Re-presenting the Sacrifice of Christ: The Fundamental Doctrines of the Eucharist and the Presbyterate in Scripture

The Sacrifices of Melchizedek, Abel, and Abraham. Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

The Sacrifices of Melchizedek, Abel, and Abraham. Mosaic from the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna.

We have examined how the word “priest” in English is actually a translation of the New Testament Greek word πρεσβύτερος [presbyteros] (“elder”), etymologically distinct from the concept of a ἱερεύς [hiereus] or sacerdos, the sacrificing minister of the Old Testament; and thus “priest” is an appropriate title for the office of Christian ministry. We have shown how Jesus, in instituting a New Covenant, appointed the Apostles ministers of His New Covenant, and they in turn ordained bishops, priests, and deacons to continue in their ministry. We have examined how these early ministers understood themselves to be ministers of the New Covenant in some sense analogous to the priests (sacerdotes) of the Old Covenant, and how even the Old Testament prophets foretold that the coming New Covenant of the Messiah would be served by priests.

Priests making sacrifice

But another, crucial aspect of the term priest (Latin sacerdos or Greek ἱερεύς [hiereus] or Hebrew כֹּהֵן [cohen]), essential to the understanding of that office in both Judaism and in every other ancient culture to which the term was applied, is that a priest makes sacrifices. In the tradition of the Church, some early authors came eventually to refer to presbyters synonymously as sacerdotes or ἱερεῖς [hiereis].* In asking whether it is appropriate to call Christian ministers priests, it is thus important to ask whether they make sacrifices, and whether the earliest Christians understood their office as such.

* I’m still working on this research, which is complicated by the fact that I don’t have very easy access to the source languages, and that at a certain point in even the Protestant-edited Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Schaff and Wace), the words presbyter, sacerdos, and ἱερεύς all begin being translated as “priest” without qualification. So far I’ve found that Tertullian makes reference to the Christian ministry as sacerdotalia munera (“priestly services”) (De praescriptione hereticorum XLI, c. A.D. 200). Cyprian very frequently refers to Christian ministers as sacerdotes (c. A.D. 250) who make sacrifices. Augustine casually refers to a sacerdotem tuum, quendam episcopum nutritum in ecclesia, “a priest [of God], a certain bishop brought up in the Church” (Confessions 3.12). In the East, Basil the Great calls the Christian minister a ἱερεύς, to be distinguished from a layman (λαϊκὸς) (Letter XLIV, c. A.D. 370). I will continue to work on this.

But an important preliminary to this question is whether the idea of sacrifice is even present in the New Testament.. The answer will hopefully seem obvious to most Christians: The idea of sacrifice, and sacrificial language, in fact pervades the New Testament.

A. Sacrifice in the New Testament

1. A Sacrifice of Praise

As our critics have thus far noted in response to previous posts, the New Testament presents that all the Christian faithful, the whole people of God, are called to make spiritual sacrifices. Thus Paul urges:

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

And Peter calls:

Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … [For] you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:4–5,9)

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews likewise presents Christian worship and even the Christian life as sacrifice to God:

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:15–16, cf. Hebrews 12:28-29)

The language of offering and sacrifice in fact does pervade the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul (e.g. Philippians 2:17, 4:18, Romans 15:16. This is understandable and fitting given the Jewish foundations of the Christian faith, its roots in the Old Testament, and the Pharisaical education of Paul. Most of all, it is fitting given the example of the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ.

2. Jesus’s Sacrifice

Grunewald, Crucifixion, Tauberbischofsheim altarpiece

Matthias Grunewald, Crucifixion, from Grunewald, Crucifixion, from Tauberbischofsheim altarpiece, c. A.D. 1524.

The New Testament is also clear in presenting the death of Jesus on the Cross as a sacrifice for our redemption, the gift of Himself out of love for us.

Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

The Epistle to the Hebrews elaborates on this understanding throughout the letter:

[Jesus] has no need, like those high priests [of the Old Covenant], to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (Hebrews 7:27)

Paul in particular explicitly presents Christ as our paschal lamb, the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover, a new sacrifice to institute a new covenant:

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Zurbaran, Agnus Dei

Francisco de Zurbaran, Agnus Dei (A.D. 1635-40).

And the Evangelists — especially John — shared this understanding. John presents John the Baptist’s exclamation at Jesus’s approach:

The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Peter shares this understanding (1 Peter 1:19) as does John the Revelator (Revelation 5:6, etc.). It appears that the Synoptic Gospels might also allude to it:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.” (Luke 22:7–8, cf. Mark 14:12)

The mention of the lamb and eating it is curious: for the lamb is not mentioned again. And in fact this was the day on which Jesus, the Passover lamb, had to be sacrificed.

B. The Eucharist as Sacrifice

1. The Connection between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion

Juan de Juanes, Última Cena

Juan de Juanes, Última Cena, c. A.D. 1562 (Wikipedia).

Many tomes have been written on the theology of the Eucharist; I cannot but begin to nick the surface here. But this seems to be the very burning heart of the disagreement between traditional Christians and Protestants regarding the priesthood: All seem to agree that Jesus gave Himself up as a sacrifice for us; but what is the relationship of His sacrifice on the Cross to His presentation of the Lord’s Supper? What is the meaning of His commandment to do this in memory of Him? What is the role of Christian ministers in this ritual?

Scripture itself presents that there is an essential connection between the Lord’s offering of bread and wine at supper that night and His Crucifixion the next day. It is clear, first of all, that the Lord’s Last Supper was the Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-13, John 13:1-2ff.). Jesus alluded, more clearly than He had up to that point, to His impending death (Matthew 26:2, etc.). At supper, he called out the one who was to betray him (Luke 22:21–22, etc.). After the meal, the drama of His Passion played out in His agony in the garden (Matthew 26:30–46). All of this, it might be argued, is simply foreshadowing, allusion to what is about to happen. But the meat of the matter — the subject of so much disagreement and debate and controversy — are His words and actions at the meal itself:

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:22–25)

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26–29)

And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:14–20)

Ugolino di Nerio, The Last Supper

Ugolino di Nerio, The Last Supper (A.D. 1324) (Wikimedia).

Discussions about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist tend to hinge, often fruitlessly, on the word is: “This is my body.” But I would like to draw attention to the tense of this verb, and to the tenses of His surrounding statements: He declares that the bread which He presents is His body, present tense, which is given, present tense, for us. Regardless of disagreements about what the bread and wine are — whether they are His Body and Blood as he said, or mere symbols or representations — His words indicate that what He was giving was being given in that instant. This was not “My Body, which I will give for you when I suffer,” or “My Blood, which will be poured out for you this day”: For Jesus, speaking at the Last Supper, the moment of His suffering had come. Even as most Passion plays present it, the events of the Cenacle to the Cross to the Tomb can be understood as one continuous movement.

Protestant opponents to the traditional understanding of the Eucharist (as our commenter) tend to get hung up on temporal and chronological aspects — calling it “science fiction” to suggest that Jesus could give His body up for us “before going to Calvary.” But this view seems to ignore the plainly sacrificial language of what Jesus was doing. Jesus did, Scripture insists, offer Himself up as a sacrifice for us. And in His own words at the Last Supper, he then and there gave Himself for us: “This is my body which is given for you.”

Jesus’s words consciously echo the words of institution of the Mosaic covenant:

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant (διαθήκη) in my blood.” (Luke 22:20)

And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant (Septuagint διαθήκη) which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)

Even the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews explicitly acknowledges and relates this essential connection between the Lord’s sacrifice and His words of institution at the Last Supper:

When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. … Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant (διαθήκη), so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant (διαθήκη). For where a will (διαθήκη) is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will (διαθήκη) takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence even the first covenant (διαθήκη) was not ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant (διαθήκη) which God commanded you.” (Hebrews 9:11–12,15-20)

Our commenter attempted to make an argument that Christ’s words of institution at the Last Supper must have been only symbolic and not essentially connected to the Crucifixion at all, since His words are here presented as a will or testament, and no death had yet occurred at the Last Supper, etc. But this is clearly wrongheaded, for the passage itself declares that the New Covenant is in effect, since a death has occurred which redeems us.

Moses concludes his covenant

The author of Hebrews thus presents Christ’s words of institution (His own declaration that His blood was a New Covenant) and His sacrificial death as essentially the same act: the declaration of the covenant and its ratification by blood. Just so, Moses’s institution of the Old Covenant in Exodus involved separate elements of the same act of institution: offering blood, words of institution (Exodus 24:8), and a meal between the parties of the covenant (Exodus 24:11). Such is the protocol of covenant in the ancient world: and it was played out again by Jesus in the Last Supper and the Crucifixion as a single act.

The chronology of these acts is thus irrelevant: Jesus’s institution of the covenant at the Last Supper was the presentation of His death as a sacrifice, using explicitly sacrificial and covenantal language. Jesus Himself told us that in the death of His body, He was offering Himself as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins; that in His blood, He was instituting a New Covenant for us. He offered the sacrifice of His body at the Passover supper, and gave it to his disciples to eat as the new Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). The very idea that Jesus was our paschal lamb as Paul expresses depends on the understanding that Jesus was sacrificed and presented in place of the lamb at the Passover meal. Scripture is thus clear in this understanding.

Pitre, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Dr. Brant Pitre’s study of the Jewish roots and context of the Eucharist casts a brilliant light on this reality. A valuable outline is available online: “The Fourth Cup and the New Passover.” Even more fruitful is his book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. A quote in summary from the outline:

1. By vowing not to drink the final cup of the Last Supper (Luke 22:18), Jesus extended his last Passover meal to include his own suffering and death.

2. By praying three times in Gethsemane for the “cup” to be taken from him (Matthew 26:36-46), Jesus revealed that he understood his own death in terms of the Passover sacrifice.

3. Jesus also transformed the Passover sacrifice. In the old Passover, the sacrifice of the lamb would come first, and then the eating of its flesh. But in this case, because Jesus had to institute the new Passover before his death, he pre-enacted it, as both host of the meal and sacrifice.

4. Most important of all, by waiting to drink the fourth cup of the Passover until the very moment of his death (John 19:28-29), Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on the cross. By refusing to drink of the fruit of the vine until he gave up his final breath, he joined the offering of himself under the form of bread and wine to the offering of himself on Calvary. Both actions said the same thing: “This is my body, given for you” (Luke 22:19). In short, by means of the Last Supper, Jesus transformed the Cross into a Passover, and by means of the Cross, he transformed the Last Supper into a sacrifice.

2. “Do This In Memory of Me”

Tintoretto, The Last Supper  (1592-1594)

Tintoretto, The Last Supper, A.D. 1592-1594 (Wikipedia).

So Scripture is clear that at the Last Supper, Jesus presented His Body and Blood as a sacrifice. But what did He mean when He commanded His Apostles to “Do this in remembrance of me”? Do what, exactly? To whom was this command addressed? And if Jesus’s presentation was a sacrifice, what would be the character of others’ doing it in His memory?

Doing this was important enough to St. Paul to quote in full the words of institution and give specific instruction about what was to be done and why:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)

Thus it is clear that the Apostles understood Jesus meant specifically to do this: to reenact the offering of Himself at the Last Supper, and to give the Christian faithful this food to eat (John 6:34). If the Lord’s presentation of Himself at the Last Supper was a sacrifice, then the re-presentation — which He commanded His Apostles to do — is the re-presentation of a sacrifice.

That Paul understood the re-presentation of the Eucharist to also be a sacrifice is also evident — for he explicitly compares the Eucharistic table to an altar of sacrifice, and opposes the food of the Eucharistic table to food offered in sacrifice to idols:

Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:14–21)

Paul thus implies that if pagans offer their sacrifices to demons and not to God, and in eating of the sacrifices become partners with demons, Christians do make their sacrifices to God, and in eating of them, have participation (Greek κοινωνία [koinōnia], literally “communion”) in the Body and Blood of Christ.

3. Testimony from Tradition

Agape feast, Catacombe di San Priscilla, Rome.

Agape feast, Catacombe di San Priscilla, Rome.

Scripture is thus clear in understanding the re-presentation of the Eucharist as a sacrifice in some sense: a re-presentation of Christ’s own sacrifice. That this is the correct interpretation of Scripture can be verified in the earliest understandings of the Church after Scripture. Our commenter accuses that we must “go outside Scripture” to support the view that the Eucharist is a sacrifice, but on the contrary, all the support that is necessary is already evident in Scripture; looking beyond Scripture only further confirms the truth we find in Scripture. We read in the Didache, which many scholars reasonably date to circa A.D. 70, within the Apostolic age itself:

And on the Lord’s day of the Lord assemble yourselves together and break bread (Revelation 1:10); and give thanks (Greek εὐχαριστήσατε [eucharistēsate]) after having confessed also your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. And let not any man that is at variance with his fellow come together with you until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not polluted. For this [sacrifice] is that which was spoken of by the Lord: In every place and time offer unto me a pure sacrifice (Malachi 1:11), for I am a great King, saith the Lord; and My Name is wonderful among the Gentiles. (Didache XIV, from G. C. Allen, trans., The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles [London: The Astolat Press, 1903])

The value of this testimony is not that our understanding of the Eucharist as a sacrifice depends on it (in fact, I wasn’t even aware of these passages before I wrote the above sections of the article), but that it demonstrates that the earliest Christians, taught by the Apostles themselves, shared the same understanding we now derive from Scripture. It also directly refutes the arguments our commenter has already advanced, that the Council of Trent innovated the Church’s understanding of the Eucharist as sacrifice, that “no Christian in the 1,600 years prior to Trent” held such an understanding. Not only is the understanding of the Eucharist as sacrifice expressed in Scripture, but the earliest Christians, taught by the oral teaching of the Apostles, held and expressed this same understanding.

Opposition from Hebrews?

As clear as Christ’s command to re-present His sacrifice, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews makes just as clear that Christ’s sacrifice was made once for all; that Christ, our High Priest, has no need to offer repeated sacrifices; that He does not suffer repeatedly (Hebrews 7:27, 9:26). We know that Scripture cannot contradict itself. Thus it is clear that the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice which He commanded cannot be a repetition of His sacrifice, or a re-sacrificing of Christ; rather it must be a presenting again of the same once and for all sacrifice.

Rather than an argument against the Eucharist, as Protestant opponents insist to read it, Hebrews thus becomes a treatise on the Eucharist, an explanation to especially Jews that Jesus’s one sacrifice, and the sacrifices which Christians make in memory of Him, were not the kind of repeated and inefficacious sacrifices presented again and again in the Old Testament, but indeed one final, once and for all sacrifice for our redemption and salvation. Nothing about the argument of Hebrews nullifies or eliminates Christ’s command to do this in memory of Him; rather, it is only with His command in mind, and the understanding that this was practiced regularly as the central element of Christian worship (Acts 2:42,46), that the Book of Hebrews can be read with benefit in its proper context.

