Was St Clement the First Protestant Pope?

OK, I admit, the title of the thread is a little tongue in cheek but, Dr. Blank on the “Protestants Why are you not Catholic” thread, now closed, contends that St. Clement believed in a symbolic Eucharist. My original question was, paraphrasing, was where in the first 1,500 years of Christianity can we find a church that believed in a symbolic Lord’s Supper, especially one in the early Church. The document in question is St. Clement’s writing from the (Paedagogus) Instructor

[,_EN.pdf"]A link to the document is here]("documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0150-0207,_Clemens_Alexandrinus,Paedagogus[Schaff)

Copying from the previous thread, Dr Blank stated

Clement’s writings from Paedagogus:

“Eat ye my flesh,” He says, “and drink my blood.” Such is the suitable food which the Lord ministers, and He offers His flesh and pours forth His blood, and nothing is wanting for the children’s growth. O amazing mystery. We are enjoined to cast off the old and carnal corruption, as also the old nutriment, receiving in exchange another new regimen, that of Christ, receiving Him if we can, to hide Him within; and that, enshrining the Savior in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh.”

This is where most Catholics stop. If you continue reading:

“But you are not inclined to understand it thus, but perchance more generally. Hear it also in the following way. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit; for the flesh was created by Him. The blood points out to us the Word, for as rich blood the Word has been infused into life; and the union of both is the Lord, the food of the babes–the Lord who is Spirit and Word. The food- that is, the Lord Jesus–that is, the Word of God, the Spirit made flesh, the heavenly flesh sanctified…”

I then replied quoting that Book Two, Chapter Two are Clear, that St Clement was speaking “TWOFOLD”, two parts, not either or but both.

And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord’s immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh.
Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality.

And the mixture of both— of the water and of the Word— is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul. For the divine mixture, man, the Father’s will has mystically compounded by the Spirit and the Word. For, in truth, the spirit is joined to the soul, which is inspired by it; and the flesh, by reason of which the Word became flesh, to the Word.

Dr. B than replied that one needs to look at more of the writing, especially page 347 and that Clement is speaking figuratively. So looking at page 347, here’s the key verse that I believe Dr. is focusing on below. St Clement then speaks at length in a figurative tone.

But you are not inclined to understand it thus, but perchance more generally. Hear it also in the following way. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit; for the flesh was created by Him.

But the key words above are the transition words, “Here is also in the following way”. This is consistent with St. Clements writings above where he describes the blood of The Lord as Two-Fold.

Also of interest, the Coptic’s have the same belief. ** Here’s is a link** to their explanation of the same subject, using nearly the same quotations. I’ll quote their explanation on St Clement on the following post.

CONTINUED

Below is from the CopticChurch.net

  1. the Eucharist

a. St. Clement saw the Eucharist as instrumental in the accomplishment of the task undertaken by the Logos of God to bestow on men immortality

There is a passage in Stromata. 7,3, which indicates that Clement did not believe in sacrifices:

“We rightly do not sacrifice to God, who, needing nothing, supplies all men with all things, but we glorify Him who gave Himself in sacrifice for us, we also sacrificing ourselves… for in our salvation alone God delights.”

However, it would be incorrect to draw the conclusion from these words that St. Clement does not know the Eucharist as the sacrifice of the Church. Michael O’ Carroll said that his writing on sacrifices, which he appears to reject, must be read in the context of his thinking on pagan and Jewish sacrifices. He knows such a ceremony very well. He mentions in Stromata 1,19, that there are heretical sects which substitute bread and water. He invokes a canon of the Church and of a celebration of the Eucharist. He condemns the use of water as being against this canon of the Church, which demands bread and wine, and he speaks of “Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who gave bread and wine, furnishing consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist.” Thus he recognizes in the Eucharist a sacrifice, but he sees it also as the food for believers.

“Eat you of my flesh, and drink my blood” (John 5:53). Such is the suitable food which the Lord ministers, and He offers His flesh and pours forth His blood, and nothing is wanting for the children’s’ growth. O amazing mystery! We are enjoined to cast off the old and carnal corruption, as also the old nutriment, receiving in exchange another regimen, that of Christ, receiving Him if possible, to hide Him within; and that, enshrining the Savior in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh.

St. Clement goes on then to speak allegorically:

But you are not inclined to understand it thus, but perchance more generally. Hear it also in the following way. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit, for it was created by Him. The blood points out to us the Word, for as rich blood the Word has been infused into life; and the union of both is the Lord, the food of babes - the Lord who is Spirit and Word.

St. Clement distinguishes between the human and Eucharistic blood of Christ:

The blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord’s immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as the blood is of the flesh. Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality. And the mixture of both - of the drink and of the Word - is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul.

As wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man.

The union of both, that is, of the potion and the Word, is called the Eucharist, a gift worthy of praise and surprisingly fair; those who partake of it are sanctified in body and soul, for it is the will of the Father that man, a composite made by God, be united to the Spirit and to the Word. In fact, the Spirit is closely joined to the soul depending upon Him, and the flesh to the Word, because it was for it that ‘the Word was made flesh’ (John 1:4).

So, the question in the title is open for discussion. Did St. Clement believe in a symbolic Eucharist? If so, was he the first Protestant Pope?

PnP

Fr. Martin Luther seems to think not. He claims that the Fathers were unanimous in their confession of the real presence.

Jon

Dr. Blank seems to be reading with an eye to find what he already believes.

Here is the quote he seems to believe is so important:

But you are not inclined to understand it thus, but perchance more generally. Hear it also in the following way. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit; for the flesh was created by Him.

Notice he says “here it also in the following way”. Also, too, as well… meaning to understand them both simultaneously. Which means he isn’t telling people that the first way is wrong and the second way is better. In fact this illustrates clearly the belief in the Real Presence was the belief of early Christians.

Second he says, “The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit”. Those who believe the Eucharist is symbolic don’t believe this. They believe the the bread represents the flesh and the wine the blood. Now we’re being told that the flesh (which isn’t actually there, according to Protestants) actually represents the Holy Spirit, a point Protestants have never maintained.

It should finally be remembered that even saints aren’t infallible. Just because they held a view (which I don’t believe St. Clement did) does not mean it has ever been a teaching of the Church. If their opinion is contrary to all the fathers then it follows that the individual is wrong.

Short answer…NO! Dr. Blank is not the first nor the last, trying to present an ECF as an early Protestant. Do not you not find it a bit odd, that if St.Clement did hold to such a position,at least one ECF (West or East) would have remarked on his position? Where are these rebuttals by any ECF within the next 1,000 years? I am sure someone after St. Clements life time would have said something.

Different Clement. Clement of Alexandria wasn’t a pope, or a bishop, or even a presbyter as far as I know. He was a very important early Christian intellectual, but everyone agrees that he and Origen were the most prone to “spiritualizing” interpretations and that their view of the Eucharist in particular was about as symbolic as the early Church got.

Edwin

Sacramentarian

I too was confused with Clement of Rome (Pope) and thinking this should be Clement of Alexandra as he, Augustine and Origen and Cryil were of a different thought yet never denied the literal interpretation.

info gleaned from

newadvent.org/cathen/05573a.htm

Yes, I had heard that Origen was very allegorical in his theology (something to do with the Alexandrian school of thought), but it seems that he took literally that some should be eunuchs for the kingdom of God, i.e., I believe he castrated himself. :eek:

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