Is the Eucharist reserved or not?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by nkygreg, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Aaytch Barton

    Aaytch Barton Active Member

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    What the early Church did--what is known as the rule of antiquity--does not outweigh (in the minds of the Reformers) the rule of Scripture--what the Holy Scriptures say. That being said, Article XXVIII declares that sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not commanded by Christ to be reserved, carried about, lifted up or worshipped. Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic practices of reserving the sacrament, carrying the Host in a monstrance or other vessel in processions, elevating the Host after the consecration, and eucharistic adoration before the Host in a monstrance or tabernacle are, from the perspective of the Reformers, contrary to Christ’s command. This includes genuflecting to the altar upon which stands the tabernacle when entering a church. It also includes bowing or making any other kind of obeisance to the altar or the Host. From the Reformers’ perspective such practices savor of idolatry. Any Church tradition that justifies these practices is an example of how men “make void the Word of God for the sake of their tradition.”
     
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  2. Aaytch Barton

    Aaytch Barton Active Member

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    Now as for the Communion of the sick, the BCP (1662) prohibits a reserved sacrament, suggests the elements be consecrated at the time, and permits Communion without elements at all. The rubric states:

    "But if a man, either by reason of extremity of sickness, or for want of warning in due time to the Curate, or for lack of company to receive with him, or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood: the Curate shall instruct him that if he do truly repent him of his sins, and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and giving him hearty thanks therefore; he doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably to his soul's health, although he do no receive the Sacrament with his mouth."​

     
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  3. Aaytch Barton

    Aaytch Barton Active Member

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    To you, does "early church" include the 4th century? That's a strange definition of 'early'. To me, 'early' is before Nicaea, and the things of greatest value from the early church are crystalized in the Nicene Creed.
     
  4. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'm getting a greater sense of that, too, as I read the post-Constantine "Fathers". By the 390s, Ambrose was already positing that forgiveness for any and all sins can come only through a (human) priest.

    The newly institutional Christians accepted so many pagan converts at once, with the legalization and eventual consecration of Christianity as the state religion, that they couldn't possibly catechise them all properly. This led to many complications, like ancestor worship being translated into saintly veneration - but for our purposes, the worst consequence of this tidal wave of ignorant heathens coming into the Church was the simple magical sacramentalism they injected into it all, with their incense and sacrificial attitude. Here is where "reservation" and bread-adoring originate from.

    When Justin Martyr mentions taking communion to the sick in the A.D. 150s, he says that it's immediately taken from the assembly out to those who aren't present. Very interesting.
    Something changed in the 4th century, and the only real "early" period is truly the time of persecution.
     
  5. Aaytch Barton

    Aaytch Barton Active Member

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    Yes. Constantine himself was an Arian. He appears to have been utterly unconverted by the Council he himself authorized. Ironic.

    I found the following history of the Eucharist in the strangest of places, on the website of an RC parish. It's amazingly good and helps to explain the origin of reserved sacrament; essentially it's the product of Gnosticism and Arianism:

    In The Early Church

    Early in the Church’s development, the meal sharing bread and wine by a gathering of believers was a more informal fellowship meal. Just as a family or the larger assembly communally celebrated the Passover meal, so the meal shared by the faith community emphasized the importance of communal worship. However, as the local communities grew in size, the sharing of a communal meal became less practical. The meal became more formal, increasing in dominance. As the communal dimensions slowly subsided, the sacrificial understanding of the sacred meal received greater emphasis. The notion of sacrifice was common in the Roman culture and, as mentioned above, was a familiar form of worship for the Jews. The early Christian community did not merely identify Jesus with the eucharistic elements of bread and wine, but they most especially recognized the presence of Jesus with the ritual action of “breaking” and being “poured out.” The occurrence of the Eucharist was an experience of Christ’s death and resurrection, his redemptive action.

    In the second and third centuries, the rise of Gnosticism brought the humanity of Jesus under attack. Such gifted apologists as Justin, Irenaeus and Cyprian quickly came to the defense of the Church’s teaching on the humanity of Jesus, at the same time emphasizing the reality of his body and blood in the Eucharist. If the human Jesus suffered and died on the cross, then this human Jesus must be truly present in the Eucharist. Thus began a slow shift in emphasis from Christ’s presence in the ritual action of the Eucharistic meal to Christ’s specific presence in the bread and wine.

    In the fourth century another movement, Arianism, challenged Christology from another direction. Arius maintained that though Jesus was the incarnation of God’s Word and no ordinary man, he was not divine. This movement would continue to grow for several centuries. As St. Jerome put it, the world woke up one morning and found itself Arian. In reaction to Arian teachings the Church began to stress the divinity of Jesus. If the earlier Gnosticism caused the Church to stress the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, Arianism caused it to stress the divinity of that real presence. In an effort to preserve an appreciation for the divine presence, the liturgy began to emphasize reverence before the eucharistic elements. Absolutions and washings were required of priests, tabernacles became more ornate, and the people came to be separated from the altar by a railing. Communion was received on the tongue for it was considered irreverent to touch the Host.

    The “Mass,” as it came to be called, now was understood as a sacrifice offered for the atonement of sin. Where Christ previously was active in the Eucharist, offering himself for the community, now he was primarily the sacrificial “victim,” being offered to God by the Church.

    In The Middle Ages

    This change in understanding of Eucharist paved the way for the practice in the Middle Ages of the “votive Mass” – a Mass offered specifically for a certain intention or a petition. With the focus now on the sacrifice of the Mass rather than the sharing of a sacred meal, the presence of a congregation became less important. Because of the growing missionary work of the monasteries, abbots began to demand that their lay monks be ordained. Later these monks began offering votive Masses in the monastery, often without a congregation. Thus arose the practice of “private” Masses – a practice whose abuses would ultimately contribute to the Reformation.

