A question about the Holy Eucharist

Question: To any normal person, this sounds very much like the script of a gruesome horror film. The whole idea of “eating Jesus’ body” and “drinking his blood” is grotesque in the extreme. What do you believers have to say about this?

Answer: The Jews were required to eat the flesh of the Passover Lamb, ever since God liberated them from slavery, in Egypt.

Christians have been required to eat the risen and glorified flesh and blood of Jesus Christ – the true, Lamb of Godever since he liberated all of mankind from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death by his atoning sacrifice on the cross, at Calvary and his subsequent, glorious resurrection from the dead.

This is an essential part of a uniquely powerful Eucharistic Celebration/Commemoration (known as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) where we Christians joyfully, thankfully and powerfully receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ (known as “The Real Presence”) under the more palatable and aesthetically pleasing auspices of ordinary bread and wine.

To put it even more simply:
This is merely one more extraordinary and awesome example

of God’s total self-giving for our salvation.

For those in the know, who possess at least a modicum of true faith, this is historically and traditionally consistent, logical, rational and supernaturally nourishing.

For others, it remains a total mystery and a scandal.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo!Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

A question about the possibility of divine justification, prior to Jesus’ perfect and atoning sacrifice, on the cross.


Question: In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 18, verse 9, we read the story of The Pharisee and the Tax Collector. In verse 14, it goes on to say that the Tax Collector went home justified, by God. I thought that prior to Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, nobody was ever justified, by God. What am I missing?

Answer: Prior to Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind, God provided many types of opportunities for man to give God thanks and praise and to offer up imperfect forms of animal (and other) sacrifices to God, for various good purposes and intentions.

While none of those “forms” of worship (or even our best attempts at perfectly keeping the Old Law) had the power to destroy Satan’s power over man, or reopen the Gates of Heaven, they did serve to (imperfectly) please/appease God and impute a certain level of righteousness/justification to those who faithfully and correctly practiced them.

The souls of those who God considered to be “justified” in that manner, were supernaturally “marked” for eventual salvation, in Jesus Christ and subsequently detained in a special “place” in the afterlife – known (alternatively) as Hell, or “The Bosom of Abraham” – while they awaited the perfect and atoning sacrifice of our Holy Redeemer, on the cross, at Calvary.

Catholic Tradition informs us that Jesus escorted all those faithful souls to Heaven, while his dead body lay in the tomb, for three days and nights, awaiting his glorious Resurrection.

It is noteworthy that, in the half-century since the Council, the post-Conciliar liturgical texts have not themselves had any apparent power to inculturate themselves into our society and to generate anything similar to what the classical texts had produced.

Read more at Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment Site

In times of great confusion, such as our own day, many Catholics are baffled on how to react.

questionSome claim that we must obey our leaders no matter what, and that to voice the slightest disagreement with them is a manifestation of disrespect and disobedience. Not only is this way of thinking incorrect, it also paralyzes Catholics into inaction and heightens their confusion. What we hope to demonstrate is that, according to the Saints, and according to the consistent teaching of the Church, Catholics are bound to resist even prelates if they deviate from the unchanging doctrine and Tradition of the Catholic Church.

Many also believe that it is impossible for a Supreme Pontiff to deviate in any way from the straight and narrow. This is partially correct. The Holy Ghost will always protect a Pope from defining error as truth, for example, from teaching error in an ex cathedra pronouncement. (1) That is certain. But it is demonstrable from the teachings and writings of the Saints that even the highest authority in the Church may fail in his duty and may drift into deviations from Church Teaching.

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Saint Luke’s Presentation narrative effectively puts the lie to the recently popular “Late Epiphany Theory”

Presentation-in-temple

Today we hear the Gospel of Luke proclaimed, where we are treated to pertinent details of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple, under the Mosaic Law, 40 days after Christmas:

And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons: And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms and blessed God and said Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace: Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel. And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. (Luke 2:22-39)

epiphany

As of late, nearly every Christmas, we’re told by highly educated “experts” and “specialists” that the Magi/Wise Men didn’t make it to Bethlehem for a year or two after the birth of Christ, and that the Holy Family was likely living in a rented/borrowed house there when the Magi finally arrived.

Yet here we have Saint Luke, who had earlier testified, in writing, that everything he wrote was true, eye-witness testimony, told in the correct order:

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us, According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word: It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.  (Luke 1:1-4)

saintlukegospel

The Gospel of Saint Luke clearly states that Jesus was duly presented at the Temple 40 days after birth, according to the Law, and the Holy Family returned to Nazareth immediately afterward.

Catholic Tradition holds that the Magi arrived very shortly after the birth of Jesus – probably a couple of weeks (or less) after the blessed event. Not months or years later!

So, who are we to believe? Late-day progressive Bible critics who generally scoff at the concept of divine inspiration and supernatural inerrancy – or contemporary eye-witnesses to the actual events and circumstances in the life of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and others?

What do you think? 

Is modernist Catholic doctrine based on settled misunderstandings of the truth of things?

2plus2

Although it is very difficult for those who see Catholicism through political lenses to grasp this, popes are not like presidents or state governors, and doctrine is not like public policy. Which means that a change of papal “administration” does not—indeed cannot—mean a change of Catholic “views.” Doctrine, as the Church understands it, is not a matter of anyone’s “views,” but of settled understandings of the truth of things.

Nor are popes free agents who govern by the seat of their pants, if you‘ll permit the phrase. Prior to the completion of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Pope Paul VI proposed adding to that seminal document a sentence stating that the pope is “accountable to the Lord alone”—an effort, I suspect, to protect papal authority and freedom of action from potential civil or ecclesiastical encroachments. But the council’s Theological Commission rejected Pope Paul’s proposed amendment, noting that “the Roman Pontiff is . . . bound to revelation itself, to the fundamental structure of the Church, to the sacraments, to the definitions of earlier Councils, and (to) other obligations too numerous to mention.”

Those “other obligations” include honoring the truth of things built into the world and into us. At an academic conference years ago, a distinguished Catholic philosopher remarked (perhaps hyperbolically) that “If the pope said that ‘2+2 = 5,’ I’d believe him.” An even more distinguished Catholic philosopher gave the correct, and far more Catholic, response: “If the Holy Father said that ‘2+2 = 5,’ I would say publicly, ‘Perhaps I have misunderstood His Holiness’s meaning.’ Privately, I would pray for his sanity.”

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Blast from the past: The late Paul Harvey – a Protestant – makes a few observations about the Catholic Church and Vatican II

This is none of my business, yet I am unexplainably compelled to address myself to a most sensitive subject however many or few read it, heed it, or resent it.

The Roman Catholic Church, from the outside, has symbolized authority since my earliest recollections.

Great institutions might erode away, towering individuals reveal feet of clay, nations be reduced to ashes or decay—yet the steeple with the cross on top remained, timeless and unchanging.

Why I did not abandon the faith of my fathers and ask adoption into the Catholic family which I so much admired, I cannon explain. Momentum, perhaps. Most often we keep going in the direction we are pushed.

The strict discipline implied by Catholicism certainly was not a deterrent, for I had been much disturbed and distracted by the almost constant intramural harangue among undisciplined Christians. Indeed, the rigidity of Catholic doctrine and tradition were comforting, reassuring evidences of a hierarchy which affirmed, ‘This is right…’ in an hour where so few seem to know what is.

Then came the recent sessions of the Ecumenical Council …

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