Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Receiving Holy Communion in the hand is more commonplace than communicants receiving on the tongue.

Many Catholics receive in the hand very properly and reverently. However, receiving in the hand and on the run has caused serious abuses that were not as pronounced prior to the council when all received kneeling and on the tongue. There was not the proliferation of people taking the Host with them, placing it in their pocket, dropping it on the floor when they returned to the pew or placing the Host in the missalette or hymnal. All of these things I have had to contend with as a priest and pastor for the past 38 years!

I have even seen parents break a piece of Holy Communion off and give the particle to a child who had not made his First Communion yet and all found it so cute. It placated the child who really wanted it!

However, when I distribute Holy Communion in the Ordinary Form to those kneeling, even when they receive on the hand, it is very much more reverent than when standing and most do not get up from the railing until they have placed the Host in the their mouth and meditate a moment or two.

So, by all means let's settle for kneeling for Holy Communion rather than standing and allow receiving in the hand and give proper catechesis to those who do so they do it reverently and with a concern for particles that may fall from their hands.

Please notice how communicants, although standing, receive communion in the Episcopal Church in their hands--this is the ancient practice which the Catholic Church abandoned and did not recover in the 1970's. What we do is alien to our early Church tradition!

Please note too, how the chalice is given and received! They get it right. Both could be given while communicants kneel. No one is rushed!



Anonymous said...

Father, what chance would a priest like you have in our diocese with the catechesis Catholic students receive in private Catholic high schools?

My wife has 3 children from a first marriage, which was annulled.
Today, my 14 year old step daughter, who is in her second year at a private Catholic high school, was explaining to me how she has been taught that the bread and wine at mass are symbols of Jesus, and not actually Jesus; bread represents the physical body of Christ; As in, also, Jesus is not a fish, for example; and the Holy Spirit is not literally a dove, and so on. What amazed me was that at her school there had been no subtle undermining of transubstantiation but a clear repudiation of official Church teaching. And this is from a teenage girl who is unusual compared to many her age by how seriously she takes her faith; for example, by, on her own initiative, not using social media, instagram, facebook, texting friends etc at all during Lent.

I told her that for hundreds of years, hundreds of millions of Catholics have believed differently to what she has been taught at this school, I tried to explain traditional, orthodox teaching on the Eucharist to her and eventually I asked her to ask her father (a quite devout Catholic) what he believes happens to the bread and wine during mass and she replied: Oh, Dad would believe the old fashioned way too, I know that.

What is amazing too is that my younger step daughter is still at state/public primary school where Catholic children can have parents who choose for them to be taught a couple of hours each week by a committed, non-paid lay Catholic and what she has been taught is mostly ten times more orthodox than what her older sister is now being taught in a private Catholic high school.

Do some bishops care or not care what thousands of young Catholics are taught in Catholic high schools in their diocese?

Am I out of touch to be so surprised?

The new young priest in our parish has such a strong belief in the Real Presence.
Why isn't a schism just declared?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Your kind of testimony is so rampant today. Fortunately, you are able to think in a critical way about the garbage your child is taught in a Catholic school, which I bet is quite expensive for you!

It is sad and turns my stomach that this still goes on despite the fact the Catechism of the Catholic Church is quite clear about Church teaching on every level. God bless you in helping your daughter know the truth.

Henry said...


Surely, we should do what God wants, not what we want. And if God wants us to adore Him, then surely we should eliminate ALL those practices--including standing for communion, reception in the hands and in both kinds--that were forcibly introduced by 16th century Protestants for the SOLE stated purpose of preventing adoration of Our Lord in the sacred species (and then were forcibly re-introduced by 20th century Catholic reformers for the very same purpose, if unstated). And not try to cheat God with half measures and baby steps back toward sanctity that continue to encourage sacrilege and to discourage adoration and reverence. Several generations of Catholics have already been assiduously trained in irreverence. How many more?

Sacred worship must be restored one pastor at a time, one parish at a time, one Catholic at a time, as organic development has generally proceeded in the Church. The past 50 years have shown the results of priests and bishops evading their responsibilities and relying on top-down mandates.

Anonymous said...

