Real Presence outside of RC Church


#1

Hey everyone,

A friend has been having discussions with a protestant friend of hers concerning the Eucharist, and she wants some help with one thing. I’ve given a few ideas, but I need some more concrete back-up.

Here’s the quote from her e-mail:
“He’s SO close to believing the Catholic teaching, but his thing is this: if transubstantiation is true, why isn’t it the real Body and Blood at any church’s service? If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children? He basically believes that communion well-received at any church, Catholic or not, is the equivalent of the body and blood of Christ.”

I think the guy is hung up on apostoilic succession more than anything, even though my friend says she hasn’t had much luck with that route. Could anyone give me any advice? Maybe some scripture/CCC/other references?

Thanks,
RockAndHoops


#2

Not sure from a Catholic standpoint, but most Protestant Liturgies and especially in the “low-church” groups that don’t have one. There is no blessing or prayer equivalent to your prayer to God that he “…render it well-pleasing to yourself, so that it may become for us the Body and the Blood…ect”. Mostly we recite the scripture of the Lord’s supper and the prayers vary, but there is again nothing equivalent. So I suppose the question is do we need “valid orders” and/or do we need some form of consecration?

Felt like I said a lot of nothing, but perhaps this will help apply your theology to our practice to figure out the answer.


#3

[quote=RockAndHoops]Hey everyone,

A friend has been having discussions with a protestant friend of hers concerning the Eucharist, and she wants some help with one thing. I’ve given a few ideas, but I need some more concrete back-up.

Here’s the quote from her e-mail:
“He’s SO close to believing the Catholic teaching, but his thing is this: if transubstantiation is true, why isn’t it the real Body and Blood at any church’s service? If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children? He basically believes that communion well-received at any church, Catholic or not, is the equivalent of the body and blood of Christ.”

I think the guy is hung up on apostoilic succession more than anything, even though my friend says she hasn’t had much luck with that route. Could anyone give me any advice? Maybe some scripture/CCC/other references?

Thanks,
RockAndHoops
[/quote]

Hmmm. Say that no matter how good my intentions are right now, even if I was a Jew nothing could make it possible for me to offer an animal sacrifice. God not only looks at intentions but the matter behind it. For the Eucharist, what is needed is true bread and wine and a validly ordained Priest or Bishop.


#4

[quote=RockAndHoops]If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children? He basically believes that communion well-received at any church, Catholic or not, is the equivalent of the body and blood of Christ."
[/quote]

God may very well grant some or all of the graces of sacramental communion “to his ‘protestant’ children” at their communion services in the same way he may grant the graces of sacramental communion to Catholics who, when unable to receive sacramental communion, make an Act of Spritual Communion:My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.
We simply don’t know. What we do know is that God does grant graces through sacramental communion to those who are properly disposed.


#5

He should also note that Christ is not present even in the Catholic Church unless the Eucharist is celebrated by a validly Ordained priest. He should spend some time with
Ordination not Apostolic Succession.


#6

Indeed, it seems that the main issue here is that of Ordination primarily, and possibly the Rite of Consecration as a secondary issue. While Apostalic Succession is determined by Ordination, it’s not really the main problem at hand. I’d focus on the nature of Ordination, of “laying on hands”, and how it imparts a specific role and unique character on those who are Ordained.

:blessyou:


#7

[quote=RockAndHoops]Here’s the quote from her e-mail:
“He’s SO close to believing the Catholic teaching, but his thing is this: if transubstantiation is true, why isn’t it the real Body and Blood at any church’s service? If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children? He basically believes that communion well-received at any church, Catholic or not, is the equivalent of the body and blood of Christ.”

