Eucharistic Real Presence?
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI
ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST
SEPTEMBER 3, 1965
To His Venerable Brothers the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops,
Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the
Apostolic See, and to the Clergy and Faithful of the Entire World.
Venerable Brothers and Dear Sons, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
The Mystery of Faith, that is, the ineffable gift of the Eucharist that
the Catholic Church received from Christ, her Spouse, as a pledge of
His immense love, is something that she has always devoutly guarded as
her most precious treasure, and during the Second Vatican Council she
professed her faith and veneration in a new and solemn declaration. In
dealing with the restoration of the sacred liturgy, the Fathers of the
Council were led by their pastoral concern for the whole Church to
regard it as a matter of highest importance to urge the faithful to
participate actively, with undivided faith and the utmost devotion, in
the celebration of this Most Holy Mystery, to offer it to God along
with the priest as a sacrifice for their own salvation and that of the
whole world, and to use it as spiritual nourishment.
Note: Faith in Jesus Christ does not involve the Eucharist.
And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was
Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment
to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a
convenient time I will call for you.” Acts 24:24-25.
2. For if the sacred liturgy holds first place in the life of the
Church, then the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of
the liturgy, since it is the font of life that cleanses us and
strengthens us to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united
to each other by the closest ties of love.
Note: First place in the life of the Church is the proclamation of Jesus Christ.
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach
Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks
foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ
the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24.
Reaffirmation by Vatican II
3. In order to make the indissoluble bond that exists between faith and
devotion perfectly clear, the Fathers of the Council decided, in the
course of reaffirming the doctrine that the Church has always held and
taught and that was solemnly defined by the Council of Trent, to offer
the following compendium of truths as an introduction to their
treatment of the Most Holy Mystery of the Eucharist:
Note: The Council of Trent retreated from the Word of God.
The greatest weight in the Council's decrees is given to the
sacraments. The seven sacraments were reaffirmed and the Eucharist
pronounced to be a true propitiatory sacrifice as well as a sacrament,
in which the bread and wine were consecrated into the Eucharist.
4. "At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Savior
instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this
in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the
centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved
Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His Death and Resurrection: a
sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal
banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a
pledge of future glory is given to us.''
Note: The death of Jesus Christ was a final payment for sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no
more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He
died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives
to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin,
but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:8-11.
Both Sacrifice and Sacrament Highlighted
5. These words highlight both the sacrifice, which pertains to the
essence of the Mass that is celebrated daily, and the sacrament in
which those who participate in it through holy Communion eat the flesh
of Christ and drink the blood of Christ, and thus receive grace, which
is the beginning of eternal life, and the "medicine of immortality"
according to Our Lord's words: "The man who eats my flesh and drinks my
blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (2)
Note: The context of John chapter 6 was Jesus Christ eliminating false followers.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me
shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I
said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the
Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by
no means cast out.” John 6:35-37.
Restoration of Liturgy Linked to Eucharistic Devotion
6. And so We earnestly hope that the restoration of the sacred liturgy
will produce abundant fruits in the form of Eucharistic devotion, so
that the Holy Church may, with this salvific sign of piety raised on
high, make daily progress toward the full achievement of unity, (3)
inviting all Christians to a unity of faith and love and drawing them
to it gently, through the action of divine grace.
Note: Evidence of the Holy Spirit does not involve Eucharistic devotion.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against
such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.
7. We seem to have a preview of these fruits and a first taste of them
in the outpouring of joy and eagerness that has marked the reception
the sons of the Catholic Church have accorded to the Constitution on
the Sacred Liturgy and to the restoration of the liturgy; and we find
these fruits too in the large number of carefully-edited publications
that make it their purpose to go into the doctrine of the Holy
Eucharist more profoundly and to come to a more fruitful understanding
of it, especially in terms of its relationship to the mystery of the
Note: Evidence of the Holy Spirit does not involve Eucharistic devotion.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as
children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness,
righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
8. All of this brings Us deep consolation and joy. And it gives Us
great pleasure to inform you of this, Venerable Brothers, so that you
may join with Us in giving thanks to God, the bestower of all gifts,
who rules the Church and makes her grow in virtue through His Spirit.
Note: Evidence of the Holy Spirit is testimony of Jesus Christ.
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of
Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from
the beginning.” John 15:26-27.
REASONS FOR PASTORAL CONCERN AND ANXIETY
9. There are, however, Venerable Brothers, a number of reasons for
serious pastoral concern and anxiety in this very matter that we are
now discussing, and because of Our consciousness of Our Apostolic
office, We cannot remain silent about them.
Note: Apparently Catholics began reading the Bible and leaving the Church.
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to
Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they
received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily
to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them
believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as
men. Acts 17:10-12.
False and Disturbing Opinions
10. For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most
Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on Masses
celebrated in private or on the dogma of transubstantiation that are
disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure
of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for
someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church
and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to
weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the
Note: Paul declares the mystery of God to be the salvation of Gentiles.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this
mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in
part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come
in. Romans 11:25.
11. To give an example of what We are talking about, it is not
permissible to extol the so-called "community" Mass in such a way as to
detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on
the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism—which no one will
deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist—fully expressed
and exhausted the manner of Christ's presence in this Sacrament; or to
discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the
Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole
substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the
wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than
"transignification," or "transfinalization" as they call it; or,
finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no
longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the
celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed.
Note: Stephen declared the actual presence of Jesus Christ is in heaven.
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the
glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said,
“Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the
right hand of God!” Acts 7:55-56.
12. Everyone can see that the spread of these and similar opinions does great harm to belief in and devotion to the Eucharist.
Note: Searching the Bible will destroy your devotion to the Eucharist.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Acts 8:35.
Purpose of the Encyclical
13. And so, with the aim of seeing to it that the hope to which the
Council has given rise—that a new wave of Eucharistic devotion will
sweep over the Church—not be reduced to nil through the sowing of the
seeds of false opinions, We have decided to use Our apostolic authority
and speak Our mind to you on this subject, Venerable Brothers.
Note: Do you remember the death of Jesus Christ for your sins?
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them,
saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance
of Me.” Luke 22:19.
14. We certainly do not deny that those who are spreading these strange
opinions are making a praiseworthy effort to investigate this lofty
Mystery and to set forth its inexhaustible riches and to make it more
understandable to the men of today; rather, We acknowledge this and We
approve of it. But We cannot approve the opinions that they set forth,
and We have an obligation to warn you about the grave danger that these
opinions involve for true faith.
Note: The true Christian faith is in Jesus Christ.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26.
HOLY EUCHARIST A MYSTERY OF FAITH
15. First of all, We want to recall something that you know very well
but that is absolutely necessary if the virus of every kind of
rationalism is to be repelled; it is something that many illustrious
martyrs have witnessed to with their blood, something that celebrated
fathers and Doctors of the Church have constantly professed and taught.