Father M, a correction---communion also is received kneeling in the Episcopal Church; basically the option is given to stand or kneel, but a lot of communicants prefer to go to the altar rail to receive. As liberal as the Episcopal Church is these days---we have discussed to the 100th degree---most if not all of their parishes still retain the altar rail (one of the few things where that church is more conservative than the Roman church). At Atlanta's Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, the altar is several steps above the congregation, and there is no ramp for, say, wheelchair-bound members to get to the altar, so the clergy and lay Eucharistic ministers descend down steps to distribute communion to the frail and those who would rather receive standing.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, Most of us including me are clueless about the diffeeences in the Holy Week liturgies prior to Pope Pius’ reforms.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Can you help us by explaining the difference.

Anonymous said...

One wonders if the teenage daughter has accurately represented what she heard in school.

No, I am not calling her a liar. I am saying that not every report that comes home from school adequately represents the facts.

Some people are concerned when they hear someone say that Jesus is not "literally" present in the Eucharist. But that is entirely correct. It is a sacramental presence, it is a symbolic presence, but it is not a literal presence. A teen who has heard at home that Jesus is "literally" present will be surprised/shocked to hear this, and that can lead to misunderstanding.

A parent with such concerns should speak to the teacher, asking what it was that was said/taught in order to get a clearer understanding.

Marc said...

Father, here is the beginning of a summary of the differences.

The differences between the pre-1962 missal and the 1962 missal, even outside of Holy Week, are significant. One need only read Dom. Gueranger's Liturgical Year to see what is missing as a result of the great reduction that took place in 1962. Even if nothing else had changed, the tremendous reduction of collects was a great loss and completely out of step with organic liturgical development. As one sees in the Eastern liturgy, it is in keeping with historical liturgics to celebrate various overlapping feasts at the same liturgy and to pray for various things at the same time. The reduction of collects and the ceasing of octaves was a rather significant break from that mentality.

Anonymous said...

Father, thanks for your words above.

Were I to write to our bishop would it make a difference?
The bishop in a nearby diocese was recently forced to act after a group of lay Catholics wrote to him about the diocese purchasing products, including Catholic school uniforms, which were made by very poorly paid adults and children in third world countries.

If the decision was mine regarding my 14 year old step daughter, she would be withdrawn from this private "Catholic" high school the moment a place could be found for her at a state school, and her sister would not start there next year. And I would write to the school and the local bishop saying why. (that decision would have to be made by my step daughter's biological father, and my wife too). It is not only the thousands of dollars wasted by her father but she would have a better chance of holding true Catholic beliefs by not being in this "Catholic" school and just being in a state, government school (which is just indifferent to core Catholic beliefs not hostile to them)and attending youth groups run by people like our new, young priest, who is so clearly passionate about the Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic liturgy as opposed to a mixture of protestant beliefs and a more secular humanist, than Catholic, morality.

The only benefits of this "Catholic" school are your child having on their resume that they have attended a private school and then also at 17 or 18 they would have an increased chance of a place at university, compared to local state/government schools. But if one wanted to increase the chances of your child learning true Catholic teaching and practices then the child would be better off out of that "Catholic" school and taught by the often quite orthodox lay people who teach the Catholic faith to Catholic children in state schools 2 to 3 hours a week; and or the child or teenager directed to a Catholic youth group run by Catholics who actually believe in Catholic teachings.

What is a shame is that despite what I have told my step daughter today and in the past about basic Catholic teachings and despite what her father has often told her about the Eucharist (for example, explaining why she and her sister and brother can not receive communion when occasionally at a protestant church with protestant relatives) after 12 months in a Catholic private high school my step daughter now basically holds firm protestant beliefs about the Eucharist. Further questions this weekend will reveal to me a lot more, I believe.

By the way, it must also be confusing for any young Catholic, who is committed to their faith, teenager or even young adult, to be taught one thing at school and then another during sermons and retreats by orthodox Catholic priests !! Quite a lot of what my step daughter believed up to a year ago I would now say she regards as "the old fashioned way to believe."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10.54 AM.

Were you in the car 12 hours ago with my wife and 14 year old STEP daughter you would have clearly heard her explain to us that the bread "represents" the body of Christ and the bread and wine at mass are "symbols" of Jesus. And more on that line. And the way I and her father and others believe is "the old fashioned way". I can remember now about 2 years ago, being a bit amused, but impressed too, at how my 2 step daughters, aged 12 and 10 then, were describing to my wife and I in their own words how the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ at mass and thinking how it would take real teaching skill for a priest or Catholic religion teacher to convey true Church teaching on the Eucharist to children at that age. The girls were both then at a state school and taught religion only 2 hours a week by a committed, orthodox, unpaid, lay Catholic.

