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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Pope Saint Gelasius, one of the great scholars and theologians of his day, was not a transubstantiationist, and, since this is papal teaching, it would have been the teaching of the Church of Rome in the 5th century.

From Saint Gelasius, Bishop of Rome in the fifth century:

"Certainly the sacraments of the Body and Blood of Christ that we receive are a divine reality, because of which and through which we are made sharers of the divine nature. Nevertheless the substance or nature of bread and wine does not cease to exist. And certainly the image and likeness of the Body and Blood of Christ are celebrated in the carrying out the Mysteries."
Certainly one does not have to accept the theory of transubstantiation, which is predicated upon the metaphysics of Aristotle, in order to believe that the Eucharistic elements are the true body and blood of Christ.

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At last, a voice of reason!

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The Body and Blood are a present reality, the accidents remain, and the orthodox speak of Chage, no matter what you call it, the reality is the most Holy Body and Precious Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. That has and always will be the faith of the Church.
Stephanos I

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That there is a change is clearly part of tradition, but the description of how the change occurs is not, nor is it really relevant.

Similarly, there is a difference between the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, but as St. John Damascene said, ". . . we have learned [i.e., through revelation] that there is a difference between generation and procession, but the nature of that difference we in no wise understand."

It really is not important to know how the change in the Eucharistic elements occurs, and making speculation about it into "dogma" will only lead to division.

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Quote
Nevertheless the substance or nature of bread and wine does not cease to exist.


Todd:

Intersting. This seems to be the same argument that Martin Luther made for his consubstantiation doctrine. Or is this part of a translation problem?

How the change comes, well, some of my favorite quotes come from a collection of Eucharistic meditations entitled "Hidden Treasure, by Louis Kaczmarek, (p. 91) the man who escorted the international pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima around the world for some years prior to the 1990 publication of this work.

From St. Paul's 1 Cor 11:23-26: (aka, The Communion Epistle)
. . . I received fromt he Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus . . . took bread . . . and said "This is my body . . . Do this as an remembrance (anamnesis) of Me." In the same way also the cup . . . saying "This is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as . . . in remembrance (anamnesis) of Me."

St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 117): "The Eucharis is the Flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ."

St. Justin Martyr (d. 167): "We take this not as ordinary bread nor as ordinary drink, but, as Jesus Christ our Savior."

St. Irenaeus (d. 203): "Wine and bread are by the word of God changed into the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ."

St. Hippolytus of Rome (d. 235): "He has given us His own Divine Flesh and His own Precious Blood to eat and to drink."

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Philosophy will be the death of us all.

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Originally Posted by theophan
[quote]Nevertheless the substance or nature of bread and wine does not cease to exist.


Todd:

Intersting. This seems to be the same argument that Martin Luther made for his consubstantiation doctrine. Or is this part of a translation problem?
Pope St. Gelasius said what he said because he did not accept a system of metaphysics founded upon Aristotelian philosophy. That said, I do not think that we should try to make St. Gelasius the advocate of any particular modern theory of change, whether one is talking about transubstantiation or consubstantiation; instead, I think that we should stick to what can be truly affirmed, i.e., that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. St. Gelasius, like the other Fathers of the first millennium was not "defining" anything when he wrote about the mysteries of the faith, because the mysteries of the faith are beyond definition. Certainly we can say things about them, but everything we say always falls short of the reality of the mystery.

As far as Martin Luther is concerned, he can think what he wants about the Eucharist, but his theory is just as speculative and irrelevant as any other theory about how the elements are changed.

That said, I do not think it is possible to know how the elements are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ; instead, I simply recognize that they are changed - in a manner that is beyond discursive reasoning - into the true body and blood of the Lord. Honestly, I no longer have any interest in speculative theories about what is happening during any of the holy mysteries, which is why I compared the change in the elements to the distinction between generation and procession, which is a distinction beyond intellectual comprehension. Those who try to delve into things that are beyond man's intellect will be - as St. Gregory Nazianzus said - frenzy-stricken.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
At last, a voice of reason!

Thank you, Stuart. It is precisely what I have been saying all through this thread.

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Indeed. And thats what the Latin rector told me.

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Dear brother Apotheoun,

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
That there is a change is clearly part of tradition, but the description of how the change occurs is not, nor is it really relevant.
Neither the theory of consubstantiation nor impanation impose a change in the elements. So I guess you agree that those two are out of the question as far as Holy Tradition is concerned?

What do you think of the statement: "the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ but still looks and feels and tastes like bread and wine." Is that a sufficiently undogmatic statement of our belief? If you agree, can you tell me what the difference is between that statment and the dogma of transubstantiation?

