A Question for Roman Catholics


#1

Just an interesting question I’ve heard.

Is Christ more present in a Consecrated Host, or in the people at the mass, or neither, or both? Explain.


#2

[quote=WheatBean]Just an interesting question I’ve heard.

Is Christ more present in a Consecrated Host, or in the people at the mass, or neither, or both? Explain.
[/quote]

First explain what you mean by “more present.”


#3

Christ is present spiritually in the gathered people.

He is present whole and entire–body and blood, soul and divinity, his complete person, in the Eucharist.


#4

The consecrated supersubstantial Bread is a sign of God’s grace which conveys grace *ex opere operato. *The fullness of Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity are present essentially in the Holy Eucharist.

The fullness of Christ’s presence in the people at Mass depends upon many things, to include barriers to receiving grace of the Holy Sacrament *ex opere operato. *One must be properly disposed, or the Sacrament is not received worthily, which places a barrier to the fruit of the Sacrament.

Additonally, even of those who don’t receive a valid Sacrament worthily, they may attain God’s grace *ex opere operantis. *

According to Fr. John Hardon:

EX OPERE OPERATO. A term defined by the Council of Trent to describe how the sacraments confer the grace they signify. Trent condemned the following proposition: “That grace is not conferred `ex opere operato’ by the sacraments of the New Law” (Denzinger 1608). Literally the expression means “from the work performed,” stating that grace is always conferred by a sacrament, in virtue of the rite performed and not as a mere sign that grace has already been given, or that the sacrament stimulates the faith of the recipient and thus occasions the obtaining of grace, or that what determines the grace is the virtue of either the minister or recipient of a sacrament. Provided no obstacle (obex) is placed in the way, every sacrament properly administered confers the grace intended by the sacrament. In a true sense the sacraments are instrumental causes of grace.

EX OPERE OPERANTIS. A term mainly applied to the good dispositions with which a sacrament is received, to distinguish it from the ex opere operato, which is the built-in efficacy of a sacrament properly conferred. But it may refer to any subjective factor that at least partially determines the amount of grace obtained by a person who performs some act of piety. Thus in the use of sacramentals or in the gaining of indulgences, the blessings received depend largely on the faith and love of God with which a sacramental is employed or an indulgenced prayer or good work is performed.

Given the above, I’d say the real presence of Christ is perfected in the valid Holy Eucharist, but falls short of perfection within those attending Mass because of varying degrees of disposition.


#5

laughs That is the way I’ve heard the question phrased, but I’ll try to explain what I understand of it-- you’ll have to bear with me a bit. ^_^;

“More present,” in the Consecrated Host, in any way moreso, more powerfully maybe?, than within those at mass-- do people not have Christ within them like a Consecrated Host does? It is a silly phrasing, perhaps, because how could Christ, or anyone, be more or less present anywhere?

I’ve heard the answer to this question (at least the first one, if Christ is more present in the Host) separated Catholics from pre-Vatican II views and post-Vatican II views. Its sort of an interesting question, and perhaps lend one to reflect what it addresses and indicates (if it is not the most clear question on earth ;).

And thank you all for your replies! So quickly, too! :slight_smile:


#6

Hmmm…I’m curious. Does my answer make be post- or pre-Vatican II??? Or Both??


#7

From what I’ve been told, the perspective that Christ is more present in the Host than in the people is more attuned to pre-Vatican II views.

I hope to find this question (has anyone heard it before?) somewhere online, maybe find where it came from-- as I’ve only heard of it from one person.


#8

That’s interesting, since I wasn’t even alive pre-Vatican II, and was completely catechized by the post-Vatican II Church. I’ve not seen anything which suggests a contrary view in any post-Vatican II texts from the Catholic magisterium.


