Part 2 History

Chapter e24 Medieval Period [1200-1299]

Preliminary Questions



Eucharist in the Summa of Thomas Aquinas

The Council of Trent

Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry

Osborne's Summary on Transubstantiation

Jasper and Cuming

To Think About

Preliminary Questions


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Thomas Aquinas.  Summa Theologica   The works of St. Thomas Aquinas have been digitized and indexed on CD by the members of the Association for the Computerization of Lexicological Hermeneutical Analyses (CAEL), which sponsored the production of the Index Tomisticus, a complete glossary of the linguistic terms (some 9 million words) taken from St. Thomas´ works.  The completion of the Index Tomisticus in 2002 was due to the tireless work of Jesuit Father Roberto Busa, a pioneer in the computerization of human sciences.

Cabie, Robert. The Eucharist, New Edition 1986. Vol II of The Church at Prayer, G. Martimort editor. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1986, pp 127-148.

Deiss, Lucien.  It's the Lords Supper Eucharist of Christians, New York: Paulist Press, 1976. [The author gives a good summary of how the eucharist was celebrated from the time of early Christians up to the present.]

Dix, Gregory . The Shape of the Liturgy. London: Dacre Press, 1970, pp 434-612.

Hay, Leo. Eucharist: A Thanksgiving Celebration. Volume 3-A of Message of the Sacraments. Michael Glazier, Inc., 1989. ISBN 8-89453-280-4.

Jasper and Cuming. Prayers of the Eucharist: Early and Reformed. Third Revised Edition 1987. New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1987, #20-24, pp 147-173.

Martos, Joseph. Doors to the Sacred, New York: Image Books,1982. [Chapter 8 describes the history of the eucharist.]

Mitchell, Nathan.   Cult and Controversy: The Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press [A Pueblo Book], 1982, pp 66-200.

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White, James. Introduction To Christian Worship, Nashville: Abington Press, 1980.


Medieval [1200-1299] Texts and collections begin to be formed into the Sacramentaries.  Solemn High Mass.  Highly ornamental ceremony.   People watch and adore.  Kiss of peace lost.  Elevation of host.  1214 Constitution I of the Fourth Lateran Council. 1208 Profession of Faith prescribed for the Waldenses by Pope Innocent III.  St. Gertrude 1256?-1302.

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Eucharist:  Summa of Thomas Aquinas, Part Three, Questions 73 to 83

Before studying the following Questions, it might be helpful to review Thomas' understanding of the philosophical concepts of hylomorphism, substance, accident.  Review also the theological categories, Res, Sacramentum, Res et Sacramentum.

The Summa Theologica can be found on line at

Question and Article number
73. Of the Sacrament of the Eucharist
73-1. Whether the Eucharist Is a Sacrament?
73-2. Whether the Eucharist Is One Sacrament or Several?
73-3. Whether the Eucharist Is Necessary for Salvation?
73-4. Whether this Sacrament Is Suitably Called by Various Names?
73-5. Whether the Institution of this Sacrament Was Appropriate?
73-6. Whether the Paschal Lamb Was the Chief Figure of this Sacrament?

74. Of the Matter of this Sacrament
74-1. Whether the Matter of this Sacrament Is Bread and Wine?
74-2. Whether a Determinate Quantity of Bread and Wine Is Required for the Matter of this Sacrament?
74-3. Whether Wheaten Bread Is Required for the Matter of this Sacrament?
74-4. Whether this Sacrament Ought to Be Made of Unleavened Bread?
74-5. Whether Wine of the Grape Is the Proper Matter of This Sacrament?
74-6. Whether Water Should Be Mixed with the Wine?
74-7. Whether the Mixing with Water Is Essential to this Sacrament?
74-8. Whether Water Should Be Added in Great Quantity

75. Of the Change of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ
75-1. Whether the Body of Christ Be in this Sacrament in Very Truth, or Merely as in a Figure or Sign
75-2. Whether in this Sacrament the Substance of the Bread and Wine Remains After the Consecration
75-3. Whether the Substance of the Bread or Wine Is Annihilated after the Consecration of this Sacrament, or Dissolved into Their Original Matter?
75-4. Whether Bread Can Be Converted into the Body of Christ?
75-5. Whether the Accidents of the Bread and Wine Remain in this Sacrament after the Change?
75-6. Whether the Substantial Form of the Bread Remains in this Sacrament after the Consecration?
75-7. Whether this Is Wrought Instantaneously?
75-8. Whether this Proposition Is False: the Body of Christ Is Made out of Bread?

76. Of the Way in Which Christ Is in this Sacrament
76-1. Whether the Whole Christ Is Contained under this Sacrament?
76-2. Whether the Whole Christ Is Contained under Each Species of this Sacrament?
76-3. Whether Christ Is Entire under Every Part of the Species of the Bread and Wine?
76-4. Whether the Whole Dimensive Quantity of Christ's Body Is in this Sacrament?
76-5. Whether Christ's Body Is in this Sacrament as in a Place?
76-6. Whether Christ's Body Is in this Sacrament Movably?
76-7. Whether the Body of Christ, as it Is in this Sacrament, Can Be Seen by Any Eye, at Least by a Glorified One?
76-8. Whether Christ's Body Is Truly There When Flesh or a Child Appears Miraculously in this Sacrament?

