Ignatius' statement & Logic


Hello everyone…I will like some feedback and thoughts on a logical result I figured out about an Ignatius statement…since I’m learning Logic. :smiley:

I was comtemplating Ignatius’ early writing of, "“Where the Bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is,** there is the Catholic Church**.” St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrneans 8, 107 A.D…

Using logic:

Let A = If where Jesus Christ is, then there is the Catholic Church

The contrapositive of A is A’

Let A’ = If there is not the Catholic Church, then ** no where Jesus Christ is**

We know from Logic that a statement A and its contrapositive A’ are “logically equivalent.” That is a technical way of saying that they mean the same. They will either both be true or both be false.

If we as catholics believe that St. Ignatius is making a TRUE statement, i.e. A is TRUE…then A’ is TRUE…therefore, we must conclude that for all non-catholic churches, Jesus Christ is not there. Or if Jesus is really in a non-catholic church…then that non-catholic church is really Catholic.

This sounds like a “harsh statement”…I am in no way wanting offend non-catholics. But is it a logical conclusion?? Have a made an error somewhere?

But maybe the next questions is…what did Ignatius mean by, “where Jesus is”??? Or does it matter in what form he is in?? Also, what did he mean by, “Catholic Church”…is it visible or invisible or both??

Is this Ignatius statement considered an “infallible teaching one”…or was this his personal opinion??:shrug: Am I taking his statement out of context??

You answers and feedback is greatly appreciated:)

Peace be with you.


His statement is correct in that where Jesus is there is the Catholic Church, (this was before the Orthodox Church, etc… existed)

You need valid Apostolic succession, form and intent for Jesus to be present in the Eucharist. This is ruled out in groups that reject any one of those, or have corrupted their ability to confect the Eucharist, so Jesus is not there in the real presence.
Though they might have a spiritual presence by being gathered in the name of Jesus it doesn’t compare to the real presence.

Ignatius is not infallible but is an example of the belief of early Christians and a much better commentary of the early church than any person today.

In Christ


Thanks for the feedback Scylla. So Ignatius’ statement is a historical “belief” of his and of many early christians …then if Jesus really meant that it is indeed his body and blood, not symbolically, but the real presence, which we as catholics believe, since it is dogma…then by Jesus’ quote,

John 6:55, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.”

Taking the logically equivalent statement or contrapositive: (i hope i got this right)

If He hath not everlasting life or I will not raise him in the last day, then He not eateth my flesh or not drinketh my blood.

So If we believe Ignatius’ statement…in particular, the contrapostive version…which translates to: “If there is not the Catholic Church, then no where Jesus Christ is” Meaning that if a church is non-catholic, then the true presence is not there. So if the true presence is not there, then going back to John 6:55, everyone at that church is not eating or drinking the blood of Jesus. Therefore, we cannot conclude that everyone at that church has everlasting life and Jesus will raise them up in the last day.

Again, a harsh saying… Or is the truth hard to handle?? Is there any holes is this logic?? Are we judging/condemning non-catholics by this logical conclusion which is produced by Ignatius’ statement?? Or does this show that non-catholics are in grave danger and are not on the right path??:shrug:

Peace be with you


This is a good point. That is why Vatican II speaks of non-Catholic Christians being united to the Catholic Church in some sense. It would follow that Jesus is present among us in an imperfect sense, although in the case of the Orthodox it’s pretty close to perfect.

That is my understanding of the Catholic position. It is of course distressing to non-Catholics, but we/they have no right to be offended.




So when Christ promised He would be present among those gathered in His Name, He meant only kinda present?

And the supposed Real Presence is more real than Jesus being truly present as He promised?


As Contarini points out the logic may be perfect but the devil is in the definition and exegesis of the terms.


Atemi, where is this scripture located, chapter and verse? Thanks, for the feedback.

Peace be with you


You asked if there is a hole. Yes.
For a contrapositive to be true, the initial statement must be true. Ignatius’ statement is not true as it stands
For example, consider the element of time. "where Jesus is…"
Jesus “was” - before the Church was instituted (as man, for 33 years prior to its institution; as God from eternity).

Place: Jesus “is” in places other than the institutional Church on earth. For example, He is in heaven.



Sure, scripture can be taken out of context. Now, Nita believes Ignatius’ statement is false…But, if Ignatius was a disciple of the Beloved Apostle John (who personally received the Holy Spirit from Jesus himself)…and happen to personally know each other for many years…then shouldn’t we admit that Ignatius would know better than us on what John meant when he wrote John 6:55…whether its symbolic or real prescence??

If we admit, Ignatius knows better than us about the eucharist…then we should seriously look into his contrapostive statement, “If there is not the Catholic Church, then no where Jesus Christ is”…and this again comes back to John 6:55 and the consequences. Oh and by the way, logically, everyone can possibly reach the conclusion even though they are not satisfying the hypothesis of John 6:55. A catholic view point.:rolleyes:

If someone believes in their heart that the contrapositive of Ignatius’ statement is a hard saying and declares it false…then that someone has to deny Ignatius’ statement as a false statement or say it was taken out of context, therefore false…similar to Nita:D I’m I correct Nita??

If I have missed something or made some sort of logical fallacy. Let me know and thanks for the feedback everyone…good to hear different viewpoints.

Peace be with you


I’ll help Atemi out: Matthew 18

18"Truly I say to you, (Q)whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

19"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, ®it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.

20**“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, (S)I am there in their midst.” **

Atemi is asking if we believe that Christ is more present in the Eucharist than when “two or three have gathered in [His] name”. My inclination is to say “yes”, but I have no theological grounding with which to back this up. Anyone?



