Just what do we believe?

We have recently been discussing the reducing percentage of Catholics in our society. But today I want to look at what we believe. I am triggered by a Pew Survey which tells us that 69% of all self-identified Catholics said they believed the bread and wine used at Mass are not Jesus but were instead “symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The other 31% believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, known as transubstantiation. I wonder whether those two views are also reflected in the Catholic readership of this Blog.

The Church’s teaching is absolutely clear – see the Council of Trent. The Eucharist is not merely symbolic. In actuality it is the body and blood of Christ – that is what substance means. It does of course retain the ‘accidents’ of bread and wine (appearance, taste etc.) but it is no longer bread and wine. Nor does the body and blood share its substance with bread and wine. It is no longer bread and wine – irrespective of the fact that scientific analysis and human recognition show it as such.

Compare, by contrast, the water used for Baptism. It remains water but in the Sacrament the water is indeed the symbol of cleansing. It is God’s power which is effective directly in this case. “An outward sign of an inward grace” is the common phrase.

Why should we believe in transubstantiation? It is a miracle of God, brought about through God’s will. Nor was the definition by the Church easily agreed. It was necessary to look at the history of the Church’s teaching and practice since the time of the Apostles — in order to confirm that the historical practice throughout the Church’s history accepted the essence of this teaching – although it was not yet expressed in the formal definition of Trent.

It would seem to follow that two thirds of the Catholic population are heretical, and in consequence reject the infallibility of the Catholic Church through their refusal to accept one of her most serious teachings.

Or perhaps not. Your average Catholic does not always look at the precision of words. It may be that ‘symbol’ has different possible meanings in different minds. Nor would we expect everyone to understand the concept of transubstantiation. In the end it seems to me to be enough that to believe at the altar we receive Christ himself — body, blood, soul and divinity — through the means he chose.
It would also be interesting to hear what Anglicans, and other
Christians, believe, and why.

(https://www.ncronline.org/news/theology/pew-survey-shows-majority-catholics-don’t-believe-real-presence )

About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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55 Responses to Just what do we believe?

  1. Nektarios says:

    When one looks when transubstantiation actually came about in the Roman Catholic Church, the main reason they made a dogma out of it, it becomes clear it was owing to the low esteem the clergy were held at the time.

    Clericalism rescued them, by claiming only the clergy could literally turn the bread and wine, not into a symbol Quentin, but the actual body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This raised the profile of the clergy before a superstitious people. Many including clergy actually believe they have such a power. So I dismiss transubstantiation for an on its historical and literal roots. It was a cynical move by the hierarchy on the believers to prop up a failing and corrupt clergy in many cases.

    Reading Scripture is very clear on this, about a believers’ right approach to receiving Holy Communion, failing that in us, we should, until corrected not participate. But all being well and we have confessed our sins, to correct any misunderstandings or falling out with our Christian brethren we are free to participate in Holy Communion.

    Participating in Holy Communion is a spiritual activity and not a literal one. At the literal level, transubstantiation is crucifying Christ time and time again in the so-called ‘bloodless sacrifice’. Yet another invention.

    • FZM says:

      The understanding that the Eucharist gifts literally become the body and blood of Christ predates the specific idea of transubstantiation by about eight centuries.

      Transubstantiation is an explanation of what happens during the Eucharistic miracle within the framework of a specific metaphysics (the Aristotelian/Scholastic one). Largely the same idea is expressed in different words within the Orthodox tradition.

      The most obvious argument in favour of the straightforward realist view; God the Son, the Divine Logos through which the universe is created and comes into being, says: ‘This is my body’, ‘This cup is the New Covenant which is poured out for you in my blood’. The Creator speaks, the nature of His creation changes.

      Symbolic understandings of the Eucharist are usually linked to Platonizing tendencies and influences and things like iconoclasm. Hence, they were explicitly condemned at the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787.