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77. Of the Accidents Which Remain in this Sacrament
77-1. Whether the Accidents Remain in this Sacrament Without a Subject?
77-2. Whether in this Sacrament the Dimensive Quantity of the Bread or Wine Is the Subject of the Other Accident?
77-3. Whether the Species Remaining in this Sacrament Can Change External Objects?
77-4. Whether the Sacramental Species Can Be Corrupted?
77-5. Whether Anything Can Be Generated from the Sacramental Species?
77-6. Whether the Sacramental Species Can Nourish?
77-7. Whether the Sacramental Species Are Broken in this Sacrament?
77-8. Whether Any Liquid Can Be Mingled with the Consecrated Wine?

78. Of the Form of this Sacrament
78-1. Whether this Is the Form of this Sacrament: "This Is My Body," And, this Is the Chalice of My Blood?"
78-2. Whether this Is the Proper Form for the Consecration of the Bread: this Is My Body?
78-3. Whether this Is the Proper Form for the Consecration of the Wine: this Is the Chalice of My Blood Etc.
78-4. Whether in the Aforesaid Words of the Forms There Be Any Crated Power Which Causes the Consecration?
78-5. Whether the Aforesaid Expressions Are True?
78-6. Whether the Form of the Consecration of the Bread Accomplishes its Effect Before the Form of the Consecration of the Wine Be Completed?

79. Of the Effects of this Sacrament
79-1. Whether Grace Is Bestowed Through this Sacrament?
79-2. Whether the Attaining of Glory Is an Effect of this Sacrament?
79-3. Whether the Forgiveness of Mortal Sin Is an Effect of this Sacrament?
79-4. Whether Venial Sins Are Forgiven Thought this Sacrament?
79-5. Whether the Entire Punishment Due to Sin Is Forgiven Through this Sacrament?
79-6. Whether Man Is Preserve by this Sacrament from Future Sins?
79-7. Whether this Sacrament Benefits Others Besides the Recipients?
79-8. Whether the Effect of this Sacrament Is Hindered by Venial Sin?

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80. Of the Use or Receiving of this Sacrament in General
80-1. Whether There Are Two Ways to Be Distinguished of Eating Christ's Body?
80-2. Whether it Belongs to Man Alone to Eat this Sacrament Spiritually?
80-3. Whether the Just Man Alone May Eat Christ Sacramentally?
80-4. Whether the Sinner Sins in Receiving Christ's Body Sacramentally?
80-5. Whether to Approach this Sacrament with Consciousness of Sin Is the Gravest of All Sins?
80-6. Whether the Priest Ought to Deny the Body of Christ to the Sinner Seeking It?
80-7. Whether the Seminal Loss That Occurs During Sleep Hinders Anyone from Receiving this Sacrament?
80-8. Whether Food or Drink Taken Beforehand Hinders the Receiving of this Sacrament?
80-9. Whether Those Who Have Not the Use of Reason Ought to Receive this Sacrament?
80-10. Whether it Is Lawful to Receive this Sacrament Daily?
80-11. Whether Is Lawful to Abstain Altogether from Communion?
80-12. Whether it Is Lawful to Receive the Body of Christ Without the Blood?

81. Of the Use Which Christ Made of this Sacrament at its Institution
81-1. Whether Christ Received His Own Body and Blood?
81-2. Whether Christ Gave His Body to Judas?
81-3. Whether Christ Received and Gave to the Disciples His Impassible Body?
81-4. Whether, If this Sacrament Had Been Reserved in a Pyx, or Consecrated at the Moment of Christ's Death by One of the Apostles, Christ Himself Would Have Died There?

82. Of the Minister of this Sacrament
82-1. Whether the Consecration of this Sacrament Belongs to a Priest Alone?
82-2. Whether Several Priests Can Consecrate One and the Same Host?
82-3. Whether the Dispensing of this Sacrament Belongs to a Priest Alone?
82-4. Whether the Priest Who Consecrates Is Bound to Receive this Sacrament?
82-5. Whether a Wicked Priest Can Consecrate the Eucharist?
82-6. Whether the Mass of a Sinful Priest Is of Less Worth than the Mass of a Good Priest?
82-7. Whether Heretics, Schismatics, and Excommunicated Persons Can Consecrate?
82-8. Whether a Degraded Priest Can Consecrate this Sacrament?
82-9. Whether it Is Permissible to Receive Communion from Heretical, Excommunicate, or Sinful Priests, and to Hear Mass Said by Them?
82-10. Whether it Is Lawful for a Priest to Refrain Entirely from Consecrating the Eucharist?

83. Of the Rite of this Sacrament
83-1. Whether Christ Is Sacrificed in this Sacrament?
83-2. Whether the Time for Celebrating this Mystery Has Been Properly Determined?
83-3. Whether this Sacrament Ought to Be Celebrated in a House and with Sacred Vessels?
83-4. Whether the Words Spoken in this Sacrament Are Properly Framed?
83-5. Whether the Actions Performed in Celebrating this Sacrament Are Becoming?
83-6. Whether the Defects Occurring During the Celebration of this Sacrament Can Be Sufficiently Met By Observing the Church's Statutes?

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The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent treated the Eucharist in its 13th Session, being the third under the Sovereign Pontiff, Julius III., celebrated on the eleventh day of October, MDLI.

