The Meat of the Eucharist: Defending the Real Presence (Part 2)

Here is the second comment by llondy and the one who solidified my decision to partition my full responses in two posts. As before, my comments will be inserted between paragraphs.


Denying the Truthfulness of God

Yes, the discussion is “meaty” , and it continues from the 16th century when the Church in Rome had become so far in error with the Word of God hidden from the people that it needed to be corrected according to scripture. It refused correction and the protest turned into the truth being proclaimed sadly along with many untruths. If the Church in Rome would have accepted correction, or even would today, perhaps we could retain again one Holy and Catholic Church physically. Unfortunately the only true Holy and Catholic Church remains the invisible bride of Christ displayed visibly in churches all across the world. This will be changed in the end when Christ comes back for his beloved bride. So in response to your first point it is the Protestant movement that tried to reform Rome not “fall away” but was forced to go with scripture that Rome was violating based on authority it was never given. Jews rejected teh savior outright which is entirely different thing all together.

Some may have noted the reference to the Fourth Lateran Council in the previous post. This Council was held in 1215. The lead sentence of this comment and paragraph shows how those who persist in the slavery of their own pride by Protesting the One True Church of God, will inadvertently admit the truth concerning the Church, her authority and her teachings.

To address some of the accusations let me start with the usual, “hiding the Word of God” from the people.” This is patently false. The Church has never hid the written Word from any person as the Bible is primarily a liturgical book which is one of the ways that God speaks to us directly. “Still, the Christian faith is not a ‘religion of the book.’ Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is ‘not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living’” (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church 108). As such, the Scripture is read and taught every day at every Mass all over the world (Malachi 1:11).

As for the Church needing correction, what human on this earth has the authority to correct her? Certainly none of the Protestant Reformers. The Bible cannot do the correcting as it is a book that must be understood in conjunction with the of part of the Deposit of Faith, Sacred Tradition or the lived experience of the Mystical Body of Christ. Furthermore, the Bible came out of the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. Much of what is now the written Word was actually oral instruction that was put to letter during the first century and later “canonized” by the Church in the late fourth century and early fifth century with the final infallible promulgation at the Council of Trent. This was a necessary response to the rapid increase of false doctrine being proclaimed by Martin Luther and other Protestants. Keep in mind, that it was Luther who removed books from the Bible, the very Bible he read as a Catholic priest.

However, we must concede that some of Luther’s problems with the happenings around him were valid, his decision to seek reform outside the Body of Christ is equal to denying God, His Word, His Truth and His Authority. For it was Jesus Himself, that guaranteed that “the gates of hell would not prevail against the [Church]” (Matthew 16:18). Furthermore, it was Jesus who, in fulfillment of Isaiah 22:22,  “And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” with His words to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”  (Matthew 16:18). Only God has the authority to designate His steward.

And because the Catholic Church remains in existence, doing so for over 2,000 years, we can honestly say that God is a God of Truth and keeps His promises – for the Lord says as much. Yet this Protestant, like many others, fabricate the idea that the Mystical Body of Christ is some invisible entity that remains present within all of the disparate ecclesial communities (they cannot be rightly referred to as a church like the Catholic Church or even the Eastern Orthodox Churches) despite their own disunity. For them, the measure of truth is limited to their personal understanding of the Scripture. This is dangerous to their souls.


Blinded By the Truth

Luther in 1533 by Lucas Cranach the Elder

To your second point there is no evidence in scripture that the passages in the synoptic Gospels relate to the Lord’s supper in a literal sense. In fact as I have already pointed out there is much mor eevidence both logically and BIblically against it. Since the points I made were not refuted but only circumvented I will move on

The Bread of Life Discourse is, for me, one of the clearest parts of Scripture. Jesus Himself offers no further explanation but rather increases the tone in which He is making His point allowing those who choose to remain in disbelieve to leave. If in my com-box reply I did not addr
ess their concerns adequately, I certainly hope the extended version did. If not, let me offer these words from the chief Protestant Reformer Martin Luther:

Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present.

Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.”