C. Ministers of the New Covenant

1. Office and Authority

Pope John Paul II New Orleans 1987

St. John Paul II celebrating Mass, New Orleans, 1987. (CatholicVote.org).

So, then, as Scripture teaches, Jesus, through the sacrifice of His Body and Blood on Calvary, presented at the Last Supper, Jesus instituted a new covenant. The Book of Hebrews especially elaborates on this idea of the new covenant. Paul too understands this idea, identifying himself and his associates in ministry as “ministers of the New Covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:4–6).

Scripture is not explicit in declaring that the ministers of the New Covenant make sacrifices, and it intentionally shies away from calling them ἱερεῖς [hiereis] or sacerdotes. But the implications of Scripture are clear: Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, becoming our High Priest (ἀρχιερεύς [archiereus]); he presented this sacrifice through the signs of bread and wine at the Last Supper; he commanded His Apostles to “do this in memory of me” — to re-present the sacrifice He had presented. What would they then be presenting, if not a sacrifice?

Indeed, as shown above, and as is evident throughout the literature of the Early Church, the earliest Christians did understand the presentation of the Eucharist to be a sacrifice. Once again, this testimony is offered in verification of the truths already revealed in Scripture:

Being vehemently inflamed by the word of His calling, we are the true high priestly race of God, as even God Himself bears witness, saying that in every place among the Gentiles sacrifices are presented to Him well-pleasing and pure (Malachi 1:11). Now God receives sacrifices from no one, except through His priests. Accordingly, God, anticipating all the sacrifices which we offer through this name, and which Jesus the Christ enjoined us to offer, i.e., in the Eucharist of the bread and the cup, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they are well-pleasing to Him. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 116–117, c. A.D. 160)

Justin here makes reference to God’s priests, especially in juxtaposition to the Jewish priests of the Old Covenant, whom he says God now rejects. Justin thus seems to understand that even though all Christians are the “high priestly race of God,” there are nonetheless some who offer the sacrifices.

Who is it, then, who offers the sacrifices? To whom was Jesus giving the commandment when he said to “Do this in memory of Him”? As an Evangelical, I would have answered “to all Christians,” and this seems to be a common response (as there is a tendency in especially Evangelicalism to read all Scripture as if every statement were a direct address to the individual Christian). But most obvious to me now, the closed group to whom Jesus was actually speaking was His Twelve Apostles.

There are practical reasons to think that Jesus was offering a charge to His ministers and not to all Christians, as are played out in even Protestant churches. Just as Jesus presided over the Last Supper, the re-presentation of such must also be presided over: there must be someone to speak and offer the sacrifice, someone to operate in the place of Christ. By their very position, this role usually falls to pastors.

But in traditional Christianity, the charges of Jesus to His Apostles, not only in the ministry of the Eucharist but in the very roles of teaching and pastoring, are understood not just in terms of practicality but of office and authority. As we have already discussed, Jesus did appoint His Apostles to an office of ministry. In His charges to speak in His name and carry His message throughout the world — and to do “Do this in memory of Him” — He authorized them to carry out this ministry; to be His representatives (Matthew 10:40, Luke 10:16), His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).

2. Apostolic Succession

Paul ordaining Timothy.

Paul ordaining Timothy.

As we have discussed, Jesus appointed the Apostles to an ordained office of ministry, with specific duties and authorities (Mark 3:13-18, Matthew 10, Luke 9:1-6, John 20:19-23, etc.). The Apostles then appointed presbyters and bishops to continue in their ministry after them:

And when they had appointed presbyters for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)

This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town as I directed you. (Titus 1:5)

That this office and charge was only committed to another by the Apostles themselves or others in the order of presbyters is also evident:

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of presbyters (πρεσβυτέριον [presbyterion]) laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:11–16)

Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)

Likewise Paul warned Timothy to take care with whom he ordained to the ministry:

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure. (1 Timothy 5:22)

But nonetheless Timothy was charged to ordain others to continue in his own ministry:

What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Clement of Rome

Clement of Rome.

Thus Scripture presents the fundamental idea of apostolic succession: that the Apostles appointed ministers to continue after them, who likewise should appoint ministers to continue after them. And thus it was understood by the Early Church, as the earliest testimony of those who came after the Apostles bears:

[The Apostles] preached from district to district, and from city to city, and they appointed their first converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of the future believers. … Our Apostles also knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the title of bishop. For this cause, therefore, since they had received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have been already mentioned, and afterwards added the codicil that if they should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministry. We consider therefore that it is not just to remove from their ministry those who were appointed by them, or later on by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and have ministered to the flock of Christ without blame, humbly, peaceably, and disinterestedly, and for many years have received a universally favourable testimony. For our sin is not small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily offered its sacrifices. (Clement of Rome, 1 Clement XLII, XLIV, c. A.D. 70s; from The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 1, The Loeb Classical Library [Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913])

Clement thus testifies to the earliest Church’s understanding of apostolic succession — and also, to add to our discussion here, confirms that offering sacrifices was part of the office of the episcopate (i.e. the office of bishop).

Ignatius of Antioch likewise confers, clarifying that offering the Eucharist was the express authority of the bishop and of presbyters he might appoint:

See that you all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as if it were the Apostles. And reverence the deacons as the command of God. Let no one do any of the things appertaining to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears let the congregation be present; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful either to baptise or to hold an “agapé” without the bishop; but whatever he approve, this is also pleasing to God, that everything which you do may be secure and valid. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans VIII, c. A.D. 107; from The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Lake)

Thus if we accept that specific duties of ministry were the charge of the offices of ministry to which Jesus appointed the Apostles and to which they appointed other faithful men, then it follows that offering the sacrifice of the Eucharist — which Scripture presents as a central element of Christian ministry and worship — would have been a key component of those offices, and not a casual celebration which any believer could conjure at his whim. The earliest testimony of the Apostolic Fathers confirms that this was the case, as it has been understood throughout Christian history and tradition.

Conclusion

Priests, Westminster

This is the outline of the doctrine presented by Scripture: Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to God for our redemption (Ephesians 5:2, etc.); He presented this sacrifice at the Last Supper (Luke 22:19, etc.) and perfected it on the Cross (John 19:30, etc.). He commanded His Apostles to “Do this in memory of Him” (Luke 22:19) — that is, to re-present the sacrifice which He had presented. This office was carried forth by those Apostles and by others whom they appointed to their ministry. That these were the doctrines which Christ taught, which the Apostles communicated, and which they committed to Scripture, is confirmed by the fact that this is the way the earliest Christians received and understood such teaching.

Thus we have an order of ministers, called by God and ordained to an office, to serve the New Covenant of God (2 Corinthians 3:4–6). Thus even the Apostle Paul saw this ministry to be analogous to the priesthood of the Old Covenant (Romans 15:16). The prophets of the Old Testament foresaw that God would call a new order of priests in service of His New Covenant, to offer sacrifices forever (Isaiah 61:6, 66:18, 20–21; Jeremiah 33:17–18, 22). Jesus commanded His ministers to re-present His sacrifice — and in so doing what they presented was a sacrifice. The order of Christian ministers in service of Christ’s New Covenant thus do make sacrifices, in some mysterious sense that does not call into question the oneness or finality of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice. Christian ministers can thus rightly be called sacerdotes — priests — in the service of Christ.

Over the generations to come, through prayerful reflection and close study of the Scriptures, the Church’s understanding of the Eucharist, the Sacraments, and the priesthood deepened and expanded. Priests, teachers, and theologians would explore the mystery of faith, the sacrifice of the Eucharist, to attempt to understand and explain its beauty, majesty, and truth. Church Fathers such as Cyril, Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Augustine offered forth elaborate theological treatises, practical instructions, and glorious panegyrics in praise of the Eucharist — but these were only the flowering forth of the core truths of the faith, which had been present, in Scripture and Tradition, from the beginning. Our recent commenters here have raged against the “nonsense” they can cite from the Council of Trent and other late promulgations of doctrine, arguing that such elaborations of doctrine were nowhere found in Scripture — but attacking a mere flourish is as ineffective in refuting the core truths of traditional Christianity as plucking leaves from a tree. The outline, the seed, is here, presented in Scripture and verified by the testimony to Tradition.

18 thoughts on “Re-presenting the Sacrifice of Christ: The Fundamental Doctrines of the Eucharist and the Presbyterate in Scripture

  1. Your article is set on a cracked foundation by the inclusion of the “Sacrifice of Melchizedek” mosaic. Therefore, everything else you say must fall to the ground.
    Students of the Bible know that there is absolutely NO CONNECTION between Melchizedek and the Catholic Mass! In Genesis 14:18, we read that Mel simply brought out bread and wine as a greeting and refreshment. There is no mention whatsoever of a sacrifice being performed “under the form of bread and wine”. However, the minute the desperate Romanist spots the words “bread and wine”, they jump to make some sort of connection between it and the RC Eucharist. They accomplish this by a very faulty and loose connection between Christ and Mel. While it is true that Mel serves as a type of Christ “after the order of Melchizedek” per Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7 clarifies for us as to the manner in which this will be.

    Roman Catholic foot soldiers think that Christ will be like Mel in that He will do what they allege Mel did. But as previously noted, Mel did not transubstantiate anything. Neither did he offer up a sacrifice. The manner in which our Blessed Redeemer is “after the order of Mel” is inimical to the Catholic Mass. So get it straight: Christ is the fulfillment of Mel in that
    1) He was not from the tribe of Levi, and
    2) in relation to the manner in which Mel came on the scene (without any recorded ancestry) as it were, so too did Jesus. He was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life (7:1-10). And while Mel was King of Salem, so too was Jesus King of Salem also, which by interpretation means “King of peace” (7:2).

    The RCC strangles Holy Writ, not allowing it to breath on its own. Rather, they wish to import foreign concepts into the Text to make the word of God captive to their whims and fancies.

    Following that error, I do not see you following Trent: “We have shown how Jesus, in instituting a New Covenant, appointed the Apostles ***ministers*** of His New Covenant, and they in turn ordained bishops, priests, and deacons to continue in their ministry.”

    But Trent said the apostles were appointed ***priests***.
    “If anyone shall say that by the words: ‘Do this in commemoration of Me’ Christ did not institute the Apostles priests, or did not ordain that THEY and other priests should offer His Body and Blood: let him be anathema.”

    We of course firmly reject the idea that Christ ordained the apostles “Catholic priests” with the power to offer His sacrifice repeatedly down through time, when the Text says there is NOW NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN (Hebrews 10:18) making no exception for the RC excuse that because it’s the “same” sacrifice, it is technically, “not another one”.
    Hogwash.

    • Come on, man. I really hoped you could do better this time, since I actually addressed the topics that, in past comments, you insisted you wanted to talk about. In fact, I intentionally addressed some of the very concerns you raised: I let you shape the debate. I’m trying very much to cooperate. But once again, you appear to have completely ignored what I wrote and steamed against arguments that I didn’t make, didn’t suggest, didn’t even imply. In fact, even more than before, I don’t think you’ve engaged a single statement of my whole article, not even the ones that were addressed directly to you. I wonder very much if you even bothered to read it.

      You begin on a tangent completely unrelated to my article, about the inclusion of the image of Melchizedek. But I did not even mention Melchizedek in the article nor relate the image to my argument. You rail fruitlessly, once again, against what you think “Roman Catholic foot soldiers” would argue — when I have argued no such thing. Why did I include an image of Melchizedek? Because the Book of Hebrews itself presents Melchizedek as a type of the sacrifice of Christ, and because I thought it was a beautiful image. Did I elaborate on this, or even mention it? No, I didn’t. Does your argument engage mine? No, it doesn’t.

      The RCC strangles Holy Writ, not allowing it to breath on its own. Rather, they wish to import foreign concepts into the Text to make the word of God captive to their whims and fancies.

      You are not in a discussion with “the RCC.” You are in a discussion with me, and therefore only what I say is relevant — not any other imaginary straw men you want to ascribe to “the RCC,” no matter how real they may seem to you. So did I “import foreign concepts into the text”? If I did, you should call me out on it. If I didn’t, then your claim is irrelevant to my article.

      Following that error, I do not see you following Trent…

      Very good. That’s because I didn’t “follow Trent,” but built my argument from Scripture up. Perhaps you might be willing to engage with my argument, rather than the one you want to argue against.

      Please, man, at least try.

      God bless you and His peace be with you.

  2. T: Because I don’t think I can make boxed comments as you do, I must use this format of “initials”.

    J: Come on, man. I really hoped you could do better this time…. you appear to have completely ignored what I wrote

    T: I certainly did. I had no intention to address the ENTIRE article because I was previously accused of being too wordy. So I thought I would take bits at a time. You see? I get condemned whether what I say is long or short. So as of this minute I won’t take those criticisms seriously. I am perfectly able to demolish your article in light of God’s word, common sense and reason. Since you want words, I’ll give you words. But I obviously can’t address evvvverything in one comment box!

    J: You begin on a tangent completely unrelated to my article, about the inclusion of the image of Melchizedek.

    T: Unrelated? Considering you placed the photo directly in front of the first word of your article, it was obviously meant to convey a message. And I know exactly what that message is because for over a thousand years the RCC has tried in vain to convince us that Mel was offering sacrifice so they can equate his act with the RC Eucharist.

    J: [you get] steamed against arguments that I didn’t make, didn’t suggest, didn’t even imply.

    T: To say that you were not “implying” or “suggesting” ANYTHING by including that image at the outset of your sermon—simply makes you a balloon, quite full of hot air and ready to pop. I explained to you its relevance according to SCRIPTURE, over and against the “trumped up charges” of the RCC, which you were clearly implyyyying. Your photo is entitled, “The Sacrifice of Mel”…but ***I’m*** telling you, Mel did not offer ANY SACRIFICE, nor can you prove that he did. The bread and wine were merely part of his greeting to Abraham and did not serve as any part of ritual or sacrifice. Now please.
    We are faced with still yet another wild attempt to make a simple greeting (along the same lines as “Hail Mary”) that are squeezed out of context to force RC presuppositions into submission to the word of God.

    J: Did I elaborate on [the Mel episode] , or even mention it? No, I didn’t.

    T: The reader can see that you are jumping through hoops to try and escape the fact that I had every logical right to address this issue considering the placement of this photo in the front-lines of the battle. You didn’t HAVE to elaborate on it ***YOURSELF*** via the keyboard. You put it there to buttress your forthcoming argument, now let’s be honest.

    J: So did I import foreign concepts into the text”?

    T: Again, by including the picture entitled, “The Sacrifice of Mel”, you were ***importing*** the arguments that the RCC typically uses to equate Mel’s alleged sacrifice with Christ, as if it were a billboard. If you are a member of the RCC, then I assume you agree with what they say! YOU yourself do not have to say anything. Neither does a billboard. The picture was enough to ***import*** your thoughts.

    J: only what I say is relevant…I didn’t “follow Trent,” but built my argument from Scripture up.