The text is available online as part of the Hanover Historical Texts Project, The Thirteenth Session.

The sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same Legate, and nuncios of the Apostolic See presiding therein, although the end for which It assembled, not without the special guidance and governance of the Holy Ghost, was, that It might set forth the true and ancient doctrine touching faith and the sacraments, and might apply a remedy to all the heresies, and the other most grievous troubles with which the Church of God is now miserably agitated, and rent into many and various parts; yet, even from the outset, this especially has been the object of Its desires, that It might pluck up by the roots those tares of execrable errors and schisms, with which the enemy hath, in these our calamitous times, oversewn the doctrine of the faith, in the use and worship of the sacred and holy Eucharist, which our Saviour, notwithstanding, left in His Church as a symbol of that unity and charity, with which He would fain have all Christians be mentally joined and united together. Wherefore, this sacred and holy Synod delivering here, on this venerable and divine sacrament of the Eucharist, that sound and genuine doctrine, which the Catholic Church, instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and by His apostles, and taught by the Holy Ghost, who day by day brings to her mind all truth, has always retained, and will preserve even to the end of the world, forbids all the faithful of Christ, to presume to believe, teach, or preach henceforth concerning the holy Eucharist, otherwise than as is explained and defined in this present decree.

On the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist

In the first place, the holy Synod teaches, and openly and simply professes, that, in the august sacrament of the holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things. For neither are these things mutually repugnant, that our Saviour Himself always sitteth at the right hand of the Father in heaven, according to the natural mode of existing, and that, nevertheless, He be, in many other places, sacramentally present to us in his own substance, by a manner of existing, which, though we can scarcely express it in words, yet can we, by the understanding illuminated by faith, conceive, and we ought most firmly to believe, to be possible unto God: for thus all our forefathers, as many as were in the true Church of Christ, who have treated of this most holy Sacrament, have most openly professed, that our Redeemer instituted this so admirable a sacrament at the last supper, when, after the blessing of the bread and wine, He testified, in express and clear words, that He gave them His own very Body, and His own Blood; words which, recorded by the holy Evangelists, and afterwards repeated by Saint Paul, whereas they carry with them that proper and most manifest meaning in which they were understood by the Fathers,-it is indeed a crime the most unworthy that they should be wrested, by certain contentions and wicked men, to fictitious and imaginary tropes, whereby the verity of the flesh and blood of Christ is denied, contrary to the universal sense of the Church, which, as the pillar and ground of truth, has detested, as satanical, these inventions devised by impious men; she recognizing, with a mind ever grateful and unforgetting, this most excellent benefit of Christ.

On the reason of the Institution of this most holy Sacrament

Wherefore, our Saviour, when about to depart out of this world to the Father, instituted this Sacrament, in which He poured forth as it were the riches of His divine love towards man, making a remembrance of his wonderful works; and He commanded us, in the participation thereof, to venerate His memory, and to show forth his death until He come to judge the world. And He would also that this sacrament should be received as the spiritual food of souls, whereby may be fed and strengthened those who live with His life who said, He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me; and as an antidote, whereby we may be freed from daily faults, and be preserved from mortal sins. He would, furthermore, have it be a pledge of our glory to come, and everlasting happiness, and thus be a symbol of that one body whereof He is the head, and to which He would fain have us as members be united by the closest bond of faith, hope, and charity, that we might all speak the same things, and there might be no schisms amongst us.

See the remainder of the text online

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Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry
Faith and Order paper No. 111
World Council of Churches, Geneva, 1982

The text [Copyright 1982 World Council of Churches, ISBN 2-8254-0709-7, 30th printing, 1996] can be viewed and ordered from


E1. The Church receives the eucharist as a gift from the Lord. St Paul wrote: "I have received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said: "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance (anamnesis) of me.' In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'" (I Cor. 11:23-25; cf. Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20).

The meals which Jesus is recorded as sharing during his earthly ministry proclaim and enact the nearness of the Kingdom, of which the feeding of the multitudes is a sign. In his last meal, the fellowship of the Kingdom was connected with the imminence of Jesus' suffering. After his resurrection, the Lord made his presence known to his disciples in the breaking of the bread. Thus the eucharist continues these meals of Jesus during his earthly life and after his resurrection always as a sign of the Kingdom. Christians see the eucharist prefigured in the Passover memorial of Israel's deliverance from the land of bondage and in the meal of the Covenant on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24). It is the new paschal meal of the Church, the meal of the New Covenant, which Christ gave to his disciples as the anamnesis of his death and resurrection, as the anticipation of the Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). Christ commanded his disciples thus to remember and encounter him in this sacramental meal, as the continuing people of God, until his return. The last meal celebrated by Jesus was a liturgical meal employing symbolic words and actions. Consequently the eucharist is a sacramental meal which by visible signs communicates to us God's love in Jesus Christ, the love by which Jesus loved his own "to the end" ( John 13:1). It has acquired many names: for example, the Lord's Supper, the breaking of bread, the holy communion, the divine liturgy, the mass. Its celebration continues as the central act of the Church's worship.


