Pope St. Gelasius I and the Eucharist


#1

Greetings,

Wanting to be sure I’m not totally misled in thinking that the leaders of the Church were unanimous in their view (at least basically) of the Eucharist, I came across a certain objection. Now, please note, such objections as “Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria and Theodoret” and so and so held to a figurative view of it are easily dispelled, for me at least, by going back to the original sources. So I’m trying to do this “on my own” before I ask.

However, there's something I've come across that I'm not able to track down to the original source.
I found this on [this web site]("http://www.studytoanswer.net/rcc/rvb_mass.html#notes").  Here's the quote:

**Gelasius I (d. 496 AD)**

"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."30Perhaps most embarrassing of all for Catholic apologists is the revelation that even Gelasius, touted as one of the greatest early “popes”, quite openly refers to the bread and wine as a “similitude”, meaning a figure, a picture, of what they represent. He also pointedly rejects the transubstantiation of these elements into the literal body and blood of Christ. He says that the bread and wine remain just that: bread and wine.


That site references the work at the bottom of the page. I think I read somewhere else that it was from his work titled “On the Two Natures of Christ.”

Ok, what do you say? I’ve got a little more to add, but I’ll do it in a second post.


#2

Hi there. Here’s a few links I found that specifically address the quote from Pope Gelasius I you give:

geocities.com/Athens/3517/sippo/gelasius.html
cin.org/users/jgallegos/faq.htm (see item 12)

I am not well-versed on Catholic theology but I found these links useful, perhaps you will too.


#3

Hi Rob,

Assuming the quote is accurate (the site is offensive, and I didn’t research the actual source of the quote), I’m not sure it says what they think it does. According to the Catechism:

**CCC 1374…**In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist " the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, *the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially *contained." **This presence is called ‘real’ - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, **but because it is presence in the fullest sense…

So, the bread and wine are also present. I do agree that the word “similitude” could imply a picture, but that’s not clear.

Main Entry: si·mil·i·tude webster.com/images/audio.gif
Pronunciation: s&-'mi-l&-"tüd, -"tyüd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, resemblance, likeness, from Latin *similitudo, *from similis
1 a : COUNTERPART, DOUBLE b : a visible likeness : IMAGE
2 : an imaginative comparison : SIMILE
3 a : correspondence in kind or quality b : a point of comparison

However, one statement by one pope does not a refutation make…unless it was ex cathedra.

God Bless,

Robert.


#4

This site
ccel.org/w/wace/biodict/htm/iii.vii.viii.htm

quotes him as being explicitly opposed to communion under one kind, and has the same quote as the above post about the Eucharist.

Rob

Potatos - Boil Em, Mash Em, Stick Em In A Stew


#5

[quote=Reformed Rob]This site
ccel.org/w/wace/biodict/htm/iii.vii.viii.htm

quotes him as being explicitly opposed to communion under one kind, and has the same quote as the above post about the Eucharist.

Rob
[/quote]

St. Thomas addresses the quote from Pope Gelatius (regarding communion under one kind only), in “objection #1”, and his reply to that objection.

Whether it is lawful to receive the body of Christ without the blood?

Objection 1: It seems unlawful to receive the body of Christ without the blood. For Pope Gelasius says (cf. De Consecr. ii): “We have learned that some persons after taking only a portion of the sacred body, abstain from the chalice of the sacred blood. I know not for what superstitious motive they do this: therefore let them either receive the entire sacrament, or let them be withheld from the sacrament altogether.” Therefore it is not lawful to receive the body of Christ without His blood.

Objection 2: Further, the eating of the body and the drinking of the blood are required for the perfection of this sacrament, as stated above (Question [73], Article [2]; Question [76], Article [2], ad 1). Consequently, if the body be taken without the blood, it will be an imperfect sacrament, which seems to savor of sacrilege; hence Pope Gelasius adds (cf. De Consecr. ii), “because the dividing of one and the same mystery cannot happen without a great sacrilege.”

On the contrary, It is the custom of many churches for the body of Christ to be given to the communicant without His blood.

I answer that, Two points should be observed regarding the use of this sacrament, one on the part of the sacrament, the other on the part of the recipients; on the part of the sacrament it is proper for both the body and the blood to be received, since the perfection of the sacrament lies in both, and consequently, since it is the priest’s duty both to consecrate and finish the sacrament, he ought on no account to **receive ****Christ’s **body without the blood.

