Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Catholicism and Orthodoxy: The Eucharist Part II

Not the "what," but the "how."

It seems that the self proclaimed "Reformed" theologian who calls himself Turretin Fan has made some erroneous comments on his blog to my previous post. He mocked the fact that both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches believe that the wine and bread during the Divine Liturgy become the complete Christ on the altar after the consecration of the priest. I have already proven that the Orthodox believe that the elements of the bread and wine are actually transformed into Christ Himself in my earlier post. This means that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches believe that the same Christ is present in the same way in the Holy Eucharist. These beliefs between the two are essentially identical. The Orthodox simply stop at that particular point, while the scholasticism of the Latin Church attempts to explain the "how" in more detail. (Substance, matter, form, etc). This however does not change anything about what the Eucharist actually is, or what it is believed to be by both Churches. It is also interesting to note sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist within the Divine Liturgy, which also further expounds upon the common beliefs of the two Churches. Hopefully I can expound upon that in another post. Let us simply say the point of agreement is essentially as the Orthodox Metropolitan below wrote,

"...the bread truly, really and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord." Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

Turretin Fan however cannot seem to grasp these simple facts, and he seems to think that these are only similarities and nothing more. It seems that the more this great theologian thinks, the more confused he gets. Let me make it simple. This fact remains: the Catholic Church as well as every Orthodox Church believes that the complete Christ, not just His spiritual presence, is present on the altar after being consecrated by a validly ordained priest. This means that Turretin Fan is in complete opposition to every ancient apostolic Church in existence. This is just too much for Turetin Fan to take, so he has to resort to these poor confused arguments to make himself feel better about the whole situation. He responded here. No need to reprint it again on my blog.

Turretin Fan

Once again here is a basic Orthodox summary of what the Eucharist is believed to be.

"The Orthodox Church affirms that the bread and wine used in the Eucharistic celebration become the true Body and Blood of Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine (not merely symbols); however, it does not explicitly define how the bread and wine are transformed."
Source found here.

The Catholic Church likewise believes this to be true, (That the bread and wine become the true Body and Blood of Christ) but she further tries to explain how this mystery takes place. Therefore these common beliefs are more than mere similarities, as Mr. Fan is proclaiming. The point of disagreement among Orthodox and Catholics is not the "what" of the Eucharist, but the explanation of the "how."


Alex said...

Some comments by Turretinfan:

It's not something that the apostles new or taught, nor something that they handed down either orally or in written form.

A quick caveat. Some have argued that transubstantiation was none in the west as early as the 9th century. Things hadn't completely broken between the East and the West at that time.

(Errors in original)

Matthew Bellisario said...

The great Turretin Fan is always eager to point out the grammatical errors of others, yet he makes just as many as anyone else, what a joke.

Turretinfan said...

Yes, I do make typos. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

Alex said...

We might have given you a pass on erroneously writing "new" instead of "knew," but due to the fact that you had written "done" instead of whatever in the world it was you were trying to write indicates that your difficulty might be more than simply making typos.

Then again, we could also just ignore these insignificant little errors, but we imagine that you would like others to do unto you what you have done unto them.