E2. The eucharist is essentially the sacrament of the gift which God makes to us in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian receives this gift of salvation through communion in the body and blood of Christ. In the eucharistic meal, in the eating and drinking of the bread and wine, Christ grants communion with himself. God himself acts, giving life to the body of Christ and renewing each member. In accordance with Christ's promise, each baptized member of the body of Christ receives in the eucharist the assurance of the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28) and the pledge of eternal life (John 6:51-58). Although the eucharist is essentially one complete act, it will be considered here under the following aspects: thanksgiving to the Father, memorial of Christ, invocation of the Spirit, communion of the faithful, meal of the Kingdom.

A. The Eucharist as Thanksgiving to the Father

E3. The eucharist, which always includes both word and sacrament, is a proclamation and a celebration of the work of God. It is the great thanksgiving to the Father for everything accomplished in creation, redemption and sanctification, for everything accomplished by God now in the Church and in the world in spite of the sins of human beings, for everything that God will accomplish in bringing the Kingdom to fulfillment. Thus the eucharist is the benediction (berakah) by which the Church expresses its thankfulness for all God's benefits.

E4. The eucharist is the great sacrifice of praise by which the Church speaks on behalf of the whole creation. For the world which God has reconciled is present at every eucharist: in the bread and wine, in the persons of the faithful, and in the prayers they offer for themselves and for all people. Christ unites the faithful with himself and includes their prayers within his own intercession so that the faithful are transfigured and their prayers accepted. This sacrifice of praise is possible only through Christ, with him and in him. The bread and wine, fruits of the earth and of human labour, are presented to the Father in faith and thanksgiving. The eucharist thus signifies what the world is to become: an offering and hymn of praise to the Creator, a universal communion in the body of Christ, a kingdom of Justice, love and peace in the Holy Spirit.

B. The Eucharist as Anamnesis or Memorial of Christ

E5. The eucharist is the memorial of the crucified and risen Christ, i.e. the living and effective sign of his sacrifice, accomplished once and for all on the cross and still operative on behalf of all humankind. The biblical idea of memorial as applied to the eucharist refers to this present efficacy of God's work when it is celebrated by God's people in a liturgy.

E6. Christ himself with all that he has accomplished for us and for all creation (in his incarnation, servanthood, ministry, teaching, suffering, sacrifice, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Spirit) is present in this anamnesis, granting us communion with himself. The eucharist is also the foretaste of his parousia and of the final kingdom.

E7. The anamnesis in which Christ acts through the joyful celebration of his Church is thus both representation and anticipation. It is not only a calling to mind of what is past and of its significance. It is the Church's effective proclamation of God's mighty acts and promises.

E8. Representation and anticipation are expressed in thanksgiving and intercession. The Church, gratefully recalling God's mighty acts of redemption, beseeches God to give the benefits of these acts to every human being. In thanksgiving and intercession, the Church is united with the Son, its great High Priest and Intercessor (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). The eucharist is the sacrament of the unique sacrifice of Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us. It is the memorial of all that God has done for the salvation of the world. What it was God's will to accomplish in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, God does not repeat. These events are unique and can neither be repeated nor prolonged. In the memorial of the eucharist, however, the Church offers its intercession in communion with Christ, our great High Priest.

COMMENTARY (E8) It is in the light of the significance of the eucharist as intercession that references to the eucharist in Catholic theology as "propitiatory sacrifice" may be understood. The understanding is that there is only one expiation, that of the unique sacrifice of the cross, made actual in the eucharist and presented before the Father in the intercession of Christ and of the Church for all humanity.

In the light of the biblical conception of memorial, all churches might want to review the old controversies about "sacrifice" and deepen their understanding of the reasons why other traditions than their own have either used or rejected this term.

E9. The anamnesis of Christ is the basis and source of all Christian prayer. So our prayer relies upon and is united with the continual intercession of the risen Lord. In the eucharist, Christ empowers us to live with him, to suffer with him and to pray through him as justified sinners, joyfully and freely fulfilling his will.

E10. In Christ we offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice in our daily lives (Rom. 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5); this spiritual worship, acceptable to God, is nourished in the eucharist, in which we are sanctified and reconciled in love, in order to be servants of reconciliation in the world.

E11. United to our Lord and in communion with all the saints and martyrs, we are renewed in the covenant sealed by the blood of Christ.

E12. Since the anamnesis of Christ is the very content of the preached Word as it is of the eucharistic meal, each reinforces the other. The celebration of the eucharist properly includes the proclamation of the Word.

E13. The words and acts of Christ at the institution of the eucharist stand at the heart of the celebration; the eucharistic meal is the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, the sacrament of his real presence. Christ fulfills in a variety of ways his promise to be always with his own even to the end of the world. But Christ's mode of presence in the eucharist is unique. Jesus said over the bread and wine of the eucharist: "This is my body . . . this is my blood . . . " What Christ declared is true, and this truth is fulfilled every time the eucharist is celebrated. The Church confesses Christ's real, living and active presence in the eucharist. While Christ's real presence in the eucharist does not depend on the faith of the individual, all agree that to discern the body and blood of Christ, faith is required.

COMMENTARY (E13) Many churches believe that by the words of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine of the eucharist become, in a real though mysterious manner, the body and blood of the risen Christ, i.e., of the living Christ present in all his fullness. Under the signs of bread and wine the deepest reality is the total being of Christ who comes "to us in order to feed us and transform our entire being. Some other churches, while affirming a real presence of Christ at the eucharist, do not link that presence so definitely with the signs of bread and wine. The decision remains for the churches whether this difference can be accommodated within the convergence formulated in the text itself.

