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. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Thank you, Anglican74.
    I agree with you that I haven't heard anyone on the forum yet claim that the Articles oppose belief in the real presence in bread, or to put it another way, Christ being objectively or directly in the bread. To me what Mockingbird is saying does not oppose that belief, which he phrases as the bread being in Jesus. And please understand that what you are saying is what I understand the view of the early Church to be, what I would prefer to see in the Articles' position, and what I think can be found in the Articles. But at the same time I want to understand the Articles as a whole and as they really are, independent of my own preferences.

    To answer your question about what else one needs besides the intelligent commentary that Christina pointed to, I think one would have to also consider the views of Anglican scholars who take the opposite view in order to check it.

    How might one address the fact that the earliest commentaries most contemporary to the Articles interpret them to disagree with belief in a direct presence in the bread itself?
    I would expect that commentaries written in the same era as the Articles, especially by important Anglican theologians or published by important Anglican institutions of their time would have a good, contemporary understanding of their authors' views.

    The Articles were passed in their final form in 1571 with the addition of Article 29. An Anglo-Catholic writer, WIlliam Tighe, notes how this came about:
    http://www.theanglocatholic.com/201...s-a-confessional-standard-for-anglicans-today

    Rodgers' 1586 commentary on the Articles says about Articles 28-29:


    Bp. Gilbert Burnet proposes in his 1699 commentary
    on Articles 28 that the Greek fathers originally said that the Eucharistic elements were figures of Christ but that later the Greek Church , especially at the Seventh Council at Nice, declared it to be the "true body of Christ". As I understand it and as some Anglicans have told me, "symbols" and "figures" are not actually exclusive of reality. That is, something could be both the true body and be a symbol.
    Bp. Burnett next writes that God is everywhere and so God is in the elements of the Eucharist too. He says that the elements aren't to be reserved because Christ did not say to do that and that the command to "Take, eat" means that they are only a sacrament when they are given and received.

    He adds about Article 29:
    Anglican John Ellis also took the Articles to oppose Christ's body itself being directly in the elements in his 1700 Defense of the Articles:
    Would you know of any commentaries on the Articles from 1571-1700 that support belief in a real presence of Christ's body directly or objectively in the bread itself?
     
  2. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    I'm not sure that the quotes given above do show that those early commentators interpret the articles as denying the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine. Those commentators do appear to interpret the articles as denying the real corporal presence, but not necessarily the real spiritual presence of Christ in the bread and wine and, from memory, I think that was the view of commentator I pointed to earlier.
    William Tygh takes issue with the Articles as, to his mind, they deny the corporal presence. Burnet and Rodgers suggest that the articles deny the bodily presence and are in agreement with that view.

    Some Anglicans today hold the spiritual presence view, others hold the cop oral presence view. Most believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, be that presence Corporal or Spiritual.
     
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  3. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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  4. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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  5. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    I think you are getting into an interesting detail when you write: "I'm not sure that the quotes given above do show that those early commentators interpret the articles as denying the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine. Those commentators do appear to interpret the articles as denying the real corporal presence, but not necessarily the real spiritual presence of Christ".

    First, one of the key questions
    that Cranmer on one hand and Bp. Guest on the other addressed was whether Christ's words "This is my body" were objectively and directly true, with Bp. Guest taking the position that it was directly true.

    Doesn't Ellis' 1700 Commentary deny this when he writes: "It is called the true Body and true Blood of Christ; but only secondarily and represented as such. So we say of Caesar‘s Picture: This is Caesar that overcame Pompey."

