Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Augustine on the Presence of Christ

When people try to claim that Augustine held to the modern Roman view of transubstantiation, one particular problem for them may be in dealing with Augustine's comments regarding the presence of Christ. The following are comments from Augustine that demonstrate that he did not hold to the idea of a bodily, carnal, fleshly, physical presence, but instead indicated that the only presence of Christ in his church during this age is divine and spiritual. As in my previous post, I have numbered the quotations for ease of reference.

1. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractate 50 on John (John 11:55-57), §§ 12-13
12. But what follows? “For the poor ye have always with you, but me ye will not have always.” We can certainly understand, “the poor ye have always;” what He has thus said is true. When were the poor wanting in the Church? “But me ye will not have always;” what does He mean by this? How are we to understand, “Me ye will not have always”? Don’t be alarmed: it was addressed to Judas. Why, then, did He not say, thou wilt have, but, ye will have? Because Judas is not here a unit. One wicked man represents the whole body of the wicked; in the same way as Peter, the whole body of the good, yea, the body of the Church, but in respect to the good. For if in Peter’s case there were no sacramental symbol of the Church, the Lord would not have said to him, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” [Matt. xvi. 19.] If this was said only to Peter, it gives no ground of action to the Church. But if such is the case also in the Church, that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven,—for when the Church excommunicates, the excommunicated person is bound in heaven; when one is reconciled by the Church, the person so reconciled is loosed in heaven:—if such, then, is the case in the Church, Peter, in receiving the keys, represented the holy Church. If, then, in the person of Peter were represented the good in the Church, and in Judas’ person were represented the bad in the Church, then to these latter was it said, “But me ye will not have always.” But what means the “not always;” and what, the “always”? If thou art good, if thou belongest to the body represented by Peter, thou hast Christ both now and hereafter: now by faith, by sign, by the sacrament of baptism, by the bread and wine of the altar. Thou hast Christ now, but thou wilt have Him always; for when thou hast gone hence, thou wilt come to Him who said to the robber, “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” [Luke xxiii. 43.] But if thou livest wickedly, thou mayest seem to have Christ now, because thou enterest the Church, signest thyself with the sign of Christ, art baptized with the baptism of Christ, minglest thyself with the members of Christ, and approachest His altar: now thou hast Christ, but by living wickedly thou wilt not have Him always.

13. It may be also understood in this way: “The poor ye will have always with you, but me ye will not have always.” The good may take it also as addressed to themselves, but not so as to be any source of anxiety; for He was speaking of His bodily presence. For in respect of His majesty, His providence, His ineffable and invisible grace, His own words are fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” [Matt. xxviii. 20.] But in respect of the flesh He assumed as the Word, in respect of that which He was as the son of the Virgin, of that wherein He was seized by the Jews, nailed to the tree, let down from the cross, enveloped in a shroud, laid in the sepulchre, and manifested in His resurrection, “ye will not have Him always.” And why? Because in respect of His bodily presence He associated for forty days with His disciples, and then, having brought them forth for the purpose of beholding and not of following Him, He ascended into heaven, [Acts i. 3, 9, 10.] and is no longer here. He is there, indeed, sitting at the right hand of the Father; and He is here also, having never withdrawn the presence of His glory. In other words, in respect of His divine presence we always have Christ; in respect of His presence in the flesh it was rightly said to the disciples, “Me ye will not have always.” In this respect the Church enjoyed His presence only for a few days: now it possesses Him by faith, without seeing Him with the eyes. In whichever way, then, it was said, “But me ye will not have always,” it can no longer, I suppose, after this twofold solution, remain as a subject of doubt.


2. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 50, John 11:55-57, 12:1-11, §4.
Let them come to the church and hear where Christ is, and take Him. They may hear it from us, they may hear it from the gospel. He was slain by their forefathers, He was buried, He rose again, He was recognized by the disciples, He ascended before their eyes into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He who was judged is yet to come as Judge of all: let them hear, and hold fast. Do they reply, How shall I take hold of the absent? how shall I stretch up my hand into heaven, and take hold of one who is sitting there? Stretch up thy faith, and thou hast got hold. Thy forefathers held by the flesh, hold thou with the heart; for the absent Christ is also present. But for His presence, we ourselves were unable to hold Him.


3. NPNF1, Contra Faustus, Book 20, Chapter 13
How can Faustus think that we resemble the Manichæans in attaching sacredness to bread and wine, when they consider it sacrilege to taste wine? They acknowledge their god in the grape, but not in the cup; perhaps they are shocked at his being trampled on and bottled. It is not any bread and wine that we hold sacred as a natural production, as if Christ were confined in corn or in vines, as the Manichæans fancy, but what is truly consecrated as a symbol. What is not consecrated, though it is bread and wine, is only nourishment or refreshment, with no sacredness about it; although we bless and thank God for every gift, bodily as well as spiritual. According to your notion, Christ is confined in everything you eat, and is released by digestion from the additional confinement of your intestines. So, when you eat, your god suffers; and when you digest, you suffer from his recovery. When he fills you, your gain is his loss. This might be considered kindness on his part, because he suffers in you for your benefit, were it not that he gains freedom by escaping and leaving you empty. There is not the least resemblance between our reverence for the bread and wine, and your doctrines, which have no truth in them. To compare the two is even more foolish than to say, as some do, that in the bread and wine we worship Ceres and Bacchus. I refer to this now, to show where you got your silly idea that our fathers kept the Sabbath in honor of Saturn. For as there is no connection with the worship of the Pagan deities Ceres and Bacchus in our observance of the sacrament of the bread and wine, which you approve so highly that you wish to resemble us in it, so there was no subjection to Saturn in the case of our fathers, who observed the rest of the Sabbath in a manner suitable to prophetic times.
Alternative translation:
But I do not know why Faustus thinks that we practice the same religion with respect to the bread and the cup, since for Manicheans to taste wine is not religious but sacrilegious. For they recognize their God in the grape; they refuse to recognize him in the cup, as if he had caused them some offense by being crushed and bottled. But our bread and cup, not just any bread and cup, is made sacramental to us by a particular consecration; it was not naturally such, as Manichaeans say in their folly on account of Christ, who is supposedly bound in the ears of grain and branches. Hence, what is not consecrated, though it is bread and cup, is food for refreshment, not the sacrament of religion, apart from the fact that we bless and give thanks to the Lord for every gift of his, not only spiritual but also bodily.
But for you in your myth Christ is presented as bound in all foods, destined still to be bound in your stomach and to be released by your belches. For, even when you eat, you restore yourselves a loss to your God, and when you digest your food, he is restored at a loss to you. For, when he fills you, your intake squashes him. And this, of course, would be attributed to his mercy when he suffers something in you and for you, were it not that he again leaves you empty so that he may escape after being set free by you. How, then, can you set our bread and cup on a par with this and say that an error far removed from the truth is the same religious practice? For your are more foolish than some people who think that, on account of the bread and the cup, we worship Ceres and Liber.

I thought that I should mention this point so that you might notice the folly from which there comes that idea of yours that, on account of the Sabbath, our patriarchs were devoted to Saturn. For, just as we are far removed from Ceres and Liber, gods of the pagans, although we embrace in our rites the sacrament of the bread and the cup (which you praised in such a way that you wanted to be our equals in it), so our patriarchs were far removed from the chains of Saturn, although in accord with the time of prophecy they observed the sabbath rest.

(Works of Saint Augustine, A Translation for the 21st Century: New City Press)


4. Tractate 80 on John (John 15:1-3), At Section 3
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Why does He not say, Ye are clean through the baptism wherewith ye have been washed, but “through the word which I have spoken unto you,” save only that in the water also it is the word that cleanseth? Take away the word, and the water is neither more nor less than water. The word is added to the element, and there results the Sacrament, as if itself also a kind of visible word. For He had said also to the same effect, when washing the disciples’ feet, “He that is washed needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” [Chap. xiii. 10.] And whence has water so great an efficacy, as in touching the body to cleanse the soul, save by the operation of the word; and that not because it is uttered, but because it is believed? For even in the word itself the passing sound is one thing, the abiding efficacy another. “This is the word of faith which we preach,” says the apostle, “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Rom. x. 10.] Accordingly, we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “Purifying their hearts by faith;” [Acts xv. 9.] and, says the blessed Peter in his epistle, “Even as baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer [1 Pet. iii. 21.] of a good conscience.” “This is the word of faith which we preach,” whereby baptism, doubtless, is also consecrated, in order to its possession of the power to cleanse. For Christ, who is the vine with us, and the husbandman with the Father, “loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.” And then read the apostle, and see what he adds: “That He might sanctify it, cleansing it with the washing of water by the word.” [Eph. v. 25, 26.] The cleansing, therefore, would on no account be attributed to the fleeting and perishable element, were it not for that which is added, “by the word.” This word of faith possesses such virtue in the Church of God, that through the medium of him who in faith presents, and blesses, and sprinkles it, He cleanseth even the tiny infant, although itself unable as yet with the heart to believe unto righteousness, and to make confession with the mouth unto salvation. All this is done by means of the word, whereof the Lord saith, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”


5a. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Part 3, Vol. 16, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Exposition 1 of Psalm 33, §10 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), p. 21.
10. And he was carried in his own hands. How on earth are we to understand this, my brothers and sisters, how is it humanly possible? How can someone be carried in his own hands? A person can be carried in the hands of others, but not in his own. Well, we have no way of knowing what it literally means in David’s case; but we can make sense of it with regard to Christ. Christ was being carried in his own hands when he handed over his body, saying, This is my body (Mt 26:26); for he was holding that very body in his hands as he spoke. Such is the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this humility is what he recommends to us most strongly.
5b. (but compare the added caveat in the second sermon) John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Part 3, Vol. 16, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Exposition 2 of Psalm 33, §2 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), p. 24.
In the light of this, what is the meaning of he affected? It means he was full of affection. What could ever be as full of affection as is the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in consideration of our infirmity accepted temporal death amid such violence and degradation, to free us from everlasting death? He drummed because a drum can be made only by stretching a skin across a wooden frame, so David's drumming was a prediction that Christ was to be crucified. He drummed on the doors into the city; and what else are the doors into the city but our hearts, which we had shut against Christ? But from the drum of his cross he opened the hearts of us mortals. He was carried in his own hands; how was this possible? Because when he entrusted to us his very body and blood, he took into his hands what the faithful know about, and so in a sense he was carrying himself when he said, This is my body.

6. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 10, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, Sermon 354, §2 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 156.
Now many people receive the sacrament of his body; but not all who receive the sacrament are also going to have the place in his company promised to his members. Nearly all people indeed say the sacrament is his body, because all are feeding together in his pastures; but he is going to come and separate them, and place some on the right, some on the left. And each section is going to say, Lord, Lord, when did we see you and minister to you? or else Lord, when did we see you and not minister to you? Each section is going to say that; to one, all the same, he will say, Come, you blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom; to the other, Go into eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:31-41).


7. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 7, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (230 - 272B) on Liturgical Seasons, Sermon 265A, §§6-7 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1993), p. 244.
If that's the only thing they are willing to hear, why don't they pay attention to what he said himself on another occasion: I and the Father are one? And then they must consider why it was said: The Father is greater than I. As he was about to ascend, you see, to the Father, the disciples were saddened that he would be leaving them in his bodily form; and so he said to them, What I told you: I am going to the Father, has filled your hearts with sadness. If you loved me you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; because the Father is greater than I (Jn. 16:6; 14:28). That amounts to saying, "The reason I am withdrawing from your sight this form of a servant, in which the Father is greater than I, is so that you may be able spiritually to see the Lord, once the form of a servant has been removed from in front of your eyes of flesh."
7. So on the one hand, because of the true form of a servant which he had taken, it was true what he said, The Father is greater than I, because obviously God is greater than man; and on the other hand, because of the true form of God in which he remained with the Father, it was true what he said, I and the Father are one. So he ascended to the Father insofar as he was a man, but he remained in the Father insofar as he was God, because he had come forth to us in the flesh without departing from the Father. What I am saying is, there ascended to the Father the Word which had become flesh to dwell among us (Jn 1:14). And he promised us his continued presence, saying, Behold I am with you all days, until the consummation of the age (Mt 28:20).



8. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 10, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, Sermon 375C, §6 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 343.
What a splendid touch, what belief, what insistence! And this is what a woman did, worn out with loss of blood, like the Church afflicted and wounded in its martyrs by shedding of their blood, but full of the strength of faith. She had previously spent her fortune on doctors, that is on the gods of the nations, who had never been able to cure her; to this Church the Lord has presented not his bodily but his spiritual presence. So now this woman who's touching and the Lord who's being touched know each other. But in order that those who needed to know how to obtain salvation might be taught how to touch, he said, Who touched me? And the disciples answered, The crowds are jostling you, and you can say, Who touched me? As though you were in some lofty place where nobody can touch you, is that how you ask who touched you, while you are being jostled continuously by the crowds? The Lord said, Someone touched me (Lk 8:45-46). I felt one woman touching me more than the whole crowd jostling me. The crowd knows well enough how to jostle; if only it could learn how to touch!


9. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 10, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, Sermon 361, §7 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 229.
So you are enduring a great storm; you don't want to answer the one who is trying to corrupt you, because you want to be nice to him, since he's offering you a drink; but the tidal wave of that craving is rearing up its crest, and threatening to engulf your heart like a boat. Christian, Christ is asleep in your boat; wake him up, he will command the storm, and everything will be calm. At that time, you see, when the disciples were being tossed about in the boat and Christ was asleep, they represented Christians being tossed about while their Christian faith is asleep. You can see, after all, what the apostle says: For Christ to dwell, he says, by faith in your hearts (Eph 3:19). As regards, you see, his presence in beauty and divinity, he is always with the Father; as regards his bodily presence, he is now about the heavens at the right hand of the Father; but as regards the presence of faith, he is in all Christians. And the reason, therefore, that you are being tossed about hither and thither is that Christ is asleep; that is, the reason you don't overcome those cravings that are stirred up by the gusts of evil persuasion, is that faith is asleep.
10. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 20, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Expositions of the Psalms (Volume 6), Exposition of Psalm 127, §8 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2004), p. 105.
Now let each one of us discern what kind of fear he or she has. Is it the kind that charity casts out or the chaste fear that abides for ever, for eternity? Each of you must test it now. I will spell it out, and you test it. Our bridegroom has gone away. Question your conscience: Do you want him to come back, or would you prefer him to delay his return? Go on, ask yourselves, brothers and sisters! I have knocked at the doors of your hearts, but he alone hears the reply from within. The answers given by all your consciences cannot reach my ears, because I am only a man. But he, who is absent as far as bodily presence goes, is present in all the power and vigor of his majesty, and he has heard you. If we say, "Look, Christ is almost here! Tomorrow will be judgment day!" how few people will reply, "Good! Let him come!" Those who do react like that are the ones who love much, and if you then tell them, "Oh no; he has been delayed," they will dread any delay, and their dread is chaste fear. And just as chaste fear dreads any delay in his coming, so, when he has come, will it dread his going away. But this fear is tranquil and unworried, another proof that it is chaste fear. We are not likely to be forsaken by him once he has found us, are we? Not anyone who believes in him. After all, he sought us before ever we began to seek him.


- TurretinFan

54 comments:

Constantine said...

Hi T'Fan,

This is really good stuff so thanks much for going to the effort.

What seems conspicuous by its absence -and forgive me if you are adding this in the future - is Augustine's sermon 272. As you probably know, Augustine says that the "one body" represented in the Eucharist is the body of believers, not the physical body of Christ. Just as many grains are crushed, combined and put through the fire to form one loaf, so, too, we who form one body.

He does something similar with the juice of many grapes combining as do we to be one cup.

"The reason these things, brothers and sisters, are called sacraments is that in them one thing is seen, another is to be understood."

At any rate, thanks again.

Peace.

Turretinfan said...

I agree. I hope to dedicate a separate post to the analysis of that sermon. It's, I think, to be the 4th or so post in this series.

herb said...

TurretinFan-
Thanks for your continued focus on this most important topic. Is it necessary, however, for modern Catholics to argue that St. Augustine held to "the modern Roman view of transubstantiation"? Is it not safe for a Catholic to understand Augustine's view as a nascent position fundamentally reconcilable with the teachings/terminology eventually expressed by the Magisterium?

For some reason I'm hung up on the conviction that St. Augustine, though a great teacher, still considered himself a pupil to be taught by Mother Church. I ask myself: Would he really, were he to face the modern teaching of the Catholic teaching (concerning the Eucharist), backed by the authority of the Magisterium, balk in resistance? Or is it more likely that he'd submit and be taught? Were he confronted with them somehow, upon what basis do we moderns presume that this Catholic Bishop would betray his very Catholic identity in rejection of the modern dogmas of the Church concerning the Eucharist?

The history, the doctrine and the claims of the Church seem outrageous, yes, but we Christians must never forget: 'Elle est quand même notre mère!'

Turretinfan said...

Herb:

You wrote: "Thanks for your continued focus on this most important topic."

It is my pleasure.

You wrote: "Is it necessary, however, for modern Catholics to argue that St. Augustine held to 'the modern Roman view of transubstantiation'?"

Some seem to think it is necessary to argue that.

You wrote: "Is it not safe for a Catholic to understand Augustine's view as a nascent position fundamentally reconcilable with the teachings/terminology eventually expressed by the Magisterium?"

a) That approach seems more easy to defend.

b) That approach, however, is contradicted by this post (as well as by the last post). In other words, these posts I'm providing are not just to disprove the theory that Augustine actually held to transubstantiation, but also to show that his position is fundamentally inconsistent with transubstantiation.

I think the "bodily absence" view of Augustine is particularly clear in that regard. If there is no bodily presence of Christ, only bodily absence, then there is no possibility that his view is consistent with the modern Roman view.

c) There's also a third impact. The magisterium is not allowed to make up new dogma. They are supposed to be limited to what was delivered by the apostles, whether in writing or orally. However, if Augustine is totally unaware of this teaching, it seems unlikely it was a teaching passed down orally to Trent.

You wrote: "For some reason I'm hung up on the conviction that St. Augustine, though a great teacher, still considered himself a pupil to be taught by Mother Church."

He mostly considered himself a pupil to be taught by Scripture - at least that's what I've seen.

