far” in defining “how” the change happens; the difference is that we answer the question of what is on the altar after the consecration differently. Lutherans say, “Jesus and bread.” Catholics say, “Jesus.”

    For my part, I disagree with Smalcald Article Part III, Article VI. I simply cannot persuade myself that this is anything like a question of “sophistical subtlety.”

    in Christ,

    TC

    1 Cor 16:14

  32. BW — sorry for the overlap between my comment and Tim’s most recent one. And thanks for hanging in there — this is an interesting discussion, and you’re a good interlocutor.

    TC

  33. Hmmmm….You folks have pointed several things out and I see I have completely confused a good many people, and probably myself in the process. But this is good. I like to dialogue with different folks because it improves my ability to communicate, as frequently I do get too wordy, or mislead people by accident, or make a point where maybe I should not have. Sooo, I’m going to take a step back, have another look at everything, and then try make another attempt.

  34. BW – take your time. I echo Ciatoris – you’re a good interlocutor. We appreciate the irenic discussion and sorry for the pile-up.

  35. Gentlemen:

    I suspect that much of the difficulty which “confessional” Protestants have with the doctrine of transubstantiation (DT) is with the idea that, if DT were true, then the appearance of bread and wine would actually be deceptive. Lots of Catholics have that difficulty too. But as an orthodox Catholic, I don’t think the appearance is deceptive.

    If one were to do a microscopic analysis of the consecrated elements, one would find the molecules of the bread and the wine, same as before consecration. That is no deception. For there is no basis for saying that the “physical” reality of those elements changes, IF by ‘physical’ one means the sort of reality that can be scientifically observed and generalized about. What’s changed is that those molecules, and hence the “stuff” which comprises them, have been subsumed into the risen Body of Christ, so that they now ARE the risen Body of Christ. That of course is not something that science can observe and generalize about. But the matter is deceptive only if ‘physical’ could mean only what science can observe and generalize about. If Christianity is true, ‘physical’ can and does mean something beyond that. Hence we are not deceived here. We just need to expand our concept of the physical into something multi-tiered, as the reality of the risen Body of Christ itself requires us to do.

    From a different angle: Given our ordinary understanding and linguistic usage, bread and wine are “substances,” i.e. they subsist on their own as subjecta of their manifest properties. But that’s exactly what is no longer the case after consecration: bread and wine no longer exist as the substances they were, even though their “physical” properties have not changed. The “appearances” of bread and wine are not deceptive, however, because the substantial change does not, as in purely natural processes, entail the destruction of any of the original substance’s physical properties. It only entails that the selfsame physical “stuff” is now a different substance that is physical in a sense of ‘physical’ different from, but related to, the ordinary sense.

    Now if it were possible for us to grasp and explain this metaphysically unique case fully, so that we could say just how the change occurs, there would be no mystery. But everybody admits there is a mystery here. Hence DT only states the mystery without really explaining it. That’s mainly what makes all this seem deceptive–not the concept of transubstantiation itself.

    With all that said, however, we would do well to attend to Church-approved Eucharistic miracles, e.g. that of Lanciano. God has not left this matter just to the metaphysicians.

    Best,
    Mike

  36. Mark, (re: #24),

    You wrote:

    It seems that for the either/or statement to be meaningful, there at least needs to be some concept of apostolic faith which you have in mind, and that this concept says something about the relationship between Church tradition and orthodoxy.

    In #21, you asked a question: “Even if every single early Church document, apart from Scripture, is in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church, what does this show?”

    In #22, I answered, “It shows that either the Catholic doctrines we find in the early Fathers were received from the Apostles, or that there was a massive, immediate, universal, unrecognized and unchallenged apostasy from the apostolic faith.”

    The reason that my either/or statement follows from the conditions specified in your question, is that there are no other plausible alternatives. If all the early documents are teaching Catholic doctrines, then either those Catholics doctrines came from the Apostles, or they did not. In the latter case, there was a massive apostasy, since (in that case) the early Church abandoned the primitive biblical gospel and adopted all these Catholic doctrines that did not come from the Apostles, and thus polluted the apostolic deposit with doctrines of men. But in the former case, these Catholic doctrines belong to the apostolic deposit, having come from the Apostles.

    If you want to falsify my either/or claim, then instead of denying its “meaningfulness” you would need to provide a plausible third alternative. If you yourself cannot provide a plausible third alternative, then you have no good reason to deny the truth of my either/or claim, or to be skeptical about it.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  37. Your last comment clarified a bit for me, I think.

    “In the latter case, there was a massive apostasy, since (in that case) the early Church abandoned the primitive biblical gospel and adopted all these Catholic doctrines that did not come from the Apostles, and thus polluted the apostolic deposit with doctrines of men.”

    That’s true, if what the Church fathers have said is an abandonment of the primitive biblical gospel, and if a doctrine is a ‘polluting of the apostolic deposit with doctrine of men’ if it did not come (directly?) from the apostles. But, mightn’t someone try to reason that the Church fathers were mostly right, but sometimes wrong, and probably in agreement with the apostles since they are mostly in agreement with Scripture anyway. Though they would think that the Church fathers were sometimes wrong (and always wrong on certain questions- like the Papacy). But maybe massive apostasy would be a bit strong, I don’t know. Maybe it should be called apostasy, but I wonder if Anglicans would consider a Church who was in agreement with all the sayings of the Church fathers to be an apostasy.

    But, I do think that the point on ecclesial deism is interesting, and a good one. If God has allowed all Christians before the 16th century to be misled about important doctrines (like the Papacy, which is huge), then what does that say about His promises that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church which He established (ore, more correctly, which he built upon the rock of Peter) in Matthew 16:18- i.e. is he unable to keep His promises. What does that say about His relationship to His Body. What does this say about God’s interest in His Church and His children.

    Best,
    Mark

  38. BW: Both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, in the view of the Lutheran reformers, went too far in trying to explain “how,” when our Lord in fact gave us no details as to the how, He instead left that huge “how” question blank.

    The quote from the Real Presence article in my post # 16 refutes the idea that the doctrine of transubstantiation/metousiosis is a doctrine of “how”:

    None of these Churches [Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic] sees what is really in the Eucharist as a lifeless corpse and mere blood, but as the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity; nor do they see the persisting outward appearances of bread and wine as a mere illusion. This actual transformation, change or conversion of the reality, while the appearances remain unaltered – not the process or manner by which the transformation comes about, since all agree that this occurs “in a way surpassing understanding”

    After the prayers of consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the Real Presence of Christ – the bread and wine are no longer present, instead, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is present. How that transformation of bread and wine into the Real Presence of Christ comes about surpasses our human understanding. That is why a supernatural gift of faith must be given to us to believe this article of the Christian faith.

    BW: The Lutheran position IS NOT consubstantiation. If you had to call it something, I think the term “sacramental union” is used.

    In your post #19, you quoted “Smalcald Article Part III, Article VI on the Sacrament of the Altar”:

    As regards transubstantiation, we care nothing about the sophistical subtlety by which they teach that bread and wine leave or lose their own natural substance, and that there remain only the appearance and color of bread, and not true bread. For it is in perfect agreement with Holy Scriptures that there is, and remains, bread

    The above is an assertion that that doctrine of transubstantiation is not true. Supposedly, what is true is that the Eucharist is true God and true bread. IOW, this is nothing but an assertion of the Protestant doctrine of consubstantiation.

    If the scriptures were the only inerrant authority to which Christians had access, then perhaps the doctrine of consubstantiation is a plausible interpretation. But neither the Church Fathers ever taught that the Eucharist is true God and true bread, and neither the prayers of the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic Churches proclaim that the Eucharist it true God and true bread. The only conclusion that I can draw about a doctrine that asserts that the Eucharist is true God and true bread is that this doctrine is a novelty of the Protestant Reformation. The overwhelming weight of the available historical evidence affirms that consubstantiation is a Protestant novelty. Calvin’s and Zwingli’s doctrines of the Eucharist are also novelties of the Reformation.

    BW: To your question as to why Luther called the Mass idolatry, he called it that for several reasons. As to idolatry with the Lord’s Supper, this was because of the procession and adoration of the consecrated host in the monstrance.

    These practices of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church developed over time. It is not true that the earliest Christians consumed all the consecrated bread and wine at the Divine Liturgy. Some of the consecrated bread was kept in reserve, and this consecrated bread was taken to Christians that could not attend the Liturgy (such as the Christians in prison).

    ST. TARCISIUS

    Tarcisius was a twelve-year-old acolyte during one of the fierce Roman persecutions of the third century, probably during that of Valerian. Each day, from a secret meeting place in the catacombs where Christians gathered for Mass, a deacon would be sent to the prisons to carry the Eucharist to those Christians condemned to die. At one point, there was no deacon to send and so St. Tarcisius, an acolyte, was sent carrying the “Holy Mysteries” to those in prison. …

    The earliest Christians rightly believed that the consecrated bread kept in reserve was the Real Presence of Christ, and that is why they would give adoration to the Eucharist that was kept in reserve. The Latin Rite’s liturgy of Eucharistic Adoration developed from the early Latin Rite Christians practice of adoration of the Eucharist that was kept in reserve.

    A quote from Fr. Alvin Kimel (who occasionally posts to CTC) comes to mind …

    Eleventh Law: It doesn’t matter how vigorously you protest your belief in the eucharistic real presence: if you are not willing and eager to prostrate yourself before the Holy Gifts and adore, worship, and pray to the glorified Lord Jesus Christ, present under the forms of bread and wine, you really do not believe in it.

  39. Can a man be wrong in one aspect of something, and be right in others? I would believe that he can be, and so this is what I believe on the church fathers. While the early church fathers deserve some consideration, they are not the apostles. They are men like anyone else, capable of error. From scriptures we cannot see any veritable case for transubstantiation, and so why should it have any credence, though a million men speak it? Why should we focus on the symbols of our salvation, rather than the wonderful message of salvation itself? The command Christ gives for communion, is to do it in remembrance of him. Nothing more. Nothing less. The power is not in a cup of wine, nor in a loaf of bread, but rather in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not care if the church father said it is more than bread, or more than wine, it simply is not so. Is Christ also literally found in the form of a vine, and we literally found in the form of branches?

    Jhn 6:26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
    Jhn 6:27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
    Jhn 6:28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
    Jhn 6:29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
    Jhn 6:30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?
    Jhn 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
    Jhn 6:32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
    Jhn 6:33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
    Jhn 6:34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
    Jhn 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

    Does here Christ literally describe himself as being found in the bread? No, he using bread as a way to compare himself to being the sustenance of life. They asked for their bread, as if it were to be a literal piece of bread. Christ shows that He is the bread. Just as he meant that those who come to Him literally will not literally never hunger, and not literally thirst, so does He mean He is not literal bread. It is a spiritual message, spoken symbolically, just as the last supper was.

    Jhn 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
    Should we also assume from this that Christ is a door?

    Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
    And are we salt?

    These are symbols gentlemen! Meant to evoke strong spiritual meaning.
    Anything that tries make it more than symbols destroys the message.

    Even so, just to show that there are some quotes of the church fathers in supporting such symbolism I shall post the following. I don’t do this to verify my own statements, for scripture alone is sufficient, but rather simply to attempt to balance out the quotes.

    (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, ch 70)
    “Now it is evident, that in this prophecy [Isa 33:13-19] to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks.”

    (Tertullian, Against Marcion IV. 40)
    “Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples he made it his own body by saying, “This is my body,” that is a “figure of my body.” On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body.”
    (Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, book 4, ch 21, quoting Cyprian)
    “”Observe” he (Cyprian) says, in presenting the cup, to maintain the custom handed down to us from the Lord, and to do nothing that our Lord has not first done for us: so that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be mixed with wine. For, as Christ says, ‘I am the true vine,’ it follows that the blood of Christ is wine, not water; and the cup cannot appear to contain His blood by which we are redeemed and quickened, if the wine be absent; for by the wine is the blood of Christ typified, that blood which is foreshadowed and proclaimed in all the types and declarations of Scripture.”

    Justin Martyr (ca. A.D. 100-165)
    “There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he, taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at his hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying ‘Amen.’ This word ‘Amen’ is the Hebrew for ‘so be it.’ And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those of us who are called deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and the wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion” (The First Apology; 65).

    Clement of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 150-215)
    “The Scripture, accordingly, has named wine the symbol of the sacred blood” (The Instructor; Book II, ch. II).

    Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 170 – ca. 236)
    “By thanksgiving the bishop shall make the bread into an image of the body of Christ, and the cup of wine mingled with water according to the likeness of the blood” (Quoted in J.G. Davies, The Early Christian Church, p. 151).

    The Synod of Constantinople (A.D. 753)
    “The only admissible figure of the humanity of Christ, however, is bread and wine in the holy Supper. This and no other form, this and no other type, has he chosen to represent his incarnation” (Creeds of the Churches by Leith; p. 55).

  40. Mark (re. #37):

    You wrote:

    That’s true, if what the Church fathers have said is an abandonment of the primitive biblical gospel, and if a doctrine is a ‘polluting of the apostolic deposit with doctrine of men’ if it did not come (directly?) from the apostles. But, mightn’t someone try to reason that the Church fathers were mostly right, but sometimes wrong, and probably in agreement with the apostles since they are mostly in agreement with Scripture anyway

    There are two issues here. First, the Catholic couldn’t ‘reason’ that the there are propositions that are both (1) false and, yet, (2) unanimously affirmed by the ECFs. Trent (Session IV, Decree Concerning the Edition and Use of the Sacred Books) closed off that option:

    Furthermore, to check unbridled spirits, it decrees that no one relying on his own judgment shall, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, distorting the Holy Scriptures in accordance with his own conceptions,] presume to interpret them contrary to that sense which holy mother Church, to whom it belongs to judge of their true sense and interpretation,] has held and holds, or even contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, even though such interpretations should never at any time be published.

    The second issue is whether a non-catholic could ‘reason that that the Church fathers were mostly right, but sometimes wrong.’ Of course one could make such an argument; but there are two hurdles. First, there is the question of whether, in fact, the given proposition (that is unanimously affirmed by the ECFs) is false. That would have to be demonstrated in each case. Second, and more fundamentally, there is the question of authority. Inevitably, the non-catholic making such an argument will appeal to his or her interpretation of scripture. But what authority does he have to make that interpretation? And so the question of ‘By what authority?’ arises yet again.

  41. Tom, Welcome to Called to Communion. Thanks for the comment. I already anticipated and refuted the objection on symbolism in IV.2 so your quotations do not counter-balance the clear quotations I gave above.

    The reason we have such a high regard for the testimony of the fathers is two fold. One natural and the other supernatural. Naturally, the proximity to the Apostles makes the testimony of the fathers of great import and reliability. Certainly their testimony to the Apostolic teaching is of much more weight than my own opinion on Scriptures, and far greater than that of the early Protestants who invented doctrines unheard of since the beginning of the Catholic Church as Mateo mentioned. Secondly, supernaturally, we believe that the Holy Spirit guides His Church and protects her from error, not from every conceivable defect or imperfection, but that on the core issues of faith and morals, God will not allow her (the Church) to become an instrument of destruction for His Word. If the Protestant theory is correct, this is precisely what happened and to the greatest imaginable degree. Instead of teaching the true Zwinglian memorialism that you think is the Apostolic truth, the Church has unanimously and authoritatively forced all Christians for the first 1,500 years to falsely adore what is placed on the altar. (That is, to commit idolatry). Even now, the vast majority of Christians are still “deceived” because of the Church. But this scenario is implausible, and it is likewise implausible to trust our own interpretation of Scripture over that of the Apostles.

    As for the Scripture quotations, I was not making a robust argument for the doctrine here, only for Transubstantiation in the fathers. I did not attempt to make a Scriptural case, but it can be done. But if Jesus saying “verily verily” and “my Body is real food” etc. is not enough to convince you that He’s speaking verily and that His Body is real food, what would it take? What could He have said in addition that would convince you?

    I am also concerned about your claim that understanding a symbol as something real would destroy its meaning. I showed above that that is not the case. Do Catholics not also believe that the Eucharist is a memorial? More so than you even – we make memorial of it every day. Most of you do it once a month or quarter or something like that. Do we not believe that it represents Christ? Even more so, we believe that it IS Christ. What you are claiming is like saying that we shouldn’t visit our family at Christmas; we should only think about them. If we were to actually visit our family, it would make us miss the point of thinking about our family.

  42. Many Roman Catholics I think fail to appreciate that some Protestants find this doctrine to be highly problematic from a rational/scientific point of view. We could argue at length about what the church fathers believed, and this has some benefit. But at the end of the day, at least some Protestants can’t believe this doctrine because it just seems unreasonable and completely unfalsifiable. From a skeptical point of view, it feels that the Catholic church is literally asking an individual to believe that black is white or that a dog is a cat, or what have you. If it is good enough for you to feel that Catholics are more “right” than Protestants, then maybe you can convince yourself of this. But, I’m sure there are many people who are not interested in which denomination has slightly better reasons for believing this or that, but in what is actually true. With all due respect, some of you may need to take a break from the Catholic-Protestant discussion to get a real sense of what it is that you are actually arguing for in this doctrine.

  43. Tom (re. # 39),

    Thanks for your post. And welcome to CtC.

    Can a man be wrong in one aspect of something, and be right in others?

    Of course.

    I would believe that he can be, and so this is what I believe on the church fathers.

    So do Catholics. The Catholic view of the early church fathers is, roughly, this:

    (1) individual early church fathers can, and do, err in various matters of faith and morals
    (2) but when all the early church fathers agree on a particular issue of faith and morals, then we can be sure they are correct.

    While the early church fathers deserve some consideration, they are not the apostles. They are men like anyone else, capable of error.

    Again, the Catholic agrees that the ECFs, individually, are capable of error. By your statement ‘they are not the apostles’, it seems that you regard the oral teaching of the apostles with greater regard than you do their successors. Is that accurate? If so, why? And what reasons do you have to deny [if you do] that the apostles orally taught things that both (1) failed to be written down in our New Testament; and (2) where transmitted orally to their successors?

    From scriptures we cannot see any veritable case for transubstantiation, and so why should it have any credence, though a million men speak it?

    A few thoughts. First, what do you mean by ‘veritable case’? Second, if we don’t find a ‘veritable case’ for something in scripture, does that mean it must be false? Third, Catholics don’t affirm transubstantiation merely because ‘a million men’ speak in favor of it; whether they are ECFs or not. Instead, Catholics affirm transubstantiation for many reasons, chief among them being: (a) scripture teaches it; and (b) tradition unanimously affirms it; (c) and the infallible magisterium of the church has defined it.

    Why should we focus on the symbols of our salvation, rather than the wonderful message of salvation itself?

    This statement presupposes that the Eucharist is merely a symbol; which the Catholic [and Eastern Orthodox, and St. Augustine, et al] deny. So to merely assert it is to beg the question against those mentioned. These kinds of statements don’t advance irenic discussion.

    The power is not in a cup of wine, nor in a loaf of bread, but rather in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Again, the Catholic agrees; when your statement is taken in a certain sense. First, after the elements are consecrated, they no longer remain a ‘cup of wine’ or a ‘loaf of bread’. So, of course, the ‘bread’ and ‘wine’ couldn’t have any ‘power’, because, in the Catholic view, there is no bread or wine any longer. So your statement misstates the Catholic position. Second, even assuming (for charity’s sake) that you have in mind the Catholic view, the Catholic agrees that the ‘power’ to confer grace that the sacrament signifies and effects is due to the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.

    I do not care if the church father said it is more than bread, or more than wine, it simply is not so.

    Merely asserting that ‘it is simply not so’ doesn’t make it so. You need to give an argument why you think transubstantiation is either impossible or merely false.

    These are symbols gentlemen! Meant to evoke strong spiritual meaning. Anything that tries make it more than symbols destroys the message.

    What, precisely, is the ‘spiritual meaning’ that is being symbolized, in your understanding?

    Even so, just to show that there are some quotes of the church fathers in supporting such symbolism I shall post the following. I don’t do this to verify my own statements, for scripture alone is sufficient….

    Two questions. Scripture is ‘sufficient’ for what? And what do you mean by ‘scripture’? The Protestant cannon of 66 books; or the Catholic canon of 76 books? If the former, please read this article on whether scripture is sufficient to determine even its own table of contents.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/01/the-canon-question/

  44. Matthew,

    None of the doctrines of Christianity are strictly falsifiable. You can only strictly falsify things that you can run controlled experiments on, and God will not let himself be controlled (as far as I can tell).

    The Church Fathers addressed your very concern. They knew they were asking you to believe something that your senses told you was completely unreasonable. That’s why they harped so much on ignoring your senses which err, and relying on God’s Word instead.

    As far as how the real presence can occur without there being a mere contradiction (black is white, etc), see Michael’s comment in #35 above. It can be thought of as analogous to the way the molecules that make up bread become an undeniable part of my body while looking the same under a microscope as they did before. This is not a mere contradiction, though it is a mystery.

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  45. Hi Matthew,

    Many Roman Catholics I think fail to appreciate that some Protestants find this doctrine to be highly problematic from a rational/scientific point of view.

    I take it that these same Protestants will find the virgin birth of Jesus, the hypostatic union, Jesus’ miracles, and the resurrection “highly problematic.” They’re also scientifically unfalsifiable. I don’t agree that these are “unreasonable” in the sense of “contrary to reason,” but that hinges very much on your understanding of “reason.”

    You’re right — there is lots of room for stepping back from Protestant-Catholic discussion and addressing folks who approach Christianity “from a skeptical point of view.” I believe, however, that this site professes to be a place specially devoted to Catholic-Reformed dialogue. You can’t do everything at once. I’m sure there are lots of other sites, Catholic and Protestant, that you will find address your own set of concerns more adequately. (I don’t say that, of course, to shoo you away — I’m certain that you’re quite welcome here — but only to say that this site, as they say in the Midwest, is what it is.)

    peace.

    TC

  46. BW, (re: #25)

    I also don’t want to pile on, so I’ll try to keep this short. According to your position, claiming that the bread and wine are no longer present after consecration goes beyond what we know, while claiming that the bread and wine are still present after consecration does not go beyond what we know. But if claiming that the bread and wine are still present after consecration does not go beyond what we know, then the truth about the doctrine of transubstantiation is not beyond what we can know; we can know that it is false. You can’t have it both ways. Either you know (from revelation) that transubstantiation is false, or for all you know, transubstantiation might be true. But if you grant that transubstantiation could very well be true, then your only remaining reason for not embracing it is that you don’t find it explicitly spelled out in Scripture. And that reason presupposes that the Tradition does not provide the normative interpretive framework in which to understand Scripture.

    You wrote:

    Then secondly, which I think you’d probably disagree with, is that what is not discussed or revealed in Scripture you cannot make dogma, doctrine, etc because scripture is our only infallible resource.

    I don’t know who told you that Scripture is our only infallible resource, but the person who told you this had no authority to speak for Christ’s Church. (If you disagree, then let’s talk about the basis for authority.) Nor has the Church ever taught this. Nor is it found in the Apostolic Tradition. Nor is it found in Scripture. It is a man-made tradition, a human opinion, that you are bringing to Scripture. In the apostolic Tradition, the way to come to Scripture is not with man-made traditions, but with the humility that accepts the apostolic Tradition that was handed down with the Scriptures, as providing the interpretive framework in which to interpret and understand Scripture, in obedience to the Church authority to whom the Scripture and Tradition were entrusted by the Apostles.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  47. Matthew Anderson (re. # 42)

    Many Roman Catholics I think fail to appreciate that some Protestants find this doctrine to be highly problematic from a rational/scientific point of view.

    I’m quite sure that most many Catholics do appreciate that the doctrine of transubstantiation (DT) is hard to grasp. The fact that is highly problematic from a ‘scientific’ point of view is irrelevant. Transubstantation, if true, is a miracle in which God permits accidents that already exist to exist apart from the natural substance. Science isn’t going to be able to ‘falsify’ or verify this doctrine. But why should that trouble any Christian? That’s the nature of miracles.

    And by the way, that’s there are many things that ‘[empiriological] science’ can’t ‘falsify’, but that are both truth and warranted. Here’s two examples. First , logic and mathematics are true areas of knowledge that science can’t falsify because science presupposes them. So for science to try to ‘falsify’ or prove them would be to argue in a circle. Second, Einstein’s special theory of relativity teaches us that speed of light is about 300,000 miles per second. But that measurement is a measurement of the round-trip speed that is then divided in half. There’s no way to measure the one-way speed of light. We just assume that both legs of the trip are equal in speed. That could be true, but it is also possible—and totally unfalsifiable—that the out-bound leg is faster than the return leg, or vice versa.

    But the claim that DT is ‘highly problematic from a rational…point of view’ must be responded to. What precisely is the ‘rational problem’? Is it merely that science can’t prove DT to be true? If so, then as shown above, that shouldn’t trouble us and it doesn’t, by itself, make DT unwarranted or false. If one has good grounds for accepting a proposition as true on the testimony of someone in a position to know, then the proposition is warranted for that person; and, therefore, it is not an irrational belief for that person. Do you think that 2+2 =4? Of course; and you are totally certain. But do you believe that {energy = (mass) (the speed of light [squared]}? If you do, why? Unless you’re a physicist, I suspect you take the word of those in a position to know; and you (and I) are not irrational in doing so (assuming the authority is reliable). Further, if the authority of that proposition is divine in nature, then that guarantees that the proposition is not merely warranted, but true.

    In my experience, the reason people think there is a ‘rational problem’ with DT can often be traced to a mistaken understanding of knowledge, evidence, and certitude.

    But at the end of the day, at least some Protestants can’t believe this doctrine because it just seems unreasonable and completely unfalsifiable.

    Then the Protestant needs to give good reasons why they think that the DT is (1) unreasonable and (2) why it matters that it is ‘completely unfalsibiable’.

    From a skeptical point of view, it feels that the Catholic church is literally asking an individual to believe that black is white or that a dog is a cat, or what have you.

    If the Catholic Church were asking people to do this, that would be a problem because it would be asking people to affirm a contradiction. But the Catholic Church is committed to the harmony between faith and reason. So one must show that there is a contradiction instead of merely asserting it.

    If it is good enough for you to feel that Catholics are more “right” than Protestants, then maybe you can convince yourself of this.

    I think most Catholics posting here are doing so, not because they want to be ‘more right.’ But they are posting here for the same reasons that they converted (or remained) Catholics: they believe that the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded. We’re not logic chopping. Just defending the institution he founded. If Jesus founded a visible church, and if that is the Catholic Church, then loyalty to Christ entails being loyal to the church he founded. I’m sure you’d agree with that.

    But, I’m sure there are many people who are not interested in which denomination has slightly better reasons for believing this or that, but in what is actually true.

    And how do we know what is ‘actually true’? By employing right reason and penetrating into revelation. If one denomination makes inconsistent claims, then the denomination can’t be true. And this is precisely for the reason I gave earlier about not believing contradictions. I find it strange that fellow Christians attack some theological/philosophical positions as either (1) unwarranted (2) false or (3) irrelevant; and then shrug off detailed precise argumentation and evidence to show that the positions are (1) waranted, (2) true, or (3) relevant as ‘logic-chopping’ (I know you didn’t use that term).