    T: This is still yet another convoluted response to once again, avoid having to admit that I had every logical right to correct your minimizing what the RC ***actually*** teaches. You said that Jesus assigned the boys to be merely “ministers” at the Last Supper, when the truth is that Trent presumptuously stated that they were ordained into a ****sacredotal priesthood*** at the Last Supper. To suggest that what Trent has to say as not being relevant— and we should rather, defer only to YOUR inaccurate labels, is a misrepresentation of RC doctrine. One would think you would admit your mistake for at least the sake of accuracy.

    J: Discussions about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist tend to hinge, often fruitlessly, on the word “is”: “This is my body.”

    T: It most definitely is NOT a fruitless endeavor to explicate on ANY of the words of Christ at ANY time, especially when millions adamantly hold the contrary view. Tied up and forced to look at a piece of “consecrated” bread with the question, “Is it or isn’t it, the body of Christ?”, untold numbers have DIED for the belief that figurative language was being used, since our Divine Speaker was in the habit of using such language QUITE often as you very well know— but prefer not to consider in THIS instance. Moreover, that the RCC considers these words as an apologetic for being the fount and apex of the Christian life (in that Trent said Christ instituted the Eucharist FOR our salvation) it is not a fruitless venture, since eternal life is at stake here, at least according to RC doctrine. It is up to the Holy Spirit to turn on the light and make our words fruitful; all we need be concerned about is being obedient to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5, Titus 1:9-13, Eph 5:11, 2 Tim 4:2, Romans 16:17-18).
    Thus, I am convinced Rome has made the same mistake that Nicodemas did, giving a physical interpretation to a spiritual truth.
    At the get-go, the disciples were sitting right there WITH the body of Jesus, and so we ask, as did JPII, “Did the apostles who took part in the Last Supper understand the meaning of the words spoken by Christ? Perhaps not.” (“Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, intro, para 2).
    Second, the word “is” would do too much if it did what the RCC says it does. “This izzz my body” would have to make the bread the actual body of Jesus and it would no longer have the properties of bread. But the RCC skirts this issue by saying the bread is Christ in its essence, but retains the characteristics of bread in its outward appearance. And whyyyyy do they think Christ did this?
    “Because the nature of man requires it” {CCC # 1366}—but exactly how it takes place, “we must not curiously inquire” (says Trent). Ummm…the nature of man requires it, but we should not inquire INTO it???
    Will someone pass me the smelling salts, I think I’m gonna faint.
    Transubstantiation flies in the face of EVERY miracle God performed. There is not a single recorded miracle where all outward appearances reveal that nothing happened – but invisibly they did. Biblical miracles are always “tangible and practical”, as it were, meant to be seen, and men amazed, all to the glory of God….thus the hoax of transubstantiation must be classified as a “lying wonder” (2 Thess 2:9).
    Question: Name for me one biblical scholar on planet earth, alive or dead, who ever taught that the Greek “estin” (is) may be defined as something pertaining to the outward appearance of the subject, while the inward reality or essence–is something totally different.
    Let’s save time, shall we? You cannot produce ***anyone*** who will support the notion that the Greek language was ever used in this manner. It has, as with so much of Catholicism, been pulled like a rabbit out of a hat.

    J: But I would like to draw attention to the tense of this verb, and to the tenses of His surrounding statements…

    T: So would I.

    J: He declares that the bread which He presents is His body, present tense, which is given, present tense, for us. Regardless of disagreements about what the bread and wine are — whether they are His Body and Blood as he said, or mere symbols or representations — His words indicate that what He was giving was being given in that instant.

    T: The surrounding verse in Luke 22:22 refutes you. We read, “And truly, the Son of Man ***GOES*** as it has been determined…”
    “Goes” is likewise in the present tense, but we all know He will not “GO” until later on. Likewise, there is no linguistic reason to suggest that when He says His body “which is given”— that He meant “NOW, AT THAT MOMENT…THEN AND THERE”. Hence, His body “will be given” the following day at Calvary, no sooner, no later, and certainly not in any pretended “re-presented” way in the future.
    Produce one biblical scholar who is of the mind that “which is given” should be restricted to, “HERE AND NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT.”
    Again: let’s save time, shall we? You cannot produce any biblical scholar who will support your thesis, and thus, in this response I have shown that you hold to 2 positions which cannot be validated by any logical thinking student of Holy Writ.
    Now I understand why you call this website, “Lonely Pilgrim”.

    I’ve said enough for today.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for the comment, Trevor. No, I do not want to “condemn” you. I am sorry that I got frustrated. Regarding the image: I spend hours and hours researching and writing these posts. When I’m writing, I generally have no illustrations in mind; the images are the last thing I add, right before I hit “publish.” They are, in my mind, throwaway illustrations with no connection to the content. So it is pretty frustrating when someone ignores the content and reacts to the illustration. But it is a fair point and I will address it.

      Unrelated? Considering you placed the photo directly in front of the first word of your article, it was obviously meant to convey a message. And I know exactly what that message is because for over a thousand years the RCC has tried in vain to convince us that Mel was offering sacrifice so they can equate his act with the RC Eucharist.

      The only message it was meant to convey was, again, “Here’s a beautiful and historic work of art that illustrates what I’m talking about” — and “what I’m talking about,” in this case, was the Book of Hebrews. Once again, you insist that you “know exactly what [my] message is” because of what other Catholics have argued. You read someone else’s argument into mine, an argument that I did not make, did not refer to, did not imply, and did not intend. You are, at best, changing the subject, ignoring what I wrote and asking, “But what about what this other person said?” At worst, you are making faulty assumptions based on your own misunderstandings of what Catholics teach and argue. In both cases, you are ignoring what I wrote and reacting to something I didn’t write. Do you realize why that is frustrating? I am doing my best here to present my understandings of biblical truth in a fresh and interesting way, especially for people of my (Protestant) background. If you don’t like what I write, fine. But I would appreciate it if you would respond to what I write and not to what someone else wrote. If you just want to have a generalized, no-holds-barred throwdown with Catholic doctrine, I think you would enjoy yourself much more in the Catholic Answers forums or Christian Forums.

      The title of this mosaic, for what it’s worth — which I did not know when I first posted it, but have since changed the caption to reflect — is The Sacrifices of Melchizedek, Abel, and Abraham. It is from the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, Italy, one of the most important churches in the world artistically for its fine examples of early Christian Byzantine mosaic, dating from the sixth century. So yes, you are quite right that the artist who created the mosaic and the Church that commissioned it understood Melchizedek to have made a sacrifice (Genesis 14:17-24), placing it in the image alongside the sacrifices of Abel (Genesis 4:1-7) and Abraham’s offering of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). Most Christians generally have understood these to be Old Testament types of Christ — as the book of Hebrews, again, presents them (e.g. Hebrews 11:17-19, 12:24) — and Christians in sixth-century Italy were no different in that understanding.

      I explained to you its relevance according to SCRIPTURE, over and against the “trumped up charges” of the RCC, which you were clearly implyyyying.

      You are reading much more into my inclusion of the image than I intended.

      Your photo is entitled, “The Sacrifice of Mel”…but ***I’m*** telling you, Mel did not offer ANY SACRIFICE, nor can you prove that he did. The bread and wine were merely part of his greeting to Abraham and did not serve as any part of ritual or sacrifice. Now please.

      First: Once again, nothing in my article even implied that he did or had anything at all to do with Melchizedek. You are changing the subject. So I would really appreciate it if we could move on from this and discuss what I actually wrote.

      Second: You are misrepresenting the Catholic position if you believe that Catholics “[equate] [Melchizedek’s] act with the RC Eucharist.” No one “equates” Mechizedek with Christ or “equates” his act with the Eucharist. Christians have understood, since at least the second century — and not just “the Roman Catholic Church,” but Christian writers in both the East and the West — that Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine was a type of the Eucharist. You have used that word, too, so I will presume you know what it means: a figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, a foreshadowing, “the New Testament hidden in the Old.” Understanding something to be a type of something is not understanding it to be the same thing.

      Third: It is not at all essential for Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine to be an actual sacrifice (offering to God) in order for it to be a type of the Eucharist. Further, typology is necessarily subjective; to argue that something is “not a type” is like arguing that it is “not a symbol”; clearly, it symbolizes something to somebody. It is to argue that it “does not evoke the Eucharist” to somebody: when clearly and certainly, to various people in the history of Christianity, it has evoked that. Whether or not that was what God intended is a matter of interpretation, conjecture, and debate, and something that is ultimately beyond our knowledge. Further, it is not essential to the Catholic understanding of anything that it be a type. Various authors, even various Catholic authors, come to different interpretations and understandings as to what Melchizedek’s actions mean and whether or not they are a type. A type is not a theological underpinning, but a foreshadowing.

      Thus, to sum up Catholic views about the event, Dr. Scott Hahn writes in his commentary on Genesis for the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:

      bread and wine: The elements of a celebratory meal. These may have been communion portions of a thanksgiving sacrifice offered to God after a successful campaign (Genesis 14:17), or they may suggest that a covenant is forged between Abraham and Melchizedek and is sealed with a sacred meal (cf. Genesis 31:44–46; Josh 9:14–15). • Allegorically, in the actions of the priest Melchizedek the sacrament of the Lord is prefigured; for Melchizedek is a type of Jesus Christ, who offered the bread and wine of Melchizedek, that is, his body and blood (St. Cyprian, Letters 63, 4). This interpretation, shared by many Church Fathers, is implicit in the Roman Canon of the Mass (“the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech”, Eucharistic Prayer I) (CCC 1333).

      You may rail against the fact that many interpreters in the history of Christianity have interpreted such things as such, if that’s how you want to occupy yourself; but the fact is that they did. Does every traditional, pre-Protestant interpretation bother you so much?

      Fourth, to my own interpretation: If the proof you are looking for is a plain statement in Scripture that “Melchizedek offered a sacrifice,” then no, you will not find that. Neither will you find it stated in Scripture that “the bread and wine were merely part of his greeting and were not a sacrifice.” Both of us are interpreting Scripture, trying to understand from the context what the words do not make clear. I do not want to dwell on this, but I present:

      1. We are told in the Old Testament that Melchizedek was a priest, and in the New Testament that his priesthood was a type of the priesthood of Christ. The definition of a priest — inherent in both the Hebrew word כֹּהֵן [cohen] and the Greek word ἱερεύς [hiereus] — is that a priest makes sacrifices.

      2. The Genesis text does not casually mention that “Melchizedek was a priest” (“And oh, by the way…”), but because it was important to the narrative and ultimately to the typology of Christ. Most recent English translations (noting the ESV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NKJV) translate thus:

        And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. (Genesis 14:18)

        Note the semicolon. This is a feature, again, of most recent English translations, because it attempts to convey that these two statements are essentially connected. This reflects the Hebrew text: In the Hebrew text, the two statements are connected by the copulative, coordinating conjunction וְ. The ESV and several others actually make “He was a priest” a parenthetical to the previous statement, by way of explanation of his “bringing out bread and wine.”

      3. Thus the text necessarily does relate that Melchizedek’s bringing of bread and wine and his blessing were essentially priestly activities: otherwise, why is it important to indicate that “he was a priest”? Abraham, in turn, because Melchizedek was “a priest of God Most High,” presents him with a tithe of his spoils, because, he says, he has sworn them to God (Genesis 14:22-23). The implication of the text is that Melchizedek, as a priest, made an offering, and Abraham in turn also made an offering.

      We are faced with still yet another wild attempt to make a simple greeting (along the same lines as “Hail Mary”) that are squeezed out of context to force RC presuppositions into submission to the word of God.

      Really? So the early Church Fathers, in the first and second centuries, (1) had “RC presuppositions” (i.e. they already had a preconceived notion of developed Catholic theology), and (2) they tried to “force” these on Scripture?

      To quote Cyprian of Carthage (A.D. 253):

      Also in the priest Melchizedek we see prefigured the sacrament of the sacrifice of the Lord, according to what divine Scripture testifies, and says, “And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine” (Genesis 14:18). Now he was a priest of the most high God, and blessed Abraham. And that Melchizedek bore a type of Christ, the Holy Spirit declares in the Psalms, saying from the person of the Father to the Son: “Before the morning star I begat Thee; Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4); which order is assuredly this coming from that sacrifice and thence descending; that Melchizedek was a priest of the most high God; that he offered wine and bread; that he blessed Abraham. For who is more a priest of the most high God than our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered a sacrifice to God the Father, and offered that very same thing which Melchizedek had offered, that is, bread and wine, to wit, His body and blood?

      Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but it reads to me as if Cyprian is expounding upon Scripture, reading it, making connections, bringing out the meaning (this is called exegesis). And he explains the connections he is making. I don’t see a “forcing of presuppositions” here.

      Again, by including the picture entitled, “The Sacrifice of Mel”, you were ***importing*** the arguments that the RCC typically uses to equate Mel’s alleged sacrifice with Christ, as if it were a billboard. If you are a member of the RCC, then I assume you agree with what they say! YOU yourself do not have to say anything. Neither does a billboard. The picture was enough to ***import*** your thoughts.

      And herein lies your whole problem: (1) You assume (as you’ve repeatedly assumed, and as the very epithet “RCC” assumes) that the Catholic Church is a single monolithic entity, that all Catholics are the same, have the same understanding of things, and produce the same arguments (“what they say”), (2) you assume that you even understand such arguments, when you very frequently misrepresent them, and (3) you assume that, because I’m Catholic, you know everything I’m thinking, and have the “right” to attack me for things I have not said or implied. In all three assumptions, you’re making a mistake.

      In fact, there is no such thing as the “Roman Catholic Church,” and historically speaking, the vast majority of Christians throughout history would have laughed at the idea. Were Cyprian, Augustine, Athanasius, or Chrysostom, “Roman Catholics”? When they write and teach, are they espousing “Roman Catholic” doctrines? Absolutely not: each of those men was a bishop of his own church in Carthage, Hippo, Alexandria, and Constantinople respectively. They were not “Roman,” culturally or ethnically, nor did their understanding of doctrine derive from “Rome.” They would have vehemently denied, in fact, that they were “Roman” in any sense of the word. Neither their teachings nor their churches were monolithic — but they were universal, in agreement with every other church in essential matters, and that is why they called themselves “Catholic.” This agreement did not stem from these teachers’ “kowtowing” to Rome or the pope or any such: it stems from the very fact that they all received the same truths from the Apostles.

      So when you come and rail against “RC doctrine,” please bear in mind that you are arguing not with a single, monolithic entity — not with the Council of Trent, or Vatican II, or “the RCC”: you are arguing with a whole host of teachers over the centuries who held their own beliefs and independently arrived at their interpretations, who did not agree on every matter but who nonetheless held to a universal (“catholic”) faith; and with thousands of teachers living today who do not agree on every matter either, who do not hold exactly the same understandings or produce the same arguments at all, but who nonetheless do proclaim one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.