I fully intend to email my wife's first husband (the marriage was annulled), the devout Catholic father of my step daughter, about this. I hope he does write and or speak to the teacher/teachers involved here. He is a hard working man on not a large wage who has made financial sacrifices to send his older daughter to this private Catholic school. He has a strong faith but little formal education. I am fairly certain they would give him "the run around"; like the children's grand father was basically lied to, ie that promoting the LGBTIQ agenda was really just an anti bullying program.

While I, the child's STEP father should not really be so surprised. I attended a private Catholic high school in the 1970s where a minority of orthodox priests and teaching brothers were mocked as living "as though Vatican II never happened". And I studied as a lay person for a theology degree part time at night in the 1990s and can clearly recall, for example, a Catholic priest/lecturer saying things like "No one here is going to report me to the archbishop, are they?" (Laughter) and then spending at least 20 minutes explaining to us how certain 16th century protestant reformers, especially Luther, had a better, deeper more profound understanding of the Eucharist and Real Presence than Catholic medieval theologians........and by the way, why was it that having unorthodox views on the Real Presence often went hand in hand with unorthodox views on other important Church teachings and practices ?

Henry said...

"Most of us including me are clueless about the diffeeences in the Holy Week liturgies prior to Pope Pius’ reforms. Can you help us by explaining the difference."

"Can you help us by explaining the difference."

Here's essentially what I posted (unintentionally anonymously) about the Good Fridays in the earlier thread:

Use of the pre-1955 rites for the Sacred Triduum is not a minor matter. The difference between the pre- and post-1955 Good Friday services is much greater than the difference between the 1962 Mass and the 1970 Mass. The difference between 1962 and 1970 is not one of substance, but one of the perfection with which the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. Arguably, one is offered perfectly, the other imperfectly. But the post-1955 Good Friday service is not a sacrifice, whereas the pre-1955 Good Friday is (as I understand it) a true sacrifice—in the pre-1955 Mass of the Pre-sanctified the Host consecrated on Holy Thursday is offered to God and immolated by consumption by the priest (after the usual triple Non sum dignus). None of this remains in the post-1955 Good Friday rite.

The pre-1955 Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper was not changed substantially in 1962. But the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil and Mass was greatly curtailed. For instance the traditional 12 Old Testament prophecies were reduced to four in 1962.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc the Article you link is great. However I cannot imagine that Most parishes could pull the pre 1955 liturgies off well or without modification especially with children altar boys and limited talent. I can see monasteries seminaries and the like doing it. Palm Sunday would take forever and run into other Masses.

Marc said...

Father, I think you underestimate the abilities of young altar servers. I've seen rather spectacular liturgies -- those of Holy Week and Solemn Pontifical Masses -- handled with teenage MC's leading a large array of younger altar servers.

Michael said...

Re: misunderstandings of the Eucharist...

I'm 21 years old; I was homeschooled growing up and, thanks be to God, used the Baltimore Catechism. I've always known the essentials of the faith and have always favored traditional practices, even before my family made the switch to the TLM.

So, a friend of mine who's my age and went to a church with poor catechesis was shocked when I told him that the Eucharist is Christ's literal flesh and blood. He thought the bread and wine sort of "contained" our Lord's soul, but were still bread and wine. And this guy was an Extraordinary Minister when he thought this! He knew nothing of the Mass as a sacrifice, either. And the sad thing? His Eucharistic knowledge, even at this point, was stronger than some of his peers. The catechesis problem is real.

rcg said...

The Real Presence is a tough concept. I suspect many people don’t realize this is where they get to explore Faith as Reason fails.

I also agree with Marc and add that we should avoid aspects of the Liturgy just because we might not do them perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10.54 am.
Could you please explain a little how a "sacramental presence" is a "SYMBOLIC presence" but "not a literal presence"?
Before Aquinas' use of Aristotelian metaphysics later in the 13th century, the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215 spoke of the bread and wine as "transubstantiated", by God's power, into His body and blood.
"His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar...."
Thus, from 7 to 55 I have believed Jesus was literally present.
Have I been wrong?

Perhaps our definitions of "literally" are literally different?

Anonymous said...

