What does St. Thomas Aquinas mean?


#1

“If Christ’s body appears miraculously upon the altar under the guise of flesh, or the blood under the guise of blood, it is not to be received. For Jerome says upon Leviticus (cf. De Consecr., dist. 2): “It is lawful to eat of this sacrifice which is wonderfully performed in memory of Christ: but it is not lawful for anyone to eat of that one which Christ offered on the altar of the cross.” Nor does the priest transgress on that account, because miraculous events are not subject to human laws. Nevertheless the priest would be well advised to consecrate again and receive the Lord’s body and blood.”

ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.TP_Q82_A4.html

St. Thomas is not saying the Jerome said that the Sacrifice of the Cross is different from the Sacrifice of the Mass is he? Is he just trying to stress the difference in appearance?


#2

I think that this does indeed imply that the “species” for Aquinas was not an illusion but really made a difference. In other words, the hyper-literalistic view of the Eucharist held by many Catholics is quite different from Aquinas’s position. To eat the Body of Christ under the species of flesh would be cannibalism. To eat the Body of Christ under the species of bread and wine is not cannibalism.

Edwin


#3

I do not see any real difference. If a Eucharistic miracle occurred in which the species were transformed into visible flesh and blood, it would not be consumed. The species (i.e. appearances) make a difference because it allows for Christ to be entirely and wholly present in a manner in which he can neither be divided nor multiplied.


#4

Actually you are wrong in this. It would be not cannibalism to eat it under the appearance of flesh. Read what St. Thomas says in regards to eating it. The preist would not sin in doing so. So this is not cannibalism.


#5

Victus,

I think it bears a closer reading. When Thomas says that “Nor does the priest transgress on that account, because miraculous events are not subject to human laws” he means that NOT receiving would be ok, even though it violates ecclesiastical law. Although Thomas suggest that the priest then consecrate new matter and receive under the species of bread and wine.

Thomas explicitly says in the portion you quoted that one must NOT receive under the species of flesh and blood:
If Christ’s body appears miraculously upon the altar under the guise of flesh, or the blood under the guise of blood, it is not to be received.
This is because it would be abhorrent – and certainly akin to cannibalism, at least by signification.

Do you see what I mean?

VC


#6

Thanks. I guess I didn’t read that well. My apology to Contarini. Than is St. Jerome and St. Thomas saying that we don’t directly eat Christ off the Cross but that we eat Christ because of the Cross, because of His Sacrifice.


#7

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