      In relation to Quentin’s O/P:

      In the end it seems to me to be enough that to believe at the altar we receive Christ himself — body, blood, soul and divinity — through the means he chose.

      I agree with that.

  2. Martha says:

    Nektarios, Christ Himself was explicit about the nature of His gift of the Blessed Sacrament, and when some of His followers walked away because this teaching was too hard, He did not call them back.

    • Nektarios says:

      Martha
      Please quote your Scriptural references.

      • ignatius says:

        Nektarios,

        Gosh, I didn’t know about the historical, devious and cynical plot by clergy you so brilliantly describe. I am certain you must have some documentary evidence of this…letters from the vatican perhaps? Could you please provide the historically authentic references that validate this shocking claim?

      • milliganp says:

        John 6:48-60 is a useful start.

  3. David Smith says:

    The gates of hell will not prevail against something, but it may not be the new Roman Catholic Church.

    “People” are individuals, and every individual understands everything uniquely. The purpose of dogma, I presume, is to reduce the different understandings of religious teachings as much as possible. Today’s modernizing relativists seem to prefer going in the opposite direction, maximizing the room for disagreement. For them, you’re a Catholic if you say you are.

  4. Nektarios says:

    Ignatius
    Then I suggest you have some research of your own to do? What I said is historically accurate,
    but there is little that comes out of the Vatican that should shock one.
    I do not want to get into yet another argument especially on Holy Communion.

    • John Nolan says:

      What you said is historical balderdash. You’re not interested in history. You merely regurgitate 16th century Protestant polemics.

      St Thomas More would have known what to do with the likes of you.

      How do you like your stake?

      • Nektarios says:

        John Nolan

        The issues concerning transubstantiation I was referring to was in the 18th Century, not the 16th and for the reasons I cited.

    • milliganp says:

      Nektarios, you didn’t even cite a clear reason let alone a verifiable fact.

  5. ignatius says:

    Hi Nektarios,
    I’m pleased to see you can trace this great and terrible conspiracy of lies to the 18th century. Strangely enough I thought the doctrine of transubstantiation was declared infallible at the 4th Lateran Council in 1215. Surely a scholar of your standing will have some proof of his claim for the 18th century and be proud to demonstrate the veracity of said claim by citing clear and damning historical facts to back up his thesis? Surely such a man of integrity as yourself will be able and more than willing to do so?

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius
      The issue of Pope infallibility did not come in to much later. The question here is why?
      The same applies to transubstantiation, why was it brought in? It was because as I stated at the beginning of this topic.

      I knew this would be a thorny issue from the start, and already JN would have me led to the stake. Does not incline one to say much more on this topic.

      • FZM says:

        The issue of Pope infallibility did not come in to much later. The question here is why?
        The same applies to transubstantiation, why was it brought in? It was because as I stated at the beginning of this topic.

        As far as I remember, Papal infallibility was defined as a dogma towards the end of the 19th century, 600+ years after transubstantiation. There is no obvious link between these things.

      • ignatius says:

        Nektarios,
        Oh, ok. Just thought you might want to try proving your initial charge of conspiracy by a corrupt priesthood… clearly you don’t wish to advance anything of substance to your claim. Never mind.

  6. G.D says:

    Don’t have a catechism to hand (must be lapsed!) …. Is not the doctrine the ‘body blood soul and divinity of Christ’ present in the Eucharist? …. As Christ is the Eternal God what’s the problem in seeing Christ in the material of creation? Created through ‘him’ with ‘him’ in ‘him. ….. It just took an ‘act of God’ (grace?) in the physical form of Jesus to ‘realise’ it, and manifest it in history. …. The ‘doctrinal’ bits followed as an attempt to rationally explain (own?) that truth.

    Which to my logic, shows the possibility of all creation containing, and able to ‘realise’ that ‘God Present’ in all of creation. Prior to rational attempts to explain it. ….( In Christian terminology – made through with & in Christ. Universally as creatures made through with in ‘God’. Even if there is no concept of a ‘Creator’.)

