A Manual of Catholic Theology, Based on Scheeben's Dogmatik
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With a Preface By Cardinal Manning
Volume II --Book VII The Church and the Sacraments
(pp. 358-430 Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist)
We have now to consider the Sacraments, "through which all true righteousness (justitia) begins, or being begun is increased, or being lost is repaired" (Council of Trent, sess. vii.). We shall treat, first, of the sacraments generally, and then of each in turn. In connection with the Blessed Eucharist we shall take occasion to speak of the sacrifice of the Mass.
Authorities: Peter Lombard, Sent, iv., dist. 1 sqq.; St. Thom., Summ. Theol. 3a qq. 60-90, with Comm. and Supplem., qq. 1-68; Bellarmine, De Controversiis, etc., tom. iii.; Chardon, Histoire des Sacrements; Drouin, De Re Sacramentaria; Franzelin, De Sacramentis in Genere, De Eucharistia; De Augustinis, De Re Sacramentaria; Gousset, Theologie Dogmatique, vol. ii.; Schanz, Die Lehre von den heiligen Sacramenten der kath. Kirche; Pourrat, La Theologie Sacramentaire; Billot, De Ecclesiae Sacramentis; Atzberger, op. cit. book vii. chap. ii.
CHAPTER I. The Sacraments Generally.
THE word "sacrament" is used in many senses, both in profane and in sacred literature. Originally it was a legal technical term, meaning the money staked as a wager by the parties to a suit, so called because the money when forfeited was used for the bronze of the vessels employed in sacred rites, or, according to others, was deposited in a sacred place. Then it came to be applied to the military oath of allegiance, and so to any solemn oath or engagement The early Latin Fathers frequently use it in these latter meanings, e.g. Tertullian (Lib. ad Martyr., c. iii.). But, like so many other words, it gradually came to have a technical ecclesiastical meaning, viz. any sign or external rite by which man was initiated into the sacred mysteries; and thus it became the equivalent of (Greek).1
1 "Sacramentum (Greek, 'the secret ) regis abscondere bonum est" (Tob. xii. 7; cf. Col. i. 27; Apoc. xvii. 7. On "mystery," see vol. i. p. 8).
In the course of time it became restricted to mean the sacred signs by which man was sanctified, whether in the Old Law or in the New. Lastly, it was still further narrowed in its meaning to denote those efficacious signs of grace by which man is sanctified under the New Law.
Sect. 246. --Nature of the Sacraments.
I. Just as God has been pleased to command that men should worship Him by certain external acts which are called sacrifices, so His Divine Son has been pleased to ordain that grace should be applied to our souls by other external acts which are called sacraments. The same principle is the foundation of both. Man is composed of body and soul; both belong to God; both co-operate in virtue and in sin; hence both should take part in Divine worship, and both should be joined in sanctification.1
1 St. Thomas, 3, q. 61, a. 1.
The notion of a sacrament as an act, and as an external act should be borne in mind throughout. It is something done, not something made. Sacraments, indeed, are usually styled things (res); but as acts come under the designation of things, and as the word "act" conveys a specific meaning, it is better to use it here.2
2 "Sub rebus autem comprehenduntur etiam ipsi actus sensibiles, puta ablutio, inunctio et alia hujusmodi, quia in his est eadem ratio significandi et in rebus" (3, q. 60, a. 6, ad. 2; cf. Billot, p. 27).
Again, man has a supernatural as well as a natural life, and his supernatural acts have an analogy with those which are natural. He is born, he is nourished, and he dies, both naturally and supernaturally. Our Lord, in instituting the sacraments, took certain natural acts of our everyday life, capable in themselves of producing only a natural effect, and raised them, when performed with certain distinguishing marks, to a supernatural sphere, making them capable of producing a supernatural effect.
II. The terms "matter" and "form" were not applied to the sacraments until the beginning of the thirteenth century. The Fathers, indeed, often speak of the form of a sacrament;3
3 For example, St. Augustine, lib. i., De Peccat. Merit, et Remiss., c. 34.
but they mean thereby the whole external rite in contradistinction to the inward grace, of which the rite is the sign and cause. Even writers as late as Hugh of St. Victor (1141), St. Bernard (1153), and the Lombard (1164),4
4 But he says: "Sacramentum est invisibilis gratis visibilis forma."
do not make use of the terms; nor are they found in the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215). As soon, however, as the Aristotelian metaphysic found its way into the Christian schools, it was but natural that its grand distinction of matter and form should be applied to the things which are eminently the province of theology, viz. the sacraments. Here it seemed easy to distinguish the two elements. The familiar quotation from St. Augustine (Tract. Ixxx. in Joan., n. 3) seemed to have been an anticipation of the new terminology: "Quid est aqua nisi aqua? Accedit verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum." No wonder, then, that the terms were readily accepted by both the rival schools of Scotists and Thomists, and were used at Constance (Contra Wicl. et Hus.), Florence (Decr, pro Armenis), and Trent (sess. xiv. capp. 2, 3; De Extr. Unct., cap. 1).1
1 At the Council of Florence, Eugenius IV drew up for the Armenian delegates a statement of the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Church. It contained the Nicene Creed, the definitions of the Council of Chalcedon, and the Third Council of Constantinople, the decree enacting the acceptance of Chalcedon and of St Leo's letter; then came an instruction on the sacraments, followed by the Athanasian Creed, the decree of union with the Greeks, and the decree concerning feasts. The mere perusal of the instruction on the sacraments will convince any one that the Pope had no intention of issuing a dogmatic definition on the subject, but rather of giving an account of the common teaching and practice of the Western Church. (See Denzinger's Enchiridion, Ixxiii. B; Franzelin, De Traditione, p. 120). The Council of Trent says nothing about matter and form in its decrees concerning the sacraments generally. The only times that the words are used by the Council are in the fourteenth session, where absolution is said to be the form of penance, and the acts of the penitent to be "quasi materia;" also baptism and penance are declared to differ "in matter and form which constitute the essence of a sacrament" (chap. 2), and oil blessed by the bishop is said to be the matter, and the words the form, of Extreme Unction. In the canons themselves the word "form" is never used at all; "matter" occurs only once, and then in the qualified phrase "quasi materia."
Much diversity of opinion arose, however, when the distinction came to be applied to each sacrament in turn. These different opinions will be noted in due course. Here it will be enough to observe that when the Schoolmen speak of the matter and form of the sacraments, they cannot mean that the sacraments are material, corporeal things. What they mean is that just as bodies are composed of two constituents, the one indeterminate and the other determining, so too in the sacraments two elements, the one indeterminate and the other determining, can be distinguished; and that these may rightly be called matter and form. The latter term is not likely to mislead us, because there is nothing corresponding with shape or figure in the sacraments; but the English word "matter" unfortunately suggests something tangible; and, as there is something of this kind in several of the sacraments, it has given rise to a false notion of its meaning. The natural acts (e.g. washing, anointing, etc.) are the matter of the sacraments, the distinguishing marks are the form; that is to say, the natural act is the indeterminate element, while the distinguishing mark is that which determines it to be a sacrament (St. Thom. 3, q. 64, a. 8). The sacraments are not, indeed, natural signs; on the other hand, they are not merely arbitrary signs. The natural act has some analogy with some particular kind of grace, and hence is suitable for being selected by Christ to convey that grace; and, as a fact, has been so selected by Him. As St. Augustine says, "If the sacraments had no likeness to the things of which they are the sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all" (Ep. 98, n. 9). And Hugh of St. Victor speaks of them as "representing by likeness, and signifying by institution" (De Sacrum., lib. i. part 9, c. 2).
III. The Council of Trent has defined that the sacraments of the New Law are not merely external signs of grace, but actually confer the grace which they signify, and confer it of themselves (ex opere operato) (sess. vii. cann. 6, 8).1 The minister and the recipient, indeed, play an important part, as will be explained later on (infra, p. 366); but the sacraments themselves are the true causes of the grace.
1 Opus operatum is the sacramental act itself, as opposed to the opus operantis, the good dispositions or merits, whether of the minister or recipient. To those who object to the passive use of operor, we may answer with St. Augustine: "Melius est ut nos reprehendant grammatici quam ut non intelligant populi."
1. Holy Scripture testifies to this doctrine in many passages. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark xvi. 16); "Unless a man be born again of (e) water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John iii. 5); "Do penance and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost " (Acts ii. 38); "Be baptized and wash away thy sins" (ibid. xxii. 16); "They laid their hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost; and when Simon saw that by (Greek) the imposition of the hands of the Apostles the Holy Ghost was given," etc. (ibid. viii. 17, 18); "Stir up the grace which is in thee by (Greek) the imposition of my hands" (2 Tim. i. 6); "Not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Ghost" (Titus iii. 5); "Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life (Greek)" (Eph. v. 25, 26).
2. Many passages to the same effect may be quoted from the Fathers. Thus Tertullian says, "Happy the sacrament of our water, whereby (qua), being cleansed from the sins of our former blindness, we are made free unto eternal life. . . . We poor little fishes, following after our (in Greek), Jesus Christ, are born in water; nor are we safe except by abiding in the water. . . . What then? Is it not wonderful that death should be washed away by a bath? " (De Bapt., cc. I, 2.) And St. Gregory of Nyssa: "Baptism is the cleansing away of sins; the remission of transgressions; the cause of renovation and regeneration. . . . Should any one ask me how water regenerates, and as to the mystic initiation effected by it, I shall say to him with just reason, 'Show me the way in which we are born according to the flesh, and I will explain to thee the power of that second birth which is according to the spirit'" (In Bapt. Christi). See also St. John Chrysostom, Hom. 25 in Joann.; St. Cyril of Alexandria, Lib. 2 in Joann.; St. Leo, Serm. 4 De Nativ. Domini; St. Augustine, Tract. 80 in Joann., n. 3. In the Nicene Creed, too, we confess "one baptism unto (Greek) the remission of sins." Cf. the Council of Milevis, ch. 2; the Second Council of Orange, can. 5.
3. This doctrine is likewise proved by the constant practice of the Church. Unless the sacrament could of itself give grace, it would be useless to confer Baptism on infants, or on those who have lost their reason, or on the unconscious. Formerly it was the custom throughout the whole Church, and is so still in the Eastern Church, to confer not only Baptism but the Holy Eucharist and Confirmation on infants.
On the celebrated scholastic discussion as to whether the sacraments are the physical or moral causes of grace, see Franzelin, De Sacram., thes. x.; Drouin, De Re Sacram., q. iv. cap. 2.
Scholion.. Before the coming of Christ there must have been both in the law of nature and in the Mosaic Law some remedy at least for original sin. St. Augustine found this remedy, as far as the Mosaic Law was concerned, in circumcision (De Nupt. et Concup., lib. ii. c. 11; De Bapt., lib. iv. c. 24). The Latin Fathers and Schoolmen, following his views, speak of "sacraments of the Old Law" an expression adopted by the Councils of Florence and Trent. The latter Council condemns .the opinion of Calvin that the sacraments of the Old Law and the sacraments of the New Law differ only in the outward rite (sess. vii., De Sacr., can. 2). The common teaching is that the former could not give grace ex opere operato, whereas the latter can. See St Thomas, 3, q. 62, a. 6; Drouin, De Re Sacr., q. ii.
Sect. 247. --The Institution of the Sacraments.
I. It follows, from the doctrine laid down in the foregoing section, that the sacraments must have a Divine origin. God alone, the Source of all grace, can give to natural acts the power of producing a supernatural effect; and it is God, the Apostle says, Who. justifieth. He is the Author of the sacraments not simply as First Cause, in the same way as He is the Author of all things, but as principal cause, having under Him not secondary, but merely instrumental agents.
II. It is of Faith that all the sacraments were instituted by Christ, our Lord (Council of Trent, sess. viii., De Sacr., can. i). This institution by Christ was a theandric action (supra, p. 86). As Man He instituted the sacraments, and gave His Apostles instructions for the due ministration of them; but the power of conferring grace was derived from His Divine authority. We may, however, go further and say that Christ as Man had a special power in instituting the sacraments. He merited all grace; He is the Mediator and Founder of the New Testament, and the Head of the Church; on Him depends the application ofHis merits. "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth; go ye therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them," etc. (Matt, xxviii. 18). "As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you. . . . Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven them " (John xx. 21). Hence the Fathers commonly say that the sacraments flowed from the side of Christ hanging on the cross (e.g. St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Leo, St. Cyril of Alexandria: see Suarez, in 3 disp. 39, sect. 3; St. Thom. 3, q. 64, a. 3).
As no mention is made in Scripture of the institution of the sacraments of Confirmation, Extreme Unction, and Matrimony, the question has arisen whether Christ instituted these sacraments mediately or immediately; that is to say whether He instituted them Himself, or whether His Apostles instituted them in virtue of powers conferred upon them by Him. We cannot here enter into the discussion; we would, however, point out that the definition of the Council of Trent has by no means decided the question. See Franzelin, De Sacr., thes. xiv. p. 183; Drouin, De Re Sacr., q. vi.
III. The controversy concerning the mediate or immediate institution by Christ must not be confounded with mined the further question as to how far He determined the a matter and form of each sacrament; or, in other words, how far He prescribed the acts and the words to be used in each. The diversity of practice at different times, and indeed at the present time, in the Eastern and Western portions of the Church, is sufficient proof that He left much undetermined. "This power has ever been in the Church, that, in the dispensation of the sacraments, their substance being untouched, it may ordain or change what things soever it may judge most expedient for the profit of those who receive, or for the veneration of the said Sacraments" (Council of Trent, sess. xxi. ch. 2). There are, of course, over and above the matter and form, numerous rites and ceremonies used in the administration of the sacraments, e.g. in Baptism, the anointings, the giving of blessed salt, etc. These are not necessarily of Divine origin, but are not lightly to be omitted or changed (Council of Trent, viii. can. 13; see also St. Thom. 3, q. 64, a. 2).
On the subjects contained in this section, read Franzelin, thes. xiv. and v.; Drouin, q. vi.; Pourrat, ch. vi.
Sect. 248. --The Minister of the Sacraments.
