Debating becoming a Traditional Roman Catholic

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Khater, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    See this on the patristic doctrine of the Sacraments. A devastating refutation of Roman Catholic spirituality, quoted almost wholly from the Church Fathers' writings. It looks to be dated from 1583, by John Jewel. The more I read of him, the more I feel like he's an absolute spiritual giant. He's also one of your forefathers:
    https://www.anglican.net/works/john-jewel-a-treatise-of-the-sacraments-1583/
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  2. Antony

    Antony New Member

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    This looks excellent. Thank you.
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    You might like to read the section on Eucharist in this excellent treatise from the 1500s: https://www.anglican.net/works/john-jewel-a-treatise-of-the-sacraments-1583/#p2 (Edit: oops, I never went to the next page... Stalwart beat me to it!) I was really surprised at the large number of pertinent quotes which John Jewel had collected from the early church writers on this subject. The quotes come from such noteworthy individuals as John Chrysostom, Cyril, Tertullian, Origen, Augustine, and Clement of Alexandria. If I were to summarize the upshot of it all, it would be thus:
    1. The early fathers recognized and agreed that Jesus' body and blood is present in the Eucharist
    2. Notwithstanding that fact, the early fathers also agreed that the bread and wine remain bread and wine
    3. Therefore, Jesus is not present in literal flesh and literal blood, rather He is present spiritually and sacramentally (as well as symbolically)

    BTW I was raised Roman Catholic but left in my late 20s. As I've said elsewhere: been there, done that, got the scapular! I also spent about as many years in Protestantism. But now after much reading and prayer, and the Holy Spirit's guidance, here I walk (between the two ditches) along the "middle road."
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think he would want to say on #3 that Jesus is present literally but not physically (hence the difficulty of human language to explain the mystery). We can truly commune with our Lord, but there is no danger of worshipping the physical elements, or claiming that Jesus has Incarnation every Sunday which cheapens our whole faith.
     
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Yes indeed, Stalwart. Thanks for cleaning up my mess. :thumbsup: Not present in physical flesh and physical blood, yet literally present.
     
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  6. Antony

    Antony New Member

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    I've read Jewel's tract and enjoyed it. After reading the anglican section on the 'Real Presence' Wikipedia page, it seems that what happens during the Eucharist is incomprehensible for humans, according to the anglican position. Would it be fair to say that? And is the only concrete thing that an Anglican would say about it that the bread and wine do not literally turn into His body and blood?
     
  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The wikipedia page is a mess, anyone can just put anything they want there. That's why I've enjoyed reading the authoritative sources. There are some Anglicans today who derive inspiration from outside churches. The more Roman-leaning Anglicans will claim our doctrine to have more 'physical presence', and the more Evangelical-leaning Anglicans will claim that it's just a memorial. Because we don't have a 1000-page Catechism (see above), we have to read the authentic underlying works to perceive the authentic Anglican doctrine. It may require reading a work from centuries ago, or a book from today but which accurately captures the historic Anglican (and patristic) doctrine.

    In short I would say, at the consecration, the physical elements become the Sacrament of the Body and Blood. Namely, when we receive the physical elements, we also receive the spiritual body. He is really and truly present to us. However he isn't physically present in a manner that would let mice chew on his body; nor (as Jewel says) do we expel His Body in the toilet. All these impious fictions invented by Rome are foreign to us. It's a true and real reception, but without any of the dangers and impiety of the physical presence. Also, the Sacrament carries no propitiatory expiation of sin, which is another thing that Rome added. For us, Holy Communion is the Last Supper, whereas for Rome it is also Calvary, in that by performing the Mass the priest (they claim) is sacrificing the Son to the Father for the sins of the whole world. It's really incredible, the rubbish they've taught for centuries. We, on the contrary, know that He has died. He has risen. and He will come again. We commune with him really and spiritually through the Sacrament.
     
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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Stalwart has said it well.

