Adoration of the Elements


#1

Hi all!
I was recently reading something that mentioned “adoration of the elements” in the Lord’s Supper. I wasn’t quite sure what to think. While I am a Lutheran and recognize the presence of the Lord’s body and blood in the sacrament, the idea seemed absurd. I was wondering if Catholics do or ever did this practice.


#2

The fact that you have already referred to Adoration as “absurd” would seem to indicate that you are not really open to receiving information on this Catholic practice.:tsktsk:


#3

I’m not sure. Is “Adoration of the Elements” a rarely-done Lutheran practice? It sounds similar to a Catholic “Exposition” service where the host-bread is on display in a monstrance (a decorative stand meant “to show” the consecrated wafer).

I’d like you, LutheranStudent, to give us more information on the publication where you read it (if you can remember). When printed? By whom (ELCA, LCMS, etc.)? It was my impression that Lutherans believe in the Real Presence of Jesus “in, with, and under” the elements of bread and wine DURING the service, but that afterward, Christ is not present in the elements because the community is no longer there, and “leftover” elements are to be reverently consumed or buried but not reserved.

I’m wondering if the Adoration of the Elements takes that approach: that while no longer really Christ, the elements are given due respect (maybe like body at the visitation/wake of a newly deceased), and the attendees are called to honor and remember the person.


#4

Hi ChemicalBean!
I believe that the place I read it was a forum/discussion board of some kind. I want to say that the dialogue was mainly between an ELCA pastor and a Catholic priest - but I didn’t read most of the discussion and didn’t save the page. I’m recall having the impression that “Adoration” in the sense that they were talking meant outward worship or special attention to the bread/wine.


#5

Whodda thunk it? Here is the answer to my question from Wikipedia:

CATHOLIC:
The hosts are kept and honoured after the celebration of the Mass. In Catholic churches, the hosts kept in a tabernacle, so that it can be given to the sick and dying outside the time of Mass, but also so that the Eucharistic presence may be worshipped and adored. In many Catholic churches the Eucharist is ‘exposed’ in a monstrance, in order for it to be the focus of prayer and adoration.

LUTHERAN:
For Lutherans there is no sacrament unless the elements are used according to Christ’s institution (consecration, distribution, and reception), so only bread and wine remain after the distribution and reception of the Lord’s Supper and the service is concluded. The elements are treated with respect, but not “revered” or reserved as in Roman Catholic practice. Lutherans use the terms “in, with and under” and “Sacramental Union” to distinguish their understanding of the Lord’s Supper from that of the Reformed as well as other traditions.

And then there are other examples, too. Thanks!


#6

[quote=LutheranStudent]Hi ChemicalBean!
I believe that the place I read it was a forum/discussion board of some kind. I want to say that the dialogue was mainly between an ELCA pastor and a Catholic priest - but I didn’t read most of the discussion and didn’t save the page. I’m recall having the impression that “Adoration” in the sense that they were talking meant outward worship or special attention to the bread/wine.
[/quote]

Here is where you are incorrect: we worship the Eucharist, which is Christ, not bread and wine (both of which cease to exist after the consecration).

Obviously, from a Lutheran perspective this is heretical, as Lutherans believe Christ is present “in, with and under” the bread and wine-- in other words, to worship the Sacrament would be to commit idolatry, as you would simultaneously be worshipping God with the worship due to Him, and the bread with the worship due to Him.

Catholic thought has no problem with this, as bread and wine cease to exist by virtue of the consecration, and once consecrated the Eucharist is not contigent on reception.

Oh yes, a quote from St. Augustine:

“Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.”- St. Augustine

We adore the Eucharist when we receive it, and it seems only commonsense to us that it also deserves adoration at other times.


#7

We adore the Eucharist when we receive it, and it seems only commonsense to us that it also deserves adoration at other times.

Especially considering that in the infant Church the Eucharist was brought to the sick who were not present at the liturgy. Clearly they believed that the consecrated elements remained after the liturgy.


#8

[quote=drforjc]Especially considering that in the infant Church the Eucharist was brought to the sick who were not present at the liturgy. Clearly they believed that the consecrated elements remained after the liturgy.
[/quote]

The early Church took it to the sick becasue they believed that it was the body and blood of Christ, and not bread and wine. In the Catholic Church we believe, along with the Church fathers, that the bread and wine are actually transformed into the body blood soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since the Eucharist is Jesus and not bread and wine, then the Eucharist should be worshiped. We acknowledge that the APPEARANCE of bread and wine remain, but the actual substance goes through an ontological change and becomes Christ.