    With all due respect, some of you may need to take a break from the Catholic-Protestant discussion to get a real sense of what it is that you are actually arguing for in this doctrine.

    I’m not sure what this is meant to convey. “Catholics should take a break from posting here to realize how fantastical/unfalsifiable/irrational/false the DT is”?

  48. It is true that this site is primarily for Protestant-Catholic dialogue, and I’m actually referring to one reason Protestants (Im Anglican, actually) struggle with DT. And that is that we have a problem affirming that a stupendous, mind-boggling miracle is happening right in front of our face at every eucharistic service when there isn’t a shred of physical evidence for it. If you can’t admit that there is at least a “tension” there, it suggests to me that you need to take a break from piling up patristic citations to prove the Protestants wrong and really consider the doctrine you supposedly believe.

    And no, my position does not mean I reject every other “miraculous” aspect of Christianity. The way we approach the singular event of the resurrection of Christ, for example, is not the same thing as going to church every week and someone pointing at bread and wine and saying, “That is ontologically the actual body and blood of Christ in the fullest sense, it just looks exactly like bread and wine.” But, again, if you want to live in the age of Reformation Europe (or pre-Reformation), and pretend that there hasn’t been 500 years of epistemological progression in the way we interpret reality, that is your choice. Just keep piling up the patristic citations and I’m sure you’ll win the debate.

    But, to be clear, I’m very much talking about why some non-Roman Catholics don’t affirm this doctrine. So, it definitely fits into the general topics covered by this website. I find the patristic material important and certainly relevant, but please don’t think that is the only issue on the table in affirming this teaching. That is very far from the case.

    .

  49. re #42

    I did not have the problems with transubstantiation that 42 presupposes in my move from evangelicalism to the Church. I was also aware of consubstantiation and whatever passes for the theology of the Eucharist in Calvinism. Some of my friends are Episcopal and per the light they offered, one could believe that the Eucharist is the Real Presence or a symbol, or whatever one might construe at some point along that particular road.

    I saw the sacrifice in the Temple in Israel as being fulfilled in Jesus, the Lamb of God. He is the acceptable Sacrifice and He Himself associated that function with the Passover celebrated on Holy Thursday.

    God made Himself our food for a journey from this life into a supernatural life in His kingdom. He is the realization – not just of the temple sacrifice, but also of the manna in the desert eaten by the Jews on a journey that would end in the Promised Land.

    I had the benefit of a good priest who noted that transubstance is different than transform. Going from there I learned that the underlying property (substance) was changed from bread into the Body of Our Lord or from wine into the Blood of Our Lord. The external properties, called accidents, remained unchanged, hence the appearance of bread and wine.

    I had read and re-read the synoptics, John 6 and 1st Corinthians 10 and 11 and found them consistent. God Who made everything out of nothing and holds it in existence from moment to moment; God Who created life in the womb of a Virgin; God Who redeemed His creation by a singular act, decided to feed us with Himself. Who was I to challenge that? My previous church did, along with a lot of others, but I could not. I found Jesus to be the reality of everything, the fulfillment of what had occurred previously in scripture.

    So I found that Church that had written the new testament, and found that Church believed the same thing I believed from Scripture they had written, and that Church had believed it from the beginning and was ahead of me all the way down the line.

    I found the Church, the Body of which Jesus is the Head and I have the privilege of being a son of that Church. I am dependent on the sacraments for grace and strength. I am no longer dependent on unaided human reason to determine the things of God. I am a Roman Catholic, a gift I never deserved but for which I am continually grateful.

  50. Matthew -

    You wrote:

    “And that is that we have a problem affirming that a stupendous, mind-boggling miracle is happening right in front of our face at every eucharistic service when there isn’t a shred of physical evidence for it. If you can’t admit that there is at least a “tension” there, it suggests to me that you need to take a break from piling up patristic citations to prove the Protestants wrong and really consider the doctrine you supposedly believe.” (#48)

    It might help advance the conversation if you clarified two points:
    (1) Why does an increase in the frequency of an alleged miracle decrease the likelihood of its occurrence?

    (2) Do you believe in the virgin birth? If so, on what “physical evidence” is your belief based?

    Peace to you,

    - Max

  51. Max,

    You are utilizing the same approach as others have when you ask whether I believe the Virgin birth. I do, on the basis of Scripture. Now I guess you would have me believe that there is virtually no difference in affirming this doctrine, and affirming transubstantiation every week at a church service. If you honestly think that there are no significant distinctions to be made between these beliefs, I don’t know what to say.

    I think transubstantiation is in a unique class of miracle claims (uniquely problematic) in that it requires you to affirm a miracle for which there literally is no evidence. At least in the case of the miracles of Scripture one would hope that were you present there, there would have been some means to historically evaluate them. Not so, with transubstantiation. And then, even after not a shred of evidence is offered, the people are supposed to actually treat the consecrated host as if it were actually completely changed, so they should, for example, adore the host after consecration, whereas before this would have been idolatrous. It is really an amazing claim, and seems to me to be the exemplification of everything irrational every skeptic has ever said about religion, or possibly the most amazing miracle in the modern world that occurs millions of times every day. In either case, I think people would be well served by seriously viewing this issue from a different perspective than that of Protestant-Catholic polemics.

  52. Matthew Anderson;It is true that this site is primarily for Protestant-Catholic dialogue, and I’m actually referring to one reason Protestants (I’m Anglican, actually) struggle with DT. And that is that we have a problem affirming that a stupendous, mind-boggling miracle is happening right in front of our face at every eucharistic service when there isn’t a shred of physical evidence for it. If you can’t admit that there is at least a “tension” there, it suggests to me that you need to take a break from piling up patristic citations to prove the Protestants wrong and really consider the doctrine you supposedly believe.

    Let us put miracles on a scale of one to ten. If, say, a healing miracle such as a blind man seeing again is a 5 on this scale, then what would be the number assigned to the miracle of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? That miracle wouldn’t be a 10, that miracle would be off the scale …infinity… because the miracle we are talking about is an assertion that the Eucharist is Almighty God. There is no pagan religion anywhere on earth that proclaims anything as incredible as this, but there are pagan religions that proclaim that there are healing miracles to be found within their religions. And that is why the quotes from the Church Fathers, and the liturgical prayers of the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church that proclaim the miracle of the Real Presence are so audacious. IMO, if someone was going to make up a religious doctrine to deceive sane men, it wouldn’t be the doctrine of the Real Presence. The doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is just too incredible to be made up out of thin air, and it is implausible that men would accidentally misinterpret the New Testament and come up with this doctrine. No, the doctrine of the Real Presence is either true, or it is the belief of the insane. The ancient churches that confess the doctrine of the Real Presence know that, and they don’t care if a person outside the faith balks at believing the doctrine of the Real Presence. If you claim that you don’t believe this doctrine, then you can’t be a member of the Oriental Orthodox Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church. So I will readily accede that there is no small amount of “tension” caused by the Eucharistic beliefs professed by the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church. But so what? These churches also believe that the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. In reality, the difference between man and a piece of bread is far less of a gap than the infinitely wide chasm that is between man and Almighty God. If one can believe in the miracle of the Incarnation, I don’t see why one should balk at believing in the miracle of the Real Presence, since these two miracles are of roughly of the same magnitude of believability as far as the natural man is concerned.

    How could I prove the Protestant doctrines of the Eucharist are wrong? I simply note that Luther, Calvin and Zwingli each professed contradictory doctrines of the Eucharist. Because of their conflicting and contradictory views, we know with absolute certainty that two of the three must be heretics – and that possibly all three are heretics. I claim that the onus is not on the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox or the Catholics to prove that they are wrong, since all three Churches accept the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and they were preaching their doctrine for over a thousand years before any “Reformer” was born. To me, that gives the Eucharistic doctrine professed by the ancient churches a lot of weight, since the ancient churches are in unanimous agreement, and they have never wavered from their belief in the Real Presence for two-thousand years. Compare the unanimity and stability of belief in the ancient churches with the doctrinal chaos in the Johnny-come-lately Protestant churches. From day one, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were contradicting each other about their personal doctrines of the Eucharist, and all three were teaching doctrinal novelties that no one had ever heard of before they taught them. The onus is really on the Protestants to prove why one of the novelties propounded by a Reformer should be accepted by me as the truth. I don’t see any way for a Protestant to do that, since there is absolutely no historical evidence that prior to the Reformation that anyone believed any of the novelties produced by the “Reformers”. Whatever “proof” that a Protestant gives for one of the Reformers novelties will be completely ad hoc .

  53. Matthew Anderson said:

    if you want to live in the age of Reformation Europe (or pre-Reformation), and pretend that there hasn’t been 500 years of epistemological progression in the way we interpret reality, that is your choice. Just keep piling up the patristic citations and I’m sure you’ll win the debate.

    I would be interested to hear how you think epistemology has progressed significantly since, say… Aquinas. It just does not seem as if all that much has changed. In my opinion, if anything, society at large has regressed in the area of epistemology due to skepticism. Even if we have had “500 years of epistemological progression” I still don’t see the point of that statement I guess. What about the feet of Jesus and Peter standing on water? What changes in our perception of that miracle after this 500 years of so-called progress? I say nothing. It still is not physically possible. (under a microscope the water and sandals appear the same as normal ones, gravity measures the same, etc.). It is a miracle! Why would past or future advances in epistemology change our perception of that miracle? On Holy Thursday when Christ says “this is my body”, it is every inch as much a miracle as the walking on water, and just as physically unexplainable.

    -Peace

    David Meyer

  54. Matthew,

    It’s no longer clear to me whether you object to the doctrine of transubstantiation because there is no physical evidence (bracketing, of course, Eucharistic miracles, which I take it you do not believe in) or because there isn’t evidence for it in the Bible (on your interpretation). You’ve repeated more than once that the lack of physical evidence is the basis of your objection. But you affirm the virgin birth and other miraculous stories because of Scripture and because they are physically verifiable in principle. I take your point. But it seems to me that a number of pretty crucial things about Christian faith are not physically verifiable. Could you “physically verify,” even in principle, that God made human beings in His own image and likeness? How about the Resurrection? You can physically verify the absence of Jesus’ body from the tomb. St Thomas seems to have wished (like you?) to physically verify that the risen Jesus was the same Jesus who suffered and died. But that just shows that a resuscitation has taken place — miraculous, to be sure. But how could you physically verify that this Resurrection was the definitive defeat of sin and death? How about the healing of the paralytic? Which deed was greater: the forgiveness of his sins or the healing of his body? Only one of those was physically verifiable. You cannot, even in principle, physically verify the mighty spiritual deeds of God.

    Accordingly, I’m going to proceed from here as though either Scriptural “proof”, even of something that isn’t in principle physically verifiable, or physical evidence would do for you. Maybe I’m wrong.

    To actually dive into the debate about the biblical witness to transubstantiation is probably not germane to this post. What is germane is simply to point out that Tim’s article shows that the Fathers unanimously interpreted the same New Testament you and I read in such a way as to affirm transubstantiation, or at least something that looks uncomfortably (for the Protestant) like it. You’ve intimated in your comments that, while interesting and somehow significant, the Fathers’ opinion is not, in your view, particularly relevant to our epistemologically enlightened age. Okay. But maybe they can at least provide some prolegomena to a more careful consideration of what Scripture says on the topic. And insofar as Scripture (which you’ve admitted as an authority) and the events it records is on the table, I’m not sure how relevant our alleged advances in epistemology are. Could God effect a virgin birth today, or was the virgin birth of Jesus dependent on a so-called primitive epistemology, so that He would be embarrassed to offend our epistemology by pulling a similar trick today?

    Incidentally, I think it could be somewhat misleading to refer to transubstantiation as a “miracle,” because nothing physical is happening. Chemical analysis of a consecrated host would reveal bread. I’m not saying that “miracle” is totally inapt here, just that it might be misleading to some, especially if there’s a lingering suspicion that Catholics hold the Capernaitic heresy. I’m guessing some such suspicion is behind the “tension” that you suggest we should recognize because we believe that transubstantiation is taking place without “a shred of physical evidence”, but only on faith in Jesus’ word. We do not experience “tension” because we are not materialists.

    But either way, why is the frequency of transubstantiation so offensive to you? Is it because it’s here and now, right in front of our faces, rather than tucked safely into the distant past like the supernatural occurrences in the Bible? Or is it because you worry that the frequency of transubstantiation somehow cheapens the action of God? Or what?

    Thanks for your willingness to discuss your concerns.

    in Christ,

    TC

    “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’” (John 6:60).

  55. Matthew Anderson (re. ## 48, 51):

    In # 47, I gave a fairly extensive response to your assertion that DT is ‘rationally’ and ‘scientifically’ problematic. In your #48 and # 51, as far as I can tell, you haven’t interacted with a single one of my comments or questions. So in #51, you continue to assert “I think transubstantiation is in a unique class of miracle claims (uniquely problematic) in that it requires you to affirm a miracle for which there literally is no [scientific or physical] evidence.”

    I assume that, by that statement, you simply mean that there is no scientific or physical evidence for the DT? In that case, you’ve ignored everything I’ve said (and asked you) about why that matters. A person can have ‘rational difficulties’ with all sorts of propositions. But if the ‘rational difficulties’ are caused by the person’s presuppositions regarding what counts as ‘evidence’ and what ‘knowledge’ or ‘rationality’ mean, then one must address those presuppositions before addressing whether there is ‘evidence’ for a given proposition. Otherwise, the interlocutors will be talking past each other. I tried to make a start in addressing some of these presuppositions about evidence—and ‘scientific’ evidence in particular. I think the discussion would make some progress if you’d respond to those comments/questions.

    In either case, I think people would be well served by seriously viewing this issue from a different perspective than that of Protestant-Catholic polemics.

    Could you elaborate more on what such a ‘different perspective’ would be?

    But, again, if you want to live in the age of Reformation Europe (or pre-Reformation), and pretend that there hasn’t been 500 years of epistemological progression in the way we interpret reality, that is your choice.

    I want to highlight this comment, as David Meyer did, because I think it reflects the central issue in your comments thus far. Of course, there have been many areas in which knowledge has advanced in the last 500 years. But what, precisely, do you think has progressed in epistemology in the last 500? Do you think we understand better what counts as ‘knowledge’, or ‘evidence’ or ‘certitude’?

    Finally, I’d like to sum up some of the discussion so far. Tim provided a good article laying out numerous citations from the ECFs that seem to, at the very least, indicate that the ECFs believed something happened to the elements in the Eucharist. Some citations are more clear that others regarding what, precisely, the speaker believed about the nature of the change. But all seemed to affirm that there was a change.

    You shrug off all this by stating three things, as far as I can tell (and please correct me if I’m misstating your position).

    (1) We should not affirm DT because there is no physical or ‘scientific’ evidence to support it. Or, as you say, it isn’t ‘falsifiable’.

    (2) We should not affirm DT because scripture doesn’t explicitly teach it.

    (3) We should not affirm the DT because it is irrational.

    Regarding (1), I explained why the fact that something can’t be falsified by scientific evidence doesn’t count against the DT (or the calculations for the speed of light). You haven’t responded to these comments/questions. So to continue asserting (1) while ignoring direct responses to it doesn’t help advance the discussion.

    Regarding (2), there are at least two issues. First, there is the question whether, in fact, scripture does teach that the elements of the Eucharist are the actual body and blood of Jesus. For example, John 6 is such a scripture that seems to teach this. But we should postpone this discussion for a later thread, perhaps, because it isn’t really germane to the point of Tim’s post. Second, and more fundamentally, there is the question of interpretive authority. If, as Tim’s post begins to show, the entire early church believed that the elements of the Eucharist undergo a substantial change at consecration, why should I believe you v. them, when you deny it? What grounds can you provide that demonstrate the truth of your view v. the truth of the view of the unanimous assent of the ECFs? Are you willing to say that the entire early church went off the rails and was only corrected 1500 years later?

    Regarding (3), I’ve tried to give a truncated explanation of the rationality of ‘belief’ as opposed to ‘knowledge’ or ‘opinion’. I tried to show that one is perfectly rational to assent to a proposition solely on the testimony of someone reliable in that area. Again, you haven’t responded to this.

    And yet, you tacitly agree with my explanation of ‘belief’ [versus ‘knowledge’] when you affirm the Virgin Birth and other miracles recorded in scripture. You take scripture as a divinely reveled text (I assume). As such, you are assenting to the [historical] truth of those miracles scripture records. And you don’t make that assent because you *know* that they happened. Like the DT, you have no ‘scientific evidence’ for them. You believe they happened on the reliable authority of God’s inspired and inerrant Word. Likewise, the Catholic affirms the DT because he believes that the Holy Spirit protects the church from error under certain circumstances. And because the Church has defined the DT, the Catholic affirms it. Whether the Catholic is irrational in doing so depends on whether the authority of the Church is a reliable authority in this area. And this question, in turn, depends on the antecedent question of whether the Holy Spirit protects the Church from error under certain circumstances.

    So even though you’re attacking (or at least questioning) the rationality of the DT, the DT and the miracles recorded in scripture are, epistemologically, on a par because they are both instances of assenting to a proposition on the testimony of—what the believer purports to be—divine revelation.

  56. BW,

    In #19 you wrote:

    To your question as to why Luther called the Mass idolatry, he called it that for several reasons. As to idolatry with the Lord’s Supper, this was because of the procession and adoration of the consecrated host in the monstrance. As the Sacrament of the Altar goes, in Lutheran thinking, Christ told us to take and eat His Body and Blood, not process with it.

    That reasoning doesn’t make sense. So if Christ shows up at your house, you wouldn’t adore Him, unless He told you to? That’s such a legalistic way of thinking, like never doing anything for your wife unless she asks you to. Does not love have something to do with adoration? Such thinking would condemn the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair, because Christ did not first command her to do so. If Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, then it is not idolatry to adore Him in the Eucharist; rather, not adoring Him would be sinning against the First Commandment. Tim quoted St. Augustine above:

    He walked here in the same flesh, and gave us the same flesh to be eaten unto salvation. But no one eats that flesh unless he first adores it; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; and not only do we not sin by adoring, we do sin by not adoring. – St. Augustine Commentary on Psalms 98:9

    According to St. Augustine, no one eats that flesh unless he first adores it. That makes perfect sense, if it is indeed the flesh of the Son of God. And it makes perfect sense, as St. Augustine says, that it is sin not to first adore, before eating. But claiming that Christ is really and truly present in the consecrated Host, and that adoring Him there would be idolatry, seems to be something that could only be said by a person with one of two problems: either he doesn’t understand that God is to be adored, or he understands that God is to be adored, but hates God and refuses to adore Him. Hence only a madman or a devil could claim that Christ is present in the Eucharist, but shouldn’t be adored. That’s why I think Fr. Kimel’s Eleventh Law is exactly right:

    It doesn’t matter how vigorously you protest your belief in the eucharistic real presence: if you are not willing and eager to prostrate yourself before the Holy Gifts and adore, worship, and pray to the glorified Lord Jesus Christ, present under the forms of bread and wine, you really do not believe in it.

    A Lutheran view of the Eucharist, in which adoration is forbidden, is, by lex orandi, lex credendi, a denial of the Real Presence, and so must inevitably collapse in practice into Zwinglianism, or return to Catholicism. It is one thing to affirm a mystery; it is quite another to affirm a performative contradiction. The former is to be expected in anything truly from that which transcends the minds of men; the latter is just bad theology.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  57. Bryan,

    In the passage from Augustine that you cite, what is the Latin term that Augustine uses for “adore?” How is that term used by Augustine in other contexts? And, what rite in the liturgy at that time did Augustine as a bishop perform that would be an instance of worship, and not mere veneration, of both of the consecrated elements?

  58. Tim,

    If the substance or essence of the elements has been removed, and Christ has two substances or natures, why wouldn’t it follow that there are in fact two essences in the consecrated elements since two natures are in the one divine person of the Son?

  59. @Perry #58

    Very, very good question! I’ve done it myself, and have not found an official explicite answer yet. My provisional answer, as I currently understand the dogma, is that the substance of the bread/wine is converted into the two substances/natures/essences of Jesus, his divine and his human nature.

  60. Johannes,

    But if presence of two substances/essences does not entail the obliteration of either one, why think that it is entailed in the eucharist?

    ISTM that the Protestant collection of views turn on a certain understanding of nature as practically semi-autonomous, simple and self contained. Consequently a change of essence is impossible since nature cannot be fundamentally altered, though this seems inconsistent with the Reformation views on post-lapsarian anthropology.

    That said, my worry is concerning what the doctrine states in terms of the relation of nature to grace. It seems to imply that a full and co presence without obliteration is impossible. Such a thing maybe impossible on the metapysics give by Tim above, but I remain unconvinced that that is the only metaphysical model on hand. (Even with it, the eucharistic alteration isn’t like any kind of natural substantiatial change.) Consequently while the patristic material cited implies the doctrine of the Real Presence and Transubstantation is a species of that doctrine, the argument seems to fall short in showing that the Fathers held to the latter.

  61. My simple point is that it is one thing to argue this issue in the context of traditional Catholic-Protestant polemics, and another thing to affirm and explain this doctrine outside of that context. The latter is actually much harder than the former, in my opinion. I still maintain that DT poses some uniquely problematic questions, even in a Christian worldview which allows for the miraculous. On the one hand, Catholics seem to argue that this is an incredible miracle, and absolutely fundamental to the church, but on the other hand (as in this discussion), one will find Catholics arguing that DT is not really that much different than any other miracle, and if you believe in anything about Christianity, you might as well believe this teaching too. After years of talking with Catholics at all intellectual levels (including Catholic professors of theology who teach graduate courses on the Eucharist) about this issue, there is a really interesting schizophrenia one finds about DT. It is everything and nothing at the same time. Push against it, and Catholics will throw every philosophical, theological, and historical argument imaginable against you. Leave it alone, don’t say a word about it, and you might think everyone was just eating bread and drinking wine, yet treating the elements with respect (essentially what Protestants do). I guess I don’t get it. Maybe I just don’t understand the doctrine.

  62. @Johannes:

    Very, very good question! I’ve done it myself, and have not found an official explicite answer yet. My provisional answer, as I currently understand the dogma, is that the substance of the bread/wine is converted into the two substances/natures/essences of Jesus, his divine and his human nature.

    Jesus has two natures, but only one substance – the God-man Jesus. You may be being misled by the modern usage of the word ‘substance’ to mean ‘physical stuff that something is made of.’ In that sense, Jesus’s divinity has nothing to do with ‘substance=physical stuff.’ ‘Substance’ is normally used in theological/philosophical language to mean what something is. Jesus is a unity – He is the Second Person of the Trinity. He has a human nature, but that is not a separate ‘substance’ from His divinity.

    Whatthe Eucharist is is His Body; how it appears to all scientific tests is as bread and wine (which is why Matthew’s problem about ‘physical evidence’ is irrelevant – no physical test can show the elements to be other than bread and wine – just as no physical tests can show Jesus’s natural body itself to be other than a normal, physical human being – you cannot do some test on Jesus’s natural body to see ‘divine molecules’ or something in it).

    We receive Jesus’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in Communion only because His Body – including His Eucharistic Body – is His Body. If you receive His Body, you receive Him.

    jj

  63. TC,

    I think I’ve stated my essential problem with DT, and I’m not sure how to say it any clearer. My essential problem is that the RC church asks me to believe that in the Mass there is a tremendous miracle going on right in front of my face without any evidence. It is one thing to claim a miracle, and yet another thing to claim a miracle is actually happening right at this very moment in front of my face, and then tell me that there is no way I could possibly verify it.

  64. @Matthew:

    if you want to live in the age of Reformation Europe (or pre-Reformation), and pretend that there hasn’t been 500 years of epistemological progression in the way we interpret reality, that is your choice. Just keep piling up the patristic citations and I’m sure you’ll win the debate.

    I think Matthew has a point here, but it is not the point he thinks he is making. Epistemology has, indeed, changed since, indeed, not the Reformation itself but since the fourteenth century. What has happened to epistemology since then is that we have become nominalist and reductionist. Matthew himself is simply a collection of atoms – themselves simply a lot of interacting energy fields – and there is no actual non-physical Matthew there at all. And, since, following modern epistemology, the physical is identical with the real, God is only a concept – and a concept is only a particular set of interactions amongst the atoms in Matthew’s brain, and in the brains of others. Epistemology as commonly practised has reduced the world to a Buddhistic Maya. There is no there there.

    Whether this is progress seems to me debatable. But it is at the bottom of Matthew’s – and others’ – doubts about the Eucharist. You can’t put it into a test tube and filter out the divine residue – so it must not exist.

    jj

  65. Matthew -

    First of all, you wrote:

    If you honestly think that there are no significant distinctions to be made between these beliefs, I don’t know what to say.(#51)

    As a purely methodological point, if you are going to introduce a distinction, it is up to you to argue for it. If you “don’t know what to say” by way of defending it, then perhaps you should consider withdrawing the distinction as the lynch pin of your argument. At the very least, you should not fault Catholics for failing to appreciate a distinction you find terribly important if you can provide no argument for it.

    But notice the “if”. Happily, you do go on to give some argument. From my reading, you have given two reasons why transubstantiation is relevantly different from other miracles you do accept. First, its frequency of occurrence; second, that there is no “physical evidence” for it, and indeed cannot be even in principle.

    I grant you that these two reasons point up a difference between transubstantiation and other miracles, like the resurrection and the virgin birth. The question is whether they are relevant differences–whether the differences justify the asymmetry of belief you are advocating. That is why I asked the questions I did. The first was why an increase in the frequency of an alleged miracle decreases the likelihood of its occurrence–or, as seems to be your point, gives you reason to disbelieve it. You have not responded to this question.

    But in the second paragraph of your reply to me, you offer an interesting argument for your second reason pertaining to accessibility of evidence. You write:

    I think transubstantiation is in a unique class of miracle claims (uniquely problematic) in that it requires you to affirm a miracle for which there literally is no evidence. At least in the case of the miracles of Scripture one would hope that were you present there, there would have been some means to historically evaluate them. Not so, with transubstantiation.

    Now, T Ciatoris has responded in part by asking:

    How about the Resurrection? You can physically verify the absence of Jesus’ body from the tomb. St Thomas seems to have wished (like you?) to physically verify that the risen Jesus was the same Jesus who suffered and died. But that just shows that a resuscitation has taken place — miraculous, to be sure. But how could you physically verify that this Resurrection was the definitive defeat of sin and death?

    As a reductio of the principle: “For any proposition p, one should believe p only if one could (at least in principle) physically verify p,” Ciatoris’s point is well taken. A consistent application of this principle would rule out almost all the tenets of Christian faith. And Ciatoris is surely right in pointing out that having good evidence (however we understand ‘good evidence’) that Jesus resuscitated after being thoroughly dead (is there any other kind of ‘dead’?!) for three days would not “verify” that sin and death had been definitively defeated. There is an epistemological gap there that can’t be filled with “physical” evidence. However, it is also true that supposing we did have good evidence for Jesus resurrection, we would have at least some reason to believe the business about the defeat of death and sin. The mere fact of Jesus’ resuscitation would not prove that the Christian interpretation of it is true, but it would certainly give the Christian claims some credibility–more credibility than if there were no “physical evidence” at all for the resurrection.