    Here you seem to be making a second point, that even if the bread is not directly, objectively Christ's body, Christ could still be present in the bread spiritually. I am not aware of the advocates of Cranmer's position or the opponents of the Oxford movement teaching that Christ's spirit was itself directly and objectively in the bread without His body, nor do I see the early Anglican commentaries I listed considering such a view. Pusey, the leader of the Oxford movement, on the other hand, took the position that Christ's body itself became spirit after the Resurrection, and this was how he explained his view that Christ's body was spiritually in the bread but not "corporally". Bp. Guest gave a similar view. That is, he would say that Christ was not "corporally" in the bread, by which he meant a "gross and sensible presence", but he would still assert that the statement "This is my body" is objectively true, and that Christ's body is actually eaten, but not tasted and thus he would not call that a carnal eating.
    http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/mcgarvey/aquinas.pdf

    So one of the questions would be what you mean about a "spiritual" presence in bread:

    Do you mean:
    A) The presence of Christ's spirit going into bread with his body staying up in heaven?
    The first problem with this is that it proposes Jesus' body being in one place and his soul another place even though his body has become divinized like a spirit so that it can ascend, go through walls, etc.
    And second, Burnett in his commentary, like Cranmer, takes the view that the bread in its composition was only bread and a symbol, not something else like bread + a body. To propose that the elements were bread + soul + symbol in their composition would go against that theory.

    B) Christ has a "spiritual" presence in bread just like in Cranmer's view the faithful have a "spiritual" eating of Him?
    That is, for Cranmer, a "spiritual" eating did not mean using one's mouth, but it meant believing, so that the effect was parallel. Likewise, is being "spiritually" present in bread the concept of virtualism, whereby the bread has a parallel effect? That seemed to me to be NT Wright's idea of the relationship of Christ to the bread, that it had a parallel effect or power to what Christ's body has.

    By the way, another Anglican commentator called Cranmer's view a "spiritual presence" in the Eucharist, but not one in the bread in particular. That is, he viewed Christ's spirit as being present in the ritual.
     
  6. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Right, none if those quotes deny the Presence in the Spiritual mode.
    Why couldn't He be present directly, objectively and Spiritually?

    :hmm:
     
  7. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    Don't think I mean either A or B. It's not actually about what I mean, more about what they, the commentators, meant as it is clarification on the views of early Anglicans that you are seeking. I go back to a previous comment that the real presence is a Holy Mystery that we perhaps shouldn't try to fully understand.
     
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  8. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Dear Anglican74,
    For Pusey, the leader of the Oxford movement, Christ was in fact "present directly, objectively and Spiritually" in the bread.

    Carol Herringer explains Pusey's views in her book Edward Bouverie Pusey and the Oxford Movement:
    That is, for Pusey, Christ was "objectively" present directly in the bread because he was present for both the worthy and unworthy regardless of their subjective faith. Christ's body was there in spirit mode and the bread had a heavenly substance, making it factually correct to say "This is the Body of Christ", not "This is mere bread". This is the same position as Bp. Guest's at the time of the Articles' writing as the theologian Enraght explains:

    http://anglicanhistory.org/england/enraght/realpresence.html

    How do Guest's and Pusey's view of a direct presence of a heavenly substance compare with Burnett's view that the elements are only "figures" of Christ's body, and Ellis' view that:
    "It is called the true Body and true Blood of Christ; but only secondarily and represented as such. So we say of Caesar‘s Picture: This is Caesar that overcame Pompey"? And why do you think Burnett and Rodgers objected so strongly to the Lutheran and Greek views in their quotes above?

    It seems to me that contemporary views from the late 16th and 17th centuries when the Articles were passed in Parliament are a major tool for understanding their intent and the understanding of the convocations that passed them.
     
  9. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Christina,

    You earlier wrote: "I'm not sure that the quotes given above do show that those early commentators interpret the articles as denying the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine. Those commentators do appear to interpret the articles as denying the real corporal presence, but not necessarily the real spiritual presence of Christ".
    So in my last message to you I was trying to see what you meant by them not ruling out a "spiritual presence". Namely, did you mean that they did not rule out Christ's soul or His own spirit itself being directly in bread?

    Those who followed Cranmer's example, like Boultbee, asserted that they taught a "real presence" or "spiritual presence", but that for them it meant that Christ's body was in heaven where he was really present to believers' spirits.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
  10. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    I think that different commentators probably interpreted "spiritual presence" in different ways - as suggested by the different quotes you have given in various posts.
     
  11. Hungarus

    Hungarus New Member

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    From "The Eucharist. Sacrament of Unity. An Occasional Paper of the House of Bishops of the Church of England" (29.):

    https://www.churchofengland.org/media/36015/eucharist.pdf (29.)
     
