Baptist's thought experiment about the real presence

So on the comments section of Joe Heschmeyer’s blog ( shamelesspopery.com/st-justin-martyr-or-idolater/ ) a Baptist is asking what we think of this thought experiment:

"The issue of the worship of the elements, is to me, a side issue. It does not really pertain to the reality of the Real Presence, which is all the article is about here.

I want to be careful not to be blasphemous, but here is a thought exercise: Christ was crucified in the year 2000 AD instead of 2000 years ago. No reason He could not have been, God’s secret counsel decided otherwise I guess.

Anyhow, being that there are claims of there being real relics that at the very least contain Christ’s blood (shroud of turin for example), if the Crucifixion happened 15 years ago we might have had had enough blood to freeze, perhaps pieces of His flesh from flogging and where the nails went through his palms. Let’s say all of that is frozen and preserved. Jesus resurrects, but the blood and said pieces of flesh or left behind.

So, if these things are preserved in the Vatican deep freeze, and put on display for people to come and worship, is that appropriate? There is no doubt that these things are really Christ’s flesh and blood.

Some may argue that they are no longer, being that they do not belong to His resurrected body. That makes sense, I suppose. Then, with the elements, are we absolutely certain that this is the crucial difference? So, Christ’s resurrected body and human nature takes on inhuman qualities in being able to multiply is mass wherever the Eucharist is celebrated? Is this what makes the Eucharist worthy of worship?

Just a thought experiment that is all."

How would you respond to this?

Personally, I think if that kind of thing were to happen and we somehow had some ‘testable’ material from the body of Jesus, sure they could run tests on them, but I have a feeling the results may be something no one could comprehend, something totally bizarre and different from a regular man, or the test just would not return any results, our computers would likely not recognize divine material anyway.

Im not sure if that helps or not with what you are wanting, just my opinion.

These would be appropriately venerated, but no Catholic could “worship” them. These would be artifacts of Our Lord’s earthly body. They would not be Our Lord.

If cuttings of Our Lord’s hair were somehow discovered and proved, Catholics could not worship these cuttings. But they would be a REALLY interesting relic.

So, Christ’s resurrected body and human nature takes on inhuman qualities in being able to multiply is mass wherever the Eucharist is celebrated? Is this what makes the Eucharist worthy of worship?

If so, then the loaves and fishes would be worthy of worship. But nobody worshiped the loaves and fishes.

We have never and will never worship relics, no matter whose they are.

I haven’t read the blog, so I can only say that his reference to “worship of the elements” doesn’t make sense in the context you’ve presented it here.

If by ‘elements’, he means the accidents (of bread and wine), then he’s mistaken: Catholics do not worship the accidents, but rather, worship the Eucharist.

So, if these things are preserved in the Vatican deep freeze, and put on display for people to come and worship, is that appropriate? There is no doubt that these things are really Christ’s flesh and blood.

No need for me to repeat the reasonable assertions that folks have already made about the difference between ‘Eucharistic worship’ and ‘veneration of relics’.

So, Christ’s resurrected body and human nature takes on inhuman qualities in being able to multiply is mass wherever the Eucharist is celebrated? Is this what makes the Eucharist worthy of worship?

This is the part that caught my attention. He really misunderstands the nature of the sacramental presence in the Eucharist; in fact, he would do well to read Aquinas’ discussion of the Eucharist in the Summa.

We do not worship a Christ who “takes on inhuman qualities”; we worship a resurrected Christ in His glorified body.

Is it, as he asserts, “inhuman” for the Eucharist to be “multiplied wherever the Eucharist is celebrated”? That assertion fails to recognize that the mode of being in the Eucharist is sacramental. Since it’s sacramental, (as Aquinas points out), Christ’s real presence does not have the same characteristics of dimension and quantity as we’re used to experiencing in the real world. Therefore, we do not worship the Eucharist simply because it is a sacramental presence: we worship the Eucharist because it is the sacramental presence of Christ. Critical difference there!

(That is, if Christ had made the body of Moses – as seen at the Transfiguration – sacramentally present at the Last Supper, and given us a means of by which we could make Moses’ body sacramentally present, then we might do so and, in that context, venerate the sacramental presence of Moses. However, we would not worship it, since it would not be God’s real presence. We worship because it’s Christ; it’s present to us because He gave us a means through which to make Him sacramentally present.)

How about this alternative thought experiment?

Enter a Catholic or Orthodox Church, and note that there is a presence there, a quality of the place that tells us it is inhabited. This quality is absent from Protestant places of assembly, and mosques. (I have not been into a synagogue, so I cannot speak about them.)

Yes, part of it is the way these places are furnished, but that reflects the community that uses them, and their faith. Similarly, their behavior there is part of it. But there is more to it than that. When Christian missionaries came to Hawaii, the Calvinist missionaries were respected for their learning–but the Hawaiians noted that the Catholics had more mana, presence or power. And that is reflected or explained by the most notable difference between the groups: the Calvinists do not have the sacrament of the Eucharist; Catholics do.

:thumbsup:

Just to elaborate on what others have said, he seems mistaken in that the Eucharist is not chunks of Christ’s flesh or a cup full of His blood. Whether under the form of bread or wine, it is the whole Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity.

This issue was actually dealt with when the Jansenists raised objections to devotion to the Sacred Heart. Pope Pius VI issued a constitution, Auctorem Fidei, condemning their errors on a variety of topics, including that. Contrary to what the Jansenists accused the faithful of, following the ninth canon of the Second Council of Constantinople, the Pope noted that “the humanity and the very living flesh of Christ is adored, not indeed on account of itself as mere flesh, but because it is united to the divinity” and that the faithful who adore the Sacred Heart do not “separate it or cut it off from the divinity.”

:thumbsup: nice answer.

The Miracle of Lanciano , I’ve been there.

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