I think the guy is hung up on apostoilic succession more than anything,
[/quote]

in order for the sacrament to be both valid and licit, the proper matter and form must be present. That is, in order for the liturgical words and actions to be effective, to consecrate the bread and wine to effect the sacramental change into the substance of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, it is necessary for more than the proper words, actions, and matter to be present. Essential is the priest, who has been ordained by a successor to the apostles, that is, by a bishop who traces his ordination in a direct line through bishops all the way back to the apostles. The priest stands in persona Christi, that is, in the place of Christ, as it is Christ who is sacrificed, who sacrifices. This apostolic succession is maintained only in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. All other denominations have broken apostolic succession, and most have rejected the sacrifical priesthood altogether. No valid sacrificial priesthood=no sacrifice=no Eucharist. The other denominations do not have the Eucharist–although some retain a symbolic rite of communion–because they have specifically in the course of the historical developments by which they removed themselves from communion with Rome, rejected the Eucharist as anything more than a symbol. This is the same reason why Christians are not fully in communion–they have rejected the very gift of Christ present in the Eucharist which effects that communion.

previous posters are absolutely correct. the confusion in the minds of many Christians, including many Catholics who should know better, about the Real Presence and the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has its roots in misunderstanding about the nature of the priesthood.


#8

Puzzleannie,

You’re flatly wrong that Protestant churches reject the Eucharist as “anything more than a symbol.” This is not true of the Lutherans at all, not true of Anglicans in practice, and not true of many of the historic Reformed bodies (this includes the Anglican 39 Articles, though most Anglicans have more Catholic views than the Articles express) except with serious qualification (it all depends on what you mean by a “symbol”). I have been to a Presbyterian Eucharist (PCA) where participants were explicitly invited to receive the Body and Blood of Christ (I say “participants” rather than “we” because non-members were only allowed to receive if they had had a conversation with the pastor previously, which I had not done; so I didn’t receive on that occasion). Granted, the Presbyterian understanding is more spiritualized than the Catholic. But it’s hardly “nothing more than a symbol.”

We’ve been over and over this on this board, but it’s one of those issues that keeps cropping up. This thread is on the right track in focusing on the ordination issue, which is the reason why you guys deny that our Eucharists are valid. I assure you that many Anglo-Catholics believe exactly what you believe (my rector in North Carolina explicitly told me that Fourth Lateran was binding on Anglicans and trumped the more local 39 Articles). But you think our orders are not valid, so in your view we aren’t really receiving Jesus sacramentally.

This is one of the major reasons why I’m not a Catholic. I would have to agree not only that Protestant Eucharistic theologies (except for the Anglo-Catholics whose theology isn’t really Protestant) are not valid but that Protestants are not receiving Jesus sacramentally. And I can’t believe that.

Edwin


#9

[quote=RockAndHoops]Here’s the quote from her e-mail:
"He’s SO close to believing the Catholic teaching, but his thing is this: if transubstantiation is true, why isn’t it the real Body and Blood at any church’s service? If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children?
[/quote]

His “protestant children” have turned away from His Church. They no longer have the Apostolic Succession. If they return to His Church, they can return to communion with Him.


#10

[quote=RockAndHoops]Hey everyone,

A friend has been having discussions with a protestant friend of hers concerning the Eucharist, and she wants some help with one thing. I’ve given a few ideas, but I need some more concrete back-up.

Here’s the quote from her e-mail:
“He’s SO close to believing the Catholic teaching, but his thing is this: if transubstantiation is true, why isn’t it the real Body and Blood at any church’s service? If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children? He basically believes that communion well-received at any church, Catholic or not, is the equivalent of the body and blood of Christ.”

I think the guy is hung up on apostoilic succession more than anything, even though my friend says she hasn’t had much luck with that route. Could anyone give me any advice? Maybe some scripture/CCC/other references?

Thanks,
RockAndHoops
[/quote]

Ignatius of Antioch(disciple of John the Apostle, died AD107) talks about the Eucharist several times in his letters. He also talks about maintaining union with the bishop. Here is one thing he says when telling them to maintain union with the bsihop.

" Let that be deemed a proper56 Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.57 " [Ignatius to the Smyrnians]

The implication of this statement is that what is not in communion with the bishops is not a proper Eucharist.

Further, I would ask this person what is required in order for there to be a true presence in a protestant Church. Do they need one person to believe it? Half? Two thirds plus 1? Does the pastor need to believe it is the true presence? Can a Satan worshiper consecrate the Eucharist with intent to destroy it? Who gives the authority to the pastor to have this supper? As Ignatius says, it is the bishop and those who have his permission who can have the Eucharist.