    The late Middle Ages were a time of flourishing theological reflection. One common subject concerned the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This presence had long been affirmed by the faithful on an experimental level. But now, these scholastic theologians began speculating on how Christ became present. Earlier, the Fathers of the Church had used such terms as “transmutation,” “transfiguration” and “transelementation” to describe what they thought occurred. But it was one of the greatest theologians in Church history, Thomas Aquinas, who took Hildebert of Tours’ term “transubstantiation” and developed a theology of the Eucharist so comprehensive that it would remain normative for almost 600 years. Simply put, Thomas employed the philosophical categories of Aristotle to describe the Real Presence as a change in the substance or essence of the elements from that of bread and wine to that of Christ. While the substance changed, the accidents or visible form of the bread and wine remained the same. This technical explanation helped account for two very important realities; namely that (1) the faithful clearly encountered the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and (2) that in spite of this encounter, the signs of bread and wine appeared unchanged. This approach represented a dramatic advancement over previous eucharistic theology. Prior to Thomas, most understandings of the real presence were overly physical, and many questioned how Jesus could be unchanged. Thomas described the Eucharist in terms of Christ’s presence both in Heaven and in the Eucharist. He described the Eucharist in terms of Christ’s meta-physical presence.

    This development in the Middle Ages was the direct result of both the predominant perception of the Mass as sacrifice and the emphasis on the divine Presence in the Eucharistic elements:
    • Lay reception of communion dropped off dramatically.
    • The faithful were so awed by the real presence of Christ that they felt unworthy to receive communion.
    • The focus on the holy sacrifice of the Mass made reception seem less important.
    One could gain the spiritual benefits of the Eucharist through the priest’s offering of the Mass and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century pointed out the dangerous consequences of such an approach.
     
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  6. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    That article actually says that clarifications in Catholic Eucharistic theology are a response to Gnosticism and Arianism, not their product.
     
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  7. rhiannon

    rhiannon Member

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    To me,
    No offence, but it is safe to say I do not worry about such detail... and place my trust and faith in God and not the rubics of the Church. Our priests are there to guide us safely through them and I just concentrate on God rather than on rules which may seem strange for an Anglican. I am not decrying any responsibility and not putting all the trust onto the Priest. Just there is more to life, for me than worrying about wordings of the rubics of the Church. I feel more enriched for concentrating on God rather than rubics and rules of who should and who shouldn't etc. Its just the way I do things:). Having said all that, I was very happy when last Advent we 'threw' out the Missal and went back to the Anglican Service, I didn't want to play at being Roman Catholic as some of the church seem to think we were all happy at doing so... The Priest who was new to us just before, gave a series a questions and one of the questions was what would you change? My answer was to change the Missal and in a later question added that I didn't want to Pray for the Pope in our intercessionary prayers. I got my two responses as others said it too. Since we are not Roman Catholic and doing that doesn't make us even pretend Roman Catholics though some like to think so. So I do think about what I am saying etc, just not the extent of the opening poster.
     
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  8. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Making negative personal references, or discussing particular thread participants instead of the subject at hand, is not tolerated.
     
  9. nkygreg

    nkygreg Member

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    Wow I am surprised my "simple" question led to all this. It does show me the various aspects. I also observed the differences in flavors and even nationality.
     
  10. rhiannon

    rhiannon Member

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    I always worry when such comments like you have made here because I never know if I am one of those making a personal comment or not. This kind of message isn't helplful to me to know if I breached anything. If I said anything out of order then please let me know because this message doesn't let me know at all. No offence to you but well I don't think I said anything negative about anything. Just said the way I experience... sorry if it breached.
     
  11. Joan Lucia-Treese

    Joan Lucia-Treese Member

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    Absolutely in my parish and every EC parish that I have been a member.
     
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  12. brjohnbc

    brjohnbc New Member

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    As solitary monk, I have Reserved Sacrament at home and celebrate daily!
     
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  13. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    The comment was not directed towards anything you said. Apologies for any confusion :) Those whom it's for know who they are. Public notices are necessary for maintenance of moderation.
     
  14. rhiannon

    rhiannon Member

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    Hi
    I wonder if they do know since its there is no names per se and usually the wrong people worry about it unless you have also sent them private emails too :) . Public notices are good for maintenance of moderation but am used to much more direct and equally as friendly approach :)
     
  15. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Bear in mind that the 1549 BCP permitted limited reservation of the Sacrament, allowing the Sacrament to be carried to the sick person shortly after the celebration of Holy Communion. (This is what happened in my parish church for many years until an Aumbry was installed - our reserved Sacrament is only used for Communion of the sick).

    Whilst provision for reservation disappeared from the 1552 and 1559 Prayer Books, it reappeared in Queen Elizabeth's Latin Book of Common Prayer in 1560.

    The purpose of reservation permitted by the BCP 1549 was to extend the Eucharistic celebration to include in its communion those who weren't able be present for the whole. It was for the purpose of Communion only. In the medieval period, the purpose of reservation shifted from the reception of Holy Communion to adoration of the sacramental presence of Christ. The extent of this shift was such that adoration of Christ in the Sacrament had for the most part replaced regular Communion in the piety of medieval Christians. This was an abuse which the Reformers wanted to address. Ironically, whilst the Reformers were successful in suppressing reservation, they weren't so successful in encouraging more frequent reception.
     
  16. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Technically, the newly-Reformed C. of E. would've received Communion at least on Christmas and Easter, which is one number greater than the Roman Catholic "Easter Duty" required. Once a month would've been revolutionary in the Tridentine Papist world, seeing that only the "holiest" monks, nuns, Religious, and priests received once a week or once a day. What a joke.
     
  17. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    Exactly