You wrote: "I ask myself: Would he really, were he to face the modern teaching of the Catholic teaching (concerning the Eucharist), backed by the authority of the Magisterium, balk in resistance?"

No, I think he'd resoundingly deny the catholicity of Rome. He'd say that the novel doctrines Rome teaches are not what were passed down to the fathers by the apostles. Moreover, he would appeal (as he always did) to Scripture as the arbiter of the doctrinal dispute.

[cont'd in part 2]

Turretinfan said...

[cont'd from part 1]

You wrote: "Or is it more likely that he'd submit and be taught?"

When he didn't agree with the bishop of Rome during his life, he didn't submit. So, we wouldn't expect to see submission here either.

You wrote: "Were he confronted with them somehow, upon what basis do we moderns presume that this Catholic Bishop would betray his very Catholic identity in rejection of the modern dogmas of the Church concerning the Eucharist?"

Augustine's identity doesn't include any belief in conciliar or papal infallibility. He was "Catholic" but decidedly not Roman Catholic. We are discussing his view of the Eucharist, but we could talk about many other topics.

There were not seven sacraments for Augustine, there were numerous sacraments, and yet the Lord's Supper and Baptism were the major ones.

There is not once that I can find where Augustine calls Mary the "Mother of God." He never prays to her. There is no "Hail Mary" or Rosary in his prayer life.

Augustine doesn't venerate images. He doesn't know of a place or state called "Purgatory," nor has he ever heard of the idea of the bodily assumption of Mary.

Augustine probably does think that Mary was personally sinless and that Mary was perpetually a virgin, but Augustine doesn't think that Mary was immaculately conceived.

But really Augustine's view of sola Scriptura is the most fundamental distinction between his position and Rome's today. But I have no digressed quite a bit, since I don't intend to turn this comment box into a freewheeling discussion of all aspects of Augustine's theology.

You wrote: "The history, the doctrine and the claims of the Church seem outrageous, yes, but we Christians must never forget: 'Elle est quand même notre mère!'"

A man should leave both father and mother, if required to honor Christ.

-TurretinFan

Jeph said...

Not to mention that St. Augustine also condemns the semi-Pelagianism of Trent.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Good post and very good comments.

herb said...

Hello-
The teaching of Trent is that we are nothing short dead in the water prior to receiving the prevenient grace of Christ. How you get "semi-Pelagianism" from that, I'm not sure. But this comment thread, as TF noted, isn't exactly the place for us to debate Marian Dogmas, etc.

So let me quick make a couple comments on a few of the Augustinian texts in the post:

#1
(12) "If thou art good, if thou belongest to the body represented by Peter, thou hast Christ both now and hereafter: now by faith, by sign, by the sacrament of baptism, by the bread and wine of the altar."

St. Augustine opens with a conditional phrase, stating that both one's conduct and one's ecclesial associations determine whether or not one possesses Christ (according to, among other things, "the sacrament of baptism"). So even if you can find doctrinal validation in SOME of what Augustine wrote (who couldn't?), in the process, you end up, to a greater extent, demonstrating just how many light years he was away from the fundamentals of Reformation Protestantism.

(13) "He was speaking of His bodily presence. "

Certainly this and similar lines can be read as referring to Christ's human form, busy fulfilling His divine mission. By no means must such passing references be understood as implicit refutations of doctrine of Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist.

#2
This passage demonstrates a belief in the spiritual presence of Christ, which Catholics affirm. It also speaks to the fact that Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father. We can't cling to Him in His person. These statements say nothing of our communion with Him under the veil of the sacrament, however.

(continued below)

herb said...

(continued from above)

#4
"Take away the word, and the water is neither more nor less than water. The word is added to the element, and there results the Sacrament, as if itself also a kind of visible word."

TF, as I see it, this line demonstrates exactly what I've felt nothing short of FORCED to acknowledge: the both/and hermeneutic. In this passage St. Augustine says that the WORD is ADDED to the element (word+element=sacrament), thereby affirming the Catholic idea that BOTH the word AND the matter are understood to comprise the sacrament. It's not just the spirit alone at work. If it were, why would we look to the Resurrection of the body? Why would we not look to the complete and permanent shuffling off of this mortal coil?

5b
"He was carried in his own hands; how was this possible? Because when he entrusted to us his very body and blood, he took into his hands what the faithful know about, and so in a sense he was carrying himself when he said, This is my body."

In a sense, yes. In what sense? In a sacramental sense, in a Eucharistic sense. The short phrase "in a sense" simply means: "in a manner" or "so to speak" or "in a way" or "sort of." One definition suggests that the phrase is best re-worded as: "Sort of, in some ways but not others." So, yes, it was "in a sense," a sacramental sense, that Christ held His own self in His hands. Further, what of the possibility that the phrase "in a sense" could be more of an expression of the Latin sēnsus, meaning "to feel"? I don't know. But I can't read into this 3 letter phrase a contradiction to what St. Augustine says elsewhere.

#8.
"to this Church the Lord has presented not his bodily but his spiritual presence."

Here we have a simple contrast being made, do we not? St. Augustine is contrasting Christ's presentation to the Church with the manner by which He was presented to the suffering woman. In the case of the woman, He was presented in animated human form, in complete (walking/talking) bodily presence. To the Church, however, He is accessed through faith, spiritually. I don't see how such a teaching excludes the validity of the Eucharist any more than St. Augustine's comments in #4 above call into question the necessity of the waters of baptism. thanks.

Viisaus said...

"There is not once that I can find where Augustine calls Mary the "Mother of God." He never prays to her. There is no "Hail Mary" or Rosary in his prayer life."


Moreover, the modern Marian dogma of "Immaculate Conception" would probably remind Augustine vividly of the Pelagian denial of the original sin:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/creeds1.vi.viii.html

"Pelagius, who denied hereditary sin, went further, and exempted Mary (with several other saints of the Old Testament) from sin altogether; 224 and, if he were not a condemned heretic, he might be quoted as the father of the modern dogma. 225

225. It is characteristic that the Dominicans and Jansenists, who sympathized with the Augustinian anthropology, opposed the Immaculate Conception; while the Franciscans and Jesuits, who advocated it, have a more or less decided inclination towards Pelagianizing theories, and reduce original sin to a loss of supernatural righteousness, i.e., something merely negative, so that it is much easier to make an exception in favor of Mary. The Jesuits, at least, have an intense hatred of Augustinian views on sin and grace, and have shown it in the Jansenist controversy. "

dtking said...

"There is not once that I can find where Augustine calls Mary the "Mother of God."...

That's because he often asserted the opposite...

Example:

Augustine (354-430): At that time, therefore, when about to engage in divine acts, He repelled, as one unknown, her who was the mother, not of His divinity, but of His [human] infirmity. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate CXIX, §1, John 19:24-30.

There are other pericopes in Augustine to the same effect.

herb said...

If the Magisterium has been given (by Christ) the authority to define dogma, well, then, whatever it defines is simply true, regardless of how un-apparent the basis for such definitions remains in one's mind (Scripturally or otherwise). As is often the case, conversations such as this one, are derailed by considerations of how "reasonable" or "historically realistic" these dogma are. But for one thing, we're all clinging to a belief system that holds that fig trees spontaneously wither and mere men (St. Peter) walk on water (if but for a moment). When, one day, by the grace of Christ, we are faced with the fact that Christ's Mother was assumed, body and soul into Heaven, that she was the ever-Virgin, that she was indeed conceived immaculately, and that she was the Theotokos, how will we feel in having rejected these teachings, not because God couldn't have willed them and accomplished them without interfering with the work of His Son, the Redeemer, but because our feeble human minds considered such things to be absurd, and as we saw them, an affront to the work of Christ? Now, back to St. Augustine's comments...

Turretinfan said...

Herb:
You wrote: "If the Magisterium has been given (by Christ) the authority to define dogma, well, then, whatever it defines is simply true, regardless of how un-apparent the basis for such definitions remains in one's mind (Scripturally or otherwise)."

If it has been given the authority to define dogma infallibly, then it is certainly right - and all the evidence to the contrary must be dismissed.

However, if one is willing to investigate the claim that the magisterium makes, one must consider the evidence - and the evidence is against the magisterium's claim.

You wrote: "As is often the case, conversations such as this one, are derailed by considerations of how "reasonable" or "historically realistic" these dogma are."

I guess it depends on what the point of the conversation is. If the point is to determine whether or not the magisterium teaches transubstantiation, then who cares about what the Scriptural and Historical evidence is! But if the point is to investigate the magisterium's claims by examining the evidence, then those points seems central, not tangential.

You wrote: "But for one thing, we're all clinging to a belief system that holds that fig trees spontaneously wither and mere men (St. Peter) walk on water (if but for a moment)."

Yes. But we believe that a miracle occurred because we accept the Scriptures as the Word of God, which they are. We don't accept your magisterium's every assertion as God's word.

You wrote: "When, one day, by the grace of Christ, we are faced with the fact that Christ's Mother was assumed, body and soul into Heaven, ..."

Even if that were a fact, it wasn't important enough to put in Scripture, and it wasn't important enough for any of the fathers of the first 4 centuries (whose writings we have) to know about it. Yet Rome requires people to accept it de fide, and you see no problem with that?