#11

[quote=Contarini]Puzzleannie,

You’re flatly wrong that Protestant churches reject the Eucharist as “anything more than a symbol.” This is not true of the Lutherans at all, not true of Anglicans in practice, and not true of many of the historic Reformed bodies (this includes the Anglican 39 Articles, though most Anglicans have more Catholic views than the Articles express) except with serious qualification (it all depends on what you mean by a “symbol”). I have been to a Presbyterian Eucharist (PCA) where participants were explicitly invited to receive the Body and Blood of Christ (I say “participants” rather than “we” because non-members were only allowed to receive if they had had a conversation with the pastor previously, which I had not done; so I didn’t receive on that occasion). Granted, the Presbyterian understanding is more spiritualized than the Catholic. But it’s hardly “nothing more than a symbol.”

We’ve been over and over this on this board, but it’s one of those issues that keeps cropping up. This thread is on the right track in focusing on the ordination issue, which is the reason why you guys deny that our Eucharists are valid. I assure you that many Anglo-Catholics believe exactly what you believe (my rector in North Carolina explicitly told me that Fourth Lateran was binding on Anglicans and trumped the more local 39 Articles). But you think our orders are not valid, so in your view we aren’t really receiving Jesus sacramentally.

This is one of the major reasons why I’m not a Catholic. I would have to agree not only that Protestant Eucharistic theologies (except for the Anglo-Catholics whose theology isn’t really Protestant) are not valid but that Protestants are not receiving Jesus sacramentally. And I can’t believe that.

Edwin
[/quote]

It has been a teaching since the first century that in order to have a valid Eucharist, you must be in union with the bishops. The Lutherans have no bishops that can claim apostolic succesion. The Anglicans may be able to claim a true presnece because they have maintained a succession of bishops. Luther was not a bishop and he had no bishops that followed him. Therefore he could not ordain preists to follow him.

There are several protestant groups for instance the “non-denominational” protestants claim it is symbolic and nothing more.


#12

[quote=jimmy]It has been a teaching since the first century that in order to have a valid Eucharist, you must be in union with the bishops. The Lutherans have no bishops that can claim apostolic succesion. The Anglicans may be able to claim a true presnece because they have maintained a succession of bishops. Luther was not a bishop and he had no bishops that followed him. Therefore he could not ordain preists to follow him.

There are several protestant groups for instance the “non-denominational” protestants claim it is symbolic and nothing more.
[/quote]

The Anglicans may “claim” valid orders but the Church studied the matter and declared their orders to be absolutely null and void, hense they have no valid eucharist. The Church is very scrupulous about these things. We still recognize the orders of schismatic groups - e.g.Orthodox, SSPX and many more. The church did not declare the orders of the Anglican communion void haphazardly or spitefully. When Henery VIII took the English wing of the church with him, their orders were valid. Later on - under Cranmer - the the problems cropped up.

newadvent.org/cathen/01491a.htm

There are complications … some schismatic groups with valid orders have consecrated “bishops” for groups without valid orders so the whole thing is a mess.


#13

[quote=quasimodo]The Anglicans may “claim” valid orders but the Church studied the matter and declared their orders to be absolutely null and void, hense they have no valid eucharist. The Church is very scrupulous about these things. We still recognize the orders of schismatic groups - e.g.Orthodox, SSPX and many more. The church did not declare the orders of the Anglican communion void haphazardly or spitefully. When Henery VIII took the English wing of the church with him, their orders were valid. Later on - under Cranmer - the the problems cropped up.

newadvent.org/cathen/01491a.htm

There are complications … some schismatic groups with valid orders have consecrated “bishops” for groups without valid orders so the whole thing is a mess.
[/quote]

Yes, I realize that but I did not want to get into the issue about the Anglicans because I was not sure how to approach it.


