A little theology help? Valid Eucharist


#1

I am engaged in some discussion with my brother-in-law. I am a convert and he, a fallen away cradle catholic. In our discussions about faith, the Church and Scriptre, he makes a point that I can’t completely explain without his acknowledgement of Church authority first.

He says communion at the non-denominational, community church his family attends, is as valid as the Eucharist catholics receive at mass. Nowhere in Scripture does it say a priest must consecrate the bread and wine and the validity is in our hearts. If we know and believe that it is Christs’ body and Blood, that is what we get 100%.

I agree, no place in Scripture will we find instructions or a “recipe” for a valid consecration. Although, I point to Church teaching and Authority of what constitutes a valid consecration at mass. Here’s where the real problem falls.

He says, he does not believe the Catholic Church to be the same church today as it was when founded by Christ. Today it has been corrupted by men and does not stand with any authority. Hence, the bible is our only true authority today and the Church is a thing of the past and is no longer needed.

So, all of my fellow defenders of our faith. What do you think? Where do I lead this conversation, to show my brother-in-law, who is also a great friend, the way to his path back home? He seems to sincerely want to find the truth and I deeply want to help him. :slight_smile:

Rich


#2

You say he is sincere about wanting to know the truth. Thank God for providing that and ask Him to ignite that spark.

As far as the Church having fallen away, have him provide examples. Don’t let him get away with a broad generalization.

Also, point out that the Catholic Church is responsible for determining the canon of the Bible.

Finally, if I’m eating some cheez-its and decide that it’s the body of Christ, who’s to say I’m wrong? After all, I feel it inside.

Priests are needed, and not just as orators. Christ established a new order of priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Perhaps looking at the Book of Hebrews could show him the role of the priesthood?

Those are just some random thoughts. Things like this are usually a case-by-case scenario. The important thing is that he is sincere. Be patient and persevere.


#3

[quote=rbrooks]He says communion at the non-denominational, community church his family attends, is as valid as the Eucharist Catholics receive at mass. Nowhere in Scripture does it say a priest must consecrate the bread and wine and the validity is in our hearts. If we know and believe that it is Christ’s’ body and Blood, that is what we get 100%.
[/quote]

This style of Eucharistic theology is called “receptionism.” ie, if you believe this is really the Body of Christ, that’s what it is. If you don’t believe, then it’s not. It’s the same B/bread in either case, but it "becomes’ the Body of Christ if the recipient believes that’s what it is. So everyone partakes of the same bread, but for some (believers) it is really the Body of Christ, and for others (non-believers) it’s ordinary bread.

Although receptionism is a very weak version of Real Presence theology, it IS a Real Presence theology (as opposed to a theology that recognizes the Eucharist as a purely symbolic ceremony). So your brother-in-law recognizes some form of the Real Presence. To him (presumably a believer), he thinks he’s taking the Body of Christ (not mealy a symbol). That’s a good starting point.

If this Bread is really the Body of Christ (as your brother-in-law believes), then this Bread is part of a sacrifice (because the Body of Christ was offered in sacrifice). It is well established in Biblical theology (since Moses) that only priests may offer sacrifice.

I agree, no place in Scripture will we find instructions or a “recipe” for a valid consecration.

Don’t be so eager to agree with this. See, for example, 1Cor. While you may agree that Scripture never says, “only a priest may offer Eucharist,” it is obvious that ONLY the Apostles and their ordained bishops ever actually did so. It is CERTINALLY not Biblical to suppose that “anyone” may offer Eucharist.

He says, he does not believe the Catholic Church to be the same church today as it was when founded by Christ. Today it has been corrupted by men and does not stand with any authority.

Of course, it always comes down to the issue of authority (as it should!). But the Church has ALWAYS been made up of corrupt people! Our first Pope was St. Peter. Among his first words to Jesus were, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” And this Pope denied Jesus three times!

Of course the Church will be made up of sinners - even the finest Popes are sinners. But, remember, Jesus instructed his followers to recognize authority APART from personal merit:

OBEY the Pharisees [Pope], for they sit on the seat of Moses [Peter]. But after their actions, do ye not, for they preach what they do not practice.

Yes, Our Lord fully understood that Church leaders would be hypocrites - but he instructed us to obey them anyway! This is a VERY important point!

Hence, the bible is our only true authority today and the Church is a thing of the past and is no longer needed.

Where is THAT in the Bible?


#4

If the Bible is to be the only true authority, then why does Jesus say that “I Will Build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it”.

Ask your brother in law, if the Bible is inerrant, then how can the church that Jesus built become corrupted. If it has, then the gates of hell have prevailed.

Notworthy


#5

[quote=rbrooks]I am engaged in some discussion with my brother-in-law. I am a convert and he, a fallen away cradle catholic. In our discussions about faith, the Church and Scriptre, he makes a point that I can’t completely explain without his acknowledgement of Church authority first.