      This is still yet another convoluted response to once again, avoid having to admit that I had every logical right to correct your minimizing what the RC ***actually*** teaches.

      The Council of Trent expressed but one promulgation of Catholic doctrine. It is not the one I expressed here: Catholics are fully capable of articulating Catholic doctrine without referring back to any single promulgation of doctrine. What I built here — and all I intended to build here — are the foundations of the universal Christian understanding, the understanding of Christian ministry held in both the West and the East, by all orthodox teachers, up until the Protestant “Reformation.” I did not say that the understanding was limited to this, but I clearly stated that that this is merely the foundation, the outline. You are attempting to project an anachronistic doctrinal understanding (presumably, one you think you can ridicule and reject) upon the understanding of the authors of Scripture and the other early teachers I cited — and I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. You are fighting a straw man.

      You said that Jesus assigned the boys to be merely “ministers” at the Last Supper, when the truth is that Trent presumptuously stated that they were ordained into a ****sacredotal priesthood*** at the Last Supper.

      In fact, I said nothing of the sort. The trajectory of my argument is that (1) Jesus appointed the Apostles to be ministers, not at the Last Supper, but all throughout their ministry, when he charged them with specific missions and invested them with His authority (e.g. Mark 3:13-18, Matthew 10, Luke 9:1-6, John 20:19-23) — which I believe you’ve agreed with several times; (2) that at the Last Supper, he charged them to “do this in memory of me” — and what “this” is is a sacrifice. (3) If a minister performs a sacrifice, he can rightly be called a “priest.”

      To suggest that what Trent has to say as not being relevant— and we should rather, defer only to YOUR inaccurate labels, is a misrepresentation of RC doctrine. One would think you would admit your mistake for at least the sake of accuracy.

      Trent has to say nothing relevant to say to my argument. My argument has nothing to do with Trent. Scripture does not call the Apostles “priests” — I presume you agree with this? — but it does call them “ministers.” Therefore, if accuracy is what you’re looking for, then I don’t know why you would say that I’ve made a mistake.

      It most definitely is NOT a fruitless endeavor to explicate on ANY of the words of Christ at ANY time, especially when millions adamantly hold the contrary view.

      I didn’t say it was pointless; I said it was fruitless, meaning that it seldom bears any fruit — as quibbling over what the word “is” means almost always is — as it will be here.

      If you want to play a numbers game, of course, nearly two billion (counting Catholic and Orthodox) believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, outnumbering the various Protestant views by more than two to one — outnumbering yours by an even grosser margin. Historically, all orthodox Christians believed in the Real Presence of Christ.

      Thus, I am convinced Rome has made the same mistake that Nicodemas did, giving a physical interpretation to a spiritual truth.

      That’s interesting. Again, you personify “Rome,” as if “Rome” is who made a mistake in this interpretation — but who is “Rome”? When do you suppose this “mistake” was made? Was it Ignatius of Antioch (c. A.D. 107), a Syrian? Or Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 150), a Judean by birth? What about Irenaeus of Lyon (c. A.D. 180), a Smyrnaean, or Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 200)?

      At the get-go, the disciples were sitting right there WITH the body of Jesus, and so we ask, as did JPII, “Did the apostles who took part in the Last Supper understand the meaning of the words spoken by Christ? Perhaps not.” (“Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, intro, para 2).

      No, they probably didn’t. Neither did they understand all the times Jesus said He would die and be resurrected. Does their lack of understanding have any bearing on the reality of what happened?

      Second, the word “is” would do too much if it did what the RCC says it does. “This is my body” would have to make the bread the actual body of Jesus and it would no longer have the properties of bread.

      It was not “too much” for the early teachers I have named, or for the millions and millions of Christians who have believed just that.

      But the RCC skirts this issue by saying the bread is Christ in its essence, but retains the characteristics of bread in its outward appearance. And why do they think Christ did this? “Because the nature of man requires it” {CCC # 1366}—but exactly how it takes place, “we must not curiously inquire” (says Trent). Ummm…the nature of man requires it, but we should not inquire INTO it???

      I don’t know where you got that quote, but it is not from CCC 1366 (the only Google hit is from the CARM forums, which is laughable). Regarding the fine points of the doctrine of transubstantiation: that’s far afield from the topic of this article, and I’m going to have to draw a line. The essential point is this: Jesus said it, and the Apostles (eventually) understood the reality of the Eucharist. Every testimony to the Eucharist in the Early Church attests to the belief that the elements are His Body and Blood, despite outward appearances. How this happens is beyond what God has revealed to us and beyond our understanding. But rather than “not curiously inquiring,” the theologians of the Church have pretty darn well tried, hence the very doctrine of transubstantiation.

      Transubstantiation flies in the face of EVERY miracle God performed.

      So, you suppose then that God is incapable of it?

      There is not a single recorded miracle where all outward appearances reveal that nothing happened – but invisibly they did.

      What about, I don’t know, Jesus Christ being the divine Son of God in human flesh?

      Biblical miracles are always “tangible and practical”, as it were, meant to be seen, and men amazed, all to the glory of God….thus the hoax of transubstantiation must be classified as a “lying wonder” (2 Thess 2:9).

      I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty amazed at the Eucharist. If it is a “hoax” — that is, an intentional attempt to deceive — who do you suppose has perpetrated such? To what end?

      Question: Name for me one biblical scholar on planet earth, alive or dead, who ever taught that the Greek “estin” (is) may be defined as something pertaining to the outward appearance of the subject, while the inward reality or essence–is something totally different. Let’s save time, shall we? You cannot produce ***anyone*** who will support the notion that the Greek language was ever used in this manner. It has, as with so much of Catholicism, been pulled like a rabbit out of a hat.

      Um, what? The linguistic meaning of the word is — marking being, existence, or equivalence — is entirely separate from its metaphysical implications — questions of essence and substance and reality. I’ve news for you, sir: Aristotle, in even developing the metaphysical concepts of essence and substance, etc., made use of the word ἐστιν just as surely as Jesus (or rather the Evangelists) did, to refer to the very concept to which you’re referring, to an object’s substance being different than its accidents. Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of transubstantiation is rooted in just these concepts. So yes, the Greek word ἐστιν can certainly be used in this way, just as certainly as the English word is can. The Greek language is not deficient in this way.

      But metaphysics aside — Jesus said “This is my Body.” That leaves us exactly two alternatives, from a linguistic point of view. Either the bread is literally His Body, in some mysterious and miraculous way, as most Christians have understood Him, or the bread is figuratively His body, by metaphor or analogy. There is nothing about the context of the institution passages to indicate that Jesus was speaking figuratively, especially when paired with John 6. And I prefer to follow the understanding of the earliest Christians.

      The surrounding verse in Luke 22:22 refutes you. We read, “And truly, the Son of Man ***GOES*** as it has been determined…”
      “Goes” is likewise in the present tense, but we all know He will not “GO” until later on.

      This reflects a linguistic misunderstanding. A verb, grammatically, has time and aspect. In English, for example, we make distinction between the simple present tense (simple aspect with present time, e.g. “I go”) and the present progressive tense (continuous aspect with present time, e.g. “I am going”). Ancient Greek verb tenses also have time and aspect — but here’s the rub: Ancient Greek verbs have no simple present (nor do they in Latin). The Greek present tense thus does double duty both as a simple present and a present progressive: Saying πορεύομαι in Greek can mean both “I go” and “I am going”; ἐσθίω can mean both “I eat” and “I am eating,” etc. There is no linguistic distinction: both are present tense in Greek.

      Likewise, there is no linguistic reason to suggest that when He says His body “which is given”— that He meant “NOW, AT THAT MOMENT…THEN AND THERE”.

      In fact, that is what “present” means: “A moment or period in time perceptible as intermediate between past and future; now; existing or happening now; current.” (American Heritage Dictionary, 5th edition)

      Hence, His body “will be given” the following day at Calvary, no sooner, no later, and certainly not in any pretended “re-presented” way in the future.

      No, that’s future tense, and that is not what He said.

      Produce one biblical scholar who is of the mind that “which is given” should be restricted to, “HERE AND NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT.”

      “The Present Indicative [Tense] is used of action in progress in present time.” (Ernest De Witt Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek, 3rd ed. [Edinburg: T&T Clark, 1898], 7.)

      God bless you, brother, and His peace be with you.

      • J: No one “equates” Mechizedek with Christ or “equates” his act with the Eucharist.

        T: I wonder why then did Scott Hahn choose to title his talk, “The Eucharist as the meal of Melchizedek”

        http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/euchc4.htm

        J: Dr. Scott Hahn writes in his commentary on Genesis for the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:…

        T: Strange, if Christ gave so much power and infallibility to the RCC, that an RC commentary on the Bible, has not been on her agenda.
        Protestants have been doing it for hundreds of years. The magisterium has busied itself with issuing bulls, encyclicals, catechisms and establishing “new laws for salvation” (CCC #1210).
        I wonder then who God has more respect for?
        So Hahn says,
        “Allegorically, in the actions of the priest Melchizedek the sacrament of the Lord is prefigured; for Melchizedek is a type of Jesus Christ, who offered the bread and wine of Melchizedek, that is, his body and blood (St. Cyprian, Letters 63, 4)”

        Fine. Can you then see why my use of the phrase “equating Mel with the Eucharist”, whether in foreshadowing or types, was justified?
        Anyway, we deny it all, as Jesus Christ certainly did not offer Himself to God in sacrifice at the Last Supper before the cross. It is rank heresy.

        J: Whether or not that was what God intended is a matter of interpretation, conjecture, and debate, and something that is ultimately beyond our knowledge.

        T: Actually, the entire Bible is beyond your knowledge since the RCC has seen fit to “officially” interpret only a handful of verses and her own laity cannot even identify what they are. All have different numbers. Been there, done that. Technically then, since infallibility has proved to be for all practical purposes, useless, Catholics have nothing over Protestants when it comes to biblical interpretation. The point is that we’re all in the same FALLIBLE boat when it comes to Mel or anything else.

        J: And herein lies your whole problem: You assume… that all Catholics are the same, have the same understanding of things, and produce the same arguments

        T: Not at all. I am QUITE aware that there are a whole BUNCH of splintered RC groups! Let’s see now: RC’s for a “free choice” comes to mind first. Then there are the Liberal RC’s,
        “New Age” RC’s, Ultra-Traditionalist RC’s, and all the other
        “Rebel” RC’s who were profiled in TIME Magazine, 9/7/87, with an article entitled, “JPII’s fiesty flock: Catholics Going Their Own Way”.

        J: [You assume] that the Catholic Church is a single monolithic entity.

        T: And why not? If Boniface VIII demanded that it is “altogether necessary for salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” then that “single monolithic entity” situated in Rome which demands world allegiance, is an appropriate description. Who cares how many “underlings” there are who wish to be associated with her?

        J: In fact, there is no such thing as the “Roman Catholic Church,”

        T: Essentially, you are correct. “Roman” is specific, and “catholic” is universal, so of course there cannot REALLY be a “Roman Catholic Church” since it is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, that is what the RCC teaches in practice, so we shall use her oxymoronic label for identifying purposes only. Not that we agree with it.

        J: Again, you personify “Rome,” as if “Rome” is who made a mistake in this interpretation — but who is “Rome”?

        T: The significance of “ROME” and her magisterial superiority is all over the place in your documents,…”the who” of your question. Only one example will do: CCC #834 says that “from the incarnate Word’s descent to us, ***all*** Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here at Rome to be their only basis and foundation…”

        Sounds like a facetious comment that Jay Leno would use in his comedy monologue.
        Needless to say, it is a flat out lie to assert that Rome has been headquarters for all Christians ever since Christ came on the scene. Rome was 1500 miles away at the alleged appointment of the “first Pope” in Matt 16. The editors of that catechism deserve a dunce cap.
        Anywho, exactly why you are trying to minimize the supremacy of Rome, is beyond me.

        J: If you want to play a numbers game, of course, nearly two billion (counting Catholic and Orthodox) believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist,

        T: Numbers mean nothing. Millions of Muslims and every other kind of false religionist, are LOST. So too are fans of the Real Presence, who erroneously make the Eucharist into another incarnation. If God was pleased to tell us of the Second Coming, He surely would have told us of a Second Incarnation. True Christians have the promise of the “real presence” 24/7. Catholics have the “real presence” only while the wafer retains its form— which is all of about one minute thanks to the salivary acids which Christ can’t stand, and THEN HE LEAVES (CCC #1377) until the following week when He sneaks back in for another minute doing who knows what between the lips of Catholics worldwide. Hence, the RC belief of Christ’s EXIT makes a mockery of His promises to be with us ALWAYS! (Matt 28:20, Hebrews 13:5, Revelation 3:20). Sadly, you are embracing “another jesus and another gospel, per 2 Corinthians 11:4, which will never save you.
        Moreover, the two billion souls you refer to are categorically unsaved because they reject the promise of Christ’s presence via the Holy Spirit, and instead, WANT MORE. But Jesus will not give them more! The Lord unambiguously stated that His
        physical presence was going away! READ IT….
        “I go to prepare a place for you” . . . “Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more.” . . . “I go away” . . . “But now I go my way to Him that sent me.” . . . “I leave the world and go unto the Father” . . .. “I go to my Father and ye see me no more.” . . . “For the poor ye have with you always; but me ye have not always.” . . . “Ye shall seek me and shall not find me; and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” . .. . “And now, I am no more in the world.” . . . {John 14:2, 14:19, 14:28, 16:5, 16:29, 16:10, 12:8, 7:34, 17:11}. And Paul confirmed that, “though we have known Christ in the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him ***no more*** ” {2 Cor 5:16}. Notice— He makes no exception that we be consoled with either Christ’s presence in–or eating His flesh as a result of, the Eucharist. Naturally then, a doctrine such as Transubstantiation which bids us to believe in the actual bodily presence of our Lord is at war with the Bible from the get-go. Hence, the pure words of Christ TRUMP any deluded ECF who thought otherwise.

        J: I don’t know where you got that quote, but it is not from CCC 1366.

        T: That the nature of man demands a visible sacrifice is indeed found in 1366. Put on your glasses. And that we should not “curiously inquire” into transubstantiation, is from Trent’s catechism. See the first post at the top of the page here…

        http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=947179

        To imagine that Jesus wowed us with transubstantiation, but would prefer we just shut up and believe whatever our religious leaders tell us, is beyond ridiculous.

        J: The essential point is this: Jesus said it, and the Apostles (eventually) understood the reality of the Eucharist.

        T: I’m sure we are all grateful for your opinion. But I emphatically and absolutely deny the hocus-pocus of the Eucharist, and am quite certain the apostles will be there shaking their head against you on Judgment Day.

        J: Every testimony to the Eucharist in the Early Church attests to the belief that the elements are His Body and Blood, despite outward appearances.