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C. The Eucharist as Invocation of the Spirit

E14. The Spirit makes the crucified and risen Christ really present to us in the eucharistic meal, fulfilling the promise contained in the words of institution. The presence of Christ is clearly the centre of the eucharist, and the promise contained in the words of institution is therefore fundamental to the celebration. Yet it is the Father who is the primary origin and final fulfillment of the eucharistic event. The incarnate Son of God by and in whom it is accomplished is its living center. The Holy Spirit is the immeasurable strength of love which makes it possible and continues to make it effective. The bond between the eucharistic celebration and the mystery of the Triune God reveals the role of the Holy Spirit as that of the One who makes the historical words of Jesus present and alive. Being assured by Jesus' promise in the words of institution that it will be answered, the Church prays to the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit in order that the eucharistic event may be a reality: the real presence of the crucified and risen Christ giving his life for all humanity.

COMMENTARY (E14) This is not to spiritualize the eucharistic presence of Christ but to affirm the indissoluble union between the Son and the Spirit. This union makes it clear that the eucharist is not a magical or mechanical action but a prayer addressed to the Father, one which emphasizes the Church's utter dependence. There is an intrinsic relationship between the words of institution, Christ's promise, and the epiclesis, the invocation of the Spirit, in the liturgy. The epiclesis in relation to the words of institution is located differently in various liturgical traditions. In the early liturgies the whole "prayer action" was thought of as bringing about the reality promised by Christ. The invocation of the Spirit was made both on the community and on the elements of bread and wine. Recovery of such an understanding may help us overcome our difficulties concerning a special moment of consecration.

E15. It is in virtue of the living word of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit that the bread and wine become the sacramental signs of Christ's body and blood. They remain so for the purpose of communion.

COMMENTARY (15) In the history of the Church there have been various attempts to understand the mystery of the real and unique presence of Christ in the eucharist. Some are content merely to affirm this presence without seeking to explain it. Others consider it necessary to assert a change wrought by the Holy Spirit and Christ's words, in consequence of which there is no longer just ordinary bread and wine but the body and blood of Christ. Others again have developed an explanation of the real presence which, though not claiming to exhaust the significance of the mystery, seeks to protect it from damaging interpretations.

E16. The whole action of the eucharist has an "epicletic" character because it depends upon the work of the Holy Spirit. In the words of the liturgy, this aspect of the eucharist finds varied expression.

E17. The Church, as the community of the new covenant, confidently invokes the Spirit, in order that it may be sanctified and renewed, led into all justice, truth and unity, and empowered to fulfill its mission in the world.

E18. The Holy Spirit through the eucharist gives a foretaste of the Kingdom of God: the Church receives the life of the new creation and the assurance of the Lord's return.

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D. The Eucharist as Communion of the Faithful

E19. The eucharistic communion with Christ who nourishes the life of the Church is at the same time communion within the body of Christ which is the Church. The sharing in one bread and the common cup in a given place demonstrates and effects the oneness of the sharers with Christ and with their fellow sharers in all times and places. It is in the eucharist that the community of God's people is fully manifested. Eucharistic celebrations always have to do with the whole Church, and the whole Church is involved in each local eucharistic celebration. In so far as a church claims to be a manifestation of the whole Church, it will take care to order its own life in ways which take seriously the interests and concerns of other churches.

COMMENTARY (E19) Since the earliest days, baptism has been understood as the sacrament by which believers are incorporated into the body of Christ and are endowed with the Holy Spirit. As long as the right of the baptized believers and their ministers to participate in and preside over eucharistic celebration in one church is called into question by those who preside over and are members of other eucharistic congregations, the catholicity of the eucharist is less manifest. There is discussion in many churches today about the inclusion of baptized children as communicants at the Lord's Supper.

E20. The eucharist embraces all aspects of life. It is a representative act of thanksgiving and offering on behalf of the whole world. The eucharistic celebration demands reconciliation and sharing among all those regarded as brothers and sisters in the one family of God and is a constant challenge in the search for appropriate relationships in social, economic and political life (Matt. 5:23f., I Cor. 10:16f; I Cor. 11:20-22; Gal. 3:28). All kinds of injustice, racism, separation and lack of freedom are radically challenged when we share in the body and blood of Christ. Through the eucharist the all-renewing grace of God penetrates and restores human personality and dignity. The eucharist involves the believer in the central event of the world's history. As participants in the eucharist, therefore, we prove inconsistent if we are not actively participating in this ongoing restoration of the world's situation and the human condition. The eucharist shows us that our behavior is inconsistent in face of the reconciling presence of God in human history: we are placed under continual judgment by the persistence of unjust relationships of all kinds in our society, the manifold divisions on account of human pride, material interest and power politics and, above all, the obstinacy of unjustifiable confessional oppositions within the body of Christ.

E21. Solidarity in the eucharistic communion of the body of Christ and responsible care of Christians for one another and the world find specific expression in the liturgies: in the mutual forgiveness of sins; the sign of peace; intercession for all; the eating and drinking together; the taking of the elements to the sick and those in prison or the celebration of the eucharist with them. All these manifestations of love in the eucharist are directly related to Christ's own testimony as a servant, in whose servanthood Christians themselves participate. As God in Christ has entered into the human situation, so eucharistic liturgy is near to the concrete and particular situations of men and women. In the early Church the ministry of deacons and deaconesses gave expression in a special way to this aspect of the eucharist. The place of such ministry between the table and the needy properly testifies to the redeeming presence of Christ in the world.