    Your argument, Matthew, as I understand it, is not that we ought to proceed on the universally quantified principle expressed in the previous paragraph. It is, rather, something like the following. Having some physical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection does not prove the Christian interpretation of it, but it does lend it some credibility. In the same way, having some physical evidence for transubstantiation would not prove the Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist, but it would lend it some credibility. The problem is that we have no such evidence for transubstantiation; more, that such evidence is in principle impossible to obtain. So we should not believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation. Is this what you have in mind?

    Here is why I think your argument does not work. First, a reflection on our epistemic situation. You believe in the virgin birth because the Scripture teaches it. I could respond that I believe in the Real Presence because the Scripture teaches it. Now we face an interpretive question. But let’s put that aside for now. It is not that you believe in the virgin birth because there could be (or, more accurately, there could have been) physical evidence for it. It is absurd to believe something merely because there could be evidence for it. You believe it because the Scripture teaches it, and you believe it even though you in fact have no physical evidence for it. So thus far, we’re in the same boat. You believe in a miracle; I believe in a miracle. You believe in that miracle on the authority of the Scriptures, not on the basis of some physical evidence. The same goes for me. The primary difference between our two beliefs, you say, is that the virgin birth could, at least in principle, be verified with physical evidence, while the doctrine of transubstantiation could not. And you claim that this gives you reason to disbelieve in the doctrine of transubstantiation.

    Here, then, are two points in response. First, I can’t see how you are justified in opposing belief in the doctrine of transubstantiation against rationality (see your #42), given that the reasons for your belief in the virgin birth are identical to my reasons for believing in transubstantiation. As I understand it, your claim amounts to something like this. You believe VB (Virgin Birth) on evidence S (i.e., the Scriptures). I believe T (transubstantiation) on evidence S. There was another body of evidence PE (Physical Evidence) that could have been accessed at one time, but it is no longer accessible. If it were accessible, it would support VB, but since it is not accessible, if of course does not support VB. However, because PE could have been accessed at one time (even though it may never actually have been), belief in VB is rational, whereas belief in T is irrational. Can you explain how the existence of evidence that could have been accessed at one time, but is now impossible to access, makes your present belief in the virgin birth justified and my belief in transubstantiation unjustified?

    Ah, but there is a difference I have been overlooking. The reason we have no access to physical evidence for the virgin birth is because it happened in the distant past. The consecration of the Eucharist, however, happens before our very eyes. Let us then level the playing field by transporting ourselves back in time 2000 years via thought experiment. Suppose you were a Jew who knew Mary when she conceived Jesus. My question for you (and this is my second point) is: what kind of evidence would justify your believing Mary when she told you that she was with child, but was still a virgin? I grant you that “physical evidence” would certainly be accessible in this case, though the propriety of obtaining it would be questionable, to say the least. Supposing you had known Mary to be an honest and entirely trustworthy person in the past, would you believe Mary when she gave you this shocking news? It would, after all, go against everything you knew about the way the world worked. It would, in a manner of speaking, go against your senses. After all, what makes more sense to the “rational” mind: that Mary is telling a little lie (perhaps she followed the example of her forefather Abraham and tried to bring about the promised one through natural means), or that God actually stepped into the physical world (no one knows how) inside Mary’s womb, in a way that no one would expect, and everyone would have reason to doubt?

    Here’s the point. If, in that situation, you would have demanded “physical evidence” before believing Mary, then why are you comfortable believing second hand information about her from the Scriptures? If, on the other hand, you would have believed Mary on her own testimony, even though you had no physical evidence, why then do you not believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation on the testimony of Christ, the Apostles, and their successors?

    One way to avoid these two questions would be to deny that Christ et al. actually taught what Catholics believe they taught. But if we go this route then we have moved away from the evidence question into the interpretive question. But you seem to be using the evidence question as a constraint on the interpretive question. So I think we need to solve the evidence questions first.

    Peace, friend.

    - Max

  66. Perry Robinson: If the substance or essence of the elements has been removed, and Christ has two substances or natures, why wouldn’t it follow that there are in fact two essences in the consecrated elements since two natures are in the one divine person of the Son?

    The doctrine of the Real Presence is a belief that Christ is present not just spiritually in the Eucharist, but is instead, Christ is present in Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. What is not present in the Eucharist is the substance of bread. Do the Orthodox, along with the Catholics, believe that the Body and Blood of Christ is substantially present in the Eucharist? Yes they do.

    See article on Metousiosis

    Metousiosis is a Greek term (μετουσίωσις) that means, literally, a change of οὐσία (essence, inner reality).

    The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church … states: “In the exposition of the faith by the Eastern Patriarchs, it is said that the word transubstantiation is not to be taken to define the manner in which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord; for this none can understand but God; but only thus much is signified, that the bread truly, really, and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord.” The official Greek version of this passage (question 340) uses the word “metousiosis”.

    This declaration of the 1672 Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem is quoted by J.M. Neale (History of Eastern Church, Parker, Oxford and London, 1858) in a slightly different translation, as follows: “When we use the word metousiosis, we by no means think it explains the mode by which the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, for this is altogether incomprehensible . . . but we mean that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, not figuratively or symbolically, nor by any extraordinary grace attached to them . . . but . . . the bread becomes verily and indeed and essentially the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord.”

    An English translation of the full, quite lengthy, declaration by this Orthodox Council, called by Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem, can be found at the Web site
    Chapter VI of Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem
    .

    Writing in 1929, Metropolitan of Thyatira Germanos said that an obstacle to the request for union with the Eastern Orthodox Church presented in the seventeenth century by some Church of England bishops was that “the Patriarchs were adamant on the question of Transubstantiation”, which, in view of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Anglican bishops did not wish to accept.

    As seen above, Eastern theologians who use the word “transubstantiation” or “metousiosis” are careful to exclude the notion that it is an explanation of how the bread and wine of the sacrament are changed into the body and blood of Christ, instead of being a statement of what is changed. In this they have the agreement of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1333, which states: “The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ.”

  67. Perry, (re: #60)

    But if [the] presence of two substances/essences does not entail the obliteration of either one, why think that it is entailed in the eucharist? … my worry is concerning what the doctrine states in terms of the relation of nature to grace. It seems to imply that a full and co presence without obliteration is impossible.

    There is nothing contradictory in claiming the co-presence of two substances. That was never in dispute here. No one claimed that the co-presence of two substances entailed the obliteration of either one. So no one here is claiming that the concept of consubstantiation (i.e. that what is on the Altar is “Jesus and bread”) contains a contradiction. What entails the ‘obliteration’ of a substance is claiming that that substance changes into another substance. The pizza you ate last month is no longer in existence, because you digested it and it became your substance. That’s why BW’s claim in #29 “The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord” is incompatible with his claim that after consecration, on the Altar are Jesus and bread.

    Also, the doctrine of transubstantiation does not entail that a “full and co presence without obliteration is impossible.” That is, the doctrine of transubstantiation does not entail that consubstantiation is inherently contradictory. So the doctrine of transubstantiation does not entail that grace destroys nature. There is a relevant ontological difference between rational creatures and non-rational creatures, with respect to receiving grace. Only rational creatures are capable of participation in the divine nature; rationality makes us capable of receiving grace. This is why though God can dwell in non-rational creatures, they cannot enter into the life of the Trinity. But there is no reason to think that the fact that Jesus digested His food means that grace destroys nature, and therefore that transubstantiation entails that grace destroys nature.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  68. John Thayer,

    I am not misled by the colloquial usage among moderns of the term “substance.” When I speak of substance in this discussion I either mean to pick out the notion of form as in Aristotle’s second usage or in terms of thisness or individualness in Aristotle’s first usage. I believe if you look over my remarks, you’ll see where I indicated as much by indicating that when I spoke of a change of substance I meant substance in the second sense, that of form or essence.

    As for Christ being one substance, I don’t take the category of Substance to be adequate to map on to the concept of persons. (How many substances is the Trinity?) Christ is one divine person who is in and in whom are two essences. In that case the true union in the divine hypsotasis does not entail the obliteration of human nature in terms of essence or form. Nor does it in our becoming deified. Nor did it in the deification of the Theotokos. Why think that it does in the eucharist? What is it qua metaphysics about the presence of Christ in the elements that entails the removal of their essences? Upon what thesis concerning God’s “relation” to the world does that metaphysical necessity turn?

    So, as I stated my worry is why would the presence of Christ in the Eucharist entail the obliteration of the element’s essence? My concern is not “scientific” in terms of modern empirical science with its notion of matter. My concern is metaphysical.

    So, so far as I can see, your remarks missed what I was after (and Johannes’ reply) . I am not trying to be nasty, but just to be clear that it would be helpful to see the author of the article or others dig into this.

  69. @Matthew:

    My essential problem is that the RC church asks me to believe that in the Mass there is a tremendous miracle going on right in front of my face without any evidence.

    The ‘evidence’ for all things that you cannot test is the truthfulness of the one telling you about those things. I was born in Maywood, California. You can, in principle, hunt for evidence of that, and perhaps find it – but at the moment you have only my word for it.

    When it comes to matters that you cannot, even in principle, find evidence for yourself – such as the inspiration of the Scriptures, the Divinity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit – you need to decide whether the one telling you these things is trustworthy.

    That is why you cannot become a Catholic by examining the teachings of the Church, deciding on independent grounds that they are true, and then deciding you are a Catholic. In that case you are a Protestant, using private judgement to decide whether this or that is true, finding the Church agrees with you, and thinking you are a Catholic.

    The essence of being a Catholic is believing that the Catholic Church is God’s truth-teller in the world – and believing that one has a moral duty to submit oneself to the Church.

    You cannot find out whether the Eucharist is what the Church says it is by any means except the word of the Church.

    Of course I quite understand that you do not believe the Church is that ‘truth-teller’ – that is why you are not a Catholic. But perhaps you can understand the validity of this argument:

    Major premise: the Catholic Church is God’s organ for telling you religious and moral truth.

    Minor premise: the Catholic Church says the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and not bread and wine.

    Conclusion: The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and is not bread and wine.

    It is the major premise you need to deal with.

    jj

  70. @Perry Robinson:

    So, as I stated my worry is why would the presence of Christ in the Eucharist entail the obliteration of the element’s essence? My concern is not “scientific” in terms of modern empirical science with its notion of matter. My concern is metaphysical.

    So, so far as I can see, your remarks missed what I was after (and Johannes’ reply) . I am not trying to be nasty, but just to be clear that it would be helpful to see the author of the article or others dig into this.

    I may myself be wrong here. I am only in a very beginner’s sort of way aware of the metaphysics here. And nor do I know whether it is necessary that the Eucharist no longer be bread and wine – only that it is no longer bread and wine.

    I apologise for misunderstanding you and possibly for muddying the waters!

    jj

  71. Perry, (re: #57)

    Here is the Latin quote with more context:

    et adorate scabellum pedum eius, quoniam sanctus est. quid habemus adorare? scabellum pedum eius. suppedaneum dicitur scabellum. quod dicunt graeci ὑποπόδιον, dixerunt latini scabellum; et alii dixerunt suppedaneum. sed uidete, fratres, quid nos iubeat adorare.alio loco scripturarum dicitur: caelum mihi sedes est, terra autem scabellum pedum meorum. ergo terram nos iubet adorare, quia dixit alio loco quod sit scabellum pedum dei? et quomodo adorabimus terram, cum dicat aperte scriptura: dominum deum tuum adorabis? et hic dicit: adorate scabellum pedum eius; exponens autem mihi quod sit scabellum pedum eius, dicit: terra autem scabellum pedum meorum. anceps factus sum: timeo adorare terram, ne damnet me qui fecit caelum et terram; rursus timeo non adorare scabellum pedum domini mei, quia psalmus mihi dicit: adorate scabellum pedum eius. quaero quod sit scabellum pedum eius; et dicit mihi scriptura: terra scabellum pedum meorum. fluctuans conuerto me ad christum, quia ipsum quaero hic; et inuenio quomodo sine impietate adoretur terra, sine impietate adoretur scabellum pedum eius. suscepit enim de terra terram; quia caro de terra est, et de carne mariae carnem accepit. et quia in ipsa carne hic ambulauit, et ipsam carnem nobis manducandam ad salutem dedit; nemo autem illam carnem manducat, nisi prius adorauerit; inuentum est quemadmodum adoretur tale scabellum pedum domini, et non solum non peccemus adorando, sed peccemus non adorando.

    The word that Augustine uses for “adore” is adorare. It is a standard Latin word for “worship.” It is used, for example, in the Psalms for passages like “I will worship at your holy mountain.”

    This explains the context of Augustine’s statement here, which is actually a conundrum. He reads Psalm 99:5, which says, et adorate scabellum pedum eius [and adore/worship the footstool of his feet] and clarifies this with a quote from Isaiah, caelum mihi sedes est, terra autem scabellum pedum meorum [heaven is my throne, and the earth a foostool for my feet], but this leads him to the problem: anceps factus sum: timeo adorare terram, ne damnet me qui fecit caelum et terram; rursus timeo non adorare [I am at a loss: I am afraid to adore the earth, lest He, who made heaven and earth, condemn me]. So, as he is wrestling with this text (fluctuans), he “turns to Christ,” because he knows that it is Christ he is seeking in this passage. In turning to Christ, he finds the solution to his question: et inuenio quomodo sine impietate adoretur terra, sine impietate adoretur scabellum pedum eius. suscepit enim de terra terram; quia caro de terra est, et de carne mariae carnem accepit. et quia in ipsa carne hic ambulauit, et ipsam carnem nobis manducandam ad salutem dedit [and I find how earth, that is, the footstool of his feet, may be worshiped without impiety. For he has taken up earth from earth, because flesh is from the earth and he received flesh from the flesh of Mary. And because he walked about in this flesh, and gave us that very flesh to eat unto salvation.].

    Then, the rest of the quote shows, he goes on to explain how we fulfill this Psalm by adoring the Blessed Sacrament before consuming it. I hope this helps with your question.

  72. Bryan,

    What is being claimed is that consubstantiation falls short of the patristic language of identifying the eucharist as Christ’s body and blood. Please note I am not advancing consubstantiation, but merely pointing to the thrust of the argument given by Tim. Consequently in order for the claimed conditions on identity (what notion of identity is used here is not stated) to be met it is impossible for the essence of the elements to remain. That seems to me to be the argument.

    You write that what entails the obliteration of the substance is that one substance changes into another. What I’ve seen in the argument above in the patristic material falls short of substantial change. Not all forms of transformation, particularly in some of the sources cited amount to substantial change and so what needs to be shown is that they were expressing substantial change even without the later vocabulary.

    Consequently, I see no reason as yet as to why the kind of identifying and transforming language of the Fathers entails removal of the essence of the elements.

    The Pizza I had is not consumed by me in the way that Christ is. If it were, transubstantiation would be false as I am sure you’d agree. Nor does the Pizza serve the same end, as good as the Pizza was. What the Pizza loses is its form as well as its substance (in the first sense.) as I am sure you know. But when the Eucharist is confected and the essence of the elements is removed and replaced by the humanity of Christ, surely Christ’s substance does not lose its essence when consumed by you as the Pizza did? Isn’t the relation supposed to be the other way around and that without any loss of your essence, lest it imply anthropological Eutychianism? Assuming glorification, doesn’t your flesh become the deified flesh of Christ without a replacement of human nature? If deification doesn’t entail obliteration of the natural form, why think the Eucharist does, especially since that is its end?
    I can grant that DT doesn’t entail that Consub is contradictory. But DT does entail that nature is replaced with something else. Consequently the doctrine of DT does entail that nature is destroyed in order for the Christ to be the consecrated elements, otherwise there is no substantial change. The natural form and the form of Christ’s humanity cannot be co-present *and* be identified as the humanity of Christ. Again, that seems to be the thrust of the article.

    I do not grant the difference between rational and non rational creatures in deification. I do so on both biblical and patristic grounds. All creatures are recapitulated in Christ as Paul indicates in Eph 1 and Rom 8. And as the Fathers indicate, divine immortality, among other things, is extended to irrational creatures (Irenaeus, Athanasius, Cyril, John of Damascus, et al). To deny as much seems to imply that matter itself is not capable of being God-bearing not to mention raising concerns about the doctrine of creation. Hence my concern that the divine presence in the elements in such a way as to meet the identifying conditions entails the obliteration of the essence and hence nature of the elements.

    Part of what is driving the buss here seems to be the two places held for change-substantial and accidental and those seem to be laid down in an iron clad fashion, but philosophically, these aren’t the only two kids of change to be had, at least not as far as the philosophical tradition of Late Antiquity is concerned.

  73. David,

    Well adorare can be used that way, but not always. In fact the lagnauge is quiet loose as it is used for a range of religious dispositions. This is in part why I asked for a rite by which Augustine would have given a clearer indication of eucharistic adortation. The semantic range in Latin terms, including but not limited to this one is a problem up through the iconoclastic controversy well into the middle ages, as is evidenced by say Aquinas’ use of “adoration” for images. My worry here is that the article is putting too much weight on this citation. FIrst because the Orthodox do not have a rite of Eucharistic adoration. Second, because if Aquinas and others long before them in Latin used terms loosely to cover degrees of religious intention and devotion, a lot more work needs to done to dmeonstrate that Augustine has worship in the full sense in mind here.

    As an aside, what is your source for the text?

  74. Matthew Anderson (re. # 61):

    You wrote:

    Push against it [i.e. DT], and Catholics will throw every philosophical, theological, and historical argument imaginable against you.

    You haven’t ‘pushed against it’ yet. You’ve just indicated that (1) you may not understand the doctrine; and then (2) merely asserted (without argument) that we shouldn’t affirm DT because (a) it isn’t not scientifically falsifiable, and (b) it is irrational. You haven’t given any arguments for (2a) or (2b). Everything I’ve written (and much of what others have written) in response to you goes to why (2a) is irrelevant, and (2b) is mistaken.

  75. @John Thayer Jensen #62

    “Jesus has two natures, but only one substance – the God-man Jesus.”

    It is not “substance” but “subsistence” (hypostasis). This is straight Chalcedonian doctrine: Jesus has “two natures (physeis) … coming together to form one person (prosopon) and subsistence (hypostasis)”.

    Regarding transubstantiation, I understand your view as (correct me if I am wrong): the physical substance of the bread is converted into the physical substance of the body of Christ and his blood (*). But just as the soul of Christ (or of any other human being) dwells in his physical, now glorified, body, so it dwells in the consecrated bread, which is just a secondary instance of his body. And just as the divinity of Christ is united to his human nature in its primary instance, currently meaning to his glorified body in Heaven in which his soul dwells, so it is united to his human nature in each of its secondary sacramental instances.

    Therefore, when we see the consecrated bread we see the body of Christ, just as when people see you they actually see your body. But in both cases that body is inhabited by a human soul to form a complete human nature, and in the case of Christ that human nature is also united to the divine nature, which for RCs is the divine essence (ousia).

    (*) This must be so since his body is physically irrigated by his blood. Aquinas states that only if the Eucharist had been celebrated while Jesus was dead, i.e. between Good Friday 16:00 and Easter Sunday 04:00, the bread would have been converted only into the body of Christ, without his blood or his soul, but united with his divinity, and the wine would have been converted only into the blood of Christ, without his body or his soul, but united with his divinity.

    So, the two possibilities are:

    1. The substance of the bread is converted into the substance of the (body + blood) or Jesus, inhabited by his soul and united with his divinity.

    2. The substance of the bread is converted into the two substances of Jesus: his human and divine natures.

  76. Tim,

    A friendly suggestion. You may wish to remove the material from Theodore of Mopsuestia as well as that of Theodoret of Cyrrus. Neither of these men are considered Catholic (or Orthodox) Church Fathers, but in fact are material, if not formal heretics.

    In the case of neither of them do they advance a view of the eucharist that is compatible with DT since when they speak of the Eucharist as being the body and blood they are referring to a transfer of names and not substances or forms. DT is entirely incompatible not only with their Christology, but Catholic and non-Catholic analyses of their eucharistic theology bears out that it is not consistent with DT.

    Origen is not a Father either and at best he can be used as a witness to what was believed at the time of his writing, but he is not a Father. So you may wish to qualify your usage of him.

  77. “I think I’ve stated my essential problem with DT, and I’m not sure how to say it any clearer. My essential problem is that the RC church asks me to believe that in the Mass there is a tremendous miracle going on right in front of my face without any evidence. It is one thing to claim a miracle, and yet another thing to claim a miracle is actually happening right at this very moment in front of my face, and then tell me that there is no way I could possibly verify it.”

    On the one hand you are hitting the nail right on its head. In technical terms we can rightly say that the greatest metaphysical miracle has no apologetic component. On the other hand, wasn’t that exactly the case when Jesus said to the paralytic “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mt 9:2). Do we need like the scribes at that time to see a physical miracle to believe that the Word of God – and Jesus is the Word of God – is omnipotent, that “Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, can change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature.” (St Ambrose)

  78. Perry (re: #72),

    I see. I think the context of Augustine’s passage, especially in the context of the Psalms and all the questions about sinning, indicate that Augustine is thinking specifically of the adoratio that God himself is due. It seems to me that all of his concern would be a big fuss over nothing if he was simply talking about some other kind of reverence.

    Do you have any examples of Christian sources using adorare or adoratio loosely to cover various forms of devotion that you could point me to?

    I got the text from the Brepols Library of Latin Texts, to which my university’s library has a subscription. I’m not sure where the Latin text is available online without a subscription.

  79. Perry (re: #71),

    What is being claimed is that consubstantiation falls short of the patristic language of identifying the eucharist as Christ’s body and blood. Please note I am not advancing consubstantiation, but merely pointing to the thrust of the argument given by Tim. Consequently in order for the claimed conditions on identity (what notion of identity is used here is not stated) to be met it is impossible for the essence of the elements to remain. That seems to me to be the argument.

    Tim can speak for himself, but I think his argument is much more than just “Patristic language identifies the Eucharist with Christ’s body and blood. Therefore it is not possible for the elements to remain.”

    What I’ve seen in the argument above in the patristic material falls short of substantial change. Not all forms of transformation, particularly in some of the sources cited amount to substantial change and so what needs to be shown is that they were expressing substantial change even without the later vocabulary.

    I think some kind of substantial change (i.e. a change from one substance to another substance) is the best explanation of what they do say. If you disagree, feel free to make the case that the best explanation of what they say is that they had some other notion of change in mind, a notion that introduced the Real Presence of Christ but allowed the bread and wine (and not just the appearance of bread and wine) to remain.

    If deification doesn’t entail obliteration of the natural form, why think the Eucharist does, especially since that is its end?

    The purpose of the Eucharist is not to give us food that will perish (John 6:27). The purpose of the Eucharist is to give us the food which endures to eternal life, which is Christ Himself. But if consubstantiation were true, the Eucharist would be giving us food that will perish, i.e. mere bread and mere wine. So, the fact that the deification of man does not obliterate the natural form of man, does not entail that the Eucharist must therefore not involve a “change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood.” (Trent Session 13, ch. 4)

    I can grant that DT doesn’t entail that Consub is contradictory. But DT does entail that nature is replaced with something else. Consequently the doctrine of DT does entail that nature is destroyed in order for the Christ to be the consecrated elements, otherwise there is no substantial change.

    Not “nature” (generically), and not “destroyed.” Transubstantiation is not a destruction of the bread and wine, because destruction has no terminus ad quem. The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

    And as the Fathers indicate, divine immortality, among other things, is extended to irrational creatures (Irenaeus, Athanasius, Cyril, John of Damascus, et al). To deny as much seems to imply that matter itself is not capable of being God-bearing not to mention raising concerns about the doctrine of creation.

    Immortality is not the issue. Claiming that non-rational creatures cannot themselves participate in the Beatific Vision does not imply that matter is incapable of bearing God. On the contrary, the notion that at the Parousia rocks and puddles would have the Beatific Vision would entail that grace destroys nature, by destroying the distinction between rational creatures and non-rational creatures. And it is this distinction (between rational creatures and non-rational creatures) that is relevant here with respect to the nature/grace relation. Only rational creatures can attain to the Beatific Vision. Of course I understand that you deny the Beatific Vision, but that doesn’t mean that the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation must be strapped with the limitations imposed by denying the Beatific Vision. That would be to criticize one paradigm by way of claims unique to a different paradigm. If your criticism of transubstantiation comes down to the Beatific Vision, then that simply pushes the question back to the Beatific Vision, which is quite another discussion.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  80. Back to my post in reply to John Thayer Jensen, it is important to notice that, even in the case the alternative 1 is the correct understanding of transubstantiation, it is still most proper to tribute adoration to the Eucharist, just as we would have tributed adoration to Jesus if we could travel 2000 years back and meet him in Palestine.

    Because what we would see in the time travel case is ontologically exactly what we now see on the altar: in both cases his body, which is inhabited by his soul and united to his divinity.

  81. David Pell,

    I disagree for a few reasons. First becaue not all sin relative to religious devotion is relative to worship in the full sense and Augustine talks about other sins relative to religious devotion apart from worship in the full sense.

    Second, given certain problems or issues in Augustine’s Christology, specifically with respect to how he understands the humanity of Christ and its relation to predestination, how he conceives of adoratio here isn’t necessarily that of worship in the full sense. (See Basil Studor’s work on Augustine’s Christology.)

    Third, as I am sure you know, Augustine talks and conceives of Christ and as his body making up one whole Christ. In other places if memory serves Augustine speaks of the church as not only the body of Christ, but his “footstool.” Rev 3:9 comes to mind here.

    As for sources, the fluidity of the Latin is evidenced well in the iconoclastic period, particularly among the Franks, of whom the scholastics were their inheritors. And they were quite fmailiar with Augustine’s works, above all other Fathers. You can see documented exactly this problem in Thomas F.X. Noble’s, Images, Iconoclasm and the Carolingians, Univ. Penn. (2009). None of the Carolingians have a decent grasp of the theology of 2nd Nicea in part due to the semantic problems in Latin. And this was not rectified even in the high middle ages at the time of Aquinas as I indicated above.

    Nor is this matter a side issue since the doctrine of the Eucharist was in part at stake in the iconoclastic controversy, with the iconoclasts taking the eucharist to be an icon which was of the same essence of that which it signified and the iconophile’s arguing that the eucharist is no icon at all but simply is the body and blood of Christ. This is in part documented and explicated in Giakalis, Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Brill (2005).

  82. Johannes:

    … the two possibilities are:

    1. The substance of the bread is converted into the substance of the (body + blood) or Jesus, inhabited by his soul and united with his divinity.

    2. The substance of the bread is converted into the two substances of Jesus: his human and divine natures.

    Doesn’t the CCC address your possibilities, or am I missing something?

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.”

    1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. … The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ …

    1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.

