POLL: Does Anglicanism consider the Eucharistic food itself to really be or have Christ's body?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by rakovsky, Mar 24, 2016.

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Do you affirm the Articles of Religion on the issue of the real presence in Eucharist bread?

Poll closed Dec 18, 2018.
  1. I'm Anglican and my answer is "Yes."

    85.7%
  2. I'm Anglican and my answer is "No, I have a disagreement with it."

    14.3%
  3. I'm Anglican and my answer is "Other"

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    Rakovsky,

    I gave an opinion on one proposition of Bishop Cyril's and one only. That is the only one of Cyril's statements I care to discuss.

    Bishop Cyril of Alexandria is not in the Kalendar of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, nor should he be.

    I do not accept the inerrancy of Scripture. I do not accept the inerrancy of the Book of Common Prayer. Why should I accept the inerrancy of the Anglican Breviary?
     
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I might ask how one addresses the phrasing from St. Augustine who had a different understanding of the eucharist:


    Clement of Alexandria:

     
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  3. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Hello, Mockingbird.
    Would you please have a look at this webpage?
    Is this Anglican website saying that St Cyril's service is in the 1928 BCP?

    http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/Feb9.html

    To answer your question, I was not saying that the Breviary is infallible. Rather, I cited it to show that the Pope of Alexandria, Cyril is respected deeply as a church father in Anglican tradition, as reflected in the Breviary and the 4th ecumenical council, which Anglicanism accepts. As I remember it, the 4th ecumenical council is also upheld in the Articles of Religion.
     
  4. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Hello, Anglican74.
    Since you've asked me, I can say that I can think of three ways to address the following passage you've cited:
    The first way is to note that Augustine was making a commentary on John 6, which talks about "eating" Jesus' flesh. As various theologians have noted, Augustine took the viewpoint that when John 6 talked about "eating" Jesus, the evangelist was only speaking figuratively, as Jesus did not want his current, pre-Resurrection audience to literally at grab ahold of his pre-Resurrection flesh in physical form and chew it, with all the connotations thereof.

    However, this in no way rules out that Augustine believed that the Eucharistic food was in some real way itself directly Christ's body as shown by several of his other writings, in which he focused on other passages outside John 6.

    Next, you cite:
    The way I would address this is by pointing out that Augustine never wrote the bold part, rather it is someone else's version of how he interprets St Augustine. It can be found on page 16 of:
    The Lord's Supper in the Reformed Tradition by John W. Riggs, published by Westminster John Knox Press.
    I imagine that Riggs' Reformed view differs from the views of many Anglicans in interpreting Augustine.

    I can think of three ways to address Clement's quote below:
    The first way is to propose that eating Jesus' flesh can have a connotation of (1) spiritual eating by faith, and that eating Jesus' faith can also (2) have a connotation of actually eating Jesus' transformed flesh. In the quotes you have given, Augustine and Clement talk about the first kind, (1). The existence of this first kind however does not rule out the second kind of eating, ie. physical eating with the mouth.

    The Articles of Religion, Art 29, actually point to a quote by Augustine where he talks about both spiritual and physical eating. In that quote in Art 29, Augustine says that both physical and spiritual eating occur, but that only the worthy eat inside the heart (ie spiritual eating).

    Let me know of you are interested in the other two ways of addressing Augustine's and Clement's quotes.
     
  5. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    Going back to the original question of this post - Does Anglicanism consider the Eucharistic food itself to really be or have Christ's body - I think that the many posts show that there is not a common understanding or belief about this amongst Anglicans and that Anglicanism itself is not dogmatic about it but accepts a variety of understandings and beliefs. As said before, the Articles, if you want to look at those, can be interpreted in different ways. The question itself is not without ambiguity as I think many could answer yes, but still have a different interpretation. EO, I believe, only accepts two interpretations - one of which I hold to and which is not incompatible with Anglicanism.
     
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  6. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    No. I have my 1928 BCP here in front of me and its calendar contains no saints that are not mentioned in the Bible.

    The Lesser Feasts and Fasts was first issued during the time of the 1928 BCP. As far as I can tell the only Cyrils in the first edition were Cyril-and-Methodius, and Cyril of Jerusalem. I have The Lesser Feasts and Fasts, Fourth Edition (1998) here in front of me and it also has only those two Cyrils.

    Some of Cyril of Alexandria's writings may indeed be useful, but this does not make everything that he wrote to be true. In particular, I deem false his assertion that the holy housel is "not bread."
     
  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Although long venerated in the East, the Latin Church added him to the calendar in in 1882, the date being 9th February. In 1969 it was moved to 27th June which is when the Coptic Church celebrates him and most likely the date of his death. The Lutheran Church also celebrates him, but I am not sure how long that has been the case. I am unaware of any evidence that would suggest that Anglicans marked the feast much before the current period. I concur that I do not find him mentioned in 1928 BCP.

    I can tell you that the 27th June was marked the calendar of An Australian Prayer Book 1978, and retained in A Prayer Book for Australia 1995.

    My approach may be somewhat different to Mockingbird, but I have trouble rising up to deem things from the Church Fathers true or false. I sometimes find then very helpful, and sometimes I wonder what they were trying to say.

    I think it was CJ Lewis said 'next to the blessed sacrament, the holiest thing you will touch in your neighbour'. Some may wonder what he was trying to say, I find it helpful, even if he is not on the calendar!
     