E. The Eucharist as Meal of the Kingdom

E22. The eucharist opens up the vision of the divine rule which has been promised as the final renewal of creation, and is a foretaste of it. Signs of this renewal are present in the world wherever the grace of God is manifest and human beings work for justice, love and peace. The eucharist is the feast at which the Church gives thanks to God for these signs and joyfully celebrates and anticipates the coming of the Kingdom in Christ (1 Cor. 11:26; Matt. 26:29).

E23. The world, to which renewal is promised, is present in the whole eucharistic celebration. The world is present in the thanksgiving to the Father, where the Church speaks on behalf of the whole creation; in the memorial of Christ, where the Church, united with its great High Priest and Intercessor, prays for the world; in the prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, where the Church asks for sanctification and new creation.

E24. Reconciled in the eucharist, the members of the body of Christ are called to be servants of reconciliation among men and women and witnesses of the joy of resurrection. As Jesus went out to publicans and sinners and had table-fellowship with them during his earthly ministry, so Christians are called in the eucharist to be in solidarity with the outcast and to become signs of the love of Christ who lived and sacrificed himself for all and now gives himself in the eucharist.

E25. The very celebration of the eucharist is an instance of the Church's participation in God's mission to the world. This participation takes everyday form in the proclamation of the Gospel, service of the neighbour, and faithful presence in the world.

E26. As it is entirely the gift of God, the eucharist brings into the present age a new reality which transforms Christians into the image of Christ and therefore makes them his effective witnesses. The eucharist is precious food for missionaries, bread and wine for pilgrims on their apostolic journey. The eucharistic community is nourished and strengthened for confessing by word and action the Lord Jesus Christ who gave his life for the salvation of the world. As it becomes one people, sharing the meal of the one Lord, the eucharistic assembly must be concerned for gathering also those who are at present beyond its visible limits, because Christ invited to his feast all for whom he died. Insofar as Christians cannot unite in full fellowship around the same table to eat the same loaf and drink from the same cup, their missionary witness is weakened at both the individual and the corporate levels.

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E27. The eucharistic liturgy is essentially a single whole, consisting historically of the following elements in varying sequence and of diverse importance:

-- hymns of praise;

-- act of repentance;

-- declaration of pardon;

-- proclamation of the Word of God, in various forms;

-- confession of faith (creed);
-- intercession for the whole Church and for the world;

-- preparation of the bread and wine;

-- thanksgiving to the Father for the marvels of creation, redemption and sanctification (deriving from the Jewish tradition of the berakah);

-- the words of Christ's institution of the sacrament according to the New Testament tradition;

-- the anamnesis or memorial of the great acts of redemption, passion, death, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost, which brought the Church into being;

-- the invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis) on the community, and the elements of bread and wine (either before the words of institution or after the memorial, or both; or some other reference to the Holy Spirit which adequately expresses the "epicletic" character of the eucharist);

-- consecration of the faithful to God;

-- reference to the communion of saints;

-- prayer for the return of the Lord and the definitive manifestation of his Kingdom;

-- the Amen of the whole community;

-- the Lord's prayer;

-- sign of reconciliation and peace;

-- the breaking of the bread;

-- eating and drinking in communion with Christ and with each member of the Church;

-- final act of praise;

-- blessing and sending.

E28. The best way towards unity in eucharistic celebration and communion is the renewal of the eucharist itself in the different churches in regard to teaching and liturgy. The churches should test their liturgies in the light of the eucharistic agreement now in the process of attainment. The liturgical reform movement has brought the churches closer together in the manner of celebrating the Lord's Supper. However, a certain liturgical diversity compatible with our common eucharistic faith is recognized as a healthy and enriching fact. The affirmation of a common eucharistic faith does not imply uniformity in either liturgy or practice.

COMMENTARY (E28) Since New Testament days, the Church has attached the greatest importance to the continued use of the elements of bread and wine which Jesus used at the Last Supper. In certain parts of the world, where bread and wine are not customary or obtainable, it is now sometimes held that local food and drink serve better to anchor the eucharist in everyday life. Further study is required concerning the question of which features of the Lord's Supper were unchangeably instituted by Jesus, and which features remain within the Church's competence to decide.

E29. In the celebration of the eucharist, Christ gathers, teaches and nourishes the Church. It is Christ who invites to the meal and who presides at it. He is the shepherd who leads the people of God, the prophet who announces the Word of God, the priest who celebrates the mystery of God. In most churches, this presidency is signified by an ordained minister. The one who presides at the eucharistic celebration in the name of Christ makes clear that the rite is not the assemblies' own creation or possession; the eucharist is received as a gift from Christ living in his Church. The minister of the Eucharist is the ambassador who represents the divine initiative and expresses the connection of the local community with other local communities in the universal Church.

E30. Christian faith is deepened by the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Hence the eucharist should be celebrated frequently. Many differences of theology, liturgy and practice are connected with the varying frequency with which the Holy Communion is celebrated.