    “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

  83. Bryan,

    I suppose I’ll have to wait for Tim to speak for himself relative to my comments on what I take his argument to be.

    The claim in the argument isn’t that substantial change is the best explanation, but seems to narrow it down to the only explanation. But again, given the only two kinds of change available I agree that substantial change seems like the best. But it strikes me like saying that given Arian presuppositions, Apollinarianism is the best option. When philosophy motivates a skewed presentation of Christian theology, the answer is not to use the same philosophical assumptions to go in the other direction. It is to correct the philosophy by means of the theology.

    So I just don’t think that is the only kind of change available. Here what is doing the work is not the material from the patristic tradition, but a philosophical grid used to structure their remarks. Without that grid there is no way I can see to claim that DT is in fact being expressed by the Fathers.
    You invite me to proffer another kind of metaphysical change, that would not only take far too much space to articulate and defend but I am not ready to do that today. That said, there is plenty of literature on the metaphysics of Late Antiquity that I think say Marler for example could point you to that picks out other sorts of change than the two that Tim laid out above. In any case, the categories given above aren’t by any means the default metaphysical position. And, I didn’t make the implicit argument that these are the only two kinds of change available. The article did and hence those who wish to defend it are saddled with that burden. I am not saddled with a burden to show another kind simply because I express my view that there are other kinds available.

    I agree that the ultimate end of the Eucharist is not to give us food that will perish, but by your reasoning it isn’t to give us anything that will perish and so the accidents can’t remain either. It doesn’t follow that if the ultimate goal of the Eucharist is to do one thing that it can’t also do something pen-ultimate along the way. Ultimate and relative goals are obviously not the same. Man may not live by bread alone, but it doesn’t follow that he lives on the Word of God alone.

    You give an argument against consubstantiation, but given that I already said that I was not advancing consub and that I am Orthodox and reject it, I can’t see why you are arguing against it in your comments to me. Further, the argument seems like a bad one all by itself. It seemingly turns on an implicit extrinsic relation between the elements and the body and blood of Christ. Your argument would go through if the relation were conceived in that way. But I don’t even think for say Thomas or Scotus (here I could be wrong) Substances can only be related extrinsically or say without co-inherence. Even in the enhypostinazation of the humanity of Christ into the divine “substance” on Thomas view, humanity doesn’t lose its form. In that sense secondary substances can be related in an intrinsic way without entailing the eliminating one of them. So your objection against Consub in any case turns on assuming a rather weak view of how the substances must be related in the Eucharist.

    Because the purpose of the eucharist is to give us Christ and such a giving and receiving (deification) doesn’t obliterate human nature in a greater case, so much the more so in a lesser case. Second, the fact that deification doesn’t entail such an obliteration may not entail that the non-replacement of the essences of the elements, but that doesn’t touch what I was getting after, namely that it certainly seems to imply as much. In fact, much of the language used by the Fathers for transformation relative to the eucharist is the same language used in the same ways with many of the same examples for deification, signaling that they are thinking of the two in a very close way.

    I can’t see how mentioning nature generically is relevant since we are talking about the elements in particular and I don’t believe I advocated that it entailed a general elimination of the elements’ form. The element is destroyed in so far as substantial change has occurred. It has ceased to be what it was essentially. I am not wedded to the language of destruction so it is a minor point I am willing to let go of. But while destruction has not terminus ad quem, does nature?

    Immortality is an example I gave and so is part of the issue since immortality is part of deification which extends to all of creation, not just the intellect, lest say we fall into cosmic Pelagianism and then Deism. Given that the material world is deified in the work of Christ and completed at the consummation the example still seems relevant and untouched. I can also make the point without objecting to the BV since deification in sources common to our traditions is wider than the BV, so the BV is beside the point. If you wish to argue that deification is nothing more in Catholic theology than the BV, go ahead. But the question on the table was the relation of nature to grace in deification and not the BV in particular. So you’ll need to defend your claim that “only rational creatures are capable of participation in the divine nature.” As I noted Paul in Romans 8 and Eph 1 includes all creation in Christ (rocks, puddles, etc.) and plenty of Fathers explicitly do so as well in expositing those passages. It’d be helpful if you could provide a normative Catholic source from the Magisterum that says as much.

    Your counter point seemed to be that the obliteration of nature by grace is not the case since it is not so in the BV. But that leaves untouched it being the case in the elements since presumably the elements are not rational creatures. At best your position would be that grace destroys nature (or eliminates it due to the impossibility of perfecting it?) relative to non-rational substances but not relative to rational substances. Given your restriction of deification to the BV, the implicit assumption is that non-rational nature is incompatible of deification, that is, of being God-bearing, just as I anticipated above.

    In any case, your claim that only rational creatures are capable of participation in the divine nature restricts and narrows salvation relative to creation in a way that I think is inconsistent with the Pauline and patristic material I alluded to above as well as say Rev 21:5. Your view restricting deification to the BV would have Christ making only some things new it seems.

    And yes the Orthodox deny the BV.

  84. Perry,

    Bryan is exactly right and said everything that I was planning to say (and more). I did not make the argument that Consubstantiation was impossible or anything along the lines of what you took my argument to be. I’m not sure where you got it from, but it wasn’t from me. Here’s what I argued:

    if a thing changes, it either changes into another substance (into another thing) or some non-essential feature of it changes. But if a non-essential feature of something changes, we continue to refer to it in the same way.

    I went on to show that the fathers did speak of a change, and that they referred to it as something else after the change. They also denied the continuing presence of the first substance (e.g. St. Cyril, “[Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread…”) That was my argument.

    You also suggested that I remove some of the quotations because they were not considered Church fathers. The title is not meant to imply that everyone quoted had no false beliefs. Even some of those uncontested fathers had beliefs that were un-kosher. I guess for the sake of charity I should assume that you had good intentions by mentioning it and that you were not trying to make it look like I didn’t know who these people were (even though I think we’ve been through this before on another thread). But I do know who all of these men were, and my post does not imply anything about any beliefs they held except the very issue at hand. Even when they held beliefs that were perhaps incompatible with DT as you suggest, it would not prove that they didn’t believe in DT (although it is evidence that their quotation may be incorrectly interpreted – the strength of the evidence would depend on the clarity and degree of incompatibility which has not been shown). Likewise, if you want to make the case that, for example, Theodore didn’t understand what he was saying when he said: “He did not say, ‘This is the symbol of My Body, and this, of My Blood,’ but, what is set before us, but that it is transformed by means of the Eucharistic action into Flesh and Blood” go ahead and make the case.

    You said to Bryan,

    . But it strikes me like saying that given Arian presuppositions, Apollinarianism is the best option.

    It strikes you incorrectly then because that’s not an accurate comparison. Arianism was a heresy condemned by the Church. But [the non-ability for a substance to change into another substance while also not changing into another substance] is not a heresy condemned by the Church. My argument doesn’t rest on much more philosophical speculation than that. If you reject a particular philosophical presupposition that my argument rests on, then exactly what is it and why do you reject it?

    In any case, the categories given above aren’t by any means the default metaphysical position.

    The two types of changes I mentioned are substantial changes and non-substantial changes. By definition, those emphatically are the only two possible types of changes.

  85. Regarding the objection to transubstantiation based on there not being any physical or scientific proof, what would be the implications if there was physical proof at every mass? What would this do to our understanding of faith, hope and God’s love? This question can be applied to any aspect of our faith. What if God woke you up personally every morning in a physically verifiable way? Would this not be coercive and contradict the meaning of God’s love?

  86. @Mateo #81

    Mateo, you seem to interpret the quoted CCC text as clearly favoring one of the two possibilities, but you don’t say which one. And I just cannot guess which one you mean. Personally, I see the text as being compatible with both: while #1376 seems to support 1, the text in italics in #1374 seems to support 2.

    So, let’s try to get insight by performing a very basic mental exercise. When we are with a person, what do we see or touch? Strictly speaking, we see or touch his body, but we never speak that way (we would speak that way only if we were referring to a dead body): since the body of a living person is inhabited by his soul, we say that we see or touch the person. So, it may be the case that “the whole substance of the bread is changed (only) into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord” (#1376), which is inhabited by his soul and united with his divinity, which is possibility 1. In contrast, in possibility 2 the whole substance of the bread is changed into the two substances of Christ, his human and divine natures.

    Now, do both possibilities satisfy #1374? Possibility 2 clearly does, as it is obvious that if the substance of the bread is changed into the two substances of Christ, the whole Christ is substantially contained. What about possibility 1? To answer that, let’s focus again on an ordinary person. Is the whole Mateo substantially contained in your body? Sure you are, as long as you are alive and your soul inhabits it. Let us now focus on Jesus talking to the disciples 1980 years ago. Is the whole Christ substantially contained in his living body which is what the disciples can strictly see or touch? Sure He is, because his body is inhabited by his soul (like any living person’s body) and united with his divinity. Whereby St John says: “which has existed since the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have watched and touched with our own hands, the Word of life” (I Jn 1:1).

    So, IMHO both possibilities are compatible with the dogma.

    (As a small clarification, I left aside the blood to simplify the analysis. The body of a living person is irrigated by his blood, so in possibility 1 the bread is substantially changed into the body and blood.)

  87. Tim,

    Since Bryan said he’d leave my remarks in respect to what your argument was untouched, It would help if you’d take the time to show what I said was mistaken and why you think it is a misrepresentation of your argument.

    Your argument seems to be that Consub or any view that takes the essence of the elements to be preserved is ruled out due to two things. First, the language of the Fathers and second philosophical categories. Logically then the only kind of change left, excluding accidental change is substantial change or some sort or another. If that is wrong, please indicate where since that seems to be the flow of the article.

    Here is where I think you’re just philosophically fist pounding. I agree that for Aristotle perhaps or a specific understanding of Aristotle there are the two kinds of change you proffer, but why take his model as the philosophical model on change? You seem to argue as if it is just de facto common sense. It is not.

    What is more, not all views that take the essence of the elements to remain after the epiclesis amount to consubstantiation since they don’t take individual things to be substances and so the kind of presence isn’t substantial, while nonetheless real. Does Plotinus believe in substances for example? No.

    Sure, lots of Fathers talk of the change after the epiclesis, but I don’t see how we get from that fact to your conclusion when we have unargued philosophical glosses assumed to be the only categories to be had. Change can be said in many ways, not to mention mixture.

    The metaphysics of Late Antiquity are far more nuanced for example on simplicity, essences, change, mixture and composition. There are many more views that fill the landscape. And a good number of the church Fathers weren’t ignorant of them. It should be kept in mind that while most of Plato and most of Aristotle were lost to the West, they were never lost to the East. The notion of substantial change was available to many of the sources you cite and yet they did not choose to employ it. That doesn’t seem to be a question that is even asked in the article. Why is it that this is only employed in a post-schism context when the Franks are by and large recovering/learning and exploring Hellenistic philosophy and that in most cases third hand and in translation? Why not sooner say in the Nestorian controversy or the Iconoclastic controversy when the nature of the Eucharist was in fact a cardinal point of contention?

    You referred in large measure to Fathers, (but also to heretics as I noted). What you put forward are sources that speak of it as not only bread or are perfectly compatible with it being more than as opposed to being completely essentially other than bread. So while it is true that they speak of it as something else as you note, that is insufficient to imply the conclusion you wish, for the same reason that in referring to the redeemed human beings as something else, namely as “gods” the LDS can’t draw the conclusion they wish. Partaking of the divine nature doesn’t of itself imply either substantial or accidental change. We really become gods, just not essentially (or accidentally).

    And you don’t seem to interact with Patristic material that explicitly seems to contradict your view, at least not the ones I’ve usually seen in the literature over the last 500 years of controversy, such as say material from Tertullian, Cyril of Alexandria or Gelasius. Let me give the latter as an example.

    “Certainly the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ which we receive is a divine thing, wherefore also we are by the Same mad partakers of the Divine Nature, and yet the substance and nature of bread and wine ceases not to be.” (De duabus in Christo Naturis, 8, 703)

    This is not the only place where Pope Gelasius speaks in this manner. Here he uses the language of substantial change and denies it. He does so on more than one occasion. (Note that this is concerning the Nestorian controversy.)

    As for Theodore of Mopsuestia and Co. the issue again isn’t that they didn’t have some false beliefs or that they didn’t error in this or that point, while the consensus of the Fathers corrects them. That is a misrepresentation of what I wrote and so your replay fails to engage what I wrote. Theodore is a condemned formal heretic but numerous ecumenical councils and not a few popes about his doctrine of Christ, which includes his views of the Eucharist. Your article is misleading since it puts them forward as “fathers” and their teaching as orthodox, which it isn’t. (It isn’t for no reason for example that the Calvinists like Vermigli are devotees of Theodoret.) The irony is that you write that the synod of Ephesus excludes a mere indwelling in the Eucharist. Well who do you think this was directed against if not Theodore, Theodoret and Nestorius?

    My point was not to point out ignorance on your part. Rather it was to help readers from being mislead by false teachers and works your church formally condemns as heresy. Theodore for example is no less a formal heretic than Arius yet somehow I don’t think you’d find it acceptable to cite Arius or Eunomius as a “Father.”

    As to the point at hand, the material cited from them is admitted by specialists, Catholic and non to be representative of a view of the Eucharist where there is an exchange of names only, just like in Christology there is no real communication of properties, but a mere exchange of names. Consequently the Nestorian Christology of say Theodoret is perfectly capable of expressing itself in terms that sound like the doctrine of the Real Presence, but it isn’t. Just as Theodoret can express himself at times to sound like a Chalcedonian, but he isn’t, as the Fifth Council judged. So factually I think that material doesn’t support DT. Their Eucharistic theology was a function of their Christology. So it is not as if when I write that their other beliefs were inconsistent that they were so in terms of being inconsistent compartments. The entire system of theology which is modled on their Christology is inconsistent with the doctrine of the Real Presence, as Cyril of Alexandria and the Fifth Ecumenical Council decreed.

    My claim was not that Theodoret or Theodore didn’t understand what they were writing, but that you didn’t understand their theology. For both of them, “Christ” is the composite manifestation that is a product of the union produced by two natures. It is not an empty symbol as it were. This is why there can be an exchange of names but not an exchange of properties or operations. In a similar fashion the elements can receive the names of the reality they signify and manifest even though they are not of themselves the substantial reality that produced the sign. This is very clear in Theodoret’s work against Cyril of Alexandria and the Council of Ephesus. It was a point he had to engage since Cyril had argued for his Christology in part based on a different view of the eucharist. This is not a controversial point in the literature among specialists. I’ve already referenced Clayton, but the same can be seen in Gray’s The Defense of Chalcedon in the East, Meyndorff, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought, McGuckin, Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy, or McLeod’s Theodore of Mopsuestia or Grillmeir’s Christ in Christian Tradition. Or just read the primary sources for yourself. It isn’t that hard to detect.

    I think the comparison is apt because in that case the philosophy drove both options. The assumptions were the same but they took them in opposite directions. Likewise the memoralist and DT seem to turn on the same principles in that they gloss the two things as substances and that two substances can’t be one individual thing or enter into any kind of constituent union. Therefore the substance of the elements must be replaced or the elements are the thing in name only.

    While I grant that the philosophical view you give wasn’t formally condemned by the church, it also wasn’t articulated by me as the root problem. So here you’ve misrepresented my views. What I objected to in your article was the fact that you lay out a certain philosophical taxonomy as if it is the only way to divvy things up and then conclude that the only way the Fathers can be understood is in terms of those categories when in fact philosophically and in the history of theology outside of the Latin west, those aren’t the only philosophical categories to be had. Since your argument depends on that philosophical view, you can’t get DT from the patristic material without it so it is not irrelevant or a side matter.

    I don’t know what definition you have in mind in claiming that by “definition” those are the only two kinds of changes possible. Take for example the Hypostatic union. When Christ assumes humanity into his divine Person, is that a substantial change or an accidental change or no change at all? Or how about when the divine person suffers and dies? Is that an accidental change or a substantial change? Or how about when we look at Stoicism or Platonism in late antiquity and they speak of not only substantial and accidental changes but energetic or operational changes? Or how about changes from Aristotle’s first actuality to second actuality? Is that substantial or accidental? The entire notion of what a substance and its constituent properties (or whether it had any) relative to its unity and simplicity changes over time, so much so that to speak of substantial and accidental change needs to be highly qualified relative to which philosopher we are talking about and in what period.
    So when you write “By definition, those emphatically are the only two possible types of changes” this strikes me as philosophical fist pounding. There is no argument here to be found. There is no material or analysis of primary philosophical sources from say Stoicism, middle and Late Platonism or Aristotelianism in all of its Platonized varieties through the commentator tradition, let alone modern philosophy. No references at all.So I am unmoved here by what strikes me as a bald assertion on your part. By what definition (and why should we accept it as opposed to any other) and why are those the only two types of changes? Certainly being Catholic doesn’t commit one to also upholding an Aristotelian metaphysic, does it?

  88. @Johannes:

    … two substances of Christ, his human and divine natures.

    You (correctly) said that I had been misunderstanding you when you spoke before about Christ’s natures as being ‘substances’ and since I am not terribly well-educated philosophically, I left it. But here you are using the same language, and I confess I am really uncomfortable with this. Perhaps I should not be, but it smacks, to me, of Nestorianism. To be sure, as you said, Christ’s Incarnation is His hypostasis – which, I suppose, is translatable as ‘subsistence.’ I don’t, however, really see the difference, and it seems to me really dangerous to speak of the two natures of Christ as different ‘substances’ – particularly as you made clear you were using something like Aristotle’s use of the term.

    I had always thought that ‘substance’ was the distinguished thing that a thing is. Maybe that is wrong – but if it is right, wouldn’t it mean that Christ was two different things – not had two different natures, but was two different objects at once??

    I’m sorry, I really am not equipped to play at this level, and you may well tell me that I had better go off and read some more. But if you can, I would love to understand better.

    I would love not to feel uncomfortable at such language!

    jj

  89. Alright, let me try this again.

    So I took a step back, looked at some things again, realized I picked a pretty poor choice of words in comment #25, and talked to a friend of mine on this matter. And what I’m going to try to do here, is once again try to explain the Lutheran understanding. That’s what I’m primarily trying to do here. I’ll also endeavor to answer a few things brought up before, perhaps in a second, and maybe third comment.

    Let’s start back at the beginning. I’m going to cite anew a couple things I cited before. Article X of the Augsburg Confession states:

    1] Of the Supper of the Lord they [note: "they" is referring to what would be called the "Lutheran" churches] teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed 2] to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.

    Now let me cite part of Luther’s Small Catechism, Part 6, on the Sacrament of the Altar, on this:

    What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

    Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

    There we have it, simply put. It is Christ’s Body and Blood.

    In #25, you’ll note I biffed it when I said,

    If we’re just discussing that there’s a change, or a transformation, if you prefer, from the elements into the Body and Blood of the Lord, Lutherans have absolutely no problem with that.

    What I should have said, instead of transformation or change, is probably just that “something happens” when the elements are consecrated.

    That’s the Lutheran understanding of the Supper. Now…why do we reject Consubstantiation and Transubstantiation. You say, “BW, I think the Lutheran position might be Consubstantiation, you’ve said all this before, how do you not agree with consubstantiation?”

    I respond, “The Lutheran position IS NOT consubstantiation. This is rejected by us, as it was wrongly used by the Reformed to describe our doctrine on the Lord’s Supper.”

    Here, I’ll show you why. We’ll try Wikipedia first.

    Notice what the Wikipedia article says,

    It (Consubstantiation) holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental “substance” of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present.

    This is why Lutherans reject it, for we reject this sort of even vague, basic idea. We stop short of saying this, that they become one substance. For more info on consubstantiation, if you aren’t familiar, read on in the article, or on the site of my church body, the a href=”http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=C&word=CONSUBSTANTIATION”>Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

    Well what about transubstantiation?

    Ah, Tim, as you explain to me after my goof:

    When something changes into something else, it ceases being itself. That is the quintessence of change. When x changes into y, x no longer exists; y exists. When bread changes to the Body, bread no longer exists; Body exists. That is what it means for something to change.

    But here, we also reject saying that the bread is no longer bread. It is a bit of an explanation, a very vague and basic one, by saying that the bread is changed into the Body, and the wine changed into the blood…this is where the problem lies.

    Well, you may say “BW, what’s this about the bread and wine still being there, which you had mentioned before?

    Well, the Apostle Paul refers to it as bread in 1 Corinithians 10:16, and 1 Corinthians 11:28, which Luther points out in Article VI, of Part III of the Smalcald Articles. So bread must still be there.

    Here’s Luther again in the Large Catechism on the Lord’s Supper. Obviously you’ll recognize his own style of writing:

    12] With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? etc., I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. 13] Now here stands the Word of Christ: Take, eat; this is My body; Drink ye all of it; this is the new testament in My blood, etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word or regard it without the words, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. 14] But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.

    15] Hence it is easy to reply to all manner of questions about which men are troubled at the present time, such as this one: Whether even a wicked priest can minister at, and dispense, the Sacrament, and whatever other questions like this there may be. 16] For here we conclude and say: Even though a knave takes or distributes the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who [receives or] administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be misused. 17] For the Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy, you receive My body and blood, but: Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood. Likewise: Do this (namely, what I now do, institute, give, and bid you take). 18] That is as much as to say, No matter whether you are worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood by virtue of these words which are added to the bread and wine. 19] Only note and remember this well; for upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all errors and deception that have ever come or may yet come.

    And you may say what about the terms in, with, and under, like what it stated in the Formula of Concord below (part of which Tim quoted before)?:

    For the reason why, in addition to the expressions of Christ and St. Paul (the bread in the Supper is the body of Christ or the communion of the body of Christ), also the forms: under the bread, with the bread, in the bread [the body of Christ is present and offered], are employed, is that by means of them the papistical transubstantiation may be rejected and the sacramental union of the unchanged essence of the bread and of the body of Christ indicated; 36] just as the expression, Verbum caro factum est, The Word was made flesh [ John 1:14 ], is repeated and explained by the equivalent expressions: The Word dwelt among us; likewise [ Col 2:9 ]: In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; likewise [ Acts 10:38 ]: God was with Him; likewise [ 2 Cor. 5:19 ]: God was in Christ, and the like; namely, that the divine essence is not changed into the human nature, but the two natures, unchanged, are personally united. [These phrases repeat and declare the expression of John, above mentioned, namely, that by the incarnation the divine essence is not changed into the human nature, but that the two natures without confusion are personally united.] 37] Even as many eminent ancient teachers, Justin, Cyprian, Augustine, Leo, Gelasius, Chrysostom and others, use this simile concerning the words of Christ’s testament: This is My body, that just as in Christ two distinct, unchanged natures are inseparably united, so in the Holy Supper the two substances, the natural bread and the true natural body of Christ, are present together here upon earth in the appointed administration of the Sacrament. 38] Although this union of the body and blood of Christ with the bread and wine is not a personal union, as that of the two natures in Christ, but as Dr. Luther and our theologians, in the frequently mentioned Articles of Agreement [Formula of Concord] in the year 1536 and in other places call it sacramentatem unionem, that is, a sacramental union, by which they wish to indicate that, although they also employ the formas: in pane, sub pane, cum pane, that is, these distinctive modes of speech: in the bread, under the bread, with the bread, yet they have received the words of Christ properly and as they read, and have understood the proposition, that is, the words of Christ’s testament: Hoc est corpus meum, This is My body, not as a figuratam propositionem, but inusitatam (that is, not as a figurative, allegorical expression or comment, but as an unusual expression). 39] For thus Justin says: This we receive not as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ, our Savior, through the Word of God became flesh, and on account of our salvation also had flesh and blood, so we believe that the food blessed by Him through the Word and prayer is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 40] Likewise Dr. Luther also in his Large and especially in his last Confession concerning the Lord’s Supper with great earnestness and zeal defends the very form of expression which Christ used at the first Supper. -Formula of Concord, Article VII, 35-40

    Here Chemnitz and the gang say, in, with, and under the bread and wine. All are different words, to say that somehow, in some way, the Body and Blood of Christ are present with the bread and wine. Don’t know how though. All we say as Lutherans is that the true Body and true Blood of Christ are distributed with the bread and wine. It is a mystery, like the Incarnation, and as such we let it alone.

    Now, T Ciatoris, you say that we say, “Jesus and bread,” are on the altar. Eh, not quite. We say “Christ’s True Body and True Blood and true bread and true wine.”

    And, as the Church Fathers quoted in the article above say Christ’s Body and Blood are there in the Supper, Lutherans can say, as we have, “yes, we concur.”

    I hope that helps.

    Now, my turn to ask a question. If this is such an incorrect way of talking about the Eucharist, why did Eck and those sent to write a response to the Augsburg Confession accept Article X, (cited at the top of my post)? I realize nothing Eck said was dogmatized, I just find it quite interesting that the theologians sent to respond to the Lutherans had nothing to quibble with about it.

    I’ll post what Eck said, and then Melancthon’s piece in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession on it.

    Eck says, in the Confutation to the Augsburg Confession on Article X:

    The tenth article gives no offense in its words, because they confess that in the Eucharist, after the consecration lawfully made, the Body and Blood of Christ are substantially and truly present, if only they believe that the entire Christ is present under each form, so that the Blood of Christ is no less present under the form of bread by concomitance than it is under the form of the wine, and the reverse. Otherwise, in the Eucharist the Body of Christ is dead and bloodless, contrary to St. Paul, because “Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more,” Rom. 6:9. One matter is added as very necessary to the article of the Confession – viz. that they believe the Church, rather than some teaching otherwise and incorrectly, that by the almighty Word of God in the consecration of the Eucharist the substance of the bread is changed into the Body of Christ. For thus in a general council it has been determined, canon Firmiter, concerning the exalted Trinity, and the Catholic faith. They are praised therefor, for condemning the Capernaites, who deny the truth of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

    Now, Melanchthon says in the Apology,

    54] The Tenth Article has been approved, in which we confess that we believe, that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are seen, bread and wine, to those who receive the Sacrament. This belief we constantly defend, as the subject has been carefully examined and considered. For since Paul says, 1 Cor. 10:16, that the bread is the communion of the Lord’s body, etc., it would follow, if the Lord’s body were not truly present, that the bread is not a communion of the body, but only of the spirit of Christ. 55] And we have ascertained that not only the Roman Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but the Greek Church also both now believes, and formerly believed, the same. For the canon of the Mass among them testifies to this, in which the priest clearly prays that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not a silly writer, says distinctly that bread is not a mere figure, but 56] is truly changed into flesh. And there is a long exposition of Cyril on John 15, in which he teaches that Christ is corporeally offered us in the Supper. For he says thus: Nevertheless, we do not deny that we are joined spiritually to Christ by true faith and sincere love. But that we have no mode of connection with Him, according to the flesh, this indeed we entirely deny. And this, we say, is altogether foreign to the divine Scriptures. For who has doubted that Christ is in this manner a vine, and we the branches, deriving thence life for ourselves? Hear Paul saying 1 Cor. 10:17; Rom. 12:5; Gal. 3:28: We are all one body in Christ; although we are many, we are, nevertheless, one in Him; for we are, all partakers of that one bread. Does he perhaps think that the virtue of the mystical benediction is unknown to us? Since this is in us, does it not also, by the communication of Christ’s flesh, cause Christ to dwell in us bodily? And a little after: Whence we must consider that Christ is in us not only according to the habit, which we call love, 57] but also by natural participation, etc. We have cited these testimonies, not to undertake a discussion here concerning this subject, for His Imperial Majesty does not disapprove of this article, but in order that all who may read them may the more clearly perceive that we defend the doctrine received in the entire Church, that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body]; for we know that death hath no more dominion over Him, Rom. 6:9.