But on the part of the recipient the greatest reverence and caution are called for, lest anything happen which is unworthy of so great a mystery. Now this could especially happen in receiving the blood, for, if incautiously handled, it might easily be spilt. And because the multitude of the Christian people increased, in which there are old, young, and children, some of whom have not enough discretion to observe due caution in using this sacrament, on that account it is a prudent custom in some churches for the blood not to be offered to the reception of the people, but to be received by the priest alone.

Reply to Objection 1: Pope Gelasius is speaking of priests, who, as they consecrate the entire sacrament, ought to communicate in the entire sacrament. For, as we read in the (Twelfth) Council of Toledo, “What kind of a sacrifice is that, wherein not even the sacrificer is known to have a share?”

Reply to Objection 2: The perfection of this sacrament does not lie in the use of the faithful, but in the consecration of the matter. And hence there is nothing derogatory to the perfection of this sacrament; if the people receive the body without the blood, provided that the priest who consecrates receive both.


#6

thi

May I take issue with what the good Doctor has prescribed here? It seems as though Gelasius did not have priests, the ministers of the Sacraments in mind. For the quote, as is given, is “or let them be withheld from the sacrament altogether.” Wait, ok, I think I see. He’s saying that he would have the priests be witheld from the Sacrament altogether. Ok, St. Thomas probably knows more than me. I thought that I could object by saying, “who witholds the priest from receiving the sacrament?” Never mind, got it!


#7

[quote=Jeremy]Hi there. Here’s a few links I found that specifically address the quote from Pope Gelasius I you give:

geocities.com/Athens/3517/sippo/gelasius.html
cin.org/users/jgallegos/faq.htm (see item 12)

I am not well-versed on Catholic theology but I found these links useful, perhaps you will too.
[/quote]

Uh, yes, those were helpful.

Well, uh, they referred to the same document. I suppose the doctrine of Transubstantiation has been, uh, defined in such a way that every church Father and Pope that sounded like he taught against it can, uh, be made to sound like he actually at least, uh, did not teach against it. You see, Jeremy, if you get to define the parameters, you by consequence get to set the boundaries of who spoke within those parameters.

Well, that was fun, to type like a great former preacher and professor of blessed memory (Greg Bahnsen) spoke in debate.

Yeah, I can see that. Like many other Fathers, Justin, Tertullian, Theodoret, etc. they were more concerned about affirming Christ’s human nature in the Incarnation than they were about being so precise regarding the Eucharist. And the “theological dictionary” was still being compiled. That makes sense. That’s realistic.


#8

If the bread and wine are also present, with the blood and flesh of jesus, then, whats the difference between transubstantation and the lutheran consubstantation??


#9

Really,

It’s not the lack of understanding the Eucharist that keeps me out of the Catholic Church. I want the proper Eucharist so bad, all apologetics for it “aside” if you will, but you don’t just make a big decision like that without at least making an honest effort at making sure you’re not self-deceived. Or at least I don’t. There’s plenty of things I have questions about, and it can’t keep going on, so I do thank you heartily for responding. I hope others get at least 1/4 of what I get out of these forums, even though I’m not here all the time.


#10

[quote=Asking]If the bread and wine are also present, with the blood and flesh of jesus, then, whats the difference between transubstantation and the lutheran consubstantation??
[/quote]

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. So let’s go to Trent:

The Catechism of Trent says:

from Christ Whole and Present Under Each Species
Hence it also follows that Christ is so contained, whole and entire, under either species, that, as under the species of bread are contained not only the body, but also the blood and Christ entire; so in like manner, under the species of wine are truly contained not only the blood , but also the body and Christ entire.

from *Proof From the Dogma of the Real Presence
*In order that the body of our Lord be present in the Sacrament, it remains, therefore, **that it be rendered present by the change of the bread into it. Wherefore it is necessary that none of the bread remain.

From the Council of Trent Session 13
CANON lI.-If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation;
let him be anathema.
**

So what do you say? If I were to venture an answer, I’d say something about how the elements still retain the peculiar “look” or “form” of the matter of bread and wine, but they are substantially and completely changed, yet not to our physical senses but to our faith perception, and of course to what they actually metaphysically “are.”

However, how does the new CCC square with Trent?
**This presence is called ‘real’ - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too **From CCC 1374 as quoted above.

What other “real presences” could there be? Huh?
Answer that, and don’t anathematize yourself, buddy!!

No wonder the Catechism writers said:
*That such a change takes place must be recognized by faith; how it takes place we must not curiously inquire.