"When, one day, by the grace of Christ, we are faced with the fact ... that she was the ever-Virgin, ..."

The Scriptures pretty clearly suggest otherwise, referring to Jesus as her first-born and talking about Jesus' brothers and sisters, as well as by calling Joseph her husband, and indicating that he kept himself from her until Jesus was born (not until he died).

But even if we have misunderstood these Scriptures somehow, the idea of her perpetual virginity was not important enough to be taught in Scripture. Yet Rome makes it something that must be accepted de fide and you seem to have no problem with that.

"When, one day, by the grace of Christ, we are faced with the fact ... that she was indeed conceived immaculately, ..."

On the contrary, the Scriptures teach us that Mary was born a sinner, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

And even if we have misunderstood the Scriptures, Mary's immaculate conception is not something important enough to be taught in Scripture, and it was not known to any of the fathers before (and including) Augustine. Yet Rome makes it something that must be held de fide and you don't see the problem with that?

"When, one day, by the grace of Christ, we are faced with the fact ... that she was the Theotokos, ..."

She was that ... but that's "God-bearer," not "Mother of God."

And again, before Athanasius, who used that expression? Yet if you refuse to the expression, Rome counts you as anathema. And you don't see a problem with that?

You wrote: "... how will we feel in having rejected these teachings, not because God couldn't have willed them and accomplished them without interfering with the work of His Son, the Redeemer, but because our feeble human minds considered such things to be absurd, and as we saw them, an affront to the work of Christ?"

It's enough that God has not revealed them. That justifies our refusal to believe them.

-TurretinFan

Fredericka said...

Herb wrote, "If the Magisterium has been given (by Christ) the authority to define dogma, well, then, whatever it defines is simply true, regardless of how un-apparent the basis for such definitions remains in one's mind (Scripturally or otherwise)."

Hi Herb. But what if they define geocentrism or some other erroneous and unscriptural thing?

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi TF, I haven't been able to visit often lately, but when I saw these postings I thought I would just respond with this~I think you are reading what Augustine wrote anachronistically. You may have touched upon this elsewhere, but I do not think you have grasped the significance of how the Church at large and Augustine in particular understood symbols in the 4th century as compared today. The meaning of Symbol in 4th century thought is anything but figurative.

Moreover, the word transubstantiation was a neologism coined to describe something that the Church had already believed, not something new.

In sum, I am definitely comfortable arguing that Augustine's views on the subject is far more in line with the Catholic Church than with Atty. Calvin's despite your considered opinion here.

Anyway, I will tag these post for further study later when I have time and hopefully when we are ready (meaning me this time with my school-work schedule)to debate Augustine's view on Real Presence. I look forward to interacting with you soon (as I said as early as May).

My views stated, I must congratulate both you and your commentators on the civil and enlightening discussion here.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

Of course the term wasn't coined by the church, but by an individual, private theologian (perhaps independently by more than one).

Nevertheless, as to the issue of "symbol," the term can have a variety of meaning. However, I think if one explores the Augustine corpus for his usage of that and similar terms, one can get a reasonably clear sense of what he means.

Some of that should come out in my next post on this subject.

- TurretinFan

herb said...

Fredericka-

"But what if they define geocentrism or some other erroneous and unscriptural thing?"

I've not given more than two second's thought to the possibility of our Earth being at the center of the Universe. What do I know? And Geocentrism may or may not be unScriptural. I've never studied it. Nor have I studied the Galileo-era conflict at all. Also, even if something is unScriptural, it may very well be far from anti-Scriptural? And obviously Geocentrism has little to nothing to do with the moral life (though the belief for or against may certainly have philosophical implications for the role humans play in this vast Universe).

What it comes down to is this, as a Catholic, I believe that the Magisterium speaks definitively, regarding matters of faith and morals ("He who hears you hears me." Christ can't lie or promote a falsehood. And under certain conditions, through the safeguarding of the Holy Spirit, neither can His Magisterium.

herb said...

TurretinFan-
re: quotation #4
I am interested to find out how your understanding of the phrase "in a sense" leads you to conclude that St. Augustine means to relay the idea that Christ wasn't REALLY holding Himself in His hands, but rather was figuratively/in a sense doing so, when, as I see it, the phrase could simply represent Augustine's recognition of the fact that Christ did so in a mysterious Eucharistic sense.

I guess, for me, going through RCIA, etc. I always understood the sacramental "veil" to represent a mysterious distinction between Christ as a man/God with eyes, ears, two arms, two legs (currently seated at the Right Hand of the Father), etc. and Christ as we receive Him in the sacrament. With this distinction (the breathing/speaking Christ vs. the Sacramental substance of Christ) in mind, it seems perfectly natural that St. Augustine would employ a phrase such as "in a sense" as he expresses his thought concerning what took place at the last supper. So your seeing the 3 letters as some all-important caveat, I just can't understand... especially, as noted, elsewhere St. Augustine says that one doesn't receive the Sacrament w/out first adoring it. Thanks, TF

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi TF, No doubt symbol does have a variety of meanings. The question though is how would Augustine understood the term which one can not get just from excerpts of Augustine's writings especially when contemporaries Ambrose, John Chrysostom, and even Jerome use far more realist terms to describe the Real Presence without any contradiction or disagreement by Augustine. Since the meaning of words change over time, it is important to give some thought as to how they were understood then as opposed to now. Look at how "myth" and "parable" have flipped meanings over the centuries.

I do acknowledge that I do not understand all of the vagaries of Platonism which Augustine fused with biblical typology but in Augustine's time, signum or symbol not only signified the res or reality it represented but but mediated and participated in that reality to make it present to those who invoked the symbol. Have you read Mircea Eliade's "Images and Symbols"? Even if you have, it might be useful to the other readers here to do so in order to understand that the matter is not as clear-cut as you might otherwise like it to be.

Too, Augustine was also a skilled rhetorician as well. In opposition to Manicheans he was careful to avoid realist language. With the Pelagians, he chose to use more realist terms in discussing the sacraments. The measured use of words tailored to meet one's audience is a skill that even a country bumpkin lawyer like myself would recognize and admire.

While it seems that you have mastered Augustinian texts, it might be helpful to consider the background of the author and the audience to whom the texts were directed especially when reviewing texts that are not inspired like Scripture which tend to be a tad more timeless than those of a patristic writer, even one as brilliant and as authoritative as Augustine.

Oh well, back to finishing my homework!

God bless you and yours!

Turretinfan said...

Of course it is important to consider how the words were used then - as well as how freely metaphorical forms were employed in particular contexts, without explanation.

Indeed, as you know, it is characteristic of the use of metaphor that something figurative is spoken of realistically - for example, "That Rock was Christ," might make it sound as though the Rock really was Christ, whereas - of course - the Rock was a symbol or figure of Christ.

And, of course, we could examine the variety of view points expressed before Augustine's time and contemporary with him, but when Augustine is clearly speaking figuratively, such appeals may safely taken a second chair.

-TurretinFan

herb said...

TurretinFan-

I could clearly speak figuratively of a gun as a symbol of death and violence. I could refer to the gun as a symbol. I could speak of it as "representing" something else. I could speak of it as "in a sense" an symbol of destruction. And all along, my audience would certainly know that this "symbol" is at the same time the real thing.

This is why I'm hung up on the fact that St. Augustine clearly spoke in non-figurative terms elsewhere in his writings, which force us to adopt the both/and reading, as I see it.

dtking said...

No doubt symbol does have a variety of meanings. The question though is how would Augustine understood the term which one can not get just from excerpts of Augustine's writings...

TF's position on Augustine is supported by patristic scholars such as Kelly...

J. N. D. Kelly: Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestionably realist, i.e. the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Saviour’s body and blood. Among theologians, however, this identity was interpreted in our period in at least two different ways, and these interpretations, mutually exclusive though they were in strict logic, were often allowed to overlap. In the first place, the figurative or symbolical view, which stressed the distinction between the visible elements and the reality they represented, still claimed a measure of support. It harked back, as we have seen, to Tertullian and Cyprian, and was to be given a renewed lease of life through the powerful in fluence of Augustine. Secondly, however, a new and increasingly potent tendency becomes observable to explain the identity as a being the result of an actual change or conversion in the bread and wine. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 5th ed. (San Francisco: Harper, 1978), p. 440.

Kelly points out that the novel (new) view was that an "actual change or conversion" occurs, not was always believed as was gratuitously asserted.

...especially when contemporaries Ambrose, John Chrysostom, and even Jerome use far more realist terms to describe the Real Presence without any contradiction or disagreement by Augustine.

The Romanist now mentions 3 other patristic writers and asserts implicitly that they all agreed with modern day Rome. Who is engaging in anchronistic reading now? Moreover, "real presence" does not mean the same thing as Rome's insistence that a "change or conversion" takes place. Romanists confuse such categories of thought all the time so that, again, what is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied.

Fredericka said...