#9

Topher, correct- that was what I was trying to say(i.e., the fact that Communion was brought to the sick is evidence that the Real Presence continues beyond the actual time of the liturgy)


#10

[quote=drforjc]Topher, correct- that was what I was trying to say(i.e., the fact that Communion was brought to the sick is evidence that the Real Presence continues beyond the actual time of the liturgy)
[/quote]

I won’t doubt, first of all, that the remaining elements were brought to the sick after the actual service. It seems likely even sensible to do. What I would be interested in is whether or not the words of institution were employed or not. Because if they were, then the Lutheran view would be held true. Do Catholic ever use the words of institution twice on the same bread? Just curious.


#11

[quote=LutheranStudent]IDo Catholic ever use the words of institution twice on the same bread? Just curious.
[/quote]

No.

Besides, that would be impossible - by reason. Once the bread and the wine are properly consecrated, they remain the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord for as long as the accidents (appearances) of the bread and wine remain.

Hence, once the host has disolved, Jesus is not “with you” in the exact same manner as when you first received. Many Catholics receive daily. The Lord said “…as often as you offer (do) this…” and Catholics are encouraged to accept Jesus personally as Lord and Savior often.

Can’t get more personal than in the Real Presence - which is only possible with valid ordination - which is only present in the Catholic Church through succession from the Apostles themselves.

Isn’t it beautiful that God did not allow Luther to become a bishop, thus preventing him from continuing any “valid” ordinations?


#12

whether or not the words of institution were employed or not.

No, just carried to the sick person and given to them without “reconsecrating.” The same is still done today in the Catholic Church.


#13

[quote=MrS]Isn’t it beautiful that God did not allow Luther to become a bishop, thus preventing him from continuing any “valid” ordinations?
[/quote]

Beautiful to the Catholics, maybe. It gives you an opportunity to sneer and blindly follow those who claim apostolic succession is important. But Lutherans recognize an authority higher than that of Bishops or hierarchies. We prefer to follow Scripture and the words and concepts - if you will, the faith - that is presented there. Apostolic succession has NO roots in Scripture, as other Catholics have admitted to me.
It burdens my heart to see groups like the ELCA and the Lutheran Orthodox Church trying to obtain apostolic succession. It really shows how pitiful they have become.


#14

[quote=drforjc]No, just carried to the sick person and given to them without “reconsecrating.” The same is still done today in the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

In that case, I would wonder (1) if it was presented as sacrament, and (2) just how early in the Christian church we are talking.


#15

[quote=LutheranStudent]Whodda thunk it? Here is the answer to my question from Wikipedia:

CATHOLIC:
The hosts are kept and honoured after the celebration of the Mass. In Catholic churches, the hosts kept in a tabernacle, so that it can be given to the sick and dying outside the time of Mass, but also so that the Eucharistic presence may be worshipped and adored. In many Catholic churches the Eucharist is ‘exposed’ in a monstrance, in order for it to be the focus of prayer and adoration.

LUTHERAN:
For Lutherans there is no sacrament unless the elements are used according to Christ’s institution (consecration, distribution, and reception), so only bread and wine remain after the distribution and reception of the Lord’s Supper and the service is concluded. The elements are treated with respect, but not “revered” or reserved as in Roman Catholic practice. Lutherans use the terms “in, with and under” and “Sacramental Union” to distinguish their understanding of the Lord’s Supper from that of the Reformed as well as other traditions.

And then there are other examples, too. Thanks!
[/quote]

Even according to this Lutheran definition, the Catholic practice makes perfect sense. If consecration, distribution, and reception constitute the Eucharistic “process,” then when Catholics reserve the Blessed Sacrament, they simply place a span of time between consecration and distribution/reception (as an earlier poster noted: a practice of the early Church). The consecrated hosts are ultimately always consumed. In Catholic sacramental theology, Jesus does not cease to be Jesus just because people leave the building.


#16

[quote=LutheranStudent]Beautiful to the Catholics, maybe. It gives you an opportunity to sneer and blindly follow those who claim apostolic succession is important. But Lutherans recognize an authority higher than that of Bishops or hierarchies. We prefer to follow Scripture and the words and concepts - if you will, the faith - that is presented there. Apostolic succession has NO roots in Scripture, as other Catholics have admitted to me.
It burdens my heart to see groups like the ELCA and the Lutheran Orthodox Church trying to obtain apostolic succession. It really shows how pitiful they have become.
[/quote]

Although it’s really a new thread for Apologetics, I suggest you look at how Matthias was made an Apostle in Acts. Also, the Fathers are quite clear as to what they believe regarding the Eucharist. They don’t agree with Luther.