We mean the fact that the Eucharist is a very great mystery—in fact,
properly speaking and in the words of the Sacred Liturgy, the mystery
of faith. "It contains within it," as Leo XIII, Our predecessor of
happy memory, very wisely remarked, "all supernatural realities in a
remarkable richness and variety of miracles." (4)
Note: The mystery of God is the salvation of Gentiles.
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the
preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery
kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the
prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the
commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—to God,
alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. Romans
Relying on Revelation, Not Reason
16. And so we must approach this mystery in particular with humility
and reverence, not relying on human reasoning, which ought to hold its
peace, but rather adhering firmly to divine Revelation.
Note: The mystery of God is the salvation of Gentiles.
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which
God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of
this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the
Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8.
17. St. John Chrysostom who, as you know, dealt with the Mystery of the
Eucharist in such eloquent language and with such insight born of
devotion, had these most fitting words to offer on one occasion when he
was instructing his faithful about this mystery: "Let us submit to God
in all things and not contradict Him, even if what He says seems to
contradict our reason and intellect; let His word prevail over our
reason and intellect. Let us act in this way with regard to the
Eucharistic mysteries, and not limit our attention just to what can be
perceived by the senses, but instead hold fast to His words. For His
word cannot deceive." (5)
Note: The Apostle Paul declared another mystery being the resurrection.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all
be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put
on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians
18. The scholastic Doctors made similar statements on more than one
occasion. As St. Thomas says, the fact that the true body and the true
blood of Christ are present in this Sacrament "cannot be apprehended by
the senses but only by faith, which rests upon divine authority. This
is why Cyril comments upon the words, This is my body which is
delivered up for you, in Luke 22, 19, in this way: Do not doubt that
this is true; instead accept the words of the Savior in faith; for
since He is truth, He cannot tell a lie." (6)
Note: Using the rational of St. Thomas then Jesus Christ is a door.
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7
19. Hence the Christian people often follow the lead of St. Thomas and
sing the words: "Sight, touch and taste in Thee are each deceived; The
ear alone most safely is believed. I believe all the Son of God has
spoken; Than truth's own word, there is no truer token."
Note: Jesus Christ is the truth not the Eucharist.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
20. And St. Bonaventure declares: "There is no difficulty over Christ's
being present in the sacrament as in a sign; the great difficulty is in
the fact that He is really in the sacrament, as He is in heaven. And so
believing this is especially meritorious. " (7)
Note: God the Father says that Jesus Christ is in heaven.
The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Psalm 110:1.
Example of the Apostles
21. Moreover, the Holy Gospel alludes to this when it tells of the many
disciples of Christ who turned away and left Our Lord, after hearing
Him speak of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. "This is strange
talk," they said. "Who can be expected to listen to it" Peter, on the
contrary, replied to Jesus' question as to whether the twelve wanted to
go away too by promptly and firmly expressing his own faith and that of
the other Apostles in these marvelous words: "Lord, to whom should we
go? Thy words are the words of eternal life." (8)
Note: Jesus Christ spoke words of truth after eliminating false followers.
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He
said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the
Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life;
the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit,
and they are life. John 6:61-64.
22. It is only logical, then, for us to follow the magisterium of the
Church as a guiding star in carrying on our investigations into this
mystery, for the Divine Redeemer has entrusted the safeguarding and the
explanation of the written or transmitted word of God to her. And we
are convinced that "whatever has been preached and believed throughout
the whole Church with true Catholic faith since the days of antiquity
is true, even if it not be subject to rational investigation, and even
if it not be explained in words." (9)
Note: Scripture has been given to all Christians.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped
for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Proper Wording of Great Importance
23. But this is not enough. Once the integrity of the faith has been
safeguarded, then it is time to guard the proper way of expressing it,
lest our careless use of words give rise, God forbid, to false opinions
regarding faith in the most sublime things. St. Augustine gives a stern
warning about this when he takes up the matter of the different ways of
speaking that are employed by the philosophers on the one hand and that
ought to be used by Christians on the other. "The philosophers," he
says, "use words freely, and they have no fear of offending religious
listeners in dealing with subjects that are difficult to understand.
But we have to speak in accordance with a fixed rule, so that a lack of
restraint in speech on our part may not give rise to some irreverent
opinion about the things represented by the words.'' (l0)
Note: The Apostle Paul was determined to know Jesus Christ not the Eucharist.
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and
Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much
trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive
words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of
God. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5.
24. And so the rule of language which the Church has established
through the long labor of centuries, with the help of the Holy Spirit,
and which she has confirmed with the authority of the Councils, and
which has more than once been the watchword and banner of orthodox
faith, is to be religiously preserved, and no one may presume to change
it at his own pleasure or under the pretext of new knowledge. Who would
ever tolerate that the dogmatic formulas used by the ecumenical
councils for the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation be
judged as no longer appropriate for men of our times, and let others be
rashly substituted for them? In the same way, it cannot be tolerated
that any individual should on his own authority take something away
from the formulas which were used by the Council of Trent to propose
the Eucharistic Mystery for our belief. These formulas—like the others
that the Church used to propose the dogmas of faith—express concepts
that are not tied to a certain specific form of human culture, or to a
certain level of scientific progress, or to one or another theological
school. Instead they set forth what the human mind grasps of reality
through necessary and universal experience and what it expresses in apt
and exact words, whether it be in ordinary or more refined language.
For this reason, these formulas are adapted to all men of all times and
Note: The Council of Trent canonized a bogus book into the Catholic Bible.
It is generally accepted that the Book of Judith is ahistorical. The
fictional nature "is evident from its blending of history and fiction,
beginning in the very first verse, and is too prevalent thereafter to
be considered as the result of mere historical mistakes." Wikipedia
Greater Clarity of Expression Always Possible
25. They can, it is true, be made clearer and more obvious; and doing
this is of great benefit. But it must always be done in such a way that
they retain the meaning in which they have been used, so that with the
advance of an understanding of the faith, the truth of faith will
remain unchanged. For it is the teaching of the First Vatican Council
that "the meaning that Holy Mother the Church has once declared, is to
be retained forever, and no pretext of deeper understanding ever
justifies any deviation from that meaning." (11)
Note: Jesus Christ declared that more than one church existed.
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the
seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven
churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven
churches. Revelation 1:20.
EUCHARISTIC MYSTERY IN SACRIFICE OF THE MASS
26. For the joy and edification of everyone, We would like to review
with you, Venerable Brothers, the doctrine on the Mystery of the
Eucharist that has been handed down, and that the Catholic Church holds
and teaches with unanimity.
Note: There is no mystery in remembering the death of Jesus Christ for your sins.
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for
the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps
for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His
own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died
for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we
shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:6-9.
