SPLIT: Non-catholic Communion Vs The Eucharist


:yup: I was Baptist (of the non-denominational variety) and such cognitive dissonances as the one you experienced eventually led me to the Catholic Church.

I have another one: you must examine your conscience before receiving communion and make sure you’ve confessed your sins to God, but the cracker and grape juice (never wine, as the Bible condemns drunkenness) are merely symbols whereby we remember the death of Jesus Christ.

So, why bother examining our conscience before receiving a symbol? :confused:


Communion is spiritual…we remember His broken body and shed blood and we are showing His death 'til he comes. This is a spiritual feast that does not require special words prayed over it by a special person (although prayer accompanies it - not to change its essence but as a matter of thankfulness and remembrance). But this feast, in connection with the Word of God and faith in the recipient, is beneficial to all who obey the command of partaking. You are conditioned by a teaching that is an extrapolation from scripture and is nowhere taught. There is no special power in your bread over the bread that I partake of…it is a heart matter.


The idea that communion is merely spiritual and symbolic is a recent (since the Reformation) innovation that was unknown in the Early Church:

[quote=Ignatius of Antioch]“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (*Letter to the Romans *7:3 [A.D. 110]).

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (*Letter to the Smyrnaeans *6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).


Ignatius was appointed Bishop of Antioch by none other than Peter, and a disciple of the apostle John, and is reported to have been martyred in Rome in around 117 A.D. Thus, the idea that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, truly and sacramentally present, is not a new idea. The new idea, since long after the Reformation (as at least Martin Luther believed in a form of the Real Presence), is that the elements are merely symbolic.

Furthermore, there’s no extrapolation from scripture necessary when the plain words of John 6 speak directly to the issue. There’s no spiritualizing in that context.

And still further, why would one need to be concerned about partaking of the elements unworthily (1 Cor. 11:27-29) if they’re merely symbolic? How can one be guilty of profaning a body and blood that isn’t really present?

Thus, it isn’t an extrapolation from scripture from which we derive the doctrine of the Real Presence. It is, in fact, the plain meaning of the words of scripture and the witness of the Church from its earliest age (and I can produce more citations on this matter from Early Church Fathers if necessary) that is the source of this most wonderful and miraculous reality.

And even further still, you missed the point of my post. I was commenting on the fact that non-Catholic churches often split hairs on how to conduct things like baptism (as mentioned by bpbasilphx) and what they call the Lord’s Supper, and yet claim that these acts carry no material benefit whatsoever. Why, then, do such folks worry about how the rituals are conducted when they’re of no material benefit to the ones participating in them?


You are making assumptions…but, with little time…John 6:63 tells us what Christ was NOT meaning…

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

He was speaking to them from a spirtual perspective and not a literal, carnal, physical one - with regard to eating his flesh and drinking his blood. He was saying - my words are not to be looked at from a carnal/literal way - but these words are spirit. His response was from verses 52 and 60…

Joh 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Joh 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

He was attempting to correct their carnal perspective on the matter. Yet you seem to reinforce it. With verse 63 there, I am not sure how you can do that.

I once heard a Catholic radio show where a lady was asking if some “grace” made it to her unborn baby when she took communion. She was answered seriously. This is a result of a wrong interpretation of this passage.

Believing on Christ is described as eating and drinking…a spiritual feast where you take Him for who He is - ALL OF HIM. Just like the water being mentioned to the woman at the well (John 4)

Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, **He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.**48 I am that bread of life…
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Mere head knowledge…dead, useless, demonic faith falls short of this faith (James 2). Can that faith save a person? Believing is connected with eating Him and drinking Him.


Don’t think I didn’t miss that sly attempt to implicate me as having a ‘dead, useless, demonic faith.’

There is much error in this post, but I will focus on your idiosyncratic interpretation of John 6:63.

What does it mean that the ‘flesh profiteth nothing?’ If that’s literally the case as you’ve applied it, then you have to explain why Christ incarnated, was born, lived, affected miracles, taught, chose disciples (and gave them authority to forgive sins), was crucified, died, buried and rose again. If the ‘flesh profiteth nothing,’ then Christians are a miserable lot indeed, as that would render the Resurrection meaningless. You might want to re-think this position.

There’s an alternative interpretation - one that’s been believed, taught, understood and practiced since before the Reformation, and it is summed up well by this commentary in the Haydock commentary of the Douay-Rheims Bible (boldfaced sections are my doing):

