LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Exactly how NOT to do it . . .

Today’s post on Godzdogz provides an excellent and easy-to-understand explanation of what for many non-Catholics (alright, and for some ill-catechised Catholics as well) is a major conceptual problem – the doctrine of Transubstantiation : the latest in their excellent series of posts generically entitled A-Z of the Mass.

The explanations they provide are sensible, and do not assume that those reading them are stupid; but at the same time do not assume that they have any prior knowledge either - so they solve a genuine problem very effectively.

What else is available today ?

Well, having had a busy weekend, I didn’t get to see much yesterday; so it was thanks to Mac’s post about what the English Bishop’s have done to try and inform the media and the general public that I found Fr Ray’s comments on this subject (entitled ‘English Bishops’ Office Waste Even More Money’) : and I have to say that I entirely agree not only with his title, but also with all he says.

If this is the best they can do, then frankly I think they’d have been better to have left well alone, and given the full responsibility to a competent team of Dominican Students and other bloggers . . . a suggestion which I have made before !

Go and read what Fr Ray and Mac have said . . . and tell them (and me, just for the record) what you think of what they say.

Left-Footer's comment (q.v.) set me thinking; and made me realize that at least two of the ‘interpretations’ are actually actively misleading as a statement of their Catholic usage, inasmuch as the obvious understanding of them (as they stand) would be heretical.

As noted, ‘bread and wine’ is not an accurate - or even approximately accurate - interpretation of ‘Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion’ : because it suggests that there is nothing special about it, which is, of course, exactly where the Catholic teaching differs from that of the rest of the world. ‘Holy Communion’ of the ‘Blessed Sacrament’ of the Altar is a reception of the Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity, of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and suggesting that it is anything else is – to put it mildly – not Catholic.

Similarly, to suggest that ‘altar’ is synonymous with ‘table’ is inadequate, because the purpose of an altar is to be a place for sacrifice; a table is a setting for a meal : and one of the theological problems of the last few decades has been a tendency to move away from ‘The Sacrifice of the Mass’, and to focus on ‘The Last Supper’ . . . which is simply not an adequately comprehensive statement of what it’s about.


  1. Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion are NOT bread and wine. They WERE.

    Transubstatiation, Real Presence? Did the Catholic Martyrs die for bread and wine?

  2. The scariest thing is the underlying theology - that the Mass is an entertainment, that the clergy are entertainers, and that the laity are an audience who come to be entertained.