Re-enactment at Heart of Doctrine
27. It is a good idea to recall at the very outset what may be termed
the heart and core of the doctrine, namely that, by means of the
Mystery of the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Cross which was once
carried out on Calvary is re-enacted in wonderful fashion and is
constantly recalled, and its salvific power is applied to the forgiving
of the sins we commit each day." (12)
Note: Salvation is found in Jesus Christ not a ritual.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
28. Just as Moses made the Old Testament sacred with the blood of
calves, (13) so too Christ the Lord took the New Testament, of which He
is the Mediator, and made it sacred through His own blood, in
instituting the mystery of the Eucharist. For, as the Evangelists
narrate, at the Last Supper "he took bread, and blessed and broke it,
and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, given for you; do this
for a commemoration of me. And so with the cup, when supper was ended,
This cup, he said, is the new testament, in my Blood which is to be
shed for you." (l4) And by bidding the Apostles to do this in memory of
Him, He made clear that He wanted it to be forever repeated. This
intention of Christ was faithfully carried out by the primitive Church
through her adherence to the teaching of the Apostles and through her
gatherings to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As St. Luke is
careful to point out, "They occupied themselves continually with the
Apostles' teaching, their fellowship in the breaking of bread, and the
fixed times of prayer." (l5) The faithful used to derive such spiritual
fervor from this practice that it was said of them that "there was one
heart and soul in all the company of the believers." (16)
Note: The Apostle Luke never taught to literally eat the flesh of Jesus Christ.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42.
New Offering of the New Testament
29. Moreover, the Apostle Paul, who faithfully transmitted to us what
he had received from the Lord, (17) is clearly speaking of the
Eucharistic Sacrifice when he points out that Christians ought not take
part in pagan sacrifices, precisely because they have been made
partakers of the table of the Lord. "Is not this cup we bless," he
says, "a participation in Christ's Blood? Is not the Bread we break a
participation in Christ's Body? . . . To drink the Lord's cup, and yet
to drink the cup of evil spirits, to share the Lord's feast, and to
share the feast of evil spirits, is impossible for you." (18)
Foreshadowed by Malachias, (19) this new oblation of the New Testament
has always been offered by the Church, in accordance with the teaching
of Our Lord and the Apostles, "not only to atone for the sins and
punishments and satisfactions of the living faithful and to appeal for
their other needs, but also to help those who have died in Christ but
have not yet been completely purified." (20)
Note: The Apostle Paul never taught to literally eat the flesh of Jesus Christ.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the
blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of
the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body;
for we all partake of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.
Offered Also for the Dead
30. We will pass over the other citations and rest content with
recalling the testimony offered by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who wrote
the following memorable words for the neophytes whom he was instructing
in the Christian faith: "After the spiritual sacrifice, the un-bloody
act of worship, has been completed, we bend over this propitiatory
offering and beg God to grant peace to all the Churches, to give
harmony to the whole world, to bless our rulers, our soldiers and our
companions, to aid the sick and afflicted, and in general to assist all
those who stand in need; we all pray for all these intentions and we
offer this victim for them . . . and last of all for our deceased holy
forefathers and bishops and for all those who have lived among us. For
we have a deep conviction that great help will be afforded those souls
for whom prayers are offered while this holy and awesome victim is
present." In support of this, this holy Doctor offers the example of a
crown made for an emperor in order to win a pardon for some exiles, and
he concludes his talk with these words: "In the same fashion, when we
offer our prayers to God for the dead, even those who are sinners, we
are not just making a crown but instead are offering Christ who was
slaughtered for our sins, and thus begging the merciful God to take
pity both on them and on ourselves.'' (21) St. Augustine attests that
this custom of offering the "sacrifice which ransomed us" also for the
dead was observed in the Church at Rome, (22) and he mentions at the
same time that the universal Church observed this custom as something
handed down from the Fathers. (23)
Note: There is no purgatory or second chance after death.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the
judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those
who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin,
for salvation. Hebrews 9:27-28.
The Universal Priesthood
31. But there is something else that We would like to add that is very
helpful in shedding light on the mystery of the Church; We mean the
fact that the whole Church plays the role of priest and victim along
with Christ, offering the Sacrifice of the Mass and itself completely
offered in it. The Fathers of the Church taught this wondrous doctrine.
(24) A few years ago Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII,
explained it. (25) And only recently the Second Vatican Council
reiterated it in its Constitution on the Church, in dealing with the
people of God. (26) To be sure, the distinction between the universal
priesthood and the hierarchical priesthood is something essential and
not just a matter of degree, and it has to be maintained in a proper
way. (27) Yet We cannot help being filled with an earnest desire to see
this teaching explained over and over until it takes deep root in the
hearts of the faithful. For it is a most effective means of fostering
devotion to the Eucharist, of extolling the dignity of all the
faithful, and of spurring them on to reach the heights of sanctity,
which means the total and generous offering of oneself to the service
of the Divine Majesty.
Note: Christians are not spiritual victims.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who
loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels
nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No Mass is "Private"
32. It is also only fitting for us to recall the conclusion that can be
drawn from this about "the public and social nature of each and every
Mass." (28) For each and every Mass is not something private, even if a
priest celebrates it privately; instead, it is an act of Christ and of
the Church. In offering this sacrifice, the Church learns to offer
herself as a sacrifice for all and she applies the unique and infinite
redemptive power of the sacrifice of the Cross to the salvation of the
whole world. For every Mass that is celebrated is being offered not
just for the salvation of certain people, but also for the salvation of
the whole world. The conclusion from this is that even though active
participation by many faithful is of its very nature particularly
fitting when Mass is celebrated, still there is no reason to criticize
but rather only to approve a Mass that a priest celebrates privately
for a good reason in accordance with the regulations and legitimate
traditions of the Church, even when only a server to make the responses
is present. For such a Mass brings a rich and abundant treasure of
special graces to help the priest himself, the faithful, the whole
Church and the whole world toward salvation—and this same abundance of
graces is not gained through mere reception of Holy Communion.
Note: The Apostle Paul taught that the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation not sacrifice.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26.
33. And so, We recommend from a paternal and solicitous heart that
priests, who constitute Our greatest joy and Our crown in the Lord, be
mindful of the power they have received from the bishop who ordained
them—the power of offering sacrifice to God and of celebrating Mass for
the living and for the dead in the name of the Lord. (79) We recommend
that they celebrate Mass daily in a worthy and devout fashion, so that
they themselves and the rest of the faithful may enjoy the benefits
that flow in such abundance from the Sacrifice of the Cross. In doing
so, they will also be making a great contribution toward the salvation
Note: Salvation is found in the confession of Jesus Christ not a ritual.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your
heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart
one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will
not be put to shame.” Romans 10:8-11.