Luther’s Collected Works, Wittenburg Edition, no. 7 p, 391


Is Jesus a Vine: A Poor Analogy

The_Vine_and_the_Branches_parable

It is true that the Lord Jesus said I am the bread of life. He also said he was the vine in John chapter 15 and we would never take him literally there. Jesus is the bread that feeds us through the Spirit and by his blood shed on the cross our sins are covered and God’s wrath is satisfied. “This do in remembrance of me” so we take communion to remember what he has done for us. We do not have to go “back to the foot of the cross” for Christ is with us through the Holy Spirit as we remember him in communion. To make the cross necessary again is to in some way say that once was not good enough.

Let me begin with the end. The Cross is not made necessary again, the Church, “preach[es] Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23) and keeps with Malachi 1:11 and the Heveanly Liturgy found in the Book of Revelation. Because God is outside time and space, the decide performed on Him by the Romans, His very own sacrifice on Calvary, continues to this very day for every person today.

This is the reason for the sacrifice of the Mass. We are made present at the very moment of our salvation.

The manner in which God chooses to nourish is us is of His own design. Only He could come up with a way that addresses to dual aspect of our human nature, mortal body immortal soul – material and spiritual. This is why the Eucharist is central the Christian Faith. Thus He says to us, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John  6:56), which is much like your reference to John 15 and the analogy of Jesus as the True Vine, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Jesus is again driving home the fact that we need Him, He does not need us. He came to save us and part of that salvation includes complete and total communion with Him, which includes allowing him to abide fully in us – literally. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, Jesus sanctities us by His presence within us. We become walking, living tabernacles of the Lord. That is why we are warned by Saint Paul not to eat or drink of Eucharist unworthily, for in doing so, “will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord”  (1 Corinthians 11:27). If Jesus is not Really Present, then how can we be guilty of such direct profanity against His very body and blood?


On Church Authority

To the point of Church authority, the verses given by no means confirm Apostolic succession and the Church in ROme has no record of Pope’s for the first 600 years if truth be told. The Holy Spirit was indeed given in a special way to the Apostles who were direct witnesses of Christ himself. They had the power to do miracles, speak in tounges etc.. They also gave the power to those they “Directly” laid hands on and their is no record of it going any farther in Scripture. Any further succession between the Apostles direct influence was initially fabricated by the church in Rome and continues to this day. The authority given is only in what we read in the scriptures by those blessed Apostles and Paul who were directly inspired. There is no further inspiration or infallibility or authority passed down which is why we refer to the “Scripture alone”

On this matter, the Protestant refuses to accept what is part of the historical record. It is ironic, however, that many Protestants choose to discard this aspect of history while adhering to the fruits of the Church and her Apostolic successors, namely the Bible and dogmas such as the Trinity.

Again, while attempting to disprove the succession of the Apostles by those we now call bishops including the pope who is the Bishop of Rome and holds primacy among all other bishops, this Protestant makes the case for Catholicism, “They also gave the power to those they ‘Directly’ laid hands on.” As seen above, it their contention that this did not continue after the timeline of Scripture, yet if this were the case – there would be no Scripture and Jesus, again, would be found at fault concerning His words in Matthew 16:18 on the invincibility of the Church.

Coupled with this supposed lack of succession, the lead sentence of the commenter accuses the Church fabricated the records of papal succession of the first 600 years of her existence. Yet can this “Bible-only” Christian truly deny the words of Paul his companion in Rome who then became Peter’s successor, Linus? Paul verifies the existence of Linus in 2 Timothy 4:21, states, “Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.” In post-scriptural documents we then have reference to Linus in those written by Eusebius and other Patristic era authors. Moreover, there were three popes who reigned after Linus and prior to the death of the last Apostle, Saint John the Evangelist, who is reported to have died around AD 100: Saint Anacletus (Cletus), Saint Clement I and Saint Evaristus. If there is valid evidence of this papal charade then I ask this dear Protestant to provide it. For accusat
ions without evidence are lies.

As for the authority given by Jesus to remain solely with the first Apostles is truly preposterous. This would nullify the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). This also contradicts the admission of this succession being present in Scripture. It is clearly present in Scripture but the story of the Christian Faith does not end with the Bible as our lives in Christ today attest. The end of the story is only known to God.