I. We have seen in a preceding section (§ 232) that the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, exercises in His name imperial, magisterial, and ministerial functions. To these last belongs the administration of the sacraments. Christ, our Lord, being no longer present on earth in His bodily form, makes use of the agency of men for the performance of those acts which He has raised to the dignity of sacraments. These acts are morally His, and they derive their supernatural value entirely from His merits; the persons who perform the acts being simply His agents acting in His behalf. "So let a man think of us as the ministers of Christ and the dispensers (Greek) of the mysteries of God" (i Cor. iv. i). Though these functions are intended for the good of all, they are not capable of being exercised by all. Christ did not say to all, "Do this in commemoration of Me," but only to the Apostles and their successors. So, too, He did not say to all, "Whose sins ye shall forgive," etc. In like manner, St. Paul's words (i Tim. iv. 14), "Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood," were meant for Timothy and those who have received similar ordination; and it was to the ancients of the Church that he said, "Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole Church, in which the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God " (Acts xx. 28). Again, the same Apostle says, "God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors. . . . Are all Apostles? are all prophets? are all doctors?" (i Cor. xii. 28, 29; cf. Eph. iv. 2); "Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins. . . . Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was" (Heb. v. I, 4).
In accordance with this doctrine, the Church has never suffered the sacraments to be administered, whether publicly or privately, by any one who has not received ordination. Baptism alone has been excepted from this rule, because it is necessary for salvation, and an ordained minister cannot always be had. When St. Peter exhorts the faithful to be "living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood (Greek) to offer up spiritual (Greek) sacrifices" (i Pet. ii. 5), he refers to an internal and spiritual priesthood, which consists in the offering of the sacrifice of a contrite heart (Ps. 1. 19), good works, etc. And St. John, in the Apocalypse (i. 6), means a heavenly priesthood when he says that "Christ hath loved us ... and hath made us a kingdom and priests to God" (cf. xx. 6). "All the children of the Church," says St. Ambrose, "are priests; for we are anointed to a holy priesthood, offering ourselves as spiritual sacrifices to God" (In Cap. vi. Lucae; cf. De Sac,, iv. i).1
1 The ministers of Matrimony are the parties themselves. Whether the angels or the blessed can administer the sacraments is discussed by St. Thomas, 3, q. 64, a. 7.
II. Granting that the efficacy of the sacraments depends entirely upon the merits of Christ, we may go on to inquire whether heresy, or mortal sin incapacitates an otherwise competent person from being the minister of a sacrament; and, further, what is required in order that the person should actually exercise this ministry. In other words, we have now to discuss the difficult questions concerning the faith, the worthiness, and the intention of the minister. To enable us to understand these, we must carefully distinguish between valid and invalid, lawful and unlawful, administration. A sacrament may be really and truly conferred, yet the minister may be acting against the law by conferring it. Thus, a lay person performing without necessity the ceremony of baptism over a child not previously baptized, would really and truly confer the sacrament, but would commit a sin by so doing. In the present discussion we are concerned only with the question of validity.
I. Whether heresy is a bar to valid administration was the root of the famous controversy between St. Cyprian and Pope St. Stephen. The former maintained that outside the Church there were no true sacraments; and that, consequently, those who had been baptized by heretics should be rebaptized, or, more strictly speaking, baptized, since the previous ceremony had been null and void. The Roman Pontiff, when appealed to, condemned this practice. "In days gone by," says Vincent of Lerins, "Agrippinus, of blessed memory, Bishop of Carthage, the first of all mortal men against the Divine canon [Holy Scripture], against the rule of the universal Church, against the sense of all his fellow-priests, against the custom and institutes of our forefathers, held that baptism ought to be repeated. . . . When, therefore, on every side men protested against the novelty of the practice, and all the priests in every direction, each according to his zeal, did oppose, then Pope St. Stephen, of blessed memory, prelate of the Apostolic See, assisted with the rest of his colleagues indeed, but still beyond the rest (prae ceteris); thinking it, I suppose, becoming that he should excel all the rest as much in devotion for the faith as he surpassed them in authority of place (quantum loci auctoritate superabat). In fine, in an epistle which was then sent to Africa, he issued a decree in these words: 'Nothing is to be innovated [nothing] but what has been handed down (nihil innovandum nisi quod traditum est).'1
1 The exact words of St. Stephen's reply have not come down to us. According to St. Cyprian (Ep. 74), they are as follows: "Si quis ergo... quacumque haeresi venerit ad vos, nihil innovetur nisi quod traditum est, ut manus illi imponatur in prenitentiam." The meaning would seem to be, "Let nothing fresh be done to the convert except what has been handed down, namely," etc. (Labriolle, Vinc. de Lerins, p. 22). See, however, Franzelin, De Trad., p. 77, note; and Benson, who translates thus: " No innovation is to be made, only tradition must be kept to" (Cyprian, p. 424).
What, therefore, was the result of the whole matter? What, indeed, but the usual and accustomed one ? Antiquity, to wit, was retained; novelty exploded" (Adv. Hares., n. 6). "Do not object against us the authority of Cyprian in favour of repeating baptism," says St. Augustine, "but adhere with us to the example of Cyprian in favour of preserving unity. For that question about baptism had not then been as yet thoroughly examined with care; but the Church, notwithstanding, adhered to a most wholesome practice --to amend what was evil in the heretics and schismatics themselves, but not to repeat what had been given; to make whole what was wounded, not to heal what was whole (corrigere quod pravum est, non iterare quod datum est; sanare quod vulneratum est, non curare quod sanum est) " (De Bapt., lib. ii. c. 7). Although St. Stephen's decree was primarily a disciplinary rule, yet it practically decided the doctrinal question which lay at the root of the controversy. The Council of Aries (314) repeated the rule, and in spite of the sanctity, the learning, and the influence of St. Cyprian's adherents, the practice of rebaptism of heretics fell into disuse. We shall presently see, however, that the question of rebaptism assumed a new form later on. Any doubts concerning the doctrinal question were set at rest by the decision of the Council of Trent, that baptism given by heretics, with the intention of doing what the Church does, is true baptism (sess. vii., De Bapt., can. 4).1
1 The Council speaks of baptism only. Although we may infer that the same principle holds good of the other sacraments, we cannot say that it is strictly of faith. The conditional baptism which is sometimes given to converts in England is not properly a re-baptism. If the original baptism, though conferred by an heretical minister, was duly performed, the subsequent ceremony has no effect. The practice of conditional baptism was introduced on account of the doubt about this due performance in a Church in which it can be held that baptismal regeneration is no part of its teaching.
2. While St. Cyprian was contending for the re-baptism of heretics, the Novatians went further, and maintained that baptism conferred by sinners was invalid. Early in the next century this error was taken up by the Donatists, at least as far as notorious sinners were concerned. Long afterwards the Waldenses, Wyclif, and Huss held similar opinions, and were condemned by the Councils of Constance, Florence, and Trent (sess. vii., De Sacr. in Gen., can. 12). The Donatists found a strenuous opponent in St. Augustine, whose writings contain numberless passages against them: "That water over which the Name of God is invoked is not profane and adulterous, even though the invoker is adulterous and profane; for neither the created thing nor the name is adulterous. . . . The light of the sun, or even of a lamp, when shed abroad through foul places, contracts nothing vile thereby. And can Christ's baptism be contaminated by any one's crimes?" (De Bapt. lib. iii. c. 10.) "Baptism takes its quality from the quality of Him in whose power it is given, not from that of him by whose ministry it is conferred (Baptisma tale est qualis est ille in cujus potestate datur; non qualis est ille per cujus ministerium datur). . . . What was given by Paul and what was given by Peter are both Christ's; and if it was given by Judas it was Christ's" (In Joan, tract, v. 6; cf. Contra Cresconium, passim). That is to say, the minister acts like an instrument or channel; and, consequently, the action derives its force and value from the prime mover or principal cause. Just as a medical man, though ill himself, can cure others; just as a pipe, no matter whether it is of silver or of lead, can conduct water; so can the ministers of the Church confer the sacraments, even though they themselves may be sinners (St. Thom., 3, q. 64, a. 5).
3. Without going into details concerning the various kinds of attention and intention, we may state generally that the minister of a sacrament must be aware of what he is doing, and must really and truly intend to do it.. Though he is an instrument in Christ's hands, he is not simply a tool; he is a living instrument, and therefore the action of his will must come in. Moreover, he must at least have "the intention of doing what the Church does" (faciendi quod facit Ecclesia; Council of Trent, sess. vii., De Sacr. in Gen., can. 11). What, however, is the precise import of this formula is a matter of discussion among theologians. All agree that the minister need not have the specific intention of doing what the Roman Catholic Church does; that he need not intend to produce the effect of the sacrament; and that he need not even believe that the rite is a sacrament at all, or know what a sacrament is. They agree, too, that he must intend to perform a ceremony which is held as sacred and religious by the Church of Christ. The reason is plain. What is indeterminate needs to be determined, otherwise its character is not fixed. Now, washing can be performed for various purposes, e.g. cleanliness, health, amusement, or devotion. In order to make it really and truly a sacrament, it needs to be determined by the intention of the minister, which intention is expressed by the words, " I baptize thee in the Name of the Father," etc. (St. Thorn., 3, q. 65, a. 8). But whether it is enough to mean to perform seriously the external rite, while internally having no further intention, or even an opposite intention (e.g. "The Church of Rome holds matrimony to be a sacrament, but I do not; I will go through the ceremony, but I do not intend to confer any sacrament"), is a disputed point. See Drouin, l.c. vii. sect. 2; Franzelin, l.c. thes. xvii.; Pourrat, p. 3I5.1
1 Some light has been thrown on this vexed question by the Bull Apostolicae Curae against Anglican Orders. "The Church," says Pope Leo XIII., "does not judge about the mind or intention in so far as it is something by its nature internal; but, in so far as it is manifested externally, she is bound to judge concerning it. When any one has rightly and seriously made use of the due form and the matter requisite for effecting or conferring the sacrament, he is considered by the very fact to do what the Church does. On this principle rests the doctrine that a sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed. On the other hand, if the rite be changed with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and what by the institution of Christ belongs to the nature of the sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and destructive of the sacrament."
Sect. 249. --The Recipient of the Sacraments.
I. We have seen above that the efficacy of the sacraments is in no way dependent on the merit of the receiver. Nevertheless, as they are not charms, and as they are conferred upon human beings, these latter must receive them in a human way. To understand what is required on the part of the receiver, we must bear in mind the distinctions between valid and invalid, worthy and unworthy, reception; and we must also observe that the sacraments differ so much from each other, that it is difficult to lay down any general principles that will apply to all of them. Some persons are incapable of receiving certain of the sacraments, e.g. a woman cannot be ordained, a healthy person cannot be anointed. Supposing that there is no such incapacity, some sort of intention is required, at least on the part of adults, for valid reception. "From defects of age," says St. Augustine, "(infants) can neither with the heart believe unto justice, nor with the mouth make confession unto salvation. Hence, when others answer for them, in order that the celebration of the sacrament may be accomplished, it is surely valid for their consecration, seeing that they cannot answer for themselves. But if another answer for one who can do so for himself, it is not valid. Hence the Gospel dictum ... he is of age, let him speak for himself" (De Bapt., lib. iv. c. 24).
II. The Council of Trent has defined that the sacraments confer grace on those who place no "obstacle" (obex) in the way (sess. vii. can. 7). That is to say, the receiver does not co-operate positively in the action of the sacrament. He can, indeed, defeat its action; but if he wishes it to produce its effect, his own activity is confined to merely removing obstacles. These vary in the different sacraments. Thus, in some sacraments (called the "Sacraments of the living," e.g. the Holy Eucharist), the consciousness of being In a state of mortal sin is an obstacle to their action. If this is removed by repentance, these sacraments can then produce their effect. In other Sacraments (called the "Sacraments of the dead," viz. Baptism and Penance), which were instituted expressly for the forgiveness of sin, it is not the conscious state of sin that is the obstacle, but only impenitence or a wilful abiding in that state. The texts of Scripture quoted above (p. 362) in support of the doctrine that the Sacraments give grace of themselves (ex opere operato) generally make mention of something required on the part of the receiver. For example, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark xvi. 16) . Here justification is produced by the merits of Christ conveyed through baptism; the faith of the receiver merely removing the obstacle to the action of the sacrament. See Franzelin, thes. vi.; De Augustinis, part iii. art. 3.
Sect. 250. --Number and Division of the Sacraments.
I. It is of faith that there are in the New Law neither more nor less than seven sacraments properly so called, and that these are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony (Council of Trent, sess. vii. can. i). The obvious way of proving this doctrine is to show that each of these sacred rites is really and truly a sacrament (which will be done in the succeeding chapters); and also that no other sacred rite combines all the elements required for a true sacrament. Here, in this section, we shall point out that besides this method we can prove that the sevenfold number was explicitly held by the Church long before the Tridentine definition.
I. Before Luther and his followers began their attempts to divide the Church, it had been admitted on all hands, both in the East and West, that the sacraments were seven in number. Even from an historical point of view, this unanimity is a sufficient proof of antiquity." Is it likely that so many and such great Churches should have gone astray into one faith? Never is there one result among many chances. The error of the Churches would have taken different directions. Whatever is found to be one and the same among many persons is not an error, but a tradition" (Tertullian, De Prcescr., c. 28; cf. vol. i. p. 68).
(a) At the very opening of the Scholastic epoch of theology we find the sevenfold number taught, and taught not as some new discovery, but as handed down from our Lord. Thus, St. Otho of Bamberg: "As I am about to leave you, I deliver to you the things which were delivered to us by the Lord . . . viz. the seven sacraments of the Church " (Apud. Bolland, tom. i. Julii, pp. 396, 397). Peter Lombard, in the fourth book of the Sentences, distinctly enumerates our seven sacraments; and the Scholastic commentators, though they freely criticize him in other matters, and widely differ among themselves, all unanimously accept this doctrine. The same was decreed by many provincial councils from the twelfth century onwards. The teaching of the old Church of England is abundantly clear from the Constitutions of Richard, Bishop of Salisbury, renewed in the Council of Durham (1217 or 1223); the statutes issued by Cardinal Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, to be read in the Council of Oxford (1222); the "Chapters of the Council of London," held under the presidency of the Papal legate (1237); and the English "Synodal Constitutions " of the same year. The sevenfold number was acknowledged at the Council of Constance even by the followers of John Huss, and was mentioned in the Decretum pro Armenis at Florence.
