A Tale of Two Theologians

35 comments
Pope Benedict XVI

Some theologians, when faced with peer pressure and hard truths about our faith (such as the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist), say things like this:

“Regrettably, all too frequently, the only Presence focused on is Christ’s presence in the elements of bread and wine. Inadequately described as the change of the “substance” (not the “accidents”) of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, the mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist carries the intellectual baggage of a physics no one accepts. Aristotelian physics makes such nice, however implausible and now unintelligible, distinctions. They are meaningless in the post-Newtonian world of quantum physics, which is the scientific context we live in today.” – Fr. Michael Kelly, Jesuit

Other theologians say things like this:

“The transformation happens, which affects the gifts we bring by taking them up into a higher order and changes them, even if we cannot measure what happens. When material things are taken into our body as nourishment, or for that matter whenever any material becomes part of a living organism, it remains the same, and yet as part of a new whole it is itself changed. Something similar happens here. The Lord takes possession of the bread and the wine; he lifts them up, as it were, out of the setting of their normal existence into a new order; even if, from a purely physical point of view, they remain the same, they have become profoundly different.” – Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)

“’Reality’ is not just what we can measure. It is not only ‘quantums,’ quantifiable entities, that are real; on the contrary, these are always only manifestations of the hidden mystery of true being.” – Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)

One courageously and faithfully takes a step closer to God and finds a deeper, more satisfying meaning within the mystery of our faith. The other scrambles for shallow water because he doesn’t trust his floaties.

I’ll let you decide which is which.

[photo credit]

35 comments Add comment

dbond May 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I cannot follow Fr. Michael Kelly’s analogy/explanation/summation (whatever it is he is trying to do here!), I am straining. He seems to be overly intellectualizing and creating a modernistic “progressive” explanation of the Sacred Mystery of The Holy Eucharist. It is as though Fr. Kelly doesn’t realize that “science” is a creation of God, not the other way around. But, as I said, I am straining to get the gist of what he is trying to say here, and I could be totally wrong.
Obviously Pope Benedict is not the wishy-washy one here, wearing the “floaties”.

Catholic Pro-lifer May 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Interesting; you know, I’m debating Protestants right now about the real presence and transubstantiation.

The Protestants I’m debating claim that Jesus’s words in the Gospel of John are symbolic (spiritual hunger, spiritual need for nourishment). When faced with the Catholic rebuttal, “Why did Jesus simply not call them back and explain that it was a misunderstanding?” they respond with, “Well, he could just as easily called them back and said, “Wait, don’t go. The physical properties of the bread and wine are staying the same, it’s only transformed into my flesh in a sense that you can’t distinguish physically, nothing like if you tried eating my flesh right now.”

That struck me as a fair point. I think the way to decide the issue is to go back to the original Greek. The Greek word that we translate as eats “He who eats my flesh…” is more literally translated as the more graphic “gnaws” or “munches”. This implies a real, actual eating of flesh, not a symbolic one.

Pope Benedict (as Cardinal Ratzinger) states it very elegantly…although I do wonder what Father Kelly’s quotes were in context. Out of context many things the Church (and the people in her) say can be seen as controversial.

Vanessa P. Lopez May 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Beautiful passage (from the second theologian, I mean)! Thank you for finding and sharing this, Matthew. I will call these words to mind the next time I go to Mass. Praise the Lord for our wonderful Pope!

Lucy May 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

“This IS my body”

Wasn’t it President Clinton who said: “Well, it depends on what your definition of is, is”?—profound insight from the shallow waters.

Oh, and God bless poor Father Kelly and restore his faith. What is the point of one’s priesthood without it?

Gabriel Austin June 3, 2010 at 11:13 am

Has any one heard of a “mystery”? A mystery is something to be accepted, rather than understood. Life is too short. A little patience and we will come to understand the mysteries when we arrive above; or we will continue to be perplexed by them if we arrive below. Despite college survey courses, we do not have to know everything.

Jeff June 5, 2010 at 6:59 am

Oh boy sounds like Fr. Kelly has a problem with transubstantiation. He wouldn’t be the first. Something supra-material and supernatural can never be “measured” by material and natural means, any more than we can see God or angels with our material eyes. Even the attempt to do so is comical. God can do whatever he wants.

Jesse D. Bryant July 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I know this is a delayed comment, but I had to weight in…

So the explanation seems to be that there is no explanation. One must accept it on faith. Correct? But the Christian faith is a faith of reason, for there are good reasons to consider the faith. It is not illogical or without historic or evidential foundation. If we just believe, how are we any different than any other religious person who––’just believes’ in whatever ‘faith’ he may choose to follow?

I do have a question for the Catholic Pro-Lifer. Not being very familiar with Greek, is there a Greek word for ‘eat’ that implies not really eating, or pretending to eat, or something?

Some things are common sense that they are implied. However, I fail to see, just reading the passage, how it could be ‘implied’ that the disciples were actually eating Jesus especially since he was sitting right there with bread in his hands. [insert confused look here]

It makes more sense to me that he would have made the extra effort to explain to the disciples that he meant it literally––that they really were eating him. And I am not trying to be humorous here. I find it curious that there is nothing recorded about any of the disciples asking any questions about it. This makes sense if it is figurative. If it was literal––no one questioned it and it is never clarified for the reader? Would that not be an odd practice––to eat someone’s flesh and blood?

Best as I can figure, Christ’s presence in the Eucharist seems to be an undetectable, unprovable miracle. So how do we know anything occurred at all? I am guessing that because of what Jesus said, assuming it means what Catholic’s believe it means in the literal sense, that it must have happened. [insert same confused look]

So, where am I right and where am I wrong?

Jesse D. Bryant

Lucy July 9, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Dear Mr. Bryant,
Those are good questions.

“I find it curious that there is nothing recorded about any of the disciples asking any questions about it.”

Actually the questions about this seemingly absurd concept had already been addressed in John 6. After making his point repeatedly:

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die…

His followers were puzzled:

53 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

But Jesus just persisted:

54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.