A biography of Evelyn Waugh by Selina Hastings has the following on pp 616 - 617 :

(In the 1950s) ...."the movement for change was based chiefly on a desire for liturgical reform, for a lay apostolate, and for an approach towards some degree of ecumenism. Pius XII had made a gesture in this direction with his reform of the Holy Week liturgy, much resented by Evelyn. At Downside for the Easter retreat of 1956 he had written in his diary '(the triduum was) rather boring since the new liturgy introduced for the first time leaves many hours unemployed....' and in a later article he complained bitterly of the new Holy Week services: 'For centuries these had been enriched by devotions which were dear to the laity - the anticipation of the morning office of Tenebrae, the vigil at the Altar of Repose, the Mass of the Presanctified.....Now nothing happens before Thursday evening. All Friday morning is empty. There is an hour or so in church on Friday afternoon.......All Saturday is quite blank until late at night. The Easter Mass is sung at midnight to a weary congregation who are constrained to 'renew their baptismal vows' in the vernacular and later repair to bed. The significance of Easter as A FEAST OF DAWN is quite lost!' ".

Anonymous said...

I think I would need a post graduate degree in theology to know if my son's recent assignment on the Eucharist and the Real Presence was more in line with Berengar of Tours and Stercoranism, or Luther, or Calvin, or Zwingli or the 39 articles of the Church of England of 1563 or perhaps modernist theologians like Edward Schillebeeckx, etc but I am certain it is NOT at all in line with:

"In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore the whole Christ is truly present, really, and substantially contained." - Council of Trent, 1551.

Or even:

"This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present." Paul VI, MF 39.

Anonymous said...


When I was about your age I had grown up among mainly traditional Catholics and can still recall the shock and confusion to hear certain Catholic priests say things like - "The mass as sacrifice really only made sense to Catholics in past times......we have gradually moved on since then, we now have a better understanding of the Eucharist, thank God!"

The mass as sacrifice - theologically out-dated?
Apparently, according to some Catholic priests.
And some people can be surprised about what their children have been taught at Catholic schools in recent times!

John Nolan said...

The evidence we have about how Communion was received in the hand in the early Church (and there is no indication as to how widespread it was) is that it was received in the palm of the right hand, with the left hand underneath, the hands not being extended and the fingers kept together, and then transferred directly to the mouth. It may be assumed that the hands were purified before and after, and it is unlikely that women received in this manner (let alone picked up the Host and handed it to another lay person).

The practice of receiving the Host in the palm of the left hand and then picking it up with the fingers of the right is a recent and deplorable innovation. It amounts to self-communication, irrespective of how 'reverently' it is done. Fair enough, Fr K would say, just because it was never done before, doesn't mean it can't be done now.

But not let's kid ourselves that it is a return to ancient usage, or that it is in line with Eastern practice - they might receive standing but by intinction with a spoon, and the small particle the communicant receives is from leavened bread.

George said...

Belief in the Eucharist as being the Being the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is a gift of grace - if only it were that Anonymous at 10:54 would accept and possess it. It is not a symbolic presence at all. Human beings are capable of providing all manner of signs and symbols. Do you not believe that our God is capable of providing more than his mere creatures?
The phone that you carry around takes invisible electronic transmissions and converts them to what is visible to you. Would anyone of sound mind claim that these transmissions, and the images and audio emanating from the device are not real and just symbolic? While our bodily senses cannot perceive the change that occurs in transubstantiation, what Christian does not believe in grace which our senses likewise cannot perceive? Such are those things which come from a superior plane which we can only perceive or accept by the grace of God.
It is written in our Scripture that Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity said." “the bread which I shall give . . . is my flesh.” He did not say that it represents or is a symbol of His flesh.

Is our God not one Who, in the Second person of His Trinitarian being, not capable of, actually, truly and substantially being present even under a different appearance, even of that of Bread and Wine? Is not His substantive, corporeal and Divine presence in the Eucharist what we as Catholics true to our Faith profess to believe? Is he not truly the Supreme Being, who because He is such, is capable of things so above us that we call them miracles and mysteries? For as the heavens are higher than the Earth are God's ways higher than our ways.
We know by faith that our Supernatural God is not limited by the laws of the natural order of things and their existence, because He after all brought these things into existence and so therefore they are in all ways subject to Him .

Anonymous said...