#9

[quote=WheatBean]laughs That is the way I’ve heard the question phrased, but I’ll try to explain what I understand of it-- you’ll have to bear with me a bit. ^_^;

“More present,” in the Consecrated Host, in any way moreso, more powerfully maybe?, than within those at mass-- do people not have Christ within them like a Consecrated Host does? It is a silly phrasing, perhaps, because how could Christ, or anyone, be more or less present anywhere?

I’ve heard the answer to this question (at least the first one, if Christ is more present in the Host) separated Catholics from pre-Vatican II views and post-Vatican II views. Its sort of an interesting question, and perhaps lend one to reflect what it addresses and indicates (if it is not the most clear question on earth ;).

And thank you all for your replies! So quickly, too! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

You know, we could apply your question to a certain baby born in a Bethlehem stable. Is God “more present” in the body of Jesus than elsewhere?


#10

This might be of some help:

catholic.com/library/Christ_in_the_Eucharist.asp


#11

[quote=WheatBean]From what I’ve been told, the perspective that Christ is more present in the Host than in the people is more attuned to pre-Vatican II views.
[/quote]

That would be truly only if a particular “post-Vatican II” person no longer believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Vatican II changed nothing about Eucharistic doctrine.


#12

[quote=Kay Cee]You know, we could apply your question to a certain baby born in a Bethlehem stable. Is God “more present” in the body of Jesus than elsewhere?
[/quote]

Good point!! http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif

http://www.diocesephoenix.org/parish/st_clare/Pope%20with%20monstrance.jpg


#13

[quote=WheatBean]From what I’ve been told, the perspective that Christ is more present in the Host than in the people is more attuned to pre-Vatican II views.

I hope to find this question (has anyone heard it before?) somewhere online, maybe find where it came from-- as I’ve only heard of it from one person.
[/quote]

That view is consistent with a position that tends to view God as “more” present in people than as an objective, essential reality beyond human comprehension.

This subjectivist view holds that “experience” ought to propel our thinking rather than reason or revelation, and that truth exists on a sliding scale relative to our valuation of experience (which is often painfully limited).

Having lived the fruit of this sort of thing in the denomination out of which I came into the Catholic Church, I can say that there is nothing more wholesome, substantial, and objective than the way in which Catholic theology comprehends the Truth, and that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity --in the consecrated elements of the Holy Eucharist is a cornerstone of theological sanity by comparison with the madness that arises from subjectivist “theology.”

So, yes. Jesus is present in a particular way in the Blessed Sacrament that is quite different from his presence in creation or in our fellow men.


#14

For a detailed answer to your question, read Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Mysterium Fidei, in particular the section “Various Ways in Which Christ is Present” (paragraphs 35 through 39).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the situation as follows:

CCC 1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” 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, really, and substantially contained.” “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 presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”


#15

[quote=mercygate]That view is consistent with a position that tends to view God as “more” present in people than as an objective, essential reality beyond human comprehension.
[/quote]

All of us are that though, because human personality is essentially a mystery; because personality is the work of an infinite Mystery. A speck of dust is as fully a mystery as the Trinity.

This subjectivist view holds that “experience” ought to propel our thinking rather than reason or revelation, and that truth exists on a sliding scale relative to our valuation of experience (which is often painfully limited).

If revelation were not to be based on experience, The Father would not have expressed Himself in a human person Who is God - we would have a book instead. We are saved by being in a person, not by a set of propositions about Him. Propositions have their place, certainly; but it’s not the first place; that is Christ’s. Everything else makes sense only if He is not denied it. That’s why we adore Christ, and not the Council of Trent, Vatican II, or Nicea - or the Bible. Take away experience, and faith becomes a dead & deadening code.

There is plenty of objectivity in a coffin, for corpses have no ability to respond to Christ. Make an absolute of objectivity, and the freedom of response to Christ in grace evaporates - we become no better than the stocks & stones we so readily idolise. To be human at all and not an automaton, is to be irreducibly subjective. God is subjective, supremely so - He says “I am”. as Our Creator, He made us in in His own image - so we too are subjects: not objects.