(b) As far as the Greek (schismatic) Church is concerned, it should be noted that in the various disputes with the Western Church there was no dissension as to the number of the sacraments, though there was considerable discussion concerning the rites and ceremonies connected with them. When overtures for union were made by the Protestants at the end of the sixteenth century to the Eastern schismatics, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremias, distinctly pointed out that, contrary to the Augsburg Confession, "the sacred ceremonies and sacraments recognized in the Catholic Church by orthodox Christians are seven in number: viz. Baptism, the Unction of the Divine chrism, the Divine Communion, Ordination, Matrimony, Penance, and Holy Oil (Extreme Unction); just as there are seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to Isaias (iv. 2), so are there seven sacraments which the Holy Ghost works, neither more nor less." See Perpetuite de la Foi, tom. v. lib. i. ch. 3; Pourrat, p. 262.
2. Though the Fathers treat of the various sacraments in detail, we are not surprised to find that they nowhere expressly state that these are seven in number. It was no part of their method to compose systematic theological treatises unless, indeed, on such subjects as the Incarnation and Blessed Trinity, which were keenly controverted. As soon as theology began to be reduced to a system, we find the number seven immediately accepted by all. Besides, "the discipline of the secret," to which frequent reference must be made when dealing with the sacraments, would easily account for the silence of the Fathers on many points connected with them. Moreover, the word "sacrament" was not restricted to its technical sense until later.
The answer to the arguments of those who maintain other sacraments besides these seven, notably, the Washing of Feet (John xiii. 1-15), may be found in Drouin, q. iii. cap. 2, sect. 2; Franzelin, p. 286 sqq.1
1 The reason of the sevenfold number is thus explained by St. Thomas (3, q. 65, a. i): " Man in his temporal capacity comes into being, grows and is strengthened, is nourished, and is cured from diseases; moreover, the race is propagated, and order and government are handed down from generation to generation. So in his spiritual capacity he is born by Baptism, strengthened by Confirmation, fed by the Holy Eucharist, healed by Penance and Extreme Unction; while the priestly powers are transmitted by Order, and the propagation of the race is sanctified by Matrimony." Other explanations are also given by St. Thomas (I.c.), St. Bonaventure (In 4 Dist. 2, q. 3), and other commentators on this passage of the Sentences. See also Catechism of the Council of Trent, p. ii. c. I, n. 31; and Decretum pro Armanis.
II. These seven Sacraments may be divided into various classes.
1. We have already spoken of the distinction between "Sacraments of the Living" and "Sacraments of the Dead."
2. Another important distinction is that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, whereas others, however useful, are not necessary (supra, 45).
3. Again, three of the sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, and Order) impress a "Character," and therefore cannot be repeated. This "Character" or mark is defined by the Council of Trent to be "a certain spiritual and indelible sign (signum quoddam spirituale et indelibile)" (sess. vii., De Sacr., can. 9).
(a) That these three sacraments impress a Character was distinctly taught by all the mediaeval theologians (St. Thom. In 4 Dist. q. I, a. i). There was, indeed, considerable disagreement as to the precise nature of the Character; and some (Scotus, Biel, Cajetan) went so far as to deny that its existence could be proved from Scripture or the Fathers; but even these accepted it on the authority of the Church. This universal consent is sufficient proof that the doctrine is a tradition and not an error (supra, p. 373)
(b) But the Fathers, notably St. Cyprian and St. Augustine, had already maintained the existence of the Character, though not in the exact technical language of the Schoolmen. In the early controversies concerning heretical Baptism and Order,1
1 Confirmation used to be given immediately after Baptism, hence it often happens that no special mention was made of it.
both parties agreed that it had been handed down from the Apostles that these sacraments could not be repeated. The Catholics maintained that the reason of this prohibition was that these sacraments produced an effect quite independent of grace an effect which could be produced outside the Church, and remained even in those who quitted her fold. This was called a seal (sigillum), or mark (signum, character), impressed upon the soul, and designating the subjects of it as the sheep of Christ's flock, or as the soldiers and ministers of His kingdom. "The sacrament of Christian Baptism is valid and sufficient for consecration, even though it is not sufficient for the participation of eternal life; and this consecration makes the heretic a culprit (reum facit) who bears the character outside the Lord's flock; nevertheless, sound doctrine bids that he should be corrected, not consecrated anew" (St. Aug., Ep. xcviii. n. 5). And, again, addressing a Donatist: "Thou art a sheep of my Lord's flock. Thou hast gone astray with His mark (signum) on thee, and because of that I seek thee the more. . . . Dost thou not know that the deserter is condemned for having the service mark (character), whereas the fighting soldier is rewarded for it?" (Ad Pleb. Ccesar., n. 4). The Greek Fathers frequently use similar expressions. Thus Clement of Alexandria (De Divite Servando, c. 42) speaks of Baptism as "the seal of the Lord (Greek);" St. Basil (Bapt., n. 5), "the unassailable seal (Greek);" St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Procatech., n. 16), "a holy and indelible seal (Greek)." Cf. St. Greg. Naz., Or. 40, In Bapt., n. 4; St. John Chrysost, In 2 Cor., hom. iii. n. 7.
(c) It is clear, then, that the doctrine of the Character must have come down from the Apostles, and hence, even though it could not be proved from the text of Sacred Scripture taken alone, nevertheless such expressions as "sealing" and "signing" must, according to the Catholic rule of interpretation, be taken to refer to the sacramental Character. "He that hath anointed us is God, Who also hath sealed (Greek) us and given the pledge (Greek) of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Cor. i. 21, 22); "You were signed (Greek) with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. i. 13); "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby (Greek) you are sealed (Greek) unto the day of redemption" (ibid. iv. 30). See St. Thom., 3, q. 63; Drouin, q. v. c. 2; Franzelin, theses xii., xiii.; Billot, p. 138; Pourrat, p. 185.
On the number of the Sacraments see Billot, p. 191; Pourrat, p. 232; Franzelin, De Sacr. in Gen., cap. vi.; Drouin, De Re Sacramentaria, Qu. iii. cap. ii.
CHAPTER II. Baptism
The verb (Greek) is used by profane authors in a number of different senses: (1) The dipping of an object into water or any other fluid for any purpose whatever; (2) the immersion or sinking of an object; (3) the covering over of any object by the flowing or pouring of a fluid on it, and so, metaphorically (in the passive) being overwhelmed or oppressed; (4) the washing or wetting of an object, whether by aspersion or immersion.1
1 Kitto, Bibl. Encycl.: "Baptism," where instances are quoted.
Turning to the sacred writings, we find the word used in the Septuagint four times (4 Kings v. 14; Isa. xxi. 4; Judith xii. 7; Ecclus. xxxiv. 30). In three of these it means to bathe or wash. The passage of Isaias is metaphorical, as in the third usage above-mentioned. Both the noun (in Greek) and the verb occur frequently in the New Testament, and are used sometimes in the sense of washing (Mark vii. 3, 4, 8; Luke xi. 38), sometimes metaphorically (Mark x. 38, 39; Luke xii. 50), but especially to designate a rite by which men are spiritually cleansed. The baptism of St. John was not able of itself (ex opere operato) to wash away sin. Like the sacraments of the Old Law, it signified the grace which was conferred by the dispositions of the minister or recipient. Hence St. Paul (Acts xix. 5) re-baptized those who had received John's baptism. The sacred rite which we are here concerned with is the sacrament properly so called, instituted by Christ for the remission of sin.
SECT 251. --The Nature and Institution of Baptism.
I. That entry into the Church of Christ was to be effected by means of a distinct rite, consisting of washing, accompanied with certain words, is plain from the New Testament and the teaching of the Fathers.
I. Our Lord's final charge to the Apostles was to teach scripture, all nations, "baptizing them in the Name (Greek) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt, xxviii. 19); "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark xvi. 16). And to Nicodemus He said, "Unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost (formula is in Greek), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John iii. 5). Accordingly, we find that when the first converts on Pentecost day asked of St. Peter what they were to do, the answer was, "Do penance (Greek), and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins (shown in Greek), and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . . They, therefore, that received his word were baptized" (Acts ii. 37-41). So, too, St. Philip's Samaritan converts were baptized (Acts viii. 12, 16) (Greek); and the Eunuch (ibid. 38); St. Paul himself (ibid. ix. 18), and Cornelius with his household (ibid. x. 48). Though St. Paul said that he was sent "not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (i Cor. i. 17), nevertheless he frequently baptized (Acts xvi. 33; xviii. 8; xix. 5; I Cor. i. 14, 1 6); and he speaks of baptism in many parts of his Epistles: "All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus (Greek) are baptized in His death (Greek); for we are buried together with Him by baptism unto death, that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in the newness of life" (Rom. vi. 3, 4; cf. Col. ii. 12); "In one spirit we are all baptized into one body (Greek)" (i Cor. xii. 13); "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. iv. 5); "But when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared, not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us by the laver of regeneration (Greek)) and renovation (Greek) of the Holy Ghost, whom He hath poured forth upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace we may be heirs according to hope of life everlasting" (Tit. iii. 4-7; cf. Eph. v. 27).
2. It would be superfluous to quote the Fathers at any length. One or two early instances need alone be given. "We will also state in what manner we have dedicated ourselves to God, having been created anew by Christ.... As many as are persuaded that the things which we teach and declare are true, and give assurance that they are able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to fast and to entreat from God the remission of their past sins, we praying and fasting with them. They are then conducted by us where there is water, and are regenerated according to the mode of regeneration, by which we were regenerated. For they are then washed in. that water in the Name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ also said, 'Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'" (St. Justin, Apol., i. 61). "Happy the sacrament of our water, whereby, being cleansed from the sins of our former blindness, we are made free unto eternal life. . . . We poor little fishes, following after our (in Greek) Jesus Christ, are born in water; nor are we safe except by abiding in the water. . . . What then? Is it not wonderful that death should be washed away by a bath? Yea, but if because it is wonderful it be therefore not believed, it ought on that account the rather to be believed. For what else should the works of God be, but above all wonder?" (Tertull., De Bapt., i, 2.)
II. We have now to inquire more particularly into the nature of this initiatory rite. Man comes into this world devoid of the grace of God and spiritually dead; or, to put it in another way, he has the stain of Adam's sin upon his soul (supra, p. 24). Both these metaphors, "death"and "stain," are used in Scripture to describe the fallen state of man. Hence, when our Lord was instituting the sacrament which was to remove this stain and to give new life to the soul, He naturally chose the act of washing. This act does not at first sight seem to have any connection with regeneration; but in the East it was the custom to wash the child as soon as it was born (Ezech. xvi. 4); and St. Paul speaks of the "laver of regeneration (Greek) " (Tit. iii. 5; cf. Eph. v. 25). Hence Christ said, "Unless a man be born again of water (as the cleansing element) and the Holy Ghost (as the life-giving principle), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John iii. 5). Washing, then, is the "matter" of the sacrament; that is to say, washing is the natural act chosen by our Lord as the sign and cause of the removal of the stain of original sin from the soul. But it is not every washing that is capable of producing this effect. The act must be accompanied by some distinguishing mark, determining it to be a baptism in the technical sense. This mark is found in certain words which indicate this, viz. "I baptize thee (or similar words) in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost " (St. Thorn., 3, q. 66, a. 5, ad. I; see also a. i). It may be objected that water is the matter of the sacrament: "Quid est aqua nisi aqua? Accedit verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum" (St. Aug.). We answer, in the words of the Council of Trent, that water is necesary for baptism: "Aquam veram et naturalem esse de necessitate baptismi " (sess. vii., De Bapt., can. 2). To say that water is the matter, is likely to make people think that the matter of a sacrament is something material and tangible. Water, indeed, may be said to be the "material" or thing used in baptism; but, as we have already observed, many of the sacraments require no material thing, and yet have "matter."
I. The act of washing with water, which is essential to the validity of the sacrament, may be performed in various ways. The early practice of the Church was to immerse the recipient, after the example of our Lord's baptism (Matt. iii. 16; Mark i. 10) and the baptism of the eunuch by Philip the deacon (cf. Acts viii. 38. 39). This continued to be the common use, even in the West, as late as the end of the thirteenth century (St. Thom., 3, q. 66, a. 7). Nevertheless, circumstances frequently arose when it was not convenient to confer baptism in this way. Dying persons, for example, had to be baptized in their beds. We frequently read, too, of martyrs who baptized their fellow-prisoners or their jailors in the prison itself. Some writers also are of opinion that the first converts on Pentecost day could not have been immersed on account of their great numbers (Acts ii. 41). Difficulties, too, would arise in cold countries, and in regard to the immersion of women. Hence baptism by effusion, that is, by pouring water over the body, and especially the head, gradually supplanted the older custom. Immersion, indeed, more fully brings out the meaning of the sacrament. "All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are baptized in His death; for we are buried together with Him by baptism unto death" (Rom. vi. 3, 4; cf. Col. ii. 12). It is more like the "bath of regeneration (Greek)" (Tit. iii. 5; cf. Eph. v. 27). Nevertheless, inasmuch as effusion and aspersion (sprinkling: "Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed," Ps. 1. 9) are true forms of washing, they are sufficient for validity. As is well known, the Roman Ritual enjoins effusion; and the Council of Trent has defined that there is in the Roman Church true doctrine concerning baptism (sess. vii., De Bapt., can. 3). Three-fold washing (whether by immersion, effusion, or aspersion), suggested by the words expressing the doctrine of the Trinity, has at all times been the more common practice, but is not essential. St. Gregory the Great tells Leander that "it cannot be blameworthy to immerse an infant either thrice or once; for the threefold immersion signifies the Trinity of the Persons, and the single immersion the unity of the Divinity " (lib. i., Ep. 43). Hence, at certain times and in certain countries the single immersion has been enjoined, e.g. in order to bring out the unity of baptism against the errors of the various sects of re- baptizers (Fourth Council of Toledo, can. 6). The present discipline of the Church requires threefold washing, though single washing is of course valid.
2. Turning now to the words, "I baptize thee" (or something similar) "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, "which are the determining element or form, we have to examine the precise meaning of this formula.
(a) To perform the act, uttering at the same time merely the words, "In the Name of the Father," etc., is not enough. It must be determined by the words, "I baptize thee," or "The servant of Christ is baptized," the latter of which is the Greek formula. "If any one has immersed a child three times in water, 'In the Name of the Father,' etc., without saying, 'I baptize thee,' the child has not been baptized " (Cap. Si quis 1 Extrav. de Baptismo).