    The RC belief and the Anglican belief regarding Eucharist may seem really similar to some, but they are actually very far apart. The Bible-based Anglican position is enunciated in Article 28:
    The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

    Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

    The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

    The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
    The bread is still bread, but it is also the Body of Christ to be received in a spiritual manner. He is present literally, but spiritually and sacramentally rather than physically (God is spirit, after all). Jesus' physicality is in heaven, and in heaven His physicality remains. The early Christian writers supported this view. Paul's letter to the Corinthians supports it, too:
    1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
    1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord...
    1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

    Paul never said, "as often as you eat our Savior," or, "as often as you eat Jesus." Paul said you're still eating bread, yet you must recognize Christ's body as you eat the bread.

    In contrast, the RC doctrine centers around an actual change of the bread into not-bread. The bread transforms into the body and the spirit and the soul and the divinity and the complete fullness of Jesus. The early Christian writers rejected this view. Scripture support for this view is absent; in fact, Scripture tells us that drinking physical blood is forbidden and that we should not believe anyone who says, "Look, here is Christ" (Mark 13:21). Consider where this RC doctrine led: in the dark and middle ages, laity only were allowed to receive Eucharist once a year; the rest of the time they looked upon the wafer in the monstrance and worshipped it. The RCC told them, "Here is Christ in His complete, physical and divine fullness; look at Him! Get onto both knees before your God (never mind that He looks freshly baked) and adore Him!

    As Stalwart made note of, though, the Anglican family is inclusive-minded in the sense that, if a person tends to think of Eucharist in a more Roman way (or in a more memorialist way, for that matter) that person is still welcome in the church and at Eucharist; he is still treated as a brother in the Lord and is not excluded. After all, one need not have perfect theological understanding to be right with God and to go to heaven (or else who could be saved??). Contrast that with the RCC, where one must believe in the transubstantiated Eucharist to receive it, and must acknowledge that belief by responding "Amen", or the priest is supposed to withhold it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 8:23 PM
  9. Antony

    Antony New Member

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    I greatly appreciate your contributions Stalwart and Rexlion. They have helped make the anglican position much clearer to me.

    Stalwart writes 'For us, Holy Communion is the Last Supper, whereas for Rome it is also Calvary'. I recall Jewel writing something aking to 'imagine Christ on the cross at some point during the Eucharist'. Would it be impious to imagine the scene of Calvary during the sacrament while refraining from venturing to imagine that one is eating the actual body of Christ?

    Also, Jewel writes something like 'we have a spiritual mouth and a bodily mouth, and when we partake in the eucharist we are eating the bread bodily but the our spiritual mouth is...'. Perhaps I am mistaken in this paraphrase, but how does he finish this line? I'm tempted to say 'our spiritual mouth eats the body of christ' (spiritual body of christ perhaps?).
     
  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1.) You should indeed conceive of yourself as receiving the actual heavenly body of Christ. It is important, and the benefits of his actual reception are numerous:

    The Book of Common Prayer lists these benefits, in the Prayer of Humble Access:
    "... Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of Thy dear Son us Christ, and to drink His blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us."

    And the prayer of Thanksgiving after the reception, lists these benefits:
    "Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom...

    2.) There is nothing wrong with bringing to mind Calvary, his sacrifice on the Cross. In fact the Book of Common Prayer constantly brings to our minds the sacrifice on the Cross, so even if we forgot to remember Calvary it would remind us.

    My point point was that the act of Holy Communion is not a propitiatory sacrifice, for the sins of the whole world, in the way that Rome would claim their Mass is. They want to say that the acts of the Mass, in that particular building, at that time of day in the year 2019, are actually the acts of Calvary from 2000 years ago. In their theology if suddenly there stopped being Masses throughout the world, then there would be no redemptive sacrifice at Calvary 2000 years ago. They literally equate the acts of the mass taking place around the world in the year 2019 with the singular moment which took place in one location and one time, 2000 years ago. It's really crazy.

    Not sure what you meant there, sorry.
     

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