" (in the 1950s) ....the new service retained much of the beauty of the old, and the overwhelmingly impressive Maundy Thursday Mass, the 'Altar of Repose', the night offices of Tenebrae, and the liturgical masterpiece, the Good Friday 'Mass of the Presanctified', remained intact. Not for long. The belief grew that the celebration of Holy Week would be more valuable, would compel a greater corporate sense in the Church, if it was expressed in ceremonies which did not involve a keen appreciation of symbolism, if they were more easily understood by ordinary people and invited more 'mass participation' in the form of community singing; if they appealed less to the sense of awe, they avoided the accusation of meretricious aestheticism, above all of excessive indulgence of the sense of the past. Nowhere did the notion of a 'Century of the Common Man' exert more fascination than on Roman Catholic clergy. The entire edifice of the Holy Week Liturgy was swept away as being over-elaborate, and it was substituted by services of a more everyday kind. This was the beginning of a movement which was to reduce all Roman Catholic ceremonial to commonplace and to abolish the traditional order of the Mass in favour of a prayer-meeting in which only essential vestiges of the traditional celebration were retained."

Christopher Sykes, 1975.

Anonymous said...

George - I do believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. His presence is sacramental, not literal.

Theology is a science and words and phrases are its weights and measures - they must be used very precisely.

Note the difference between "homoousios" and "homoiousios." There the difference is that one iota, but it is the difference that matters.

Many signs/symbols point to but do not contain the reality they signify. A STOP sign does not have in itself what it signifies or points to. But, this particular sign communicates nonetheless, and has, we hope as drivers, the intended effect.

Sacramental signs/symbols DO contain the reality they signify. The water of Baptism and the act of pouring that water DOES wash the catechumen of Original Sin, DOES make the catechumen a child of God, and DOES make him/her a member of the Church. The vows spoken by a man and woman in the marriage ceremony DO make them one.

If someone handed you a sack and said "There is literally a rock in this sack" and you opened the sack you would see, if the giver is truthful, a rock. It would have all the physical characteristics (the "accidents") of a rock - weight, size, color, chemical makeup. You would see the "accidents" of a rock and know the statement is true, a rock is literally in the sack.

If someone showed you a consecrated host and said, "There is literally Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in this host" you would look in vain for the physical characteristics of Jesus. There is no weight, size, color, or chemical makeup of the God-Man Jesus. The accidents remain those of bread/wine.

His presence there is real, but it is not literal. It is sacramental. He is there under the appearances of bread and wine.

The Council of Trent spoke of Christ's presence using three adverbs, "truly," "really," and "substantially." Cardinal Avery Dulles has written, "Some Christians have understood the presence of Christ in the Eucharist in too materialistic a way, without sufficiently distinguishing between His natural and His sacramental presence." To suggest that Jesus is "literally" present is to fall into the materialistic error. Dulles continues, "The body of Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, but not in the way bodies are in place. Its parts and dimensions cannot be measured against other bodies. His circumference is not that of the host. In opposition to the naïve realists, therefore, Saint Thomas holds that when we look at the host we do not see the shape and colors that properly belong to the body of Christ, but those of the host itself. We are not in the same situation as the disciples before the Ascension, to whom Christ appeared in His own body. When we look at the host or chalice on the altar, the visible aspects or phenomena are still those of the bread and wine."

Christ's sacramental, symbolic (used in the theological sense) presence is real. I am grateful for the gift of faith which allows me to believe this.

Anonymous said...

George, I would add that the very word we use to describe how Christ is present in the Eucharist - transubstantiation - does not describe in any way a "literal" change, but a sacramental or symbolic (used in the sacramental sense) change. The substance and the accidents of some thing are both essential elements of that thing. In the Eucharist the substance is changed while the accidents, which give a thing its "literal" reality, do not.

St. Thomas Aquinas emphasizes this by asserting that the nutritive aspects of bread and wine. (See Summa theologiae, III, q. 77, art. 6, "Can the species nourish?" Saint Thomas refers to I Cor 11:21 and the standard commentaries to show that the species, taken in sufficient quantities, can satisfy hunger and inebriate.)

Marc said...

It all depends on what the word “is” means. What a waste of time such a discussion is.

Henry said...

"However I cannot imagine that Most parishes could pull the pre 1955 liturgies off well"

In our parish we celebrated the pre-1955 Holy Week rites in the three solemn services, with 3 priests from different parishes, MC, thurifer, and acolytes, all doing it for the first time. The three services went smoothly with three different MC's--high school and college boys each with a decade of TLM experience--who had been assigned in advance to prepare to direct the priests and servers through the complex ceremonies.

That "liturgical masterpiece, the Good Friday Mass of the Presanctified", seemed especially moving, in some ineffable sense the most Catholic ritual I'd ever seen.

Henry said...