Although “pitiful” does not seem to be a very charitable description, those wings of Lutheranism have simply come to terms with the fact that their Church is not the early Church Luther claimed it was - they seem to be seeking to come into line with historical Christianity.


#17

[quote=MrS]Can’t get more personal than in the Real Presence - which is only possible with valid ordination - which is only present in the Catholic Church through succession from the Apostles themselves.

Isn’t it beautiful that God did not allow Luther to become a bishop, thus preventing him from continuing any “valid” ordinations?
[/quote]

No, MrS. Don’t go there.

We cannot say that there is not a valid apostolic line of clergy in the Lutheran church right now any more that we can say that there is not a vaild apostolic line in the Anglican church. Those bishops at the time of reformation didn’t necessarily choose to be protestant; it was the princes of the area that chose for them! So, even with having their faculties removed by edict or by default, they would still retain the “fullness of the priesthood” and be able to validly (albeit illicitly) celebrate the sacraments. Thus, it it quite possible that with the Catholic understanding of apostolic succession and orders, that Christ is Really Present in the Lutheran Sacrament.

And no, it’s not particularly beautiful that Luther was not a bishop. Perhaps that was not his calling. But if it were, I’d bet that the Reformation would not have happened the way it did - we just might still be one universal church, less 500+ years of further splits and theological and political backstabbing.

Let’s get this thread back on topic: LutheranStudent’s earnest question about the “Adoration of the Elements” and its relation to Catholic practices.


#18

[quote=ChemicalBean]No, MrS. Don’t go there.

We cannot say that there is not a valid apostolic line of clergy in the Lutheran church right now any more that we can say that there is not a vaild apostolic line in the Anglican church. .
[/quote]

Actually the Church can and did declare their Orders to be invalid, do to defect in Form and Intent.

Pope Leo XIII outlined the defects in *Apostolicae Curae *

Both the Lutheran and Anglican Rite of Ordination lack the Ordination to the Priesthood of Christ and to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they both consider all people to equally participate in the priesthood of Christ and deny the Sacrificial Nature of the Eucharist.

So their ordinations are therefore invalid due to defect of form and intent.

Now several Anglicans in the Oxford Movement sought to re-establish Apostolic Sucession and sought Orders from the ‘Old Catholic’ Church. Those specific bishops, and only those bishops have valid orders.


#19

[quote=LutheranStudent]Beautiful to the Catholics, maybe. It gives you an opportunity to sneer and blindly follow those who claim apostolic succession is important.
[/quote]

I think it is a shame because it prevents our separated Lutheran brethren from receiving Christ in the Eucharist.

But Lutherans recognize an authority higher than that of Bishops or hierarchies. We prefer to follow Scripture and the words and concepts - if you will, the faith - that is presented there. Apostolic succession has NO roots in Scripture, as other Catholics have admitted to me.

What individual Catholics have “admitted” to you is just about as meaningless as what, perhaps, a Baptist might mention to you about the Catholic Church. What the Catholic Church teaches is what matters, and I believe they teach something different from that. (In any case, I wouldn’t come here and tell you that Lutherans and Catholics “believe basically the same thing,” on the Eucharist, despite the fact that one of my Lutheran friends says (or at least, used to say) that-- the Catholic and Lutheran documents don’t attest to that.)

Whether or not Apostolic Succession has roots in Scripture is one issue, the other is whether or not Lutherans or any Protestants can justify any type of authority from which to consecrate the elements in the Sacrament is another. The power/authority to do this must come from somewhere. Lutherans base this on an interpretation of the priesthood of all believers. To say the least, I find the Lutheran justification for this unfounded and contradictory, and I could assert just as much as you that it has “NO roots in Scripture,” (and certainly not in the tradition of the Church) but why blow hot air over this?

I don’t think anyone here appreciates comments like “we prefer to follow Scripture,” which seems to say Catholics don’t like to follow Scripture, which is perhaps just as offensive to us as any number of things we could say to you. Feel free to disagree with the truthfulness of our positions, but at least grant us the benefit of good intent.

In that case, I would wonder (1) if it was presented as sacrament, and (2) just how early in the Christian church we are talking.

