Sacraments & Sacramentals

A man sent a challenge that the Fathers of the Church claim the Eucharist is a symbol and therefore NOT the Real Presence of Christ. Is that true? My friend Gary Michuta answers the question.

Thanks for including me in on this conversation. Brian, there are three issues that commonly trip up non-Catholics when they read the early fathers on the Eucharist.

 The first obstacle is their inability to understand the difference between a complimentary statement and a contradictory statement. For example, the two following statements can be complimentary (that is both true in the same manner and time):

1) This ball is red
2) This ball is round.

 A contradictory statement cannot be true in the same manner and at the same time. for example:

1) This ball is red
2) This ball is NOT red

 When an early father says that Eucharist is a symbol, it is not necessarily contradictory since the Eucharist can be both a symbol and the reality of Christ’s body and blood. A statement that would contradict Catholic teaching would be The Eucharist is ONLY a symbol.

 This brings up the second stumbling block. Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is much more complex than saying it is Christ’s body and blood (as you know). It is a Sacrament, which is a visible sign (symbol, type, figure) that points to an invisible reality (Christ Himself). Many non-Catholics are surprised that the Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is a symbol (in regards to the Sacramental species or its outward appearances). 

 The Council of Trent, for example, said, “This, indeed, the most Holy Eucharist has in common with the other sacraments, that is a “symbol of a sacred thing and a visible form of an invisible grace (DS 1639). It elsewhere says that Christ “offered to the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine, and under the symbols of those same things gave to the apostles… so that we might partake.” (DS 1740). The old Roman Catechism (the Catechism of the Council of Trent) speaks in the same way. When the early Fathers speak of the Eucharist in terms of its species (mode in which it is given to us), it is correct to use terms like symbols, figures, types, and the like. However, when one is speaking about the invisible reality of the Eucharist (Christ Himself) we cannot speak of it as a symbolic (see DS 1651). 

 The third stumbling block, which this author seems totally oblivious, is the fact that the early Fathers interpreted Scripture according to a four-fold sense (literal, allegorical, moral and  anagogical). Protestantism recognizes only one sense of Scripture, the literal (ala  the Westminster Confession, 1, 9). There were schools in the ancient Church that specialized on these different senses. Antioch was known for its literal interpretations. Alexandria was known for its allegorical interpretations.

It’s not surprising that the two examples the author gives as being most surprising to Catholics are Clement and Origen. What a shock! They both taught in Alexandria and both are known for their allegorical interpretation. The quotes he gives shows very clearly that they are not talking about the literal sense of Christ’s words, but the allegorical (or perhaps moral / spiritual sense). But this sense tells us nothing about what the Eucharist truly, literally, is.

The Eucharist is both a symbol and IS what it symbolizes. 

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What’s the Deal with Infant Baptism?

by Steve Ray on August 16, 2016

What’s the Deal with Infant Baptism?
by Steve Ray

IMG_2819a sm.jpgMy past tradition — Fundamentalist Baptist — rejected Infant Baptism. In fact, the Baptist tradition originated during the “Reformation” when they broke from Rome (and Luther) and promoted “ana-baptism” which means — baptized again.

The infant baptism taught by the Catholic Church was utterly rejected and they “re-baptized” their converts. Baptists misunderstood Scripture and rejected the monolithic witness of the early Church.

(Note: the baby in the picture is my grandson Joshua Thomas Ray, son of Jesse and Anna Ray. Deacon Dan Foley is baptizing Joshua. Click on the image for a larger picture.)

So, why was I a Baptist? Good question. I think it was because I was born with a pair of Baptist glasses strapped to my head — glasses which focused my vision from Day One.

Glasses.jpgBy the way, there are many types of “glasses” available and we all wear one kind or another — Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, atheists, secularist, Lutheran, Catholic, Hindu, etc. We see the world through the lenses of our accepted (or ingrained) tradition. Everything is interpreted through the pair of glasses we have accepted.

But back to Baptism: Is baptism for adults only? Is it correct to limit it to “believers’ baptism”? How does the Jewish background influence our view of baptism? Is baptism necessary for salvation? How is one “born again”? How does circumcision fit in? What did the early Church teach and practice.

-For my full article on Infant Baptism, click here.
-To listen to my talk on “Born Again? Faith Alone?” click here.

-For more such articles and letters, click here.

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Eucharistic Miracles Website

by Steve Ray on August 15, 2016

screen-captureInteresting site with articles on the Eucharist and the Real Presence, a catalog of Eucharistic miracles and more. It is a wealth of information — especially as we approach Corpus Christi Sunday.