Thank you Dante.

That is my inquiry/observation.

To say Christ is “more” present than being present just as He promised only calls into question His veracity.

This is extremely problematic and leads to denying what Christ plainly promised His people. A “my presence is better than your presence” kind of posturing that Christ left absolutely no room for.


St. Ignatius was pretty straight forward and decisive in his letter to Smyrna. I have no real problem with that interpretation with the exception that the Church teaches that a Trinitarian baptism is a valid Christian baptism.

There is no conflict in this because the Church has always taught that dogma develops as we grow in Christ.

I can think of many ways that this statement would be true.

  1. No Real presence in the Eucharist.

  2. No valid sacraments.

  3. Very limited presence of Christ in His word since most n-Cs limit their belief and practice to the Bible alone.

There are probably others, but those come to mind off hand.
As with so much of Catholic belief, this is another both/and instead of an either/or.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


John 6:24-69 DRC


I’ve only skimmed through the replies to the initial post, but why hasn’t mentioned anybody mentioned the Body of Christ which is the Church? From this perspective, both logical statements are true.


He is everywhere:

Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

He is where two or three gather:

Mt 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

He is in the Eucharist (point agreed).

Catholics must admit that Christ is in non-Catholic Communion elements, or deny the Colossians passage. Otherwise they are in the strange position of saying Christ upholds all things by His power except the bread and the wine used in Protestant services. They are then in agreement with what has been derisively called the real absence of Christ, which some Protestants insist on: the one place He is not is where He said He is.

So I think Ignatius is discussing the “two or three” situation. My understanding is that the Catholic church teaches that all Christians are actually Catholic, and the more closely they resemble the Catholic Church, the fuller their understanding. As Ignatius never dreamed of the Orthodox-Catholic split, let alone the Protestant one, I don’t think he anticipated having to address the situation we know find ourselves in, in which Nicene Christians are split.

But “where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” can be regarded not necessarily as an identification but a qualifying statement. He must be there for the Catholic Church to be there as a precondition. Where He is not, it is not. Where He is, it is not necessarily there.


Yeah, you’ve got a point there. Perhaps more present isn’t the best way to phrase it.

How about this: Yes, Christ is present whenever people gather in his name, but he is present in the Eucharist in a way of which we can partake and therefore receive grace from his presence.

That sounds more like it. Anyone aware of a Church document dealing with this topic? If so, feel free to PM me so that we don’t hijack this thread.



Christ is physically present at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

He is sacramentally present in the Eucharist.

As God, he is also omnipresent.

Folks, we are talking about a mystery here.


Agreed Randy…a mystery…human logic and reasoning can’t make sense of the divine…and If the true presence in the eucharist is a divine mystery…then we can’t explain it, its beyond us…hence, faith comes in. But we can apply logic and reasoning to Ignatius’ statement or any other biblical statements. What ya think guys?

Peace be with you


Interesting points…but if we assume that Ignatius’ statement “where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” is a TRUE statement in regards to the real presence in the eucharist…then your IF-THEN statement “Where He is not, it is not” is referred to as the inverse and is logically equivalent to the converse. And we know from logic that the converse of a true IF-THEN statement is not NECESSARILY TRUE…i.e. could possibly be FALSE. In other words, The truth of the converse and inverse are not guaranteed by the truth of the original statement. But, on the otherhand, the contrapostive of St. Ignatius’ statement is TRUE if his original statement is TRUE…therefore, “If there is not the Catholic Church, then no where Jesus Christ is.”

Now your other statement of “Where He is, it is not necessarily there”…is another statement that is neither the converse, inverse or contrapostive of Ignatius’ original statement. Hence, whole new statement out of the scope of this thread…in fact, i believe it to be self refuting…hence always FALSE given some assumptions…

Here is the proof: assume this new IF-THEN statement of yours…Can we surely conclude that he is not necessarily there?..depends on the hypothesis…if the real presence is there (and we can’t prove it, since it is a divine mystery…faith comes in haha;) )…but assuming we know, then we can surely make the conclusion that the real prescence is not necessarily there…a contradiction…on the other hand, if we assume we know that he is not there…then we are not sure if he is not necessarily there…he may or may not. But one thing is for sure…using logic…If we know where the real presence is i.e. we know the hypothesis is TRUE for your statement, then we can never conclude that the conclusion is false…which is that he is necessarily there…a contradiction…it refutes your IF-THEN statement…your statement will always be FALSE…an impossible proposition…assuming we know where the real presence is.

Did i miss something in logic here? I may be wrong…I’m still learning this IF-THEN logic stuff. I highly recommend everyone to study some logic…very interesting stuff. Thanks for the feedback! And I’ll read up on Colossians.

peace be with you


Where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church.
Where Iowa is, there is the town of DesMoines.

If there is not the Catholic Church, then no where Jesus Christ is.
If there is not DesMoines, then no where Iowa is.

Now, DesMoines is not in the northern part of the state, but Iowa is.
To me the error is in the original assertion. By use of the word “is” it implies an equivalency (probably the wrong word) - it implies the second part is the total of the first. In essence -

The Catholic Church contains all there is of Jesus (He cannot exist outside of the Church)
DesMoines contains all there is of Iowa (Iowa cannot exist outside of the area of Des Moines).

That is what I meant when I said Ignatius’ statement is untrue as it stands. Some qualifications would need to be made.

Maybe logic has a special category for such statements.

Have to run - don’t have time to preview and check :frowning:


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