(b) The words, "In the Name of the Father (Greek)," etc., do not simply mean that the act is performed by the authority of the Divine Trinity. They signify, rather, that the recipient is consecrated and dedicated to the Trinity as the object of faith, hope, charity, and generally of supernatural worship. "That He might sanctify it (the Church), cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life, that He might present it to Himself (Greek) a glorious Church" (Eph. v. 26, 27); "We are buried together with Him by baptism unto death . . . So do you also reckon that you are dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God (Greek), in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. vi. 3, 1 1); "For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as have been baptized in Christ (Greek) have put on Christ. . . . You are all one in Christ Jesus; and if you be Christ's, then are you the seed of Abraham, the heirs according to the promise" (Gal. iii. 26, 29); "Every one of you saith, I indeed am of Paul, and I am of Apollo. . . . Was Paul, then, crucified for you, or were you baptized in the name of Paul (Greek)? . . . I baptized none of you . . . lest any should say that you were baptized in my name (etc Greek) . . . What, then, is Apollo, and what is Paul? The ministers of Him Whom you have believed. . . . Let no man, therefore, glory in men; for all things are yours, whether it be Paul or Apollo ... all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (i Cor. i. 12 sqq.; iii. 4, 5, 21-23). See Franzelin, De Trin., p. 20.
(c) In the Acts of the Apostles we read that many were baptized in the Name of Christ (Greek)" (ii. 38; viii. 12, 16, etc.). This does not mean that they were baptized under the invocation of Christ, but in the faith and by the authority of Christ, by the baptism instituted by Him. Thus (Acts xix. 2-5) baptism" in the Name of Christ" is plainly the baptism of Christ, in opposition to the baptism of John. For, as St. Thomas argues, if anything instituted by Christ be omitted from the administration of the sacraments, such administration is null and void. Now, the invocation of the Three Divine Persons was ordained by Christ, and therefore baptism without this invocation is of no effect. Nevertheless, the Angelic Doctor, moved by the authority of Pope Nicholas I., admits that, when performed according to a special revelation from Christ, the Author and Lord of the sacraments, baptism under the sole invocation of Christ may be valid (q. 66, a. 6). This exception is not now generally recognized. For the answer to the difficulties connected with Nicolas's decision, see De Augustinis, De Re Sacratn., i. p. 352; and Palmieri, De Rom. Pont., p. 638.
Sect. 252. --Necessity and Effects of Baptism.
I. The Council of Trent has defined that baptism is necessary for salvation (sess. vii., De Bapt., can. 5). The proof of this doctrine and the various qualifications, or rather explanations, with which it must be understood, have now to be considered.
I. The words of our Lord to Nicodemus are the plainest proof of the necessity of baptism: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John iii. 5). He commanded His Apostles to baptize all nations, and promised that those who should believe and be baptized should be saved (Matt, xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 16). So St. Peter told the first converts that they must be baptized (Acts ii. 37), and all the other converts mentioned in the Acts and Epistles submitted to the same rite (supra, p. 379). Hence the early Fathers insist on its necessity. "It is prescribed that no one can obtain salvation without baptism, according to that great saying of the Lord, 'Unless a man,'" etc. (Tertull., De Bapt.. c. 12; see also St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haeres., lib. iii. cap. 17). We have already (supra, p. 380) quoted a passage from St. Justin, describing how the converts were received into the Church. But it was in the controversies with the Pelagians that the necessity of baptism and the reason thereof were especially insisted on: the necessity of baptism being appealed to as one of the proofs of Original Sin, or Original Sin being assigned as the reason why it was necessary. To these proofs may be added the argument adduced by St. Thomas: No one can be saved but through Christ; now, it is by baptism that we become members of Christ, and put on Christ; therefore baptism is necessary for salvation (q. 68, a. i).
2. We have, in the first volume (§45), distinguished two kinds of necessity: necessity of means (necessitas medii), and necessity of precept (necessitas prcecepti).
(a) Baptism is a necessary means of salvation; that is to say, without baptism a person cannot be saved, even though the omission is due to no fault on any one's part. Those who are capable of receiving God's commands (that is, all grown-up persons) are bound to seek baptism, and if they neglect to do so, they commit a grievous sin.
(b) The apparent harshness of this doctrine is mitigated when we bear in mind a further distinction recognized by the Council of Trent (sess. vi., De Justif., cap. iv.; sess. vii., De Sacr., can. 4), and thus explained by St. Thomas: "The sacrament of baptism may be wanting to a person in two ways: first, in fact and in desire (re et voto) as in the case of those who are not baptized and refuse to be baptized, which is manifestly a contempt of the sacrament, and therefore those who in this way are without baptism cannot be saved, seeing that they are neither sacramentally nor mentally (in spirit) incorporated in Christ, through Whom alone is salvation. Secondly, the sacrament may be wanting in fact but not in desire, as when a person wishes to be baptized, but is stricken by death before he can receive baptism, and such a one can without actual baptism be saved on account of the desire of baptism proceeding from faith working by love, by means of which God, Whose power is not restricted to visible sacraments, internally (interius) sanctifies him. Hence, Ambrose saith of Valentinian, who died while only a catechumen: 'I have lost him whom I was about to regenerate; but he has not lost the grace which he asked for'" (q. 68, a. 2). This "baptism of desire" (flaminis) as opposed to actual baptism (baptismus flaminis), is treated of at great length by St. Augustine. "I find," he says (De Bapt., iv. 22), "that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply the defect of baptism (id quod ex baptismo decrat), but even faith and conversion of heart, if there be no time for celebrating the sacrament (mysterium) of baptism."
(c) Martyrdom (baptismus sanguinis), also, in the case of those who have not been baptized, can supply the defect of the sacrament. "Whosoever, without having received the laver of regeneration, die for confessing Christ, obtain remission of their sins just as much as if they had been washed in the font of baptism. For He Who said, 'Except a man be born again,' etc., made an exception with regard to these when He said, not less universally, ' Every one therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in heaven,' and 'He that shall lose his life for Me shall find it' (Matt. x. 32, 39) " (St. Aug., De Civ. Dei, xiii. 7; cf. St. Thomas, 3, q. 66, a. 12).
II. In the course of this section and the preceding one we have had occasion to refer frequently to the effects of baptism. A summary treatment will here be sufficient.
1. The first effect is the removal of all sin, whether original or actual, from the soul. This is indicated by the two metaphors of a new "birth" and "washing;" and is more expressly stated in the texts: "Do penance (Greek), and be baptized every one of you . . . for the remission of your sins (in Greek)" (Acts ii. 38); "Rise up and be baptized, and wash away thy sins" (ibid. xxii. 16). "From the child just born," says St. Augustine, "even to the decrepit old man, as none is to be prohibited from baptism, so none is there who does not die to sin in baptism; but infants to original sin only but older persons die also to all sins whatsoever, which by living ill they have added to that which they derived from their birth" (Enchirid. De Fide, n. 13, al. 43; cf. Serm. De Symbolo ad Catechum., c. 10). And the Council of Trent (sess. v. can. 5): "If any one denieth that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserteth that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away, but saith that it is only rased (radi), or not imputed, let him be anathema. For in those who are born again there is nothing that God hateth, because there is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death (Rom. viii. I; vi. 4), who walk not according to the flesh, but putting off the old man and putting on the new, who is created according to God (Eph. iv. 22, 24), are made innocent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God; heirs, indeed, of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. viii. 17)."
2. Besides taking away sin, baptism confers supernatural gifts, graces, and virtues upon the soul. "He saved us by the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Ghost, Whom He hath poured forth upon us abundantly "(Tit. iii. 5, 6). It does not, however, entirely undo the effect of original sin and restore to man the integrity (supra, 152) which our first parents possessed before their fall. "In the baptized there remains concupiscence or an incentive to sin (fomitem); which, whereas it is left for our trial, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned (2 Tim. ii. 5). This concupiscence, which the Apostle sometimes calls sin (Rom. vi.-viii.), the Catholic Church hath never understood it to be so called as being properly and truly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin and inclines to sin (ex peccato est et ad peccatum inclinaf)" (Council of Trent, sess. v. can. 5).
3. It also impresses a character on the soul (supra, p 375).
4. Finally, it makes the baptized person a member of Christ's Church, with all the rights and duties of a Christian.
"As many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. iii. 27); "Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ?" (i Cor. vi. 15); "They, therefore, that received his word were baptized, and there were added [to the Church] that day about three thousand souls" (Acts ii. 41).
These various effects of the sacrament are beautifully summed up by St. Gregory of Nazianzum: "Baptism is the soul's brightness; life's amendment; the questioning of the soul towards God. Baptism is our weakness's aid; the laying aside of the flesh; the attainment of the spirit; the participation of the word; the rectification of the creature; sin's deluge; the communication of light; the dispersion of darkness. Baptism is a chariot (to bear us) to God; a pilgrimage with Christ; faith's support; the mind's perfection; the key to heaven's kingdom; life's change; freedom from bondage; the unloosing of chains; the transformation of our substance into a better. Baptism what need of further enumeration? --is of God's gifts the fairest and most excellent" (Or. xl.). See St. Thomas, 3 q. 69; De Augustinis, op. cit., art. viii.
Sect. 253. --The Minister and the Recipient.
I. To understand the teaching of the Church regarding the minister of baptism, we must carefully bear in mind the distinction between the lawful and unlawful, valid and invalid, reception of a sacrament. Moreover, we should note that, besides the immersion or pouring of the water, there are in solemn baptism a number of ceremonies and prayers which are not essential.
I. Since God wills all men to be saved, and has ordained baptism as a necessary means of salvation, it follows that this means should be at the ready disposal of all. Hence our Lord chose the common element water, and gave every human being, whether priest or layman, man or woman, Christian or pagan, the power of conferring valid baptism (Fourth Lateran Council, cap. Firmiter; Council of Florence, Decr, pro Armenis; Council of Trent sess. vii., De Bapt., c. 4)
2. Nevertheless, this power can only be lawfully used by the laity in case of necessity.
(a) It was to the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, that Christ entrusted this office when He said to them, "Go ye, therefore: teach all nations, baptizing them," etc. (Matt, xxviii. 19). So we find that the early Fathers, e.g. St. Ignatius (Ep. ad Smyrn.) teach that without a bishop it is not lawful to baptize; and Tertullian says, "The power of baptizing belongs to the chief priest (summus sacerdos); then to the priests and deacons, but not without the authority of the bishop" (Lib. De Bapt., c. 17). And even as late as the sixth century, says Chardon (Bapt. p. ii. ch. 9), it was still the custom for the bishops alone to baptize, or at any rate the priests did not do so without special permission of the bishop.
(b) In the course of time, as the Christian religion extended itself into the country districts,1
1 "Pagans," pagani, dwellers in hamlets and villages. The word came to be applied to infidels because the rustic population remained longest unconverted. So, too, "heathen" originally meant one who lived in the wild heaths.
it became impossible for the bishops to be the sole ministers of the sacrament. Simple priests, therefore, were permitted to confer it by virtue of their office and without special authority. The reason why priests possess this power is thus explained by St. Thomas: "By baptism a man is made a participator in the union of the Church, and acquires the right to approach the Lord's Table, and therefore, as it belongs to the priest to consecrate the Eucharist, so it is his office to baptize; for it belongs to one and the same person to perform the whole, and to arrange the part in the whole (ejusdem enim videtur esse operari totum et partem in toto disponere). Though the office of baptizing," continues the saint, "was committed to the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, yet it was so entrusted as to be exercised by others; for St. Paul says, 'Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach' (i Cor. i. 17). And the reason of this is that whereas teaching (likewise entrusted to the Apostles) depends upon the merit and knowledge of the minister, baptism is independent of these" (q. 67, a. 2). Hence, according to the Council of Florence (Decr, pro Arm.), it is said, "The minister of this sacrament is a priest, who by virtue of his office possesses the power of baptizing (cut ex officio competit baptizare)"
(c) The functions of a deacon are, as we shall see (infra, chap, vii.), and as his name implies, to assist those who administer the sacraments. Nevertheless, at his ordination he is told that it is his duty to baptize: "Diaconum oportet ministrare ad altare, baptizare, et praedicare." This is a further extension of the permission granted to priests. According to present discipline, however, a deacon may not baptize solemnly without special permission from the bishop (St. Liguori, Theol. Mor., lib. vi. n. 1 16).
The persons who, according to the practice of the Church, assist at the solemn administration of baptism to make profession of Christian faith in the name of the baptized, are called "sponsors," or "godparents," and are in no way ministers of the sacrament. They are mentioned by the Fathers under the various names of Sponsores, Fideijussores, Susceptores, or Offerentes (Tertull., Lib. de Bapt.; St. Basil, Epist., cxxviii.; St. Augustine, Serm. clxiii. De Temp.). Concerning these, St. Thomas observes that, just as in carnal birth the nurse receives the child and takes care of it, and later on a teacher has charge of it, so in baptism, which is a spiritual birth, the services of similar persons are required for the newly made Christian.
II. In treating of the necessity of baptism (supra, §252), we have seen that every human being is bound to be baptized. We have now to consider the conditions required on the part of the recipient of the sacrament; and in connection with this we shall speak of infant baptism.
1. Seeing that by baptism a person dies to the old life of sin, and begins a new life (Rom. vi. 4); he must have the will to give up the old life and begin the new; and hence he must have the intention of receiving the sacrament which is the means of entering on this life. So in solemn baptism the catechumen is asked, "Wilt thou be baptized?" and he answers, "I will." For the valid reception of baptism, however, neither faith nor detestation of sin is required. Hence those who have been baptized without proper dispositions cannot afterwards be rebaptized. See St. Thom., 3, q. 68, aa. 7, 8.