To address the final statement, “There is no further inspiration or infallibility or authority passed down which is why we refer to the ‘Scripture alone,’” I would like to offer the following words. Concerning inspiration, the Church is clear in her belief that inspiration in the manner of those who authored the Canonical Books of the Bible ended with John and makes no claim to the contrary. However, on the dogma of infallibility, the Church states that:

899 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a “supernatural sense of faith” the People of God, under the guidance of the Church’s living Magisterium, “unfailingly adheres to this faith.”(417)

890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:

891  “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…. The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.(418) When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”(419) and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.”(420) This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.(421) (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Footnotes:

415 PO 4 cf. Mc 16,15
416 LG 25
417 LG 12 cf. DV 10
418 LG 25 cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3074
419 DV 10
420 LG 25
421 LG 25

On the matter of authority, again I ask, why would Jesus endow Peter and the Apostles with stewardship of His the earthly extension of His Kingdom if it would die with Him or with the last pages of the Bible (which was not in existence then nor did Our Blessed Lord command any person to write)? This lack of planning is not consistent with a God described as a, “God [Who] is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Without clear, visible leadership how can any person profess to know the truth? There is only one Truth and this Truth does not change:

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-7)

In an effort to retain some sort of authority that could even come close to opposing that which was directly endowed by Christ to His Church, Luther invented the so-called doctrine of Sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone. What negates this as a valid and God-given doctrine is the fact that Scripture cannot and does not proclaim as much. While it is true that the Bible is inerrant and authoritative, it is not the sole authority as the Bible could not reveal itself without the man under the inspiration and protection from error as promised by Jesus and provided by the Holy Spirit.

Much of Sola Scriptura is founded on a fallible and ironically exclusive (towards the Church anyway) understanding of 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, the only Scripture available and recognized as such as the Old Testament in the form of the Septuagint. At this moment in history the Jews had not developed any canon and no longer retained any authority to do so as these New Testament was penned in the era after Christ. Again I wish to make it clear, the Bible came out of the Church, the Church did not come out of the Bible.

This is the mechanism that God choose to establish to shepherd His flock. This is the institution that was built on Peter:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)


The True Church

God Bless you and God Bless the true Church until he comes.

“…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (1 Timothy (RSV) 3:15)

Allow to quote from one of my own pages:

The Four Marks of the Church

The Four Marks of the Church are characteristics that distinguish the true Church of Christ from all other religions and even other Christian faith traditions. As stated previously, these Four Marks are:

  1. One (Unity)
  2. Holy (Sanctity)
  3. Catholic (Universality)
  4. Apostolic (Continuity)

These Marks are stated in the Nicene Creed and recited at every Mass at whi
ch this creed is used. The historicity of these Marks, as defined above, reach as far back as the AD 381 Council of Constantinople. However, Saint Ignatius of Antioch refers to the same concepts in his patristic writings of the 2nd Century AD.

One (Unity)

The Unity or Oneness of the Church as a Mark refers to the “internal and spiritual union, but this union must also be external and visible, consisting in and growing out of a unity of faith, worship, and government (New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia – Unity (as a Mark of the Church)).”

Holy (Sanctity)

The Holiness of the Church exists not because of her members but because of her founder. Jesus, who is both True Man and True God, founded the Church and thus setting her apart for Himself and for His purposes.

Catholic (Universality)

Many in Biblical circles already know that the word “catholic” is Greek for “universal.” This not only speaks to the nature of Christ’s Church as a “little c” catholic but also speaks to the role of the “big C” Catholic Church. Many wonder how this is but one need not look far to find a Catholic parish near their home not what country or language. Simply put, there is almost no place on this earth where I cannot find a place to worship in unity with the entire Church. Again, the use of catholic in reference to the Catholic Church is found as early as the 2nd century AD, in the writings of Saint Ignatius Antioch.

Apostolic (Continuity)

The Catholic Encyclopedia, found at New Advent, refers to this Mark as “Apostolicity.” If goes on to say, “Apostolicity is the mark by which the Church of today is recognized as identical with the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles (Apostolicity).” Every bishop in the Catholic Church, including the Pope, can trace their ordination heritage all the back to through the Twelve to Jesus Himself.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s