Transubstantiation Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink" (John 6:55) These were the words spoken by Christ himself, during the initial institution of the Eucharistic sacrament. Such phraseology, a primary article of Catholic belief was intended to be perceived in its literal sense, as opposed to metaphorical interpretation.The Eucharist is a sacrament of the Lord's supper, consisting of consecrated elements which have undergone transubstantiation - a change in essence. Such transformation results in what is referred to as 'Real Presence' - the complete "body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our lord Jesus Christ" (Catechism,1374).Despite variations throughout history in understanding of Eucharistic presence, the actual dogma of transubstantiation has remained unchanged since the Catholic Church's first recorded teachings of such a notion in 33A.D. The concept of 'Real Presence' was undoubtedly accepted in its literal sense throughout the first millennium AD, questions remaining unposed until the reformation of the 1500s, when the church was exposed to much disunity.The division within the church preceded the formation of an Ecumenical council in Trent, where Episcopal powers aimed to re-enforce belief in Real Presence - to restore, through the Eucharist, a unity of the 'one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church'. Despite periodical variation, the second Vatican council of 1962, boasting a multiple presence of Christ in Eucharistic worship, was built upon similar motives to that of Trent.Eucharistic dogma involves the complex concept of Transubstantiation - literally a change in essence. Such a notion involves the presence of the Holy Eucharist, as the real body and blood of Jesus, initiated at the moment of consecration. Despite arguments opposing literal interpretation of Real Presence, there is no evidence implicating an existent element of doubt within Catholic documentation in relation to the historical belief in Transubstantiation. There are however, many evident writings by Early Church Fathers to support literal interpretation of the belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Christ, as opposed to symbolical perception theorised by fundamentalists.A clearly outlined belief in Real Presence is offered in Ignatius of Antioch's words of wisdom - "Strive then to make use of one form of thanksgiving, for the flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one and one is the Chalice in the union of His Blood, one alter, one bishop".In relation to the concept of transubstantiation, Saint Ambrose (340-397) the Bishop of Milan, wrote: "Let us be assured that this is not what nature formed, but what the blessing consecrated, and the greater efficacy resides in the blessing than in nature, for by the blessing nature is changed".Saint Augustine, an influential figure in the history of Christianity, professed his belief in Real Presence through this literary contribution - "It was in His flesh that Christ walked among us and it is his flesh that he has...

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