BASIC R.C. BELIEF
From Greek eucharistia, giving thanks. In BIBLE CATECHISM(1967), John
Kerstan writes, "Eucharist originally meant `Great Prayers of Thanksgiving
and Adoration.' Now Eucharist usually means `the object over which the
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, or the Eucharistic Prayer, is pronounced',
namely, the sacred Body and Blood of Jesus." The term Eucharistic Sacrifice
is used to denote the Mass, which is also called the Holy Mystery of the
POST VATICAN II
In ecumenical dialogue with Protestants, progress toward unity is enhanced
if the Protestants are liturgical, i.e., both parties are "eucharistic"
From THE CATHOLIC DIGEST, 9/78. "The great majority (of Christians),
Catholic and Orthodox, have always believed that somehow the bread and wine
became the actual blood of their Saviour.
"Recent theological discussions between Roman Catholics and other
churches, especially the Anglicans and the Lutherans, have revealed a
surprising consensus on the meaning of the Eucharist. All of the major
denominations agree that the Eucharist is the central act of worship of the
Church. Most Christians see the Eucharist as more than a simple memorial
meal and affirm the doctrine of the real presence.
"Today a number of Anglican scholars recognize that the doctrine of
transubstantiation was a sincere attempt to explain the "how" of the
Eucharist according to Aristotlean philosophy.
"Lutherans . . . hold a strict belief in the real presence. The members
of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue recently argued that despite all
remaining differences in the ways we speak and think of the eucharistic
sacrifice and our Lord's presence in his supper, we are no longer able to
regard ourselves as divided in the one holy and apostolic faith on these
"The Lutheran theology of the Eucharist is stated in the Augsburg
Confession of 1530, `the true body and blood of Christ are truly present in
the Supper under the form of bread and wine.'
"The Westminster Confession put it, `the partakers do then inwardly by
faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but spiritually,
receive and feed upon Christ cruscified.'
"Worldwide, probably nine out of ten Christians belong to churches which
believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist."
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