CHRIST SACRAMENTALLY PRESENT IN THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS
34. The few things that We have touched upon concerning the Sacrifice
of the Mass encourage Us to say something about the Sacrament of the
Eucharist, since both Sacrifice and Sacrament pertain to the same
mystery and cannot be separated from each other. The Lord is immolated
in an unbloody way in the Sacrifice of the Mass and He re-presents the
sacrifice of the Cross and applies its salvific power at the moment
when he becomes sacramentally present— through the words of
consecration—as the spiritual food of the faithful, under the
appearances of bread and wine.
Note: Jesus Christ does not suffer again and sits in heaven triumphantly.
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body
of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily
and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away
sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins
forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till
His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has
perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:10-14.
Various Ways in Which Christ is Present
35. All of us realize that there is more than one way in which Christ
is present in His Church. We want to go into this very joyful subject,
which the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy presented briefly, (30) at
somewhat greater length. Christ is present in His Church when she
prays, since He is the one who "prays for us and prays in us and to
whom we pray: He prays for us as our priest, He prays in us as our
head, He is prayed to by us as our God" (31); and He is the one who has
promised, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am
there in the midst of them." (32) He is present in the Church as she
performs her works of mercy, not just because whatever good we do to
one of His least brethren we do to Christ Himself, (33) but also
because Christ is the one who performs these works through the Church
and who continually helps men with His divine love. He is present in
the Church as she moves along on her pilgrimage with a longing to reach
the portals of eternal life, for He is the one who dwells in our hearts
through faith, (34) and who instills charity in them through the Holy
Spirit whom He gives to us. (35)
Note: Jesus Christ is spiritually present with Christians via the Holy Spirit.
But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where
are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has
filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your
advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not
come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has
come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of
judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness,
because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because
the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:5-11.
36. In still another very genuine way, He is present in the Church as
she preaches, since the Gospel which she proclaims is the word of God,
and it is only in the name of Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, and by
His authority and with His help that it is preached, so that there
might be "one flock resting secure in one shepherd." (36)
Note: The Christian Gospel is all about Jesus Christ.
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to
you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you
are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless
you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I
also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the
Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third
day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
37. He is present in His Church as she rules and governs the People of
God, since her sacred power comes from Christ and since Christ, the
"Shepherd of Shepherds," (37) is present in the bishops who exercise
that power, in keeping with the promise He made to the Apostles.
Note: Jesus Christ is present in the churches via the Holy Spirit not rituals.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation
38. Moreover, Christ is present in His Church in a still more sublime
manner as she offers the Sacrifice of the Mass in His name; He is
present in her as she administers the sacraments. On the matter of
Christ's presence in the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass, We
would like very much to call what St. John Chrysostom, overcome with
awe, had to say in such accurate and eloquent words: "I wish to add
something that is clearly awe-inspiring, but do not be surprised or
upset. What is this? It is the same offering, no matter who offers it,
be it Peter or Paul. It is the same one that Christ gave to His
disciples and the same one that priests now perform: the latter is in
no way inferior to the former, for it is not men who sanctify the
latter, but He who sanctified the former. For just as the words which
God spoke are the same as those that the priest now pronounces, so too
the offering is the same." (38) No one is unaware that the sacraments
are the actions of Christ who administers them through men. And so the
sacraments are holy in themselves and they pour grace into the soul by
the power of Christ, when they touch the body. The Highest Kind of
Note: Jesus Christ is present in the churches via the Holy Spirit not rituals.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I
will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which
no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17.
These various ways in which Christ is present fill the mind with
astonishment and offer the Church a mystery for her contemplation. But
there is another way in which Christ is present in His Church, a way
that surpasses all the others. It is His presence in the Sacrament of
the Eucharist, which is, for this reason, "a more consoling source of
devotion, a lovelier object of contemplation and holier in what it
contains" (39) than all the other sacraments; for it contains Christ
Himself and it is "a kind of consummation of the spiritual life, and in
a sense the goal of all the sacraments." (40)
Note: Jesus Christ is present in the churches via the Holy Spirit not rituals.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:29.
39. This presence is called "real" not to exclude the idea that the
others are "real" too, but rather to indicate presence par excellence,
because it is substantial and through it Christ becomes present whole
and entire, God and man. (41) And so it would be wrong for anyone to
try to explain this manner of presence by dreaming up a so-called
"pneumatic" nature of the glorious body of Christ that would be present
everywhere; or for anyone to limit it to symbolism, as if this most
sacred Sacrament were to consist in nothing more than an efficacious
sign "of the spiritual presence of Christ and of His intimate union
with the faithful, the members of His Mystical Body." (42)
Note: Jesus Christ will not return as blood as a result of bells being rung.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken
up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked
steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them
in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand
gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into
heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
The Proper Use of Symbolism
40. It is true that the Fathers and Scholastics had a great deal to say
about symbolism in the Eucharist, especially with regard to the unity
of the Church. The Council of Trent, in re-stating their doctrine,
taught that our Saviour bequeathed the Eucharist to His Church "as a
symbol . . . of the unity and charity with which He wished all
Christians to be joined among themselves," "and hence as a symbol of
that one Body of which He is the Head." (43)
Note: The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that
the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is
My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the
same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the
new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
41. When Christian literature was still in its infancy, the unknown
author of the work called the "Didache or Teaching of the Twelve
Apostles" had this to write on the subject: "As far as the Eucharist is
concerned, give thanks in this manner: . . . just as this bread had
been broken and scattered over the hills and was made one when it was
gathered together, so too may your church be gathered into your kingdom
from the ends of the earth." (44)
Note: The Didache is about rituals not Jesus Christ.
The text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written
catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics,
rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization.
42. St. Cyprian too, in the course of laying stress on the Church's
unity in opposition to schism, said this: "Finally the Lord's
sacrifices proclaim the unity of Christians who are bound together by a
firm and unshakeable charity. For when the Lord calls the bread that
has been made from many grains of wheat His Body, He is describing our
people whose unity He has sustained; and when He refers to wine pressed
from many grapes and berries as His Blood, once again He is speaking of
our flock which has been formed by fusing many into one." (45)
Note: Jesus Christ was sacrificed once for all sins.
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless,
undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the
heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up
sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this
He did once for all when He offered up Himself. Hebrews 7:26-27.
43. But before all of these, St. Paul had written to the Corinthians:
"The one bread makes us one body, though we are many in number; the
same bread is shared by all." (46)
Note: The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ.
Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to
break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and
continued his message until midnight. Acts 20:7.
Symbolism Inadequate to Express Real Presence
44. While Eucharistic symbolism is well suited to helping us understand
the effect that is proper to this Sacrament—the unity of the Mystical
Body—still it does not indicate or explain what it is that makes this
Sacrament different from all the others. For the constant teaching that
the Catholic Church has passed on to her catechumens, the understanding
of the Christian people, the doctrine defined by the Council of Trent,
the very words that Christ used when He instituted the Most Holy
Eucharist, all require us to profess that "the Eucharist is the flesh
of Our Savior Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins and which the
Father in His loving kindness raised again." (47) To these words of St.