#14

[quote=jimmy]Further, I would ask this person what is required in order for there to be a true presence in a protestant Church. Do they need one person to believe it? Half? Two thirds plus 1? Does the pastor need to believe it is the true presence? Can a Satan worshiper consecrate the Eucharist with intent to destroy it? Who gives the authority to the pastor to have this supper? As Ignatius says, it is the bishop and those who have his permission who can have the Eucharist.
[/quote]

Hey jimmy, this is pretty much what I came up with as my first suggestions to my friend. I had a perfectly good train of logic that was more of, in math terms, “proof by contradiction”, and although she said it was logical and clear, but that she had used a similar line of reasoning earlier and she wrote:

“…he got pretty offended and said that he is a Christian and therefore a part of the Body of Christ, and so to use an analogy that likens him to someone who doesn’t believe in Christ is really condescending and implies that his faith isn’t real. And it didn’t help that he is really stuck on the fact that the Catholic Church says he isn’t “good enough” to receive the Eucharist… my analogy only made the wound deeper. I think part of the struggle is that although he recognizes the Eucharist a gift, he still feels a sense of entitlement to it, which makes him a bit more sensitive.”

So though I totally dig where you’re going with your reasoning and I can tell it’s fine, it seems like it may not get through to this guy. That’s the main reason I’m asking for alternatives.

And thanks to everyone who pointed out Ordination is the key! That’s what I ultimately intended to connect with apostolic succession, because without A.S. you won’t have validly ordained priests. That’s the track I meant to say but wasn’t clear on.

Thanks,
RockAndHoops


#15

[quote=RockAndHoops]Hey jimmy, this is pretty much what I came up with as my first suggestions to my friend. I had a perfectly good train of logic that was more of, in math terms, “proof by contradiction”, and although she said it was logical and clear, but that she had used a similar line of reasoning earlier and she wrote:

“…he got pretty offended and said that he is a Christian and therefore a part of the Body of Christ, and so to use an analogy that likens him to someone who doesn’t believe in Christ is really condescending and implies that his faith isn’t real. And it didn’t help that he is really stuck on the fact that the Catholic Church says he isn’t “good enough” to receive the Eucharist… my analogy only made the wound deeper. I think part of the struggle is that although he recognizes the Eucharist a gift, he still feels a sense of entitlement to it, which makes him a bit more sensitive.”

So though I totally dig where you’re going with your reasoning and I can tell it’s fine, it seems like it may not get through to this guy. That’s the main reason I’m asking for alternatives.

And thanks to everyone who pointed out Ordination is the key! That’s what I ultimately intended to connect with apostolic succession, because without A.S. you won’t have validly ordained priests. That’s the track I meant to say but wasn’t clear on.

Thanks,
RockAndHoops
[/quote]

The main point I was leading to was ordination. I have thought about this a little lately because I have an extended family of mainly protestants and one of them is pretty into reading church history and Augustines writings. He comes from a non-denom background and has come to the conclusion that there is a true presence but he remains protestant. I have been thinking of asking these questions of him and leading it into ordination.

If you think about it and ask, “What is necisary? 1 Person believing in it? half? two thirds? Does the pastor need to believe in a true presence? What is necisary for there to be a true presence?” And then lead it into the big question, “Can you have the true presence without a continual tradition of the teaching and without authority to offer it?” Or you could ask this in a reverse order, from the most united idea like a pastor believing it and progressing toward one person and then toward the satanist, and then asking the big question. The point of throwing the satanist into the arguement is to show an extreme example and to ask what is the basic need in order to have the true presence. Ignatius said in the first century that Eucharist is valid in union with the bishop. The question isn’t whether they are Christian, but whether they have the authority to consecrate the Eucharist.

There is another question that could be asked. “What about those who do not believe in the true presence, do they still recieve it? If so, they all recieve their condemnation as 1Cor11 says because they do not discern the body of Christ.”


#16

Jimmy,

I don’t believe that the Real Presence is dependent on right theology or on correct ordination. It’s dependent on the promise of Christ, period. And as I read it, this promise was to all believers. Rightly ordered, we ought all to be led by duly elected bishops in apostolic succession and in full communion with Rome. (And I agree that the first of these is less important than the others–I throw it in just to point out that you guys don’t imitate early Christian polity either, not fully.) But I don’t think Jesus refuses to show up if we don’t have all the lines of succession right. I know this seems wishy-washy and liberal to orthodox Catholics. But that’s how I see it.