2. In the case of those who are incapable of actually infant intending to receive the sacrament, their intention to receive it may be presumed. Hence the practice of baptizing children before they come to the use of reason. They have contracted original sin, and, should they die before being cleansed from it, they would be shut out from the bliss of heaven. "He came to save all men through Himself: all, I repeat, who through Him are born again unto God; infants and children, and boys and youths, and elders. Therefore did He pass through every age; to infants made an infant, sanctifying infants; to children a child, sanctifying those of that age" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., lib. ii. c. 22). "Whence is it that, since the baptism of the Church is given for the remission of sins, baptism is, according to the observance of the Church, given even to little children? Since assuredly if there were nothing in little children which must relate to remission and pardon, the grace would seem to be superfluous" (Origen, In Lev., hom. viii. n. 3). The same Father also says, "The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of baptizing even little ones (parvulis)" (In Ep. ad Rom., lib. v. n. 9). St. Cyprian, writing in his own name and in that of the bishops present at the Council of Carthage (253), says to Fidus, "Now, as to the case of infants, who you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision ought to be observed, so that in your opinion the child born ought not to be baptized and hallowed within the eighth day, it has seemed far otherwise to all of us in our council. For in what you thought ought not to be done, not one agreed; but we all, on the contrary, gave our judgment that to none born of man was the mercy and grace of God to be denied" (Ep., lix.). Concerning this passage St. Augustine says, "Not forming any new decree, but maintaining the most assured faith of the Church" (Ep., clxvi., ad Hieronym., n. 23; cf. also Serm., ccxciv. n. 19, and Contra Duas Ep., Pelag., 1. iv. n. 23, and elsewhere in his writings). "Let the child be sanctified from its infancy; let it be consecrated to the Spirit from its earliest days. Thou fearest the seal on account of the weakness of nature, O mother of mean spirit and of little faith! Ann, before Samuel was born, promised him to God, and when born instantly consecrated him to Him" (St. Greg, of Naz., Orat., xl.). The Second Council of Milevis (416) anathematized those who denied that infants should be baptized (can. 2). This condemnation was repeated by the Councils of Lateran (Fourth), Vienne, Florence, and Trent (sess. vii. can. 12, 13). The objection drawn from the baptism of Christ at the age of thirty is of no weight. He needed no sanctification; the baptism was merely John's baptism; and, moreover, He had already been circumcised at the usual time. See St. Thom., q. 68, a. 9.
On the whole of this chapter, see St. Thomas, 3. qq. 66-71; Chardon, liv. i. sect. I; De Augustinis, i. 325; Billot, p. 205; Dict, de Theol. Catholique, BAPTEME; Dict. d'Archeologie, BAPTEME; Catholic Encyclopedia, BAPTISM; Turmel, Hist, de la Theol. Positive, pp. 123, 245, 296, 419.
CHAPTER III. Confirmation
So many difficulties and various opinions have arisen concerning the sacrament of Confirmation, that the Council of Trent (sess. vii.) contented itself with three short canons on the subject: defining (1) that it is truly and properly a sacrament; (2) that a bishop only is the ordinary minister thereof; and (3) anathematizing anyone who says "that they who ascribe any virtue to the sacred chrism of Confirmation offer an outrage to the Holy Ghost." l
1 The guarded wording of this canon should be carefully noted.
Elsewhere (sess. vii., De Sacr. in Gen., can. 9) the Council also defined that a character was imprinted by the sacrament. For the first four centuries the word "Confirmation" was not used to designate this sacrament. Various other terms and phrases, however, quite clearly refer to it; e.g. "imposition of hands," "unction," "chrism," "sealing," etc.
Sect. 254. --Nature and Institution of Confirmation.
I. After a person has been born again, and cleansed of from his original stain, he needs to be spiritually strengthened by the Holy Ghost to enable him to overcome the enemies of his soul; he must be enrolled in Christ's army, and a mark must be set upon him whereby he may be known to be a Christian soldier. The sacrament instituted for this purpose should therefore, by its outward signs, indicate these effects.
1. To lay the hand on any one is the means of pointing him out; and is often an emblem of setting him apart for any particular office or dignity. Imposition of hands, accordingly, formed a part of the ceremonial observed on the appointment and consecration of persons to high and holy undertakings. "Take Josue, the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and put thy hand upon him," etc. (Num. xxviii. 18). Again, anointing with oil was used by the ancients for the purpose of strengthening the limbs, and so enabling the athletes to take part in the contests of the arena.1
1 "Exercent patrias oleo labente palaestras Nudati socii. (?n, iii. 281 ; cf, v. 135.)
Hence imposition of hands and anointing are made use of in this sacrament. There has been much difference of opinion as to whether the latter is part of the matter of Confirmation. According to the Council of Florence (Decr, pro Armenis) chrism is the matter. We find that the Fathers speak of "the sacrament of anointing," and attribute to the chrism the power of conferring grace. Thus, Tertullian (De Bapt., c. 7): "After this, having come out of the laver, we are anointed thoroughly with a blessed unction according to the ancient rule. . . . The unction runs bodily over us, but profits spiritually." And St. Cyril of Jerusalem: "To you also, after you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, was given the chrism (unction), the emblem (antitype) of that wherewith Christ was anointed; and this is the Holy Ghost. . . . After the invocation, this holy ointment is no longer plain ointment, nor, so to say, common, but Christ's gift, and by the presence of His Godhead it causes in us the Holy Ghost" (Cat. Myst., iii. 3). (Cf. St. Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Joel, ii. 23; and St. Augustine, In 1 Ep. Joann., tract, iii. n. 5). So, too, St. Thomas: " Chrism is the appropriate (conveniens) matter of this sacrament; for in this sacrament the fulness of the Holy Ghost is given for the spiritual strength which belongs to perfect age. . . . Now, the grace of the Holy Ghost is symbolized by oil; wherefore Christ is said to be 'anointed with the oil of gladness' (Ps. xliv.; Heb. i. 9), on account of the fulness of the Holy Ghost which He had" (3, q. 72, a. 2). Moreover, the Eastern Churches have always looked upon the anointing with chrism as the principal part of the sacrament, and to it they attribute the power of impressing upon the soul the seal of the Holy Ghost; so that for many centuries past the sacrament has gone by the name of "the Sacrament of Chrism," or "Chrism" simply. (Chardon, Confirm., ch. i.). Nevertheless, when the sacrament was conferred by the Apostles, no mention is ever made of anointing. On the other hand, no mention of imposition of hands is made by the Council of Florence, nor is it found in the Greek rituals (see, however, Chardon, I.c.). But the anointing spoken of by St. John ("Let the unction (Greek) which you have received abide in you," I Ep. ii. 27; cf. 20) and St. Paul ("He that confirmeth us with you in Christ, and that hath anointed us, is God, Who also hath sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts, -[shown in Greek]" 2 Cor. 1. 2O, 21) may be referred to this sacrament; and as the very act of anointing involves a laying-on of hands, the omission of any express mention of it need not present much difficulty. In practice, however, the general imposition of hands prescribed in the Roman ritual must not be omitted when the sacrament is conferred on those who are subject to the Western rite.
2. The form of Confirmation --that is to say, the distinguishing element which marks off the imposition of hands and anointing from the ordinary profane use of these acts consists in words suited for this purpose. When the Apostles conferred the sacrament, "they prayed for [the baptized] that they might receive the Holy Ghost. . . . Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost" (Acts viii. 15-17). What words were used is not mentioned, and hence considerable variation has prevailed (see Chardon, I.e.). Besides the prayers accompanying the imposition of hands, the Roman rite prescribes the following to accompany the anointing: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father," etc. This formula did not come into general use, according to Chardon, until the twelfth century. The formula in the Greek Church is simply, "The seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost (Greek)," and was prescribed by the First Council of Constantinople (381).
II. The institution of Confirmation by our Lord is nowhere expressly stated in Scripture; nevertheless, there are several texts from which this institution may be inferred.
1. Christ promised that those who believed in Him should receive the Holy Ghost (John vii. 37-39); and in the discourse at the Last Supper He made frequent reference to the sending of the same Spirit (ibid. xv., xvi.). We find the Apostles from the very first making use of a rite to confer this Divine gift (Acts viii. 14-17; xix. 1-6), and frequently alluding to it in their writings (2 Cor. i. 21, 22; Eph. i. 13; Tit. iii. 5; I John i. 20, 27). We may be sure that they would not take upon themselves to confer a rite in addition to Baptism (which Christ had expressly enjoined) unless they had received it from Him. The institution probably took place some time during our Lord's risen life, "when He showed Himself alive after His passion by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God" (Acts i. 3).
2. The Fathers frequently speak of this sacrament, mentioning it along with Baptism and the Eucharist; e.g Tertullian (supra, p. 394); St. Cyprian, "Anointed also must he of necessity be who is baptized, in order that, having received the chrism, that is, the unction, he may be anointed of God, and have within him the grace of Christ" (Ep. Ixx. ad Januarium). (For St. Cyril of Jerusalem, see supra, p. 394). St. Cyril of Alexandria, explaining Isaias xxv. 6, says, "By the wine he signifies the mystic eulogy and the manner of the unbloody sacrifice which we are wont to celebrate in the holy churches; whilst the ointment admirably points out to us the unction of the Holy Spirit. For the wise John writes, 'And you have an unction from the Holy One, and you have no need that any man teach you, but as His unction teacheth you of all things;' for we are anointed with ointment at the time, especially of the holy Baptism, making a symbol of our partaking of the Holy Spirit" (In Esai., 1. iii.). If more frequent mention of Confirmation as a special sacrament is not found among the early Fathers, this arose from the fact that as baptism was usually conferred upon grown-up people, Confirmation immediately followed. Later Fathers speak clearly enough; e.g. St. Pacian: "By the laver sins are cleansed away; by the chrism the Holy Spirit is poured upon us; but both of these we obtain at the hand and mouth of the bishop, and thus the whole man is born again and is renewed in Christ" (Serin, de Bapt., nn. 5, 6). Cf. St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, c. vii. n. 42; St. John Chrysostom, Hom, xviii. in Act. Apost. n. 3; see also Hom. ix. in Ep. ad Heb., n. 2; St. Augustine, Serm. ccxxvii. ad Infantes; Tract, vi. in Ep. Joan; St. Innocent I., Ep. xxv. ad Decentium, n. 6, etc. They do not speak clearly of its institution by our Lord.
3. Some of the greatest of the Schoolmen were of opinion that the sacrament was instituted by the Holy Ghost through the instrumentality of the Apostles (Peter Lomb. Sent., iv. dist. 7; Hugh of St. Victor, De Sacram., ii.; St. Bonav., in 4 dist. 7, a. I, q. i). St. Thomas, however, with the greater number, held the institution by our Lord. "Concerning the institution of this sacrament," says the Angelic Doctor, "there are two opinions: some say that this sacrament was instituted neither by Christ nor by His Apostles, but later on in the course of time at a certain council.1
1 The Council of Meaux (845).
This was the opinion of Alexander of Hales (Summ. iv. q. 9, m. i), whereas others said that it was instituted by the Apostles. But this cannot be the case, because the institution of a sacrament belongs to the power of excellence which is proper to Christ alone. And there- fore we must hold that Christ instituted this sacrament not by showing it (exhibendo), but by promising it, according to the text (John xvi. 7), 'If I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.' And this because in this sacrament the fulness of the Holy Ghost is given which was not to be given before Christ's resurrection and ascension, according to the text (John vii. 39), 'As yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified'" (3, q. 72, a. I, ad. i). Though the Council of Trent refrained from any express canon on the subject, it nevertheless defined of the sacraments generally, that " all were instituted by Christ Jesus our Lord" (sess. vii., De Sacr. in Gen., can. i); and hence all the later theologians have held that Confirmation was instituted by Him. This opinion is not, however, strictly of faith. See Franzelin, DeSacr. in Gen., p. 183.
Sect. 255. --The Minister, Recipient, and Effects of Confirmation.
I. We read in the Acts of the Apostles that, after the Samaritan converts had been baptized by Philip the deacon, the Apostles "sent unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for He was not yet come upon any of them, but they were only baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus; then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost" (viii. 14-17, cf. also xix. 26). It is plain from this that the Apostles, and not the deacons, were the ministers of the sacrament. But a celebrated difficulty has arisen as to whether this office can be exercised by simple priests, whose position lies midway between that of the bishops and that of the deacons.
According to present practice, the bishops alone in the Western Church can administer Confirmation; in extraordinary cases, however, with special powers granted by the Pope, simple priests can also administer it. On the other hand, in the Eastern Churches, simple priests are commonly the ministers; and their ministration is accepted by the Western Church as valid. There is no doubt that, though the Eastern use is tolerated, the Western is more in accordance with the Tridentine decree, the teaching of the Fathers, and theological reason. The Council condemns those who say "that the ordinary minister of holy Confirmation is not the bishop alone, but any simple priest soever" (sess. vii., De Conf., can. 3). St. Cyprian says that "they who are baptized in the Church are presented to the bishops (praepositis) of the Church, and by our prayer and imposition of hands they receive the Holy Ghost and are perfected with the seal of the Lord" (Ep. Ixxiii. ad Jubajanum). St. Cornelius requires the faithful "to be sealed by the bishop (Greek)" Apud Euseb., Hist. Eccl., vi. 43). "As regards the sealing of infants," says Pope St. Innocent, "it is clear that it is not lawful for it to be done by any one but a bishop (non ab aliis quam ab episcopo fieri licere). For presbyters, though they be priests of the second rank (second priests), have not attained to the summit of the pontificate. That this pontificate is the right of bishops only --to wit, that they may seal or deliver the Spirit, the Paraclete --is demonstrated not merely by ecclesiastical usage, but also by that portion of the Acts of the Apostles wherein it is declared that Peter and John were sent to give the Holy Ghost to those who had already been baptized. For when presbyters baptize, whether with or without the presence of a bishop, they may anoint the baptized with chrism, provided it be previously consecrated by a bishop, but not sign the forehead with that oil, which is a right reserved to bishops (episcopis) only, when they give the Spirit, the Paraclete. The words, however, I cannot name, for fear of seeming to betray rather than to reply to the point on which you have consulted me" (Ep. xxv. ad Decentium, n. 6).
II. Confirmation can be conferred only on those who have already been baptized, and in order to receive it worthily they must already be in a state of grace. "Confirmation is to Baptism what growth is to generation. Now, it is clear that a man cannot advance to a perfect age unless he has first been born; in like manner, unless he has first been baptized he cannot receive the sacrament of Confirmation" (St. Thomas, 3, q. 72, a. 6). Moreover, Baptism is, as we have seen, the gate of the other sacraments (Decr, pro Armenis). If it be objected that the early Christians received the Holy Ghost before they were baptized (Acts x. 44), we reply that by a miracle they received the effect of Confirmation, but not the sacrament itself (St. Thomas, I.c.). Confirmation is not necessary for salvation; nevertheless, so important a means of grace ought not to be lightly neglected. It was formerly administered immediately after baptism, as indeed is still the custom in the Greek Church. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, however, recommends its postponement at least until the candidate is seven years old: "for Confirmation has not been instituted as necessary to salvation, but that by virtue thereof we might be found very well armed and prepared when called upon to fight for the faith of Christ; and for this kind of conflict no one will consider children, who still are without the use of reason, to be qualified" (Part II. chap. 3, q. 17).