Ignatius, we may well add those which Theodore of Mopsuestia, who is a
faithful witness to the faith of the Church on this point, addressed to
the people: "The Lord did not say: This is symbol of my body, and this
is a symbol of my blood, but rather: This is my body and my blood. He
teaches us not to look to the nature of what lies before us and is
perceived by the senses, because the giving of thanks and the words
spoken over it have changed it into flesh and blood." (45)
Note: Jesus Christ will not return to the earth at bells being rung per Matthew.
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:27.
45. The Council of Trent, basing itself on this faith of the Church,
"openly and sincerely professes that after the consecration of the
bread and wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is really,
truly and substantially contained in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy
Eucharist under the outward appearances of sensible things." And so Our
Savior is present in His humanity not only in His natural manner of
existence at the right hand of the Father, but also at the same time in
the sacrament of the Eucharist "in a manner of existing that we can
hardly express in words but that our minds, illumined by faith, can
come to see as possible to God and that we must most firmly believe."
Note: Jesus Christ will not return to the earth at bells being rung per Mark.
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the
Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” Mark
CHRIST PRESENT IN THE EUCHARIST THROUGH TRANSUBSTANTIATION
46. To avoid any misunderstanding of this type of presence, which goes
beyond the laws of nature and constitutes the greatest miracle of its
kind, (50) we have to listen with docility to the voice of the teaching
and praying Church. Her voice, which constantly echoes the voice of
Christ, assures us that the way in which Christ becomes present in this
Sacrament is through the conversion of the whole substance of the bread
into His body and of the whole substance of the wine into His blood, a
unique and truly wonderful conversion that the Catholic Church
fittingly and properly calls transubstantiation. (51) As a result of
transubstantiation, the species of bread and wine undoubtedly take on a
new signification and a new finality, for they are no longer ordinary
bread and wine but instead a sign of something sacred and a sign of
spiritual food; but they take on this new signification, this new
finality, precisely because they contain a new "reality" which we can
rightly call ontological. For what now lies beneath the aforementioned
species is not what was there before, but something completely
different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in
reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has
been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the
bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is
present whole and entire in His physical "reality," corporeally
present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.
Note: Jesus Christ’s physical “reality” is in heaven per Pope Peter.
“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The
Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies
Your footstool.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly
that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and
Christ.” Acts 2:34-36.
Writings of the Fathers
47. This is why the Fathers felt they had a solemn duty to warn the
faithful that, in reflecting upon this most sacred Sacrament, they
should not pay attention to the senses, which report only the
properties of bread and wine, but rather to the words of Christ, which
have power great enough to change, transform, "transelementize" the
bread and wine into His body and blood. As a matter of fact, as the
same Fathers point out on more than one occasion, the power that does
this is the same power of Almighty God that created the whole universe
out of nothing at the beginning of time.
Note: Jesus Christ’s physical “reality” is in heaven per the Apostle Paul.
And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening,
knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no
partiality with Him. Ephesians 6:9.
48. "Instructed as you are in these matters," says St. Cyril of
Jerusalem, at the end of a sermon on the mysteries of the faith, "and
filled with an unshakeable faith that what seems to be bread is not
bread—though it tastes like it—but rather the Body of Christ; and that
what seems to be wine is not wine—even though it too tastes like it—but
rather the Blood of Christ . . . draw strength from receiving this
bread as spiritual food and your soul will rejoice." (52)
Note: Jesus Christ will not return to the earth at bells being rung per Luke.
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and
on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the
waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation
of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the
heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a
cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:25-27.
49. St. John Chrysostom insists upon the same point with these words:
"It is not man who makes what is put before him the Body and Blood of
Christ, but Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The priest
standing there in the place of Christ says these words, but their power
and grace are from God. This is my Body, he says, and these words
transform what lies before him." (53)
Note: Jesus Christ will not be sacrificed again per the Holy Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says
the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I
will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I
will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is
no longer an offering for sin. Hebrews 10:15-18.
50. Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, is in wonderful harmony with John,
the Bishop of Constantinople, when he writes in his commentary on the
Gospel of St. Matthew: "He said This is my body and this is my blood in
a demonstrative fashion, so that you might not judge that what you see
is a mere figure; instead the offerings are truly changed by the hidden
power of God Almighty into Christ's body and blood, which bring us the
life-giving and sanctifying power of Christ when we share in them." (54)
Note: Christians are sanctified by faith per Jesus Christ speaking from heaven.
“While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and
commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I
saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and
those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground,
I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick
against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am
Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I
have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a
witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which
I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as
well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes,
in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of
Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” Acts
51. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, in a clear statement on the
Eucharistic conversion, has this to say: "Let us be assured that this
is not what nature formed but what the blessing has consecrated; and
there is greater power in the blessing and in nature, since nature
itself is changed through the blessing." To confirm the truth of this
mystery, he recounts many of the miracles described in the Sacred
Scriptures, including Christ's birth of the Virgin Mary, and then he
turns his mind to the work of creation, concluding this way: "Surely
the word of Christ, who could make something that did not exist out of
nothing, can change things that do exist into something they were not
before. For it is no less extraordinary to give new natures to things
than it is to change nature." (55)
Note: The Lord’s Supper is a spiritual remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let
us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice
and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1
Constant Teaching of the Popes and the Councils
52. But this is no time for assembling a long list of evidence.
Instead, We would rather recall the firmness of faith and complete
unanimity that the Church displayed in opposing Berengarius who gave in
to certain difficulties raised by human reasoning and first dared to
deny the Eucharistic conversion. More than once she threatened to
condemn him unless he retracted. Thus it was that Our predecessor, St.
Gregory VII, commanded him to swear to the following oath: "I believe
in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed
on the altar are, through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the
words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and proper
and lifegiving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after
the consecration they are the true body of Christ—which was born of the
Virgin and which hung on the Cross as an offering for the salvation of
the world—and the true blood of Christ—which flowed from His side—and
not just as a sign and by reason of the power of the sacrament, but in
the very truth and reality of their substance and in what is proper to
their nature." (56)
Note: Pope Gregory VII was a temporal dictator.
Gregory VII excommunicated Henry IV three times. Consequently, Henry IV
would appoint Antipope Clement III to oppose him in the political power
struggles between the Catholic Church and his empire. Hailed as one of
the greatest of the Roman pontiffs after his reforms proved successful,
Gregory VII was, during his own reign, despised by some for his
expansive use of papal powers. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
53. We have a wonderful example of the stability of the Catholic faith
in the way in which these words meet with such complete agreement in
the constant teaching of the Ecumenical Councils of the Lateran,
Constance, Florence and Trent on the mystery of the Eucharistic
conversion, whether it be contained in their explanations of the
teaching of the Church or in their condemnations of error.