Jesus repeats this over and over until finally:

67 After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.

Except for St. Peter:

68 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? 69 And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

So the apostles were probably relieved when then saw Jesus lift the bread and say, “This is my Body”. It must have been an “aha” moment—“So this is what He was talking about before. This is the living bread of life!”

dbond July 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm

The word “transubstantiation” comes to mind in reviewing the comments and the article. Albert Einstein was intrigued by the idea of this. If God can create all that is, how can we in our little human minds dare limit Him? Just because we do not understand, does not mean that it cannot be. As that old saying goes; “If God were small enough for our minds, He would not be great enough for our needs.”
In reflecting this topic, something else comes to mind. That is the prayer “Adoro Te”.
This is that prayer:
O Hidden Godhead, humbly I adore You, Who truly are beneath the forms in view. To You I bow my heart and bend the knee, Since, contemplating You, all fails for me. Sight, touch and taste in You are each deceived: The ear alone most safely is believed. I firmly hold whate’er God’s Son has spoken, Than Truth’s own word there is no truer token. God only on the Cross was hid from from view, But here hides Deity and Manhood too; and I in both professing firm belief, Make mine the prayer of the repentant thief. Your wounds, as Thomas saw, I do not see, yet You confess my Lord and God to be. My faith confirm and childlike trust impart, and may I love You, Lord, with all my heart. O Blest Memorial of our Lord’s own dying: O Living Bread, to mortals life supplying: Become indeed the life of my own mind, So that in You I may all sweetness find. O Pelican, self-wounding on the Rood, Me unclean man yet cleanse with Your own Blood, Of which a single drop, for sinners spilt, can purge this wicked world of all its guilt.. O Jesus Whom at present veiled I see, what I so thirst for, grant to me: That I may see Your Blessed Self unfolding, and may find rest Your glory in beholding. Amen.

Jesse D. Bryant July 11, 2010 at 8:46 am

Lucy and DBond,

1. In John 6 the confusion was because the people took what Christ said literally––that WAS the confusion. They thought he was talking about cannibalism. The ‘aha’ moment for the disciples was realizing that it was figurative and that the Lord was not condoning consuming the flesh and blood of another person.

2. Transubstantiation is a Catholic idea, so of course it comes to mind. It does not however prove anything. My point still stands, you have to simply believe it. They say that it happens but it is completely unprovable. If you were to consume the Eucharist and purge yourself immediately afterwards, you would find the same bread and wine you had consumed moments before.

As Christians we should think critically about our faith. The ‘God is too great for us to understand’ (while true) is often used as a scapegoat. Cults often use this tactic when calling on their followers to ‘believe’ claims that are not in tune with scripture. It can be a dangerous thing to ‘just believe’. Simple faith (like believing in six literal days of creation) is much different than blind faith (believing without reason). Even with Christ’s claims to be God, there are many reasons and much historical evidence that can lead a person to believe in the resurrection. It is not just a story that was pulled out of the air. By definition there is no proof in regards to claims made about the Eucharist. You just have to believe. That was my point, and it appears to still stand.

3. I am still curious about my primary question (in regards to the Geek).

dbond July 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

+JMJ+
Jesse wrote:
“1. In John 6 the confusion was because the people took what Christ said literally––that WAS the confusion. They thought he was talking about cannibalism. The ‘aha’ moment for the disciples was realizing that it was figurative and that the Lord was not condoning consuming the flesh and blood of another person.”
I have to say no, Jesse, Our Lord was asking His followers to TRUST Him. Those that didn’t, took off at what Our Lord said. Of course Our Lord was not encouraging His followers to consume the flesh and blood of another person-He was telling them to only eat HIS flesh and drink HIS blood because He is the bread of life come down from heaven, which St. John the Beloved recorded in holy scripture. Our Lord Jesus is not just “another person”. He is a Divine person, He is the Lord God Who became Man in order to redeem all of humankind, to take on the punishment of our sins enabling us once again to be united to Him and become the adopted children of God, by sacrificing His life in our stead. He continues to give us this same life that was nailed to the cross in an unbloody way, in the Holy Eucharist, through the sacrifice of the mass. In receiving His precious Body and Blood, He unites His body, blood, soul and divinity to ours, giving us sanctifying grace so that we may become more like Him as we have His life within us.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1336-1337, “The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them:”This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”:the Lord’s question echos through the ages, as a loving invitiation to discover that only He has “the words of eternal life” and to receive in faith the gift of His Eucharist is to receive the Lord Himself.” . . .#1338: The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls Himself the bread of life, come down from heaven.”
Our Lord also said: “Unless you have faith as a little child, you cannot enter into His Kingdom.” St. Augustine said:”If you understood Him, it would it would not be God.” (St .Augustine, Sermo 52,6,16:PL 38:360)
The Catechism says regarding faith: “Faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God Who reveals Himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made throughHis deeds and words.”
Jesse, you said:”Simple faith (like believing in six literal days of creation) is much different than blind faith (believing without reason).”
Jesus did not mince words. Many times He told us in Holy Scripture that He is the bread of life come down from heaven, and He said at the Paschal meal:”This IS My body…This IS My blood”, He did not say: this represents my body…this symbolizes my blood. Our Lord spoke plainly, He was not saying what He said to confuse us, but He told us as it is so that we may trust Him and receive Him in the fullness of faith, and have Him close to our heart physically as well as spiritually. When we received Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, we receive Him; “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity”. The sacrifice of the mass is outside the rhealm of time. It is a continuum of the moment when Our Lord gave of Himself when He died on the cross, of the first Holy Eucharist-He does not die over and over, it is the same Paschal meal, it is the same sacrifice, the Holy Eucharist is Christ with us, He has not left us and will not leave us until the end of time.

Lucy July 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Dear Mr. Bryant,

I have no knowledge of Greek, so I’m afraid I can’t be of help there.

I am in complete agreement with you about the fact that Faith is reasonable, and we shouldn’t “just believe”.

