Friday, 19 July 2013

Real or imagined?

For your Friday penance. 

Dear Father Pastor,
I was reading that when Pope Francis was Archbishop of Buenos Aires he approved a Eucharistic miracle which had occurred in his diocese. What do think, Father; isn't this wonderful that our new Holy Father has such love for the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist? Doesn't this just fill you with joy, Father Pastor?

My dear child,
This really in not the Church's teaching on real presence.  In fact, since around the 12th. century with the Beregarius controversy, this kind of a crass realism was rejected out-rightly.  The Church has never really defined what real presence means, all it asserts is that Christ is truly present in the form of bread and wine which is changed at an ontological level, not at a literal physical level.  The Church also states that Christ is truly present in the Scriptures proclaimed (again, not at a physical level) in the office of the priest (again not at a physical level other than  that by our baptism and our communion we become the living presence of Christ), and equally important, as the community assembled.  for the first 1000 years, the corpus verum or real presence meant the assembled people of God, and the Eucharist was the corpus mysterium or the mystical body of Christ.  through a lot of medieval worldviews, this got changed.  the Church has been actively trying to restore this more balanced understanding of the real presence.  this was expounded very well in the Vatican 2 documents, subsequent documents, and even as recently as the new Roman Missal, thus the practice of everyone remaining standing as the real body of Christ until everyone has come to the table not just to receive the Eucharist which too narrow a scope, but to be the Eucharist. As St. Augustine said in the 5th century, we already are the Eucharist the living presence of Christ coming to manifest that reality and to continue to become more fully the living real presence.  As St. Augustine also said on the nature of the Eucharist, we say amen to what we are, the living real presence.  Such documents, though enticing and seemingly congruent with our theology in truth are not and undermine the very nature and purpose and essence of who we are called to be.  It objectifies the Eucharist which was never meant to be objectified as tomorrow evening's celebration reminds us that the real presence of the Eucharist is made manifest in washing of the feet.

Father Pastor.