    Specific ways and means may be ‘proclaimed’ by specific cultures and ‘sects’ of humanity to ‘imitate’ the ‘Supreme’ (whatever it is named or not by them) … but the aim is always the same – Truth … oh, and a little of that illusive ability of mutual love!!

    …… It’s well known that conferences of the ‘contemplative’ wings of all ‘religions’ (Buddhism included although not a religion) speak different ‘doctrine’ but express the same experiences of Unity (with the ‘God head’) & attempt to manifest the same experiential qualities of that ‘God’. …. All be it dressed in differing cultural guises. …. Go figure how to embrace that Unity; and let ‘God’ manifest it with in & through your own unity with that ‘God of All Creation’. It’s the only way forward, and takes nothing of personal preference away ….. except the preference to impose ownership & exclusive rights to Truth.

  7. ignatius says:

    I’m reading through Blessed JH Newman at the moment after spending much of the year working my way through Rahners reworking of Aquinas. One of the things both writers have in common is the acceptance that human beings ‘see’ and ‘make sense’ of their world largely through symbols and images with divine revelation working into our spirit is some manner which remains fundamentally mysterious. The process of doubt and reason is seen as a definite adjunct towards mystery rather than an obstruction. Reason, if correctly harnessed may thus serve as handmaid to truth.
    That God is capable of occupying the material world, including in that material world the human being as creation, is a basic tenet of christian belief. In many ways it seems to me that the Real Presence of Christ in eucharist is a pretty logical outworking of the immanence of God. Surely God can turn up pretty much wherever and whenever God wants to do so in order to gain our attention, which attention still sees as through a glass darkly and so needs to be communicated with through signs and symbols. That your average person (us in other words) finds the technical discussion of transsubstantiation difficult is not surprising, but I would bet that most Catholics would readily agree to the ‘real presence’ of God coming somehow to bread and wine when courteously requested by his people who have come before Him humbly and acknowledging their need of forgiveness and blessing.

  8. John Nolan says:

    The Protestant ‘reformers’ in the reign of Edward VI had a visceral hatred for the Blessed Sacrament. They referred to it as ‘Round Robin’ or ‘Jack-in-the-box’ and routinely desecrated it. The only word which adequately describes them is Satanic.

    I would use the same term to describe those US seminary professors in the 1970s who disparaged Eucharistic adoration as ‘cookie worship’. Men like these formed a whole generation of priests who then went on to infect the faithful entrusted to their care.

    In strictly theological terms the word ‘symbol’ is not inapposite, as Ignatius pertinently observes. But that’s not the sense in which it is commonly understood today, when it is usually preceded by ‘mere’.

  9. G.D says:

    Ignatius … ‘One of the things both writers have in common is the acceptance that human beings ‘see’ and ‘make sense’ of their world largely through symbols and images with divine revelation working into our spirit is some manner which remains fundamentally mysterious.’

    And the symbols are then ‘seen’ as ‘definitive’ rather than an ‘instruction’, a ‘signpost’ … to the ineffable. …. For some strange reasoning we desire to make our symbols a definitive. And that is (forms?) the mystery. …. To embrace Truth of the ‘symbol’ as it really is … we must embrace the ineffable MYSTERY that expressed it. Divine Revelation. …. And, without negating the symbols (we still see make sense of) move onward, or rather, are drawn toward the ineffable … God.

  10. ignatius says:

    GD
    Yes. I’m not sure how we would set about defining ‘transubstantiation’ in the language of today, or even if any other way of trying to ‘define’ the sacrament of eucharist actually exists. Some understandings of God in our lives are a product of intellect and reason proceeding from revelation- science I guess falls into this category – being deduced from the creation. On the other hand there is direct revelation which is as you say ineffable and must be held as such – while at the same time being provisionally identified symbolically. (I think that is the general understanding of these things anyway but do prepare to receive boarders ..!)

  11. galerimo says:

    There’s a saying that goes “Theologians can end up like sacristans as they walk past the Blessed Sacrament without genuflecting”. And it points out the danger of framing our faith on concepts and running the risk of forgetting the value of the personal relationship at its real heart.

    Its wonderful to know how these dogmas emerged in the discussions of councils and theologians but I am sure generations of loving Christians would have lived and died in the ages of councils who never got to hear, or understand or even have properly explained to them, any of the metaphysics of transubstantiation.

    So just what do we believe – yes I agree -“In the end it seems to me to be enough that to believe at the altar we receive Christ himself — body, blood, soul and divinity — through the means he chose”.

  12. Martha says:

    This is a prayer from my childhood, which I still say, also a hymn:

    Jesus Thou art coming,
    Holy as Thou art,
    Thou the God Who made me,
    To my sinful (little) heart.

    Jesus I believe it
    On Thy only word,
    Kneeling I adore Thee
    As my King and Lord.

    And several more verses equally simple and profound.

    I wish it was still in use.

  13. ignatius says:

    I remember vividly being drawn to the Sacrament during an eight day silent retreat at Loyola Hall in Liverpool. I knew almost nothing about the theology or doctrines of Catholicism then and was not catholic at the time. Yet I found myself sitting in front of the reserved host for hours and hours unable to break away from ‘something’ which held me rapt. That was the beginning of my journey into becoming a catholic, a marvellous journey that I have not regretted for even a moment this past 15 years.

  14. Nektarios says:

    Being such a thorny problem and seeing that some are having problems understanding or defining certain aspects of Holy Communion.
    But before getting into the thorny issue of transubstantiation, I will confine myself to asking the question, what is a sacrament actually?

    In the Catholic Church, they have seven different sacraments, and in the Reformed Church, they have two, Baptism and the Lord’s supper. Why are there five more sacraments in the Catholic Church than in the Reformed Church? The NT only mentions two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The other five by our Catholic friends are not even mentioned at all not even once?

    So, we need to define what is meant by a sacrament.

    A sacrament first and foremost, is a means of Grace from our Lord Jesus Christ to His people, Christian believers.
    Perhaps the most profound statements on this is to be found in the Gospel of John 1:16-17 “And of His fullness we have all received grace for grace. For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

    Turn to Luke’s Gospel 22: 19- 20. And then He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it saying, ” This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
    Likewise, He took the cup after supper saying, ” This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”

    Our Lord is signifying His forthcoming death on the cross and the shedding of His blood for the remission of our sins, all of them, for all His people.

    Contracts in ancient times were sealed by blood, so our Lord is telling His disciples and so we who believe in Him, that our contract with Him is sealed with His blood and this sealing is applied to us by the Holy Spirit. It is a guarantee from Our Lord to us.

    As preparation for Holy Communion, read Hebrews chapter 8. We should read this every time we are going to be approaching and before partaking of Holy Communion.

  15. ignatius says:

    As has been alluded to in our earlier posts the ‘sense’ of the Real presence is probably alive and kicking in most Catholic parishes and the term ‘transubstantiation’ is really the best technical guess at describing a mystery that we can muster. Its a bit like science in a way, we all know what gravity is but only a few of us can understand the physics which describes it.

    I haven’t met that many parishioners who frankly deny the presence of Christ in bread and wine but I have met a few who seem to set up a straw man to knock down in that their ‘technical’ grasp of theological terminology leads them into picturing a caricature. Personally I think ‘Real presence’ is the better phrase.

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius

      You will be pleased that I will exercise restraint when communicating on the subject of transubstantiation, a subject that has often been a point of controversy in the Church.

      If the Hierarchy and Doctors of the Church tell us that the dogma of transubstantiation cannot be proved from scripture, why then do Catholics continue with that view?

