Hi everyone! Below is an e-mail I sent to Pastoral Bible Foundation, a group that distributes the Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition. I sent them an e-mail over a doctrinal concern. Please comment! I want to know if I was theologically sound or unsound. Was I charitable enough? Comments, suggestions, and corrections are more than welcome!
Anyway, here is the e-mail I sent:
"Dear Pastoral Bible Foundation,
Peace be with you!
The purpose of my e-mail is two-fold: to thank you for having come up
with a very good Catholic edition of Sacred Scripture, and to raise a
concern about a doctrinal commentary seen in one of the edition’s
So first, thank you very much for the elegantly translated Christian
Community Bible! This piece of Sacred Scripture has been very helpful
for me in living my life as a practicing and theologically-sound
Filipino Catholic. I find it especially useful when meditating upon
God’s Word, most especially the mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary. The
commentaries are also rich and enlightening, and I praise the
concerted effort to bring to the average lay person God’s Word in a
simple, easy-to-understand, timely, and meaningful way. So, once
again, thank you and congratulations!
My second concern however is about a piece of commentary I encountered
while reading the bible. It is the one about the Lord’s Supper, in
Luke 22:14-23. It affirms that indeed, the consecrated bread and wine
are both symbolically and truly the body and blood of the Lord.
However, in the spirit of fraternal correction, I would like to
indicate that the tone of the text seems to downplay the reality of
the Real Presence in the Eucharist, which is the heart and core of the
Catholic faith. The text in the beginning admits that there has been
much controversy between Catholics and Protestants about the
infallible and undeniable truth about the Real Presence.
In this sense, the correction I would like to indicate is about the
MATERIAL PRESENCE of Jesus Christ in the consecrated bread and wine,
where the commentary states: “The presence of the body of Christ is
not symbolic but real, though not a material presence, as if we could
say: ‘Jesus is here on the table.’… it is another reason to think it
is not a material presence, but rather another type, no less real, but
different…” The fallacy here is that Jesus is not present materially
in the Eucharist, but in another way (perhaps you are implying a
spiritual presence, yes?) I hope I misunderstood the interpretation,
but the truth is that Jesus IS INDEED MATERIALLY PRESENT in what looks
to be bread and wine, that these are the actual body and blood of the
Lord. Recall St. Thomas Aquinas’ explanation for transubstantiation,
that after the consecration, all the accidents of bread and wine
(physical properties) remain. Hence, they look, small, feel, taste,
like bread and wine. But in reality, they change in substance (hence,
transubstantiation), that our senses are too defective to detect that
this matter becomes the actual body and blood of Christ. You see, the
material presence is of utmost importance to fulfill the Lord’s
command to “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” If they weren’t
materially flesh and blood, I don’t suppose we can “trogon” (Greek:
chew, gnaw) spiritual flesh and blood.
I think the intent of the commentary was to find common ground between
Catholic and Protestant readers. Of course, that is only my opinion,
since your intentions might have been entirely different and I believe
that it is just an honest mistake. But what I have just said is
Catholic doctrine, and does not deserve to be downplayed. I cannot
emphasize enough that in the Eucharist that Christ is present BOTH
materially and spiritually. After all, we say that in the mass is the
“body, blood, soul, and divinity” of Jesus Christ. Therefore I stand
by it, for I know it is correct and sound doctrine. Therefore while
attending mass, I can confidently say “Jesus is here on the table” as
we always do say “Jesus is in the tabernacle,” isn’t that right?
Thank you for hearing me out. I am praying for your vocation to
evangelize and spread the Word of God through the Catholic faith! May
God bless your ministry always! :)"
There you go (I sent this as a theologically-conservative Catholic, mind you)