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Eucharist

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3rd quarter of 16th century

3rd quarter of 16th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Eucharist (Greek eucharistia = thanksgiving) is a sacrament, also called Holy Communion (Catholic) and the Lord’s Supper (Protestant), in which Jesus is believed to be present under bread and wine.

It is based on the New Testament account of the Last Supper, in which Jesus asks his disciples to take and eat bread and wine in order to remember him (1 Corinthians 11.23-5; Matthew 26.26-8; Mark 14.22-4; Luke 22.17-20).

The bread and wine are consecrated by a priest or, in Protestantism, a minister and is given to disciples. Theological differences arise among different Christian groups as to whether the bread and wine become the real presence of Christ, coexist with the real presence of Christ or serve as mere symbols.

Drawing on a distinction from Aristotelian logic, Catholic theology indicates that the essence of the bread and wine are transformed but not the observable form. Moreover, Catholicism adheres to the position known as ex opere operato (by the action performed), which indicates that the sacrament is always effective when administered by a consecrated priest, regardless of the moral condition of his soul at the time.

If one believes that we’re all born with the taint of original sin and remain imperfect throughout our lives, ex opere operato seems a reasonable and, indeed, necessary position.

Related Posts » Consubstantiation, Quiddity, Transubstantiation

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2 thoughts on “Eucharist

  1. Okay, so Jesus said: “This is my body and this is my blood” while partaking of the bread and wine during the Feast of the Passover. But why must we take his words literally — because it suits our convenience ? At another place, He also said : “I am the light”. But nobody claims that He is a lamp or a flickering candle. He also describes himself as the gate, yet nobody says that he is just a lot of planks of wood, because such a claim would serve no practical purpose. Jesus had His own way of expressing himself. Unfortinately, vested interests have sorted his sayings out to suit their own needs or arguments. The honest truth, as I see it, is that Jesus was addressing himself to the Jews alone during the course of the Feast of the Passover. He was, in fact, celebrating a very Jewish feats which had absolutlely nothing to do with latter-day Christianity — and I realy don’t care what our churches have to say in this matter. They can talk till they’re blue in the face, but the fact remains that Jesus was a Jew at the time, and He was addressing himself to the Jews. The Bible provides no evidence to the contrary

    And no, Jesus Christ is not physicaslly present in this thing that the Catholics refer to as the “Holy Eucharist”. I look upon this claim as the biggest hoax in the Roman church. But I hope to get back to this hoax, and deal with it in shocking detail, at a later and more convenient date.

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  2. Carlton, you make some good points from a purely rationalist perspective. But we’re dealing here with matters of faith. Believers, you see, would say that their belief elevates them to a perspective that non-believers aren’t privy to. And then there are those who are somewhere in the middle. They may believe and thus experience Eucharistic grace but not necessarily accept all of the teachings within their particular Church.

    As for the issue of selectivity, just because a Church selects out some passages but not others for liturgical purposes does not necessarily mean that it was wrong in doing so. Again, the belief (and yes, it is a belief) is that the Holy Spirit guides the Church in such matters–at least, that’s the Catholic view. I’m not as well-informed as to the Protestant denominations.

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