Hi Herb. One of the things Augustine is fairly consistent on is his view that only some who partake of communion are actually eating the Lord's flesh, for instance, "He then who is in the unity of Christ’s body (that is to say, in the
Christian membership), of which body the faithful have been wont to receive the sacrament at the altar, that man is truly said to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ. . .But again, even those who sufficiently understand that he who is not in the body of Christ cannot be said to eat the body of Christ, are in error when they promise liberation from the fire of eternal punishment to persons who fall away from the unity of that body into heresy, or even into heathenish superstition. [...] Neither can these persons be said to eat the body of Christ, for they cannot even be reckoned among His members. . .In fine, He Himself, when He says, 'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him,' shows what it is in reality, and not sacramentally, to eat His body and drink His blood; for this is to dwell in Christ, that He also may dwell in us. So that it is as if He said, He that dwelleth not in me, and in whom I do not dwell, let him not say or think that he eateth my body or drinketh my blood." (Augustine, City of God, Book 21, Chapter 25).

But what is characteristic of transubstantiation is that, once the words of consecration have been spoken, there it is, for mice, mildew, heretics, apostates, and unbelievers to eat. Both sides agree communion is not profitable for all, but Augustine does not think the mice and unbelievers are in fact eating the Lord's body, Thomas does. That strikes me as being a very clear divide. This can't be 'both/and,' because either the mice are eating or they are not eating.

Fredericka said...

Herb wrote, "I've not given more than two second's thought to the possibility of our Earth being at the center of the Universe."

Hi Herb! Only 79% of Americans are willing to come down forthrightly on the side of heliocentrism (http://www.gallup.com/poll/3742/new-poll-gauges-americans-general-knowledge-levels.aspx). Somehow that number seems low! The reason I was asking, when people have bobbled the ball in the past, why would you trust them going forward?

herb said...

Fredericka, re: City of God, Book 21, Ch. 25.

I certainly see what you're saying here. It does sound like he's saying what it is you believe him to be saying. And maybe he is. And maybe he isn't... because "in a sense" a person who is an unrepentant drunk or adulterer doesn't partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. And "in another sense" he does by virtue of the miracle of consecration. Just as a mouse would consume our Lord "in a sense" were he to have access to the consecrated host, in another sense (that is, spiritually) the mouse would receive no such Holy Communion.

What St. Augustine appears to be doing here is addressing those who believe themselves to "be right with God" merely through participation in the Sacrament and APART from any real spiritual unity with Christ.

And I'm not just bending over backwards to force fit the teachings of Thomas and Augustine. Rather, I'm interpreting things this way as I try to reconcile St. Augustine's words here with St. Augustine's words elsewhere. You could pit him against himself as easily as you pit him against St. Thomas (according to St. Augustine's clear promotion of adoration of the host).

Everything else he wrote concerning the Eucharist must be interpreted according to his assertion that we sin by NOT adoring the Eucharist (as far as I see it), because it's in those teachings that he "sets the stakes" for his Eucharistic understanding. B/c if we don't read things in that light we're stuck with a schizophrenic Doctor of the Church, a guy who on one occasion may instruct the Faithful to worship a simple piece of bread and on another occasion my teach that Christ's presence in the Church is restricted solely to the realm of spirit.

herb said...

Fredericka-
you asked:
"...when people have bobbled the ball in the past, why would you trust them going forward?"

As I see it, every christian denomination has some degree of waffling or "bobbling the ball" in its past. The Catholic Church, being the largest of all of them tends to have its missteps right out in the open for all the world to see. Fortunately, its first Pope, St. Peter himself demonstrated the fact that even the worst of "bobblings" don't place us beyond the reach of God's grace. St. Peter set the bar just low enough to demonstrate to his successors the inescapable reach of God's sovereign hand.

I'd like to say one more thing, Fredericka... In the way that these conversations weave this way and that and touch upon everything from Marian dogmas to Geocentrism, they're illustrating one of the major things that directed me towards Rome and that is this: As I search, as I consider, as I attempt to live out my faith, as I read the Fathers, as I interact with people such as you, where do I call Home if not the Catholic Church? What is the default setting? What is that ground zero of the Christian world from which all the heresies arose? If I want to start from scratch where else would I go? I can't be Protestant until I really understand that against which I'm protesting- and that took 1500 years for the Reformers to figure out.

By being Protestant one bears the burden of demonstrating (perpetually) that he's justified in being Protestant. That's a task I wasn't up to.

Finally, I can't buy the idea that I'm to rely solely on a book, mostly due to the fact that Christianity is an effect of the Incarnation, not the effect of inscripturation, but also because there are plenty of book-wielding wanderers all over the place. Some are Arians, some are Ebionites, some are Mormons. One was even a confused Ethiopian Eunuch (until he became Catholic).

But for me, as a Catholic, I enjoy a sacramental bond of unity in Christ with people who'd otherwise not relate to me at all. That's a supernatural unity that only Christ can effect. So, as a Catholic, I am at rest and at home, but at the same time as vigilant I can be. I'm hiding myself in Christ and what He's gained rather than staking my claim to a land of my own discovery and doing all I can to defend it from others' attacks.

Fredericka said...

Herb wrote, "I can't be Protestant until I really understand that against which I'm protesting- and that took 1500 years for the Reformers to figure out."

Hi Herb! If it took them 1500 years to figure out things which did not exist until the 1200's, then we must be living in the 2700's. The Catholic church innovated like crazy in the Middle Ages, unfortunately it was all bad stuff like geocentrism. Jesus never founded a church with a mission to innovate.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. King, While you have demonstrated that your ability to spell the pejorative, Romanist, I would note that I generally do not go around referring to myself by that epithet. Please call me Paul or Mr. Hoffer or even Paul H. if you must. It makes interaction more congenial and perhaps a bit more edifying to others. The “Golden Rule” applies to Catholics too.

Now to your comments: I appreciate your reference to JND Kelly. What’s your take on this quote from him on page 447 of that same book pertaining to Augustine’s reference to the Real Presence in Ennar. 98.9?

“One could multiply texts like these which show Augustine taking for granted the traditional identification of the elements with the sacred body and blood. There can be no doubt that he [Augustine] shared the realism held by almost all of his contemporaries and predecessors.”

Kelly is a bit wishy-washy here isn’t he? I could likewise cite to other Protestant as well as Catholic patristic scholars who agree with my view, but to tell you the truth, I did not intend for my comment to Mr. Fan to become a smack-down of the patristic scholars. I had raised this point in connection to my query of Mr. Fan if he had considered Augustine’s Platonism before opining that Augustine held to a figurative view of the Real Presence. But addressing your use of authority, I acknowledge that scholars do disagree on this point of Augustine’s theology. However, to imply that patristic scholars agree with TF without qualification as if there was some sort of unanimity of scholarly opinion is a tad disingenuous on your part, isn’t it?

You also commented on my use of other patristic writers. Since those guys all belonged to that same Catholic Church as Augustine did and since Ambrose in particular was Augustine’s teacher, mentor and friend, it is reasonable to assume that they all held to similar views. If Augustine thought that their view of the Real Presence was not similar to his, do you think he would not have commented on it somewhere in his voluminous writings? He certainly had no problem criticizing Jerome on other matters, why would you think Augustine would have been reticent in criticizing him on this point?

However, as to whether Augustine believed that some change occurred in the Eucharist, I would point out that he did write, “Not all bread, but bread receiving the benediction of Christ becomes the Body of Christ [Sermo. 234.2]”; and, “By a certain consecration the bread is made to us mystical, it is not born so [Contra. Faust. Man. Book XX.13] and “If, therefore, the Apostle Paul, although he still bare the burden of the body, which is subject to corruption and presses down the soul, and although he still saw only in part and in an enigma, wishing to depart and be with Christ, and groaning within himself, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body, yet was able to preach the Lord Jesus Christ significantly, in one way by his tongue, in another by epistle, in another by the sacrament of His body and blood (since, certainly, we do not call either the tongue of the apostle, or the parchments, or the ink, or the significant sounds which his tongue uttered, or the alphabetical signs written on skins, the body and blood of Christ; but that only which we take of the fruits of the earth and consecrate by mystic prayer, and then receive duly to our spiritual health in memory of the passion of our Lord for us: and this, although it is brought by the hands of men to that visible form, yet is not sanctified to become so great a sacrament, except by the spirit of God working invisibly [De Trinitate Book III, 4.10]

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

If Augustine did not believe that a change or conversion occurred then Augustine’s statement, “Nobody eats this flesh without previously adoring it [Enarr. in Ps. 98, 9]” would be idolatrous. Thus, my non-magisterial opinion would be less anachronistic than you suggest. Moreover, I would argue that his views on the Eucharist are far more in line with what :modern day Rome” teaches as opposed to whatever you misapprehend them to be.

BTW, are your views of the Real Presence more in line with those of Martin Luther, John Calvin or John Zwingli? To know such would be helpful to me in tailoring my comments.

God bless you and yours!

herb said...

Fredericka-
I've read Luther's 95 Theses a number of times. The notion that he was reacting against Geocentrism or a host of Medieval "innovations" isn't to be found there. The 95 Theses were in many ways spot on. Many of them, as you know, did the good work of helping to reform the Church.

But stand back to survey the scene for a second here: Review some of the first comments following TF's recent post focusing about Frank Beckwith's wrong foundation (the Eucharist). Consider the almost mockingly dismissive tone that some of the comments take. Consider the way "Truth Unites... and Divides" joked about the "form" of the Sacrament and related it to the recipe for KFC (Though I've read that Colonel Sanders was Presbyterian!). I don't see "Truth Unites... and Divides" doing much to chime into these conversations as they become both more thoughtful and more irenic. I also don't hear him mocking St. Augustine for uttering the Catholic "nonsense" posted by Mr. Hoffer:
"By a certain consecration the bread is made to us mystical, it is not born so."