        T: All I need then is just one person to object and your statement is found to be false. I think I’ll use Augustine, who states the Protestant position quite well:

        “If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice, or enjoining an act of prudence or benevolence, it is not figurative. If, however, it seems to enjoin a crime or vice, or to forbid an act of prudence or benevolence, it is figurative. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,” says Christ, “and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure…

        —–NPNF1: Vol. II, On Christian Doctrine, Book III, Chapter 16 (section 24).

        “To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already.”

        —–NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 25, §12.

        “For to believe on Him is to eat the living bread. He that believes eats…”

        —–NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 26, §1.

        “Certainly then, at least, you will see that not in the manner you suppose does He dispense His body; certainly then, at least, you will understand that His grace is not consumed by tooth-biting.”

        —–NPNF1-7, Tractates on John, Tractate 27, Section 3

        J: If the proof you are looking for is a plain statement in Scripture that “Melchizedek offered a sacrifice,” then no, you will not find that. Neither will you find it stated in Scripture that “the bread and wine were merely part of his greeting and were not a sacrifice.”

        T: True. But the argument from silence is strong in light of God’s prohibition against adding to his word. Similarly, the silence of Scripture as pertaining to the Catholic benefits of ingesting the Eucharist, is glaringly against you. There is more instruction on women’s headgear and ITS significance (1 Cor 11:2-15) then there is in perhaps the one sentence the RC apologist can cobble together to support what they perceive to be the benefits of the Eucharist based on the Text (e.g., “there is no life in you”).
        Instead, they must make them up! They pretend, for example, that the Eucharist “strengthens our charity” (#1394). Excuse me, but I’ve given away lots of cash without swallowing any wafer. Or how about the claim that the E “preserves us from future sins” (#1393). Baloney. The fruit of the Spirit, who resides in all true believers, leads to self-control without any help from the E (Galatians 5:22). Or the bunk that it “unites us more closely to Christ” (#1396). And this, coming from those who claim their “jesus” makes a fast EXIT from the Catholic after only one minute?
        It’s mind-boggling.
        In fact, what the RCC has done is merely hijacked all 9 attributes of the indwelling Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5, and crash-landed them on the head of the Eucharist.

        Count on it then: The non-Catholic who trusts in the “real presence” of the Holy Spirit, and thus, the real presence of Christ, as He plainly promised, is not lacking one blessed thing over someone like you who swallows the wafer each Sunday. Since the “eating and drinking” episode in John 6 transpired BEFORE the Last Supper, and Christ was calling his audience to “eat and drink of Him” NOW in chapter 6, He was obviously speaking metaphorically because the only way they could obey His command to “drink” THEN AND THERE was to obey the call to come to HIMSELF, “the fountain of living waters” (Psalm 42:1-2, Psalm 63:1, Jeremiah 2:12, Isaiah 55:1-3, John 4:13-14, Revelation 21:6, Revelation 22:17) All spiritual thirst was to be fulfilled by “drinking Him” (i.e., BELIEVING ON HIM), for, “He that believeth on me shall never thirst” ((John 6:35). Ergo, when we are again confronted with the eating and drinking motif at the Last Supper, the same symbolism must apply if we are to be consistent.

        Moving right along, I had asked you to produce one biblical scholar who is of the mindset that the phrase “which is given” should be restricted to, “HERE AND NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT.”
        You responded with…
        “The Present Indicative [Tense] is used of action in progress in present time.” (Ernest De Witt Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek, 3rd ed. [Edinburg: T&T Clark, 1898], 7.)

        My response? First of all, his definition is not referring to Luke 22 in particular, which is what I was looking for.
        Second, if Mr. Burton believed his own definition and co-joined it to your thesis about Christ presently offering Himself at the Last Supper, he should have become a Catholic. But this he never did. Thus, I can only wonder if he would say there are some exceptions.
        More importantly, what Mr. Burton has to offer is over-ruled by the wider scope of the Text. The present tense simply does not accomplish what you wish it would. I have already addressed “The Son of Man goes…” present tense (Luke 22:22) which did not mean He went anywhere immediately and will leave the reader to judge the merit of your reply. In addition, I must insist that the present tense cannot be restricted to the here and now, but rather can express the certitude that something WILL happen, as we elsewhere read, “To us a child is born”….”Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”….”I lay down my life for the sheep”…”Now I am no more in this world”….and also a “past certainty” expressed as a present reality; Christ being designated as, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. Therefore, “this is my body which is given for you” cannot hold the weight that something was happening THEN AND THERE, as the RC apologist demands.
        And finally, the fact that every priest is to henceforth quote Christ as saying, (not, “which is given”) but which ***WILL BE*** …kind of makes your apologetic disappear into nothingness, (and mine shine), now doesn’t it?

        http://www.todayscatholicnews.org/2011/02/the-new-translation-of-the-holy-mass-12/

        • Trevor, thanks for the comment. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid this thread is becoming increasingly incoherent and further and further off-topic. I guess that is partly my fault for entertaining your diversions. We need to either bring this back to the post at hand or wrap it up. In case you’ve forgotten, the topic of this series is the priesthood.

          I wonder why then did Scott Hahn choose to title his talk, “The Eucharist as the meal of Melchizedek”

          I wonder why the first clause of his article is, “Another key foreshadowing of the Eucharist…”

          Strange, if Christ gave so much power and infallibility to the RCC, that an RC commentary on the Bible, has not been on her agenda. Protestants have been doing it for hundreds of years.

          I don’t know what you’re talking about. There have been hundreds of Catholic commentaries on Scripture, dating back to the Church Fathers.

          Actually, the entire Bible is beyond your knowledge since the RCC has seen fit to “officially” interpret only a handful of verses and her own laity cannot even identify what they are. All have different numbers. Been there, done that. Technically then, since infallibility has proved to be for all practical purposes, useless, Catholics have nothing over Protestants when it comes to biblical interpretation. The point is that we’re all in the same FALLIBLE boat when it comes to Mel or anything else.

          I really have no idea what you’re talking about. What “different numbers”? This comment doesn’t even make sense. You seem to be thinking — correct me if I’m wrong — that a Catholic cannot interpret Scripture unless the Church has “officially” already interpreted it. But in fact this isn’t the case. First, a Catholic can identify what the Church has taught authoritatively: it’s all been published, most of it summed up in the Catechism. But in fact, a Catholic is just as capable of studying and interpreting Scripture on his own as a Protestant. No, this isn’t “infallible” — but since, as you say, we’re all “in the same boat” as you, why would you suppose that “the Bible is beyond [our] knowledge”?

          Catholics do make use of better tools, at least in general, than Protestants, studying the whole context of Scripture, how, for example, its earliest recipients understood it; how words, phrases, and concepts were received and understood in Scripture’s own time. There are some Protestant scholars who take such things into account too, but in general, most cripple their interpretations by a reliance on “Scripture alone,” when even the Westminster divines taught the use of “necessary means.”

          The magisterium has busied itself with issuing bulls, encyclicals, catechisms and establishing “new laws for salvation” (CCC #1210).

          I’ll buy you a Catechism if you need it, man. No one should be forced to rely on misquotations.

          Anyway, we deny it all, as Jesus Christ certainly did not offer Himself to God in sacrifice at the Last Supper before the cross. It is rank heresy.

          I addressed this in my article. You haven’t addressed what I wrote regarding that, nor what I demonstrated from the Church Fathers. Dismissing a concept as “rank heresy” without discussion — especially a concept attested so clearly, so widely, and so early among a diversity of Christian teachers — is the tactic of men without arguments. “Heresy,” you know, is willfully departing from the established truths of the faith. It appears, though, that this was the established truth of the faith, from the very earliest apostolic understanding, and that it was the Protestant “Reformers” (and not even all of them) who “willfully departed.”

          Not at all. I am QUITE aware that there are a whole BUNCH of splintered RC groups!

          And then you go right back to arguing that it’s a monolithic entity. The fact is that there is a diversity of understanding and argument about various points even among orthodox Catholic teachers.

          Nevertheless, that is what the RCC teaches in practice, so we shall use her oxymoronic label for identifying purposes only. Not that we agree with it.

          “The RCC” teaches what in practice? In fact, “Roman Catholic Church” is not the label that the Church applies to herself, but the “oxymoronic” label that some Protestants and other opponents apply to the her. “Roman Catholic Church,” if there is a proper application for that label, would apply to the parts of the Church that are in fact “Roman,” especially the Diocese of Rome — the local body, situated in Rome, of the Universal Church. Likewise, there is a Coptic Catholic Church, the local body of the Universal Church situated in Egypt, the Ethiopian Catholic Church in Ethiopia, the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church in Greece, the Chaledean Catholic Church in Iraq, the Maronite Church in Lebanon — and so on: none of these churches being “Roman” in any sense, but all of them being part of the “Catholic” (“Universal”) whole, in full communion with all others. To apply the label “Roman Catholic Church” to the whole Universal Church is simply false, and I think more destructive to your own arguments than you intend.

          Out of curiosity, who is the “we” you consider yourself a part of?

          The significance of “ROME” and her magisterial superiority is all over the place in your documents,…”the who” of your question. Only one example will do: CCC #834 says that “from the incarnate Word’s descent to us, ***all*** Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here at Rome to be their only basis and foundation…” Sounds like a facetious comment that Jay Leno would use in his comedy monologue. Needless to say, it is a flat out lie to assert that Rome has been headquarters for all Christians ever since Christ came on the scene. Rome was 1500 miles away at the alleged appointment of the “first Pope” in Matt 16. The editors of that catechism deserve a dunce cap.

          Do yourself a favor, man, and actually read the Catechism, carefully and thoroughly — including the footnotes — before you try to pull quotes from it and mock them. Who again, do you think said this? “Rome”? “The RCC”? “The editors of the Catechism”? If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that is not a “magisterial” dictum of “the RCC” at all, but a quotation (see the quotation marks? and the footnote?) from Maximus the Confessor (c. 580–662), who is not “the RCC,” not “the Magisterium” (nor a member of it) — not even Roman, but Byzantine, a native of Palestine and a resident of Constantinople. You sound quite ignorant in attacking this as if it were an assertion of the twentieth-century “RCC.”

          The truth is that this is a testimony from from a seventh-century Eastern Christian who rightly observed that the whole Christian Church had looked to the Church at Rome as the only sure guide in orthodoxy. This quotation is paired with the testimony of Irenaeus of Lyon (c. A.D. 180, likewise not Roman), who said of the Church at Rome that “With this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord,” on account of the preeminence of her Apostles, Peter and Paul. Rather than the jokes and “lies” you would like to dismiss them as, these are historical statements of belief with which you must reckon. These far-flung teachers sincerely believed that the Church at Rome was the church to which all other churches should look for unity and guidance. Do you accuse them of “lying”? What reason would they have to do so?

          Anywho, exactly why you are trying to minimize the supremacy of Rome, is beyond me.

          I have said nothing at all about Roman “supremacy,” until now; it was you who brought that up; why, I’m not sure. You continue to mistakenly direct complaints against “the RCC,” as if the Catholic Church were only one, monolithic entity. It was this in which I tried to correct you. You have a grotesquely misshapen understanding of what the Catholic Church is and teaches.

          Fans of the Real Presence … erroneously make the Eucharist into another incarnation.

          You present an offensive caricature of the Catholic belief in the Eucharist, one that I will no longer honor with a response. I have warned you repeatedly. If you want to have a meaningful and respectful discussion about the topics I have presented, you are welcome here. But you are making it ever clearer that your greater intent is to insult and offend.

          That the nature of man demands a visible sacrifice is indeed found in 1366. Put on your glasses. And that we should not “curiously inquire” into transubstantiation, is from Trent’s catechism. To imagine that Jesus wowed us with transubstantiation, but would prefer we just shut up and believe whatever our religious leaders tell us, is beyond ridiculous.

          You misquoted the Catechism and mischaracterize the quote from the Trent. Rather than a prohibition as you would take it, the theologians of the Church had in fact already inquired into the mystery of the Eucharist, and continue to.

          All I need then is just one person to object and your statement is found to be false. I think I’ll use Augustine, who states the Protestant position quite well…

          Very good. Like many Protestants, you can cherry-pick a few quotes from Augustine that, out of context, appear to support your views. But any meaningful reading at all into him reveals that his views are thoroughly Catholic. For your perusal:

          That’s quite enough of that. I will not engage with your attacks on the Eucharist any longer. I have made my case, and you’ve made yours. Now please bring it back to the topic at hand.

          • J: In case you’ve forgotten, the topic of this series is the priesthood….[so]
            I will not engage with your attacks on the Eucharist any longer.

            T: The title of your article is, “Re-presenting the Sacrifice of Christ: The Fundamental Doctrines of the Eucharist and the Presbyterate in Scripture”…
            and you go on to say that
            “the meat of the matter — the subject of so much disagreement and debate and controversy — are His words and actions at the meal itself…”This is my body”…

            Ergo, I don’t exactly think my “attack” on the E is out of order. The RC priesthood and the E are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Sure I may diverge here and there, but my inadequacies do not mean I don’t have anything relevant to say. To briefly respond to a few things before I get to more of your article…

            J: So when you come and rail against “RC doctrine,” please bear in mind that you are arguing not with a single, monolithic entity — not with the Council of Trent, or Vatican II, or “the RCC”: you are arguing with a whole host of teachers over the centuries who held their own beliefs and independently arrived at their interpretations, who did not agree on every matter but who nonetheless held to a universal (“catholic”) faith; and with thousands of teachers living today who do not agree on every matter either, who do not hold exactly the same understandings or produce the same arguments at all, but who nonetheless do proclaim one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith.

            T: I don’t need to be reminded that people hold different opinions, because…uhhhh…. that’s the way God intended it! He has not chosen to reveal all truth, to all people, at all times—and sometimes, not even at all! “Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5-6). Only in eternity will we find out exactly what we got right here on earth. In the meantime, we are told that if we perceive that the word of God is being mishandled, to SPEAK OUT (Titus 1:9-13, Eph 5:11, 2 Tim 4:2, Romans 16:17-18) because the Lord says He “hates” false doctrine (Revelation 2:15) and will congratulate those who “hast found them to be liars, those who sayyyyy they are apostles, but are not” (Rev 2:2). For the most part, I could care less ***where*** certain heresies have arisen. For example, I don’t know whoooooo first came up with the nonsense that “jesus” makes a fast exit from the wafer after it starts to melt in the roof of your mouth (CCC #1377)—–and I don’t NEED to know who I’m arguing with from the past. All I know is that this is what you believe TODAY, and that this could NOT POSSIBLY be part of the “universal faith” from the beginning because it flatly contradicts the promise of the TRUE Jesus to be with us “ALWAYS”.

            J: In fact, “Roman Catholic Church” is not the label that the Church applies to herself, but the “oxymoronic” label that some Protestants and other opponents apply to the her.

            T: Oh really?

