Is the Catholic interpretation of John 6 condeming Vatican II?

[quote=javelin]So to be consistent in our interpretation of His body and blood being present to us in the Eucharist, don’t we also need to say that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man in the Eucharist and drink His blood through the Eucharist, you have no life in you”?

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Yes, if it is possible. If you are able to receive the Eucharist and do not, you do not have life within you. If, however, you are not able, it doesn’t count against you. It’s the whole invincible ignorance thing. Those who, through no fault of their own, do not receive the Eucharist are not going to Hell, but they are obviously missing out on one of the greatest gifts to mankind that could greatly help them on their spiritual journey.
At least, that’s how I see it.

Jesus is describing the normative means of salvation, just as He does in describing baptism.

However, the Church does not limit God mercy nor His justice - God saves whom He will. But God gave the Church the means to dispense His grace in an “ordinary” way to her members and to the world.

May God bless you.

Beginning in verse 48, Jesus now sets the stage for the second section of His discourse - the non-symbolic section. Despite the Jews objections, He reiterates: “I am the bread of life,” the same words he had uttered in verse 35. In verse 51, however, He begins, for the first time in the discourse, to speak about actually eating this bread. Jesus thus begins the transition from mere spiritual belief to actually partaking of Him physically. In the next verse he adds that He is “living” bread and that bread is His “flesh”. Jesus has not used the words eat and flesh in His opening dialog (versus 25-47) The Jews catch Jesus’ shift in expression and immediately object to His demand that they not only believe in Him, but actually eat His flesh. “Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, " how can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Notice that the Jews are not objecting to Jesus mention of “bread”, but to His mention of “flesh”.

At this point, some may object that Jesus’ sudden use of “flesh” in verse 51 would not necessarily refer to eating his flesh, since Jesus subsequently says " which I will give for the life of the world." Now one could interpret this phrase as referring to the general work of atonement that Christ performed on the cross. The problem with that is not one passage in the bible ever tells us that to eat flesh and drink blood of Christ is symbolic.

This is a critical point, the climax of the whole account. Jesus has only two alternatives: 1) He can go back to use of bread and water as metaphors, such as the metaphors of verse 35 that represent personally believing in Him and the Father, and thus calm the Jews’ fear that he was just suggesting they eat his flesh or 2) He can ignore their objections and continue to develop even more empathatically what the Jews already clearly understood to be a direct command that they literally eat His flesh.

The Catholic Church simply has went a long with Jesus words in the bible, we have not as a Church tried to expain away Jesus’ words.

This is very pacular to me as a former Baptist, when it came to Jesus words of eat flesh and drink his blood, even him saying trully trully this is my flesh and this trully trully is my blood, the protestant will conclude that Jesus Chrsit was at that point speaking from a symbolic stand point. Yet they take the Bible from a literal point of view.

God created man out of dust is literal but when Jesus speaks it is just symbolic, go figure.

[quote=captommo]Jesus is describing the normative means of salvation, just as He does in describing baptism.

However, the Church does not limit God mercy nor His justice - God saves whom He will. But God gave the Church the means to dispense His grace in an “ordinary” way to her members and to the world.

May God bless you.
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Yes. And God can act outside of His Sacraments, though He normatively chooses to act within Them. The OP should read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and what it says about the status of non-Catholic Christians, as well as Domine Jesus.

So here’s where I’m at now –

I can certianly accept the idea that it is not outside of God’s power, nor outside of His Grace, to save people even if they have not eaten His flesh and drunk His blood. We can use invincible ignorance as the “loophole” in God’s law through which the unbaptised and those who do not partake of the Eucharist may be saved.

Now practical experience is my mind’s enemy. If this teaching is true, AND the road to Heaven is narrow, AND it is true that those “invincibly ignorant” are most likely a relatively small number of people, then why is it that so many non-Catholic Christians from many denominations seem so very alive in their faith? If the Eucharist is so great (which I think it is – this is just what I hear…), then why do so many churches and Christians get along so well and seem so alive when they don’t have it? Where I live, the protestants seem to live much more fully Christian lives than most Catholics, which doesn’t help any outreach.

Peace,
javelin

[quote=javelin]I know this has come up in these forums before, but I have yet to see a good answer.

How does that Catholic Church defend its interpretation of John 6 that Jesus is talking about His true flesh and blood in the Eucharistic species, and go on to maintain that it is possible for those who are not Catholic or have not received that same Eucharist to receive eternal life?

