Epicleses - what if no one believes?


#1

Is it possible for transubstantiation not to happen at a Mass because no one want it to? May sound cynical, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility a Mass has been said were neither the priest nor the parishioners believe it happens or care if it does. I don't just mean doubt, I mean active disbelief.

Is the Holy Spirit obliged to perform because a ritual is performed?

If it happens anyway is that tantamount to force?


#2

minkymurph.

What conditions does the Church teach that must be met before a valid Consecration can take place?

What does St. Paul say about people who receive in a state of unbelief (notice you can receive in unbelief)?


#3

[quote="minkymurph, post:1, topic:347474"]
Is it possible for transubstantiation not to happen at a Mass because no one want it to? May sound cynical, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility a Mass has been said were neither the priest nor the parishioners believe it happens or care if it does. I don't just mean doubt, I mean active disbelief.

[/quote]

The Sacrament does not depend on the priest or the congregation believing it to happen, provided the priest is validly ordained and carries out the ritual validly (it doesn't even have to be licit) then transubstantiation occurs whether the priest (or anyone else ) believes it or not. It is not as a result of our belief that transubstantiation occurs, we do not make it happen, the priest does not make it happen, it is a one-way process of God's gift to us. Whether we (or the priest) believes it or not, it happens.


#4

[quote="Cathoholic, post:2, topic:347474"]
minkymurph.

What conditions does the Church teach that must be met before a valid Consecration can take place?

[/quote]

Don't know

[quote="Cathoholic, post:2, topic:347474"]
What does St. Paul say about people who receive in a state of unbelief (notice you can receive in unbelief)?

[/quote]

What's your point?

What I am asking is does transubstantiation happen irrespective of whether or not the priest or anyone else believes it does? If the priest calls on the Spirit and he doesn't mean it, does it descend on the gifts anyway?


#5

[quote="Brendan_64, post:3, topic:347474"]
The Sacrament does not depend on the priest or the congregation believing it to happen, provided the priest is validly ordained and carries out the ritual validly (it doesn't even have to be licit) then transubstantiation occurs whether the priest (or anyone else ) believes it or not. It is not as a result of our belief that transubstantiation occurs, we do not make it happen, the priest does not make it happen, it is a one-way process of God's gift to us. Whether we (or the priest) believes it or not, it happens.

[/quote]

This is the part that confuses me.

What I would understand from what you are saying - transubstantiation is a gift but dependent on the ritual performed. I can understand that. The problematic part is the ordination. If the preist does not make it happen and it is a one-way process, why do they need to be ordained?


#6

This has been discussed in various threads, one relatively recent one can be found [thread=825242]here[/thread].

In any case, there are four criteria for the validity of the Eucharist:

[LIST]
*]valid form (the correct formula as approved by the Church)
*]valid matter (unadulterated bread and pure grape wine -- there have been many threads about this here so there's no need to go into the specific details again now)
*]valid Orders (valid ordination to the priesthood according to the prescriptions of HMC)
*]valid intent (the intent of the priest to do what the Church intends, i.e. to consecrate the offerings that the Real Presence be made manifest in them.)[/LIST]
Assuming the first three conditions are satisfied, the last one, intent, is always the most difficult to prove. It can happen that the priest specifically withholds the intent to do as the Church intends, and in such a case the Eucharist is not valid. No one but the priest himself knows, so any sin that attaches is his and his alone.


#7

The Sacrament requires only the priest intend to do what the Church does.

The priest himself, and every person present, could deny the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, but as long as the priest intends to do what the Church does, the Sacrament is present.

Christ is the High Priest, and it is HIS Offering, done through the priest, that confects the Sacrament.


#8

[quote="minkymurph, post:5, topic:347474"]
This is the part that confuses me.

What I would understand from what you are saying - transubstantiation is a gift but dependent on the ritual performed. I can understand that. The problematic part is the ordination. If the preist does not make it happen and it is a one-way process, why do they need to be ordained?

[/quote]

The priest is the channel through which the divine and profane meet. The priest does not make it happen, he is a bit like a channel for the sacrament to occur. So long as he carries out the ritual validly, transubstantiation takes place.

It's a bit like the Sacrament of Penance. So long as he says that he absolves you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, you are absolved of your sins. If the priest absolving you didn't actually believe in the Sacrament of Penance it would make no difference, you would still be absolved, because it is God who absolves you, not the priest.

The same thing applies to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the priest doesn't change the bread and wine into the Body and blood of Christ, God does.


#9

[quote="malphono, post:6, topic:347474"]
This has been discussed in various threads, one relatively recent one can be found [thread=825242]here[/thread].

In any case, there are four criteria for the validity of the Eucharist:

[LIST]
*]valid form (the correct formula as approved by the Church)
*]valid matter (unadulterated bread and pure grape wine -- there have been many threads about this here so there's no need to go into the specific details again now)
*]valid Orders (valid ordination to the priesthood according to the prescriptions of HMC)
*]valid intent (the intent of the priest to do what the Church intends, i.e. to consecrate the offerings that the Real Presence be made manifest in them.)[/LIST]
Assuming the first three conditions are satisfied, the last one, intent, is always the most difficult to prove. It can happen that the priest specifically withholds the intent to do as the Church intends, and in such a case the Eucharist is not valid. No one but the priest himself knows, so any sin that attaches is his and his alone.

[/quote]

I see what you mean.

I raise this question not because of sin or fault, but as a theological one. I have always found this particular aspect of Catholicism difficult.