      When it comes to Holy Communion, it is for believers only. When we partake, we are showing forth the Lord’s death, and in so doing by faith, the believer can honestly say, In Him I died and in Him, I rose from the dead. We live on Him and by Him receiving our spiritual life from Him. One cannot get any more Real presence than that, Ignatius?
      The cup is the new covenant, cf, Hebrews chapter 8. All the other spiritual treasures in Christ are ours, and in Christ, He has sealed them to us and communicating these things to us by the Holy Spirit.

  16. Iona says:

    Nektarios – back on August 15th you asked Martha for the Biblical reference to Jesus’ explicit statement about eating and drinking His body and blood, at which time some of his followers went off in disgust and only a few remained with Him. I think Martha was referring to chapter 6 of St. John’s gospel.
    Apparently Satanists require a consecrated Host for use in ther Black Masses, and will go to considerable lengths to get hold of one. Seems that they accept the Real Presence even if 69% of Catholics don’t.

    • Nektarios says:

      Iona

      I am aware of the passages in Scripture concerning this including John 6.

      Regarding the consecrated Host, those deluded Satanists think they are going to desecrate, it is really rather foolish. If they partake of it in any way at all, they are only eating and drinking to their own damnation.

      More saddening, these deluded souls holding Black Masses are being held in secret even in the Vatican and elsewhere.

  17. John Nolan says:

    Queen Elizabeth I was good at hedging her bets:

    ‘Christ was the word and spake it;
    He took the bread and brake it;
    And what His words did make it,
    I do believe and take it.’

  18. ignatius says:

    So iafter pondering the subject a little I don’t think it will concern me too much that the majority of us probably “don’t believe’ a doctrine we can barely spell never mind understand . Its taken me awhile of burrowing through scholastic writings to grasp the nettle of the thing which has not much affected my happiness at the altar either way.

    • David Smith says:

      Ignatius writes:

      // le I don’t think it will concern me too much that the majority of us probably “don’t believe’ a doctrine we can barely spell never mind understand . Its taken me awhile of burrowing through scholastic writings to grasp the nettle of the thing which has not much affected my happiness at the altar either way.
      //

      There seems to be an attitude these days, at least in the West, that only “highly educated people” (read “university graduates”) are intelligent and sophisticated to understand anything more complicated than how to repair a washing machine. The Church that clarified the Real Presence in 1215 did not do that for the sole benefit of university graduates. It was assumed that everyone could grasp the idea, as, of course, they could.

      • ignatius says:

        Hmm, I guess there is ‘believe’…. ‘understand’…’grasp’…’know’ We could be here for a month just discussing the terms. My own observation, drawn from catechising parishes, is that the doctrine of transubstantiation, along with the underpinning notions of ‘substance’ and ‘accidents’ is not at all clear or straightforward to the modern mind and is therefore difficult for parishioner to draw sustenance from. I get the impression it’s a bit like that Goebbels saying:

        “As soon as I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my gun”

        On the other hand , phrases such as ‘the real presence’ seem to go down much better and lend themselves better to devotion.

      • Nektarios says:

        David Smith & Ignatius

        It was in the 1200s that the mooted dogma of transubstantiation after some time became entrenched Roman Catholic teaching. It was the reason behind this teaching that was cynical and wrong and an abuse of God’s People.
        Transubstantiation only came about to prop a clergy that was failing in the eyes of the people, by attributing to them magical powers that they alone could literally change the bread and the wine into the actual body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Utterly false of course.
        The Church’s clergy again was failing in the late 1700s and the 1800s, so, what did the Church do? You got it, raised the same erroneous teaching of transubstantiation reminding Catholics that only the priest had the power to change the bread and wine into the body and blood. It worked way back in the 1200s, and it worked on a fearful Catholic Church in the1800’s. Totally cynical behaviour by the Leaders of the Church in both times.

        Ignatius view that transubstantiation is underpinned with philosophical notions of substance and accidents is really a complete red-herring. Again, it only serves to reinforce the false teaching that the priest alone has the power to change the substance, the bread and the wine into the body and blood of our Lord ( the accident).

