Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dispelling the Rumors of the Catholic Church
Part 3 of an Ongoing Series: Transubstantiation, Just what is it?

In Christian circles the meaning of Communion differs widely. From consubstantiation, to a spiritual presence, to a reenactment there are many interpretations. However, when one looks at all the views out there, the Catholic view of transubstanstiation.

Transubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine is literally converted/change ino the whole substance of the body and blood of Christ, with only the appearance or sensible qualities of the orginal elements remaining. The body and blood are the only present elements, although the appearance of the bread and wine remian as sacramental symbols of earthly food. The Eastern Churches note this as a mystery of faith, so why was it defined in the West?

As with most defined doctrine's, it results from the challenge of heresy that a doctrine must be defined in a very specific manner. Transubstantiation was defined in 1215 at the Council of Lateran. The word itself was deemed to be the only term which completely and accurately defined mystery of the Real Presence. Other terms either are incomplete or wrong. Though consubstantiation affirms a real presence, it does not due justice to the biblical teaching of Christ regarding the Eucharist and the practice of the early Church in this area.

The teaching finds scriptural basis in the New Testament in all 4 Gospels and 1 Corinthians. It is also supported in the writings of the early Church fathers, such as Cyril of Jerusalem to name one of many.

I've given a quick summary of a very interesting doctrine. If you're interested in learning more, do so for your own benefit. My goal with this series from the outset is to touch the surface and give an easy explanation. I am not here to convince anyone of whether what I write of is right or wrong, but rather to challenge biases and predjudices and force some to take a new look at things.


As an aside, I leave you with a quote from St. Brigid, the other Patron Saint of Ireland which I enjoy:

“I should like a great lake of ale, for the King of Kings. I should like the family of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal. Amen.”

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