I've been showing up here recently for a few reasons. One of them is b/c TF has been very kind to me (as have others here). Two, I am sincerely convinced of my obligation to submit to my bishop as the teacher Christ appointed for me and I wish to share with others (who care to know) why that is. I don't believe I'll convince anyone. But I hope that you could at least get a glimpse into how I can rest my head at night believing all of those Catholic doctrines, by faith.

"If it took them 1500 years to figure out things which did not exist until the 1200's"

For all Luther challenges in the 95 Theses, consider all that he affirms. Don't forget an "Indulgence" is simply an "absolution." Luther didn't deny priestly absolution. He challenged the unholy burdening of the Faithful, the unrighteous threats of torment in Purgatory, and the wielding of the things which were to call us to righteousness as instruments of torment.
(continued below)

herb said...

(continued from above)
"The Catholic church innovated like crazy in the Middle Ages, unfortunately it was all bad stuff like geocentrism."

The conditions have to be right in order for something to flourish, to experience a period of tremendous growth and development. As society changed, so did the Church. In a way, humankind was being extracted from its past, and thus attempting to reconcile ancient teachings to the observations and considerations of its own day. Can we fault the Church for simply being human during this time? A Catholic who understands the Church in terms similar to those used by Christ in Chapter 13 (vs 31,32) of Matthew's Gospel doesn't have too hard a time understanding those things within their context, missteps included.

Christianity had to grow up. Since God is love and love requires relationship, it wasn't easy for even God to extract humanity from the depths it was in anymore than it's easy for me to draw my alcoholic friend out of the hole he's buried himself in. Christ chose to die to complete this task. And even after that there was work to be done, just as Christ indicated. That's why He commissioned His Church to speak authoritatively on His behalf ("as the Father sent me, so am I sending you") And just as an adolescent screws up royally throughout his formative years, so did the Church of Christ in certain ways (as it continues to do so to this very day). Both Geneva and Rome are guilty of putting heretics to the death. Also, it seems to me, that upon the basis by which you condemn Christ's Medieval Church, the ancient people of Israel, in their unfaithfulness, deserve far more unforgiveness, which just pushes your problem back further (maybe it was in facing this fact that Mortimer Adler spent most of his life as a self-identifying pagan).

Also, how far back do you want to go? There were periods of unrest prior to the 1600s which threatened to tear the Church apart (if that were possible). If you deny the notion that the Holy Spirit would remain in the Church, protecting her from error, why deny the orthodoxy of Catholicism in the 16th century? Why not challenge the Trinitarian "innovation"? There are certainly people who sincerely believe the Bible to deny the Trinity as they hinge their entire theology upon single passages here and there, some of which come directly from the lips of Christ. Isn't it ironic that in their christian sincerity they can deny Christ's divinity? Why not side with the gnostics? Maybe they had it right since the get-go.

"Jesus never founded a church with a mission to innovate."

No. But he founded a Church with the authority to both teach and define, to bind and loose throughout the ages and according to the times. And He promised the Holy Spirit to this Church, forever.

And when He returns for His Church, though His grace will span the globe as He calls His own to His side, we certainly won't find that all along He was a polygamist. He is true to His Bride.

dtking said...

Thus, my non-magisterial opinion would be less anachronistic than you suggest. Moreover, I would argue that his views on the Eucharist are far more in line with what :modern day Rome” teaches as opposed to whatever you misapprehend them to be.

Yes, the single citation approach, which you decried, is now your standard for your non-magisterial opinion - your double-standard is quite clear. And what you would argue is not an argument, but simply more of the same, a gratuitous assertion. And yes, this is an anachronistic reading of modern day Rome back into Augustine, notwithstanding your protest otherwise. All of this wreaks of "name it/claim it" for Augustine. But I have come to expect no less from Rome's wanna-be apologists.

herb said...

Fredericka, TurretinFan, Pete, Constantine and others who've been so good to me: In order to save some cash, my wife and I have lately been considering ditching the internet at home. We were just discussing the issue and have decided to go ahead with it. So at this point I think I'm going to bow out for good. Fredericka, if you'd like to follow up with me EVER, I will still have access to my gmail: herbert.vanderlugt(at)gmail.com.

I have truly enjoyed talking with you. May the Peace of Christ be with you all, especially TurretinFan who does so much work and has made this interaction possible...

Fredericka said...

Herb wrote, "The notion that he was reacting against Geocentrism or a host of Medieval "innovations" isn't to be found there."

Hi Herb! I don't think Martin Luther was reacting against geocentrism because he was a geocentrist himself! He responded to Copernicus by saying, "the fool will upset the whole science of astronomy," but I do think it was a hugely bad idea for Thomas and his successors to impose upon the church a 'theory of everything.' The Christian church had never had, nor had any reason to have, an official astronomy; but Thomas gave the church its own astronomy, its own biology, its own physics etc. This is what they got in the bargain when they picked up Aristotle. It is as if you yoked a cart to two horses, one immortal and one mortal. At first the two horses trot along with equal vigor, but in time the mortal horse is limping along, barely keeping up. Then, as he must, he dies, and the immortal horse has the further inconvenience and embarrassment of dragging along this rotting corpse with him wherever he goes. The corpse is Aristotle, the immortal horse is the Bible.

Thanks for an interesting conversation!

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. King, I did back my assertion with citations which generally is what an argument consists of-an assertion with support or corroboration. I could expand upon it if I had the time to do so (which I will when classes are done). As for anachronism, it shall be an interesting discussion to see how far afield or anachronistic Augustine's position actually is from the present-day teaching of the Catholic Church. At the very least, I can certainly show that there is nothing in Augustine's writings that are opposed to what the Catholic Church teaches today on the matter.

Frankly, given what little bit that I can discern from your comments on this thread, I am not quite sure that you even know what the modern day Rome teaches on the subject so you would probably have a hard time figuring out what exactly is anachronistic about Augustine's view on the Real Presence given his concurrence that the Eucharist should be adored, that it is the result of a sacrifice and that it should be reserved in a tabernacle, all of which would be meaningless if he held to a strictly spiritual or figurative presence.

Anyway, thank you for the opportunity to interact with you. I enjoyed it.

God bless you and yours!

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

Augustine's denial of Christ's continued bodily presence is a denial of what modern Rome teaches. That's just one example.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Fan, The quotations you are referencing show that Augustine denies a carnal presence just as the Catholic Church does today. You will find nothing in present day Catholic doctrine that suggests that we believe we are eating "Jesus burgers."

More to the point, transubstantiation does not mean, nor has it ever meant, that the change caused to confected bread and wine makes Jesus "present" to us as in a place, rather He is "present" in the manner proper to the sacrament. That is why I asked you in the first place if you had familiarized yourself with the 4th century understanding of signs and symbols.

BTW, Aquinas more precisely is able to develop this truth using Aristotleian elements. See e.g., Summa III, q. 75, a.1, ad 3. Further, Ludwig Ott excellently summarizes this aspect on pages 388-390 of Fudamentals of Catholic Dogma (1974 ed). Abbot Vonier's book, A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist is also very helpful as he explains Aquinas' views in a very readable and understandable way.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to disabuse you of the erroneous view of Catholic teaching you suggest we hold to. Again, Christ's Bodily Presence does not mean in any way, shape or form a carnal presence which is what Augustine talks about.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

You wrote: "Hello Mr. Fan, The quotations you are referencing show that Augustine denies a carnal presence just as the Catholic Church does today."

Please show me any official document from your church denying the carnal presence of Christ. I'm happy to show you where your church affirms it, but I think it would be better for you to instruct me, since you write that you wish to "disabuse [me/us] of the erroneous view of [Roman] Catholic teaching [I/we] suggest [you] hold to."

Where is this official denial of carnal presence?

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello TF, you asked if I could cite to some documentation where the Catholic Church denies that the Real Presence is a carnal presence.

Here are a few:

1. John 6:63-It does not get any more official than that.

If you want some others here you are:

2. From Council of Trent, Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, Chapter 1:

“In the first place, the holy Synod teaches, and openly and simply professes, that, in the August sacrament of the holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things. For neither are these things mutually repugnant,-THAT OUR SAVIOUR HIMSELF ALWAYS SITTETH AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER IN HEAVEN, ACCORDING TO THE NATURAL MODE OF EXISTING, and that, nevertheless, He be, in many other places, sacramentally present to us in his own substance, by a manner of existing, which, though we can scarcely express it in words, yet can we, by the understanding illuminated by faith, conceive, and we ought most firmly to believe, to be possible unto God[.]” (Emphasis Added)

Me: Note that the Church acknowledges that due to Christ’s natural mode of existence He is in heaven but is comes to us sacramentally.