I knew nothing of this as a Protestant and find it absolutely intriguing now. I am so glad to be a Catholic and to understand the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

Referring to Eucharistic Miracles, Janet and I have been to Orvieto and Lanciano in Italy. Incredible!

View the site here

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Can Relics and Sacramentals Relay the Power of God?

June 28, 2016

Some might claim that Catholic teaching on relics and Sacramentals is unbiblical. Really? Check out these biblical passages: “So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face CLOTHS or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came […]

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Canon Law and the Pope’s Unfortunate Words on Cohabitation and Non-sacramental Marriages

June 19, 2016

There are so many issues to write about; I would have wished that this would not be one of them, but… Canon Lawyer Dr. Ed Peters brings clarity to the confusion caused by the Pope’s recent words.  If you’re concerned about marriage, the problems in the Church in that regard, the Pope’s recent words about […]

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UPDATED 6/18/16: Pope: “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” -Ed Peters Responds

June 17, 2016

Updates: Dr. Peters’ follow-up to article below: The Missing Middle Term on the Pope’s Off the Cuff Comments on Marriage John Allen of Crux responds to Dr. Peters and defends the Pope: Lets Not Get Bent Out of Shape by Changes to Papal Transcripts Canon Lawyer Ed Peters fires back to John Allen’s comments and criticism: A […]

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The Kiss of Mercy

June 14, 2016

My daughter-in-law Anna is very insightful about spiritual things, and in raising our grandkids. Couldn’t ask for a better daughter (in-law, though we consider her our daughter by now :-) She put this up on her FaceBook page and I was compelled to share it. Janet and I read this with tears in our eyes […]

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Multiplication of Loaves a Miracle or Just a Lesson in Sharing?

June 12, 2016

I will be on Catholic Answers Live Monday at 6:00 PM Eastern. We will discuss the Miracles of Jesus with an emphasis on the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish. When confronted with this at Mass a while ago I wrote a letter to the priest which became an article in Catholic Answers Magazine. Article HERE.  In […]

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Washing Women’s Feet on Holy Thursday not a Requirement

March 22, 2016

March 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Amid reports of priests saying their bishops are insisting they wash the feet of women during the Holy Thursday liturgy, Pope Francis’ liturgy chief has told reporters that washing the feet of women during the Holy Thursday celebration is not a requirement according to the new rite.  Cardinal Robert Sarah, […]

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Was Baptism Instituted Before or After Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?

March 22, 2016

The other day a friend wrote and asked a question. It was an interesting question. “Is the answer to this that in the earlier examples, only the disciples did the baptizing and John is using a Hebraic figure of speech such that his disciples did them in his name and by his authority? If so, […]

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Easter is Coming! Get to Confession! Five Benefits of Frequent Confession

March 3, 2016

5 Benefits of Frequent Confession It’s Lent! This season provides us as Catholics an opportunity to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” One of the ways we can best do this is by going to Confession, where we have the opportunity to accept the many graces God has in store for us through this beautiful […]

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Pope Decrees That Holy Thursday Foot Washing Ceremony Can Include Women

January 21, 2016

See story here

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Updated Sacrament Chart – Print and Use Freely

January 19, 2016

In the past I prepared a Sacrament Chart for a class I was teaching. Many found it helpful so I provided it here. Today I updated it, partly to insert some of the revised wording at Mass and to sharpen a few points. I hope you find it helpful… Click on the image to download […]

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Interesting Explanation of Baptism from Protestant Dictionary – “baptism…in itself is unimportant”

January 10, 2016

I was looking up Greek definitions of the word baptism and found this interesting “definition.” This dictionary is usually very good but I found this summary of biblical passages on baptism very intriguing and disingenuous. Take a look at this definition and think about it for yourself. Analyze it and the verses used. Notice how they […]

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My Updated Article on Infant Baptism

December 30, 2015

Even among Evangelical Protestants there is much debate about Infant Baptism. My old Baptist tradition rejected it as a Catholic tradition of men. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, my favorite Evangelical Presbyterian theologian wrote a booklet entitled Infant Baptism in favor of the practice – my wife Janet was raised Presbyterian and baptized as an infant. It […]

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What Does God See When He Opens His Eyes?

November 18, 2015

Since we are in Capernaum today – where Jesus said, “Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood.” I thought it would be appropriate to post again this popular blog post that explains the Sacrifice of the Mass. Recently we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, […]

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