Blessings,
Marduk

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I do not accept any speculative theory based upon pagan metaphysics that tries to describe what is happening or how the Eucharistic change occurs; rather, I accept as a matter of faith that the Eucharistic elements are the Body and Blood of Christ, while simultaneously foregoing notions of substance and accident, or any other terms that attempt to define the indefinable.

That is why - as I said earlier - I find what Pope St. Gelasius wrote about the Eucharist to be perfectly orthodox even though what he said, i.e., from a transubstantiationist viewpoint, contradicts the later Scholastic teaching of the West.

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The Catholic Church teaches that the term transubstantiation best describes what her belief in the Eucharist is. It does not describe” the how “of what is essentially a mystery, as some of you seem to think. It simply states that in the Eucharist the taste, color, texture and smell of bread and wine (accidents) remain, have all the elements of good, nourishing food; while the reality (substantia) is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. Is that not our faith? Aristotle was Greek, not Latin, and developed a marvelous metaphysics for understanding reality. Greek philosophical terminology was readily used by Church Fathers and ecumenical councils to illustrate the faith, and is not a particularly western thing developed exclusively by the Scholastics. It was Aquinas’ genius to fully understand Aristotle and to use his precise and accurate metaphysical language to explicate the faith of the Church. I suggest reading a marvelous little book, if it’s still in print, called “The Problem of God” by Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ. It does not deal with the Eucharist, but, among other things, shows how the Church Christianized Hellenism. Hellenism did not Christianize the Church.

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I think "violent agreement" is indeed a good characterization of what's going on here.

My main point is simply that if the bread and wine indeed change into the Body and Blood, as the Divine Liturgy says, then we can't have any talk of accepting "consubstantiation" or "impanation", because both approaches specifically and explicitely deny the change of bread and wine. What we call the change, or whether or not we call it anything other than a change (again, as the Liturgy does) is immaterial.

At the root we all agree that a change indeed occurs, and that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood. Since that is the case we can also admit that notions which directly contradict this fact, as consubstantiation and impanation, can't be ascribed to the Faith.

Peace and God bless!

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Originally Posted by Utroque
The Catholic Church teaches that the term transubstantiation best describes what her belief in the Eucharist is.
The Latin Church can use whatever terms it likes, but I am not a Latin Catholic and so I see no need to buy into the Aristotelian metaphysics that under-gird the late medieval Scholastic theory of what the Eucharistic change involves.

Originally Posted by Utroque
It does not describe” the how “of what is essentially a mystery, as some of you seem to think. It simply states that in the Eucharist the taste, color, texture and smell of bread and wine (accidents) remain, have all the elements of good, nourishing food; while the reality (substantia) is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity.
I will stick with the teachings of the Greek Fathers and Pope St. Gelasius, but you are free to accept the later Western theories about the Eucharist.

Originally Posted by Utroque
Is that not our faith? Aristotle was Greek, not Latin, and developed a marvelous metaphysics for understanding reality.
My faith as a Christian has nothing to do with the opinions of Aristotle.

Originally Posted by Utroque
Greek philosophical terminology was readily used by Church Fathers and ecumenical councils to illustrate the faith, and is not a particularly western thing developed exclusively by the Scholastics.
Certainly the Greek Fathers used the Greek language when writing theological treatises, but that does not mean that they accepted the pagan philosophical meanings of the terms that they used. Quite the contrary, as the Greek patristic usage of words like "ousia" and "hypostasis" shows, the Holy Fathers were not Platonists, nor were they Aristotelians; instead, they were Christians and as Christians they radically altered the meanings of those words (and many others) in order to serve a Christian purpose, and of course the Holy Fathers always gave precedence to revelation over Greek pagan culture.

Originally Posted by Utroque
It was Aquinas’ genius to fully understand Aristotle and to use his precise and accurate metaphysical language to explicate the faith of the Church.
I have no doubt that Aquinas was smart, but that does not mean that I am going to accept his theological speculations as a representation of the faith of the Greek Fathers or even the Latin Fathers for that matter.

Originally Posted by Utroque
I suggest reading a marvelous little book, if it’s still in print, called “The Problem of God” by Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ. It does not deal with the Eucharist, but, among other things, shows how the Church Christianized Hellenism. Hellenism did not Christianize the Church.
I have read it, and was unimpressed.

P.S. - Do you perhaps mean to say that ". . . the Church Christianized Hellenism. Hellenism did not Hellenize the Church"?

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Yes, that's what I meant to say, but it sounds like you have a chip on your shoulders. Neither the Greek Fathers nor the Scholastics altered the meaning of these metaphysical concepts otherwise no one would know what they were talking about. They may have refined the meaning of these words and concepts, but they did not alter the meaning. You do not have to be impressed by Fr Murray's book, but I hope you understood it.

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