III. The effects of Confirmation are: (1) grace, and (2) a character.
1. As Confirmation is "a true and proper sacrament" (Council of Trent, sess. vii., can. i), it must have the power of conferring grace. This grace is not that by which the sinner is reconciled to God, but that by which we are made more and more pleasing to Him. "Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts ii. 38). In particular we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost; and of these especially fortitude to profess our faith and to fight against the enemies of our souls. "Stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. . . . You shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto Me" (Luke xxiv. 49;
Acts i. 8).
2. On the character conferred by Confirmation, see supra, p. 375.
See St. Thomas, 3, q. 72; Chardon, liv. i. sect. ii.; De Augustinis, i. 409; Billot, p. 265; Dict, de TheoL Cath.,
Confirmation; Cath. Encyclopedia, Confirmation Turmel, pp. 130, 250, 301, 427.
CHAPTER IV. --The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
"The most Holy Eucharist has, indeed, this in common with the rest of the sacraments, that it is a symbol of a sacred thing, and a visible form of an invisible grace; but it has also this peculiar excellence, that whereas the others have the power of sanctifying when they are administered, in the Eucharist there is present before administration the very Author of sanctity Himself" (Council of Trent, sess. xiii. chap. 3). Moreover, the Holy Eucharist is not only a sacrament, but also a sacrifice: it is an offering made to God, as well as a source of grace given to men. In the present chapter we shall speak of it as a sacrament, reserving the doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass for the next chapter.
The peculiarity of this sacrament in being a permanent sign, and in being the Real Presence of our Lord, calls for special treatment differing from that given to the other sacraments. We shall first give the proofs of the Real Presence from Scripture and Tradition; next we shall treat of Transubstantiation, or the mode of our Lord's presence; and, finally, we shall speak of the matter and form, the minister, the recipient, and the effects of the sacrament.
See St. Thomas, 3, qq. 73-83; Franzelin, De SS. Eucharistiae Sacramento et Sacrificio; De Augustinis, De Re Sacramentaria, lib. ii.; Wiseman, Lectures on the Holy Eucharist; Dalgairns, Holy Communion.
Sect. 256. --The Real Presence proved from Holy Scripture.
"The holy Synod teacheth . . . that in the august (almo) sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the appearances (species) of those sensible things. ... If any one denieth that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ (totum Christum); but saith that He is therein only as a sign, or in figure or virtually, let him be anathema " (Council of Trent, sess. xiii. ch. I, can. i).
We find the Blessed Sacrament plainly spoken of in three different parts of the New Testament. Our Lord promised to give His flesh as food and His blood as drink (John vi. 48 sqq.). At the Last Supper He fulfilled this promise (Matt. xxvi. 26-28; Mark xiv. 22-24; Luke xxii. 19, 20; I Cor. xi. 23-25). And in St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (x. 16 and xi. 27-29) we have an account of the belief and practice of the Apostolic Church concerning the sacrament. Any one of these passages, taken by itself, would be sufficient to prove the doctrine of the Real Presence; taken together, they form an overwhelming argument in its favour.
I. On the day after the feeding of the five thousand in the desert, our Lord delivered a discourse to the multitudes who had followed Him to Capharnaum. As was His wont, His words bore reference to the miracle lately wrought. He bade the Jews not to labour for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life. "I am the Bread of life," He said; "He that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst." In the first part of the discourse (vv. 26-47) our Lord spoke of belief in Him when He made use of the metaphor of bread from heaven. At verse 48 (or, at least, at verse 51) there is a transition to something suggested, indeed, by what went before, but entirely different from it. A well-known instance of a similar transition is found in St. CHAP. iv. Matt, xxiv., where our Lord passes from the prophecy of the destruction of the Temple to the prophecy of the end of the world (v. 43). The passage of St. John is as follows:
1. (a) "I am the Bread of Life,
(b) "Your fathers did eat manna in the desert,
(c) "And are dead.
2. (a) "This is the Bread
(b) "Which cometh down from heaven.
(c) "That if any man eat of it he may not die.
3. (a) "I am the Living Bread
(b) "Which came down from heaven.
(c) "If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever:
"And the bread that I will give is My flesh [Gr., 'which I will give'] for the life of the world.
"The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? Jesus therefore said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me" (vv. 48-58).
These words of our Lord, taken in the literal sense, are a plain proof of the Real Presence. Our Lord has spoken, and we believe Him. Difficulties, indeed, there are in believing such a marvel, but "with God all things are possible." Protestants, on the other hand, are so overwhelmed by these difficulties, that they think that our Lord must have meant something else. Hence they try to show that the passage is figurative. If so, our Lord either made use of a figure already known, or He introduced a new one. Eating a man's flesh was a familiar figure among the Jews, but it meant to do a person a grievous wrong, especially by calumniating him (see Ps. xxvi. 2; Job xix. 22; Mich. iii. 3; Eccl. iv. 5). This meaning is therefore clearly excluded. And our Lord did not introduce any new figure, because He would not choose a known repulsive figure to convey an entirely new and endearing meaning. This view is strengthened by the fact that drinking blood was peculiarly abominable to the Jews (see Gen. ix. 4; Lev. vii. 10; I Kings xiv. 33; Judith xi. 10, 1 1). Besides, there is nothing to show that our Lord was inventing a new figure. But the best answer to the Protestant interpretation, is the objection raised by the Jewish hearers, and our Lord's reply to it. We should bear in mind that our Lord was wont to make two sorts of answers to objections against His teaching. When the objection arose from a difficulty in understanding His meaning, He used to explain. When the difficulty was not in understanding His doctrine, but in accepting it, He did not explain, but insisted all the more. Thus, when our Lord said, "Unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God," Nicodemus, not understanding the meaning of our Lord's words, asked, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Our Lord explained: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" John iii.). But on another occasion, when our Lord said to the Jews, "Abraham, your father, rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was glad," they objected, "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?" He did not explain, but insisted, "Amen, amen, I say unto you, before Abraham was made, I am" (John viii.). In like manner, when the Jews objected, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" our Lord did not explain His words, and point out that they were figurative, but He insisted the more, " Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye shall not have life in you." The Jews therefore rightly understood our Lord as speaking literally; their only difficulty was in accepting what He said. Furthermore, our Lord embodies the doctrine in the form of a precept, which, as all will own, ought to be given in clear language. He makes use of the "Amen, amen," which adds particular weight to what he says, and shows that His words are to be taken in their obvious meaning. Again, "My flesh is meat indeed (in Greek), and My blood is drink indeed" --expressions which certainly do not look figurative. He does not even shrink from saying, "He that eateth Me" which evidently shows that He meant literally what He said.
No wonder that our Lord's words should have been the occasion of difficulty to his hearers. Many even of His disciples said, "This saying is hard (Greek), and who can hear it?" A word from Him explaining that He spoke figuratively, would have removed their objections. But no such word came, and many of them "went back and walked with Him no more." The Apostles, however, remained firm. "To whom shall we go?" Peter exclaims; "Thou hast the words of eternal life." They humbly accepted the doctrine, in spite of its difficulty, just as Catholics do now.
It is sometimes objected that our Lord pointed out the figurative meaning when He said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (v. 64). We reply that the words "flesh" and "spirit" in the New Testament never mean "literal" and "figurative," but the natural and the spiritual man, or human nature as left to its own impulses and human nature as ennobled by grace (Rom. viii.) Hence our Lord's meaning here is, "My words are spirit and life," or "the spirit of life" (hendiadys); they are such as the mere man cannot receive, but which man endowed with grace can receive (cf. Gal. v. 13-26; I Pet. iv. 6, etc.).
II. The words of institution.
Matt . xxvi. 26-28.
And whilst they were at supper,
Jesus took bread, and blessed and
broke and gave to His disciples and
said: Take ye and eat; this is My
body.. And taking the chalice, He
gave thanks, and gave to them, say-
ing, Drink ye all of this; for this is
My blood of the New Testament,
which shall be shed for many unto
remission of sins.
Mark iv. 22-24.
And whilst they were eating, Jesus
took bread, and blessing, broke and
gave to them, and said: Take ye,
This is My body. And having
taken the chalice, giving thanks, He
gave it to them, and they all drank
of it. And He said to them: This
is My blood of the New Testament,
which shall be shed for many.
Luke xxii. 19, 20.
And taking bread, He gave thanks,
and broke, and gave to them, saying:
THIS IS MY BODY which is given for
you. Do this for a commemoration
of Me. In like manner the chalice
also, after He had supped, saying:
This is the chalice, the New
Testament in My blood, which
shall be shed for you.
i COR. xi. 23-25.
(Jesus) took bread, and giving
thanks, broke and said: Take ye and
eat; this is My body, which shall
be delivered [Greek, broken] for you;
this do for the commemoration of
Me. In like manner, also, the chalice,
after He had supped, saying: This
chalice is the New Testament
in My blood: this do ye as often as
ye shall drink for the commemoration
It is evident that the important words in these passages are, "This is My body." We take these words in their plain literal sense. They are the very simplest words in the language. No explanation can make them plainer. Our Lord says that what He holds in His hands is His body, and we humbly believe Him. Those who, do not accept the literal sense must show that our Lord did not mean His words to be so taken, and that, in fact, the Apostles did not take them so. The literal sense holds the field until it is driven out. If we can beat off the attacks upon it, it must be held to be the right interpretation. Our adversaries say (i) the word "is" may mean "represents;" and (2) it must have that meaning here.
I. The texts usually quoted to prove that the verb "to be" sometimes means " to represent," may be grouped in four classes: --
(a) "The seven good kine are seven years" (Gen. xli. 26, 27); "The ten horns are ten kingdoms" (Dan. vii. 24); "The field is the world" (Matt. xiii. 38, 39); "The rock was Christ" (i Cor. x. 4); "These are the two covenants" (Gal iv. 24); "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches" (Apoc. i. 20).
(b) "I am the door " (John x. 7); "I am the true vine" (John xv. 1).
(c) "This is My covenant between thee and Me" (Gen. xvii. 10).
(d) "This is the Lord's Passover" (Exod. xii. n, Angl. version).
If these texts are carefully examined, it will be seen that the only real difficulty is in group (a). In the others the verb "to be" does not signify "to represent." E.g. "I am the door" does not mean "I represent, or am the figure of the door." Again, circumcision, referred to in (c), was not only a sign, but the instrument or record of the covenant. In the last passage the verb "is" must be taken in its literal meaning; the real translation is, "This is the feast, or day of Passover, sacred to the Lord."
As regards (a), we observe that the passages are parallel to each other, but not to the words of institution. In these passages there is the explanation of some symbol, such as the interpretation of a vision, a parable, or a prophecy; and consequently the verb "to be" is rightly taken in the sense of "to represent." But in the words of institution there is nothing to show that our Lord was speaking an allegory, and therefore we take the verb "to be" in its natural and literal sense. The force of this argument will be better felt if we examine one of the texts, e.g. "the rock was Christ." Protestants rightly take this to mean, "the rock was a figure of Christ." If a Socinian were to argue that the text "the Word was God" must therefore mean "the Word represented, or was a figure of God," they would point to the difference in the context of the two passages. They would show that St. Paul was speaking allegorically: "All these things were done to them in figure, and they drank of the spiritual rock, and the rock was Christ;" whereas St. John's context does not contain any allusion to an allegory. This is exactly what Catholics do in defending the literal sense of "this is My body." This case is really far stronger when we compare the three passages --
"The Word was God."
The rock was Christ."
"This is My body."
The first two are clearly more like each other than they are like the third, especially when we remember that St. Paul tells us that Christ is "the Image of God" (2 Cor. iv. 4; cf. Heb. i. 3). We suppose that no one will now make use of the once popular argument that the language which our Lord spoke contained no word for " to represent" except the verb "to be." Cardinal Wiseman has shown that the Syriac language is peculiarly rich in such words (Horae Syriacae, pp. 18-53).
2. The opponents of the literal sense insist that the words must be taken figuratively on account of the philosophical difficulties involved in the doctrine of the Real Presence. This argument is based upon a principle that would be subversive of all belief in mystery or miracle. Are we to reject all interpretations that present philosophical difficulties? What would become of belief in the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Resurrection? We own that the Real Presence involves a suspension of the laws of nature; but we and our Protestant opponents hold that God, who is the Author of these laws, is also Supreme Ruler of them (see Franzelin, De Euch., th. ii.). We must remember that our Lord's words were spoken not to philosophers, but to Galilaean fishermen. He had shown them that the laws of nature were subject to Him: He had changed water into wine; He had fed five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, and four thousand with seven loaves and a few fishes; disease, and even death, were under His control; the devils obeyed Him; and He disposed of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. All power was given to Him in heaven, on earth, and in hell. Moreover, He had always encouraged unreasoning faith in His words, and had always condemned those who were captious or critical or doubted His power. The Last Supper was surely an occasion when He should have spoken plainly to the twelve chosen ones. Now, the Protestant argument is that the Apostles must have felt the force of the philosophical difficulties so strongly that they said within themselves, "He cannot mean His body, He means the figure of His body!" Our argument is that the Apostles, believing that our Lord could do all things, and that He taught them unreasoning submission to His words, humbly took our Lord's words in their plain and simple meaning. The Catholic interpretation is based upon an exalted notion, of God's power, and a lowly estimate of man's knowledge. The Protestant sets limits to God's power, making it extend only as far as man's mind will allow. The pious Christian will not hesitate in his choice between the two.
III. "The chalice of blessing which we bless, is it not Apostolic the communion (Greek) of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking (Greek) of the body of the Lord?" (i Cor. x. 16.)
"Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove (Greek) himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment (Greek) to himself, not discerning (Greek) the body of the Lord" (i Cor. xi. 27-29).
These two passages are evidence of what was taught and practised by the Apostles. In the former, St. Paul contrasts the Jewish and heathenish sacrifices and rites with those of the Christians. Our cup is a partaking of the blood of Christ, our bread is a partaking of the body of Christ. Now, if this was only figurative, wherein would the Christian have the advantage over the Jew?