E31. As the eucharist celebrates the resurrection of Christ, it is appropriate that it should take place at least every Sunday. As it is the new sacramental meal of the people of God, every Christian should be encouraged to receive communion frequently.

E32. Some churches stress that Christ's presence in the consecrated elements continues after the celebration. Others place the main emphasis on the act of celebration itself and on the consumption of the elements in the act of communion. The way in which the elements are treated requires special attention. Regarding the practice of reserving the elements, each church should respect the practices and piety of the others. Given the diversity in practice among the churches and at the same time taking note of the present situation in the convergence process, it is worthwhile to suggest:

-- that, on the one hand, it be remembered, especially in sermons and instruction, that the primary intention of reserving the elements is their distribution among the sick and those who are absent, and

-- on the other hand, it be recognized that the best way of showing respect for the elements served in the eucharistic celebration is by their consumption, without excluding their use for communion of the sick.

E33. The increased mutual understanding expressed in the present statement may allow some churches to attain a greater measure of eucharistic communion among themselves and so bring closer the day when Christ's divided people will be visibly reunited around the Lord's Table.

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Osborne's Summary on Transubstantiation

1. The primary objective of a theology of transubstantiation is to safeguard the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist.  This is true from the time of Bererngar down to the present. The real presence, not transubstantiation, is the key to the doctrine on the eucharist.

2. Only the Roman Catholic tradition has maintained in some way or another an understanding of transubstantiation. It is not part of the Eastern Churches' approach to the eucharist, nor is it part of the Anglican or Protestant approach to the eucharist. These Churches, however, maintain a belief in the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist without a doctrine of transubstantiation.

3. Until the eleventh century, it should be remembered, the Latin Church itself professed its belief in the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist, without a doctrine of transubstantiation. This indicates that for an entire millennium a doctrine of transubstantiation was not part of a theology of the eucharist in the Roman Church.

4. Official statements, both by individual popes and by councils, have been very circumspect in this matter. The real presence of the body and blood of Jesus in the eucharist has been solemnly defined. That the word "transubstantiation" should be retained and is most apt is, theologically, only doctrina catholica.

5. The position of theologians that there is a necessary and intrinsic relationship between real presence and transubstantiation is not part of the solemnly defined Catholic faith, but only a theological opinion.

6. Both the ecumenical dialogues of our present times and the eucharistic theology of competent Roman Catholic theologians who suggest alternatives to transubstantiation (transignification, transfinalization, etc.) Indicate that the fact (in faith) of real presence is the central issue, not the how of this real presence.

7. The contemporary theology of the Church as the basic sacrament (Vatican II documents) and of Jesus as the primordial sacrament indicates that the foundation for real presence is not the eucharist, but (a) the real presence of the Logos in the humanness of Jesus and (b) the real presence of Jesus in the Church. Only on the basis of these instances of real presence will the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist make theological sense.

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Jasper and Cuming

20. The Gallican Rite -- David Sanchez

The Gallican Rite applies to the Rite use in France, before the Roman Rite.
It is organized in sets of prayers.
It is more similar with Eastern Rites.

To Christ rather than the Father (147-d).

The priest is who talks.
He always extols God's glory (148-d).
He is a supplicant (150-b).

Naming 148d
Preface 149b
Sanctus 149c
Post-Sanctus 149d
Anamnesis- Holy Thursday 149d

NO Epiclesis
NO Paschal Victory
Creation Story , Last Supper, and Original Sin 148d and 149b

It is a gift to be imitate (149c).
It is for the salvation of us (149d).  

YES 148c

This Eucharistic Prayer is very powerful.  It is based in a Cosmological Theology, which has been forgotten in the Roman circles.    

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21. The Mozarabic Rite --

This particular Eucharistic Prayer is from the Mozarabic rite.  This is the rite that
is still practiced in a chapel of the Cathedral in Toledo, Spain.  It is for use in a
daily mass.  The prayer is addressed to God.  

The dialogue begins a little differently than what we use today, but it is still very
similar.  This preface, they are variable, leans on the Letter to the Hebrews and it
remembers the act of redemption and nothing else.  There is a Pre-Sanctus and
Sanctus as normal.  Next, there is the Post-Sanctus, a very short and the only
part of the epiclesis, and the Institution Narrative.    Note that in the portion of the
Institution Narrative  pertaining to the bread the priest says, "...which is betrayed
for you" rather than "...given up for you."  The priest alone says the acclamation,
and the people give their assent.  There is a short offertory and intercessions for
those present.  There are no intercessions for the Church, pope, bishops, nor the
dead.  There is also no invocation of the saints.

This prayer fits the model of the Eucharistic Prayer up to the acclamation
following the Institution Narrative.  After that, the prayer comes to a very quick
end with an offertory and short intercessions for those present.

22. Non-Roman versions --

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23. The Roman Rite --

The Scottish Communion prayer is on page 303 and is based on Episcopalian and Presbyterian public worship.  
The prayer is addressed to the Father. Angels and Archangels come in the beginning after proper preface. Words of institution come right after remembrance of Angels. After that fallow Oblation  and Invocation.  The offertory contains words "offer up" the bread and wine, the text of the prayer for church and the text of the epiclesis. The prayer for the church come between eucharistic prayer and communion. The act of oblation and the epiclesis followed the Institution narrative.  