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  8. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

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    It's very important to interpret not just the fathers of the Church, but everything else we read especially the Sacred Scriptures, in context.
    It's pretty easy to look up isolated quotes of the Fathers and saints online...usually to prove this or that doctrine.
    But really it's best to try to understand: to whom were they addressing; was it a sermon, catechism, or a correctional letter; what were the controversies of the time; what was the main theme, etc.

    This is not directed at any post in particular, but just something helpful I've learned while studying the early Fathers of the Church.
     
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  9. Andy

    Andy Member Anglican

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    Here is a link to To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism. It is distributed by the Anglican Church in North America and, I understand, was contributed to, in no small part, by Dr. J.I. Packer, one of our most prolific Anglican theologians/authors. It is a relatively recent creation and, hopefully, is of some assistance.
     
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  10. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me that the crux of the problem lies in interpreting the word "present", and what it means to people
     
  11. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    It looks like the service I quoted by St Cyril of Alexandria is in:


    The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts

    2006
    together with The Fixed Holy Days Conforming to General Convention 2006

    mentions:
    http://www.richardliantonio.com/anglican/Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006.pdf

    How much of the following is in the Anglican Breviary:

    From the above passage it sounds like Anglicans who follow the Anglican Breviary consider him a Doctor of the Church, ie a major Church Father and make a prayer about him calling him a saint, as well as holding out his theory on the Eucharist as a model.

    Episcopal.net gives him a saint's day:
    http://www.episcopalnet.org/Saints/Feb9CyrilOfAlexandria.html

    Dr Judith Pinnington of the Central School of Religion, London, writes about Cranmer in her book Anglicans and Orthodox: Unity and Subversion 1559-1725:
    In other words, Cranmer was using Cyril as an authority in Cranmer's battle over the Eucharist.

    Now of course, Mockingbird, I am not demanding that you accept St. Cyril's teachings on the Eucharist or Transubstantiation as correct. I don't have an opinion that they are myself. Instead, I brought them up in response to Philip's comment that Transubstantiation was unheard of before the 16th c. Council of Trent. His teachings show that in fact Transubstantiation could be found in the mainstream Christian community long before that, namely in the writings of the major 5th c. Church father Cyril of Alexandria, whose writings on the Eucharist are respected by Cranmer and the Anglican Breviary, and whose service is in the Churchman's Ordo Kalendar written to accompany the 1928 BCP.
     
  12. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Philip,

    Here I will give you some background:

    Blessed Theodoret and St Cyril of Alexandria were two of the central Church Fathers of the 5th century and they held very different "camps" on certain questions. Theodoret wanted to emphasize Jesus as having two natures and substances, while St Cyril emphasized the unity of Christ's person, although according to Chalcedon, (a council accepted by Anglicans) these two Church fathers both openly agreed that Christ was one person with two natures and substances. So on the main things they agreed and are both important figures in Church Tradition.

    But, I find that the Eucharistic altar food was one of those instances where they disagreed. Theodoret openly said that the Eucharistic food had both substances - the substance of bread and the substance of Christ's body. Cyril, on the other hand, argued as I quoted that the Eucharistic food was Christ's body and was not bread. So this is one of the cases where these two figures did hold different positions. This background about them occupying different camps can help us better understand what they were trying to say like you asked about, Philip.

    The 4th and 5th Ecumenical Councils declared Cyril's writings "orthodox" and openly rejected some of Theodoret's writings (particularly his writings against Cyril), but these Councils did not get into the question of their debate on the Eucharist or into the question of Transubstantiation. In fact, neither Cyril nor Theodoret directly wrote that the other was wrong about the Eucharist, even though they had different teachings.

    In my experience reading the Fathers, they commonly teach that the Eucharistic food is or actually has Christ's body. But they rarely directly or explicitly take a stance in favor of or against Transubstantiation or against other Church fathers' views on that topic of Transubstantiation. I imagine that the mid-4th c. Christian community did not have a clear, united position on that question or else Cyril and Theodore would not have had opposing views on it. I also tend to think it was not a crucial question in their eyes or else they would have argued it more and other Church fathers would have taken a clearer stand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  13. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    I have found this commentary by a C of E clergyman on the 39 articles - obviously written quite a long time ago - which has interesting sections on articles 28 and 29. The writer of this document believes that the Articles are saying that Christ's body and blood are spiritually as opposed to corporally present in the Bread and Wine.
    This isn't what Anglo-Catholics within the C of E believe and Anglo-Catholic beliefs appear to be accepted within the modern day C of E as much as the beliefs of those in Churches holding to the Spiritual presence.
    https://archive.org/stream/thirtyninearticl00bouluoft/thirtyninearticl00bouluoft_djvu.txt
     
  14. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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  15. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    :hmm: Hmm.

    Here is that discussion:
    https://archive.org/stream/thirtyninearticl00bouluoft/#page/250/mode/2up
     
  16. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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  17. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Thank you for all your answers so far. To clarify, do any of you think that the Articles of Religion reject the idea of a real presence in bread?
     
  18. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    No.

    I think that's abundantly clear from the articles and the rest of our eucharistic liturgy as shown in this thread.

    As @Christina says,
    How much more does one need?
     
  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I certainly do not think so.
     
  20. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    I prefer to say that the bread is in Christ, rather than to say that Christ is in the bread.

    As I will note on the other forum, it is a bad approach to concentrate on the elements outside of their liturgical context. The housel is not bread that the priest has zapped. It is bread for which the gathered congregation has given thanks to God the Father in Jesus's name and memory.