        I come back to what exactly is a Sacrament. A Sacrament is that which was instituted by our Lord Himself. Only two are mentioned in the NT, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
        Finally please note that the other five sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church are not mentioned in the NT, nor did our Lord institute them, they are there for the same purpose
        as transubstantiation, to raise the profile of the priest in the eyes of the people and in a sense make the priest indispensable.

        Of all the issues where the Church is truly at one, it is at the Lord’s table. Creating false and divisive teaching on this is reprehensible.

      • FZM says:

        It was in the 1200s that the mooted dogma of transubstantiation after some time became entrenched Roman Catholic teaching. It was the reason behind this teaching that was cynical and wrong and an abuse of God’s People.

        Transubstantiation only came about to prop a clergy that was failing in the eyes of the people, by attributing to them magical powers that they alone could literally change the bread and the wine into the actual body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Utterly false of course.

        It seems inexplicable that Gregory of Nyssa, father of the 4th century, could write:

        By dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose existence comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the Immortal, man too may be a sharer in incorruption. He gives these gifts by virtue of the benediction through which He “trans-elements” the natural quality of these visible things to that immortal thing.

        …more than 800 years before the doctrine of transubstantiation was formalised by the Latin church.

        The bigger question is about why innovators like Zwingli started to promulgate contrived purely symbolic understandings of the Eucharist in the 16th century, making Christ’s teaching around the Eucharist into a riddle or an enigma. Anti-clericalism elevated into an ultimate theological principle?

        Of all the issues where the Church is truly at one, it is at the Lord’s table. Creating false and divisive teaching on this is reprehensible.

        Stop trying to promote misleading understandings of it using highly implausible conspiratorial arguments then.

  19. Martha says:

    Yes, Ignatius, I think it can be too technical and theological for most of us. I do remember hearing from an Anglican when I was a student that it is the Risen Lord we receive, which I found helpful, especially when that seemed to be confirmed in Catholic teaching.

    I think it is not very difficult to see how belief has declined in the West, as following Christ is often hard and challenging and despite more emphasis on developing a relationship with Him, there are still many legalistic aspects which jar, such as the rules for annulment of marriage which sometimes seem to favour “wrong doers” for instance one of the grounds is if there has never been any intercourse open to life.

  20. ignatius says:

    Its a good thing to remember at eucharist that it is the Risen Lord who comes in the bread and wine, makes the whole thing easier to grasp somehow otherwise we end up struggling to picture the miracle of presence.

    I’m personally puzzled as to how anyone manages to stay the course if they are only following ‘the rules’ and not the person who, as it were, embodies them. I’m not criticizing such heroic obedience but I don’t think I would be up to it myself without some sense of being accompanied in my life. For me this sense is always at its most profound at exposition, at the altar next to the priest or on a visit to the blessed sacrament…puzzles me that there seems so little appetite for these things at the moment…I can turn up at the church bothered worried and frazzled, spend 20 minutes with Our Lord in his blessed sacrament then come away as refreshed as if I’ve had a couple of days break.

    • David Smith says:

      Yes, that puzzles me, too. My assumption, in the absence of statistical data conclusively disproving it, is that people generally don’t know what they want until it’s given them. If you’d asked a ploughman who lived before the invention of the mature Gothic style in church building what kind of church he wanted to see built, he’d never have up come with French and English cathedrals. Academics at the second Vatican Council decided all on their own to destroy the beauties of chant and the architecture that inspired to contemplation and to replace them with the coarse or anodyne music and meeting-centered churches we have had built for us in the past half century. Our tone-deaf and beauty-blind hierarchy and clergy did the damage all alone. People, being, in the mass, sheep, simply went along.

  21. Iona says:

    Alas, our church is no longer open except when there is a Mass or other service going on in it. It was vandalised once too often and the insurance company has refused to insure it otherwise. The PP is far from happy about this.