            “I acknowledge the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and ***Roman Church***, the mother and mistress of all the Churches.” (First Vatican Council, 2:12)

            “They adopted an attitude of opposition and, prodigal of their good name and enemies to their own honour, they strove to their utmost with pestilential daring to rend the unity of ***the holy Roman and universal church*** and the seamless robe of Christ’, and with serpent-like bites to lacerate the womb of the pious and holy mother herself.” (Council of Florence, session 9)

            “Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the ***Roman Catholic Church*** are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the True Church in order to gain eternal salvation.” (Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, 27)

            J: “Roman Catholic Church,” if there is a proper application for that label, would apply to the parts of the Church that are in fact “Roman,” especially the Diocese of Rome — the local body, situated in Rome

            T: Not necessarily. Francis Beckwith swam the Tiber and entitled his book: “Return to Rome”, as did Scott Hahn…”Rome Sweet Home.” These men, and all Catholics in general…(Coptic, Ethiopian, etc), while they may not reside in Rome, adhere to (as I told you last time) that “it is altogether necessary for salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff”. Thus, it is to them and to you, I say, that Jesus Christ did not come into this world to order that we pin our hopes for eternal life at the feet of a mere man!
            “Cursed” is such a one, says Jeremiah 17:5.

            J: If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that is not a “magisterial” dictum of “the RCC” at all, but a quotation (see the quotation marks? and the footnote?)…. You sound quite ignorant in attacking this as if it were an assertion of the twentieth-century “RCC.”

            T: In fact, it izzz an assertion of 20th century RC-ism. If they are going to use a quote to prove that the Church of Rome stands supreme (mentioned twice in #839), who cares where it came from? They were using the words of someone else to make clear their position that IN THIS DAY AND AGE all particular churches are “fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome.”

            Re: your article

            J: And in His own words at the Last Supper, he then and there gave Himself for us:
            “This is my body which is given for you.”

            T: I have already refuted your Last Supper sacrifice interpretation by the “New Translation of the Holy Mass” which conveys your opponent’s mindset that the sacrifice ***will be*** given the following day.

            J: the passage itself declares that the New Covenant is in effect, since a death has occurred which redeems us.

            T: The writer was looking BACK at the death of Christ. Are you really trying to say that the Hebrew writer was asserting His death had occurred at the Last Supper in the “sacrifice of the Eucharist”…while Jesus was yet alive?
            So be it. I will continue to say this is obnoxious and illogical. Elsewhere you asked me

            J: So, you suppose then that God is incapable of it?

            T: The truth that God can do anything is perhaps the POOREST of all apologetics, for it can be used to buttress just about anything. Thus, it isn’t a matter of His power; it’s a matter of “does the biblical evidence lead in that direction”.

            J: “the Last Supper and the Crucifixion [are] a single act”

            T: The notion that both incidents are the “same” or are a “single act”, is pure rubbish. They are not the same by definition, because you admit that one is bloody and the other is unbloody. Simple. Now who do you think you’re kidding?
            Second, because the RCC teaches that the Mass is a “renewal” of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, you’ve got a problem; namely you would have to conclude (since you say they are both the “same”) that the alleged Mass at the Last Supper was a ***renewal*** of something which did not take place until the next day. Huh?
            That’s impossible, and thus, both incidents are not a single act, nor are they the same. Hebrews points out, no less than 11 times, that the sacrifice of Christ was “ONCE” for all, without the slightest indication of any so-called “re-presentation”

            J: [Those that oppose] that Jesus could give His body up for us before going to Calvary…. ignore the plainly sacrificial language of what Jesus was doing.

            T: No one denies the sacrificial elements, but they do not demand we conclude that a sacrifice was taking place at table prior to Calvary! Ask any one of a million Christians.

            J: Jesus Himself told us that in the death of His body, He was offering Himself as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins;

            T: Yes, which would be the following day!

            J: He offered the sacrifice of His body at the Passover supper,

            T: No pre or post-crucified blood was shed at the Last Supper because Scripture says an unbloody sacrifice is inadequate for the remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Hence, your assertion that His supposed sacrifice in the Upper Room was applicable for the forgiveness of the apostle’s sins while they sat there, could not be true because it was unbloody! And it certainly didn’t do anything for Judas, who was invited to eat it. It is equally inept to deal with the forgiveness of sins for any Catholic today.
            If what you were saying were true, the Holy Spirit would have told us of the exception of an unbloody sacrifice. I counted over 50 examples of “exceptions” made in Scripture, so it’s certainly in God’s character to do so. That He does not come to your rescue here, (neither does He lift a finger, as it were, regarding the exception of “sinless” Mary), is breathtaking evidence against your doctrine.

            J: The very idea that Jesus was our paschal lamb as Paul expresses ***depends*** on the understanding that Jesus was sacrificed and presented in place of the lamb at the Passover meal. Scripture is thus clear in this understanding.

            T: This is pure eisegesis. It does not ***depend*** on any such thing.

            J: As Brant Pitre says…
            “because Jesus had to institute the new Passover before his death, he pre-enacted it, as both host of the meal and sacrifice.”

            T: Now we have to deal with a new word: “PRE-ENACTED”. “Re-presented” is bad enough, which I haven’t even got to, so am leaving this novelty alone. I’m sure if we took a poll of 100 people coming out of mass and asked them where in the liturgy do they see the concept of “pre-enactment” taking place, not one person out of a 100 would be able to give an answer.

            J: Thus it is ***clear*** that the Apostles understood Jesus meant specifically to do this: to reenact the offering of Himself at the Last Supper, and to give the Christian faithful this food to eat (John 6:34).

            T: Nope. Robert Sungenis would appear to be the #1 RC apologist on the planet. Just look at all the hand-clapping going on in the prelude to “Not By Faith Alone”. A superlative representative of the Catholic faith. He went on to write, “Not By Bread Alone”, and on p. 172 he says in regard to the “Bread of Life” discourse, that up to verse 47…(watch it now)….
            “the teaching and the meaning, at least up to this point, is purely symbolic”.
            So much then, for a universal belief that 6:34 was meant to convey we consume the literal body of Christ. If the Sungenis fan club, large as it is, is any indication of what Catholics really believe, your take on 6:34 must be abandoned at once.

            I will continue as time permits.

          • Ergo, I don’t exactly think my “attack” on the [Eucharist] is out of order. … Sure I may diverge here and there, but my inadequacies do not mean I don’t have anything relevant to say.

            There is a real distinction between your criticisms and your attacks. You are welcome to raise legitimate questions, but when you lower yourself to offensive mockery and sarcasm, as you have repeatedly done, you are attacking me and others. You are disrespecting me, my faith, and most of all my Lord. I will not warn you again: cross the line one more time and you will no longer be welcome here.

            I have asked repeatedly that you comment respectfully and charitably. You have flouted my request, leading me to believe that your true intent here is to hurt others rather than to build anyone up. It is not hard to be nice. You have made it glaringly clear that you don’t want to be nice.

            I don’t know whoooooo first came up with the nonsense that “jesus” makes a fast exit from the wafer after it starts to melt in the roof of your mouth (CCC #1377)…

            This is exactly the kind of sarcasm and mockery I am referring to. I will not warn you again.

            For the most part, I could care less ***where*** certain heresies have arisen. … I don’t NEED to know who I’m arguing with from the past. All I know is that this is what you believe TODAY, and that this could NOT POSSIBLY be part of the “universal faith” from the beginning because it flatly contradicts the promise of the TRUE Jesus to be with us “ALWAYS”.

            Again: The idea of “heresy” entails a choice to depart from established truth. The multiplicity and diversity of early testimonies that support just what you are calling “heresy” make a firm argument that in fact this was the established truth, the universal faith, from the beginning, and your novel interpretation is the one that departs. You seem content to call every Christian who lived before the sixteenth century, and many after — including many Protestants — “heretics.” What you think gives you this assurance or authority I don’t know, but the fact that there is no support for your position before the modern era should cause some question in your mind. But by your own admission, you are unwilling to question. Notably, you did wisely abandon your suggestion that Augustine supported your views: in fact he does not. The fact that you presented quotes from him for support seems to contradict your claim that you “don’t care” what ancient Christians believed and don’t need their support for your doctrines.

            And you are, again, misrepresenting the Catholic position and even contradicting yourself: Did you not just write that “the Lord unambiguously stated that His physical presence was going away”? Why then, would it be a contradiction of His promise to “be with us always” for His physical presence to go away? You are misrepresenting the Catholic position in multiple ways: No Catholic holds Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist to be a “second incarnation” or in any way equivalent to His physical, bodily presence during His earthly life. His Eucharistic presence is but one way in which He is “with us always.” And that never goes away (“contradicts the promise”): at any moment, there is always a consecrated Host somewhere in the world, and always the promise of more where that came from.

            I don’t need to be reminded that people hold different opinions, because…uhhhh…. that’s the way God intended it!

            And yet the Lord prays that His flock would be “one, as He and the Father are one” (John 17:21), and St. Paul exhorts that we should be “of the same mind and judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). And in fact, though the teaching of the Catholic Church is one, there are many differences of nuance in understanding and argument within that unity.

            Oh really?

            You are right that the Church has at times in the past applied that label to herself. And it is true that most of the Western Church (the Latin rite) is “Roman” in rite and origin. But the Church generally doesn’t call herself that in this day and age, since, as I said before, the understanding of the catholicity of the Church is today more global, acknowledging that the Church encompasses many who are not “Roman” at all. It seems to be an element of your polemic to dismissively call the Catholic Church “the RCC” — as if there were some other Catholic Church — and that is why I generally object to the term.

            Not necessarily. Francis Beckwith swam the Tiber and entitled his book: “Return to Rome”, as did Scott Hahn…”Rome Sweet Home.”

            In case you didn’t notice, the subtitle of this blog is also “A Christian’s Road Home to Rome and Journey Onward.” I don’t deny that Rome is the central and paramount church of the Catholic Church, the guarantor of the Church’s unity and the symbol of that unity. But it is not the whole. I am a member of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.

            Thus, it is to them and to you, I say, that Jesus Christ did not come into this world to order that we pin our hopes for eternal life at the feet of a mere man!

            In fact, that isn’t what any Catholic believes.

            In fact, it izzz an assertion of 20th century RC-ism. If they are going to use a quote to prove that the Church of Rome stands supreme (mentioned twice in #[834]), who cares where it came from? They were using the words of someone else to make clear their position that IN THIS DAY AND AGE all particular churches are “fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome.”

            Yes, as it says, in this day and age, particular churches of the Catholic Church are fully catholic through their communion with the Church of Rome. This is not a modern “assertion,” but an ancient and universal truth, held continuously since these men wrote. You seem to think the origins of words are meaningless, but historical evidence and support are essential components of our knowledge of the truth. If it can be demonstrated that ancient Christians did hold Rome to be the central and supreme Church of Christianity — and there are many more quotes where these came from — then holding this today is not a modern “assertion” but the continuation of the a truth having been handed down. Obviously these words would mean much less if they were quotes from “Bob from Walmart” or “Pastor Jim from First Baptist in Selma.”

            I have already refuted your Last Supper sacrifice interpretation by the “New Translation of the Holy Mass” which conveys your opponent’s mindset that the sacrifice ***will be*** given the following day.

            So, you think the new translation of the Mass has the same weight and effect as the Lord’s own words in Sacred Scripture? You’ve refuted nothing.

            Are you really trying to say that the Hebrew writer was asserting His death had occurred at the Last Supper in the “sacrifice of the Eucharist”…while Jesus was yet alive?

            No, that’s not what I’m trying to say and you are misrepresenting my argument. The writer acknowledged that His death did occur, thus ratifying the covenant. Do you not agree that there is a New Covenant, and Christ’s death did ratify it, and it is in effect?

            The truth that God can do anything is perhaps the POOREST of all apologetics, for it can be used to buttress just about anything. Thus, it isn’t a matter of His power; it’s a matter of “does the biblical evidence lead in that direction”.

            You were the one who alleged that all biblical miracles were “tangible and practical” — but this seems an arbitrary description given that there is little that is humanly “tangible” or “practical” about turning water into wine, raising the dead, stopping the sun in its path, washing leprosy away by mere water, producing inexhaustible food supplies, or incarnating God in human flesh. In fact, though, the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is “tangible” and “practical” in a real sense: it is given in elements we can touch and experience, through the human practice of eating.

            J: “the Last Supper and the Crucifixion [are] a single act”
            The notion that both incidents are the “same” or are a “single act”, is pure rubbish. They are not the same by definition, because you admit that one is bloody and the other is unbloody. Simple. Now who do you think you’re kidding?

            You misquote me out of context and misrepresent my argument. What I wrote, again, was “Such is the protocol of covenant in the ancient world: and it was played out again by Jesus in the Last Supper and the Crucifixion as a single act.” The single act which the Last Supper and Crucifixion made up was the institution of a New Covenant — do you deny this? Just as Moses’s sacrifice, words of institution, and covenantal meal were the elements that together made up the act of instituting the Old Covenant, Christ’s words of institution, covenantal meal, and sacrifice were the elements that together made up the act of instituting the New Covenant. I did not argue what you are arguing against.

            No one denies the sacrificial elements, but they do not demand we conclude that a sacrifice was taking place at table prior to Calvary!

            A sacrifice is an offering. Jesus offered Himself — in what even you admit is sacrificial language — and then went and was slain on the altar of the Cross. You acknowledge that He was using sacrificial (oblatory) language — and yet you deny that in these words, Jesus was offering Himself? Do you really deny that there is any connection between Jesus offering Himself in words and His actions and death on the Cross?

            This is pure eisegesis. [Paul’s expression that Jesus was our paschal lamb] does not ***depend*** on any such thing.

            From what does he understand this, then? The paschal lamb is part of a ritual at which the lamb is sacrificed and eaten at the Passover Seder. Jesus presented Himself — first in words — as a sacrifice. He told us that what he was doing was a sacrifice. If not for these words at the Passover meal, why would anyone conclude that he was “the paschal lamb”?

            No pre or post-crucified blood was shed at the Last Supper because Scripture says an unbloody sacrifice is inadequate for the remission of sins.

            In fact, there was nothing “unbloody” about the Last Supper at all: mere hours if not minutes later, the blood would come, first in the garden, then at the post, and finally at the cross. Do you suppose that a sacrifice is not a sacrifice if a priest proclaims a sacrifice, and then pauses for a few seconds before he completes the bloody act? Are we supposed to forget that he just presented a sacrifice in words, and suppose that his words have no connection at all to what he did next? That is what you are insisting to do with Jesus and the Last Supper: our High Priest presented His suffering as a sacrifice (He told us it was a sacrifice and what it meant), but you insist that His words were not part of the sacrifice at all because some time passed before the act was completed.