How can someone who has “no life in them” possibly have eternal life?

After all, this isn’t a positive affirmation such as “If you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood”. It is a negative statement: “If you don’t, you will not have life”. The two are very different in that the first can be reasoned by saying, “well, He doesn’t say that there are not other ways to obtaining eternal life”. You cannot make the same logical reasoning with the second.

When talking about John 6, this is often one of the first rebuttals I get from protestants. “So, only Catholics who receive the Eucharist can be saved?” Add to that the fact that the Church doesn’t allow non-Catholics to receive, which many protestants find to be nothing more than an exclusivist practice, and good two-way dialog is finished. Our interpretation basically condemns them, when taken at face value (which is what we essentially want from the surrounding verses).

Your thoughts?

Peace,
javelin
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Read the CCC on the idea of salvation outside of the Church. I would also suggest putting this question to one of the full-time Apologists. I tried addressing this on another forum, using the Catechism and was called a heretic. I consider it an honor to be persecuted for being an obedient daughter of the Church, but I am weak and have a headache…

[quote=LSK]Read the CCC on the idea of salvation outside of the Church. I would also suggest putting this question to one of the full-time Apologists. I tried addressing this on another forum, using the Catechism and was called a heretic. I consider it an honor to be persecuted for being an obedient daughter of the Church, but I am weak and have a headache…
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:rotfl: You made me laugh!

[quote=javelin]So here’s where I’m at now –

I can certianly accept the idea that it is not outside of God’s power, nor outside of His Grace, to save people even if they have not eaten His flesh and drunk His blood. We can use invincible ignorance as the “loophole” in God’s law through which the unbaptised and those who do not partake of the Eucharist may be saved.

Now practical experience is my mind’s enemy. If this teaching is true, AND the road to Heaven is narrow, AND it is true that those “invincibly ignorant” are most likely a relatively small number of people, then why is it that so many non-Catholic Christians from many denominations seem so very alive in their faith? If the Eucharist is so great (which I think it is – this is just what I hear…), then why do so many churches and Christians get along so well and seem so alive when they don’t have it? Where I live, the protestants seem to live much more fully Christian lives than most Catholics, which doesn’t help any outreach.

Peace,
javelin
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But the Church teaches (in the CCC) that these people are united to us in the Church (“certain, though imperfect”). They are REAL Christians. And “Invincible Ignorance” comes into play here as well (a sublevel, as it were). They are ignorant of the nature of Communion/the Mass OR in their ignorance some may well believe theirs to be a valid confection of the Sacrifice (some Anglicans believe this, as do some “primative” churches). I understand what you mean. My grandfather is a Baptist deacon and is a far holier man (“by their fruit ye shall know them”) than any priest I’ve personally encountered in the 17 years since I converted, on a par with HHJPII, in my estimation. The town I grew up in is siff with fervent, devoted Fundamentalist Christians. They love Jesus and seek to follow Him faithfully. They’ve got all sorts of misconceptions about the Catholic Church, and most, if not all, will never convert. I don’t think they’re headed for hell, because their ignorance is, by definition, invincible. Now, if they became convinced of the truth of Catholicism and refused to submit to it, that would be a different story.

Hi javelin,

Quote: “I know this has come up in these forums before, but I have yet to see a good answer.
How does that Catholic Church defend its interpretation of John 6 that Jesus is talking about His true flesh and blood in the Eucharistic species, and go on to maintain that it is possible for those who are not Catholic or have not received that same Eucharist to receive eternal life? How can someone who has “no life in them” possibly have eternal life? After all, this isn’t a positive affirmation such as “If you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood”. It is a negative statement: “If you don’t, you will not have life”. The two are very different in that the first can be reasoned by saying, “well, He doesn’t say that there are not other ways to obtaining eternal life”. You cannot make the same logical reasoning with the second.
When talking about John 6, this is often one of the first rebuttals I get from protestants. “So, only Catholics who receive the Eucharist can be saved?” Add to that the fact that the Church doesn’t allow non-Catholics to receive, which many protestants find to be nothing more than an exclusivist practice, and good two-way dialog is finished. Our interpretation basically condemns them, when taken at face value (which is what we essentially want from the surrounding verses).”