3. In Chapter III of that same Decree:

“And this faith has ever been in the Church of God, that, immediately after the consecration, the veritable Body of our Lord, and His veritable Blood, together with His soul and divinity, are under the species of bread and wine; but the Body indeed under the species of bread, and the Blood under the species of wine, by the force of the words; but the body itself under the species of wine, and the blood under the species of bread, and the soul under both, by the force of that natural connexion and concomitancy whereby the parts of Christ our Lord, who hath now risen from the dead, to die no more, are united together; and the divinity, furthermore, on account of the admirable hypostatical union thereof with His body and soul. WHEREFORE IT IS MOST TRUE, THAT AS MUCH IS CONTAINED UNDER EITHER SPECIES AS UNDER BOTH; FOR CHRIST WHOLE AND ENTIRE IS UNDER THE SPECIES OF BREAD, AND UNDER ANY PART WHATSOEVER OF THAT SPECIES; LIKEWISE THE WHOLE (CHRIST) IS UNDER THE SPECIES OF WINE, AND UNDER THE PARTS THEREOF. (Emphasis Added)

Me: Note that we do not consume Christ carnally. He is whole and entire under the species bread and wine and when we partake He is not eaten in pieces or in parts.

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

4. Pope Paul VI from his encyclical Mysterium Fidei:

As a result of transubstantiation, the species of bread and wine undoubtedly take on a new signification and a new finality, for they are no longer ordinary bread and wine but instead a sign of something sacred and a sign of spiritual food; but they take on this new signification, this new finality, precisely because they contain a new "reality" which we can rightly call ontological. For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species— BENEATH WHICH CHRIST IS PRESENT WHOLE AND ENTIRE IN HIS PHYSICAL "REALITY," CORPOREALLY PRESENT, ALTHOUGH NOT IN THE MANNER IN WHICH BODIES ARE IN A PLACE.

Me: Here Pope Paul authoritatively asserts that Christ is really present, but not in the manner in which bodies are in a place. Encyclicals are about as official a document as they get.

4. Saint Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica III, 76, 3:

Article 1. Whether the whole Christ is contained under this sacrament?

Objection 1. It seems that the whole Christ is not contained under this sacrament, because Christ begins to be in this sacrament by conversion of the bread and wine. But it is evident that the bread and wine cannot be changed either into the Godhead or into the soul of Christ. Since therefore Christ exists in three substances, namely, the Godhead, soul and body, as shown above (2, 5; 5, 1,3), it seems that the entire Christ is not under this sacrament.

Objection 2. Further, Christ is in this sacrament, forasmuch as it is ordained to the refection of the faithful, which consists in food and drink, as stated above (Question 74, Article 1). But our Lord said (John 6:56): "My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed." Therefore, only the flesh and blood of Christ are contained in this sacrament. But there are many other parts of Christ's body, for instance, the nerves, bones, and such like. Therefore the entire Christ is not contained under this sacrament.

Objection 3. Further, a body of greater quantity cannot be contained under the measure of a lesser. But the measure of the bread and wine is much smaller than the measure of Christ's body. Therefore it is impossible that the entire Christ be contained under this sacrament.

On the contrary, Ambrose says (De Officiis): "Christ is in this sacrament."

I answer that, It is absolutely necessary to confess according to Catholic faith that the entire Christ is in this sacrament. Yet we must know that there is something of Christ in this sacrament in a twofold manner: first, as it were, by the power of the sacrament; secondly, from natural concomitance. By the power of the sacrament, there is under the species of this sacrament that into which the pre-existing substance of the bread and wine is changed, as expressed by the words of the form, which are effective in this as in the other sacraments; for instance, by the words: "This is My body," or, "This is My blood." But from natural concomitance there is also in this sacrament that which is really united with that thing wherein the aforesaid conversion is terminated. For if any two things be really united, then wherever the one is really, there must the other also be: since things really united together are only distinguished by an operation of the mind.

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont)

Reply to Objection 1. Because the
change of the bread and wine is not terminated at the Godhead or the soul of Christ, it follows as a consequence that the Godhead or the soul of Christ is in this sacrament not by the power of the sacrament, but from real concomitance. For since the Godhead never set aside the assumed body, wherever the body of Christ is, there, of necessity, must the Godhead be; and therefore it is necessary for the Godhead to be in this sacrament concomitantly with His body. Hence we read in the profession of faith at Ephesus (P. I., chap. xxvi): "We are made partakers of the body and blood of Christ, not as taking common flesh, nor as of a holy man united to the Word in dignity, but the truly life-giving flesh of the Word Himself."

On the other hand, His soul was truly separated from His body, as stated above (Question 50, Article 5). And therefore had this sacrament been celebrated during those three days when He was dead, the soul of Christ would not have been there, neither by the power of the sacrament, nor from real concomitance. But since "Christ rising from the dead dieth now no more" (Romans 6:9), His soul is always really united with His body. And therefore in this sacrament the body indeed of Christ is present by the power of the sacrament, but His soul from real concomitance.

Reply to Objection 2. By the power of the sacrament there is contained under it, as to the species of the bread, not only the flesh, but the entire body of Christ, that is, the bones the nerves, and the like. And this is apparent from the form of this sacrament, wherein it is not said: "This is My flesh," but "This is My body." Accordingly, when our Lord said (John 6:56): "My flesh is meat indeed," there the word flesh is put for the entire body, because according to human custom it seems to be more adapted for eating, as men commonly are fed on the flesh of animals, but not on the bones or the like.

Reply to Objection 3. As has been already stated (75, 5), after the consecration of the bread into the body of Christ, or of the wine into His blood, the accidents of both remain. From which it is evident that the dimensions of the bread or wine are not changed into the dimensions of the body of Christ, but substance into substance. And so the substance of Christ's body or blood is under this sacrament by the power of the sacrament, but not the dimensions of Christ's body or blood. Hence it is clear that the body of Christ is in this sacrament "by way of substance," and not by way of quantity. But the proper totality of substance is contained indifferently in a small or large quantity; as the whole nature of air in a great or small amount of air, and the whole nature of a man in a big or small individual. Wherefore, after the consecration, the whole substance of Christ's body and blood is contained in this sacrament, just as the whole substance of the bread and wine was contained there before the consecration.

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont.)

Article 2. Whether the whole Christ is contained under each species of this sacrament?

Objection 1. It seems that the whole Christ is not contained under both species of this sacrament. For this sacrament is ordained for the salvation of the faithful, not by virtue of the species, but by virtue of what is contained under the species, because the species were there even before the consecration, from which comes the power of this sacrament. If nothing, then, be contained under one species, but what is contained under the other, and if the whole Christ be contained under both, it seems that one of them is superfluous in this sacrament.

Objection 2. Further, it was stated above (1, ad 1) that all the other parts of the body, such as the bones, nerves, and the like, are comprised under the name of flesh. But the blood is one of the parts of the human body, as Aristotle proves (De Anima Histor. I). If, then, Christ's blood be contained under the species of bread, just as the other parts of the body are contained there, the blood ought not to be consecrated apart, just as no other part of the body is consecrated separately.
Objection 3. Further, what is once "in being" cannot be again "in becoming." But Christ's body has already begun to be in this sacrament by the consecration of the bread. Therefore, it cannot begin again to be there by the consecration of the wine; and so Christ's body will not be contained under the species of the wine, and accordingly neither the entire Christ. Therefore the whole Christ is not contained under each species.

On the contrary, The gloss on 1 Corinthians 11:25, commenting on the word "Chalice," says that "under each species," namely, of the bread and wine, "the same is received"; and thus it seems that Christ is entire under each species.

I answer that, After what we have said above (Article 1), it must be held most certainly that the whole Christ is under each sacramental species yet not alike in each. For the body of Christ is indeed present under the species of bread by the power of the sacrament, while the blood is there from real concomitance, as stated above (1, ad 1) in regard to the soul and Godhead of Christ; and under the species of wine the blood is present by the power of the sacrament, and His body by real concomitance, as is also His soul and Godhead: because now Christ's blood is not separated from His body, as it was at the time of His Passion and death. Hence if this sacrament had been celebrated then, the body of Christ would have been under the species of the bread, but without the blood; and, under the species of the wine, the blood would have been present without the body, as it was then, in fact.

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont.)

Reply to Objection 1. Although the whole Christ is under each species, yet it is so not without purpose. For in the first place this serves to represent Christ's Passion, in which the blood was separated from the body; hence in the form for the consecration of the blood mention is made of its shedding. Secondly, it is in keeping with the use of this sacrament, that Christ's body be shown apart to the faithful as food, and the blood as drink. Thirdly, it is in keeping with its effect, in which sense it was stated above (Question 74, Article 1) that "the body is offered for the salvation of the body, and the blood for the salvation of the soul."

Reply to Objection 2. In Christ's Passion, of which this is the memorial, the other parts of the body were not separated from one another, as the blood was, but the body remained entire, according to Exodus 12:46: "You shall not break a bone thereof." And therefore in this sacrament the blood is consecrated apart from the body, but no other part is consecrated separately from the rest.

Reply to Objection 3. As stated above, the body of Christ is not under the species of wine by the power of the sacrament, but by real concomitance: and therefore by the consecration of the wine the body of Christ is not there of itself, but concomitantly.

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont.)

Article 3. Whether Christ is entire under every part of the species of the bread and wine?