Note: Catholic Councils resulted in inquisitions that used torture and murder.
During the Late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the concept and
scope of the Inquisition significantly expanded in response to the
Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. It
expanded to other European countries, resulting in the Spanish
Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. The Spanish and Portuguese
operated inquisitorial courts throughout their empires in Africa, Asia,
and the Americas (resulting in the Peruvian Inquisition and Mexican
Inquisition). Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
54. After the Council of Trent, Our predecessor, Pius VI, issued a
serious warning, on the occasion of the errors of the Synod of Pistoia,
that parish priests not neglect to speak of transubstantiation, which
is listed among the articles of the faith, in the course of carrying
out their office of teaching. (57) Similarly, Our Predecessor of happy
memory, Pius XII, recalled the bounds beyond which those who were
carrying on subtle discussion of the mystery of transubstantiation
might not pass; (58) and We Ourself, at the National Eucharistic
Congress that was recently celebrated at Pisa, bore open and solemn
witness to the faith of the Church, in fulfillment of Our apostolic
Note: The Corrupt Catholic Church does not like reformation.
The Synod of Pistoia was a diocesan synod held in 1786 under the
presidency of Scipione de' Ricci (1741–1810), bishop of Pistoia, and
the patronage of Leopold, grand-duke of Tuscany, with a view to
preparing the ground for a national council and a reform of the Tuscan
Church. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
55. Moreover, the Catholic Church has held firm to this belief in the
presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist not only in her
teaching but in her life as well, since she has at all times paid this
great Sacrament the worship known as "latria," which may be given to
God alone. As St. Augustine says: "It was in His flesh that Christ
walked among us and it is His flesh that He has given us to eat for our
salvation; but no one eats of this flesh without having first adored it
. . . and not only do we not sin in thus adoring it, but we would be
sinning if we did not do so." (60)
Note: People are saved by faith in Jesus Christ not rituals.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of
God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also
for the Greek. For in it the righteousness ofGod is revealed from faith
to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
ON THE WORSHIP OF LATRIA
56. The Catholic Church has always displayed and still displays this
latria that ought to be paid to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, both
during Mass and outside of it, by taking the greatest possible care of
consecrated Hosts, by exposing them to the solemn veneration of the
faithful, and by carrying them about in processions to the joy of great
numbers of the people.
Note: Jesus Christ is not within Eucharist bread and wine or inside a ciborium.
“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go
out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.” Matthew
57. The ancient documents of the Church offer many evidences of this
veneration. The bishops of the Church always urged the faithful to take
the greatest possible care of the Eucharist that they had in their
homes. "The Body of Christ is meant to be eaten by the faithful, not to
be treated with irreverence," is the serious warning of St. Hippolytus.
Note: The death of Jesus Christ for your sins should be taken seriously.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an
unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 1
58. In fact, the faithful regarded themselves as guilty, and rightly so
as Origen recalls, if, after they had received the body of the Lord and
kept it with all reverence and caution, some part of it were to fall to
the ground through negligence. (62)
Note: The death of Jesus Christ for your sins should be taken seriously.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28.
59. These same bishops were severe in reproving any lack of due
reverence that might occur. We have evidence of this from the words of
Novatian, whose testimony is trustworthy in this matter; He felt that
anybody deserved to be condemned who "came out after Sunday service
bringing the Eucharist with him, as was the custom, . . . and carried
the holy body of the Lord around with him," going off to places of
amusement instead of going home. (63)
Note: The death of Jesus Christ for your sins should be taken seriously.
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks
judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Corinthians
60. In fact, St. Cyril of Alexandria denounced as mad the opinion that
the Eucharist was of no use to sanctification if some of it were left
over for another day. "For Christ is not altered," he says, "and His
holy body is not changed; instead the power and force and life-giving
grace of the blessing remain in it forever." (64)
Note: Christians are sanctified by the Holy Spirit not rituals.
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved
by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation
through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which
He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord
Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
61. Nor should we forget that in ancient times the faithful—whether
being harassed by violent persecutions or living in solitude out of
love for monastic life—nourished themselves even daily on the
Eucharist, by receiving Holy Communion from their own hands when there
was no priest or deacon present. (65)
Note: The death of Jesus Christ for your sins should be taken seriously.
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called
Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by
hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise,
having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus
you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of
Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13.
62. We are not saying this with any thought of effecting a change in
the manner of keeping the Eucharist and of receiving Holy Communion
that has been laid down by subsequent ecclesiastical laws still in
force; Our intention is that we may rejoice over the faith of the
Church which is always one and the same.
Note: Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ not rituals.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26.
Corpus Christi, Another Instance of Latria
63. This faith also gave rise to the feast of Corpus Christi, which was
first celebrated in the diocese of Liege—especially through the efforts
of the servant of God, Blessed Juliana of Mount Cornelius—and Our
predecessor, Urban IV, established for the universal Church. It has
also given rise to many forms of Eucharistic devotion that have,
through the inspiration of God's grace, grown with each passing day.
Through them the Catholic Church is eagerly striving to pay honor to
Christ and to thank Him for such a great gift and to beg His mercy.
Note: The festival of Corpus Christi is a dark age ritual or tradition.
The festival of Corpus Christi ("the Body of Christ") was instituted by
Urban IV on August 11, 1264, with the publication of the papal bull
Transiturus. Urban asked Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican theologian, to
write the texts for the Mass and Office of the feast. This included
such famous hymns as the Pange lingua, Tantum ergo, and Panis
angelicus. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
EXHORTATION TO FOSTERING EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION
64. And so We beseech you, Venerable Brothers, to take this faith,
which means nothing less than maintaining complete fidelity to the
words of Christ and the Apostles, and preserve it in its purity and
integrity among the people entrusted to your care and vigilance, with
all false and pernicious opinions being completely rejected; and We
beseech you to foster devotion to the Eucharist, which should be the
focal point and goal of all other forms of devotion.
Note: Jesus Christ is in heaven not in a container on earth.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for
the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body
that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working
by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians
65. May the faithful, thanks to your constant efforts, come to realize
and experience more and more that: "he who wants to live can find here
a place to live in and the means to live on. Let him approach, let him
believe, let him be incorporated so that he may receive life. Let him
not shy away from union with the members, let him not be a rotten
member that deserves to be cut away, nor a distorted member to be
ashamed of: let him be beautiful, let him be fitting, let him be
healthy. Let him adhere to the body; let him live for God on God: let
him labor now upon earth, so that he may afterwards reign in heaven."
Note: Jesus Christ is in heaven not in a container on earth.
Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Colossians 4:1.