A Baptist who receives crackers and grape juice in memory of Christ is receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. That means that ironically you think Baptists are right (in what they believe about what they are receiving), while I don’t!

Edwin


#17

[quote=Contarini]Jimmy,

I don’t believe that the Real Presence is dependent on right theology or on correct ordination. It’s dependent on the promise of Christ, period.
[/quote]

Which was made to the Apostles, not to schismatics.

[quote=Contarini]And as I read it, this promise was to all believers. Rightly ordered, we ought all to be led by duly elected bishops in apostolic succession and in full communion with Rome. (And I agree that the first of these is less important than the others–I throw it in just to point out that you guys don’t imitate early Christian polity either, not fully.) But I don’t think Jesus refuses to show up if we don’t have all the lines of succession right. I know this seems wishy-washy and liberal to orthodox Catholics. But that’s how I see it.
[/quote]

Why should a person who excommunicates himself expect to participate in communion? It’s a contradiction in terms!

[quote=Contarini]A Baptist who receives crackers and grape juice in memory of Christ is receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. That means that ironically you think Baptists are right (in what they believe about what they are receiving), while I don’t!

Edwin
[/quote]

Nope – they have no more authority to consecrate the bread and wine than a Muslim or a Hindu.


#18

Originally Quoted by puzzleannie:

The priest stands in persona Christi, that is, in the place of Christ, as it is Christ who is sacrificed, who sacrifices. This apostolic succession is maintained only in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. All other denominations have broken apostolic succession, and most have rejected the sacrifical priesthood altogether. No valid sacrificial priesthood=no sacrifice=no Eucharist.

You are indeed correct. However, and not in opposition to what you wrote, but rather to address a certain concern which your post has brought to my mind: if the Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and if Paul and other early Church writers, such as St. Ignatius of Antioch, speak of there being only one Cup, one Eucharist, one communion in Christ, then how is it that the “schismatic” Orthodox still consume the Eucharist (the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ) in their liturgy? I mean, it seems that the Orthodox, if they indeed share in the Real Body and Blood of Christ, are still in some mystical way part of the Church, and are not “schismatics” separated from the grace of the Church. What do you think?


#19

[quote=Madaglan]You are indeed correct. However, and not in opposition to what you wrote, but rather to address a certain concern which your post has brought to my mind: if the Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and if Paul and other early Church writers, such as St. Ignatius of Antioch, speak of there being only one Cup, one Eucharist, one communion in Christ, then how is it that the “schismatic” Orthodox still consume the Eucharist (the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ) in their liturgy? I mean, it seems that the Orthodox, if they indeed share in the Real Body and Blood of Christ, are still in some mystical way part of the Church, and are not “schismatics” separated from the grace of the Church. What do you think?
[/quote]

The Orthodox do not hold any heretical positions and maintain the Apostolic Succession. Their only difference with the Catholic Church is their refusal to accept the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.


#20

[quote=RockAndHoops]Hey everyone,

A friend has been having discussions with a protestant friend of hers concerning the Eucharist, and she wants some help with one thing. I’ve given a few ideas, but I need some more concrete back-up.

Here’s the quote from her e-mail:
“He’s SO close to believing the Catholic teaching, but his thing is this: if transubstantiation is true, why isn’t it the real Body and Blood at any church’s service? If it is a gift of God, then why would He deny it to his “protestant” children? He basically believes that communion well-received at any church, Catholic or not, is the equivalent of the body and blood of Christ.”

I think the guy is hung up on apostoilic succession more than anything, even though my friend says she hasn’t had much luck with that route. Could anyone give me any advice? Maybe some scripture/CCC/other references?

Thanks,
RockAndHoops
[/quote]

it’s simple… to have Christ present, you must believe that
Christ is present, most protestants don’t believe that, if some do,
then He is present…

that’s my opinion, anyway…

:slight_smile:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.