Objection 1. It seems that Christ is not entire under every part of the species of bread and wine. Because those species can be divided infinitely. If therefore Christ be entirely under every part of the said species, it would follow that He is in this sacrament an infinite number of times: which is unreasonable; because the infinite is repugnant not only to nature, but likewise to grace.

Objection 2. Further, since Christ's is an organic body, it has parts determinately distant. for a determinate distance of the individual parts from each other is of the very nature of an organic body, as that of eye from eye, and eye from ear. But this could not be so, if Christ were entire under every part of the species; for every part would have to be under every other part, and so where one part would be, there another part would be. It cannot be then that the entire Christ is under every part of the host or of the wine contained in the chalice.

Objection 3. Further, Christ's body always retains the true nature of a body, nor is it ever changed into a spirit. Now it is the nature of a body for it to be "quantity having position" (Predic. iv). But it belongs to the nature of this quantity that the various parts exist in various parts of place. Therefore, apparently it is impossible for the entire Christ to be under every part of the species.

On the contrary, Augustine says in a sermon (Gregory, Sacramentarium): "Each receives Christ the Lord, Who is entire under every morsel, nor is He less in each portion, but bestows Himself entire under each."

I answer that, As was observed above (1, ad 3), because the substance of Christ's body is in this sacrament by the power of the sacrament, while dimensive quantity is there by reason of real concomitance, consequently Christ's body is in this sacrament substantively, that is, in the way in which substance is under dimensions, but not after the manner of dimensions, which means, not in the way in which the dimensive quantity of a body is under the dimensive quantity of place.

Now it is evident that the whole nature of a substance is under every part of the dimensions under which it is contained; just as the entire nature of air is under every part of air, and the entire nature of bread under every part of bread; and this indifferently, whether the dimensions be actually divided (as when the air is divided or the bread cut), or whether they be actually undivided, but potentially divisible. And therefore it is manifest that the entire Christ is under every part of the species of the bread, even while the host remains entire, and not merely when it is broken, as some say, giving the example of an image which appears in a mirror, which appears as one in the unbroken mirror, whereas when the mirror is broken, there is an image in each part of the broken mirror: for the comparison is not perfect, because the multiplying of such images results in the broken mirror on account of the various reflections in the various parts of the mirror; but here there is only one consecration, whereby Christ's body is in this sacrament.

.

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont.)

Reply to Objection 1. Number follows division, and therefore so long as quantity remains actually undivided, neither is the substance of any thing several times under its proper dimensions, nor is Christ's body several times under the dimensions of the bread; and consequently not an infinite number of times, but just as many times as it is divided into parts.

Reply to Objection 2. The determinate distance of parts in an organic body is based upon its dimensive quantity; but the nature of substance precedes even dimensive quantity. And since the conversion of the substance of the bread is terminated at the substance of the body of Christ, and since according to the manner of substance the body of Christ is properly and directly in this sacrament; such distance of parts is indeed in Christ's true body, which, however, is not compared to this sacrament according to such distance, but according to the manner of its substance, as stated above (1, ad 3).

Reply to Objection 3. This argument is based on the nature of a body, arising from dimensive quantity. But it was said above (ad 2) that Christ's body is compared with this sacrament not by reason of dimensive quantity, but by reason of its substance, as already stated.

Me: Strictly speaking, the Summa is not a dogmatic source, however, Pius IX did indicate in Studiorium Ducem that theologians were allowed to consider his teachings to be authoritative when they did not contradict other dogmatic statements

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont.)

5. Pope Paul VI (again) from his Apostolic Letter, Creed of the People of God (June 30, 1968):

24. We believe that the Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence.(35)
Transubstantiation

25. Christ cannot be thus present in this sacrament except by the change into His body of the reality itself of the bread and the change into His blood of the reality itself of the wine, leaving unchanged only the properties of the bread and wine which our senses perceive. This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church transubstantiation. Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable body and blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine,(36) as the Lord willed it, in order to give Himself to us as food and to associate us with the unity of His Mystical Body.(37)

26. The unique and indivisible existence of the Lord glorious in heaven is not multiplied, but is rendered present by the sacrament in the many places on earth where Mass is celebrated. And this existence remains present, after the sacrifice, in the Blessed Sacrament which is, in the tabernacle, the living heart of each of our churches. And it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore in the blessed Host which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word whom they cannot see, and who, without leaving heaven, is made present before us.

Me: Catholics do not believe that in a carnal presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Each host is not a separate piece of Christ's flesh or each cup a portion of Christ’s blood. Rather we believe that each particle, no matter how small or large contains the whole living, resurrected Jesus Christ, Who still has a human body and blood, His human soul, and His divine nature

Paul Hoffer said...

(cont.)

I have provided you some citations that are as authoritative as they come that show that the Catholic Church does not hold to a carnal presence. Truly, really, substantial, and even a physical presence-yes, but such presence is a sacramental one, not a carnal one as those who lived in Capernaum.

I would be interested to see your official Catholic sources that affirm otherwise.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

#1 on your list doesn't represent the modern Roman doctrine on the subject.

##2-5 do, but not one of them denies a carnal presence. In fact, they repeatedly use expressions that affirm a carnal presence, particularly references to the "whole Christ" in Aquinas and Trent.

Paul VI even explicitly affirms that Christ is "corporally present."

-TurretinFan

Fredericka said...

Paul Hoffer wrote, "Me: Catholics do not believe that in a carnal presence of Jesus in the Eucharist."

Hi Paul. Would it be fair to summarize your argument as follows:

1.) There are certain things we know of a certainty about physical substances including: 'the part cannot be greater than the whole.' This is an iron-clad rule. If you roll by me with a big pile of bread in your shopping cart and I have a few little loafs in my cart, what cannot be said is, a.) you have no more bread than I, b.) we have the same amount of bread, c.) though you have more I do not have less. None of these statements can be true about physical quantity.

2.) Yet when the Catholic church talks about the body and blood of Christ as present in the sacrament, we learn that Christ is present entire in every little fragment, yet the whole pile of fragments gathered together into a giant heap by bulldozers rumbling from every compass-point would not add up to any more than is present in each little fragment. This is a state of affairs which is not really consistent with the 'rules' governing material substance.

You say, since what is ascribed to the body of Christ in 2.) is in no way consistent with what we know about physical substances ('the part cannot be greater than the whole'), then it cannot be true that Christ is carnally present in the sacrament. I agree, but I would phrase the conclusion a little bit differently: Catholic teaching on the sacrament is self-contradictory, therefore Catholic teaching cannot be true.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello TF, I think we are suffering from a lack of concord on definitions. From the Catholic perspective, there is a difference between carnally present and corporally present. The former makes Christ subject to being divided into little pieces which we deny. As I said before, we do not eat Jesus burgers. The latter allows Our Lord to be substantially present in a sacramental way in the Eucharist.

Hello Ms. Fredericka, I am pleased to make your acquaintance. Your website BTW is beautiful! I don't agree with what you have written about Catholicism there, but that it does not negate the amount of loving faith reflected by the effort put into creating it. I will add you to my prayers that Our Lord give you the grace to continue your work.

In regards to your comment, I think you need to think about what substance means metaphysically as opposed to what it means when we talk about the word in the context of physical sciences. We are not capable of perceiving His presence by means of science or imagination, only by intellect working in conjunction with faith, a true acknowledgement as it were that things that are not possible with men, is possible with God. The difficulty here is on the part of our intellect not on the part of God. Faith overcomes that difficulty. The key to it is as Augustine wrote, "Understand spiritually what I have said."

Many blessings to you and to yours!

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

None of the quotations you provided distinguished between "corporal presence" and "carnal presence," that I recall.

More importantly, they all (except the Scripture passage) affirm a bodily presence - something Augustine explicitly denies (because of the Scripture passage).

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Fan, I will try to respond to your last comment in the next day or so when I can find the time to go through and show you how the two are distinguished.

God bless!

Fredericka said...

Paul Hoffer wrote, "In regards to your comment, I think you need to think about what substance means metaphysically as opposed to what it means when we talk about the word in the context of physical sciences."

Hi Paul! I am confused by the way Roman Catholics talk about 'substance,' because their vocabulary is drawn from the pagan philosopher Aristotle, but then they do not say what the pagan philosopher Aristotle says. Aristotle says that the senses cannot be mistaken about their proper objects: "I call by the name of special object of this or that sense that which cannot be perceived by any other sense than that one and in respect of which no error is possible; in this sense color is the special object of sight, sound of hearing, flavor of taste. Touch, indeed, discriminates more than one set of different qualities. Each sense has one kind of object which it discerns, and never errs in reporting that what is before it is color or sound (though it may err as to what it is that is colored or where that is, or what it is that is sounding or where that is.) Such objects are what we propose to call the special objects of this or that sense." (Aristotle, On the Soul, Book II, Chapter 6).

However, according to Thomas, in the case of communion, sight, taste, touch, etc., are mistaken about their proper objects, because what they perceive is not there: there no subject which displays the 'white' which they see. The 'white,' however, is not a phantasm nor an illusion; it is just an orphaned accident, like that is something that happens every day. Aristotle derives all human knowledge from the five senses. Why did they they pick up this man's vocabulary, and then turn it inside-out? Why is it so important to found all knowledge of the world upon the five senses, when it then turns out they do not believe the senses can ever give us accurate information about what is on the altar?