Daily Mass and Holy Communion
66. It is desirable to have the faithful in large numbers take an
active part in the sacrifice of the Mass each and every day and receive
the nourishment of Holy Communion with a pure and holy mind and offer
fitting thanks to Christ the Lord for such a great gift. They should
remember these words: "The desire of Jesus Christ and of the Church to
see all the faithful approach the sacred banquet each and every day is
based on a wish to have them all united to God through the Sacrament
and to have them draw from it the strength to master their passions, to
wash away the lesser sins that are committed every day and to prevent
the serious sins to which human frailty is subject." (67) And they
should not forget about paying a visit during the day to the Most
Blessed Sacrament in the very special place of honor where it is
reserved in churches in keeping with the liturgical laws, since this is
a proof of gratitude and a pledge of love and a display of the
adoration that is owed to Christ the Lord who is present there.
Note: Jesus Christ will not return as blood in a cup.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in
Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Dignity Bestowed by Eucharist
67. No one can fail to see that the divine Eucharist bestows an
incomparable dignity upon the Christian people. For it is not just
while the Sacrifice is being offered and the Sacrament is being
confected, but also after the Sacrifice has been offered and the
Sacrament confected—while the Eucharist is reserved in churches or
oratories—that Christ is truly Emmanuel, which means "God with us." For
He is in the midst of us day and night; He dwells in us with the
fullness of grace and of truth. (68) He raises the level of morals,
fosters virtue, comforts the sorrowful, strengthens the weak and stirs
up all those who draw near to Him to imitate Him, so that they may
learn from his example to be meek and humble of heart, and to seek not
their own interests but those of God. Anyone who has a special devotion
to the sacred Eucharist and who tries to repay Christ's infinite love
for us with an eager and unselfish love of his own, will experience and
fully understand—and this will bring great delight and benefit to his
soul—just how precious is a life hidden with Christ in God (69) and
just how worthwhile it is to carry on a conversation with Christ, for
there is nothing more consoling here on earth, nothing more efficacious
for progress along the paths of holiness.
Note: Jesus Christ was sacrificed once for the sins of the world.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the
greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not
of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His
own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained
eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11-12.
68. You also realize, Venerable Brothers, that the Eucharist is
reserved in churches or oratories to serve as the spiritual center of a
religious community or a parish community, indeed of the whole Church
and the whole of mankind, since it contains, beneath the veil of the
species, Christ the invisible Head of the Church, the Redeemer of the
world, the center of all hearts, "by whom all things are and by whom we
Note: Christians are the temple of God on earth.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who
is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you
were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your
spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
69. Hence it is that devotion to the divine Eucharist exerts a great
influence upon the soul in the direction of fostering a "social" love,
(71) in which we put the common good ahead of private good, take up the
cause of the community, the parish, the universal Church, and extend
our charity to the whole world because we know that there are members
of Christ everywhere.
Note: Christians are devoted to Jesus Christ who is in heaven.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily
ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before
us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for
the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2.
A Sign and Cause of Unity
70. Because, Venerable Brothers, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is a
sign and cause of the unity of Christ's Mystical Body, and because it
stirs up an active "ecclesial" spirit in those who are more fervent in
their Eucharistic devotion, never stop urging your faithful, as they
approach the Mystery of the Eucharist, to learn to embrace the Church's
cause as their own, to pray to God without slackening, to offer
themselves to God as an acceptable sacrifice for the peace and unity of
the Church; so that all the sons of the Church may be united and feel
united and there may be no divisions among them but rather unity of
mind and intention, as the Apostle commands. (72) May all those who are
not yet in perfect communion with the Catholic Church and who glory in
the name of Christian despite their separation from her, come as soon
as possible to share with us, through the help of God's grace, in that
unity of faith and communion that Christ wanted to be the distinctive
mark of His disciples.
Note: The Eucharist is not mentioned by the Apostle Paul for Christian unity.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of
the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and
gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There
is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your
calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:1-6.
A Special Task for Religious
71. This zeal at prayer and at devoting oneself to God for the sake of
the unity of the Church is something that religious, both men and
women, should regard as very specially their own since they are bound
in a special way to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and they have,
by virtue of the vows they have pronounced, become a kind of crown set
around it here on earth.
Note: Christians will be perfected and have unity at the return of Jesus Christ.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the
saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of
Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge
of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of
the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:11-13.
The Tridentine Decree
72. The Church in the past has felt and still feels that nothing is
more ancient and more pleasing than the desire for the unity of all
Christians, and We want to express this in the very same words that the
Council of Trent used to conclude its decree on the Most Holy
Eucharist: "In conclusion, the Council with paternal love admonishes,
exhorts, begs and implores 'through the merciful kindness of our God
(73) that each and every Christian may come at last to full agreement
in this sign of unity, in this bond of charity, in this symbol of
harmony; that they may be mindful of the great dignity and the profound
love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up His precious life as the
price of our salvation and who gave us His flesh to eat (74); and that
they may believe and adore these sacred mysteries of His body and blood
with such firm and unwavering faith, with such devotion and piety and
veneration that they will be able to receive that supersubstantial (75)
bread often and it will truly be the life of their souls and the
unfailing strength of their minds, so that 'fortified by its vigor,'
(76) they may be able to move on from this wretched earthly pilgrimage
to their heavenly home where, without any veil, they will eat the
'bread of angels' (77) that they now eat beneath the sacred veils." (78)
Note: Christians will not be in unity and perfected until heaven.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the
twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and
golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And
they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and
to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by
Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and
have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the
earth.” Revelation 5:8-10.
73. May the all-merciful Redeemer, who shortly before His death prayed
to the Father that all who were to believe in Him might be one, just as
He and the Father are one, (79) deign to hear this most ardent prayer
of Ours and of the whole Church as quickly as possible, so that we may
all celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery with one voice and one faith, and
through sharing in the Body of Christ become one body, (80) joined
together by the same bonds that Christ wanted it to have.
Note: Christians will be united by Sola Scriptura and hated by non-Christians.
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they
are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that
You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them
from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the
world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. John 17:14-17.
A Word to the Eastern Churches
74. We also want to address with fraternal affection those who belong
to the venerable Churches of the East, which have had so many glorious
Fathers whose testimony to belief in the Eucharist. We have been so
glad to cite in this present letter of Ours. Our soul is filled with
great joy as We contemplate your belief in the Eucharist, which is ours
as well, as we listen to the liturgical prayers you use to celebrate
this great mystery, as we behold your Eucharistic devotion, as we read
your theological works explaining or defending the doctrine of this
most sacred Sacrament.
Note: Joy comes from the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His return to heaven.
“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart
will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day
you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask
the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked
nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be
full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the
time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative
language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you
will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the
Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have
loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth
from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world
and go to the Father.” John 16:22-28.