Anyone can baptize. One does not have to be ordained to baptize and the person baptizing does not have to believe in it. For me, this raises the question why does one have to be ordained to consecrate the gifts? What is the significance of ordination in consecrating the gifts?


#10

[quote="Brendan_64, post:8, topic:347474"]
The priest is the channel through which the divine and profane meet. The priest does not make it happen, he is a bit like a channel for the sacrament to occur. So long as he carries out the ritual validly, transubstantiation takes place.

It's a bit like the Sacrament of Penance. So long as he says that he absolves you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, you are absolved of your sins. If the priest absolving you didn't actually believe in the Sacrament of Penance it would make no difference, you would still be absolved, because it is God who absolves you, not the priest.

The same thing applies to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the priest doesn't change the bread and wine into the Body and blood of Christ, God does.

[/quote]

I see what your saying by why cannot anyone who performs the ritual and has the intention to consecrate the gifts do so? It could be argued this would be better than a priest who is ordained but not actually believe.

Further to this, St Paul says to receive unworthily we are eating and drinking damnation. What about a priest who offers unworthily?


#11

[quote="minkymurph, post:10, topic:347474"]
I see what your saying by why cannot anyone who performs the ritual and has the intention to consecrate the gifts do so? It could be argued this would be better than a priest who is ordained but not actually believe.

[/quote]

Because Christ consecrated bishops (his apostles) and told them to "Do this in memory of me". He didn't tel the general population or the rest of his followers to do this. It is through our clergy that the sacraments come to us (with the exception of Baptism which can be validly, but illicitly, carried out by a lay Christian).

[quote="minkymurph, post:10, topic:347474"]
IFurther to this, St Paul says to receive unworthily we are eating and drinking damnation. What about a priest who offers unworthily?

[/quote]

A priest who offers unworthily will no doubt have to answer for his actions when the time comes, but the Sacrament is not dependent on the worthiness of the priest. The Sacrament occurs regardless of the moral state of the priest.


#12

[quote="Brendan_64, post:11, topic:347474"]
Because Christ consecrated bishops (his apostles) and told them to "Do this in memory of me". He didn't tel the general population or the rest of his followers to do this. It is through our clergy that the sacraments come to us (with the exception of Baptism which can be validly, but illicitly, carried out by a lay Christian).

[/quote]

I appreciate your efforts Brendan. The problem is what you are telling me is 'the rule.' I know the 'rule,' what I don't know is why the rule? Why did Christ consecrate bishops to do this in memory of him?

I am not trying to be pedantic. The reason I ask is because 'rules,' for want of a better word must serve a purpose. If they do not, what is the point of the 'rule?' So what is the purpose of consecrating certain individuals? I have no problem with the fact they are - but why?


#13

Because he did. He is God, what he does is part of his plan. He doesn’t have to explain what he does to us. He leads, we follow.


#14

[quote="Brendan_64, post:13, topic:347474"]
Because he did. He is God, what he does is part of his plan. He doesn't have to explain what he does to us. He leads, we follow.

[/quote]

Your post raises more questions than it answers.

I agree God is God and can do as God pleases, but God is not selfish and does things for a reason. He may not have to explain but are we to conclude He does not want to or is unwilling to?

God leads we follow, yes. But does God expect us to follow unconditionally? Did he give us all the gifts and abilities we have not to question and just follow?


#15

As malphono stated,

If there are no impediments, Transubstantiation still occurs.
[LIST]
*]Proper minister of the Sacrament (the properly ordained ministerial Priest)
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]Proper intent by the minister (intending what the Church intends)
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]Proper form (in this case one of the Eucharistic Prayers)
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]Proper matter (the Priest cannot “Consecrate” oatmeal for example)
[/LIST]

Berengarius learned this first hand.

When you asked:

I don't just mean doubt, I mean active disbelief.

The Consecration still occurs.

In my answer I meant to apply this possibility and 1st Corinthians 11:27-34 to a Priest saying the Mass alone. Sorry. I guess I wasn't clear on this.

1st CORINTHIANS 11:29 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

This is true for “any one”, not just the congregation but even the Priest. If there were no real consecration, he wouldn't be guilty of such a profanation (elsewhere in the pericope, it even talks being "guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord").

You also said,

Anyone can baptize. One does not have to be ordained to baptize and the person baptizing does not have to believe in it. For me, this raises the question why does one have to be ordained to consecrate the gifts? What is the significance of ordination in consecrating the gifts?

Differing functions of clergy and laity for more effective evangelization of the world.

Clergy Holy Orders is directed at is at the service of the common priesthood (It is for the service of us) and for their fellow clergy.

Laity Our non-ministerial Priesthood that we have (when we are Baptized) is the common priesthood of the faithful and is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace --a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit to be sent out into the world to sanctify it in a sense by bringing Christ to the world.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass empowers us to do this. "The Mass has ended. Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord. . . .Thanks be to God!"

CCC 1536 Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.

Excerpt from CCC 1538 . . . . Today the word "ordination" is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and . . . it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a "sacred power" (sacra potestas)5 which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. . . . .

CCC 1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ." While being "ordered one to another," they differ essentially.22 In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace --a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit--, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

VATICAN II LUMEN GENTIUM (excerpt from sections 18, 31-32) 18. For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body. For those ministers, who are endowed with sacred power, serve their brethren, so that all who are of the People of God, and therefore enjoy a true Christian dignity, working toward a common goal freely and in an orderly way, may arrive at salvation. . . . .31b But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.
32. By divine institution Holy Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity. "For just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another". . . .

For more details see section 18-38 here.

I hope this helps minkymurph.

God bless.

Cathoholic


#16

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