But the second text is far more important. The Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have recorded the history of the institution. St. Paul, after narrating the story, goes on to the practical consequences of the Real Presence. If our Lord is truly present under the appearances of bread and wine, then it is clear that "whosoever shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord." If our Lord is truly present, a man should "prove himself" before eating "of that bread" and drinking "of the chalice." If our Lord is truly present, "he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself." If our Lord is not there, all this has no meaning. Those who deny His presence are expressly condemned by the Apostle: "He that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body" (Revised Version).
We have said that, taken by themselves, the words of promise, or the words of institution, or the teaching of St. Paul, would be quite enough to prove the Real presence We can now see how strong our position is when all the passages are taken together. Let us allow, for the sake of argument, that our Lord might have spoken figuratively at the time of the promise; would He not have let fall some hint about the figurative meaning at the Last Supper? Would not St. Paul, in one or other of the texts quoted, have made some reference to it? On these four different occasions, our Lord and His Apostles, explaining different doctrines, speaking to different as- semblies, under quite different circumstances, all agree in using certain words, without ever giving the smallest hint as to any figurative meaning. This is surely an unanswerable argument in our favour.
Sect. 257. --The Real Presence proved from Tradition.
A complete account of the doctrine of the Fathers concerning the Blessed Eucharist cannot be given here. The reader is referred to Card. Franzelin, De Euch., pp. 83- 154; Faith of Catholics, ii. pp. 190-374; Batiffol, Etudes d'Hist. et de Theol. Posit., 2e serie, p. 107 sqq.
I. The express teaching of the Fathers may be grouped under four heads:--
1. They hold that in the Blessed Eucharist the very Body of Christ is present
"They (the Docetae) abstain from Eucharist and prayer, because they confess not that the Eucharist is flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins which the Father in His mercy raised again. They, there- fore, who deny the gift of God, perish in their disputing " (St. Ignatius Mart, Ad Smyrn., nn. 7, 8).
"We have been taught that the food over which thanksgiving has been made (or which has been eucharistized) by the prayer of the word which came from Him --by which (food) our blood and flesh are nourished by transmutation is both flesh and blood of that same incarnate Jesus (St. Justin, Apol., i. 65, 66).
How shall they feel assured that that bread over which thanksgiving has been made (i.e. the eucharistized bread) is the body of their Lord, and the chalice of His blood, if they do not declare Him the Son of the world's Creator? . . . How, again, do they say that that flesh which is nourished by the body of the Lord and by His blood passes into corruption, and partakes not of the life?" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haeres., iv. 18).
"If the Word was truly made flesh, and we truly receive the Word (made) flesh in the dominical food (vere verbum carnem cibo Dominica sumimus); how can He be thought not to abide naturally in us --He Who, being born man, hath assumed the nature, now inseparable, of our flesh, and also united the nature of His flesh to the nature of His divinity ) under the sacrament of the flesh that was to be communicated to us? (et naturam carnis suae ad naturam aeternitatis [divinitatis] sub sacramento nobis communicandae carnis admisceat). . . . He Himself says, 'My flesh is truly meat, and My blood is truly drink. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. Of the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubting. For now both by the declaration of the Lord Himself and by our faith it is truly flesh and it is truly blood" (St. Hilary, De Trin., viii. 13 sqq.).
"This food which thou receivest, this living bread that cometh down from heaven, supplies us with the substance of eternal life; and whosoever shall have eaten of this (living bread) shall never die; and it is the body of Christ. Consider now whether the bread of angels (manna) be more excellent, or Christ's flesh, which is in truth the body of life. ... In that sacrament Christ is, because it is Christ's body, therefore it is not bodily food, but spiritual" (St. Ambrose, De Myster., cc. viii., ix.).
"Being fully persuaded that what seems bread is not bread, even though it seems so to the taste, but Christ's body; and what seems wine is not wine, even though the taste will have it so, but Christ's blood" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech., iv. 9). And again: "We become Christ-bearers (Greek), His body and blood being diffused through our members; thus are we made, according to the blessed Peter, partakers of the Divine nature" (ibid., n. 3). "We believe the Divine Word that not something like
We believe the Divine Word that not something like or equal, but that it is properly and truly the Divine body which is sacrificed on the Divine table and is partaken of by the people, altogether, without any division or failing" (St. Caesarius, brother of St. Greg. Naz. (?) Bibl. Gallandi, tom. vi. p. 127). See also St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Joann., 1. x. et 1. iv.; and St. John Damascene, De Fide Orthod., iv. 13.
2. The Fathers deny that the Eucharist is a mere figure of Christ's body.
"Christ said, 'This is My body;' for it is not the figure (Greek) of body or the figure of blood, as some have stupidly repeated, but it is truly the body and blood of Christ" (Macarius Magnes, who flourished at the beginning of the fourth century, Bibl. Gallandi, torn. iii. P. 541.
St. Anastasius of Sinai describes a dispute between a Christian and a Gaianite heretic. Both agree that the Eucharist is not the figure of the body of Christ. The heretic says, "God forbid that we should say that the Holy Communion is only the figure of the body of Christ or simple bread; but we truly receive the very body and blood of Christ, the Son of God." The Christian answers, "So do we believe and confess, according to the saying of Christ Himself, which He pronounced to the disciples in the mystical supper, giving them the life-giving bread: 'Take, eat, this is My body;' in like manner, delivering the chalice to them, He said, 'This is My blood.' He did not say, 'This is the figure of My body and blood'" (Bibl. Max. Patrum, tom. ix. pp. 840, 855). "Saying, 'This is My body,' He showed that the bread sanctified upon the altar is the very body and not a figure; for He did not say, 'This is a figure,' but, 'This is My body'" (Theophylact, In Matt., xxvi. 26).
"The bread and wine are not the figure of the body and blood of Christ . God forbid! but the very deified body of the Lord; since the Lord Himself said, not 'This is the figure of My body,' but 'This is My body,' and not 'The figure of My blood,' but 'My blood'" (St. John- Damascene, De Fid. Orthod., iv. 1 3).
3. The Fathers hold that an objective change takes place in the thing itself, and hence that our Lord is not received only by faith, or by virtue of any merely subjective conditions on the part of the receiver: He is received only physically and corporally.
"Christ does not say that He will be in us by a kind of habit only --a habit which the mind conceives of as in the affections, but also according to physical participation. For as, if a person joins one piece of wax to another and apply both to the fire, he makes the compound of both one (body), so by means of the participation of the body of Christ and of His precious blood, He is indeed in us, and we also are united together in Him" (St Cyril of Alex., In Joann., 1. x. tom. iv. 862, 863; see also St. Hilary, quoted above).
"Rightly, therefore, do I believe that now also the bread that is sanctified by the Word of God is changed (Greek) into the body of the God-Word. . . . The bread, as the Apostle says, is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, passing into the body of the Word, not by being eaten and drunk, but instantly changed into the body of the Word according as was said by the Word, 'This is My body'" (St. Greg, of Nyssa, Catech. Magn., c. 37; cf. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat., v.).
"It is truly the body united to the divinity, the body born of the Holy Virgin, not that the body taken up into heaven comes down on earth (i.e. moves locally, leaves heaven), but that the bread itself and wine are changed into the body and blood of God" (St. John Damasc., De Fid. Orthod., 1. iv. c. 13; see also St. Ambrose, De Myster., c.9).
We wish that we could quote at length the magnificent passages in which St. John Chrysostom speaks of the Real Presence (Hom. 82, In Matt.; Hom. 45, 46, 47, In Joann., explaining the discourse in St. John's sixth chapter; Hom. 24, In I Ep. ad Cor.). The following must suffice: "How many nowadays say, 'Would that we could gaze upon His form, His figure, His raiment, His shoes! Lo! thou seest Him, touchest Him, eatest Him. And thou desirest to see even His vesture, but He gives Himself to thee, not to look upon only, but even to touch, and eat and receive within thee. . . . Think how indignant thou art against him that betrayed, against them that crucified Him. See to it, then, lest thou also become guilty of the body and blood of Christ. They slew that most holy body, but thou, after so great benefits, receivest in an unclean soul. For neither was it enough for Him to become man, nor to be scourged and slain, but He also commingles Himself with us, and not by faith only, but also in very deed does He make us His body" (In Matt., l.c., n. 4). "It is not man that makes the things that lie open to view become Christ's body and blood, but that same Christ who was crucified for us. The priest, fulfilling his office, stands pronouncing those words; but the power and the grace is of God. 'This is My body,' He says. This word changes the things that lie open to view (in Greek). And as that word that said, 'Increase and multiply, and fill the earth,' was pronounced indeed but once, but through all time is actually operative on our nature for the; procreation of children; so also that word uttered but once operates from that time to this, and till His own advent, the sacrifice perfect at every table in the Churches" (Hom. I. De Prodit. Judae (n. 6).
4. How the Fathers made use of the doctrine of the Real Presence to confute the various heresies concerning the Incarnation, may be seen in Franzelin, thes. ix.
II. Although the proof from the Fathers is most convincing, certain passages occur which at first sight present some difficulty. The following remarks will help us to understand these rightly.
1. We have already spoken of the Discipline of the Secret (p. 374). The Blessed Sacrament was especially liable to profanation. The Fathers, therefore, were obliged either to be silent about it, or to speak of it in guarded language intelligible only to the initiated.
2. Our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament is so wonderful, and may be looked at from so many points of view, that many expressions may be used concerning it which are quite orthodox in one sense and false in another.
(a) There is no sensible change. Hence it might be said that, in a certain sense, no change takes place.
(b) Bread is the terminus a quo, and the phenomena of bread remain after the change. Hence the Blessed
Sacrament may be called bread.
(c) Although our Lord's body underlies the appearances of bread, these appearances themselves are not our Lord's body. Hence the Blessed Sacrament may be called the sign of His body.
(d) Our Lord's body is not present in the form which it had on earth, or in the glorified form which it now has in heaven. Hence our Lord is said to be spiritually present in the Blessed Sacrament, whereas He was corporally present when on earth.
(e) The expression "to eat our Lord's body" may be understood in many senses. There is the Capharnaitic sense, i.e. to eat His body under the form which it had on earth. This is rightly excluded by St. Augustine. Again, there is the sense of eating our Lord's body in the Blessed Sacrament in such a way that His body is ground down by our teeth and affected by digestion. This also must be excluded. We may also deny that the wicked eat the body of the Lord, i.e. so as to derive any benefit from it.
(f) The Blessed Sacrament is in a certain sense the figure of our Lord's body (see above, c). His presence under the appearances of bread is a sacrament or figure of His presence when on earth. The Blessed Sacrament is also the antitype or fulfilment (figura adimpleta) of the Old Testament types and figures. See Franzelin, thes. x.
Sect. 258. --Transubstantiation.
The Church teaches not only the fact that our Lord is really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, but also the way in which He is present. By the words of consecration the whole substance of bread is changed into our Lord's body, and the whole substance of wine is changed into His blood, the appearances (species) of bread and wine alone remaining. Although the name "Transubstantiation," which is given to this change, is not older than the eleventh century, the notion itself was clearly taught by the Fathers. Protestants, who object to the introduction of the word, walk in the footsteps of the Arians, who objected to the term (Greek), and of the Nestorians, who objected to the term (Greek). Transubstantiation is no more philosophical than these, and is just as much contained in Scripture. It is founded on the familiar distinction between a substance and its accidents or phenomena. When our Lord changed water into wine, the substance of the water was changed into the substance of wine, and the taste, smell, appearance, etc., of water, gave place to the taste, smell, etc., of wine. In the Blessed Sacrament the substantial change takes place without any accidental change. For such a distinct kind of change there should be a distinct name, and none fitter could be invented than transubstantiation. That the notion conveyed by this word is contained in Holy Scripture, all the Schoolmen agree. Some, however (e.g. Scotus), have held that it could not be proved from Scripture alone. We need hardly say that Scotus was a firm believer in the doctrine itself. But the Council of Trent favours the opposite view: "Forasmuch as Christ our Redeemer declared that which He offered under the species of bread to be truly His own body, therefore hath it ever been a firm belief in the Church of God, and this holy Synod doth now declare it anew, that by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread," etc, (sess. xiii. c. 4).
l. The words of institution, "This is My body," are equivalent to two propositions: (1) "This which I hold in My hand, which is now here before you, is My body;" and (2) "This which I hold in My hand, which is now before you, is no longer bread." If bread were still present, our Lord could not say, "This is My body;" but only, "Here, or in this, is My body." To make the words of institution true, it is necessary that they should effect what they signify. That is to say, when our Lord pronounced the words, what He held in His hands must have ceased to be bread, and must have become His body. And as no change took place in the accidents or appearances, the change must have been that which is called transubstantiation.
We have seen that the proper rule for the interpretation of the Scriptures is the teaching of the Church (Book I. part i. ch. 3). If we examine the writings of the Fathers, we see that not only do they teach the doctrine of transubstantiation, but they base their belief in it on the words of institution. Hence we rightly hold that the doctrine can be proved from Scripture, at least with the help of the legitimate means of interpretation.
II. We have already shown that the Fathers teach that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of our Lord. We noticed that no difficulty could be urged against the Real Presence, from the fact that the Blessed Sacrament was sometimes called bread, even after the consecration. But the Fathers insist that it is not bread, but only seems to be such; that we are not to believe it to be what our senses tell us; that instead of the bread which was present our Lord's body is laid upon the altar.
"What seems bread is not bread, though it seems so to the taste, but Christ's body; what seems wine is not wine, even though the taste will have it so, but Christ's blood" (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. iv. 9).
"The Lord Jesus Himself cries out: 'This is My body.' Before the benediction of heavenly words another species (nature) is named; after the consecration (His) body is signified (i.e. is said to be no longer bread, but His body). He Himself declares it His own blood. Before the consecration it is called another thing; after consecration it is called blood. And thou sayest, 'Amen;' that is, it is true" (St. Ambrose, De Myster., ix.).
"From that moment when He took bread and called it His body, it was not bread, but His body" (St. James of Sarug, Serm. 66, De Passione Domini).
"It (the bread) is changed by a wonderful operation, though to us it appears bread. . . . Bread, indeed, it appears to us, but flesh in reality it is (Greek)" (Theophylact, In Matt. xxvi. 26).