I’m not sure what your belief about the Word of God is, but there is further Biblical evidence for the apostles understanding of the Holy Eucharist being the real flesh and blood of Jesus.

First of all, the Jews thought Jesus was talking about cannibalism in John 6 and many left Him. Jesus didn’t go after them and say, “Oh, you misunderstand. I was only talking figuratively.”

Also, if you look at 1 Corinthians 11:27:
“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”
we see that St. Paul believed in the real presence of Jesus Body and Blood.
Also 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 : “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

There is also evidence in the writings of the early Church Fathers that they believed in the real presence:

St. Ignatius of Antioch:
They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead.”
“Letter to the Smyrnaeans”, paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

St. Justin Martyr:
For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”
“First Apology”, Ch. 66, inter A.D. 148-155.

The author of this site: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/father/a5.html

has many more examples from early Church writings. In fact he states that after extensive study, “I could not find anyone who denied the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament before the year 500 A.D.”

The site also has information about Eucharistic miracles and other passages in Sacred Scripture concerning the real presence in the Eucharist.

God can only lead us so far, however. Because His ways are “foolishness” to man, it is only by grace that we can believe. I have a close friend who has a doctorate from Yale and is a professor at Arizona State Universtiy. He was struggling with the concept of the real presence being a reasonable belief for such an educated and intelligent man and asked God to show him if this was real. At receiving Holy Communion the next time, the host literally started to beat like a heart in his hand. This man has brought many others to believe.

You may not receive a miracle like my friend, but I know that if you ask God to show you with a sincere heart, and continue to seek the Truth as you already are, He will show you. Why? Because He wants to be intimate with His followers in a way that He becomes one with us. This is why married sex is a perfect symbol of the Holy Eucharist. The two become one flesh.

My prayers are with you in your search for Truth. :D

dbond July 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

+JMJ+
Lucy,
Thank you for the website of the Real Presence! I just put that into my favorites. Wow, what a gift your friend at Arizona State received from Our Lord to strengthen and deepen his faith in His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
Always He calls us to Himself.

Lucy July 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Dear Mr. Bryant,

Oh, one more thing to consider—Why do Satanists believe in the Real Presence?

In Christ,
Lucy
P.S. Thanks dbond! :D

Jesse D. Bryant July 12, 2010 at 10:44 pm

DBond,
You have to say no? So Christ was asking that even though they could neither see nor taste it, and certainly could not prove it, that they just believe that it happened? This is your argument? Not to mention that Jews were forbidden to consume blood? I would argue that it was a mystery to them as the resurrection had not occurred yet. If I remember correctly, the disciples themselves only fully understood after the resurrection. Finally, while Christ was not just another person, his physical body was made out of the same stuff as yours and mine. It would still be an act of cannibalism.

Stumbling block? The division is over the interpretation being figurative or literal. As a Catholic you are called to ‘adore’ the Eucharist. You end up offering a form of *worship to an *object that represents Christ. This would be a violation of 2 commandments.

In regards to this discussion I am reminded of the following lines from the film Lady Jane:

Doctor Feckenham:
Did He not say at the last supper, “Take eat this IS my body”?

Lady Jane Grey:
He also said, “I am the vine.” “I am the door.” Was He a vine? ––A door?
– Michael Hordern & Helena Bonham Carter

In John 10:9 the statement is made, “I am the vine.” John 15:5 is the other, “I am the door.” 1 Corinthians 10:17 says that we are all ‘one body’ and ‘one bread’. Romans 12:5 says we are all ‘one body’.

The question then becomes why should the words Christ spoke be taken literally while the others are taken figuratively? There must be some reason, some distinction as to why they are different. What is the reason?

Lucy, you said, “I am in complete agreement with you about the fact that Faith is reasonable, and we shouldn’t “just believe”.”

1 Corinthians 11:27––why would I take that literally? If any other person on the planet said the same thing, there would be no question that it was figurative. Why then do we interpret these words literally? What IS the reason? “In remembrance of me.” The Last Supper is CLEARY representative of the sacrifice that Christ is going to make––the single most important event in all of history, and should be remembered. To turn bread and wine into objects of adoration? I fail to see how this was Christ’s intent. Your literal interpretation must be defended from a literal platform.

None of the info provided is actual proof of anything other than what others have said, and an insistence on interpreting something literally, with no explanation why it should be taken literally. So my argument is the same one: Christ’s presence in the Eucharist seems to be an undetectable, unprovable miracle. You just have to ‘believe’ (which you say we shouldn’t do, and is the reason for my questions). If the answer is, “That’s true,” then the discussion is over. If you say there is proof, please provide it (and explain why we don’t take the vine and door statements literally).

Finally, curiosity got the best of me. Satanists and the Eucharist? First of all, Satanists believe all kinds of things that are not so. Secondly, I didn’t find much on the web (brief search) and nothing with an actual Satanists as a source, but what I did find said that a Satanist could pick a blessed piece of bread out of a pile of thousands of pieces. Just made me wonder what got everyone together for this little experiment. I can see the headline: “Catholic Priest and Satanist play hide-n-seek with 1 blessed Eucharist and 1,000 pieces of bread. Be there!” C’mon, that is kinda funny. Surely you chuckled just a little bit?

Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant

Matthew Warner July 13, 2010 at 2:50 am

Jesse,

Thanks for your comments. But I think one of the reasons you have come to the conclusions you have come to is because you do so by your own fallible and isolated interpretation of scripture and you do so without the aid of the Church that Jesus Christ Himself gave us to settle such disputes. You also do so without the aid of Apostolic Tradition which has preserved many things that weren’t necessarily written down in scripture.

You question why Jesus didn’t clarify further in John 6. Aside from the fact that he DID clarify that is was his literal flesh and blood (as Lucy laid out) multiple times, what makes you think Jesus didn’t explain even further to his disciples? He spent 3 years with these people…day and night. Even scripture says not everything was written down. And if we look to what the early Christians believed – the ones who learned directly from the Apostles – then the answer is very easy for “those who have ears to hear.” They undeniably believed in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist…the same understanding that the Catholic Church holds to this day. So if the clarification that Jesus gives in scripture is not enough, then we have history and logic to back us up.