My comment: "On the contrary, Augustine writes (Ad Boniface contra Pelagius I): "Nor are you to suppose that children cannot possess life, who are deprived of the body and blood of Christ.“
I answer that, Two things have to be considered in this sacrament, namely, the sacrament itself, and what is contained in it. Now it was stated above (A1,OBJ 2) that the reality of the sacrament is the unity of the mystical body, without which there can be no salvation; for there is no entering into salvation outside the Church, just as in the time of the deluge there was none outside the Ark, which denotes the Church, according to 1 Peter 3:20,21. And it has been said above (Q68,A2), that before receiving a sacrament, the reality of the sacrament can be had through the very desire of receiving the sacrament. Accordingly, before actual reception of this sacrament, a man can obtain salvation through the desire of receiving it, just as he can before Baptism through the desire of Baptism, as stated above (Q68,A2). Yet there is a difference in two respects. First of all, because Baptism is the beginning of the spiritual life, and the door of the sacraments; whereas the Eucharist is, as it were, the consummation of the spiritual life, and the end of all the sacraments, as was observed above (Q63,A6): for by the hallowings of all the sacraments preparation is made for receiving or consecrating the Eucharist. Consequently, the reception of Baptism is necessary for starting the spiritual life, while the receiving of the Eucharist is requisite for its consummation; by partaking not indeed actually, but in desire, as an end is possessed in desire and intention. Another difference is because by Baptism a man is ordained to the Eucharist, and therefore from the fact of children being baptized, they are destined by the Church to the Eucharist; and just as they believe through the Church’s faith, so they desire the Eucharist through the Church’s intention, and, as a result, receive its reality. But they are not disposed for Baptism by any previous sacrament, and consequently before receiving Baptism, in no way have they Baptism in desire; but adults alone have: consequently, they cannot have the reality of the sacrament without receiving the sacrament itself. Therefore this sacrament is not necessary for salvation in the same way as Baptism is.” (Q 73, Art 3, On the contrary & I answer that, Part 3 of the third part, Summa, St. Thomas Aquinas)

Also, "As Augustine says, explaining John 6:54, “This food and this drink,” namely, of His flesh and blood: “He would have us understand the fellowship of His body and members, which is the Church in His predestinated, and called, and justified, and glorified, His holy and believing ones.” Hence, as he says in his Epistle to Boniface (Pseudo-Beda, in 1 Corinthians 10:17): “No one should entertain the slightest doubt, that then every one of the faithful becomes a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, when in Baptism he is made a member of Christ’s body; nor is he deprived of his share in that body and chalice even though he depart from this world in the unity of Christ’s body, before he eats that bread and drinks of that chalice.” (Reply to Obj 1, Same as above)

Also, I would add that non-catholics cannot receive the sacrament because they do not believe it is the Body and blood of Jesus Christ so they would be bringing damnation to themselves by receiving unworthily (1 Cor 11:29).

May God bless,

James224

Here’s my take on it. When speaking of who will have eternal life, Christ speaks very generally. “…if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever…”. However, when He states the negative He does not say e.g. “any person who does not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood will have no life within him”. What Christ says in this case is “…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Who were the “you” in this case? They were those who had just been given the teaching regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

I think this is a deliberate and critical distinction. Jesus is stating that all who do eat the flesh and drink the blood will have eternal life, but on the other hand only those who have been given this teaching and reject it will not have eternal life. This leaves the fate of the remaining group, those who have not been given this teaching, and who thus have not rejected it, unstated.

[quote=VociMike]Here’s my take on it. When speaking of who will have eternal life, Christ speaks very generally. “…if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever…”. However, when He states the negative He does not say e.g. “any person who does not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood will have no life within him”. What Christ says in this case is “…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Who were the “you” in this case? They were those who had just been given the teaching regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

I think this is a deliberate and critical distinction. Jesus is stating that all who do eat the flesh and drink the blood will have eternal life, but on the other hand only those who have been given this teaching and reject it will not have eternal life. This leaves the fate of the remaining group, those who have not been given this teaching, and who thus have not rejected it, unstated.
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You said exactly what I was trying to say, but you said it much better.

Interesting point. But who is this group “who have not been given this teaching, and who thus have not rejected it”? How are they identified? After all, countless Christians have read John 6 and rejected Christ’s teaching that it is truly His Body and Blood that He is speaking about. Are they thus condemned?

Or is it only those who have pledged themselves to the Catholic Church through Confirmation who are officially “given this teaching”?

Or something entirely different?

