I entirely agree with Peter Hart (June 10) that belief in the Real Presence should rest upon the promise of Our Lord rather than in philosophical explanations. Nevertheless, as a layman my understanding of Christ's words appears to be rather different from Mr Hart's.
In his discourse on "The Bread of Life" Jesus promised that the bread he would give would be his flesh, which he would give for the life of the world. This surely means that the bread and Christ's crucified, risen and glorified body become one and the same reality.
To speak of Christ being present spiritually in the bread and wine is surely vague and misleading. When I was an Anglican I knew many people, priests and laity, who believed in Christ's spiritual presence and who would yet deny that it is by way of his natural body now glorified, that he becomes present. Spirits, we are told, do not have bodies and Christ, according to his words — rather than being the bread and wine — becomes and is the bread and wine, and it is his body and blood —. his now glorified humanity — that are the bread and wine through which he dwells in us and gives us eternal life.
If I have understood Our Lord's words correctly then how can the "Black Rubric" be correct in stating that ". , no adoration ought to be done unto the sacramental bread and wine ." if they are, in reality, our very Lord himself? How
can it be correct in stating that "the bread and wine remain in their very natural substances . . ." when they are changed by the words of Jesus who indeed spoke of himself as "The Living Bread? The change, like Christ's Kingdom, is not of this world, but it is no less real or objective for that. How can it be "against the truth of Christ's natural body to be at one time in more places than one" if the bread and wine are changed into the one natural (yet glorified) body of Christ in his Kingdom? It is the doctrine of transubstantiation — no less — which teaches that Sacrament aCmhernist Christ a iss innoa place, "resent
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has its limitations and defects as any rationalisation of the Eucharistic Mystery would have. It may well be overtaken by contemporary philosophical thought. However, in offering an explanation as to how there can be a nonmaterialistic change in the Eucharistic Species which is at the same time real and objective — a change which Christ has chosen in order to further his redemptive work — this medieval doctrine has served Christ, his Church, and countless Christians well for centuries. It will, 1 venture to suggest, continue to be a touchstone for Eucharistic faith during our Ecumenical debate.
As an unqualified housewife 1 would like to ask Mr Peter Hart, Senior Lecturer in Religious studies (June 10), how it is possible for him to express "as a Catholic" views which conform with the Anglican reformers and totally conflict with Catholic doctrine as expressed by the magisterium both before and after Vatican H.
The official teaching of the Church regarding "transubstantiation" has been constant and unequivocal but as space is limited I will quote briefly from the writings of two Popes. 1) ". . those who adore Christ really present in the most Holy Eucharist through that wonderful conversion of the bread and wine — transubstantiation "Pope Pius XI 1928 and 2) ". . consequently in this sacrament there is no other way in which Christ can be present except through the conversion of the entire substance of the bread into His body and the entire substance of wine into His blood, leaving unchanged only those properties of bread and wine which are open to our senses. This hidden conversion is appropriately and justly called by the Church "transubstantiation" Pope Paul VI 1968 — a post conciliar document.
Catholics have never been free to follow their individual interpretations of doctrines. The Church by its very nature and mission — "Go ye and teach all nations whatsoever 1 have commanded you" — never has been, is not and never can be a democracy. My own answer to the question "When is a Catholic not a Catholic," is: "When he rejects doctrine officially taught by the magisterium of the Catholic Church."
I disapprove of what Mr Hart says, but would defend his right to say it — as an individual, but "as a Catholic"? moreover a "senior lecturer in religious studies"? I would be interested to know what your readers think.
Nicole P. G. Hall Bovingdon, Herts.
Christopher O'Reilly asked a question in your issue of May 27. May 1, on my part, ask him a question? Could he gives us the chapter and verse in the Gospel where it is stated that Judas received Holy Communion from Christ?
That Judas was at the Last Supper is shown by Matthew 26,25; John 13, 2, and 26. But surely Christopher has read the next few verses in that chapter of St John's Gospel: "So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out."
As far as 1 know, nowhere in the Gospel is there proof that Judas received Communion at the Last Supper. All we know is that he was there at the beginning of Supper and that he left before the end.
We know too that Christ spoke of the betrayal before he uttered the words of consecration. And it looks too as though he told Judas, "What you are going to do. do quickly," immediately after Jesus had also told him that he was the man who was going to betray him.
But if Christopher O'Reilly can answer my question, I should be glad to get that information. Not that the answer would prove anything in favour of inter-communion, since no Catholic thinks of his separated brethren as though they were Judas.
(Mrs.) A. Longfleet Wimborne, Dorset