Jesus did speak figuratively often. But your examples are very poor comparisons. Jesus didn’t point to a vine and say “THIS is my body.” He never held a door up and said “THIS is my blood.” His use of language in those instances are very easily understood to be figurative and symbolic. The language he uses in John 6 in question here is easily understood to be literal. Additionally, the original Christians believed it and understood it that way and have continued to do so for thousands of years. It has only been in the last couple hundred years that some protestants started interpreting it the way you are doing so here. I’m just not sure how such a viewpoint can be taken seriously in light of history.

And when you speak about beliefs being illogical, you are being illogical in your very assessment. Just because something is not scientifically provable or evidential does not mean it is unreasonable or illogical. Such a conclusion is illogical itself.

There is a difference between something being BEYOND our reason and something being unreasonable. The distinction is huge.

There is no scientific proof or evidence, for example, of our eternal soul. Yet we believe in that. These are matters of faith. And yes, our reason is very helpful in supporting this faith. And just because we use our faith does not make the belief unreasonable or illogical. And as I mentioned already, if you want to use history and reason to figure out what the first Christians and the Apostles believed regarding the Eucharist, the conclusion is easy and overwhelmingly on the side of the Real Presence.

We adore nothing but God alone. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ made present on the cross – outside of time – by his once-and-for-all sacrifice.

Jesse – I admire your searching spirit and I respect that a lot. All of these questions you have have been answered over and over again throughout history by Christ’s Church. And answered well. One of the reasons I love the Catholic Church is because it has a well-reasoned answer for all of the searching such as you are doing. Keep searching and you will find your answers.

If you want some more detailed answers to many of the issues you are facing, this page here might get you started.

Jesse D. Bryant July 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Then the answers are as follows:
1.) You are claiming a physical miracle while admitting there is no physical proof. True or false?
It is a completely undetectable, unprovable miracle.

2.) It is not clearly stated in the text, but past down by tradition. My argument STILL stands. If anyone else on the planet made the same kind of statement no one would take them literally. Agree or disagree?

Why is it any different here? Because it is Christ speaking? or because of the word ‘is’? I am asking an honest question here and attempting to following the reasoning of what you call obvious (while I obviously disagree). I think that it is so strongly believed by Catholics because it is what the Catholic church teaches, and the church can’t be wrong. Of course, that would be circular reasoning… When Christ said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches” well, I would have looked at Him and then looked at myself and thought, “Must be figurative.” He’s not a vine and I am not a branch––literally. When He says, “Take eat, this is My body” I am going to look at the bread in His hands and go, “It isn’t flesh, so it must be representative.” Especially in light of Jewish law. What is illogical about such reasoning?

3.) It is okay to worship an object that IS Jesus [?], even though you cannot prove that it actually IS in any way, shape or form? You have to believe that it is––even though, if anyone where willing to go to such lengths, scientifically one could argue that we could in fact prove it true or false––and end the debate once and for all. But you have chosen to simply believe––that is the point I have been driving at. And you have chosen to believe because ‘I am’ is figurative and ‘Is’ is literal for some reason––and because of Apostolic tradition, not because it is obvious just in reading the text. You may say that the ‘I AM’ vs. IS is a weak comparison, but I fail to see any great difference between the two. I would argue that they are both obviously figurative. What was in the Lord’s hand when He spoke these words? Bread.

Matthew Warner July 14, 2010 at 1:29 am

Jesse,

1) I think you are misunderstanding transubstantiation. But I’m also not sure why you seem to be putting a prerequisite for any Christian belief as having to have “physical proof.” Do you have physical proof that the Bible you use is (not just TRUE, but) the inspired word of God? Why do you believe it to be so?

In fact, the same Church that preserved and set the canon of your Bible also believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

2) It IS clearly stated in the text. Jesus says “My flesh is food and my blood is real drink”. I’m not sure how this is so confusing. When some of Jesus’ listeners are confused, his language doesn’t become more figurative so as to clarify. It becomes more literal.

There is more here at this link if you are truly interested in learning more. And this link here addresses your examples you give in more depth.

3) These comments show a lack of understanding of transubstantiation and what is meant by it. If you read up on it some more, it might be more palatable to you.

If you’d like to learn more about what the Apostles and disciples taught about the Eucharist – check this out.

Gabriel Austin July 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Fr. Kelly attempts to deliver a blow by referring to quantum mechanics, as though he is an expert therein. As Richard Feynman remarked “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t”.
Fr. Kelly needs first to write a book examining all the discussions about transubstantiation, since Apostolic times, before he can come out with superficial comments about how our world has changed with quantum mechanics. The sun still “rises” in the East, which is to say, the observed facts are the same although the interpretations differ.
As Oppenheimer pointed out, Copernicus did not replace Ptolemy, nor Kepler Copernicus, nor Galileo Kepler, nor Newton Copernicus. They simply devised better explanations of the observed phenomena.

Jesse D. Bryant July 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Matt,

Okay, there were three links on the Eucharist that I checked out: The Real Presence; Christ In the Eucharist; and How to Defend Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist, by Jason Evert. All of which contained a certain amount of enlightenment. I am going to reply to your comments in light of what I have read––and I will TRY to keep it as brief as possible. I promise to try and not to clog the blog.

MATT: 1) “I think you are misunderstanding transubstantiation…”

After reading through the info listed above, I would say so. However, if you would have answered my question (and qualified it if you so chose) that would have helped as well. The question was that Catholics claim a literal, physical miracle for which there is no *physical* proof. It is a completely undetectable, unprovable miracle. After much reading the simple answer to my question would have been, “Yes, this is true.”

If the passage is to be taken literally, why would the miracle not be taken literally? If it IS his body, why is it NOT flesh and blood? If I understand correctly, the claim is a spiritual miracle, where God gives us an object to adore, that no one could ever produce any kind of evidence for it being anything but bread, except for a claim to a transforming prayer. Those who receive the Eucharist must take it on total faith that it has become transformed, or *literally* be guilty of idolatry. This raises issues on yet another level, but we shall move on less I digress.