    • ignatius says:

      Iona,
      Perhaps parishioners could get together and agree to man the church a couple of days a week – just a couple of people at a time on a rota of say 2-3 hours then swop.

    • galerimo says:

      That is a terrible loss. I think Ignatius’ suggestion is a good one. I hope you find some way for access to the Blessed Sacrament for adoration/quiet time – however you with to spend the occasions. It is a big loss not to have it. I hope you get a resolution soon.

  22. Alasdair says:

    The key event that decided my move towards a less sacramental form of Christianity rather than Catholicism was when I was invited to an Exposition of the Holy Sacrament. I felt that if my faith depended on belief in the bizarre object in front of me, then I couldn’t possible go down that route.

  23. ignatius says:

    Ha ha 🙂
    Yes I can understand that…on the other hand Moses didn’t exactly leap for joy when confronted by
    a burning bush!…..Does that mean you had a Catholic start in life or that someone just dragged you along to exposition one day ?

  24. Nektarios says:

    FZM

    It does not matter what Gregory of Nyssa or Zwingli say if it contradicts Holy Scriptures.
    What history says about the interpretation of what is actually meant by our Lord when He instituted what He was telling them at the Last Supper, was in the Early Church understood by all. When false teachings came in, they knew it was false and these heretics were thrown out.

    Now it seems, as it has gone on for so long many have believed the propaganda concerning transubstantiation, even priests.

    If you say, what I am saying is conspiratorial, take a good long hard look at the institution you are defending, and you call me conspiratorial?
    I am Biblical, and Apostolic in my doctrine and practice. Where is your authority coming from
    concerning transubstantiation? The Catholic Church calls itself Apostolic, but it moved away from it centuries ago.

    • FZM says:

      It does not matter what Gregory of Nyssa or Zwingli say if it contradicts Holy Scriptures.

      What I quoted from Gregory of Nyssa is just an explanation of the meaning of what Scripture tells us about the Real presence. From what I can tell you are promoting teachings similar to those of Zwingli, from that tradition.

      You are preoccupied with the Roman Catholic Church but what you have been writing contradicts *all* of the churches that believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic (and I think Lutheran) at the same time.

      This is one reason the anti-clerical Catholic conspiracy theory to explain teaching about the Real Presence is so implausible.

      I am Biblical, and Apostolic in my doctrine and practice. Where is your authority coming from
      concerning transubstantiation? The Catholic Church calls itself Apostolic, but it moved away from it centuries ago.

      The fact that you label what you are putting forward as Biblical and Apostolic is no indication that it is an accurate reflection of Apostolic doctrine. There is a difference between making an assertion and presenting an argument. Beyond the anti-clerical conspiracy stuff I don’t see many actual arguments for what you are putting forward.

      • Nektarios says:

        FZM

        I was till I retired an Evangelist, a Preacher and a Pastor within the Free Church of Scotland. This constant rubbishing what I am telling you, and insulting behaviour, really has to be toned down, you can’t expect an Apostolic argument, though I have been giving you that, not only on this topic but many others over the years.

        I don’t know what world you are living in, I am not anti-clerical, I don’t have to be, so much of their behaviour in the past and present speaks volumes for itself.
        But enough of your almost juvenile approach.

      • FZM says:

        This constant rubbishing what I am telling you, and insulting behaviour, really has to be toned down, you can’t expect an Apostolic argument, though I have been giving you that, not only on this topic but many others over the years.

        All I am doing is challenging what you are claiming and explaining why I don’t find it credible. Given the offensive content of your August 20, 2019 at 12:14 am post (and actually, a lot of what you post about the Catholic Church), I don’t think you have any grounds for asking other people to tone things down or to be complaining about insulting behaviour.

  25. John Nolan says:

    ‘I am Biblical, and Apostolic in my doctrine and practice’ (Nektarios).
    ‘I am the great I am.’
    ‘I am Sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips let no dog bark.’