    Thank you for your time.

    BW

  90. Bryan,

    In #56 you wrote

    That reasoning doesn’t make sense. So if Christ shows up at your house, you wouldn’t adore Him, unless He told you to? That’s such a legalistic way of thinking, like never doing anything for your wife unless she asks you to.

    I don’t see how it doesn’t make sense. Christ told us to take and eat His Body and drink His Blood. It is for eating and drinking. This is what we do with it in Lutheran churches. It is treated with respect and all due reverence though. But if you want to say our mistake is taking Christ too literally, go for it.

    You are right in that it is a Law command. “Do this,” and “take and eat,” all Law commands. But we believe and trust and have faith in Christ’s words in that it will do what He says it will do.

    In regard to dear St. Augustine, and Fr. Kimel, I’m sorry but I’ll stick with what Christ, the God-Man tells me to do with His Body and Blood.

  91. Now here is where we have a major difference, but you’ve asked so I ought to answer. I’d like to thank you for letting me participate in these discussions.

    On the question of Authority. Where do we, as Lutherans, derive our Authority? I’ll discuss it briefly.

    Our Canon, as you probably are aware, is divided into homologoumena and antilegomena. Homologoumena are the books that were universally accepted by the Early Church, such as the Gospel books. Antilegomena are those that there was some dispute about, like 2 and 3rd Peter, Hebrews, Jude. So we don’t base doctrine off the Antilegomena, and it isn’t a big deal to us if someone doesn’t accept those books.

    You can see in more detail here: http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=c&word=CANON.BIBLE

    Understand this though, our confessions do not just dismiss these antelegoumenous books, or the Old Testament “apocryphal books.” We do work through them and respond to arguments derived from them. So, in our confessions, we spot you your whole canon, so to speak.

    Now, with this said about the canon, by what authority do we stand behind? We stand behind Christ’s Gospel. Now you say, the Catholic Church defined the canon and protects it, you have the authority. We say, no, you have it backwards, the authority comes from Christ’s Gospel, to proclaim the forgiveness of sins in Christ alone. If you do not have that, but still have authority, you have nothing.

    That’s a very basic and brief comment on it.

  92. Perry, (re: #82,86)

    You invite me to proffer another kind of metaphysical change, that would not only take far too much space to articulate and defend but I am not ready to do that today.

    As I said above, if you think that the best explanation of the patristic data Tim provides in his post is that the Fathers had in mind some other kind of metaphysical change (other than a substantial change of some sort), then please feel free to make that case. Or if you think there is some other kind of metaphysical change, then please feel free to demonstrate this other kind of metaphysical change. If you are not prepared to do that, then it seems to me that your criticism of Tim’s post is vacuous, because you are claiming that Tim’s post ignores a possibility that you yourself are not prepared to show is even a possibility, let alone a plausible alternative hypothesis. If you are not prepared to defend your critique, then your critique amounts to mere hand-waving speculation (i.e. that there might be this other kind of change that might explain the patristic data better than does the notion of substantial change, but which you are not prepared to talk about). If you are not prepared to defend this non-substantial “kind of metaphysical change,” or the thesis that the patristic data Tim provides above is better explained by the notion that the Fathers had this non-substantial “kind of metaphysical change” in mind, then you are not prepared to criticize Tim’s post, unless you have some other criticism, that you are prepared to defend.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, the purpose of CTC is not for refutation-by-appeal-to-phantom-evidence or by appeal to hypothetical speculation, especially as a supposed ‘refutation’ of a Catholic dogma grounded in the patristic Tradition that Tim is citing. In all our posts and comments, we strive to appeal to evidence and arguments, and to foster a combox environment in which such appeals are the means by which claims or positions are defended or critiqued, and disagreements resolved. For that reason we point out mere hand-waving, promissory notes and appeals to phantom evidence, for what they are. As you well know, they are not a refutation of an argument. Not only does Tim deserve better than that, CTC is simply not the place for that. If you really believe that there is another kind of metaphysical change that better explains the patristic data, then I would (sincerely) very much like to see you make that case, and I would be very glad to read it. (Perhaps making that case would be better done in the form of a post on EP.) That would be a substantive critique, and would thereby raise the quality of the dialogue.

    May God grant us peace and mutual understanding.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  93. @John Thayer Jensen #88

    ” it seems to me really dangerous to speak of the two natures of Christ as different ‘substances’”

    No such danger. From CCC #251-252:

    251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance”, “person” or “hypostasis”, “relation” and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand”.

    252 The Church uses (I) the term “substance” (rendered also at times by “essence” or “nature”) to designate the divine being in its unity, (II) the term “person” or “hypostasis” to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and (III) the term “relation” to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.

    Back quoting from you:

    ” as you said, Christ’s Incarnation is His hypostasis”

    Far from me to say that! Christ’s hypostasis is the Son, the second person of the Trinity.

    “you may well tell me that I had better go off and read some more.”

    I definitely recommend reading carefully CCC #464-475. And BTW, congratulations for your humility.

  94. Just a brief thought,

    Christ is both true God and true man. Two natures united in one Person through the hypostatic union. The Eucharistic consecration makes present – brings to us – the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. It makes present both natures on the alter – which natures are joined hypostatically. THAT the two natures are united, and the qualifiers which shield off heresy in relation to the sort of union entailed, required an arduous theological effort. It seems to me that if one insists that the Fathers can be plausibly interpreted as holding that the whole Christ (hypostatically united) is made present on the alter WITHOUT removing the substances of bread or wine (whether conceived in terms of Consubstantiation or some other notion of metaphysical transformation); then one needs to give some account of this secondary union/relation to the substances of bread and wine. There should be some answer to the question: “what do the remaining substances of bread and wine have to do with the post-consecration presence of the hypostatic Christ?” No matter how sophisticated the metaphysical explanatory apparatus; IF the substances of bread and wine remain after the consecration, how does one avoid the notion that Christ is true God and true man AND true bread AND true wine as a result of the consecration? I am not saying that such a conclusion cannot be avoided. I am only suggesting that the remaining presence of substantial bread and substantial wine after consecration calls for some explanation as to the relation of these substances to the Person of Christ. To be mundane, in such a notion, it would seem (at the least) that the presence of Christ follows/coincides temporally with the substances of bread and wine. I mean, after the consecration, if the bread and wine were taken 2 blocks away would a Lutheran or Orthodox brother say that Christ remained on the alter, while the substances of bread and wine went elsewhere? The point is that IF the bread and wine remain (as substances) along with the hypostatic Christ, then there is SOME sort of connection/union/relation going on between Christ and the natural substances of bread and wine. That seems like a matter of serious theological import. Do the Fathers take up the question of such a relationship as regards the Eucharist?

    The notion of substantial change built on a broadly Aristotelian metaphysic, simply provides a cognitive framework which makes intelligible the idea that the substances of bread and wine are TRANS-substantiated into Christ (two natures united in one Person). Of course, it leaves the question as to HOW this happens ontologically entirely mysterious. ISTM that one major christological advantage to the Catholic dogma is that is removes the need for additional christological explanations in terms of the relation of the natures of Christ to the natures of bread and wine – since the dogma teaches Catholics that the natures of bread and wine are no longer present after consecration.

    Pax et Bonum,

    Ray

  95. @Johannes:

    Thanks for the reply – I’m afraid this is beyond me, then. In the quotes from the Catechism I don’t see how it can be said that Christ is two substances. That Christ has – I emphasise has – two natures I cordially acknowledge. I should have thought that He is one substance – the Incarnate Second Person of the Trinity.

    But all that demonstrates, I am sure, is that I don’t know what is meant by ‘substance.’

    jj

  96. @Johannes:

    PS – it might help if I explained a bit more. I don’t see how an abstract, like ‘human nature,’ can be a substance. You have a human nature. So have I. So I thought there was a ‘substance’ which is John Jensen; another which is Johannes. Each is characterised as having a human nature – and also as having other characteristics (age, colour of hair, etc).

    To be sure, the idea of ‘divine nature’ as an abstract seems impossible to me – because God is necessarily One and in Him there is no distinction of abstract vs concrete.

    I dunno – maybe this is just arguing about words. But words may be quite important!

    jj

  97. @John Thayer Jensen #95-96

    John, your argument is exactly the myaphisite position (Oriental Ortodoxy). If you want to stay in the Chalcedonian camp, in #95 you have to affirm that Christ is one SUBSISTENCE (or subsistent being, hypostasis in Greek) – the Second Person of the Trinity, and in #96 you have to change all instances of “substance” by “subsistence”.

    ” In the quotes from the Catechism I don’t see how it can be said that Christ is two substances.”

    Quote from CCC #467

    “Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity;”

    “consubstantial with” = “of the same substance of”. Jesus is of the same substance of the Father as to his divinity and of the same substance of us as to his humanity.

  98. @Johannes:

    I will retire to my reading. I am clearly very confused! Thanks!

    jj “Chalcedonian by intent; confused by the word ‘substance’”

  99. Johannes: Mateo, you seem to interpret the quoted CCC text as clearly favoring one of the two possibilities, but you don’t say which one. And I just cannot guess which one you mean. Personally, I see the text as being compatible with both: while #1376 seems to support 1, the text in italics in #1374 seems to support 2.

    Johannes’ two possibilities:

    … the two possibilities are:

    1. The substance of the bread is converted into the substance of the (body + blood) or Jesus, inhabited by his soul and united with his divinity.

    2. The substance of the bread is converted into the two substances of Jesus: his human and divine natures.

    Of the two possibilities you presented, personally, I would be more inclined to go with your first possibility.

    Your second possibility opens up a new discussion; whether or not the substance of the bread is converted into the divine substance. Your idea about that which is of the created reality (the substance of the bread) being converted into the uncreated reality (the divine substance) strikes me as not being possible.

    First, let me post again a quote from the article Real Presence (see my post # 16):

    None of these Churches [Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic] sees what is really in the Eucharist as a lifeless corpse and mere blood, but as the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity; nor do they see the persisting outward appearances of bread and wine as a mere illusion. This actual transformation, change or conversion of the reality, while the appearances remain unaltered – not the process or manner by which the transformation comes about, since all agree that this occurs “in a way surpassing understanding”

    There are two points I want to make from this quote: one, the miracle of transubstantiation brings about a change in reality, and the change in reality is not that the substance of the bread is changed into a lifeless corpse. Two, the way in which the transformation in reality occurs is beyond human understanding. The change in reality brought about by the miracle of transubstantiation is that true bread is present in reality before the consecration, and after the consecration, true bread is no longer present. Instead, what is present after the consecration is Christ, the same Christ that walked and talked with the Apostles. The same Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary.

    Johannes: So, let’s try to get insight by performing a very basic mental exercise. When we are with a person, what do we see or touch? Strictly speaking, we see or touch his body, but we never speak that way (we would speak that way only if we were referring to a dead body): since the body of a living person is inhabited by his soul, we say that we see or touch the person.

    Let us keep this in mind, and now speak about a mother giving birth to child. At the moment of conception, God creates an immortal soul for the child. We don’t say that the mother only gives birth to the body of the child. The mother gives birth to a living person – a person that is both body and soul. In the same way we can’t speak about Mary only giving birth to the humanity of Jesus. Mary gave birth to the person of Jesus, who is a divine person and a human being. By the prayer of consecration in Mother Church, a change in reality occurs – a divine person and a human being becomes present in the created reality, the same divine person and human being that was born of the Virgin in a stable in Bethlehem.

    Johannes: So, it may be the case that “the whole substance of the bread is changed (only) into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord” (#1376), which is inhabited by his soul and united with his divinity, which is possibility 1.

    CCC 1376 says this:

    …by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood.

    This does seem to be saying that the created the reality of bread is changed into the created reality of Christ’s body and blood. But again, it is not merely a lifeless corpse that is present in the Eucharist, but a living person and a human being that is present.

    Johannes: In contrast, in possibility 2 the whole substance of the bread is changed into the two substances of Christ, his human and divine natures.

    Now, do both possibilities satisfy #1374? Possibility 2 clearly does, as it is obvious that if the substance of the bread is changed into the two substances of Christ, the whole Christ is substantially contained.

    Your phrase, “changed into”, is problematic for me, because the divine substance is immutable.

    We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible and ineffable, Father, Son and holy Spirit, three persons but one absolutely simple essence, substance or nature . Fourth Lateran Council

    If could see the spiritual realm with human eyes, and if we were able to view time in reverse with these new eyes, would we see the divine substance changing into the substance of bread if we watched a Mass in reverse? No. The divine substance is unchangable.

    CCC #1374 doesn’t say anything about the substance of the bread changing into the divine substance.

    CCC 1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. … ” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.

    CCC 1374 is speaking about the “mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species”. When you hold the consecrated bread in your hand, you are holding Christ in your hands –i.e. the “whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” in that consecrated bread. You are not holding in your hand a lifeless corpse, nor are you holding in your hands true God and true bread. What you are holding in your hands is a divine person and a human being. I believe that we agree about that much, and that is why I think your “possibility 1” doesn’t contradict anything written in the CCC. But your “possibility 2” – created reality changing into the uncreated reality – that I have a problem with.

  100. @Mateo #99

    “Of the two possibilities you presented, personally, I would be more inclined to go with your first possibility.”

    So would be I. For quite a few years up to yesterday, as I said in #59, I “provisionally” (meaning firmly until clearly seeing that it was wrong) held possibility 2 as the correct interpretation of the dogma. Yes, it seems shocking to believe that the substance of the bread was turned into not only the created substance of the body and soul of Jesus but also into the uncreated divine essence, but until yesterday I perceived that interpretation as the only way to satisfy the text in italics in CCC #1374, so I had taken it with the attitude: “when the believing gets tough, the tough gets believing”.

    But yesterday the composition of my answers to John and you served as the catalyst to perceive that possibility 1 may likely be the correct choice. The key was that the situation when the priest holds in his hand the consecrated bread must be the same as the situation when a disciple or St Mary hugs Lord Jesus in 29 AD. He or she is hugging Jesus’ living body, which is inhabited by his soul (as any ordinary human being’s living body) and united to his divinity. In other words, the situation now (priest and consecrated bread) cannot be ontologically better than the situation then (disciples/St Mary and Jesus). It is practically better in that in the sacramental way of presence the living body of the Lord can be our food.

    Even then, I did not see possibility 2 – believing that the substance of the bread was turned into the divine essence (and into Jesus’ humanity) – as implying that any change was taking place in the divine essence. Of course I hold that the divine essence is immutable.

    So, as I regard you as a learned and orthodox believer, I’m glad you see option 1 as correct. And I am grateful to the Lord and the people running CtC that this post prompted me to clarify my understanding of the dogma. And I would be even more grateful if some of the other enlightened contributors to this forum can also give their view on this specific issue.

    (BTW, I made one mistake in #86: 198o years ago Jesus was already in Heaven, as his crucifixion was on April 7, 30 AD.)

  101. @John Thayer Jensen

    Have a good reading! BTW, I suggest following CCC #464-475 with the catechesis of John Paul II which can be accessed from:

    http://catechesisofthepopes.wordpress.com/ (new site, choose under “Major catechetical themes” on the right)

    http://catechesisofthepopes.wikispaces.com/ (old site)

    In both cases the pages with the catechesis themselves are at vatican.va, but the front-end at vatican.va shows only the Spanish and Italian versions.

  102. @My own #100 if it does not get renumbered

    Needless to say, “the tough gets believing” means “the tough by the grace of God”, not out of my own natural toughness.

  103. JTJ (re #98):

    You don’t sound that confused to me. At least, what you are saying tracks with my own (fairly rough) understanding of the matter. It might be helpful to note that, in antiquity (pagan and Christian), we find (at least) two distinct uses of the word “substance.”

    (1) There are instances of “substance” (or the Greek “ousia”) in which the word is more or less synonymous with “entity,” (i.e., a single, concrete thing).

    (2) We also find instances of “substance” (or “ousia”) in which the term is synonymous with “nature” or “essence.”

    If Christ were two entities (the first sense of “substance”), then he would be two Christs. But that is clearly wrong. However, we are given to believe that the one Christ has two “natures” (the second sense of “substance”), i.e., Christ is both fully human and fully divine.

    Andrew

  104. Thanks, Andrew. I had realised some time ago that I was bogged down in terminology – and seriously off-topic :-) I appreciate the help you and Johannes have given me.

    jj

  105. Perry,
    You seemed to be concerned that the obliteration of the substance of the elements may be problematic, unnatural, unnecessary and even imply wrong Christology. But even if the substance of bread and wine is completely changed, there still remains on the altar both the created and the uncreated in union with one another. The created substance of the elements is taken up into the created substance of Christ’s humanity which is in union with his one divine person. So on the altar is body, blood, soul, and divinity–created and uncreated in union. The created substance of the elements does not need to be present for the Divine one to be present in both natures.
    The fact that the non-human created can partake of the divine uncreated does not necessarily mean that we can partake of the non-human created in the eucharist to our benefit, as only the created yet divinized humanity of the one Divine Christ will be food for everlasting life.

  106. Re. 101,

    Yes, I agree. “The created substance of the elements does not need to be present for the Divine one to be present in both natures.” Not only does it not need to be present, but I can’t think of any good reason why one would guess that it ought to be.

    Finally, I can’t think of why the fathers would have been so insistent on ignoring our senses of sight and taste if the substance of bread was still present. What would be the point of saying it? Perhaps: “Ignore the taste of bread, not because the true substance of bread isn’t still there, but because there’s also flesh there, but you just can’t taste it.”? It’s a stretch. The obvious interpretation is that the substance of bread isn’t there, and that’s why the accidents can deceive us.

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  107. Theodore of Mopsuestia (cd. 428 A.D.)
    It is proper, therefore, that when [Christ] gave the Bread He did not say, “This is the symbol of My Body,” but, “This is My Body.” In the same way when He gave the Cup He did not say, “This is the symbol of My Blood,” but, “This is My Blood”; for He wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but [that we should] receive them as they are, the Body and Blood of our Lord. We ought…not regard the [Eucharistic elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the Body and Blood of Christ, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit. (Catechetical Homilies 5)

    This is another quote from the ECF, which shows specifically the idea that cannot be a symbol like even the reformed (who believed in the spiritual presence) hold. I think that with baptism and Eucharist, we can show even with the Scriptures alone first, without going to the Fathers that baptism saves and that Eucharist we receive it is really the Body and the Blood of Christ. Because for the first, Scriptures are full of references like “Water and the Spirit” and references that show the link between baptism and washing of regeneration. And with the Eucharist we easily take Christ at His Word. It is a little different I think with such doctrines as that of Mary or Purgatory which have the seeds in Scriptures and have been developed
    Leonard

  108. I know there is an intended article covering transubstantiation, but perhaps someone would like to offer a brief summary of what happens to the bread and wine during transubstantiation. It may help me to clarify why I think this miraculous claim is particularly problematic. At one level, everyone seems to agree that there is nothing whatsoever scientifically observable that happens to the bread and wine, that there is not one shred of evidence that anything has changed. Yet the faithful are required to affirm that what has happened exactly?

  109. Ray Stamper @ 94,

    I don’t know if your comment was specifically directed towards me, but I’d like to answer as best I can seeing as how you raise some good questions with some material I had brought up.

    As for a discussion of our view of the Sacrament of the Altar in terms of broad based metaphysics, Lutherans don’t go there. We let it alone, for we don’t know. That’s a reason why consubstantiation, transubstantiation, and impanation are all rejected by Lutherans. We don’t know, and it’s a mystery. A mystery like how God can be 100% God and 100% human.

    You ask,

    There should be some answer to the question: “what do the remaining substances of bread and wine have to do with the post-consecration presence of the hypostatic Christ?” No matter how sophisticated the metaphysical explanatory apparatus; IF the substances of bread and wine remain after the consecration, how does one avoid the notion that Christ is true God and true man AND true bread AND true wine as a result of the consecration?

    This is avoided, because unlike consubstantiation, we do not say that the bread and Body of Christ, or wine and Blood of Christ, become 1 “substance.” We don’t know how, but in some way the true body and the true blood of Christ are distributed with the bread and wine. So they are Body and Blood of Christ, given for you, but we don’t know, because we are never told.

    And you also ask,

    I mean, after the consecration, if the bread and wine were taken 2 blocks away would a Lutheran or Orthodox brother say that Christ remained on the alter, while the substances of bread and wine went elsewhere? The point is that IF the bread and wine remain (as substances) along with the hypostatic Christ, then there is SOME sort of connection/union/relation going on between Christ and the natural substances of bread and wine.

    This is a good question. In regards to remaining consecrated elements, Lutherans say: We don’t exactly know. This is why Lutherans have no set, defined practice for what to do with leftover consecrated elements. In some churches the pastor, with deacons perhaps, consumes what remains after all have been communed (I believe this is the preferred practice), in others what remains is reserved for use if there’s another service later in the day (not mixed with unconsecrated elements though) or for shut-ins, utilizing a piscina for the Lord’s blood, etc. The point is, because we aren’t sure whether or not they are Christ’s Body and Blood after the service ends, that they at least be treated and handled reverently with all due respect. This can be a very lively topic of discussion among Lutheran pastors.

    A point the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord makes (this was aimed at Calvinists) was that Christ can give us His true body and true blood in whatever manner He has chosen, and isn’t bound by human metaphysics or any idea, reasoning, etc. that humans can understand.

    BW

  110. This thread starts by noting that the early Church Fathers saw the Eucharist as Christ present to the Christian. In this they echo the synoptics and John 6, and sound very much like Paul in 1st Corinthians 11 who wrote: For I myself have received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread and giving thanks broke it and said, “This is My Body which shall be given up for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 1st Cor 11:23

    When I was trying to understand the Eucharist, coming from an evangelical viewpoint, I saw a progression away from the view of the Eucharist as seen in scripture and as upheld by the Fathers. I note this because, coming from evangelicalism, we held to the idea that the plain sense of scripture would apply… EXCEPT.

    I saw EXCEPT as a pattern, and it did not merely contradict the Church, it contradicted virtually everything that occurred prior to it in ecclesiastical history. The EXCEPT position denied transubstantiation, consubstantiation, the “sacrament” as described by Calvin, and found its own, natural bottom position. In this instance, the bottom position is that the Eucharist is a symbol.

    The plain sense of scripture applied EXCEPT when it did not apply, and the more I understood, the more that the plain sense of scripture (and its understanding as noted by the early proponents of Christianity) was denied.

    I heard Abraham tell Isaac that “God would provide the lamb.”

    I saw Melchizedek accept Abraham’s tithe and then provide a meal of bread and wine.

    I saw the sin offering.

    I saw the manna in the desert.

    I heard John the Baptist describe Jesus as the Lamb of God Who was described in the prophecy of Isaiah 53.

    I saw the fulfillment of each of those things in Jesus Who Himself fulfilled them. Those historical occurrences were met in Him Who is the Reality that they were pointing to, and I saw Him changing reality in ways that, per John 6, many were not willing to accept.

    Paul did another thing for me. He told me that faith is a belief in things unseen. I note this because I have seen several challenges to the idea of transubstantiation which appear to be of the “prove it” variety. I was saddled by the bottom position of EXCEPT but the prove it issue was not a problem I was limited by.

    Can God make children for Abraham from stones? Can God change the underlying reality of bread and wine into His Body and Blood without changing the taste, appearance, smell and tactile experience? Those ideas are not a problem for me but then I am no longer evangelical, I am a Catholic.

  111. 1. Even of itself(1) the teaching of the Blessed Paul is sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, of which having been deemed worthy, ye are become of the same bad(2) and blood with Christ. For you have just heard him say distinctly, That our Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He brake it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, lie said, Take, drink, this is My Bloods(3). Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?

    2. He once in Cana of Galilee, turned the water into wine, akin to blood(4), and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood? When called to a bodily marriage, He miraculously wrought s that wonderful work; and on the children of the bride-chamber(6), shall He not much rather be acknowledged to have bestowed the fruition of His Body and Blood(7)?

    3. Wherefore with full assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure(8) of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mayest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ(9) in us, because His Body and Blood are distributed(1) through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we became partakers of the divine nature(2).

    4. Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said, Except ye eat My flesh and drink My blood, ye have no life in you(3). They not having heard His saying in a spiritual sense were offended, and went back, supposing that He was inviting them to eat flesh.

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures – Lecture XXII on the Body and blood of Christ

    Leonard

  112. Leonard,

    I was just going to pose the argument that there is no way to scientifically explain Christ’s miracle for changing the water into wine at Cana. It appears that St. Cyril of Jerusalem thought of that way before I did!

    Is there a way to scientifically explain the multiplications of the fishes and the loaves? What about Christ walking on water (and St. Peter as well, for time)? None? I could go on, but it would be redundant to my point that science alone cannot even prove that there is One God in Three Persons who created everything from nothing, let alone that God can (and does) become present in the Eucharist.

    As stated before, though Catholics do not require something to be explicitly mentioned in Scripture to “prove” a specific doctrine or dogma, we do believe that the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist is explicitly supported by Sacred Scripture… much like St. Cyril in your above quote points to St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as an explicit reference. Ultimately, that comes down to whose interpretation is the correct one… and thus it becomes a question of authority.

    But, as St. Cyril, I think, implies… one who doubts the Eucharistic miracle based on “scientific” evidence must also come to grips with the fact that, to be intellectually honest and consistent, they must also doubt all of the miracles recorded in Scripture on the same premise. In fact, their position must put their entire belief in God in doubt because neither can science alone reveal any truths about God.

    As one can see in the perpetual fracturing of the Protestant communions, consistency is really not a bother, however.

  113. Matthew:

    See my #35 above.

    Best,
    Mike

  114. Tom,

    “While the early church fathers deserve some consideration, they are not the apostles. They are men like anyone else, capable of error.”

    Mark and Luke were not Apostles either, yet you accept the authority of their writings… why?

  115. Leonard #107

    The material you cite from Theodore of Mopsuestia doesn’t support your claims or that of the article. First, Theodore is a recognized formal and material heretic in Catholicism. He is not an “early church father” anymore than Arius. Second, his Eucharistic thought is perfectly in line with that of Theodoret of Cyrrus, Diodore of Tarsus and Nestorius of Constantinople, all of whom are either condemned heretics or their writings are or both. Their Eucharistic doctrine is constructed along the same lines as their heterodox Christology. They all view “Christ” as a product produced by the coming together of two images or manifestations or prosopa of the respective two natures while the underlying essences remain separate. (See WF 8.2 as an aside.) Consequently they all speak explicitly of “the man” that the eternal Logos assumes. Things said or predicated of one nature or the other can be said of the composite product since it is a product of the two natures, but not the natures themselves, but there is no communication of properties from say the divine nature to the human and hence no communicatio idiomatum in the Chalcedonian sense.