"it is unlikely that women received in this manner (let alone picked up the Host and handed it to another lay person)."

In his book "Dominus Est", Bishop Athanasius Schneider mentions that women wore gloves for reception in the hand held as a throne, so the sacred species did not touch their bare flesh. Men received on the bare palm, hands purified before and after. Neither's fingers ever touched the host.

Henry said...

Anonymous at 12:50 am,

Is that Christopher Sykes quote from his biography of Evelyn Waugh?

Anonymous said...

In 1965, Paul VI wrote : It is wrong to exaggerate the element of sacramental sign as if the symbolism, which all certainly admit in the Eucharist, expresses fully and exhausts completely the mode of Christ's presence in this sacrament. (Mysterium Fedei).

I believe there has to be a marvellous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body of Christ and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ


There is TRANSIGNIFICATION, which states or suggests that although Christ's body and blood are not literally, physically present in the Eucharist, they are really and objectively so, as the elements take on, at the consecration, the real SIGNIFICANCE of Christ's body and blood which thus become SACRAMENTALLY present.

IF many Catholics in the past were too "materialistic" in part in their views and beliefs on the Real Presence I do not think that led in past times to decreased Eucharistic piety and it did not threaten Eucharistic devotions. While novel ways and new teachings on the Eucharist and Real Presence or partially regurgitating and or re-presenting past protestant beliefs and views on the Eucharist mostly only weakens Eucharistic piety among Catholics.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing novel in Cardinal Dulles' thoughts nor in those of St. Thomas Aquinas.

George said...

If one goes to the Adoration Chapel, one is in the presence of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, who possesses both a Divine and human nature in an inseparable unity. When someone is present in our existence in some place, that person is actually there. Christ is a person both human and Divine who is as capable as any to be substantially present in whatever place He desires to be in His creation. Even more so, since being that He is God, He is capable of being in more than one place at the same time. Being God, he transcends the bounds of His own creation. What kind of God would we have if He could do no more than His creatures? And so, at Mass, He is truly and substantially present in every consecrated Host. There were those who left Jesus because they could not accept His teaching on this. I wonder if there were some of them who might have stayed, if only He told them He was "sacramentally" present.

I wish I could remember where I read the following( which I managed to save to a file):

"In John 6:50-53 we encounter various forms of the Greek verb phago, “eating.” However, after the Jews begin to express incredulity at the idea of eating Christ’s flesh, the language begins to intensify. In verse 54, John begins to use trogo instead of phago. Trogo is a decidedly more graphic term, meaning “to chew on”.

That doesn't sound Like a sacramental presence to me.

God does provide for us in so many ways and has even left us Eucharistic miracles which have been investigated and attested to, and which give observable evidence of
His presence, His Body and Blood.

Anonymous said...

The Church and the Church's theologians describe it as a sacramental presence.

It is not a literal presence since, you can not literally perceive Jesus in the Eucharist.

"Literally" is one of the most misused words around today.

"He was literally pulling his hair out!" Yet, there are no clumps of hair on the ground.

"He was literally climbing the walls!" No, he was extremely anxious, but he is physically incapable of climbing walls.

"That car was literally flying around the racetrack!" No, it was going fast, but the wheels stayed on the ground.

Mysterium Fidei 23: "But this is not enough. Once the integrity of the faith has been safeguarded, then it is time to guard the proper way of expressing it, lest our careless use of words give rise, God forbid, to false opinions regarding faith in the most sublime things."

George said...

We can speak of sacramental presence, but not of actual presence?
At a child's baptism , is not the Holy Spirit truly and actually present?
Or at a confirmation? You can characterize it as a sacramental presence if you so choose, but is the Person of the Holy Spirit actually there?

He is there. Likewise, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is present in the Eucharist. You don't believe and accept that?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7.09PM.

Is your view, understanding of the Eucharist and the Real Presence similar in any way to TRANSIGNIFICATION as it was defined above by anon at 9.37AM ?

If you believe it is not similar, how is it not similar ?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7.09PM

Have the novel ways of understanding and explaining the Real Presence - (or deciding where or where not to give emphasis on what Catholics from Aquinas to Paul VI etc wrote about the Real Presence) be it in 16th century reformation Europe or among Catholic priests and theologians since c. 1960 who basically agree with leading modern theologians like Edward Schillebeeckx - led to an increase or a decrease in Eucharistic piety among millions of average believers?

Anonymous said...