#11

Hi Bob,

Why did you answer me so rudely? I am not Catholic, but you asked an interesting question, and I posted a few Catholic answers to the question that I found online offering what seemed like different possible explanations. I was sharing my research with you, so to speak.

Peace be with you. :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Jeremy]Hi Bob,

Why did you answer me so rudely? I am not Catholic, but you asked an interesting question, and I posted a few Catholic answers to the question that I found online offering what seemed like different possible explanations. I was sharing my research with you, so to speak.

Peace be with you. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I’m sorry, really, I didn’t really know if you were catholic or not. It doesn’t really matter, I wouldnt want to be rude to you either way, and didn’t realize I answered in a rude way. I appreciate your links, and like I said, they were helpful. But I had to go on and say what I said, so the challenge would still be there.

BAsically, when you look over these types of “allegorical” statements, then your’e faced with the fact that the Eucharist is explained by many Fathers and Popes as a rememberance thing. So Transubstantiation apparently had to be defined to include what those guys believed without being contrary to what they said. I guess???


#13

[quote=Asking]If the bread and wine are also present, with the blood and flesh of jesus, then, whats the difference between transubstantation and the lutheran consubstantation??
[/quote]

You’ve got to be careful in the precise understanding of the way in which the bread and wine are “present.”

The Lutheran understanding, as I see it and as it has been explained to me, is that Christ is present “under” the appearance of the bread and wine. That’s not the same “under” as Transubstantiation (see Trent above). They say that just as Christ’s divine nature took on human flesh in the Incarnation, like, the human nature was there, so the divine nature was also. So, their teaching is that the earthly element (the host) remains, while the heavenly element (Christ) takes residence as well.

Ok, in Transubstantiation, Christ’s human nature is the earthly element, and his divine nature is the human element. The substance of the bread and wine are changed to Christ’s body and blood. The consecrated bread “is” Christ’s resurrected body and blood, and the consecrated wine “is” Christ’s resurrected body and blood. But it’s common and fair to speak of the wine as His blood, and the bread as His body. That’s what they are the “symbols” of, and that’s what they indeed believe them to “be.” Otherwise, it would be idolatry to worship them as such.

Does that help? I may be off a little on the consubstantiation, but shouldn’t be too ffar off.


#14

[quote=rlg94086]Hi Rob,
So, the bread and wine are also present. I do agree that the word “similitude” could imply a picture, but that’s not clear.
God Bless,
Robert.
[/quote]

Robert (rlg94086),

Since no other Catholics are pointing this out, I feel that I must do so. I believe, from Church teaching, that you are mistaken. Or maybe you’re saying something and I’m misunderstanding it.
Basically, the bread and the wine are NOT present. Their accidents are, that is so that you don’t partake of Christ’s body and blood under their proper “species.” But the whole of the bread is changed into the whole of the substance of Christ’s body.

Later on in the new catechism,
CCC 1376
"this holy council (Trent) now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, …"
Quoting the Council of Trent

Ok, and St. Thomas (Book 3, Question 75, Article 2)
Some have held that the substance of the bread and wine remains in this sacrament after the consecration. But this opinion cannot stand: first of all, because by such an opinion the truth of this sacrament is destroyed, to which it belongs that Christ’s true body exists in this sacrament; which indeed was not there before the consecration

Reply to Objection 3. The species which remain in this sacrament, as shall be said later (5), suffice for its signification; because the nature of the substance is known by its accidents.

However, the accidents see Article 5 of the same question:

On the contrary, Augustine says in his book on the Sentences of Prosper (Lanfranc, De Corp. et Sang. Dom. xiii): “Under the species which we behold, of bread and wine, we honor invisible things, i.e. flesh and blood.”

I answer that, It is evident to sense that all the accidents of the bread and wine remain after the consecration. And this is reasonably done by Divine providence. First of all, because it is not customary, but horrible, for men to eat human flesh, and to drink blood. And therefore Christ’s flesh and blood are set before us to be partaken of under the species of those things which are the more commonly used by men, namely, bread and wine. Secondly, lest this sacrament might be derided by unbelievers, if we were to eat our Lord under His own species. Thirdly, that while we receive our Lord’s body and blood invisibly, this may redound to the merit of faith.

So, I think it’s safe to say you may have been misunderstanding what the CCC was teaching. The bread and wine only look, feel, taste, smell like bread and wine, but that’s not what they are. And you wouldn’t be deceived, for your intellect, which is above your physical senses, knows it’s Christ, and your senses perceive the physical accidents of the bread and wine, so they are not deceived. Your faith and intellect are above, but not contrary to your senses.