    Likewise in their Eucharistic theology, the eucharist can be *called* the body and blood by reason of an exchange of names and an exchange of names only. The respective essences remain unmixed. So as a bit of evidence here is Theodoret of Cyrrus on the Eucharist,

    “Even after the consecration the mystical symbols are not deprived of their own nature [phusis]; they remain in their former essence [ousia], appearance and form, visible and tangible as they were before. But they are thought of as what they are become, and so believed and worshipped as being those things that they are believed to be. Compare then the image to the archetype, and you will see the likeness, for the type must be like the reality. For that body preserves its former form, figure and limitation, and in a word the ousia of the body. After the resurrection it has become immortal and superior to corruption, and made worthy of a throne at the right hand, and is adored by every creature since it bears the title of the nature [phusis] of the Master”
    Eranistes PG 83:168.

    Please note here that Theodoret thinks that there is in fact a change and that the eucharist can be *called* and treated as if it were the body and blood of Christ, even though there is no substantial change at all. Christ merely is present via an inhabiting in terms of being associated with by the classic Mopsuestian notion of “good pleasure.” Hence it is not an empty symbol.

    Diodore, Theodore, Theodoret and Nestorius all denied a substantial change and a real presence in the Eucharist because of the underlying Arian syllogism that they reacted to. The Arians reasoned in the following way. The Logos is the subject of all the human operations and sufferings of Christ.
    Whatever is predicated of the Word must be predicated of him in his nature. Since God is impassible and the Word is passable, the Word is not deity. Diodore, Theodore, Theodoret and Nestorius all denied the idea that the Logos was the subject of the human operations but accepted the idea that everything predicated of the Word was predicated of him in his divine nature. Therefore it was impossible to say that the Word was born, suffered, died, etc. Likewise it is impossible in the Eucharist that the relation between the two things be anything more than an inhabitation, indwelling or association because anything more would either imply a mixed new essence to the destruction of both (Eutychianism) or a denial of one of the associated natures (Docetism).

    This is the entire theme, thrust and argument of the Eranistes which was written against the Christology of the Council of Ephesus and St. Cyril of Alexandria and against calling Mary the Theotokos, the God-bearer. This is why it and other works of Theodoret, were so fondly employed by the Reformed against the Lutherans (see Vermigli’s Dialog on the Two Natures of Christ, as a prime example.) during the Eucharistic controversies.

    This is why the article above is incorrect when it lists material from both of these heretics as supporting the doctrine of transubstantiation because neither of them adhered to the doctrine of the real presence. Since they did not hold to the latter, they could not have held to the former. The mere fact that he denies that it is an empty symbol isn’t sufficient to support the doctrine of the Real Presence and transubstantiation. And this is because like the majority of writers in that period they were not Nominalists, but realists thinking that signs pointed to things because they encased and preserved some of the nature and causal power of their source.

  116. @Perry Robinson:

    Theodore is a recognized formal and material heretic in Catholicism.

    I’m not sure this is relevant. Arius’s testimony about something that was uncontroverted would be as good testimony – better, in many ways – than that of an orthodox man. That a man is wrong on point A doesn’t make him wrong about point B. So far as I know – and I confess to being not particularly knowledgeable about this subject – there is no significant early objection to the idea that something is changed about the Eucharist after consecration.

    Much of Protestant argumentation seems to me to be based on a claimed inadequacy of evidence for transubstantiation. This is not at all the same thing as actual evidence against transubstantiation.

    jj

  117. Canadian #105,

    I am not clear on what you mean when you say that after the elimination of the essence of the elements, there still remains on the altar the created and uncreated in union with one another. Please clarify. Do you mean the humanity and divinity of Christ?

    Second, my point was that if the created and divinity can be co-present in terms of enhypostinization and an empirichoresis or interpenetration without confusion, mixture, separation or obliteration, then this seems like good reason for thinking the same can be true in the eucharist, especially since the fathers speak of deification and the eucharistic presence in pretty much identical terms and analogies. This undercuts the thinking that it is the case that either one or the other in terms of the essence of elements or the essences relative to the incarnate Christ.

    I don’t think it is right to say on the doctrine of Transubstantiation that the created substance of the elements is taken into the created substance of Christ’s humanity. Rather the created essence of the elements is replaced by the humanity of Christ with only the accidents remaining. But perhaps others can correct my understanding here.

    I am not clear whether it is true to say on the doctrine of Transubstantiation that even the accidents of the elements are in union or what kind of union they could be with the humanity of Christ, but it strikes me as intuitively wrong to think that they are, that is, the smell, touch and such of bread and wine are true of his flesh. And I do not know if the ordinary magisterium has made a statement on that or not. At least for various scholastics, the question and problem of free floating accidents wouldn’t be a problem if there were such a union and it were metaphysically “robust.”

    My worry does not concern whether the essences of the elements is required for deity to be present. Rather it concerns the seeming opposition that the elimination of the essence of the elements and that this is required in order for Christ to be present in the eucharist. Such a view seems to imply that creation is the opposite of God and vice versa. That seems like a very bad theses. God has no opposite and requires no intermediary.

    If the elements partake of or participate in Christ then this seems to entail something else than their elimination, for their accidents are not properly them qua creature. So it is hard for me to see how one can say that the non-human created can partake of the divinity when there is no non-human thing as such that exists to be a participant, which seems like a necessary condition for participation. There is no bread or wine, just the body and the blood.

    Lastly, I can grant that if the elements do participate it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are aimed at the same telos as the eucharist as such, but in doctrine the question is not what is of necessary implication but what is true. In this case given the nature of bread and that all things good that God creates are naturally aimed at our salvation, even if they are not singly sufficient to accomplish it. So it strikes me as strange to think that something good like bread would not be so aimed. In fact, the fact that God uses bread in salvation on so many occasions and ways seems to imply that it is so aimed.

  118. Perry,

    The article is not false because the article does not claim that any individual orthodox father, far less the unorthodox or psuedo-orthodox, believed precisely in the Tridentine doctrine of Transubstantiation. In fact I said,

    Any given Church father could no sooner express this doctrine precisely in its developed form than could any given ante-Nicene father express the Niceno-Constantinoplitan doctrine of the Trinity.

    This was said with the orthodox fathers in mind; the wording would have been much stronger if I had been thinking specifically of Theodore or Theodoret.

    Along those same lines, the article is written as a reference, not a robust argument, as I explicitly said, and it is aimed predominately at the Reformed as are all of the articles at CTC. Part of the reason to include such quotations is to show that this language, even by someone not considered a father, when understood in a certain way, is compatible with Transubstantiation. At the very least, it is not compatible with any Eucharistic theory available to the Reformed, which again is the intended audience and purpose. This article is not intended to be a starting point for Catholic-Orthodox dialogue on the Eucharist nor certainly to claim that every early Christian believed in the developed Tridentine doctrine of Transubstantiation. (I explicitly repudiated such an idea.)

    Additionally, the heterodox must conform their language, even if they indeed believe something else, as closely to to orthodoxy (as understood by the living Church) as possible in order to persuade others that they too are orthodox. That is why the fact that their language so closely resembles the doctrine of Transubstantiation, even if your theory is correct and they believed something else, is still relevant.

    I did quote some of Theodoret’s language which appears to lean in the other direction as well as the Gelasius quotation you mentioned above (when you mistakenly claimed that I didn’t mention the opposing views.) I also quoted W.R. Carson offering some brief reasons to disbelieve what you’re saying. I would have spent more time dealing with those alternative viewpoints had that been the purpose of my article. But again, even if you’re right about Theodoret & Theodore, you’re wrong about my decision to include them in this post.

  119. Perry,

    I don’t think it is right to say on the doctrine of Transubstantiation that the created substance of the elements is taken into the created substance of Christ’s humanity. Rather the created essence of the elements is replaced by the humanity of Christ with only the accidents remaining.

    I think this is getting more into the ‘how’ than Trent actually did. Many of the things commonly thought of as canonized at Trent were not actually canonized (though most likely believed by many of those present). e.g. the word ‘accidents’ is not mentioned. Canon II is the relevant canon which simply states that the substance of the bread & wine have been wholly converted into the Body and Blood such that no part of the bread and wine remain which is perfectly compatible, I think, with saying that the bread is taken up into the humanity of Christ.

    While on earth, when Christ ate bread and the bread became His Body, it would be incorrect to say that some part of His Body was no longer divine since it consisted of bread. But we recognize that, having been converted into His Body, bread no longer remains, only the Body of Christ. We are free to believe that the Eucharistic change is analogous, though uniquely miraculous, under the dogmas surrounding Transubstantiation.

  120. Johannes: …I am grateful to the Lord and the people running CtC that this post prompted me to clarify my understanding of the dogma.

    Johannes, I am grateful to you for asking your questions. I was up reading Denziger until 1:30 in the morning to make sure that my thinking about the divine substance was not out of line with what the Church has formally defined about the divine substance. (That is a good thing, IMO).

    My understanding of the doctrine of Transubstantiation has also been brought into a sharper focus by participating in this thread. For example, your question about the substance of the bread changing into the substance of Christ’s body made me realize what is taught in CCC 1376 and 1373 in the doctrine of Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation has its counterpart in the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox in their doctrine of Metousiosis:

    CCC 1376 …by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood.

    CCC 1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. … The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ …

    Compare the above to this article on Metousiosis

    Metousiosis is a Greek term (μετουσίωσις) that means, literally, a change of οὐσία (essence, inner reality).

    The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church … states: “In the exposition of the faith by the Eastern Patriarchs, it is said that the word transubstantiation is not to be taken to define the manner in which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord; for this none can understand but God; but only thus much is signified, that the bread truly, really, and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord” The official Greek version of this passage (question 340) uses the word “metousiosis”.

    This declaration of the 1672 Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem is quoted by J.M. Neale (History of Eastern Church, Parker, Oxford and London, 1858) in a slightly different translation, as follows: “When we use the word metousiosis, we by no means think it explains the mode by which the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, for this is altogether incomprehensible . . . but we mean that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, not figuratively or symbolically, nor by any extraordinary grace attached to them . . . but . . . the bread becomes verily and indeed and essentially the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord.”

  121. Perry,
    Thanks for interacting with me on this.
    Yes, I meant that after the substance of the elements is gone, there would still remain the created substance of his humanity (albeit fully deified) and the substance of divinity, in union with his divine person.

    In the eucharist, Christ gives us himself. That is the intent of the eucharist. It is not to give us normal food co-present with divine food, though the elements could partake of divinity without any problem and not be destroyed, that is not what he is giving and that is what I think Tim’s article brings out. It’s not that God can’t but that he wills not to give the created elements, his created body and blood, and his uncreated divinity; but he wills to give only himself body, blood, soul and divinity. This is my body.

    Regarding the elements taken up, I could be wrong too but interestingly, Pope Benedict said this in his address to the curia today:
    “we realized how beautiful it is that human beings may utter the words of consecration, through which the Lord draws a part of the world into himself, and so transforms it at one point in its very substance;”

    Again, God can and does allow the non-human created to participate in divinity, but in the eucharist he gives us the created human divinized body and blood of Christ and that is what the fathers said was being given. This is why the catechism says that this mode of Christ presence under the eucharistic species is unique and raised the Eucharist above all the sacraments….

  122. Canadian,

    Great quote from Pope Benedict, thanks for bringing that out. That confirms what I said in 119 — that that sort of language is well within the pale of Tridentine Transubstantiation.

  123. J.M.J.

    Great site here. and what a complete list of source material!

    Thanks for the Eucharist Encyclopedia!

    A trip to the blog I work on might get some discussion going: http://eucharist-emc2.blogspot.com

    God Bless You

  124. Tim,

    I think your remarks misrepresent my position. My position is as stated that the material cited in question cannot *support* the doctrine of Transubstantiation. I can’t see any reason why you would include it if you didn’t think it supported the doctrine.

    A claim of support does not turn on a precise formulation but conceptual expression and it seems, unless you correct me, that you take the material to express concepts that are at least constituents of the doctrine in question.

    Given that you include both Theodore and Theodoret as “fathers” I am not sure that the division you propose in terms of stronger language has any real basis in the article.

    As to precision, the question isn’t one of precision but of expression and Theodore and Theodoret don’t in fact express the doctrine of the real presence, precisely or otherwise. This is upheld in works of Catholic scholarship such as Francis Sullivan’s The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Analecta Gregoriana, 82, Rome 1956. Martin Jugie comes to the same view on both of them. I am not advancing anything outside the tradition of Catholicism or the mainstream of conservative Catholic scholarship.

    I can grant that the article was not meant to be a monograph on the subject. Fair enough, but that doesn’t show or amount to a reason for thinking that those citations function in a supporting role. My objection wasn’t directed to the length or comprehensiveness of what you wrote, but to its accuracy.
    As for part of the point of the article showing that in the case of someone who is not a father uses such a language, I don’t believe you made that distinction in the article when you cited them. Rather it seems you cited them not as hostile witnesses, but as “Fathers.” Further the question is not whether they can be understood “in a certain way” but what was the way they themselves and the church understood their words? And that understanding is not only what counts, but is incompatible with not only the Real Presence but Transubstantiation also.

    I think it is clear that Theodore and Theodoret’s understanding of the Eucharist is quite compatible with that of the Reformed since they hold that the Eucharist is “changed” in terms of its association with the Word and so can be called and treated as if it is the archetype. The Reformed Christology is defective and so is their Eucharistic theology. It is entirely in line with the Reformed view of the communicatio idiomatum-a purely nominal affair. If the Reformed have to go to heretics like Theodore and Theodoret for “patristic” support for their Christology and Eucharistic theology, this effectively places them outside the sphere of orthodox Christology. Here they would be inconsistent for they pledge loyalty to Ephesus, Chalcedon and 2nd Constantinople. Game over.

    My criticisms here do not of themselves do not turn on an Orthodox perspective as the same view is held by various Catholic scholars as I already referenced. Moreover your target seems as if it is not just the Reformed but the Lutherans as well. And my criticisms weren’t aimed at the thesis that every Christian believed such and so, but rather the thesis that what Theodore and Theodoret taught supports the doctrine of Transubstantiation. My criticisms do not aim at that large of a target and so your replies here miss their mark and impute to me a criticism I did not make. This is why they misrepresent my position.

    While it is true that often heretics do conform their language to that of the truth, which is why even Calvin speaks of feeding on the “substance” of Christ’s flesh, you did not present Theodore or Theodoret as heretics doing so since you designated them as “fathers” and not heretics. So this line of reasoning while legitimate on its own in terms of appealing to hostile witnesses, is here, ad hoc, for it is not how you presented the evidence in the article. To take this line now is to implicitly concede to my point. The change of gloss would make no sense otherwise.

    And it isn’t particularly “my theory” but pretty much the consensus in patristic scholarship, Catholic and non. The most recent example of which is Clayton’s work on the Christology of Theodoret.

  125. Tim,

    I suppose I missed your original reference to Gelasius so I’ll retract my earlier comment about that. Thanks for pointing it out to me but it makes no difference. Here is why.

    Carson’s remarks are entirely wrong. First, Carson assumes but does not show that Theodoret doesn’t have a metaphysic that is driving his theological bus and that later philosophical amplification was brought to bear on the question by the Scholastics. But this is clearly a mistake since in the main Theodoret endorses a Stoic conception of being.

    Ousia for the Stoics can pick out a number of things, from the entirety of the cosmos at its origin, its final unformed state, concrete individual objects or one of the four basic elements which can change into another one. (See also Stead, Divine Substance, pp. 120ff & Rist, Stoic Philosophy, chap. 9.) The way Theodoret uses it is in terms of an unformed substrate to which form is added. So for a copper statue, prior to the artists working the copper, the ousia of the of the copper is always what it is qua copper regardless of what the artist adds, though this is not so with the statue. The individuality, the substance, of the statue is its ousia with added idios or properties qualifying it. Two individuals of the same kind are distinguished by these qualifying properties. But every object is qualified by at least two kinds of qualifying properties. One is relative to what kind (form/essence) of object it is and the other to the individuality of the object. The first gives a thing its ousia or physis and the other its particularity. The particularizing characteristics together are designated the form, image or countenance or prosopon of the object. The eucharistis elements then do not for Theodoret change their ousia in terms of what kind of thing it is. The only thing that changes is its posopon or image relative to the new thing or product of the union. For Theodoret, this is how he consistently throughout his life thought of the humanity of Christ, as “the man” who was assumed because he believes that the essential *and* particularizing properties of the humanity are not that of the Logos but stand on their own. Consequently it is impossible for him to say that the humanity of Christ is that of the Logos and so “Christ” picks out a composite image that is the product of the union. In the same way, Theodoret’s Eucharistic theology amounts to a change in the eucharist in terms of a union according to will and eudokia or good pleasure where the change is the production of a new name by which the product of the union can be designated or called. This is why he is explicit in saying that it can be called the body and blood of Christ while the essences of the elements do not change. Gelasius borrows this account from Theodoret’s works as he lifts whole sections from his works and incorporates them into his own writing.

    Secondly, Theodoret is quite clear in using ousia and physis to refer to the concept of essence or form as he does so repeatedly in his earlier works against the Arians in stressing that the Word is divine by ousia and phusis and he doesn’t mean in upholding Nicea, accidents. The same usage is found in his works against Cyril and up to his exchange with the bishops at Chalcedon. This usage is consistent up to his last work as Clayton and Grillmeier show. More directly the Eranistes refers to someone who picks up bits of heresy here and there and is specifically directed against Cyril and the like who think that the Word suffered and that Mary is Theotokos. For Theodoret, Eranistes as an interlocutor is one who confuses the two natures of Christ, which in his view is anyone who thinks that the Word suffers rather than the man whom the Word assumes. The argument given by that character in the dialog cited in the article is to try and force ‘Orthodoxos” to admit that the human nature of Christ has become that of the divine essence, that is, of adherence to a Eutychian stance. If you read the book, that is exactly what the point of the book is. And that is because for Theodoret he thinks of the divine essence of the Son as the divine person, so a hypostatic union, a term he uses for ousia or physis would amount to Eutychianism, which he thinks the Cyrillians are advocating.

    As to Gelasius, Carson’s claim that the majority of scholars take the work, de durabis naturis to be inauthentic is false. First he doesn’t reference a single one of the “many” scholars whom he claims doubt its authenticity. But to be fair, he is writing in 1903 and things have changed since then. So perhaps it was so then, but now it is not so. Take the magnus opus of Aloys Grillmeier, “Christ in Christian Tradition,” begun in the 1960’s or so I think and carried through subsequent decades. Grillmeir not only argues for its authenticity, but indicates that the majority of scholars uphold its authenticity. See Vol. 2, part 1, pp.292-306.

    But what is also interesting is that Grillmeier’s judgment on its authenticity is reflected in a number of other Catholic works on the Eucharist. Take James Thomas O’Connor’s, The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, Ignatius (2005). And the chapter on Theodore of Mopsuestia in the main sketches the same kinds of concerns and in general arguments that his Eucharistic theology maps his Christology and his Christology has significant problems. Here O’Connor, somewhat cautiously, follows the judgment of contemporary scholarship, which is in the main what I have claimed above concerning Theodore and Theodoret. I’d recommend it as an adequate summary, though I think Clayton, Grillmeier and Sullivan’s works are clearer and better documented. So this isn’t an idiosyncrasy of mine as you seemed to imply and on that point you are wrong.

    Further, O’Connor in his exposition and analysis of Theodore of Mopsuestia discusses the material from Pope Gelasius and indicates along with Grillmeier that the work is authentic and that “most experts” take it to be so, (p. 73, ftnt. 110) while dispensing with Grillmeier’s line that we shouldn’t try to compare his statements to the later Tridentine formulation. We can compare and judge Gelasius’ statements in reference to the then contemporary formulations.

    It is also interesting is that if we truck on over to the “suggested reading” section of this blog and scroll down to the section on “Liturgy and Sacraments” we see that O’Connor’s book is one that is recommended. Consequently, the state of scholarship in O’Connor’s book as recommended by your blog contradicts a key defensive point, namely that the work by Gelaisus is dubious or inauthentic but maintains the opposite.

    Now I do not mean to imply that you are wedded to everything in every book you recommend. That would not be fair. (Perhaps you personally do not recommend that work.) I don’t hold myself to that standard and I am not holding you to it either. All the same, the current state of scholarship and that for pretty much the last four decades or more contradicts your claim as cited in Carson. Consequently, the somewhat dismissive answer to the material from Gelasius is removed and now your readers need a good reason for thinking that Gelasius is in fact compatible with the Tridentine doctrine. Right now, there is none on the table.

  126. John Thayer,

    It is relevant because the case you describe is not the case here. Theodoret is labeled in the article as a “father” of the church. He’s not. Second, if the article advanced the thesis that Theodoret was a heretic but still believed in say some rite such as paedo-baptism that would be germane and uncontroversial and his heterodox status would be irrelevant. But if we are talking about the nature of say baptism, his Christology is entirely relevant for it informs his doctrine of baptism, just as Arius’ did. The same goes for his Eucharistic theology and this the basis that he argues against Cyril’s arguments from the Eucharist to an appropriate understanding of the Incarnation. Consequently your counter example fails to map on to the case at hand.

  127. Thanks for the article! Is someone working on what early church leaders thought of eternal security? I’ve love to read something like that if you’ve got it.

  128. Great article! And even better discussion! I think that this conversation is imperative to our understanding of Jesus and the Eucharist.

    I have a few thoughts to shine on the matter, and would like to ask a few of you to pitch in for discussion.

    What about lineage? In the Roman Catholic tradition, we can trace each Bishop to the original twelve apostles. To put it in simplistic terms, we can use this statement, “Bishop X was ordained by Bishop Y, Bishop Y was ordained by Bishop Z…” so on and so on. Priests are ordained by a bishop, meaning that the continuum of priests and bishops can be traced to the original twelve.

    With evidence from the early Church Fathers and the continuum with the original twelve Apostles, the Roman Catholic position on the Eucharist is deemed accurate.

    With Protestant religions, the lineage only goes back to Luther in many cases. For example, no Lutheran pastor can say that their lineage of ordination can stem from the Apostles. Nor can any other Protestant pastor.

    So if the lineage cannot be traced to the original twelve, how confident can we be that Luther’s interpretation on the Eucharist, Calvin’s interpretation, or any other person outside of the Catholic Church, be deemed accurate?

  129. Re: John Thayer Jensen, #69

    Major premise: the Catholic Church is God’s organ for telling you religious and moral truth.
    Minor premise: the Catholic Church says the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and not bread and wine.
    Conclusion: The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and is not bread and wine.
    It is the major premise you need to deal with.

    JTJ (or other Catholics), I was wondering if you could back up the first premise in a similarly concise way. What are the premises behind (1) that lead to your major premise here?

    I often find myself defending the minor premise above for any number of Catholic distinct teachings. And after exhausting one, another pops up immediately. I believe it’s because your major premise above is ignored. What is the simple, syllogistic way to defend the Major Premise of ecclesial authority found uniquely in the Catholic Church?

    Happy Palm Sunday!

  130. Cara #129

    1. Jesus established a Church built upon the Apostles–chief of whom was St. Peter– and he gave authority to teach the truths necessary for salvation (religious and moral). EVIDENCE: Scripture and Tradition
    2. They handed off this ministry to successors as instructed by Christ. EVIDENCE: Scripture and Tradition
    3. Thus, the Catholic Church is the Church in #1 established by Christ to teach the truths necessary for salvation because it possesses Apostolic succession in union with the See of Rome.

    Note: What is handed off in #2 is not just epistemological but is charismatic in nature. Apostolic ministry is a gift from God not the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time.

    Through the Immaculate Conception,

    Brent

  131. @Cara:

    Someone e-mailed me off-list yesterday asking just this question. I responded as follows:

    I confess I do not think (1) is going to be a syllogistic process. I wonder have you ever read Ronald Knox’s “Belief of Catholics?” It is the book that especially helped me. In particular, this bit, from chapter 3:

    Let me then, to avoid further ambiguity, give a list of certain leading doctrines which no Catholic, upon a moments reflection, could accept on the authority of the Church and on that ground alone.

    (i.) The existence of God.
    (ii.) The fact that he has made a revelation to the world in Jesus Christ.
    (iii.) The Life (in its broad outlines), the Death, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    (iv.) The fact that our Lord founded a Church.
    (v.) The fact that he bequeathed to that Church his own teaching office, with the guarantee (naturally) that it should not err in teaching.
    (vi.) The consequent intellectual duty of believing what the Church believes.
    The first half of Knox’s book is aimed at (1).

    Newman is especially good here, as well. He points out that we are not going to establish religious truth – indeed, we will not establish most things that we, in fact, must believe simply in order to keep on living sane lives – in the way we prove some theorem of Euclid.

    If I had to cast the argument (don’t know if it qualifies as a syllogism) for (1) as a series of points, it would be the above ones.

    And for Knox’s (ii) above, I would say it boils down to C. S. Lewis’s “Liar, Lunatic, Lord” argument.

    It is essential to take seriously that faith is a virtue. Catholics are not fideists. Faith is not a “leap in the dark.” There are essential evidences for faith. But ultimately the arguments for the truths of faith are not such that no one can possibly deny their cogency.

    I cannot deny that two plus two are four. I can see it. I cannot not see it.

    I can, without absurdity, deny any of (i) through (v) above. I am not so sure about (vi). I think that if I actually genuinely assent to (i) through (v) I cannot genuinely deny (vi). But those first five … well, perhaps you see what I mean.

    I can deny them – but not, I think, with any genuine strong plausibility, once I have really considered the evidences for them. It is this latter that most people never do – most, indeed, never have the opportunity of doing – whence we may seriously consider that many are in a state of invincible ignorance.

    Sorry, I am afraid this means that bringing men to your (1) below sounds like a hard task. It is a hard task. It requires prayer, sacrifice (not only in the doing, but making sacrificial offerings in prayer), and hard work. It requires genuine disinterested love.

    Newman’s “Grammar of Assent” (a difficult book, I found) is very much about this sort of thing.

    I feel the above is a very inadequate response – but maybe it will help.

    And added:

    Just thought I would add a PS – my point in making this ‘syllogism’ is that you cannot really become a Catholic by piling up Catholic doctrines and then deciding that you believe this and that and the Church does, too, so you must be a Catholic. You are, in that case, a Protestant – who has discovered that the particular sect you favour is the one called the Catholic Church. You have not found that you agree with the Church; you have found that the Church agrees with you.

    The statement I and my family made when we became Catholics was:

    “I believe and hold what the Church believes and teaches.”

