Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Theological Paradox Within The Dogma Of Transubstantiation

        "I am the bread of life...But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:48; 50-51) 

        The Roman Catholic dogma of transubstantiation means that the substance of Jesus Christ's flesh and blood takes the place of the substance of the bread and wine on the condition of a priest consecrating them. The communion elements are no longer bread and wine upon them having been declared to be the body and blood of Christ. The bread appears to be bread and the wine appears to be wine in every way, despite this miraculous transformation. This change cannot be grasped by our senses. The bread is Jesus Christ's flesh and the wine is His blood. They only share the qualities of what they used to be.

        If Jesus Christ is the bread of life who descended from heaven, then that would mean He is present wherever the bread is. If no bread remains after transubstantiation takes place, then that would also mean Christ cannot be present at the worship service. The absence of the bread would imply the physical absence of Christ. This raises a paradox regarding Christ's presence and the nature of the bread after transubstantiation. What implications does this have for His physical presence?

        This appears to challenge the logical consistency of transubstantiation because if the bread ceases to exist as bread, then the presence of Christ, who is equated with the bread, would also cease to exist. If the bread turns into Jesus’ body, then there is no longer any bread there. If there is no bread, how can Jesus, the bread of life, be present at the Mass? Can the concept of transubstantiation be reconciled with the belief in the continual presence of Christ as the bread of life?

        If the substance of the bread is gone, replaced by the substance of Christ’s body, then the symbolic representation of Christ as the bread of life is also gone, creating a contradiction. If the substance of the bread is no longer present, then the bread of life cannot be present either, as the bread itself has ceased to exist in its original substance. How can bread be both transformed and still be present as bread for Christ to be the bread of life? How can the bread be transformed into the body of Christ and still be considered bread?

        If one posits that the Mass is a perpetual miracle in which the finite and infinite somehow come together, then that too has its own problems. Miracles are usually one-time events that astonish everyone who encounters them, not something that happens all the time. Further, how can something that we can touch and see (i.e. bread) turn into something infinite and way beyond our understanding (i.e. Jesus)? It is like saying that a coffee cup is also the ocean. If this miracle is constantly taking place, then does that mean the laws of nature have changed? Also, if Christ's sacrifice is happening all the time, then should we not be able to examine it like we do with other things that fascinate us?

Monday, April 22, 2024

The Bible Is Not A Safe Guide?

"The Bible was never intended to take the place of the living, infallible teacher, the Church, but was written to explain, or to insist upon, a doctrine already preached. How indeed could a dead and speechless book that cannot be cross-questioned to settle doubts or decide controversies be the exclusive and all-sufficient teacher of God’s revelation? The very nature of the Bible ought to prove to any thinking man the impossibility of its being the one safe method to find out what the Saviour taught. It is not a simple, clear-as-crystal volume that a little child may understand, although it ought to be so on Protestant principles.”

Bertrand L. Conway, The Question-box Answers: Replies to Questions Received on Missions to Non-Catholics, p. 67

Friday, April 19, 2024

Does The Roman Catholic Church Really Care About The Bible?

3d. A rule of Faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.

The Catholic Church correctly teaches that our Lord and His Apostles inculcated certain important duties of religion which are not recorded by the inspired writers. For instance, most Christians pray to the Holy Ghost, a practice which nowhere is found in the Bible. 

We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of Faith, because they cannot, at any time be within the reach of every inquirer; because they are not of themselves clear and intelligible even in matters of the highest importance, and because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation.

James Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 111

Thursday, April 18, 2024

A Roman Catholic Quotable On The Bible

"Through Luther, although Calvin seems to have been the first to announce Monobiblicism clearly, the Bible became the arm of the Protestant revolt. A dumb and difficult book was substituted for the living voice of the Church, in order that each one should be able to make for himself the religion which suited his feelings."

A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, p. 11, edited by Bernard Orchard