    Protestant hubris and individualism writ large. No wonder it turned out to be the weakest heresy of all time – how many sects has it engendered? Three thousand in the USA alone? Not to mention its penchant nowadays to play on emotional hysteria as a substitute for rational thought or belief.

    Nektarios, there is still time for you to repent, but have in front of you the Ash Wednesday text: ‘Emendemus in melius, quae ignoranter peccavimus; ne subito praeoccupati die mortis, quaeramus spatium poenitentiae, et invenire non possimus.’

    Since you are an educated man, I shan’t insult you by translating it.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      True to type, if you cannot deal or handle the arguments I laid before you, you resort as usual to ridicule. Don’t worry, I have broad shoulders, it is a bit like being ravished by a sheep.

      Concerning the many churches and divided denominations in the Protestant Churches are lamentable there should be less, for many separated from one another without a just and valid cause.

      Other Christian churches sprang up coming from different countries with a modified take on things culturally.

      Sects are a very different thing altogether, usually the result of a dominant personality, more like a control freak getting those scared enough to follow such and to bow to their will.
      Leaders of such sects are usually, sociopaths or psychopaths or elitists. What they are interested in is not the truth, but power, control and money. Remind you of any other Church Leaders today near to home, John?

  26. David Smith says:

    Something occurred to me the other day, related to one of the proposed “modernizing” and “fairness” changes to Catholic practice. Having thought of it, I was surprised it hadn’t become obvious much earlier.

    The ordination of married men seems in the cards, at least if what I’ve read lately is true. Well, most change is incremental. A logical next step would be the ordination of women. It seems that feminist sensibilities demand it. OK, moving on from women priests, a logical next target has got to be the Holy Trinity. God the Father? God the Son? No way. A sense of basic fairness to women will sooner or later oblige modernizers to demand the correction of those two glaring anachronisms.

    • milliganp says:

      The Catholic church had married priests for nearly a thousand years and in the early church nearly all bishops were married but practised abstention form conjugal activities once they became bishops. Thus married clergy could be easily said to be of apostolic origin. To therefore suggest that married priests would be some thin end of the wedge leading to women priests is absurd.

  27. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios

    Where is the ridicule? Most educated Catholics can demolish arguments which are little more than 16th century Protestant propaganda which spewed forth from the printing presses they controlled.

    Allow me to inform you that no reputable historians give any credence to these arguments. I admire David Starkey, but his contention that the Henrician schism was anologous to Brexit fails to convince, and has about it more than a touch of Whiggery.

  28. milliganp says:

    Having been away from this blog for a few weeks I realise that much of what has been said has been a diversion from the original topic which was discussing how modern day Catholics view Holy Communion.
    The basic doctrine of the Eucharist is usually stated in simpler words than the doctrine of Transubstantiation – that Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity under the form of bread and wine.
    The specific doctrine of Transubstantiation is based on Aristotle’s distinction between form and matter (substance). However, failure to either understand or accept Aristotle does not make a Catholic a heretic as long as one accepts the true presence.
    My experience, as a minister in the church, is that most Catholics have limited understanding of any of the deeper aspects of faith, whether that be the nature of the Trinity or the True Presence. The church under Pius X decided that young children should be allowed to receive Holy Communion even though it is obvious that they would not be capable of understanding complex dogma.

    PS, having typed this I realise I’m slightly off topic myself but human pride prevents me from deleting what I’ve written. Mea Culpa

  29. G.D says:

    Another interesting ‘twist’ … Jesus proclaimed (instituted) the ‘Sacrament of the Real Presence’ at the ‘Last Supper’ before he died & Rose again …. So, was he speaking of/as himself, Jesus? Or The Universal (Cosmic) Christ? ALREADY present in the bread & wine before the Son of God’s Resurrection? …. Um ….
    Nothing of intellectually theological concern when Jesus did that.
    Link that to de Chardain’s (or however it’s spelt!!) ‘Mass of the Universe’ and we can transcend ‘the theology’ i feel.

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