James224,

Thank you for the quote from Augustine, although I’m not sure I’m completely understanding what his point is. Is he saying that all those who are validly baptised also receive the grace of the Eucharistic Lord spiritually by desire, even if they do not receive Him in the sacrament? But in the case of non-Catholics, is that desire really present? If this is true, it doesn’t seem to do justice to the extreme holiness and worth of our sacramental Lord. It’s like He’s just thrown in for free when you’re baptised, even if the whole concept is generally rejected (as it is in many protestant denominations). This just doesn’t seem consistent to me.

I’m trying, though, and I certainly appreciate everyone’s insights.

Peace,
javelin

javelin,

I am with you on this subject. Jesus made it incredibly clear that we have no life in us unless we eat His Body and Blood. I feel that when Protestants are well aware of what the Eucharist is, they are bound to come into the Church in order to receive that gift. Think about how the many followers left Christ after He had completed His Eucharistic discourse…those people walked away knowing they had no life in them. I think it is very clear.

The only true exception is invincible ignorance, and only God knows when a person is truly invincily ignorant of His revealed truths.

Any person who knows these truths, MUST adhere to them or they have no life in them…imho. I also feel that the Catholic Church is NOT doing a loving service to people of this world by not preaching strongly on this point…Jesus was very clear.

javelin,

Regarding post #25.

Surface appearances can be very deceptive. Many modern Protestant Churches have people who appear to be lively and srong Christians, yet we have no idea how they live their lives. The truth is, 65-70% of this nation’s populace is comprised of people who claim to be Protestants of some variety or another…yet abortion and divorce rates are incredinly high, which would include those 65–70-% Protestants. Include in this the rampant gambling, and materialism, pornography,etc., and we see that a very signifcant majority of people in this nation from all walks of Christianity are NOT walking in their faith as they appear to be in Church.

The path is indeed narrow, and a ton of mega-Protestant Churches today are offering up a “Gospel Lite” that Americans flock too…yet as you said the path is narrow, not wide…so are they on the wide path or the narrow path?

javelin,

Remember the people during the post-flood era, they were quite happy too…they were also completely unaware that they were about to be wiped out.

[quote=TPJCatholic]javelin,

Regarding post #25.

Surface appearances can be very deceptive. Many modern Protestant Churches have people who appear to be lively and srong Christians, yet we have no idea how they live their lives. The truth is, 65-70% of this nation’s populace is comprised of people who claim to be Protestants of some variety or another…yet abortion and divorce rates are incredinly high, which would include those 65–70-% Protestants. Include in this the rampant gambling, and materialism, pornography,etc., and we see that a very signifcant majority of people in this nation from all walks of Christianity are NOT walking in their faith as they appear to be in Church.

The path is indeed narrow, and a ton of mega-Protestant Churches today are offering up a “Gospel Lite” that Americans flock too…yet as you said the path is narrow, not wide…so are they on the wide path or the narrow path?
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TJP,

I saw your other post on this same subject – it seems no one wants to be pinned down on this one because the real truth is we simply don’t know.

As for the issue of protestants, my experiential problem is not just from outward appearances. I personally know many, and their faith is much deeper than a Sunday-only emotional festival. They are dedicated to God and His service, and their good works done in spirit are a testament to their faith, and complete it (even if they don’t think they do ;)). Yet they do not receive.

Add to that the fact that so many Catholics who receive regularly don’t seem to be any better off than anyone else and it really makes people question the power and validity of this sacrament.

It is truly difficult to convince anyone of the majesty of the Eucharistic Lord when it has so little apparent effect on the people who receive it and those who don’t seem fine, too.

So, maybe St. Augustine was correct and people receive the grace of the the Eucharist in many ways by desire, and so they do indeed have life in Jesus.

That’s my struggle. As the disciples said, “this is a hard teaching”…

Peace,
javelin

javelin,

Jesus also said that there would be people who said “Lord, Lord,” and yet would not be saved…I agree completely that many people reflect a great love for Christ, and perhaps those people are truly invincibly ignorant in ways we do not understand. Yet, if those people do know about the Eucharist and yet reject it, then they have no life in them just as the followers walked who walked away from Christ also walked away from life.

Do not forget, Scientoligists also have great passion and energy…yet they basically reject God outright…I think we must walk carefully with this because we are not God, yet according to Jesus’ own Words we do not have life in us if we knowingly do not partake…that is enough for me.

Also, do not forget that 70%+ of all Catholics do NOT believe in the Real Presence…so you will see many Catholics who appear to have no life in them.

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