[quote=Haydock]The flesh profiteth nothing. Dead flesh, separated from the spirit, in the gross manner they supposed they were to eat his flesh, would profit nothing. Neither doth man’s flesh, that is to say, man’s natural and carnal apprehension, (which refuses to be subject to the spirit, and words of Christ) profit any thing. But it would be the height of blasphemy, to say the living flesh of Christ (which we receive in the blessed sacrament, with his spirit, that is, with his soul and divinity) profiteth nothing. For if Christ’s flesh had profited us nothing, he would never have taken flesh for us, nor died in the flesh for us.Are spirit and life. By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace and life. These words sufficiently correct the gross and carnal imagination of these Capharnaites, that he meant to them his body and blood to eat in a visible and bloody manner, as flesh, says St. Augustine, is sold in the market, and in the shambles;[3] but they do not imply a figurative or metaphorical presence only. The manner of Christ’s presence is spiritual and under the outward appearances of bread and wine; but yet he is there truly and really present, by a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of his body and blood, which truly and really become our spiritual food, and are truly and really received in the holy sacrament. — The flesh[4] of itself profiteth nothing, not even the flesh of our Saviour Christ, were it not united to the divine person of Christ. But we must take care how we understand these words spoken by our Saviour: for it is certain, says St. Augustine, that the word made flesh, is the cause of all our happiness. (Witham) — When I promise you life if you eat my flesh, I do not wish you to understand this of that gross and carnal manner, of cutting my members in pieces: such ideas are far from my mind: the flesh profiteth nothing. In the Scriptures, the word flesh is often put for the carnal manner of understanding any thing. If you with to enter into the spirit of my words, raise your hearts to a more elevated and spiritual way of understanding them. (Calmet) — The reader may consult Des Mahis, p. 165, a convert from Protestantism, and who has proved the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist in the most satisfactory manner, from the written word. Where he shows that Jesus Christ, speaking of his own body, never says the flesh, but my flesh: the former mode of expression is used to signify, as we have observed above, a carnal manner of understanding any thing.

continued below …


… continued from previous post …

Man is not a disembodied spirit occupying an earthy container. Our Lord reaches out to us to communicate His grace in tangible means, because we’re physical people with the capacity to understand the spiritual beneift in physical acts.

God proclaimed creation “good,” and the creation of man as “very good,” and goes on to use creation to communicate His grace to us. Thus, there’s no need to spiritualize away the plain meaning of the text unless the one doing so must reject the authority of the ones who hold contrary doctrines to his own.

The idea that Christ is speaking in a metaphorical manner in John 6 is a new wind of doctrine that all Christians ought to reject.


Dan - you are missing the whole point - flesh in that verse is speaking to the words that he was saying and not to the giving of himself…flesh and spirit are pointing to his words. I have corrected you on this error on many occasions…this is clear. Also…I never said that you had dead, useless, demonic faith. I am sorry that you took it that way.

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

You are continually using your preconceived notions for this text. Jump out of the rutt.


All I needed was the Word of God to believe…


And what words were those, that are spirit and life?

“Unless you eat [munch] my body and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”

Jesus is telling us that the Eucharist will not be a symbolic (flesh only) Eucharist, but that He will be Truly Present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. It won’t be just a re-enactment, but that we will be actually partaking of Him.

Catholics are often accused of cannibalism because we believe we are actually eating Christ.

How much more odd it is, to merely be pretending to eat Him, though. :confused:



In an article by Msgr. Robert Sokolowski in an issue of “Homiletics and Pastoral Review” (Winter, 1997), specifically about Transubstantiation, he makes some helpful points regarding the reality of the Eucharist, i.e., that it is not just a symbol of something (Someone) more:

". . .to say that in the Eucharist the bread and wine remain what they are but acquire a new signification would contradict the logic of the Incarnation. Christ was not simply a prophet who pointed out the way to the Father; he was the way to the Father. He did not just communicate the truth about God, he was the Word of God. The believer comes to the Father not by the way and the truth that are signified by Christ, but through Christ himself, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Analogously, if the bread and wine were to remain bread and wine, they would point us toward the Death and Resurrection of Christ and toward the Son of God, they would signify him and what he did, but they would not be his presence and the presence of his action among us.

. . .it is the very material and bodily quality of the Incarnation that calls for Transubstantiation in the Eucharist. If Christ is to be present in the sacrament, he must be present in his divine and human natures, in his soul and body. And if his body is to be present, the bread cannot be. The one thing cannot be two material substances, both bread and a human body, not even the glorified human body of Christ. If it is the one it cannot be the other. The two bodily natures exclude one another, and it is the bodily presence of Christ that is specifically emphasized in the words of consecration. The body of Christ is not with the bread but takes the place of the bread in the change we call Transubstantiation.


Thanks for clariffying your intentions, and please accept my apology for taking it the wrong way.

Furthermore, I’m not using any preconceived notions, unless you count the constant, 2000+ year witness of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, including the witness of early church fathers who studied at the feet of the apostles, as preconceived notions. One could easily level the same charge against you, who must for some reason spiritualize all the material graces that Christ offered through his Church, as plainly witnessed in the scriptures.

And you’ve yet to establish your authority to correct me on any matter.

If I were relying upon preconceived notions, I never would’ve left a faith that believed as you do on this matter for Catholicism. It’s you who’s in a rut, refusing to take heed of clear scriptural witness, the history of this doctrine that runs right back to the beginning of Church history, and the witness of those who were taught what it means by the very apostles who received it. That’s a pretty arrogant position to assume, Craig.


Oh, so suddenly it’s not a matter of faith alone, but a certain faith expressed in a way defined by men?

Yet Catholic faith will encompass all of that.

Faithful Catholics have no connection with any “dead, useless, demonic faith”.:shrug:

It would seem to me that the faith that rejects the Eucharist would more closely fit the above description.


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