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  12. Madeline

    Madeline Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting that, Hungarus, and especially this

    our divines have consistently been loath to speculate as to the mode of that presence and have been content to reverence the mystery
    I find it interesting, elucidating and fun to discuss this topic, but I wouldn't be comfortable with any sort of pronouncement on what the "fact" is, if you could call it that, as I find it hubristic for us to tell God what he is and what he does. This is as with the Trinity, which we're cautioned against discussing it too much lest we fall into heresy. I'm content to know that my understanding is limited and that there are certain things I can't apply reason to.
     
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  13. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    My first question would be what they use the term "real presence" to mean. It sounds like they are saying that they teach a real presence because they teach "A real and true communion with and participation in Christ through the sacraments". Of course, this is something both Cranmer and Newman would agree to, but they would use the term "real presence" in very different ways.

    Bp. Ridley from the beginning of the English Reformation said several times that he rejected Real Presence, but at one point he said that he rejected it if it meant Transubstantiation and would accept it if it meant that Christ's body has a relationship to the Sacrament - something again that of course Cranmer would accept.

    My second question
    would be how authoritative the Porvoo statement is, and, since it was a joint declaration with the Lutherans, whether that means that they understand "under the form of bread" to mean the same thing Lutherans use it to mean?
     
  14. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    My sense from reading commentaries written in different periods, and from polls and asking around, and from reading about the history and views of bishops like Cranmer vs. Guest, is that in the first 150 years of the English Reformation that the COE generally agreed with Cranmer's views. But now due to the Oxford movement, Anglicans more often accept the concept of an objective presence like Pusey proposed.

    So for example when I asked here if everyone rejected a direct objective presence, no one said that they did.
     
  15. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    May I please ask something of those who consider themselves AngloCatholics or supporters of the Oxford movement's position on an objective presence? Do either of the two theories below match your concept of the objective presence:

    In Jesus' time and in the first few centuries of Christianity, people believed that there were Spirit entities or beings like angels and demons. They thought that the angels could hold swords in their hands and could look and talk like people, while demons/bad spirits had names and God or exorcists could send them into people or animals. They believed that the Holy Spirit was a being or "person" that could come down in the form of a dove. God before the incarnation was a Spirit that could have a presence directly in a cloud or fire in the Sinai. Likewise, a person has a soul and a body, and the soul is in the body. Or in other words, God, Christ, humans, and angels all either are Spirits or are Spirits with bodies.

    So first I would ask you about Luther's concept, which I am not telling you is or is not the Anglican view. Luther said that Jesus stood before the apostles in physical mode and they touched Him, but another time Jesus was in nonphysical "Spirit mode" when he went through the stone in the tomb or the door in John 20. When Luther says this, he does not mean that Jesus was only "spiritually" in the door in the same way he was a "spiritual" (metaphorical/religious) "vine" for the apostles or that the door was part of his spirituality. There would be no point in theorizing Jesus going through a door at all in that sense of "spiritualness".

    Luther's conclusion was that Jesus' body had a Spirit-like state, or what he called a "Spirit mode", in the in the Wall in John 20, and that Jesus' body had that same status or mode in the bread. This reminds me of the Anglican theologian Beasly's characterization of Newman's understanding, comparing the Spirit mode to an angel. After all, Jesus talked about people being like angels after the Resurrection and Paul talked about rising in "Spirit bodies".

    Now here is a second hypothesis that I see as commensurate with this theory of "Spirit beings": Jesus' Spirit (regardless of His risen body that is in heaven) goes into bread, thereby making the bread a physical vessel/temple/"body" for itself, while remaining a Spirit. This theory would remind me of Jesus' saying that His body was His own temple, or Peter's teaching that our bodies are "vessels" for Christ's Spirit, or the belief that the Holy Spirit, a "person" of the Trinity enters into people.

    Do either of these two theories - that Jesus' body in a Spirit-like state is in the bread, or that Jesus' Spirit (in the sense that God, humans, and angels each have Spirits) is in the bread - match your own?