            It is clear from Scripture — by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit — that Jesus presented His suffering as a sacrifice to the Father, as a new paschal lamb, as a fulfillment of the Jewish Passover. Do you deny this? In order for us to have this understanding, Jesus presented Himself as a sacrifice in place of the Passover lamb at the Passover seder. This was an essential element of the Christian understanding of Jesus’s death as a sacrifice, in fulfillment of prophecy. Would the brutal execution of one’s leader by secular authorities have been evident to anyone as a sacrifice — let alone as a particular, paschal sacrifice — if He had not first told us it was a sacrifice?

            Hence, your assertion that His supposed sacrifice in the Upper Room was applicable for the forgiveness of the apostle’s sins while they sat there, could not be true because it was unbloody!

            I haven’t asserted that at all. The sacrifice — which was not complete until the Cross, which was quite bloody — is what forgives our sins, as He Himself told us: forgiveness is in His blood.

            [Robert Sungenis] says in regard to the “Bread of Life” discourse, that up to verse 47 “the teaching and the meaning, at least up to this point, is purely symbolic”. So much then, for a universal belief that 6:34 was meant to convey we consume the literal body of Christ.

            I in fact concur with this reading, and have concurred in the past. Jesus builds a powerful and beautiful metaphor in verses 25 through 40. His listeners were then confused. But it is what He says from verse 47 on that so much offended them and turned many away from Him. At that point He completely changed the character of His speech, no longer using figurative or metaphorical language but concrete commands of “eating His flesh” and “drinking His blood,” in words that were connotative not of spiritual communion but of animals feeding. … Must my interpretation be “abandoned at once”?

            I will continue as time permits.

            Be careful as you do, and tread lightly. I will ask one more time, probably futilely, that you at least make an effort to be polite, respectful, and charitable. If there is any truth to what you say, it will be persuasive on its own merits, and in fact strengthened by treating your listeners with respect rather than insulting them. Couching your arguments in insults, sarcasm, and name-calling only turns others off from your content, and makes you appear to be a bully and a jerk.

            The peace of Christ be with you.

          • T: No pre or post-crucified blood was shed at the Last Supper because Scripture says an unbloody sacrifice is inadequate for the remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Hence, your assertion that His supposed sacrifice in the Upper Room was applicable for the forgiveness of the apostle’s sins while they sat there, could not be true because it was unbloody!

            CK – Mathew 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.

            Hmm..Jesus says, “this is my blood of the new covenant.”

            Jesus says the wine in the cup IS his blood, You say no pre or post-crucified blood was shed. I’ll take what Jesus tells us over your interpretation.

            I can’t understand how Jesus did it but He did. Just like I can’t completely understand the Trinity.

            You sound like those disciples in John 6:60.

            John 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

            T: And it certainly didn’t do anything for Judas, who was invited to eat it.

            CK – sure didn’t. I wonder if the bible gives us any hint of why this was the case…Here you go.

            1 Cor 11:27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

            T; It is equally inept to deal with the forgiveness of sins for any Catholic today.
            If what you were saying were true, the Holy Spirit would have told us of the exception of an unbloody sacrifice. I counted over 50 examples of “exceptions” made in Scripture, so it’s certainly in God’s character to do so.

            CK – The Holy Spirit didn’t need to give an exception. Jesus flat out told you it’s his blood! I know it offends your senses, but He was very clear.

            Jeremiah 6:10 o whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me?
            Their ears are closed[a] so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.

            T: That He does not come to your rescue here, (neither does He lift a finger, as it were, regarding the exception of “sinless” Mary), is breathtaking evidence against your doctrine.

            CK – it is you that needs rescuing.

      • Trevor – It just amazes me how someone who claims to have truth on his side relies so much on out of context quotes and flat out mischaracterizations.

        If the RCC is as bad as you say, then the truth will be more than sufficient to discredit her.

        Jesus didn’t use those tactics because He spoke the truth. The fact that you have to use these shady tactics should give you and anyone else reading these posts pause.

        Those that follow politics will notice the same tactics employed by politicians because they are interested in winning and not the truth.

        Peace be with you.

        • I am not in the habit of using shady tactics or “out of context” quotes. I go to great length to explain, which is more than I can say for you.

          • I think Joseph has shown you taking Catholic teaching out of context enough times. Readers can decide for themselves.

            I do apologize for accusing you of using shady tactics. I don’t know your heart.

  3. CK – Mathew 26:28… for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.

    Hmm..Jesus says, “this is my blood of the new covenant.”

    T: He also said He was a vine, a door, and a signpost (“the way”). Was He ever literally, any of these things?
    You forget that no one believes, not even the Pope, that when we read, “This cup is the new testament in my blood”, that the CUP ITSELF was actually the new testament
    (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
    Furthermore, RC apologists have to do a lot of arm-chair theological gymnastics to get around the fact that Jesus called the elements “bread and wine” AFTER what they say was the “consecration”.

    P.S. Thanks for saying my intentions are not necessarily shady due to the inability to read my mind. Actually, there’s nothing to gain by being shady when you know you have to give an account on Judgment Day to the One who CAN read your mind.

    • He also said He was a vine, a door, and a signpost (“the way”). Was He ever literally, any of these things? You forget that no one believes, not even the Pope, that when we read, “This cup is the new testament in my blood”, that the CUP ITSELF was actually the new testament…

      This is a tired old argument, and in fact you’ve misapplied it: the argument can only really be applied to the direct metaphor and related I AM statement, “I am the Bread of Life.” And in fact even in that case, it overlooks a crucial element of the metaphors: Each of those metaphors was applicable in that the actions to be performed on the vehicle were the actions to which Jesus was inviting His listeners. In the case of the vine, to abide in Him and bear fruit; in the gate, to enter by Him; in the way (in fact, a “way” is a road, not a signpost), to come to the Father through Him. By the same token, in saying “I am the Bread of Life,” the action to which He invited His listeners is to eat Him and live.

      The case of the “cup” standing for the contents of the cup is actually an instance of metonymy and not metaphor. To quote the Wikipedia article, “In metaphor, this substitution [of one term for another] is based on some specific analogy between two things, whereas in metonymy the substitution is based on some understood association or contiguity.” The figure is clear to any listener, especially to one with a western rhetorical formation.

      Furthermore, RC apologists have to do a lot of arm-chair theological gymnastics to get around the fact that Jesus called the elements “bread and wine” AFTER what they say was the “consecration”.

      Why would you say that? After they are consecrated, Catholics very often refer to the elements as “consecrated wine” and “consecrated hosts.”

      • J: And in fact, though the teaching of the Catholic Church is one, there are many differences of nuance in understanding and argument within that unity.

        T: In fact, though the teaching of non-Catholics is one, there are many differences of nuance in understanding and argument within THAT community!

        J: In fact, that isn’t what any Catholic believes [i.e., “that every human creature is subject to the Roman Pontiff, this we declare, say, define and pronounce to be altogether necessary for salvation.”].

        T: Words could not be clearer. You obviously wish Boniface VIII kept his mouth shut. But he didn’t, so you are stuck with it as part of your official church teaching. Deal with it, instead of denying it.

        J: This is exactly the kind of sarcasm and mockery I am referring to

        T: Is it really sarcasm to say when the wafer loses its form after melting in the roof of the mouth, that Jesus leaves? That is essentially what the catechism is saying in 1377! It says that the real presence endures only as long as the wafer retains its form. In my opinion, you are bothered by this because you wish the catechism had not even brought it up, it being so glaringly at odds with the promise of Christ to be with us “always”. We must conclude then that this was not part of the gospel “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
        Deny it? Where then are the sermons which expound on the shortness of Jesus’s stay?

        J: His Eucharistic presence is but one way in which He is “with us always.” And that never goes away

        T: 1377 flatly states that the “Eucharistic presence” does indeed go away! Wake up!

        J: there is always a consecrated Host somewhere in the world, and always the promise of more where that came from [which does not] contradict the promise.

        T: The fact that there are consecrated hosts on deck ready to be dispatched…”out there”…. is not a valid argument to my objection that Jesus exits FROM YOU PERSONALLY, per 1377.

        J: Notably, you did wisely abandon your suggestion that Augustine supported your views: in fact he does not.

        T: I did not abandon any such thing, nor did you refute the quotes I provided.

        J: The fact that you presented quotes from him for support seems to contradict your claim that you “don’t care” what ancient Christians believed and don’t need their support for your doctrines.

        T: I mentioned him only because you said “EVERYONE” believed this doctrine without exception. The truth is, Augustine was INCONSISTENT, as various authors have indicated. FYI, I have read Darwell’s Stones, “A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist” {circa 1900}….in which he lists all the sayings of the ECF’s on the Eucharist, and NO WHERE does any one of them mention the belief in #1377, so I know you will not be able to live up to the challenge of finding a sermon on THAT subject. Moreover, Mr. Stone expresses bewilderment in four separate places in relation to the, “constant use of sacrificial language in reference to the Eucharist made by those who do consider it a literal sacrifice. It is unaccompanied by any explicit and detailed explanation of the way in which the Eucharist izzz a sacrifice” {p., 47, 49, 113, 153}. Quite true. And this is because Scripture doesn’t include any detailed explanation either. These men simply assert it! I would also add that when you read the ECF’s, it is frustrating to note that in most cases, they merely ***claim*** that there is some change in the bread based on John 6 with no meaningful explication as to whyyyy we should believe it with reasons based on God’s word. Not surprisingly, they usually couple their opinion with lame analogies such as that old stand-by, “God can do anything so it must be true”, as you have hypothesized also.

        J: I in fact concur with [Robert Sungenis] , and have concurred in the past. Jesus builds a powerful and beautiful metaphor in verses 25 through 40.

        T: Rather, you have contradicted yourself and are just as inconsistent as Augustine. When someone is inconsistent in a court of law, their testimony is dismissed. On this very page you say in regard to vs. 36… QUOTE, [it]
        “was meant to convey we consume the literal body of Christ.” Yet you flip-flop by holding that it is both metaphorical AND literal in the previous article you linked to. After agreeing with the metaphorical Sungenis rubric, you then revert to literal. Next to the Rembrandt pic, you say
        “Jesus urged them not to work for temporal, perishable food, but the food that He will give to them, the food of salvation.”
        But You CANNOT have it both ways! Thus, your testimony must be thrown out of court. Jesus no more offered them ACTUAL “food for salvation” any more than He was interested in real food when He said, “My meat is to do the will of him who sent me.”

        According to Sungenis, Catholicism would have us believe that Jesus was speaking metaphorically up to vs. 47, and then changed gears into being literal. We deny. We say that since metaphor was used in chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5…. guess what? Using the brain God has given us, we simply conclude that Jesus was consistent, and did the same thing in chapter 6. Now go to chapter 16:25
        “These things have I spoken unto you in figurative language; but an hour is coming when I shall no more speak unto you in figurative language, but I shall show you plainly. . .” When we consider that the events of John 6 took place ***BEFORE*** Jesus’s “hour to speak plainly”, then we may rightfully expect Him to be speaking more often in figurative language! And to cap this argument, even after the discourse in John 6, the Jews came right out and said, “How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, TELL US PLAINLY ” {John 10:24}.

        J: No Catholic holds Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist to be…in any way equivalent to His physical, bodily presence during His earthly life

        T: On the contrary, every Catholic does indeed believe just THAT and I am shell-shocked that you would repudiate it.
        See Trent: “If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained TRULY, REALLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently, the WHOLE Christ…let him be anathema.”

        Furthermore, the Pope and I have understood the clarity of Trent’s words to be diametrically opposed to yours:
        In his encyclical, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, JPII says that, “the body given up for us and made present under the sacramental signs, was the same body which Mary had conceived in her womb” (#16).

        J: the fact that there is no support for your position before the modern era should cause some question in your mind.

        T: As I did last time to refute your “no support anywhere in history” contention, I will use the book by Sungenis, who admits that there has always been, “a diversity in patristic thought on the Eucharist” (“Not By Bread Alone”, p. 306)—right up till the time it was officially defined in 1215 under Innocent III.
        Circa 830, a monk by the name of Radbertus, who openly made a strong identification of the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist, was opposed by another monk called Ratramnus, who took the opposite view (ibid, p. 299). In 855, Rabanas Maurus wrote that there were those who were wrong that judged the sacrament was the same body and blood which was born of the virgin Mary and which suffered on the cross and rose from the grave” (ibid, p. 300). The wondering monk called Gottschalk, and the abbot, Gezo, accused Radbertus of advocating a realism of the Eucharist which bordered on cannibalism (p. 300-1). One by the name of Erigena, held that, “the sacrament of the altar might not be the body and blood, but only a remembrance” (p. 300). Circa 1000, Berengar, of the church of St. Martin in Tours, openly denied transubstantiation and said there was no need for the substantial presence in the sacrament and that the whole idea was nonsense (p. 302-303). Nor was it the way in which one received eternal life, to which Peter of Vienna agreed (p. 308). The Cathari movement and the Albigensians of France agreed with the argument presented by Berengar (p. 303).

        J: The sacrifice — which was not complete until the Cross, which was quite bloody — is what forgives our sins, as He Himself told us: forgiveness is in His blood.

        T: Well, if His sacrifice wan’t complete until the “bloody” cross where, “it was finished”, than we deny your INCOMPLETE, UNBLOODY sacrifice at the Last Supper, are the “same”, per #1367, no matter how loudly you may say they are.
        What saves us is having “FAITH in His blood”, not drinking it! (Romans 3:25).
        Blood-bought, born-again Christians, are made “clean” by His word because we believe it (John 15:3). We do not need the Eucharist to cleanse our sins, because we are “completely clean” (John 13:10). FAITH applies the cleansing, purifying blood. When we get our “feet dirty”, we are still saved (13:10), because “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin”
        (1 John 1:7)…(i.e., literally, “keeps on cleansing”); thus the need for the cleansing power of the Eucharist, is a myth.

        J: At the very least, His use of this word [trogo: to bite, chew, gnaw] removed any doubt that He was referring to a physical eating, not a spiritual or metaphorical one.
        [your linked article on this page].

        T: You need to be careful of your all-encompassing declarations such as, “NO WHERE in history”, “EVERYONE believed such and such”, “NO support for your position before the modern era” and NO ONE believes the Boniface VIII statement, all of which have been refuted. Here now you do it again for a fifth time, saying Jesus removed ***ALL*** doubt…all because of “trogo”.
        Not on your life.

        http://chicorico057.webnode.com/news/catholics-and-the-misunderstanding-of-john-6-52-58-part-two/

        • Trevor, thanks. I can tell you are making a sincere effort to tone it down. It is appreciated. It sounds, though, that we’re increasingly quibbling over words, sniping at each other’s phrases out of context. I think this thread may be nearing the end of its usefulness.

          In fact, though the teaching of non-Catholics is one, there are many differences of nuance in understanding and argument within THAT community!

