[quote=tkvoice]What makes the Eucharist a valid Eucharist?
What does the Catholic Church teach?
St. Ignatius, 3rd bishop of Antioch around the year 117
in his letter titled: “Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans” on paragraph 8 stated:
“The sole Eucharist you should consider valid is one that is celebrated by the bishop himself, or by some person authorized by him.”
Does the Catholic Church still teach this?
Yes. In order for a Mass to be valid there must be correct matter (validly ordained male priest; wheat bread; wine), correct form (the proper words of consecration), and correct intention (the priest must intend to do what the Church intends).
See David P. Lang’s book “Why Matter Matters” for more information on all of these requirements in an easy-to-read format.
I can think of two synarios that this answer would be useful to me:
If a priest from another diocese visits my diocese and celebrates a mass unknown to the Bishop of my diocese.( I am mostly worried about schismatic priest or bishops that claim to have been validly ordained but are bent on teaching herieses. )
Defending protestant claims that they have a valid Eucharist in their celebration.
#1. Any validly ordained priest, so long as he fulfills the other requirements, can celebrate a valid Mass. However, certain other requirements must be met for it to be a licit Mass (“legal”, “proper”). One of these other requirements is permission/approval from the ordinary (the bishop).
Therefore, if a visiting priest (or a schismatic priest) celebrates a Mass without permission from the bishop, the Mass can still be valid (Jesus can still be present in the Eucharistic species) but not licit ("illicit"). A Mass of this type would be considered not just generally known as an illicit Mass, but a gravely illicit Mass. Catholics in good standing are not to knowingly attend such a Mass, to do so is to cause scandal and be supportive of schism.
There (praise God) are very very few Masses that are invalid Masses… however, there are many many Masses that are in some way illicit Masses. And Masses that are both valid and completely licit are getting harder and harder to find.
As for #2, almost no Protestant will even claim that they have a valid Eucharist, because very few of them have retained the idea of the Eucharist as Catholics have held it for over 2000 years. The primary denominations that will claim it are the Anglicans/Episcapalians, Lutherans, and the Eastern Orthodox.
The entire Anglican/Episcopalian church claims to have the Eucharist (I believe, though this could have changed…) There are some male Anglican priests who have been co-ordained by a bishop in the line of apostolic succession – so long as they fulfill the other requirements, the Catholic Church recognizes that they may (may) have a valid Eucharist. However, the female “priests” and the male priests who do not have recognized apostolic ordination cannot celebrate a valid Eucharist, and the Catholic Church does not recognize the Anglican church as being an apostolic church. In other words, the possibility of a valid Eucharist is acknowledged, but not assumed.
The Lutherans claim to have the Eucharist, but they do not have apostolic succession any longer, and their pastors are not validly ordained. Thus, they do not have a valid Eucharist.
The Eastern Orthodox claim to have the Eucharist, and the Church recoginizes that indeed, they do have a valid Eucharist, as they have maintained the apostolic succession and have only male priests who are validly ordained. However, they are still separated from Rome, and as such Catholics are only allowed to participate in Orthodox sacraments if there is a danger of death and no way to find a Catholic priest (ie, a dying Catholic can go to an Orthodox priest for confession and last Communion)