I am bereft to find any *other* example where a miracle performed by Christ was not literal and accompanied by physical proof. Lazarus rose from the dead, the blind were given sight, the lame walked, the lepers became spotless, and the water was––*literally* turned into wine. The Eucharist however remains as it was for all intents and purposes and cannot be proven to be otherwise. This is one reason to believe that it is figurative––and I don’t see how it being figurative inhibits it from performing its intended purpose. “This do in remembrance of me…” Such literal language implies a clearly figurative intent.

The interpretation that the Catholic church gives must be accepted on the basis of blind faith, for there is no way to verify the truthfulness of its claims.

MATT: “But I’m also not sure why you seem to be putting a prerequisite for any Christian belief as having to have ‘physical proof.’ Do you have physical proof that the Bible you use is (not just TRUE, but) the inspired word of God? Why do you believe it to be so?”

You are painting with a wide brush to say that I am suggesting a need for ‘physical proof’ on any Christian belief. What I am doing is looking for logical consistency. Miracles are physical, at least, in the Bible they are. The fact that we have what we call a Bible––a book that transcends time, culture and trends; that is historically, archeologically, prophetically, and scientifically accurate 100% of the time, written by 40+ authors over about 2,000 years––gives us plenty of ‘evidence’ to consider.

MATT: “In fact, the same Church that preserved and set the canon of your Bible also believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”

This would be a claim based on your own presuppositions and allegiance to the Catholic Church and her teachings, presuppositions that I do not share. But again, that would be a topic in itself.

MATT: 2) “It IS clearly stated in the text. Jesus says “My flesh is food and my blood is real drink”. I’m not sure how this is so confusing. When some of Jesus’ listeners are confused, his language doesn’t become more figurative so as to clarify. It becomes more literal.”

First it is confusing because––well, you did not answer my second question: If anyone else on the planet made the same kind of statement would you take them literally, or assume their language to be figurative?

Second, most people do not eat other people. Why would such a statement not confuse his listeners if they are talking it literally? And we cannot ignore the roll of Jewish law in their understanding of the statement either. Christ asks if it offends them. Of course it does––because they have misinterpreted what He said.

Third, what Christ was holding in His hands was not flesh and blood, but bread and wine. The Catholic argument is that it becomes His flesh literally, but not physically. Who doesn’t find that confusing? If it is not flesh and blood, then it is not flesh and blood, it is something else, which in this case would be bread and wine. It is also confusing because of the command given in Deuteronomy 5:7-8, which is also pretty clear concerning the worship of ANYTHING other the God.

We use similar figurative language ourselves all the time. We may point to a map and say, “This is Toronto.” Of course it is not actually Toronto, it is merely a representation of Toronto. It is a no-brainer. Christ is speaking of eating and drinking *spiritually*. John 6:63 makes this clear.

MATT: 3) “These comments show a lack of understanding of transubstantiation and what is meant by it. If you read up on it some more, it might be more palatable to you.”

This apparent lack of understanding is the reason for the questions. The third question can also be answered simply: It is okay to worship an object that IS Jesus [?], even though you cannot prove that it actually IS in any way, shape or form? Yes or No?

From my readings it becomes apparent that the consuming of the Eucharist among other religious acts are necessary for the Catholic to attain salvation for himself. These would be works, correct? Why does the Church not interpret other verses literally in regards to salvation, such as: John 3:16, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-13, John 3:36, Romans 9:30-32, Acts 4:12, I John 5:12… All these verses clearly imply salvation through grace alone. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” –Galatians 2:21

So who are we to believe? The words we read in the Word of God, or the Catholic Church which claims to be the sole arbiter of the scriptures?

Myself, I will prayerfully and carefully read and study my Bible.

Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant

Matthew Warner July 25, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Jesse,

Yes this is getting cumbersome to address each of your points in depth in this format. And some I’ve already addressed with other links and explanation above (such as how/why Jesus’ language is literal when he speaks about the Eucharist).

The Catholic Church also believes in salvation by grace alone. I’m not sure why you thought otherwise. That grace works through us, in us and on us in various ways.

And Jesus himself in scripture says there are other things necessary for ANYONE to attain salvation. For example, when a man asks Jesus what “good deed” he must do to attain eternal salvation, Jesus doesn’t clarify and say “no deeds will get you there, only faith.” Jesus very clearly says “keep the commandments.” That’s just one example. The Catholic Church’s teaching (on everything) takes into account the entirety of scripture in harmony with how the apostles and the early church understood it. It doesn’t just take single passages out of context under fallible, personal interpretation and go off and start our own denomination based on it…OR reduce our belief system to some intangible set of unbiblical “essentials” or over-simplify it into something unfamiliar to the apostles and the historical Christian Church.

Yes, the Eucharist is a miracle unique to all miracles. For Jesus is a Man unique to all Men. And our faith is a faith unique to all faiths. And because it is the most profound fulfillment of Jesus Christ present with us. In us. Something that literally becomes a part of us – both our spiritual and physical reality…the totality of our being. A human person itself is a similar kind of mystery. Unique to all “miracles.” We have a body and a soul. There is no “physical proof” of this soul. But that doesn’t make it any less REAL. And as a human “being” has both a spiritual and physical reality, Christ in the Eucharist ministers to our entire being…literally transforming us spiritually and physically.

And the reality of the Eucharist as the Church teaches is the most beautiful part of Christianity – because it is Jesus Christ present with us. The way it makes sense of and more deeply satisfies the entirety of Christian teaching from old to new covenant and our relationship with Jesus Christ is beyond anything Man could ever create on his own. And it is far too much to communicate in a combox.

I think you would enjoy reading anything by Scott Hahn. Look him up. His book “Rome Sweet Rome” is the story of his conversion from protestant scholar to Catholicism. Any of his books are excellent though and cover a myriad of topics.