Sorry for being so long, I thought this was important. And if I’m wrong, somebody please correct me before I come into the Church with a wrong understanding of this.


#15

I accept your apology Bob. :slight_smile:

I think Christ instituted the Eucharist partly as a remembrance thing. This doesn’t exclude at the same time the possibility that the bread/wine undergo a miraculous transformation.

I think the real challenge is to find a passage from the church fathers which directly teach something opposite to the church’s current teaching on transubstantiation. Odd wording in a quote from a letter referring to the Eucharist in passing while addressing a completely different topic does not seem strong enough to convict the Catholic Church of changing doctrine. The explanations given in the links I provided seem to provide plausible explanations for the wording. Not ironclad convincing arguments, but plausible ones.

In any case I do not think the gymnastics involved are any more extreme than the arguments some Protestants use to interpret Jesus’ clear statements “This is my body”, “This is the blood of the new covenant” in Matt 26:26-28 to mean something other than what is literally said.


#16

[quote=Reformed Rob]However, how does the new CCC square with Trent?
**This presence is called ‘real’ - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too **From CCC 1374 as quoted above.

What other “real presences” could there be? Huh?

[/quote]

Here’s how I read that:

This presence in the Eucharist]is called “real”–by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence such as Christ’s presence in the Word, in the Church, etc.] as if they could not be “real” too.


#17

[quote=Reformed Rob]Since no other Catholics are pointing this out, I feel that I must do so. I believe, from Church teaching, that you are mistaken. Or maybe you’re saying something and I’m misunderstanding it.
Basically, the bread and the wine are NOT present. Their accidents are, that is so that you don’t partake of Christ’s body and blood under their proper “species.” But the whole of the bread is changed into the whole of the substance of Christ’s body
[/quote]

That’s correct, Rob. There’s no possibility of saying anything else is present except the Body and Blood of Christ.


#18

[quote=Reformed Rob]Since no other Catholics are pointing this out, I feel that I must do so. I believe, from Church teaching, that you are mistaken. Or maybe you’re saying something and I’m misunderstanding it.
Basically, the bread and the wine are NOT present. Their accidents are, that is so that you don’t partake of Christ’s body and blood under their proper “species.” But the whole of the bread is changed into the whole of the substance of Christ’s body
[/quote]

That’s correct, Rob. There’s no possibility of saying anything else is present except the Body and Blood of Christ.


#19

[quote=Jeremy]I accept your apology Bob. :slight_smile:

I think Christ instituted the Eucharist partly as a remembrance thing. This doesn’t exclude at the same time the possibility that the bread/wine undergo a miraculous transformation.

I think the real challenge is to find a passage from the church fathers which directly teach something opposite to the church’s current teaching on transubstantiation. Odd wording in a quote from a letter referring to the Eucharist in passing while addressing a completely different topic does not seem strong enough to convict the Catholic Church of changing doctrine. The explanations given in the links I provided seem to provide plausible explanations for the wording. Not ironclad convincing arguments, but plausible ones.

In any case I do not think the gymnastics involved are any more extreme than the arguments some Protestants use to interpret Jesus’ clear statements “This is my body”, “This is the blood of the new covenant” in Matt 26:26-28 to mean something other than what is literally said.
[/quote]

The catholic church affirms the eucharist is a Rememberence.
The disticntion between catholics and protestants is that to catholics it is a sacrificial rememberence.
The greek word used in the last supper is anamnesis this exact word is also used in the septugient in regard to sacrifices under the law, it is not simply an external bringing to “rememberence,” but an awakening of the mind.
The protestant sees rememberece and don’t see sacrifice when the greek word is pointing out to the sacrificial aspect of the eucharist. The protestant takes his crackers and grape juice and thinks wow that Jesus was great. I read where one evangelical newspaper man went back to the catholic faith after seeing the film the Passion. He couldn’t seperate the obvious reference to the calavary and the eucharistic meal they are tied together by sacrifice. The film brought out what was already present their in the greek word for rememeberence our english view of remeberence is rather limited and the word could be used to remember our dog spot the same way we would remeber Jesus.
The greek word uses a references to sacrifice under the law obviously spot wouldn’t be in that sentence structure only the lamb of God makes sense in such a structure. Unfortunatley many protestants are being sold short by pastors who won’t tell them their is difference between the way we translate the Bible for English ears and the way Jesus apostles would understand his pronouncement.


#20

Question: In reference to the Eucharist, what does “accident” mean? …All that is left are the “accidents”. What is the meaning of that word (in this context)? --Alissa


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