Challenge : Defend St. Augustine's belief in the Real Presence

On another thread, Protestant poster Radical offered a challenge:

As far as Augustine goes, I’ll leave you with the challenge that has remained unanswered by quite a few on these threads…you quoted a little bit of Sermon 227…why not post all of that sermon on a new thread and then explain to me how it establishes that Augustine held to a real bodily presence (and how the scholars [ie Wills, Van der Meer and Kilmartin]somehow missed that sermon when arriving at their conclusion?

Copyrighted material cannot be posted on the CAFs, per forum rules.

However, here is the link to the entire sermon 227 of St. Augustine.

Saint Augustine is a Catholic!
He tells you…
Eucharist (Real, Substantial, Physical Presence)

**“And was carried in His Own Hands:” how “carried in His Own Hands”? **Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said, “This is My Body.” (Exposition on Psalm XXXIV, 1; NPNF 1, Vol. VIII)


Per forum rules we are not permitted to post copyrighted material, but here is the link to Augustine’s sermon 227.

It alwys gets on my nerves when people quote certain Chuch Fathers and misinterpret what they are saying. It is clear Augustine believed in the real presence as did everyone until the 11th century.

The reason you can sometimes find Fathers using terms like bread and wine for conscecrated bread is because sometimes the Church uses these terms (as did the fathers) to refer to the Eucharist. Such as “the bread of life.” There is also a secondary understanding of the Eucharist being symbolic…As stated earlier is not wrong to use terms like the “bread of life” even though there is no substance of bread present anymore…

Augustine’s work is in the public domain.

PhilVaz has an article specifically devoted to Augustine’s view of the Real Presence. He believed in the Real Presence as well as the Eucharist as sacrifice.

Here’s just one quote:“What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.” (Sermons 272)

Ok. But the website I used is copyrighted.

Do you have a source for Augustine’s Sermons that’s not copyrighted? If so, that would be great to post here.

CCEL does not own the copyright on Augustine’s work! You can safely copy-paste it.

Yes, and in that same article he cites this:

“In the reading of Augustine in the perspective of later problems, an attempt has been made to OPPOSE his realistic and symbolic affirmations regarding the Eucharist. But, in fact, his realism and symbolism are NOT in opposition. The reality of the Eucharist is expressed in the Sacrament, which is essentially a SIGN (C. Admin 12.2) : the reality (-res-) of the Eucharistic bread and wine IS the body of Christ, the WHOLE Christ, the Church (Serm 272; In evang Ioh 21.25.4; 26.15). But without pausing over what has since been termed the -res et sacramentum-, Augustine most OFTEN stressed (Serm 37; 131.1) the ULTIMATE REALITY of this Sacrament of UNITY (Serm 227). All his theology of the Church and of the Sacraments is thus centered on UNITY, which is the ultimate reality, because ‘God is love.’”

Well, you’re certainly free to do it, if you wish. But I’m a rule-follower and the CAFs rules specifically state that we cannot post copyrighted material.

And, as I see the word “copyright” on the webpage, I dare not. I love my time on the CAFs way too much to test the rules in that way.

But, knock yourself out. :thumbsup:

While my friend Radical, who initially made the challenge that I took, still has not answered.

It seems that he is objecting to my posting a link, and not the entire paragraph.

So, I will comply, citing his own post citing St. Augustine:

One thing is seen, another is to be understood. What you can see on the altar, you also saw last night; but what it was, what it meant, of what great reality it contained the sacrament, you had not yet heard. So what you can see, then, is bread and a cup; that’s what even your eyes tell you; but as for what your faith asks to be instructed about, the bread is the body of Christ, the cup the blood of Christ. It took no time to say that indeed, and that, perhaps, may be enough for faith; but faith desires instruction. The prophet says, you see, Unless you believe, you shall not understand (Is 7:9). I mean, you can now say to me, “You’ve bidden us believe; now explain, so that we may understand.” Some such thought as this, after all, may cross somebody’s mind: “We know where our Lord Jesus Christ took flesh from; from the Virgin Mary. He was suckled as a baby, was reared, grew up, came to man’s estate, suffered persecution from the Jews, was hung on the tree, was slain on the tree, was taken down from the tree, was buried; rose again on the third day, on the day he wished ascended into heaven. That’s where he lifted his body up to; that’s where he’s going to come from to judge the living and the dead; that’s where he is now, seated on the Father’s right. How can bread be his body? And the cup, or what the cup contains, how can it be his blood?” The reason these things, brothers and sisters, are called sacraments is that in them one thing is seen, another is to be understood. What can be seen has a bodily appearance, what is to be understood provides spiritual fruit. So if you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the apostle telling the faithful, You, though, are the body of Christ and its members (1 Cor 12:27). So if it’s you that are the body of Christ and its members, it’s the mystery meaning you that has been placed on the Lord’s table; what you receive is the mystery that means you. It is to what you are that you reply Amen, and by so replying you express your assent. What you hear, you see, is The body of Christ, and you answer, Amen. So be a member of the body of Christ, in order to make that Amen true.

I hope this will be enough to induce him to come and respond to his challenge. :shrug:

One last time…and I mean last.

The challenge was to post the whole of Sermon 227 and then explain what is stated in the sermon (that you think supports a RBP).

You have offered no explanation of what is stated in Sermon 227.

You posted a link to the Tractates thinking that the Sermon would be contained there…it isn’t.

You posted a paragraph from Sermon 272 (note, not 227) or some of it…I guess not noticing that the numbers weren’t in the right order.

It had gotten just too silly before and now it has gotten worse…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit