Did Pope Gelasius I Say this?

Hello! I recently came across the following claim on Alpha and Omega Ministries. It Claims the following is a quote from Pope Gelasius I denying Transubstantiation.

“The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries.” Gelasius, bishop of Rome, in Jacques Paul Migne, Patrologiae Latinae, Tractatus de duabis naturis Adversus Eutychen et Nestorium 14."

I find this hard to believe, especially given the fact that they seem to be quoting from a secondary source and do not give the name of the original document it is contained in. Any idea where they got this and how to refute it?

Silly me. I did a Google search like I should have done in the first place and found these two links:



The gist is that it is a difference of vocabulary, not a difference of Theological position, with today’s theologians. And considering the Pope in question CLEARLY believes in the Literal Presence, It appears it is not as big a slam dunk as Mr. White claims.

I’d heard White make that claim before, and hadn’t done any research on it. Nice to see there’s an answer to his claim :). I’ll be see to read those links, I’m sure they’re very helpful.

Indeed. St. Gelasius died in 496. This was LONG before the Church (by which I mean mainly the Scholastics and St. Thomas Aquinas) explored the philosophical difference between “substance” and “accidents” which was originally articulated by Aristotle, and LONG before this distinction was so clearly taught (without direct reference to Aristotle’s philosophical framework) by the Council of Trent.

St. Gelasius used terminology that would (a thousand years later) become more specific and doctrinal, but it is clear that he is merely saying that the “accidents” of Eucharist remain unchanged. When we read his words 1600 years later, with minds informed by St. Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent, we might imagine that they say something that the Holy Father never intended to say, because his words had not yet acquired the meaning that we ascribe to them today.

Alas, this is an example of the type of “scholarship” that anti-Catholics use to trick people.

“does not cease” doesn’t mean it isn’t also another thing.

The Eucharist is both at once. This quote, even with today’s language, is perfect.

The Eucharist is not both at once. That is the heresy known as consubstantiation. Transubstantiation means that the bread and wine ceases to be bread and wine. The substance is replaced with the Real Presence.

But thanks to DavidFilmer for the cogent explanation of the actual meaning of this quote.

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