A Final Prayer
75. May the most blessed Virgin Mary, from whom Christ the Lord took
the flesh that "is contained, offered, received" (81) in this Sacrament
under the appearances of bread and wine, and may all the saints of God
and especially those who were more inflamed with ardent devotion toward
the divine Eucharist, intercede with the Father of mercies so that this
common belief in the Eucharist and devotion to it may give rise among
all Christians to a perfect unity of communion that will continue to
flourish. Lingering in Our mind are the words of the holy martyr
Ignatius warning the Philadelphians against the evil of divisions and
schisms, the remedy for which is to be found in the Eucharist. "Strive
then," he says, "to make use of one single thanksgiving. For there is
only one flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and only one chalice unto the
union of His blood, only one altar, only one bishop . . ." (82)
Note: The Corrupt Catholic Church has replaced Jesus Christ with Mary.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man
Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due
time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking
the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith
and truth. 1 Timothy 2:5-7.
76. Fortified by the most consoling hope of blessings that will accrue
to the whole Church and to the whole world from an increase in devotion
to the Eucharist, as a pledge of heavenly blessings We lovingly impart
Our apostolic blessings to you, Venerable Brothers, and to the priests,
religious and all who are helping you, as well as to all the faithful
entrusted to your care.
Note: Christians receive hope by grace from God not from a dark age ritual.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has
loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,
comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 2
Given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the third day of September, the feast of
Pope St. Pius X, in the year 1965, the third of Our Pontificate.
LATIN TEXT: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 57 (1965), 753-74.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION: The Pope Speaks, 10 (Fall, 1965), 309-28.
(1) Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, c. 2, n. 47; AAS LVI (1964), 113 [Cf. TPS IX, 325.].
(2) Jn. 6.55.
(3) Cf. Jn 17.23.
(4) Encyclical letter Mirae caritatis: Acta Leonis XIII, XXII (1902-1903) 122.
(5) Homily on Matthew, 82.4; PG 58.743.
(6) Summa Theol. III,(a) q. 75, a. 1, c.
(7) In IV Sent., dist. X, P. I, art. un., qu. I; Opera omnia, tome IV, Ad Claras Aquas (1889), 217.
(8) Jn. 6.61-69.
(9) St. Augustine, Against Julian, VI, 5.11; PL 44.829.
(10) City of God, X, 23; PL 41.300.
(11) Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, c. 4.
(12) Cf. Council of Trent, Teaching on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, c. I.
(13) Cf. Ex 24.8.
(14) Lk 22.19-20; cf. Mt 26.26-28; Mk 14.22-24.
(15) Acts 2.42.
(16) Acts 4.32.
(17) 1 Cor 11.23 ff.
(18) 1 Cor 10.16.
(19) Cf. Mal 1.11.
(20) Council of Trent, Doctrine on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, c. 2.
(21) Catecheses, 23 [myst. 5]. 8-18; PG 33.1115-1118.
(22) Cf. Confessions IX, 12.32; PL 32.777; cf. ibid. IX 11, 27; PL 32.775.
(23) Cf. Serm 172.2.; PL 38.936; cf. On the care to be taken of the dead, 13, PL 40.593.
(24) Cf. St. Augustine, City ot God, X, 6; PL 42.284.
(25) Cf. Encyclical letter Mediator Dei; AAS XXXIX (1947), 552.
(26) Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, c. 2, 11; AAS LVII (1965), 15 [Cf. TPS v. 10, p. 366.].
(27) Cf. ibid., c. 2, n. 10; AAS LVII (1965), 14 [Cf. TPS v. 10, p. 365-366.].
(28) Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, c. 1, n. 27; AAS LVI (1964), 107 [Cf. TPS IX, 322.].
(29) Cf. Roman Pontifical.
(30) Cf. c. 1, n. 7; AAS LVI (1964), 100-101.
(31) St. Augustine, On Psalm 85.1: PL 37.1081.
(32) Mt 18.20.
(33) Cf. Mt 25.40.
(34) Cf. Eph 3.17.
(35) Cf. Rom 5.5.
(36) St. Augustine, Against the Letter ot Petiliani, III, 10.11; PL 43.353.
(37) St. Augustine, On Psalm 86.3; PL 37.1102.
(38) Homily on the Second Epistle to Timothy 2.4; PG 62.612.
(39) Aegidius Romanus, Theorems on the Body of Christ, theor. 50 (Venice, 1521), p. 127.
(40) St. Thomas, Summa Theol., IIIa, p. 73, a. 3, c.
(41) Cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Holy Eucharist, c. 3.
(42) Pius XII, Encyclical letter Humani generis; AAS XLII (1950), 578.
(43) Decree on the Holy Eucharist, Introduction and c. 2.
(44) Didachè, 9.1; F.X. Funk, Patres Apostolici, 1.20.
(45) Epistle to Magnus, 6; PL 3.1139.
(46) 1 Cor 10.17.
(47) St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnians, 7.1; PG 5.714.
(48) Commentary on Matthew, c. 26; PG 66.714.
(49) Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, c. 1.
(50) Cf. Encyclical letter Mirae caritatis; Acta Leonis XIII, XXII (1902-1903), 123.
(51) Cf. Council of Trent, Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, c. 4 and canon 2.
(52) Catecheses, 22.9 [myst. 4] PG 33.1103.
(53) Homily on Judas' betrayal, 1.6; PG 49.380; cf. Homily on Matthew 82.5; PG 58.744.
(54) On Matthew 26.27; PG 72.451.
(55) On Mysteries 9.50-52; PL 16.422-424.
(56) Mansi, Collectio amplissima Conciliorum, XX, 524D.
(57) Const. Auctorem fidei, August 28, 1794.
(58) Allocution of September 22, 1956, AAS XLVIII (1956), 720 [Cf. TPS III, 281-282.].
(59) AAS LVII (1965), 588-592.
(60) On Psalm 98.9; PL 37.1264.
(61) Apostolic Tradition; ed. Botte, La Tradition Apostolique de St. Hippolyte, Muenster (1963), p. 84.
(62) Fragment on Exodus; PG 12.391.
(63) On Shows; CSEL III,(3) 8.
(64) Epistle to Calosyrius; PG 76.1075.
(65) Cf. Basil, Epistle 93; PG 32.483-486.
(66) St. Augustine, Treatise on John 26.13; PL 35.1613.
(67) Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council, December 20, 1905, approved by St. Pius X; AAS XXXVIII (1905), 401.
(68) Cf. Jn 1.14.
(69) Cf. Col 3.3.
(70) 1 Cor 8.6.
(71) Cf. St. Augustine, On the literal interpretation of Genesis XI, 15.20; PL 34.437.
(72) Cf. 1 Cor 1.10.
(73) Lk 1.78.
(74) .Jn 6.48 ff.
(75) Mt 6.11.
(76) 3 Kgs 19.8.
(77) Ps 77.25.
(78) Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist, c. 8.
(79) Cf.Jn 17.20-21.
(80) Cf. 1 Cor 10.17.
(81) C.I.C., canon 801.
(82) Epistle to the Philadelphians 4; PG 5.700.