          Really? What community might that be? I am very curious, what Protestant group do you consider yourself to be a part of? And where are you from? I would like to know, so I can offer you better help. There are, at last count, some 40,000 distinct Protestant sects in the world, many of which acknowledge no “community” with each other: they will not work together or cooperate for the good of the kingdom; they will not accept each other’s children as brother and sister Christians without reservation; they certainly cannot break bread together. At what point do you acknowledge that “difference” is “division”? In the Catholic Church, despite differences of opinion, a Christian can travel and be accepted in full communion by any other church in the world. But where I am from, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, the Churches of Christ, “non-denominationals” — they generally do not associate with each other, and they certainly do not associate with Catholics.

          Words could not be clearer. You obviously wish Boniface VIII kept his mouth shut. But he didn’t, so you are stuck with it as part of your official church teaching. Deal with it, instead of denying it.

          I don’t think I said anything about that. I said that “no Catholic believes” what you characterized, that we “pin our hopes for eternal life at the feet of a mere man.” Neither does the quote entail that. Being subject to our appointed leaders is a plainly biblical doctrine (e.g. Hebrews 13:17), but it does not mean that we “pin our hopes for eternal life at the feet of a mere man.”

          Is it really sarcasm to say…

          It isn’t what you said; it was how you said it: the use of mocking quotes around “jesus”; mocking references to “Oreo cookies,” “the boys,” and the like. Surely you can tell when you are being caustic and sarcastic? Yes, so can we. I believe you are perfectly capable of getting your point across without any of that.

          In my opinion, you are bothered by this because you wish the catechism had not even brought it up…

          Nope, what I believe doesn’t bother me. Your mockery, derision, and misrepresentation of it does.

          1377 flatly states that the “Eucharistic presence” does indeed go away! Wake up! … The fact that there are consecrated hosts on deck ready to be dispatched…”out there”…. is not a valid argument to my objection that Jesus exits FROM YOU PERSONALLY, per 1377.

          You are not being very polite, are you? Please continue to work on that. Your objection that “Jesus exits from you personally” is misplaced: this is not what even the words you are quoting say nor what Catholics believe. Certainly you believe that Jesus is present in you always, through the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). Yes, so do Catholics. So no, Jesus does not “exit from” any of us.

          I did not abandon any such thing, nor did you refute the quotes I provided.

          Do you really want me to take the time to refute each of those quotes? How about I start with just a couple?

          “To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already.”

          —–NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 25, §12.

          You give also:

          “For to believe on Him is to eat the living bread. He that believes eats…”
          —–NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 26, §1.

          You seem to have a real problem with this passage in Scripture, with the idea that Jesus’s language can be both figurative and real. Jesus does relate “believing” to “eating” and “drinking” (e.g. John 6:36, 29): but is this all He means? Does Augustine indicate that this is all He means? In fact, just a few words later, in the very same Tractate, he relates this whole idea of “eating” and “drinking” back to the Eucharist:

          But that which they ask, while striving among themselves, namely, how the Lord can give His flesh to be eaten, they do not immediately hear: but further it is said to them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye will have no life in you.” How, indeed, it may be eaten, and what may be the mode of eating this bread, ye are ignorant of; nevertheless, “except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye will not have life in you.” … The sacrament of this thing, namely, of the unity of the body and blood of Christ, is prepared on the Lord’s table in some places daily, in some places at certain intervals of days, and from the Lord’s table it is taken, by some to life, by some to destruction: but the thing itself, of which it is the sacrament, is for every man to life, for no man to destruction, whosoever shall have been a partaker thereof. (Tractate on John XXVI.15, in NPNF I.7)

          This is the very same verse referred to in your first quote, declaring it to be a “figure”: so again I ask, why is it so hard to understand that the same words can have both a figurative meaning and at the same time point to a reality?

          And your last quote, a mere few words later:

          “Certainly then, at least, you will see that not in the manner you suppose does He dispense His body; certainly then, at least, you will understand that His grace is not consumed by tooth-biting.”

          —–NPNF1-7, Tractates on John, Tractate 27, Section 3

          The context of this quotation, of course, is important: what “supposition” is he refuting? “For they supposed that He was going to deal out His body to them; but He said that He was to ascend into heaven, of course, whole.” I could thus say the same to you: The manner you suppose is not the way He dispenses His body — not by asking us to physically bite the flesh from His frame — but He does dispense His body to us, as Augustine’s very statement implies.

          In fact, Augustine says, in summary to the whole Bread of Life discourse:

          All this that the Lord spoke concerning His flesh and blood;—and in the grace of that distribution He promised us eternal life, and that He meant those that eat His flesh and drink His blood to be understood, from the fact of their abiding in Him and He in them. … Let all this, then, avail us to this end, most beloved, that we eat not the flesh and blood of Christ merely in the sacrament, as many evil men do, but that we eat and drink to the participation of the Spirit, that we abide as members in the Lord’s body, to be quickened by His Spirit, and that we be not offended, even if many do now with us eat and drink the sacraments in a temporal manner, who shall in the end have eternal torments. (Tractate on John XXVII.11)

          The context of all these quotes is thus made plain: Jesus calls us to participate in His Spirit, to believe in Him, and not merely to eat and drink Him in the sacrament without this faith and participation. None of this contradicts His plain command that we should eat and drink His body and blood — Augustine teaches, just as the Church teaches today, that without the proper disposition, true faith and a willingness to partake of Him spiritually, the sacrament is of no avail.

          By taking these quotes out of context, and pretending that each is not part of a larger work, you can thus make it appear that Augustine supports your views: but in fact he does not. (I suspect it was not you who searched out these quotes, but that you found them presented by some other apologist, so I can’t fault you for the cherry-picking: but that it all it is.)

          I guess I said I wasn’t going to refute all your quotes, but it was simpler than I expected; thanks for clumping them all together like that. 🙂

          I mentioned him only because you said “EVERYONE” believed this doctrine without exception.

          I said that all orthodox Christians believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. And clearly Augustine did. (See the other many quotes in the articles I linked, and look them up in context if you’d like. If you need help with that, I’m glad to show you.)

          The truth is, Augustine was INCONSISTENT, as various authors have indicated.

          Augustine lived a long life, and his views on various positions did evolve, as can be said for most of us. But I’ve seen nothing to indicate that his faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was ever questioned or inconsistent.

          NO WHERE [do any of the early Church Fathers] mention the belief in #1377, so I know you will not be able to live up to the challenge of finding a sermon on THAT subject.

          Our understanding of doctrine develops. You are still trying to project an anachronistic, late medieval understanding of doctrine on men of the first Christian centuries. Just because early Christians hadn’t reasoned out a particular understanding doesn’t mean that it wasn’t true. This understanding was developed fully, along with most of the Church’s understanding of transubstantiation, by St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century.

          I would also add that when you read the ECF’s, it is frustrating to note that in most cases, they merely ***claim*** that there is some change in the bread based on John 6 with no meaningful explication as to whyyyy we should believe it with reasons based on God’s word.

          The Church Fathers, as much as it may frustrate you, did not read Scripture with a Protestant hermeneutic. They did not believe in “sola scriptura” and did not generally ask such questions as “why we should believe based on the Scriptures.” Their understanding of God’s truths was based on what had been handed down, on what their own teachers had taught them, as they had been taught by their teachers. It is manifest from the very earliest Christian testimonies that early Christians believed the bread and wine of the Eucharist to be the Body and Blood of Christ. They took this truth for granted as having been revealed, and did not see the need to find “proof” in Scriptures that already supported what they believed: Jesus gave us the bread, saying “This is my Body.” The faith that these were the truths handed down by the Apostles was “reason to believe” enough for the Church Fathers.

          Rather, you have contradicted yourself and are just as inconsistent as Augustine. When someone is inconsistent in a court of law, their testimony is dismissed.

          I actually don’t think I’ve been inconsistent, or has Augustine. But you’ve dismissed most of everything else I’ve said, so have at it. 🙂

          On this very page you say in regard to vs. 36… QUOTE, [it] “was meant to convey we consume the literal body of Christ.”

          Uhhh… it was actually you who said that. Look again.

          Yet you flip-flop by holding that it is both metaphorical AND literal in the previous article you linked to. After agreeing with the metaphorical Sungenis rubric, you then revert to literal. Next to the Rembrandt pic, you say “Jesus urged them not to work for temporal, perishable food, but the food that He will give to them, the food of salvation.” But You CANNOT have it both ways!

          My position is consistent: For the earlier part of the speech, Jesus was speaking metaphorically. (And by “food of salvation,” I was actually being figurative also.) “Figurative” does not mean “not real”; it means that Jesus was using figurative language to refer to spiritual realities. And then Jesus began speaking literally. He changed His tone. He changed the subject. People can do that, you know. The same words, used different ways, can refer to more than one thing. This is not “inconsistent”: it’s the way real people use language. If you have rejected my words and the words of our Lord in your court, then that’s your business. At least it’s a resolution. Perhaps you can move along now.

          Catholicism would have us believe that Jesus was speaking metaphorically up to vs. 47, and then changed gears into being literal. We deny. We say that since metaphor was used in chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5…. guess what? Using the brain God has given us, we simply conclude that Jesus was consistent, and did the same thing in chapter 6.

          Yes, Jesus used metaphor in those early chapters. He continued using it after Chapter 6 also. But was every single thing He said metaphorical? Was He incapable of being literal?

          On the contrary, every Catholic does indeed believe just THAT and I am shell-shocked that you would repudiate it.

          Man, you continue to presume to tell me what it is that I (and “every Catholic”) believe. In fact, you are misrepresenting what Catholics believe, with your talk of a “second incarnation” somehow equivalent to His physical, bodily presence with us: This is not what Catholics believe. These terms — “physical,” “bodily,” “real”, “substantial,” etc. — are technical and chosen carefully, as Trent chose them even more carefully. Yes, Christ is with us in Eucharist truly (“My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink”), really (hence talk of the Real Presence), and substantially (His whole substance is there). None of these definitions is in terms of a physical, bodily, dimensional presence.

          In his encyclical, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, JPII says that, “the body given up for us and made present under the sacramental signs, was the same body which Mary had conceived in her womb” (#16).

          Yes, it is the very same body, since Christ has only one body — but physically, bodily, dimensionally, that body is in heaven. His presence here is mystical and supernatural and mysterious, in substance that is under the signs. I get the feeling that these terms and concepts are difficult for you to understand, but please rest assured: no Catholic understands them the way you insist we understand them. This is the stuff of fine, metaphysical theology, and concerning oneself with such things is not necessary for salvation or the Christian life. The important thing to understand is that no, Jesus is not with us bodily or physically: we cannot meet with Him face to face or have physical, face-to-face conversations with Him; but yes, He does meet with us in a real, substantial way, in the sacrament of His Body and Blood, as Scripture promises us (1 Corinthians 10:16).

          Furthermore … I have understood the clarity of Trent’s words to be diametrically opposed to yours…

          You’ve misunderstood.

          Sungenis … admits that there has always been, “a diversity in patristic thought on the Eucharist”

          Yes, in fact there was: but within this diversity, the Church Fathers all understood it broadly in terms of a real presence.

          It was officially defined in 1215 under Innocent III.

          The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) produced the first official documents that used the word “transubstantiation.” But the Church’s understanding of Christ’s Real Presence of the Eucharist dates to the very oldest Christian documents — to Scripture itself, though I know you refute that. Transubstantiation is but an elaboration and an attempt to explain what the Church has always believed.

          We deny your INCOMPLETE, UNBLOODY sacrifice at the Last Supper, are the “same”, per #1367, no matter how loudly you may say they are.

          Who is “we” again, out of curiosity? You ignored everything I wrote in my last comment about this, so I will not spend much time in replying this time: Do you really believe that the Last Supper has no essential connection to the Crucifixion — that the sacrifice which Jesus presented (told us about) at the Last Supper is not the same sacrifice He gave at Calvary?

          When we get our “feet dirty”, we are still saved (13:10), because “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)…(i.e., literally, “keeps on cleansing”); thus the need for the cleansing power of the Eucharist, is a myth.

          That’s an interesting interpretation: I’ve never heard these particular verses applied to a “once saved, always saved” kind of thinking before. I would suggest that you are perhaps conflating ideas here: in Catholic theology, it is primarily baptism, not the Eucharist, that cleanses us from sin by the power of His blood (Romans 6:3-11, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 3:18-22), and afterward the confession of sins (cf. 1 John 1:9, James 3:16). Having been “bathed” in John 13:10 implies baptism (cf. Titus 3:5) — and if the “cleanness” referenced here does imply purification from sin as you suggest, then Jesus does here imply that something still needs to be done for the sinner, if his “feet are dirty.” Likewise, the “cleansing from sins” expressed in 1 John 1 is the apodosis of a future conditional statement: If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. The idea, as you suggest, that the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing us from all sin implies, of course, an ongoing process, rather than a once-and-for-all event: the cleansing of new sins as they occur, and we continue to walk in the light with Him. This is again subject to a future condition (v. 9): If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

          You need to be careful of your all-encompassing declarations such as, “NO WHERE in history”, “EVERYONE believed such and such”, “NO support for your position before the modern era” and NO ONE believes the Boniface VIII statement, all of which have been refuted.

          I do my best to be careful with such statements, and usually I carefully qualify them. I can’t find any declaration I’ve made along the lines of “nowhere in history.” I said that all the orthodox Church Fathers (a closed set of writers) held a firm and demonstrable belief in a Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist — and I believe that is a provable fact. I said that historically, all orthodox Christians also believed this: and in time, this did become a crucial staple of Christian orthodoxy. And again, I never said that “no one believes” the statement from Unam sanctam: I believe it, in fact. What no one believes is your mischaracterization of it.

          Here now you do it again for a fifth time, saying Jesus removed ***ALL*** doubt…all because of “trogo”.

          Of course, my statement was not a categorical or technical one: In my opinion, Jesus’s use of that verb should have removed all doubt. There is certainly nothing in my article to imply that being convinced of Jesus’s literalness is “all because of τρώγειν”: it was in fact a very minor point. Interestingly, the article you link rejects the proffering of τρώγειν as an absolute proof, but does not attempt to offer any absolute proof to the contrary. It is a good article, I greatly enjoyed it, and I thank you for sharing it. Also interestingly, the author concludes that the whole discourse in John 6 is Eucharistic in its implications, contrary to the commentary I was arguing against in my own article, who seemed determined to reject that connection.

          We are going around and around here, with little new information offered in the past few rounds. We are only agonizing over the same few points with little progress made (although I do appreciate the article you shared and the novel scriptural interpretation). I have another post in the series I am working on which you may be interested in, which will bring the topic back to the priesthood. I would like to have time to work on it, but I’m expending an awful lot of time responding to these comments. All of that said, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and close this comment thread. I hope you comment on my posts in the future: please “follow” me or “like” me if you haven’t already. The next one should be posted in a week or so. Please continue seeking the Lord and pursuing His truth. I hope I have been of benefit to you and hope I can continue helping you. God bless you, brother, and His peace be with you!

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