    Note the asymmetry. The Church does the teaching; I do the holding.

    jj

  132. Can anyone recommend some resources on the way Catholics reconcile Christ’s “once for all sacrifice” with the Eucharist being an actual sacrifice. Along the same lines, what about resources from a Catholic perspective on the book of Hebrews, especially dealing with 7:27 and similar passages. You guys may have done an article on this already but I didn’t see one in the archives. On a personal note, I have to say that the arguments for transubstantiation I have found here at C2C have been quite convincing. It’s amazing the things you’ve read in your Bible a hundred times but never paid very much attention to (parts of John 6, Luke 24:35). That being said, the idea of the Eucharist being a sacrifice is quite a bit harder for me to swallow so I would like to look into it a bit. Thanks again!

    Shalom,

    Aaron G.

  133. Aaron (#132)
    I’ll toss my hat in the ring. I think it is simpler than perhaps you are making it out to be. Even in your question, I see the answer:

    Can anyone recommend some resources on the way Catholics reconcile Christ’s “once for all sacrifice” with the Eucharist being an actual sacrifice.

    (my bolding)

    Read the bolded texts together a couple times. Christ’s sacrifice was once for all, and the sacrifice of the Mass IS that once for all sacrifice. What helped me was when someone told me that God is not bound by time, and that Christ is continually offering His sacrifice to the Father in that sense. Even whan I was Reformed I understood that in our Reformed liturgy we were “lifted up the the throneroom of God” or up to the weding supper of the Lamb, if you will… OUT OF TIME. So it was not a stretch for me to see the Mass in this same context.

    As far as resources, I’m sure your familiar with Catholic answers, another good one is Scripturecatholic.com.

    “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. ”

    Hebrews 7:27… I am out of my league here, someone else can do a better job explaining, but I think the hang up might be in the “day after day” part? Of course the Mass is… day after day… so how does that fit? Well first, of course Christ does not need to offer sacrifice for His own sins period. That is part of the difference being described. Of course we do continue to sin however, and His sacrifice needs aplication to us for that sin to be forgiven. Anything else would be presumption. The main thing to remember here is the Mass is the once for all sacrifice. If you read this verse with that in mind, you can see that Christ is not doing a new sacrifice each Mass, but applying the same once for all sacrifice.
    Personally I think Paul wrote Hebrews, so it is even easier to me to compare Paul instructing us in how to offer the Mass in 1 Corinthians, (obviously not just one time!) and fit that with this verse in Hebrews.

    Soulds like you got caught in the Catholic tractor beam. Hang on for a wild ride dude. And God bless.

    -David Meyer

  134. Another analogy I like to think about… Instead of thinking of my priest as being in persona Christi there in front of me at Mass, I think of the priest being on Calvary in 30AD, mystically superimposed with countless millions of other priests from all times, offering (in persona Christi) the one sacrifice to the father.

    I hope that is orthodox, if not, please disregard and someone let me know.

  135. The first commandment is Love God with all your heart mind and soul. Every lie ever invented was meant to thwart that single commandment. All lies are in essence an attack on the very Character of God.

    For in the Garden of Eden, mankind was subtly exposed to a corrupt image of god, wherein the moral purity of the soul was corruptted. For man was made in God’s image, and therefore whatever image of God we hold to be true becomes our moral nature. All began in trust with no cause for distrust.

    But then Satan said that God wanted to keep us from becoming like Him, knowing good and evil, and that is why He told us not to eat of it. He suggested we could disobey God and yet live. The corrupt image therefore was of a God that held power over others, but only because He was tyrannical in character and station. This assertion, once believed led to disobedience and mankind ate. Consequently all unrighteousness is the consequence of the distrust of God and all righteousness is by faith.

    The Christ is the true Image of God because he was God’s Word made flesh. When we see Jesus, we see the person and character of God leaving nothing to imagine any longer. For this Christ whom we call the son because he is the true mage of the Father, suffered a cross of torture, the reviling and malice of the wisdom of this world, and finally death. Yet he forgave from his heart with all purity knowing the sinfull condition of mankind, saying “forgive them Father for they know not what they do”. And therein was the eternal Love of God revealed for all to see so that to this very day we partake of bread and wine in remebrance of his being sent and his dying for us.

    Therefore whoever believes in this Christ sent by God becomes like him and His Spirit dwells inside of
    all those who believe. So it is that he called himself the bread from heaven and spoke of how his blood was drink. For this food and drink are given for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Now we who have eatan and drunk of his body and blood have obtained an Image of God that we would seek to serve, not disobey. For He is trustworthy.

    In summary, and in view of all that I have said I would declare there are semantics at play in the words we use as Christians. For when we consecrate the bread and wine it becomes the Body and blood of our Lord figuratively speaking so that wemay partake in the spirit of remembrance, by acknowledging the unmeasurable price that was paid so that mankind may gain a true and viable relationship with God. Consequently belief in transubstantiation is of no signifigance nor edifying in any way as to destroying the works of the devil wrought from the beginning. For it is not reconcilable with the Gospel Truth that comes through the revelation of the Christ. No Man, (priest) can make the bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Jesus because it is a memorial of Who God is and a testimony to His Eternal Love. One does not become righteous by eating and drinking the consecrated bread and wine, but through understanding how unfathomable is the depth of Love contained in the character of God.

  136. Hi Larry,

    Welcome to CTC. The first part of your comment is good and true. But then it devolves into a series of bald assertions, contrary to the deposit of faith, as I’ve shown in this article. You’ve heard what the saints and martyrs say about it, (or more likely you saw the word “Transubstantiation” and skipped to the end to assert your opinions without giving reasons) do you have anything of substance to contradict what they say or what I argued in the article?

  137. [...] life (John 6:53).  Read this on the early church’s view of the real presense of Eucharist http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/12/church-fathers-on-transubstantiation/ In other words, the actual work of atonement has been completed but we still must receive the work [...]

  138. Dear Daniel,

    I figure this is as appropriate a place as any to respond to your #39 on the “Bible-Reading Catholics” thread.

    1) Yes.
    2) Let’s not say “afraid.” Let’s say “cautious lest.”
    3) No.
    4) No.

    As for the Fathers, could you please
    1) provide some references;
    2) provide a precise definition of “antitype” as you’re using it; and
    3) provide a precise definition of “substantial” as you’re using it.

    best,
    John

  139. Daniel,

    Do you have any other examples of ἀντίτυπον being used the way it’s being used in the Ps-Macarius sermon, or any other lexical information about it (other than the alternate translation [whose is it, by the way?])? I read through that passage in Greek and don’t see anything that wouldn’t be susceptible of a perfectly Catholic interpretation.

    In any event, you certainly haven’t yet shown anything approaching “many church fathers” stating anything “over and over.” I’ve alluded now to my first and second questions in #138 above — I’m still interested in the third as well. In the meantime, I’ll add one quotation to the ones that Tom cites in the body of the article above. This is from the mid-fifth century:

    This is what Abba Daniel, the Pharanite, said, ‘Our Father Abba Arsenius told us of an inhabitant of Scetis, of notable life and of simple faith; through his naivete he was deceived and said, “The bread which we receive is not really the body of Christ, but a symbol.” Two old men having learnt that he had uttered this saying, knowing that he was outstanding in his way of life, knew that he had not spoken through malice, but through simplicity. So they came to find him and said, “Father, we have heard a proposition contrary to the faith on the part of someone who says that the bread which we receive is not really the body of Christ, but a symbol.” The old man said, “It is I who have said that.” Then the old men exhorted him saying, “Do not hold this position, Father, but hold one in conformity with that which the catholic Church has given us. We believe, for our part, that the bread itself is the body of Christ and that the cup itself is his blood and this in all truth and not a symbol. But as in the beginning, God formed man in his image, taking the dust of the earth, without anyone being able to say that it is not the image of God, even though it is not seen to be so; thus it is with the bread of which he said that it is his body; and so we believe that it is really the body of Christ.” The old man said to them, “As long as I have not been persuaded by the thing itself, I shall not be fully convinced.” So they said, “Let us pray God about this mystery throughout the whole of this week and we believe that God will reveal it to us.” The old man received this saying with joy and he prayed in these words, “Lord, you know that it is not through malice that I do not believe and so that I may not err through ignorance, reveal this mystery to me, Lord Jesus Christ.” The old men returned to their cells and they also prayed God, saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, reveal this mystery to the old man, that he may believe and not lose his reward.” God heard both the prayers. At the end of the week they came to church on Sunday and sat all three on the same mat, the old man in the middle. Then their eyes were opened and when the bread was placed on the holy table, there appeared as it were a little child to these three alone. And when the priest put out his hand to break the bread, behold an angel descended from heaven with a sword and poured the child’s blood into the chalice. When the priest cut the bread into small pieces, the angel also cut the child in pieces. When they drew near to receive the sacred elements the old man alone received a morsel of bloody flesh. Seeing this he was afraid and cried out, “Lord, I believe that this bread is your flesh and this chalice your blood.” Immediately the flesh which he held in his hand became bread, according to the mystery and he took it, giving thanks to God. Then the old men said to him, “God knows human nature and that man cannot eat raw flesh and that is why he has changed his body into bread and his blood into wine, for those who receive it in faith.” Then they gave thanks to God for the old man, because he had allowed him not to lose the reward of his labour. So all three returned with joy to their own cells.’

    The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, trans. Benedicta Ward, pp. 53-54.

    best,
    John

  140. Also, “visible bread,” while not absolutely wrong, is a bit misleading for τοῦ φαινομένου ἄρτου. “Apparent bread” is more like it.

    best,
    John

  141. Daniel,

    I did a little research and found some more Eucharistic uses of antitypon (Irenaeus, Apostolic Constitutions, Gregory of Nazianzus, Theodoret, etc.). So don’t worry about digging those up. I’m still curious, though, why you think it is incompatible with the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist. (If you’re reading this thread, that is, and I’m not just talking to myself, says the guy who authored the last four posts…)

    best,
    John

  142. John,

    Lucky I happened to notice you had addressed some comments to me on this thread…

    Regarding ἀντίτυπον: The present-day Catholic position is that the Eucharist no longer contains the natural substance of bread or the natural substance of wine and water in the cup (even though at many Catholic masses, we would often sing “Eat this bread, drink this cup”). The fathers are using antitype to mean a symbol (mystically understood) of another reality, not the reality itself (different than the way the term is used in typology). Therefore, it’s very interesting that you find many church fathers referring to the bread and wine as symbols or antitypes. For instance, this quote from Facundus:

    “Christ vouchsafed to receive the sacrament of adoption, both when he was circumcised and when he was baptized; and the sacrament of adoption may be called adoption, just as we call the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which is in the consecrated bread and cup, his body and blood. Not that properly bread is his body, and the cup his blood, but because they contain in them the mystery of his body and blood. Hence it is, that the Lord himself called the bread and cup he blessed and gave to his disciples, his body and blood.”

    There are many more examples from the fathers speaking in this fashion.

  143. John,

    Come to think of it, since the eucharistic cup is mingled (that is, it contains both wine and water), that would mean (if transubstantiation were true) that the water in the mingled cup gets transubstantiated into us, the church. I mean, if the bread gets transubstantiated, and the wine gets transubstantiated, then the water would get transubstantiated as well, no?

  144. John (#140),

    Regarding φαινομένου ἄρτου: I don’t see how the translation “visible bread” is at all misleading, either lexically (a valid–though not the only–choice according to BAGD) or according to the context. The quote from Macarius said:

    “In the Church is offered bread and wine, the antitype of his flesh and blood, and they that are partakers of the visible bread, do spiritually eat the flesh of the Lord.”

    If the bread and wine offered is only apparently bread and wine (but really flesh and blood), why doesn’t he just say they are flesh and blood instead of the antitype of his flesh and blood? Also, I believe his comparison between “visible” and “spiritual” would fail if his comparison was actually between “apparent” and “spiritual.”

  145. Daniel,

    Facundus is not a Father of the Church, so I’m not invested in defending the orthodoxy of his Eucharistic doctrine. We know there have been Eucharistic errors from the beginning (e.g., St Ignatius, Smyrneans 7.1).

    I finally had a chance today to check Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon, and the entry on antitypos/antitypon was very helpful. The basic meaning, of course, has to do with correspondence—as already in texts like Heb 9.24 and 1 Pet 3.21. So all we can say with certainty about the earlier uses of the term for the Eucharistic elements is that they are said to “correspond” in some important sense with the body and blood of Christ. Nothing more metaphysically precise can be inferred. Many of those who do use the term (e.g., St Cyril of Jerusalem) clearly hold a higher view than you’re trying to suggest antitypon entails. In later usage, Lampe, notes, the Fathers began to shy away from using the term for the Eucharist, except with reference to the elements before the consecration, precisely in order to stave off the conclusions you’re drawing from it. If you like, I can collate some of the references Lampe uses in tracing this out.

    I don’t think “visible” is a false translation of phainomenou, I just think it’s overdetermined, because it has English connotations that would fit better with horatou or something like that. “Apparent” would probably be misleading, too, being connotatively overdetermined in the other direction, maybe more like if it said dokountos. It was a minor point. Do note, however, that the grammar does not imply a contrast between phainomenou and pneumatikos.

    Lastly, I don’t understand your point (question? reductio ad absurdum?) about the commixture of water in the chalice. Maybe you’d like to clarify.

    best,
    John

  146. Daniel,

    Quick clarification: I’m not saying there’s no contrast between phainomenou and pneumatikos. I’m saying it’s not a pairing lexical diametric opposites, in which case we’d expect maybe a sarx- or soma-related word. As it stands in the Macarian sermon, since phaino refers to sense-data, it reminds me of the lines from the Tantum Ergo: praestet fides supplementum / sensuum defectui.

    best,
    John

  147. Daniel (#143)

    Come to think of it, since the eucharistic cup is mingled (that is, it contains both wine and water), that would mean (if transubstantiation were true) that the water in the mingled cup gets transubstantiated into us, the church. I mean, if the bread gets transubstantiated, and the wine gets transubstantiated, then the water would get transubstantiated as well, no?

    The relationship between natural elements (bread, wine, water) and the substance is not one of one-to-one correspondence. Nevertheless, the meaning is clear: Jesus has both divine and human natures.

    jj

  148. John S. (#145),

    I agree with you that ἀντίτυπον (antitype) suggests a correspondence between two things. A correspondence would not exist with Christ’s body and blood, though, if the bread/wine no longer were substantially present in the sacrament. There would be nothing to “correspond” to. A sacrament consists of two things: a physical, earthly element and a corresponding heavenly, spiritual reality. Without a fully physical substance, there’s nothing for the heavenly reality to correspond to. Certainly this is the case with baptism. No transubstantiation takes place in the sacrament of baptism.

    Facundus was a bishop of the church. I would maintain that a bishop would know what the prevailing understanding of the Eucharist is. And his understanding is that the bread and wine are not, properly speaking, the body and blood of Christ, but that they contain in them the mystery of Christ’s body and blood.

  149. John J. (#147),

    My understanding is not that the water in the mingled cup indicates that Jesus has both a divine and a human nature, but that it indicates the people (i.e., the people of the church). This is Cyprian’s understanding (from Epistle 62):

    13. For because Christ bore us all, in that He also bore our sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ. But when the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on whom it believes; which association and conjunction of water and wine is so mingled in the Lord’s cup, that that mixture cannot any more be separated. Whence, moreover, nothing can separate the Church— that is, the people established in the Church, faithfully and firmly persevering in that which they have believed— from Christ, in such a way as to prevent their undivided love from always abiding and adhering. Thus, therefore, in consecrating the cup of the Lord, water alone cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if any one offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from Christ; but when both are mingled, and are joined with one another by a close union, there is completed a spiritual and heavenly sacrament. Thus the cup of the Lord is not indeed water alone, nor wine alone, unless each be mingled with the other; just as, on the other hand, the body of the Lord cannot be flour alone or water alone, unless both should be united and joined together and compacted in the mass of one bread; in which very sacrament our people are shown to be made one, so that in like manner as many grains, collected, and ground, and mixed together into one mass, make one bread; so in Christ, who is the heavenly bread, we may know that there is one body, with which our number is joined and united.

    So, how does this all relate to the theory of transubstantiation? Well, if after the consecration, bread is no longer bread, and wine is no longer wine, what happens to the water? If Cyprian is right about the water indicating the people, and transubstantiation is true, then the water must no longer remain water, but must be transubstantiated into people. Ludicrous, I know, but such a logical conclusion is avoided if one simply accepts that bread remains bread, wine remains wine, water remains water, but that in these is the mystery of Christ’s body and blood and his union with his people.

  150. John S. (#145),

    Getting back to Facundus: So do you believe Facundus (from the quote I gave you) did not believe in transubstantiation?

  151. Daniel,

    Do you think the belief that the apparent bread is not bread is not to be found in the early Church? Is the belief that the bread changes after the words of consecration not found in the early Church?

    In short, are you saying that protestant opinions were allowed in the early Church or are you saying that Catholic opinions were disallowed/non-existent in the early Church?

    To argue that Catholic opinions were disallowed/non-existent in the early Church would require you to explain away quite a few quotes, some of which are included above. So I assume you are merely claiming that the fathers would have tolerated your opinions. Which is it?

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  152. John re 146

    John 19:33. When they came to Jesus, they found He was already dead, and so instead of breaking His legs one of the soldiers pierced His side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. Jerusalem Bible

    To the best of my understanding, that is why water is poured into the chalice with the wine ahead of the consecration. It is scriptural.

    Cordially,

    dt

  153. Donald,

    Mixed wine (with water) was a standard Mediterranean practice at the time. Most wine used for drinking would have been mixed. Unmixed wine would more often be used for washing. The mixing of the wine eventually became a tradition with religious significance (I’m speaking of pre-Last Supper). One Rabbi at the time went so far as to claim that it was an invalid ceremony (consecration) without the mixing of water.

    Christians later recognized theological significance in the mixing of the two. It is almost certain that the actual cup at the Last Supper would have been mixed. Just tossing it in for what it’s worth.

  154. Donald,
    Here is some info that I found on the addition of water in the sacramental wine.

    Why Water With Wine

    ROME, 29 JUNE 2004 (ZENIT)
    Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

    Q: I would want to know the reason why the priest pours water into wine during the preparation of the gifts. — J.B., Bo, Sierra Leone

    A: The brief rite of pouring water into the wine used for consecration is very ancient. Indeed, it is believed that Our Lord himself used wine tempered with water at the Last Supper as this was the common practice among the Jews and in Mediterranean culture in general.

    Some form of this is found in practically every rite of the Church both Western and Eastern, except for a group of Armenian Monophysites.

    Although the water is not essential for the validity of the sacrament, the Church holds it in great importance and it must never be omitted. The Council of Trent even went so far as to excommunicate whoever denied the need for this mixture (see Canon 9, Session XXII).

    Historically, St. Justin Martyr already mentions this practice in his Apology around the year 150. About a century later St. Cyprian wrote on this theme in an epistle against a splinter group that used only water in their celebrations, and this has become the accepted interpretation:

    “For because Christ bore us all, in that He also bore our sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ. But when the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people [are] made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on whom it believes; which association and conjunction of water and wine is so mingled in the Lord’s cup, that that mixture cannot any more be separated.

    “Whence, moreover, nothing can separate the Church — that is, the people established in the Church, faithfully and firmly persevering in that which they have believed — from Christ, in such a way as to prevent their undivided love from always abiding and adhering. Thus, therefore, in consecrating the cup of the Lord, water alone cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if any one offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from Christ; but when both are mingled, and are joined with one another by a close union, there is completed a spiritual and heavenly sacrament.

    “Thus the cup of the Lord is not indeed water alone, nor wine alone, unless each be mingled with the other; just as, on the other hand, the body of the Lord cannot be flour alone or water alone, unless both should be united and joined together and compacted in the mass of one bread; in which very sacrament our people are shown to be made one, so that in like manner as many grains, collected, and ground, and mixed together into one mass, make one bread; so in Christ, who is the heavenly bread, we may know that there is one body, with which our number is joined and united” (“On the Sacrament of the Cup of the Lord,” No 13).

    Another important symbolic explanation for this rite is given in St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologiae, III pars q 74, 6-8:

    “Water ought to be mingled with the wine which is offered in this sacrament.

    “First of all, on account of its institution: for it is believed with probability that our Lord instituted this sacrament in wine tempered with water according to the custom of that country: hence it is written (Proverbs 9:5): ‘Drink the wine which I have mixed for you.’

    “Secondly, because it harmonizes with the representation of our Lord’s Passion: hence Pope Alexander I says (Ep. 1 ad omnes orth.): ‘In the Lord’s chalice neither wine only nor water only ought to be offered, but both mixed because we read that both flowed from His side in the Passion.’

    “Thirdly, because this is adapted for signifying the effect of this sacrament, since as Pope Julius says (Concil. Bracarens iii, Can. 1): ‘We see that the people are signified by the water, but Christ’s blood by the wine. Therefore when water is mixed with the wine in the chalice, the people [are] made one with Christ.’

    “Fourthly, because this is appropriate to the fourth effect of this sacrament, which is the entering into everlasting life: hence Ambrose says (De Sacram. v): ‘The water flows into the chalice, and springs forth unto everlasting life.’”

    These different explanations form the basis for the Church’s understanding of the importance of this rite. This understanding is at the root of the sentiment expressed by the prayer which the priest recites in a low voice as he pours the water into the chalice:

    “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” ZE04062921

    * * *

  155. Daniel #148

    Facundus was a bishop of the church. I would maintain that a bishop would know what the prevailing understanding of the Eucharist is.

    I don’t know whether Facundus meant what you take him to mean or not – and I could see other ways of taking it – but it is a sad fact that individual bishops may err regarding things which the Church itself cannot err regarding. A prime example is the many undoubted bishops in the 4th Century who were Arians.

    The Church is infallible. The Pope, under certain conditions, is infallible. Bishop this or that is not.

    jj

  156. Daniel (#149)

    My understanding is not that the water in the mingled cup indicates that Jesus has both a divine and a human nature, but that it indicates the people (i.e., the people of the church).

    Certainly. This is possible because of our unity in Christ. You have only to listen to the priest at Mass to understand that it is Christ’s humanity, and therefore ours in Him, that the water represents:

    By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

    The water does, indeed, represent the people in Christ.’

    jj

  157. Daniel (#149)
    PS:

    Well, if after the consecration, bread is no longer bread, and wine is no longer wine, what happens to the water?

    This is, indeed, ludicrous. It is not the chemistry of the thing that has changed; it is its substance. Indeed, wine is not a single thing itself and contains water as part of its chemistry. Wine – or wine mixed with (extra) water – isn’t changed into some other chemical substance. Drink enough of the consecrated cup and you will get drunk. What the thing is is no longer wine, however, but the Body and Blood of Christ.

    jj

  158. Hi Daniel,

    When the water is added to the wine, the water and wine co-mingle. When the wine is consecrated it all turns into the blood of Christ. It therefore signifies what happens when we consume the body and blood of Christ. We are co-mingled with Christ and become a part of Christ or one with Christ.

    The water added to the wine represents and signifies the people of Christ’s Church. His Church is all a part of Him. In communion we all have a common union with Christ.

    Blessings
    NHU

  159. Daniel, #149,

    Well, if after the consecration, bread is no longer bread, and wine is no longer wine, what happens to the water?

    Not to pile on here, but this question makes sense only within the context of a laymen’s understanding of Chemistry. Do a quick websearch on “titration”. The short answer is that adding water to a mixture does not change the fundamental nature of what it is, it just dilutes the strength. So the water added to hyrdrochloric acid does not keep its identity as water. It results in diluted acid.

    Not sure how this jives theologically or if it is significant, I think it just means that chemically your question doesn’t make sense.

  160. John (#155),

    You said:

    I don’t know whether Facundus meant what you take him to mean or not – and I could see other ways of taking it –

    And again, here’s what Facundus said:

    Christ vouchsafed to receive the sacrament of adoption, both when he was circumcised and when he was baptized; and the sacrament of adoption may be called adoption, just as we call the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which is in the consecrated bread and cup, his body and blood. Not that properly bread is his body, and the cup his blood, but because they contain in them the mystery of his body and blood. Hence it is, that the Lord himself called the bread and cup he blessed and gave to his disciples, his body and blood.

    What else could Facundus have meant when he said “Not that properly bread is his body, and the cup his blood”? I’d be interested in hearing what else he might have meant by this statement.

    And I can produce hundreds of similar quotes from the early church showing that many of them did not believe that the bread and wine ceased being substantially bread and wine after the consecration.

  161. K. Doran (#151),

    There is indeed a change that takes place after the consecration and blessing of the bread and wine. They are no longer common bread or common wine, but rather a holy and a divine thing. They become the Eucharist–the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord. The change, though, does not entail an annihilation of the substance of the elements. The Scriptures are very clear on this. And Pope Gelasius says the bread and wine retain their natural substances.

  162. John S. (#145), John J. (#155),

    If what Facundus has written (since he’s “just” a bishop) does not carry much weight with you, what about these quotes from Isidore of Seville?

    We call this, by his command, the body and blood of Christ, which being made of the fruits of the earth, is sanctified and made a sacrament, by the invisible operation of the Spirit of God.

    and

    Bread, because it strengthens the body, is therefore called the body of Christ; and wine, because it produces blood in the flesh, is therefore referred to the blood of Christ.

    He says the sacrament consists of bread and wine, not “apparent” bread and wine.

  163. Jeremiah (#159),

    Not to pile on here, but this question makes sense only within the context of a laymen’s understanding of Chemistry. Do a quick websearch on “titration”. The short answer is that adding water to a mixture does not change the fundamental nature of what it is, it just dilutes the strength. So the water added to hyrdrochloric acid does not keep its identity as water. It results in diluted acid.

    Not sure how this jives theologically or if it is significant, I think it just means that chemically your question doesn’t make sense.

    I get your point chemically speaking–thanks for the enlightenment. I think, as you said, carrying this into the theological realm is problematic, i.e., the question could then be asked: does the uniting of the people with the blood of Christ, dilute the power of Christ’s blood? Naturally, not. I bring up the water because we’re dealing with a theological system here where bread ceases to be bread but turns into flesh, and wine ceases to be wine (although it can still make you drunk!!) but turns into blood. Since Cyprian says that in the Eucharist the water represents the people of God, and the Roman church claims that transubstantiation has been the universally held belief of the church, it’s natural to ask: Does the water also transubstantiate into people? Cyprian was not looking at things chemically but rather theologically and spiritually. He thought of water and wine as separate things, although when mixed together, a very apt representation of our wonderful union with Christ’s saving blood. Augustine says that “to take signs for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage.” The Roman church does this very thing and thus really has no Sacrament at all because the substance of the sacramental signs is nonexistent.

  164. Daniel (#160)

    What else could Facundus have meant when he said “Not that properly bread is his body, and the cup his blood”?

    That the bread and the contents of the cup are not his natural body in anatomical or chemical or similar physical terms, of course.