24. Ordo Romanus Primus --

This text is not a eucharistic prayer, but a ceremonial used for a stational mass by the Pope in Rome about the year 700.  It is cited here to offer background information on the Roman Canon.  
Prior to the beginning of the eucharistic prayer, various deacons assist in setting the altar and the archdeacon prepares the chalice and does the co-mingling.  At this time, the Pope washes his hands.  

This ceremonial mentions parts of the Dialogue (e.g., The Lord be with You, Lift up your hearts, Let us give thanks) in reference to the district sub-deacon responding to them.  In the same way the Sanctus is mentioned.  The Pope says the last part of the intercessions (Through whom all these things) just prior to the Doxology.   Mention is also made of the sign of peace (The peace of the Lord be always with you).  There is also a fraction rite in which the pope breaks off a fragment from the right side of the host and leaves it on the altar.  After this, several acolytes and subdeacons prepare little bags in which to receive the offerings -- interesting that they should incorporate the offerings in such a concrete way  (instead of just mentioning the offertory in the eucharistic prayer).   After the presbyters break the hosts the choir says O Lamb of God.  It is also mentioned that the presbyters would offer the people communion under both species.  

This is an interesting document in that it follows fairly closely the Roman Canon as we have it today.  The exception might be the offertory, which, instead of just mentioning the people's offerings, seems to be embodied through ritual actions (although without the text, it is impossible to say this for sure).  As this document is a ceremonial which is used to coordinate the liturgy and its ministers, it is hard to say what is and is not present in this eucharistic liturgy, with the exception of those parts which are explicitly mentioned in order to offer direction to the assisting ministers

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To Think About

1. Parable of the Placebo  -- One of my non-Catholic colleagues, Pastor George, presented me with the following scenario:

Often when a pharmaceutical company develops a new drug, they will submit the drug to various tests to see if it produces the desired effect--that is, to see if it actually cures the disease in question.lso, in this context, see the

Let us imagine that pharmaceutical company ABC has developed a new drug DEF designed to cure the disease GHI. To test DEF they select 500 people who are suffering from GHI and divide them into two groups. They give DEF to the 250 people in the first group and they give a placebo -- a drug that looks and tastes like DEF but is simply a sugar pill with no therapeutic effects--to the 250 people in the second group.

If DEF is a "real drug" we would expect that those in the first group would, over time, exhibit some improvement in their health with regard to GHI; whereas we would expect that those in the second group would exhibit little or no change in their health with regard to GHI.

However, if after a sufficient period of testing there is no measurable difference in improved health between the first group and the second group, the pharmaceutical company ABC would most likely conclude that the new drug DEF is no more effective than the placebo and ABC would not manufacture, market, or sell DEF.

Now, what if...

What if we were to take all baptized Christian men and women and divide them into two groups, Catholics and non-Catholics. To the first group, the Catholics, we give what appears to be a small round piece of unleavened bread, but which is truly and really, the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ. To the second group, the non-Catholics, we a similar piece of bread, but this bread is simply a piece of bread, nothing more (although it might symbolize a deeper religious reality).

After a sufficient period of time would we not expect to see a noticeable difference in the spiritual health (that is, increased compassion, observance of the commandments, generosity to the poor, etc.) of those in the first group (the Catholics) as compared with those in the second group (the non-Catholics) who had merely receive the piece of bread, the placebo.

If, after a sufficient period of testing, there is no measurable difference in improved spiritual health (holiness) between the first group and the second group, should we not include that "Real Presence" is no more effective for spiritual health and growth than the placebo (the "merely symbolic" Eucharist)?

How should I respond to Pastor George? How would you respond?

Our rules concerning valid and invalid sacraments (actions that are sacraments and actions that only look like sacraments but are not), exist for us, for our decision-making, and are necessary for order in the Church. God is not bound by Canon Law. Nor are non-Catholics. Speaking in theological terms of an earlier age: God can give just as much grace through invalid sacraments as through valid sacraments.

2.  Some years ago I was in Chicago attending a course on "What Anglo Seminary Professors Need To Know about Hispanic Seminarians".  One day during a break an Anglican priest and I were walking and discussing the seminar.  At one point he said to me, "You know Tom, there are Anglicans who believe in the Real Presence and Anglicans who don't.  There are Anglicans who believe in women priests and Anglicans who don't.  There are Anglicans who believe in same sex marriage and Anglicans who don't.  There are Catholics who believe in the Real Presence and Catholics who don't.  There are Catholics who believe in the women priests and Catholics who don't.  There are Catholics who believe in same sex marriage and Catholics who don't.  There are Presbyterians who believe in the Real Presence and Presbyterians who don't.  There are Presbyterians who believe in the women priests and Presbyterians who don't.  There are Presbyterians who believe in same sex marriage and Presbyterians who don't.  Perhaps it is time to re-divide the pie.  The issue is not so much who is Anglican, or Catholic, or Presbyterian.  We live in a "post-denominational age".  Denomination has become simply "which baptismal record our parents inscribed us into."  -- Do you agree with this priest's assessment?  Does it correspond to your lived ministerial experience?  Why? Or why not?

3.  What is your favorite Sunday activity?   What is the difference between what Catholics do in church on Sunday and what Protestants do?

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 02/20/15.  Your comments on this site are welcome at