He says communion at the non-denominational, community church his family attends, is as valid as the Eucharist catholics receive at mass. Nowhere in Scripture does it say a priest must consecrate the bread and wine and the validity is in our hearts. If we know and believe that it is Christs’ body and Blood, that is what we get 100%.

I agree, no place in Scripture will we find instructions or a “recipe” for a valid consecration. Although, I point to Church teaching and Authority of what constitutes a valid consecration at mass. Here’s where the real problem falls.

He says, he does not believe the Catholic Church to be the same church today as it was when founded by Christ. Today it has been corrupted by men and does not stand with any authority. Hence, the bible is our only true authority today and the Church is a thing of the past and is no longer needed.

So, all of my fellow defenders of our faith. What do you think? Where do I lead this conversation, to show my brother-in-law, who is also a great friend, the way to his path back home? He seems to sincerely want to find the truth and I deeply want to help him. :slight_smile:

Rich
[/quote]

I could not buy that the Church had only one function to produce the Christian Bible and then was no longer needed? Christ Himself says that the Church will remain as a visible assembly, until the end of time, and WILL NOT FAIL!

Assume that he has a point. The Catholic Church of today might not be in the same pristine condition as it was in the early centuries. You will not find anywhere in early Christian writings the idea of Holy Communion being only a purely Spiritual Communion. Does his church reflect the actual beliefs of the early Christians on Holy Communion, Baptism, the Bishop, Ordination, Anointing of the sick, the Mass, etc? I would sit down with some early church fathers from the first 600 years and make a list of documented Christian beliefs and practices. Then starting at the top say what the current Catholic belief and practice is and ask him to explain what the belief and practice of his church is. By the time you get to the bottom of the list he will have a lot to think about. If he says that we no longer need to do this or that. Ask him to show you where the Bible authorizes the change or abandonment of the belief or practice.


#6

You all make very good and strong points. Some I already knew and some I didn’t think about. THANK YOU! It has been a few weeks since our last talk, so I think I will sit down with him and try to get him to stear the discussion and find exactly where he wants to go with things.

David,

You talk of receptionism. I understand, in order for the real presence to actually be real, we must believe. There was a question asked in the AAA forum of, “Why can’t we have Eucharist at te dinner table?” The poster said, they ask for Christ to come and be present at every meal, as we all do when we pray at meals. The question, in only my opinion, was not fully answered.

Answer:
*Dear emom,

The Eucharist has a context. It is the sign of His passion. When we see the bread separate from the wine, the body separate from the blood, we see that he died. The Eucharist is all about Him and His love for us. It’s not something we do. It is something that He does. It is the great act of His priesthood which He has chosen to give to us through His priests.
*

Maybe you or someone could explain a little further on this one.

I understand the Scripture behiind the profecy of the Eucharist and that Jesus wasn’t just talking to hear himself speak in John 6. I guess like Aaron mentioned, if we trul believe the cheez-it’s are the body of Christ, is it so? And, how?? Seems a little off to me.


#7

He says, he does not believe the Catholic Church to be the same church today as it was when founded by Christ. Today it has been corrupted by men and does not stand with any authority.

What about Matthew 16:18? If the Catholic Church is corrupted then wouldn’t the gates of hell have prevailed?

If we know and believe that it is Christs’ body and Blood, that is what we get 100%

Belief does not change what an object inherently is. For example, if you freind orders a coke at burger king and sincerely believes that it is a coke when he begins to drink it but the order got screwed up and it’s a dr. pepper, what will your friend taste? If he firmly believed that it’s a coke than why is he tasting dr. pepper?

Two opposites cannot exist at the same time. For example, a person cannot be both dead and alive at the same time. If two people find someone lying on the ground and one person firmly believes the person is dead and the other firmly believes the person is alive both can’t be right.


#8

I would like to chime in on the notion that the church is full of corrupt men, and therefore has lost its authority.

A few weeks ago at mass, our priest talked about the current issue of a priest in Hudson, WI who is accused of a double murder, child molestation, and had committed suicide under these allegations. Our priest knew him personally, and the news was big around here. During the homily, our priest pointed out the Jesus knew and fully expected that there would be corruption within the church.

The best example of this is the very fact that Jesus, when establishing His first Bishops (the Apostles) chose Judas. He knew that Judas would betray Him, yet He chose him as an apostle none the less. This is a great example that there may be corruption within the church, and it may be horrific in nature, but that does not go against the validity of the church.

On the other point of there not being a formula for the Eucharist, it is important to look back at the original institution of the Eucharist at the last supper. It was not the apostles who proclaimed the bread and wine to be that of Jesus’s body and blood, but rather Jesus causing the transformation. The last supper is the “formula” you are looking for.

Hope this helps…


#9

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