    All of which is beside the point that if Facundus really is denying the Real Presence in the Catholic sense, that would only mean that Facundus is in error. As I said above, the teaching of this or that bishop does not constitute Catholic dogma.

    jj

  165. Daniel (#162)
    Oh, Daniel, you know full well that these are ambiguous and that their meaning must be read in the context of Catholic faith. When a Jehovah’s witness tells me that since Jesus says the Father is greater than He, that must mean that they are not consubstantial, and when I object that He and the Father are One, do you think he is worried? He tells me – quite correctly! – that it is possible that the Oneness of Jesus and the Father is oneness of purpose; I can tell him that the subordination of the Son is the economic subordination within the Trinity. The Scriptures aren’t going to decide for us. Every testimony is potentially ambiguous. You know full well what the Church teaches. It does not teach transsubstantiation based on Biblical exegesis, nor on a catena of the Fathers. It believes that Jesus gave it that truth and it has preserved it. It is logically possible that that is not true, but you won’t get there by citing ambiguous statements of Catholic Fathers.

    I never said that Facundus’s statement did not carry much weight because he was just a bishop. I said that it was susceptible of an orthodox interpretation – but that if Facundus meant something unorthodox, that didn’t prove Catholic teaching false – it just meant that Facundus was not orthodox in this point.

    The same is true of Isidore. The first statement you quote is not even a problem. The priest at Mass himself talks of the ‘fruit of the earth and the work of human hands’ That is what the Sacrament is made from. As Isidore says, it is the Holy Spirit that makes it a Sacrament. And of course his second statement could be read as saying that ‘called’ is not ‘is’ – but there is no need to do so. All bread strengthens the body, but not all bread is ‘called’ the Body of Christ. It seems to me that every statement of a Catholic that is not expressed in mathematically precise terms you leap on to read it in the worst way possible.

    I have no doubt, personally, of the orthodoxy in this matter either of Facundus or of Isidore – but what possible difference would it make to the truth if they were unorthodox??

    I just don’t understand what you think you achieve by piling up statements of Catholics.

    jj

  166. Daniel,

    You didn’t answer my question. I asked whether you thought that the belief that the apparent bread is not bread is not to be found in the early Church.

    We don’t believe it is bread, in its deepest sense. Do you think our belief is patristically impermissible? Would Cyril of Jerusalem say that we were wrong, that the bread really is bread, just holy bread but bread still. Is our belief a novel thing to say? Did we invent it in the middle ages? If it not so novel as that, then what is your deal?

    When the desert Fathers said: “hold one in conformity with that which the catholic Church has given us. We believe, for our part, that the bread itself is the body of Christ and that the cup itself is his blood and this in all truth and not a symbol,” were they saying something impermissible and unorthodox?

    You need to state clearly what your aim is. If your aim is to show that no one thought what we thought in the early Church, then you need to state that aim publicly and then prove it. If, on the other hand, your aim is to show that it is conceivably possible that at least someone in the early Church taught your vision of the Eucharist, then you need to state that this is your aim, and that therefore all you need to do is convince us that one person agreed with you.

    I get the impression that you really believe that Cyril and the desert fathers and everyone else needs to be interpreted in light of your gloss on Facundus. In other words, that your aim is to show that no one orthodox thought anything close to what we believe on the Eucharist. That’s going to be a hard case to make.

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  167. Daniel,

    I appreciate your comments but I would ask simply if you read Tim’s post? It would be helpful if you actually engage Tim’s post and then comment about what he wrote.

  168. Daniel,

    I’m way behind since I’ve been without internet access for a few days, but…

    (1) “Correspondence” still certainly obtains after the consecration. The species of bread and wine correspond to the substance of Christ’s body and blood. It has to be asserted because it’s not obvious to the senses.
    (2) As John Thayer Jensen has pointed out, bishops are sometimes heretics. Not really news, that.
    (3) Facundus had a faulty incarnational Christology that influenced how he would and wouldn’t interpret the Church’s talk about the Eucharist.
    (4) Even if you want to accept Facundus (which I don’t), there are some fancy dancing steps available, e.g., those taken by the Anglo-Catholic Robert Isaac Wilberforce in his 1854 The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (available on GoogleBooks), who defends the susceptibility of the Eucharistic teaching of “St” Facundus to an orthodox interpretation (i.e., affirming the Real Presence).

    best,
    John

  169. John J., John S, and K. Doran,

    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:26)

    I’ve only quoted so far Macarius, Facundus, and Isidore of Seville. There are hundreds of quotes like these from the early church, but you will always interpret them anachronistically and put your RC spin on them. And it’s apparent why Roman Catholics defend this transubstantiation error so strenuously. The entire superstructure of the Roman church would collapse if it is shown to be untrue.

    No church can gainsay the Apostle Paul’s words above.

  170. Daniel,

    Nor, I hope, would any church presume to gainsay them.

    Your divination of future events (“you will always…”), advance evaluation of them (“anachronistically”…”RC spin”), and discernment of secret motives (“it’s apparent why…”) suggest to me that you’re through trying to have a reasonable conversation. I’m sorry for that, but so be it.

    best,
    John

  171. Daniel (#169)

    Daniel, if Paul’s words – calling the Sacrament ‘bread’ and ‘cup’ – must necessarily mean that he contradicts transsubstantiation, then the Catholic Church itself must also be rejecting transsubstantiation. It uses the words ‘bread’ and ‘cup’ for the elements of the Sacrament, even after consecration, in the Mass itself.

    Your either/or thinking is the problem here. The Host is the Body and Blood of Christ substantially; it is, in its ‘accidents’, bread, of course. The contents of the Cup are the Body and Blood of Christ (by the way, it is not the case that the Host is now flesh but not blood; that the Cup now contains blood but not flesh) substantially – and in their ‘accidents’ – their measurable physical properties – they are wine.

    In Lutheran consubstantiation they elements of the Sacrament are somehow thought to be two substances at the same time. This is not the Catholic understanding.

    jj

  172. Tim,

    A few remarks regarding your article. First of all, I believe you make a correct statement at the outset:

    Because unconsecrated bread is not called the Body, and consecrated is called the Body, this directly implies a belief that a supernatural change has taken place at the point of consecration.

    The next question would be: What kind of change? You make the following statements:

    …the affirmations that the fathers made about the Eucharist were not only compatible with Transubstantiation, they were incompatible with anything less.

    There are only two types of changes, substantial and not-substantial (i.e. accidental). That is to say, if a thing changes, it either changes into another substance (into another thing) or some non-essential feature of it changes.

    Now bread is not called “bread” accidentally but essentially. Therefore the only time it would be proper to call it something else is when it had changed (substantially) into something else.

    But the fathers spoke of the bread differently after the consecration. They referred to it as “the Body” which is compatible only with a substantial change. Therefore, when the fathers spoke of a change in the Eucharist, they were speaking of a substantial change.

    But these statements simply assume what you’re trying to prove, i.e., that when the church fathers stated a change took place at the consecration, this necessarily meant a change in the substance or nature of the bread and wine.

    You do admit there are many church fathers who say that the bread and wine retain their natural substance or nature. Yet you say that what they meant by “substance” and “nature” is not what we today would think of as “substance” and “nature,” but rather what the church of Rome would call “species” or “accidents.” As support for this assertion, you bring in W.R. Carson:

    …it is assumed wrongly that by the words “nature” and “substance” the Fathers cited, writing centuries before heresies had made accurate definition and precise terminology necessary, intended to mean what the Tridentine Fathers meant by them. This is demonstrably untrue. The words ‘substance’ and ‘nature’ are synonymous with what at Trent were called the ‘species’ or ‘accidents.’

    What support does Carson have for this assertion, that the Fathers meant “species” or “accidents” when they used the words “substance” and “nature”? If we let the fathers speak for themselves, they will tell us what they mean by “substance” and “nature.” For example, here is a quote from Ephraim of Antioch (Ad Photium):

    Thus the Body of Christ which is received by the faithful does not depart from its sensible substance, and yet it is united to a spiritual grace (another translation says: “and yet it remains unseparated from the intellectual grace”). So baptism becoming wholly spiritual and one, it preserves its own sensible substance, I mean water, and does not lose what it is made to be.

    Here, Ephraim of Antioch compares the Eucharist to baptism, in the sense that both retain their sensible substances. The water of baptism, though consecrated to be a washing of regeneration (“not losing what it is made to be”), retains its own sensible substance of water. In the same way, the Eucharist, though consecrated to be the Body and Blood of Christ, retains its own sensible substance of bread and wine.

  173. Daniel,

    But these statements simply assume what you’re trying to prove, i.e.,

    The second quote is clearly, and self evidently, a premise in an argument. I won’t bother seeing if there’s any merit to your other accusations after such a mistake.

  174. In light of what the Church Fathers say in the citations quoted in Tim’s article above, especially those by St. Augustine, observe what Robert Godfrey, President and Professor of Church History at Westminster Seminary California, says in the video below about the Eucharist, and especially about St. Augustine’s doctrine of the Eucharist:

  175. Regarding Godfrey’s comments;

    1) Don’t think anyone would refer to what Newman calls ‘development of doctrine’ as ‘evolution of tradition’ – two very different ideas. Doctrine is, it seems to me, the teaching that is given; tradition is the faith itself that is passed on from the apostles – ‘once for all delivered to the saints.’

    2) Regarding the ‘cherry-picking,’ it is a valid complaint only if the question of the infallibility of the Church is begged. If God has provided for the infallibility of the Church, then, naturally, the sayings of the early Christians must be interpreted in the light of the teaching of that ex hypothesi infallible Church. If – as, it seems to me, Godfrey is assuming – the doctrines of the Church are simply inferred on a kind of empirical basis by a sort of sifting through the writings of the early Christians – then, in fact, there is not a lot you could be sure is Christian at all – and, indeed, until you have already defined who you consider to be an early Christian, there is no way to get anything certain from the empirical approach at all.

    Or so it seems to me. Would appreciate Bryan’s comment.

    jj

  176. After listening to Godfrey’s interpretation of the patristic literature regarding the Eucharist, I could not help but think of the Protestant patristic scholar J.N.D Kelly and his verdict on the same subject. Kelly contradicts Godfrey’s interpretation of the patristic literature on at least two accounts. (the quotes below can all be found in Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines, 440-447)

    First, Godfrey states that Catholics support the realistic understanding of the Eucharist by picking only those Fathers who agree with their own position and ignoring those who disagree with that same position. To the contrary, J.N.D. Kelly states that the realistic interpretation of the Eucharist is universally taught in the first four centuries of the Church. He affirms,

    “Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Saviour’s body and blood.”

    According to J.N.D. Kelly, this was the opinion of the whole Church, not just a few “cherry-picked” Fathers. According to Godfrey some of the Fathers “might be read this way,” but according to Kelly they can only be read this way. I’m not sure what would count as a consensus fidelium if the realistic position does not meet the criteria.

    Further, those who challenged such a realistic understanding in the first centuries were either completely pagan or of the heretical Gnostic sects who rejected the Eucharist because they rejected the Incarnation (The Apostolic Father Ignatius of Antioch tells us this much around AD. 110—see section 2 of Tim Troutman’s article). Gnostics and pagans hardly count as evidence against the consensus fidelium. If Godfrey intends to use such men as witnesses against the realistic position, then he is only strengthening the realist’s position. However, if he uses such men as St. Augustine I think he is revealing the weakness of his position.

    Godfrey claims that the Church ignores St. Augustine’s symbolic understanding of the Eucharist and claims that Augustine rejected the Church’s realistic position. J.N.D. Kelly states that

    “a balanced verdict must agree that he [Augustine] accepted the current realism. . . . There can be no doubt that he shared the realism held by almost all his contemporaries and predecessors.”

    Kelly goes on to support his position by quoting Augustine. Indeed, according to Kelly, Augustine says that we should adore and worship the Eucharist.

    But there is a bigger problem that Godfrey overlooks. It is this: realism does not exclude the symbolic nature of the Eucharist, but symbolism [alone] does exclude the realistic nature of the Eucharist. In other words, it is not a problem for the Catholic to square Augustine’s symbolic language with the realistic position, for the realistic position entails the symbolism of the sacraments. But when Augustine speaks realistically, it is a problem for the symbolism alone paradigm. For instance, I’m not sure how Godfrey could square the following with his own position:

    “Christ was carried in His hands when He offered His very body and said, ‘This is my body.’”

    Or,

    “That bread which you see on the altar, sanctified by the Word of God, is Christ’s body.”

    Or,

    “You know what you are eating and what you are drinking, or rather, Whom you are eating and Whom you are drinking.”

    Or, as Tim provided above,

    “What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ.”

    Again, there is no either/or within the Catholic paradigm. So, yes, the Catholic can have his cake and eat it too, just as Augustine taught him.

    After hearing Godfrey’s presentation, I would like to know what would convince him of the Fathers’ realistic position. Would he like them to explicitly state the realistic position? But they have stated it. Would he like them to support their realistic position with Scripture? When they do reference Scripture they are accused of misinterpreting Scripture. It is really difficult to guess what would convince him.

  177. Nick, (re: #176)

    I agree. The main take-away point, from my point of view, is that it is not helpful to speak only in generalizations, without getting one’s hands into the actual writings and statements of the Fathers. Resolving the disagreements between Catholics and Protestants requires considering and examining together the actual evidence, not merely speaking about these things from a distance or with mere generalizations. Godfrey, for example, would need to explain how these statements by St. Augustine [which you just cited] (and by Kelley about St. Augustine) are compatible with Godfrey’s claim in the video concerning St. Augustine’s doctrine of the Eucharist.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  178. Bryan,

    it is not helpful to speak only in generalizations, without getting one’s hands into the actual writings and statements of the Fathers. Resolving the disagreements between Catholics and Protestants requires considering and examining together the actual evidence, not merely speaking about these things from a distance or with mere generalizations.

    You’re actually more correct than you probably realize. The more time I spend dialoguing with my Reformed brothers, the more I have come to realize that their entire project is little more than one big ol’ abstraction. Systematic theories eclipse actual biblical data, and details are forced into rubrics whether they fit or not.

  179. In the video below Garry Wills assumes (mistakenly) that for St. Augustine, the only alternative to the Capharnaite way of understanding the Eucharist is that of mere symbolism or at least the falsehood of transubstantiation. (Regarding the Capharnaite error see comments #4 and #24 in the “Augustine on Adam’s Body and Christ’s Body” thread.) Included in that article are statements by St. Augustine concerning the Eucharist showing why Wills’s claim is a false dilemma. Regarding the universal patristic consensus of a sacrificial priesthood, see the section titled “Proof of Sacrificial Priesthood” in Tim’s other article “Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood.”

    The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is de fide (cf. Trent XIII, Can. 1). So is the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation (cf. Trent XIII, Can. 2). That in the New Covenant there is a visible and external priesthood is also de fide (cf. Trent XXIII, Can. 1). So is the Catholic dogma that the power of consecrating the bread and wine belongs only to validly ordained priests (cf. Lateran IV, Chap. 1). So is the Catholic dogma that Christ appointed Peter to be the visible Head of the whole Church (cf. First Vatican Council, Session IV, Chap. 1), that Peter is to have successors in his Primacy over the whole Church until Christ returns (cf. First Vatican Council, Session IV, Chap. 2), and that the successors of Peter in the Primacy are the bishops of Rome (cf. First Vatican Council, Session IV, Chap. 2). Denying any one of these dogmas is at least material heresy, if not formal heresy.

    UPDATE: Tom Piatek, in an articled titled “The Strange World of Garry Wills,” (Crisis Magazine, February 20, 2013) claims that “Wills took positions anathematized by 14 different Canons of the Council of Trent in this brief interview.”

  180. In the video above, the following exchange occurs:

    COLBERT: But Jesus said, “This is my body; this is my blood.”

    WILLS: Right, he said that, and there he was in his body. He said, “Eat this bread, it’s my body.” He didn’t say, “Take a chunk out of my arm.” He didn’t say, “Tap my blood.”

    A helpful answer to Wills can be found in Aquinas’ Summa, where he addresses the question “Whether Christ received and gave to His disciples His impassable body?”

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul Weinhold

  181. Because in comment #179 I posted the video of Colbert’s interview with Garry Wills regarding his most recent book (Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition), I’m including below Fr. Barron’s helpful review of that book:

  182. R.C. Sproul writes,

    The celebration of the Mass is described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “the Holy Sacrifice.” That has prompted Protestants to argue that if the bread is really the body of Christ and the priest breaks it, the church is ripping and tearing the body of Christ again when the Scriptures tell us that He was broken for us once and for all, that He was the final, full, sufficient sacrifice for the sin of His people (Heb. 7:27; 10:12–14). Is not Christ’s body being mutilated again in the Mass? Are we not inflicting torment on the One who has finished His work of sacrifice? Rome nuances its teaching on the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, saying that it is an unbloody sacrifice and that it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ. However, the whole idea of any kind of sacrifice happening in new-covenant worship is repugnant to Protestants, who hold that the value, the significance, and the merit of Christ’s suffering on the cross was so great that to repeat it is to denigrate it. — R.C. Sproul, Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism (Reformation Trust Publishing, 2012), 79.

    Sproul is one of the leading figures alive in the Reformed tradition in the US, and in the world. He has a Drs. degree from the Free University of Amsterdam and a PhD from Whitefield Theological Seminary. His radio program “Renewing Your Mind” can be heard daily both in the US and around the world. Because of his status in the Reformed community many Reformed people trust him as a credible, reliable teacher not only regarding Reformed theology but even when he speaks about Catholic doctrine. But in this case, as elsewhere, he misunderstands and [unintentionally] misrepresents Catholic doctrine.

    In the quotation cited above, he first treats the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist as if it were the Capharnaite error I mentioned in comment #179. (And this caricature is what he taught his son.) But then, after noting that according to the Catholic Church the Eucharist is “an unbloody sacrifice and that it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ,” his objection to the Catholic doctrine is that to repeat Christ’s sacrifice is to denigrate it. Sproul seems not to realize that if the Eucharist is “the one sacrifice of Christ” then in the Eucharist there is no re-sacrificing of Christ (because that wouldn’t be the “one sacrifice of Christ”), but rather a participation in and making present of the one and only Sacrifice of Christ. There is a world of difference between crucifying Christ again, and participating in a supernatural way at different times and places around the world in that one sacrifice of Christ. The latter does not at all “denigrate” Christ’s sacrifice, but elevates and extols it.

    This is how the early Church understood the Eucharist, not as a re-sacrifice of Christ, but as a participation in the one sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. (Regarding the patristic teaching on this see the section titled “Proof of Sacrificial Priesthood” in Tim’s other article “Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood.” While the Hebrews of the Old Testament could only offer animal sacrifices that were unable to take away sins, but were only types of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, in the New Covenant by Christ’s institution of the Eucharist and the New Covenant priesthood we now can participate in Christ’s sacrifice, and all over the world by this participation offer to the Father the one and only perfect sacrifice of Christ that takes away sins. For the Church Fathers, the Eucharistic sacrifice is the fulfillment of Malachi 1:11, in which the prophet by the Holy Spirit says that “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.” Christ is the pure offering, and in the Eucharistic sacrifice that takes place daily all over the world, believers participate in Christ’s one and only sacrifice in offering that “pure offering” to the Father.

    But the Protestant paradigm does not include the aspect of “participation.” And this is why from the Protestant point of view, Catholic doctrines such as the communion of saints (according to which the saints participate in Christ’s work through their merits and prayers), the Catholic doctrine that our sufferings are participations in Christ’s suffering, the Catholic doctrine that sanctifying grace is a participation in the divine nature, the Catholic doctrine that the Church as Christ’s Body is not mere metaphor but a reality, the Catholic doctrine that Mary by her participation in Christ’s work of redemption is a co-redemptrix and that all the saints are co-redeemers by way of participation in Christ’s work, the Catholic doctrine that the authority of the Apostles and their successors is a participation in Christ’s divine authority, the Catholic doctrine that heaven is not merely being in God’s presence but participating in God’s own perfect eternal beatitude, (and I could go on and on), all these doctrines depend on the notion of participation. So for the Protestant paradigm, which does not recognizing participation, all these Catholic doctrines “denigrate” Christ and His work, by implying that what He did was insufficient or inadequate (e.g. 70%), and that we must make up the difference, by adding to it. So without the notion of participation, the Protestant construal of all the Catholic doctrines that involve participation is that they add to Christ or add to what Christ did or repeat what Christ did, and thus denigrate Him or His work, whereas in the Catholic paradigm all of these are participations in Christ and His work, and so do not denigrate it in the least, but glorify it by carrying it forward through time and all over the world, or bringing all times and places to it.

    Of course I do not expect Sproul to hold the Catholic paradigm as a Protestant, but as someone who speaks for the Reformed tradition and carries a great deal of influence in that community, I think he should at least represent the Catholic doctrine fairly and accurately according to its own paradigm, before setting forward his reasons for believing it to be false. In order to do that, in my opinion, we have to be aware of the paradigmatic aspect (such as the paradigmatic difference regarding ‘participation’) of the Protestant-Catholic disagreement.

  183. Bryan #182,

    I’ve mentioned this to you in a previous thread, but I should note that our understanding of participation may be different, but Protestants fully acknowledge and glory in our participation “in Christ.” Perhaps you could flesh this out more but I’m unaware of any Reformed confessional teaching that rejects participation as an essential aspect of soteriology. There are indeed different conceptions of this participation but it is misleading when you say, “the Protestant position does not include the aspect of ‘participation.’” This is a violation of what you say in the final paragraph in your comment in reading the other paradigm accurately and charitably.

  184. Refprot, (re: #183)

    I take your point. I’m using the term ‘participation’ here as it is understood in the Catholic paradigm, and as it underlies many different Catholic doctrines, and which by denying [this conception of participation] Protestants disagree with those Catholics doctrines. So it is important not to fall into the word-concept fallacy, in this case by assuming that because Protestants also have a concept of participation, therefore the Protestant-Catholic disagreement does not turn [at all] on participation. I’m not saying or implying that you’re committing this fallacy. But, we [you and I] have had this ‘participation’ conversation before (see comments #45, #66, #81, #87, and #92 in the “Habitual Sin and the Grace of the Sacraments” thread), and what I’m saying [in comment #182 above] isn’t nullified by the fact that Protestants also have a [Protestant] conception of participation. You’re right, however, that I should have clarified in comment #182 that I’m referring to the Catholic concept of participation. So, I appreciate and accept your qualification.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  185. On the same and previous page of his book Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism, Sproul writes:

    Protestants also struggle with the question of how the human nature of Christ can be in more than one place at the same time. The Roman Catholic view essentially attributes the quality of omnipresence to the physical body of Jesus. If the Mass is being celebrated simultaneously in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, then, according to Roman Catholic teaching, His physical body and blood, which are part of His human nature, not part of His divine nature, are present in more than one place at the same time. Rome says this happens because there is a communication of power from the divine nature, which can be omnipresent, to the human nature. But once the human nature assumes the attributes of the divine nature, Rome has a problem with her own Christology. The Council of Chalcedon (451) defined the relationship of the two natures of Christ, saying that He is vera homo vera dues, that is, “truly man and truly God,” and that the two natures are in perfect unity but without mixture, confusion, separation, or division, so that each nature retains its own attributes. So, Rome needs to explain how attributing omnipresence to the body of Christ does not involve a deification of the flesh of Jesus, giving it a divine attribute. How does that not confuse the two natures of Christ?

    Sproul is claiming/suggesting that the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is a kind of Eutychianism, in that it conflates the two natures of Christ, by claiming that Christ’s human nature is omnipresent, and thus possesses an attribute of His divine nature.

    The Catholic response involves four points. First, the Catholic doctrine distinguishes between different modes of presence, such that something can be present either in the mode of accidents, or in the mode of substance, as explained in comments #4 and #24 of the “Augustine on Adam’s Body and Christ’s Body” thread. So the accidents of Christ’s physical body are present in the mode of accidents only in heaven; in the Eucharist the accidents of His body are present only in the mode of substance.

    Second, the Catholic doctrine does not claim or entail that Christ’s physical body is omnipresent, but that in the Eucharist His body is present in the mode of substance in many places at the same time. If Christ’s physical body were omnipresent, there would be nothing especially sacred about the Eucharist, because Christ would no more present there than anywhere else. So the notion that Christ’s human nature is omnipresent would be incompatible with Eucharistic adoration.

    Third, those limitations that are essential to human nature should not be confused with those limitations that are proper accidents of human nature. Failing to make this distinction can lead to mistaking the removal of limitations non-essential to human nature for Eutychianism. Being present in the mode of substance in only one place is not essential to human nature, and for this reason Christ’s human nature remains intact when He is present simultaneously in many places in the mode of substance.

    Fourth, Christ’s presence in the mode of substance in the Eucharist is a miracle, not a natural power or property of His human nature. Similarly, His passing through closed doors (Jn 20:19,26) and His face shining like the sun (Mt. 17) were not natural powers of his human nature; they were miracles. But miracles removing limitations non-essential to human nature do not destroy the integrity of Christ’s human nature. And in this way the miracle by which Christ’s body and blood are present in the mode of substance simultaneously in many different places in the Eucharist does not destroy the integrity of His human nature, and thus does not conflate His human nature with His divine nature. For this reason, the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence does not entail Eutychianism.

  186. [...] Transubstantiation is the name for the process of what happens during communion – the substantial change of bread and wine into flesh and blood without the accidental change of these elements’ appearances. Thus, transubstantiation is not believed because of any perceived accidental change in the elements (for, according to the doctrine, there is none). The bread and wine are perceived in the same way before and after the change. This is believed to be the best explanation for biblical statements that identify the communion meal with Jesus’ body and blood (John 6:53-58; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:26-27), as well as the testimony of the historic church. [...]

  187. Bryan,

    You wrote in comment # 182,

    “There is a world of difference between crucifying Christ again, and participating in a supernatural way at different times and places around the world in that one sacrifice of Christ.”

    Do you know how the sacrament-sacrifice of Mass represents and so makes present the one sacrifice Calvary if Jesus isn’t bleeding, suffering or dying in it? How could it be the same sacrifice? I read Vonier’s “A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist” (which every Protestant and Catholic should read, it’s excellent!) but he didn’t really explain that.

    –Christie

  188. Christie, (re: #186)

    It is the same sacrifice because (a) it is the same Victim being offered up to God, (b) offered up by the same Priest, since the ordained priest acts in Persona Christi, and because (c) Christ died only once and His body and blood can never again be separated, “Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again” (Rom 6:9). So the only sacrifice of Christ that can be made present in the Eucharistic separation of His body and blood is the one sacrifice of Calvary. The Council of Trent explains:

    For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. (Trent, Session XII.2)

    On the cross Christ’s offered Himself to God in a bloody manner, whereas in the Eucharist Christ’s sacrifice is made present and offered in an unbloody manner. But it is the same sacrifice (not a “re-sacrifice”), even though the Eucharistic manner of offering Christ differs in that respect from the manner in which Christ offered Himself on the cross.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  189. […] months researching what the early church believed the Apostles had taught them, what the Church Fathers believed and practiced, the history of the Mass, the relevant Bible verses, the witness of the […]

  190. Pope Francis explains how in the Eucharist we participate in Christ’s sacrifice:

  191. When we celebrate the Mass, we don’t accomplish a representation of the Last Supper: no, it is not a representation. It is something else: it is the Last Supper itself. It is to really live once more the Passion and the redeeming Death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is made present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world.

    Pope Francis, February 10, 2014 (source)

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