Also, I would suggest “God is Near Us” by Pope Benedict xvi. This is his book specifically about the Eucharist and is extremely profound.

dbond July 25, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Dear Jesse,
Who are we to believe? We are to believe the Word of God, and the Word is God. “Et Deus erat Verbum.” The Catholic Church is the Church Christ Our Lord built upon St. Peter, His rock. All other churches are protest-tant churches, churches that were dissenters of the One True Catholic and Apostolic Church.
If Our Lord Jesus came into the world and became man, (and there is no scientific proof that God became man), and you can believe that, thenwhy is it so difficult for you to accept that He also became the Bread of Life, come down from heaven, and to remain with us until the end of time in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?
I could be way off base, but, I have a feeling that your stumbling block is first and foremost the role of priest as “altar christus”, another christ. It is only through the prayer of the priest and by the power of the Holy Spirit that Christ comes to us under the species of bread and wine. The Holy Spirit delivered by way of His Divine power the second person of the Holy Trinity, Our Lord Jesus Christ to become one with us in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist-Holy Communion. This same Holy Spirit delivered Our Lord to earth to reside in the womb of Our Blessed Mother Mary. She was the first “Theotokos” “Christ-bearer”. We who are blessed to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist also become “Christ-bearers”. And when we leave the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we are to take Him with us, in all we think, say and do, and to bring Him to all those who’s lives we touch.
A prayer from the Latin mass for a Holy and worthy Communion goes as follows:
“Let not the partaking of Your Body, O Lord Jesus christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgement and condemnation: but through Your goodness, may it become a safeguard and an effective rememdy, both of soul and body. Who live and reign with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy spirit, God, world without end. Amen.”

Gabriel Austin July 26, 2010 at 11:39 am

“Myself, I will prayerfully and carefully read and study my Bible.
Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant”

Whose text is guaranteed by the Church. There were hundreds of texts and excerpts floating around at the time of the early Church. It is the Church which clarified and organized the Bible.

Transubstantiation is not an explanation of the mystery. It is an attempt to begin to understand. As Augustine writes “we use words because we have no other methods”. If you look to words to explain everything, first explain gravity, electricity, quantum mechanics…

The Host is a great gift for us who were not present in Our Lord’s lifetime. Consider what he said to doubting Thomas.

Jesse D. Bryant August 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Matt,

I believe I stand accused… unfortunately, without any proof provided. Still, with all of my reading I find very little scripture being used by the Catholic Church. Lots of church fathers, plenty or references from the Catechism, but very little scripture. The WORD is what we have been given, not just the interpretations of some of the *men* who operate the church. And even the Church is led by fallible man. If you doubt that, just check the headlines in the news…

My understanding as for the reasons why we should believe it is literal are:
1.) the Church has traditionally taught it as literal
2.) the use of the word IS as compared to I AM

Also, you managed to both affirm and deny that salvation is by grace alone. So which is it?

DBond,
1.) There was a total absence of scripture in your reply. The only thing you quoted was the Church.
2.) I do believe that Christ is the Bread of Life. What I don’t believe is that he IS bread, or that he is IN the bread. From the text I see no reason to believe it except that it is what the Catholic Church tells me to believe.
3.) Stumbling stone? What do you mean by another Christ? Like a mediator of sorts? Can you back that up with scripture?
4.) You said that the Eucharist was a means by which we can “take Him with us”. If we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, why must I eat him to get more of him and take him home with me? I don’t understand.

Gabriel Austin,
It is not guaranteed by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church included in their cannon the Apocrypha, which is not considered inspired for the following (provable) reasons:

1.) Never included in the Jewish Old Testament
2.) Never quoted by Christ or the disciples
3.) Contains known errors, contradictions and historical inaccuracies

Such a book is obviously not inspired and was not added to the Catholic Bible until the 1500’s.

“If you look to words to explain everything, first explain gravity, electricity, quantum mechanics…” When you come up with another means, let me know. Until then, you, me and the rest of the world will continue to use words to communicate. Besides, it is not that transubstantiation is such a mystery––but that no one can prove it exists.

I am not a *relativist*, meaning that I do not believe that truth is subjective, any more than I believe that a particular teaching is true because the Church says it is. I am not an *empiricist*, meaning that I do not believe that everything must be proven with physical evidence. What I do believe is that when someone claims a literal, physical miracle, that they should literally be able to provide some kind of physical proof––and you cannot.

Matt, I do appreciate the dialogue. Until the next time a posted topic sparks my curiosity or leaves me scratching my head, I bid you all good-day.

Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant

Matthew Warner August 2, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Jesse, i’m not sure what you are reading then. The Catechism, the Mass, the divine office (daily prayers of the Church) is all filled with more scripture than anything I’ve ever encountered at a protestant service. I’m not sure how you are missing the scripture.

And how did I deny we are saved by grace alone? I did no such thing. And neither does the Church. We can do nothing but by the grace of God.

And, again, I’ve repeatedly shown you scripture and provided links that demonstrate a literal interpretation of the Eucharist. You just don’t want to hear it. I pray that you will open up your heart to this beautiful teaching of Christ’s Church. The scriptures, life, history, the incarnation, salvation…all of it makes so much deeper sense when we have the Eucharist.

Lucy August 3, 2010 at 12:36 am

Dear Mr. Bryant,
It is clear that you accept the writings of the New Testament to be the Word of God. If that is true, then you actually do accept the infallibility of the Bishops and Pope, at least on one occasion; that being the approval of the books which were selected to be part of the New Testament canon. So, by whose authority do you accept the gospels of Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but reject the gospels of Thomas and Peter as well as the 50 other written gospels? Why do you not accept the book “The Shepherd of Hermas” but accept Revelations? Who chose those books which you accept to be the inspired Word of God? If you accept their authority when it comes to the compilation of your Bible, then why do deny their authority in other areas?
This link gives a description of the process by which the New Testament came to be:
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0011fea4.asp

Jesse D. Bryant August 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Lucy wrote:

“Dear Mr. Bryant,
It is clear that you accept the writings of the New Testament to be the Word of God.”