Objectivity is not the problem, neither is subjectivity -absolutising either is. They both have their place in our communion with God in Christ. ##

Having lived the fruit of this sort of thing in the denomination out of which I came into the Catholic Church, I can say that there is nothing more wholesome, substantial, and objective than the way in which Catholic theology comprehends the Truth, and that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity --in the consecrated elements of the Holy Eucharist is a cornerstone of theological sanity by comparison with the madness that arises from subjectivist “theology.”

So, yes. Jesus is present in a particular way in the Blessed Sacrament that is quite different from his presence in creation or in our fellow men.

Of course - whether it is “better” than others, is another matter - but it’s certainly a reality. Can one say that His Presence under the Eucharistic species is either “better” or not than any other ? For that’s a value-judgement - not an articulation of the metaphysical condition of the Eucharist Gifts (which is what I take the articulation of the mystery of His Presence in the Eucharist to be).

Can’t the Eucharistic Presence simply be different from others (which it is anyway) rather than “having to” be called “fuller” ? In some ways, it seems to be as truly a Real Absence as a Presence - for we do not see Christ in His Glory in a Host; nor is He confined to it. Is not He hidden in the Eucharist, as truly as He is manifested ? ##


#16

I’m sorry, Sir, but that analysis is contrary to Catholic teaching. It is for that very reason that we need an objective understanding of our faith. You have decided to romanticize our relationship with God. That’s all well and good, but ultimately in doing so you are denying people of the true way of communion with God. It is objectively true that we cannot be in union with God more fully than in the Eucharist. To suggest otherwise ignores the presence of Christ: body, blood, sould, and divinity. Jesus is present in his entirety in the Eucharist. He is only hidden because while the substance (the being or reality) of the host changes, its accidents (physical presence/ existence) do not. Just because we do not observe the physical change does not mean that it does not take place. By trying to promote the presence of God withing us, you are taking away from our highest source of grace. The Eucharist is the pinnacle of our faith.


#17

I might suggest an analogy. If you are away on a business trip, and miss a family gathering, you may still be with them in spirit, and you will be in their minds and hearts as they gather. In that sense you are present with them. But is that the same kind of presence you would have if you were there with them bodily? Is your bodily presence “better?”

For Jesus is bodily present in the Eucharist, not just spiritually present.


#18

You seem to suggest, or present that it has been suggested by others, that Vatican II changed understanding or doctrine regarding the Eucharist. That is false.


#19

[quote=Aaron I.]I’m sorry, Sir, but that analysis is contrary to Catholic teaching. It is for that very reason that we need an objective understanding of our faith. You have decided to romanticize our relationship with God. That’s all well and good, but ultimately in doing so you are denying people of the true way of communion with God. It is objectively true that we cannot be in union with God more fully than in the Eucharist. To suggest otherwise ignores the presence of Christ: body, blood, sould, and divinity. Jesus is present in his entirety in the Eucharist. He is only hidden because while the substance (the being or reality) of the host changes, its accidents (physical presence/ existence) do not. Just because we do not observe the physical change does not mean that it does not take place. By trying to promote the presence of God withing us, you are taking away from our highest source of grace. The Eucharist is the pinnacle of our faith.
[/quote]

Aaron states the case very well. The Eucharest is the prime way in which Jesus is present to us. What had happened over the centuries is that many lost sight of the fact that he was really present to us in many other ways which while not the prime way were very important. For example the ambo received more emphasis and a spot near the altar to help us realize that the presence of Jesus in his proclaimed Word was powerful and real, not to say that this presence was equal or better than the Eucharistic presence. I am always struck when looking at all the many ways that Jesus is present that he must love us, his creatures so very much to want to be with us in so many different ways.


#20

[quote=Sherlock]You seem to suggest, or present that it has been suggested by others, that Vatican II changed understanding or doctrine regarding the Eucharist. That is false.
[/quote]

Moreso the approach to and view of the lay rather than the Eucharist, from what I gather.


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