(1) I would very much imagine it was presented as a sacrament, but I’ll have to look this up. What are your conditions for “presenting it as a sacrament,” by that you mean as the body and blood of Jesus? (2) What dates would suffice to convince you that this is a true position?

EDIT: The Catholic Encyclopedia notes on Eucharist used to emphasize communion with other churches in the act of fermentum.

In the Holy Eucharist, bread thus serves for the offering of the sacrifice, and after the consecration for the Communion of the celebrant, the clergy, the laity, as well as for reservation in order that Communion may be brought to the absent, or that the Blessed Sacrament may be adored in the tabernacle or in the monstrance. In Rome at one time it was the custom of the pope to send a part of the consecrated bread to the priests in the titular churches that all might be united in offering the same sacrifice so that this fermentum, as it was called, might in spiritual sense leaven the whole mass of the faithful, make them one with the pope in faith and worship. Bishops also were once accustomed to send the Eucharistic Bread to their priests for the same purpose and also to each other to signify that they admitted one another into ecclesiastical communion. To prevent abuses and profanation to the Sacrament, this custom was early prohibited and soon disappeared. The usage then began of sending blessed bread instead of the Holy Eucharist to those who did not communicate at the Mass, and to those who might wish to receive this gift as a pledge of communion of faith.

Note that this stopped so as to prevent abuses to the Holy Sacrament (first, the sending of the Sacrament shows that they didn’t believe it had to be eaten and that it remained with the presence of Christ, and second, the curtailing and abolishing of this practice showed the respect due to the Holy Sacrament which contained Christ-- so it shows it on both counts). In place of this, a simple blessed bread called the eulogia, which was not consecrated but merely blessed, was sent. Being that the article mentions Chrysostom, Gregory of Tours, the Council of Nantes and Leo IV mentioning the eulogia, that means it was likely quite early of a practice.


#20

The reservation of the Sacrament:

The keeping back from the public service of the Holy Communion of portions of the consecrated bread and wine for subsequent use. The earliest mention of this practise is in Justin Martyr (1 ApoI., lxv., lxvii.; ANF, i. 185-186). Describing the Sunday worship Church. of Christians, he says that distribution is made to each of his share of the elements which have been blessed, and to those who are not present it is sent by the ministry of the deacons. Tertullian (200 A.D.) speaks of the Lord’s body being reserved and carried home from the public service for later private consumption (De oratione, xix.; Eng. transl., ANF, iii. 687; Ad uxorem, II, v., Eng. transl., ANF, iv. 467). Eusebius (Hist. eccl., VI., xliv. Eng. transl., NPNF, 2 ser., i. 290) quotes an account by Dionysius of Alexandria of an aged man who, under persecution, had joined in an act of idolatry, but in his last sickness earnestly desired reconciliation with the Church, to whom a small portion of the eucharist was sent by a messenger. Basil (350 A.D.) writes of the custom among the religious solitaries: “All those who live in solitudes as monks or her mits, where there is no priest, keeping the communion in their houses, take it with their own hands. And in Alexandria and in Egypt each, even of the lay people, for the most part has the communion in his own house, and when he wills communicates himself. For when once the priest has consecrated the sacrifice and has delivered it, he who has once received it as a whole, and partakes of it day by day, ought to believe that he partakes and receives from the hand of him who has given it” (Epist., xciii., cf. NPNF, 2 ser., viii. 179). This custom was naturally resorted to in times of persecution. An allusion of Jerome (Epist., cxxv., NPNF, 2 ser. vi. 251) implies that in some cases and places the sacrament was thus taken home: “None is richer than (a bishop of Toulouse), for his wicker basket contains the body of the Lord, and his plain glass cup the precious blood.” From Chrysostom’s account of the attack on the bishop’s church on Easter eve it appears that the sacrament was reserved in both kinds in a sacristy of the church “where the sacred vessels were stored” (Epist. to Innocent I, iii.). Iren浳 (180 A.D.) gives the earliest known instance of the sending of the eucharist to a distance as a pledge of communion (Fragment iii. of his Epist. to Victor of Rome). This practise was later forbidden by the Synod of Laodicea (365) and the use of eulogia (a blessed, but not consecrated bread) was substituted. A similar custom obtained in the sending of portions of the elements (called the fermentum) consecrated at the bishop’s Eucharist to other churches under his care, where they were mingled with the elements consecrated by the local priest. This was more especially a custom of the church at Rome.


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