**Correct.

“If that is true, then you actually do accept the infallibility of the Bishops and Pope, at least on one occasion; that being the approval of the books which were selected to be part of the New Testament canon.”

**False. The books of the Bible were widely accepted by the Christian Church long before an organization got together to declare the canon. The books were accepted because of the authors, acceptance by the churches, the harmony of their teachings among other evidences––not because the Roman Catholic Church decided what was in and what was out.

“So, by whose authority do you accept the gospels of Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but reject the gospels of Thomas…”

**(If you study for even a short while you can see for yourself why the so called gospel of Thomas is not part of the canon.)

“…and Peter as well as the 50 other written gospels?”

**50 other written gospels? There are only 4 gospels, the rejection of any others has nothing to do with the Church telling us what is and what is not part of the Bible––it is obvious in regards to inaccuracies, contradictions and errors.

“Why do you not accept the book “The Shepherd of Hermas” but accept Revelations?”

**See previous comment and previous post.

“Who chose those books which you accept to be the inspired Word of God? If you accept their authority when it comes to the compilation of your Bible, then why do deny their authority in other areas?”

**I don’t accept the Roman Catholic Churches authority at all. They did not compile the Bible, they may have very well played a part in confirming the canon, but the did not compile it.

“This link gives a description of the process by which the New Testament came to be:
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0011fea4.asp

**That link really does nothing of the kind. It is a fictional, rather patronizing story about ignorance. Any such meeting among even the moderately educated would have been quite different. It only makes an argument based off of the Catholic presupposition that the Roman Catholic Church is inherent––while history tells us otherwise, not to mention its inclusion of the deuterocanonical books which really should not be there. A few reasons why were also included in my previous post.

Lucy, I have just a few direct questions for you:

1.) Have you ever read, in their entirety, the deuterocanonical books? Yes or No?
Myself, I have not. I have only recently been introduced to them while exploring articles like this one: http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVarticles/ExtraCatholicBooks.htm

2.) Have you ever read the Bible in its entirety, or either the Old or New Testaments in their entirety?

3.) If by chance you answered NO to all of the above, any particular reason for not reading them?

Now, I will have to take you word for it, whatever your answers may be––I am trusting you not to lie to me.

4.) Finally, have you ever read any articles or investigated any sources in regards to the origins of the Bible that were not purely Catholic in their origin?

Just honestly curious.

Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant

dbond August 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

In answer to Jesse D. Bryant~
If the Catholic Church is not the first Christian church, the one that was the base which other churches broke from when they did not want to conform, then, pray tell, what is the first Christian Church, the one founded by Our Lord Jesus? May I ask what your church affiliation is? Do you believe your church to be the One True Church, based on Truth? And, according to you, what is truth when it comes to the Church founded on Jesus? I would be interested in knowing on what you base your idea of what truth is and what church you believe to be the church founded on Christ Our Lord, and why.

Jesse D. Bryant August 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

DBond,

You’re going to drag me back in here? :) Tell you what I’m going to do, I am going to flip that one around on you.

1.) How do you know the Catholic Church is the ‘one true church’?
2.) According to you, what is truth when it comes to the Church founded on Jesus?
3.) On what do you base your idea of what truth is?

If you will provide to me an answer, I will answer you.

Jesse D. Bryant

dbond August 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I suppose, Jesse, I could be “flippant” and toss those questions back at you reformatted, and ask, “how do you know that the Catholic Church is not the one true Church?” “What is “untrue” about the Catholic Church as being the first Church founded upon Our Lord Jesus?” “And how did you arrive at this enlightened “truth”?
If you want to be coy, and play mental ping-pong, we could do that, but the Catholic Church has a rich history and tradition which has withstood time, scandal, protest-ants, and the frail human being that comprises this body of His Church -and you wouldn’t fair well in trying to dismantel it with your severed and muddled version of what it meant when Christ said :”You are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my Church.” You can try, I suppose, but, I seem to think by your response you are ill equipt, and that is why you volleyed back with no real effort in the swing. The Truth IS Truth, no getting around it.

Jesse D. Bryant August 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Mr. Bond,

Flippant? Coy? Mental ping-pong? My response was nothing of the kind. My response was one of genuine inquiry. I would imagine that you would have answers to your own questions, yes? This is a Catholic blog, and you lay claim to the true truth––so lay it on me. I think the burden of proof is on you––so take the lead. I am giving you the opportunity to enlighten me. If you will take the time to provide me with your own answers, I will do likewise. Is that not fair enough for you?

As for Peter, there are two different words used in the Greek that make a clear distinction between Peter (Petros) and Jesus (Petra). Jesus is often referred to as the rock throughout the Bible. He is the true Rock and there is no other (see Isaiah 44:8). The passage is a difficult one and confusing to the English reader (it was to me), but if we look at it contextually and in the preserved language, as well as in the light of the rest of scripture, we can see that Christ is addressing Peter, then making reference to himself, as the revealed Christ––the Rock upon which the true Church is built. So that is my perhaps ‘severed and muddled’ take on the Matthew 16 passage.

I am not your enemy Mr. Bond, so lighten up on the condescension if you will. There really is no need for it. My reason for being here is honest discussion and the opportunity to learn more about Catholicism from Catholics, while understanding that because I take a ‘sola scriptura’ approach to the Bible (the only inspired recored we have) that there will be inevitable conflict in regards to our views.

So, what do you say? Gonna take a swing at those questions?

Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant

dbond August 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Jesse,
For whatever reason, you seem offended. Didn’t mean to offend you at all, just wondering why you are dodging my questions of you, with a turn about (or “flip” as you put it) of more questions. If you were truly interested in the Catholic Church, you wouldn’t shy away from the references and sites that many who have written in this particular blog gave to you to check out and dicern and we have all answered your questions ad nauseam. Maybe it would be worth your time to review what those references and answers are, and what bits of information they have to impart to you, (you can always start from the top of this particular strain and go through them) if in fact you are really interested. But, I would have to agree with Matt, as he said ;”at this point it does seem to be getting cumbersome to address each of your points in depth in this format. And some I’ve already addressed with other links and explanation above (such as how/why Jesus’ language is literal when he speaks about the Eucharist).”
Frankly, I don’t think it is possible to answer you in a way that you would deem acceptable, complete or correct.
It’s funny that you think I am “Mr.” How did you deduce that? May Our Lord bless you,
sincerely,
me
;-)

Jesse D. Bryant August 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

DBond,
Pray tell? Flippant? Coy? Mental ping-pong? Ill equipped? No real effort? Dodging questions? Why would I think that such language was not a bit ‘holier-than-thou’ or condescending?… Now, I am obviously not ‘dodging’ your questions as I stated that if you would make an effort to answer your own questions, I would do the same. I just figured that since you lay claim to the true Church and true truth that you would be more than willing to make an effort to provide answers, but you have refused. You won’t give me the ‘truth’ because you don’t think I’ll accept it? It is not your job to make such judgment or to change me, only to light the way. Well, what can I say, I always have to go first…

You asked:
1.) WHAT WAS THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH OR TRUE CHURCH?
The Church whose foundation is Jesus Christ of course! It is the same Church it is today. It was and is made up of true believers, not merely those who profess to believe, attend church, have been baptized, or eat bread and drink wine; or those who are members of an organization/church for it is not a denomination, building or organization. The true church is invisible––for only God sees the true heart of a man. The true church is made up of those who place there faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9-13 Some applicable references: Acts 4:12 (salvation in Jesus), 2 Tim. 2:19, John 10:28, John 3:16, I Cor. 12:13, John 1:12, I John 5:13 (assurance)

2.) CHURCH AFFILIATION?:
Any Bible believing, Bible teaching church will do. If they believe and teach the Bible, it is a good church.

3.) ON WHAT DO YOU BASE YOUR IDEA OF WHAT TRUTH IS?:
Not sure what you are looking for here. The most basic definition I can think of is that ‘truth is that which corresponds to reality’. Jesus Christ is the truth. John 14:6, John 17:17

Okay, your turn.

Now, as for the links provided, as I stated earlier, I have read each and every one of them. Unfortunately, more questions arose from reading them than were answered. And no one here has the time to walk through each article line-by-line, nor do I––well, maybe one or two. ;), but rest assured, I read each and everyone of them, except one, as the link was broken. Most of the articles did not even address the apparent conflict with other teachings in scripture. Even when I raised some of those issues here, they went unaddressed, so your ‘ad nauseam’ comment is not really ‘true’. If you will review the posts on this particular ‘strain’ as you suggested I do, you will see that this is the case.

Without resolving the many conflicts that the ‘literal, though not physical’ claim presents, I am left with two choices: either choose to accept the Church’s interpretation on blind faith (not understanding how the simple word ‘is’ and tradition prove the unprovable claims––unlike all other miracles in scripture that were accompanied by physical evidence), or choose to pursue coherent answers to the questions. I choose to pursue.

Sincerely,
Jesse D. Bryant

Matthew Warner August 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Jesse – God bless you man. If you’ve read everything suggested to you, it doesn’t show in your responses. That’s all. You keep making the same case and saying you don’t understand something or presenting false premises or indicating false assumptions about Church teaching that would suggest you didn’t read it. Or at least that you didn’t pay attention or were not open to what you read.

If you held your other beliefs up to the same kind of illogical scrutiny you are holding the Catholic Church’s I don’t think they would hold up either.

But all of this is getting a bit redundant. At least for me. I would try to explain more, but I’d probably just be repeating stuff I’ve already said. I think there is enough here for anyone truly interested in finding answers to find their way. But others are welcome to carry on the conversation, of course! I certainly encourage that.

Jesse – I also recommend “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn. Try that one and then come and give us your thoughts. It’s brilliant.

But ultimately, Jesse, you are demonstrating perfectly one of the key arguments in favor of the Catholic Church. We are all reading the same scripture here. Yet we have both come to VERY different conclusions. Conclusions that are, quite frankly, incompatible. For ex, you (falsely) believe we are idol worshipers (which is incompatible with being a Christian).

Do you believe Jesus would found his Church with no authoritative leadership and on this principle of individual interpretation and sola scriptura – principles that has been shown over and over again to create chaos and division, not unity? Is it even plausible that He founded a “church” that is made up of ONLY an invisible body with no authority or structure whatsoever?…That He then left on its own (with no new testament at the time, btw) to somehow remain unified on these important matters?…Matters essential to Man’s salvation?

Look in scripture at the kind of authority he gave to the Church. The ONLY way such a Church could remain unified is with a visible, organized authority. Which is precisely why that’s what Jesus gave us in the Apostles and in what they continued on.

Step back and look at what the very early Christians (2nd generation) believed and how they lived (they were Catholic and they MOST CERTAINLY believed in the Real Presence in the Eucharist). It’s simply implausible that within a generation that the leaders of the Church could have somehow gotten so confused about the Eucharist that they mistook bread for the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t pass a smell test.

If you can open your mind to the teaching of the Church and the wisdom of the Christian tradition (all scriptural, I can assure you), all of this can make beautiful, rich, fulfilling sense. I promise. And that’s just getting started.

Peace be with you all.

dbond August 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Matt, thanks for your response to Jesse, and Jesse, Matt is a very wise young fella and worth listening to. I hope that you will please at least read “The Lamb’s Supper” by Dr. Scott Hann, as Matt suggests, and give your thoughts concerning it, Jesse. Dr. Hann was not born and raised Catholic, so he brings a perspective to the subject of The Holy Eucharist that you might possibly be able to relate to.
I had been in the hospital for a while recently, and have been “out of the internet loop”, and am just now trying to catch up.
I am feeling better now, thanks be to Our Lord Jesus through the intercession of His holy Mother and His saints and angels, and my dearest and closest friend, my guardian angel!
May Our Lord bless each of you,
~ Doris (aka dbond)

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