That Christopher Sykes quote was from his biography of Evelyn Waugh; but it was his view quoted, which Waugh would have agreed with.

Sykes wrote a good biography of Waugh but I believe the biographies by Martin Stannard and Selina Hastings were better.

In Hastings' biography, p.618, Waugh is quoted thus:

(early 1960s)....."...As the service proceeded in its familiar way I wondered how many of us wanted to see any change. The church is rather dark. The priest stood rather far away. His voice was not clear and the language he spoke was not of everyday use. This was the Mass for whose restoration the Elizabethan martyrs had gone to the scaffold. St Augustine, St Thomas a Becket, St Thomas More, Challoner and Newman would have been perfectly at their ease among us.....
I think it highly doubtful whether the average churchgoer either needs or desires to have complete intellectual, verbal comprehension of all that is most of the historic Churches the act of consecration takes place behind curtains or doors. The idea of crowding around the priest and watching all he does is quite alien there......Awe is the natural predisposition to prayer. When young theologians talk, as they do, of Holy Communion as a 'social meal' they find little response in the hearts or minds of their less sophisticated brothers."

Anonymous said...

The Council of Trent spoke of Christ's presence using three adverbs, "truly," "really," and "substantially."

The Church uses the term "transubstantiation" to describe "how" Christ is present.

This is the Church's teaching and I believe what the Church teaches.

If you want to use the term "actually," then do so.

But the term "literally" is another matter."

God is present in Baptism and Confirmation, but I don't think the Church has used the terms "truly," "really," or "substantially" to describe that presence. These terms were specifically used to refer to the unique presence of the Lord under the forms of bread and wine. They were used specifically in response to some Protestant teachings that were at odds with the Traditional understanding the Church taught. He is present there in a way He is not present in the other sacraments.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if what C S Lewis wrote in "Mere Christianity" about the Atonement could also be applied in part to the different theories and explanations of how Christ is present in the bread and wine at Mass?

"The central Christian belief is that Christ's death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work. I will tell you what I think it is like. All sensible people know that if you are tired and hungry a meal will do you good. But the modern theory of nourishment - all about the vitamins and proteins - is a different thing. People ate their dinners and felt better long before the theory of vitamins was ever heard of ; and if the theory of vitamins is some day abandoned they will go on eating their dinners just the same. THEORIES ABOUT CHRIST'S DEATH ARE NOT CHRISTIANITY ; they are explanations of how it works. Christians would not all agree as to how important these theories are.........But I think they will all agree that THE THING ITSELF IS INFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE EXPLANATIONS THAT THEOLOGIANS HAVE PRODUCED. I think they would probably admit that no explanation will ever be quite adequate to the reality. ...."

Henry said...

Anonymous at 10:12 pm,

Thank you for this information. I am an admirer of Evelyn Waugh also (both as a writer and a Catholic), but you obviously know much more than me about him.

George said...

From the writing of John A. Hardon, S.J. and others on Eucharistic presence:

Belief in the real, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist grew
out of the teaching of the evangelists and St. Paul. They made it
plain to the apostolic Church that the Eucharistic elements were
literally Jesus Christ continuing His saving mission among men.

At the turn of the first century, Ignatius of Antioch, on his way to
martyrdom in Rome, had to warn the Christians not to be taken in by
the Gnostics--a good modern term would be "visionaries," who denied
the Real Presence. Ignatius said these people abstained from the
Eucharist because they did not accept what true Christians believe,
that in the Eucharist is the same Jesus Christ Who lived and died and
rose from the dead for our salvation.

In the 11th century the French monk Berengar of Tours began to teach that the bread and wine in the celebration of the Eucharist could not change physically into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Pope Gregory VII demanded a retraction from Berengar saying that the body and blood of Christ were truly present in the Eucharist. This resulted in a refining of the church’s teaching on the real presence.

Pope Gregory VII :

"I believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine
placed upon the altar are, by the mystery of the sacred prayer and
the words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and
life-giving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after
the consecration, there is present the true body of Christ which was
born of the Virgin and offered up for the salvation of the world,
hung on the cross and now sits at the right hand of the Father, and
that there is present the true blood of Christ which flowed from his
side. They are present not only by means of a sign and of the
efficacy of the Sacrament, but also in the very reality and truth of
their nature and substance."

The Church of God has always believed that immediately after the
consecration the true Body and Blood of our Lord, together with His
soul and divinity, exist under the species of bread and wine.