The Fathers say that the Blessed Sacrament is not common bread. This would not by itself prove their belief in transubstantiation. They take care, however, to say that what was common bread becomes "the bread of life;' "the living bread which came down from heaven," "the bread that we break;" "the bread which Christ said was His flesh;" that it is not common bread, but "the body of Christ." E.g. "We do not receive these things as common bread and common drink, but ...the food ...is both flesh and blood of that same incarnate Jesus" (St. Cyril of see above, p. 410). "Wherefore do not contemplate the bread and wine as bare (elements), for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, Christ's body and blood" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. Myst., iv. 6).
They say that the bread itself is changed into our Lord's body. "The bread itself and wine are changed into the body and blood of God" (St. John Damascene; see above, p. 413).
"He Himself therefore having declared and said concerning the bread, 'This is My body,' who shall dare to doubt henceforward? And He Himself having settled and said, 'This is My blood,' who shall ever doubt, saying, 'This is not His blood'? He once, at Cana of Galilee, changed (Greek) water into wine, which is akin to blood, and is He undeserving of belief when He changed wine into blood?" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat., iv. 2.) This comparison shows that Cyril held that the substance of bread and wine were changed. (Cf. St. Ambrose and St. Chrysostom, quoted in the foregoing section.)
When the Fathers speak of our Lord's body and blood as being in bread and wine, they do not mean that the substance of bread and wine remains, but they refer either to that out of which the sacrament is made (e.g. "He consecrated His blood in wine," Tertullian), or to the appearances under which our Lord is present.
III. When the heresy of Berengarius arose in the eleventh century, the whole Church explicitly professed the doctrine of transubstantiation. The Fourth Lateran Council, held in 1215, defined that "the body and blood (of Christ) are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the appearances (sub speciebus) of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated into the body, and the wine into the blood, by the power of God." The Second Council of Lyons (1274), in the profession of Faith proposed to Michael Palaeologus, and accepted by him on behalf of the Eastern Church, says, "The said Roman Church believeth and teacheth that in the sacrament the bread is truly transubstantiated (Greek) into the body, and the wine into the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ." The Council of Trent, therefore, only renewed more solemnly and clearly what had long before been defined, and had been explicitly believed by the faithful.
Cor. The Council of Trent has defined that in the Eucharist "the whole Christ is contained under each species (i.e. under the appearances of bread or wine), and under every part of each species when separated" (sess. xiii. can. 3). These two points do not present any difficulty when transubstantiation has once been admitted.
1. Our Lord Himself uses the expression, "He that eateth Me" thereby showing that he who eats receives the whole Christ So, too, St. Paul, " Whosoever shall eat of this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." It is also clear that the words, "This is My body," make our Lord's body to be present, as it actually is, i.e. as a living body containing the blood.
2. As to the other point, Our Lord's conduct at the Last Supper proves that He is present at least under every portion of the consecrated wine, for every Apostle that drank received Him. The constant and universal practice of breaking the consecrated bread is a proof of belief in this doctrine. It is also theologically certain, though not of Faith, that our Lord is whole and entire in each part even before separation.
Scholion. We need not here enter into the philosophical or scientific bearings of transubstantiation. We may observe that the doctrine is inconsistent only with idealism, and that it is not bound up with any ultra-realistic theories. The Council of Trent, when defining the change of substance, studiously avoids the use of the term "accident," the usual scholastic correlative of substance, and speaks of "species" (Greek), appearances, or phenomena. It is commonly held, however, that these are not merely subjective impressions, but have some sort of corresponding reality. See Franzelin, thes. xi. and xvi.; Dalgairns, part i. chap. 2, and note F.
Sect. 259. --The Matter and Form of the Eucharist: Minister, Recipient, Effects.
I. The Holy Eucharist being a sacrament, it must have matter and form in the sense already explained (§246).
1. Just as in the case of Baptism washing is the natural act, so here in the Eucharist eating and drinking are the natural acts chosen by our Lord to be the means of conveying spiritual nourishment to our souls. "Eat," "drink" (Matt. xxvi. 26, 27). But an important difference should be noted. No change takes place in the water used for Baptism; whereas in the Eucharist the bread and wine are, as we have seen, changed into the body and blood of our Lord. The Blessed Eucharist is therefore a permanent sacrament, our Lord's body and blood being present not only while the sacrament is being received, but also before and after use (Council of Trent, sess. xiii. can. 4). Bread and wine may be said to be the matter of this permanent sacrament (Decr, pro Armenis), as they are the natural things raised by transubstantiation into the body and blood of our Lord. Wheaten bread (Greek) and wine of the grape must be used, as they are the typical food and drink used by our Lord. Whether the bread should be leavened or unleavened has long been a point of dispute between the Eastern and Western Churches. The Council of Florence (1439) decided that either kind of bread was sufficient for the validity of the sacrament; but that leavened bread should be used in the East, and unleavened bread in the West.1
1 The Western practice would seem to be more in accordance with the example of our Lord at the Last Supper. "On the first day of the Azymes (unleavened bread) the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Pasch ?" (Matt. xxvi. 17). Now, in the Book of Exodus (xii. 15) we read: "Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; in the first day there shall be no leaven in your houses; whosoever shall eat anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall perish out of Israel" (see also ibid. 17-20). Even if our Lord anticipated the time of the Passover ("Before the festival day of the Pasch," John xiii. I; cf. 27-29; xviii. 28; xix. 14), He would have used paschal food (see De Augustinis, De Re Sacramentaria, lib. ii. p. 181.
"It hath been enjoined by the Church on priests to mix water with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice;1
1 Council in Trullo (Quinisextum), ch. xxxii.; Third Council of Carthage, ch. xxiv.; Council of Florence, Decr, pro Armenis.
as well because it is believed that Christ the Lord did this, as also because from His side there came out blood and water; the memory of which mystery is renewed by this commixture, and whereas in the Apocalypse of blessed John the peoples are called 'waters,' the union of that faithful people with Christ their Head is hereby represented" (Council of Trent, sess. xxii. ch. 7).
2. The form of the sacrament, by which the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of our Lord, consists of the words, "This is My body," "This is My blood," or "This is the chalice of My blood." After what has been said in the preceding sections, no further proof of this is required. We may observe, however, that the Epiclesis after the consecration in the Greek liturgy, praying "God to send His Holy Spirit upon the gifts set forth, and to change the bread into the body of Christ, and the wine into His blood," does not produce the change (which has indeed already been made), but serves to declare what has taken place, and to implore that it may have a salutary effect upon Christ's mystical body, the Church (see Franzelin, De Eucharistia, thes. vii.).
II. As the Eucharist is a permanent sacrament, we must distinguish between the act of consecration and the act of administration.
I. No one but a bishop or a priest has the power of consecrating. Our Lord Jesus Christ "offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine, and under the symbols of those same things He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His Apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, 'Do this in commemoration of Me,' He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to offer (them), even as the Catholic Church hath always understood and taught. ... If any one saith that by those words, 'Do this,' etc., Christ did not institute the Apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer His own body and blood, let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, sess. xxii. ch. i, can. 2). And the Fourth Lateran Council (ch. 1) had already defined that "no one but a priest (sacerdos) rightly ordained can perform (conficere) this sacrament." St Justin, describing the ceremonies of the Mass, says, "To him who presides over the brethren [Greek, i.e. the bishop or priest] bread is brought, and a cup of wine mixed with water, and he, having taken them, sends up praise and glory to the Father of all things, through the Name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and at much length he makes a Eucharist (Greek . . . Greek) for that God hath vouchsafed to them these things. . . . He who presides having given thanks (eucharistized), and all the people having expressed their assent, they who are called among us deacons give to each of those present a portion of the consecrated (eucharistized) bread, and wine and water, and carry away a portion to those who are absent" (Apol, i. n. 65; see also Tertullian, De Praescr., cap. xli.; De Corona Militis, cap. iii.; St. Cyprian, Epist., iv.; Origen, Hom. iv. in Num., n. 3). "Not even deacons," says St. Epiphanius (Haer., Ixxix. n. 4), "are allowed to perform any sacrament in the ecclesiastical order, but merely to be the ministers of those already completed." St. Jerome says that the heretic Hilarius, when he left the Church as a deacon, "could not perform (perficere) the Eucharist, as he had no bishops or priests" (Adv. Lucif., n. 21; see also St. John Chrysostom, De Sacerdotio, lib. iii. n. 4, etc.). "It hath come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod," says the Council of Nicaea (can. 18), "that in certain places or cities the deacons give the Eucharist to the presbyters; a thing which neither canon nor custom hath handed down, that they who have not authority to offer, should give the body of Christ to those who do offer (in Greek )
2. The administration of the Eucharist to the faithful properly belongs to priests, though under extraordinary circumstances a deacon may administer. "It was always the custom in the Church of God," says the Council of Trent (sess. xiii. chap. 8), "that laymen should receive the Communion from priests, but that priests when celebrating should communicate themselves." The passages just cited from the Fathers clearly show who are the ordinary and extraordinary dispensers of the sacrament. We may add the authority of the Fourth Council of Carthage (398), which, in its 38th canon, permits the deacon to administer if necessity requires (si necessitas cogat). So far we have been speaking of solemn administration. In former ages of the Church, clerics in minor orders, and even the laity, were permitted in cases of necessity to carry the Blessed Sacrament and administer it. St. Tarcisius, a young acolyte, was beaten to death by the pagans while he was bearing the Holy Eucharist; and St. Dionysius of Alexandria tells how he gave the Holy Eucharist to a boy to carry to the dying Serapion (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book vi. chap. 44).
III. The dispositions required for the worthy reception of the Eucharist are treated of in moral and ascetical theology. Here it will be sufficient to quote the words of the Council of Trent: "The more the holiness and divinity of this heavenly sacrament are understood by a Christian, the more diligently ought he to give heed that he approach not to receive it but with great reverence and holiness, especially as we read in the Apostle those words full of terror, 'He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.' Wherefore he who would communicate, ought to recall to mind the precept of the Apostle, 'Let a man prove himself.' Now, ecclesiastical usage declareth that necessary proof to be, that no one conscious to himself of mortal sin, how contrite so ever he may seem to himself, ought to approach to the sacred Eucharist without previous sacramental confession" (sess. xiii. chap. 7). We shall now discuss two important questions: (1 the necessity of receiving this sacrament, and (2) communion under one kind.
1. The Holy Eucharist is not absolutely necessary for salvation (necessitate medii); that is to say, it is possible for a person to be saved without ever having received the sacrament." Little children who have not reached the use of reason," says the Council of Trent, "are not by any necessity obliged to the sacramental Communion of the Eucharist, forasmuch as having been regenerated by the laver of baptism, and being incorporated with Christ, they cannot at that age lose the grace which they have already acquired of being the sons of God. Not therefore, however, is antiquity to be condemned if in some places at one time it observed that custom; for as those most holy Fathers had a reasonable (probabilem) cause for what they did in respect of their times, so assuredly is it to be believed without controversy that they did this without any necessity thereof unto salvation" (eos nulla salutis necessitate id fecisse; sess xxi. chap. 4). And Scripture teaches that baptism alone is necessary: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark xvi. 16); "He saved us by the laver of regeneration (Tit. iii. 5); "Baptism being of the like form now saveth you also" (l Pet. iii. 21). Moreover, theological reasoning tells us that if the Eucharist were necessary, it would be so either for acquiring the state of grace or for preserving it; whereas, on the contrary, it requires us to be already in a state of grace, and that state can be lost only by sin. We have said not absolutely necessary, because the Eucharist is necessary in the sense that we are obliged by our Lord's express command to receive it: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you" (John vi. 54); "Do this in commemoration of Me" (Luke xxii. 19; I Cor. xi. 23 sqq.). "Our Saviour, when about to depart out of this world to the Father, instituted this sacrament, in which He poured forth, as it were, the riches of His Divine love towards man, making a remembrance of His wonderful works; and He commanded us, in the participation thereof, to venerate His memory, and to show forth His death until He come to judge the world. And He would also that this sacrament should be received as the spiritual food of souls, whereby may be fed and strengthened those who live with His life Who said, 'He that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me'" (Council of Trent, sess. xiii. chap. i). The Council, renewing the decree of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), commands the faithful to communicate every year, at least at Easter (can. 9).
2. "Laymen and clerics, when not celebrating," says the same Council (sess. xxi. chap, i), "are not obliged by any Divine precept to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both kinds (species); neither can it by any means be doubted, without injury to faith, that communion under either kind is sufficient for them unto salvation. For although Christ the Lord in the Last Supper instituted and delivered to the Apostles this venerable sacrament in the species of bread and wine, not therefore do that institution and delivery tend thereunto that all the faithful of the Church are bound by Divine ordinance (statute) to receive both kinds. But neither is it rightly gathered from that discourse which is in the sixth of St. John . . . that communion under both kinds (utriusque speciei communionem) was enjoined by the Lord; for He who said, 'Except you eat,' etc., also said, 'He that eateth this bread shall live for ever. . . . The bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world.'" We read in the Acts that the faithful "were persevering in the doctrine of the Apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread (Greek), and in prayer" (ii. 42).1
1 Compare Luke xxiv. 30, 35: " Whilst He was at table with them, He took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. . . . They knew
Him in the breaking of bread (and in Greek)."
St. Luke is here describing what the faithful did. The Apostles, of course, consecrated under both kinds. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, alludes to the same practice of receiving under one kind: "Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord" (i Cor. xi. 27).
It is commonly objected that the present practice is completely modern, and () contrary to the essence of the sacrament.
(a) We grant that for the first twelve centuries it was customary for the faithful to receive under both kinds.1
1 St. Thomas, writing just before his death (1274), speaks of communion under the species of bread alone as " the practice of many Churches (multarum ecclesiarum usus)," and says that "it is observed in certain Churches (in quitrusdam ecclesiis) " (3, q. 80, a. 12).
Nevertheless we have numerous instances of communion under one kind alone. Thus, to infants the Eucharist was often given under the form of wine, as is still the practice among the Greeks. In times of persecution or under difficulties, the consecrated bread was carried away from the church for private Communion. The sick also often communicated under one kind alone.2
2 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., vi. 44; Paulinus, Vita S. Ambrosii, n. 47; Eleventh Council of Toledo (675), ch. 11.
It may be inferred from St. Leo (Serm. 42, De Quadragesima) and Sozomen (Hist., viii. 5) that both at Rome and at Constantinople, even in public, the Communion was sometimes received by the faithful under the appearances of bread only. So, too, in England in the old Saxon days (see Bede, Hist. Eccl. ii. 5). In the so-called " Masses of the Presanctified" of the Greek Church during Lent, and of the Western Church on Good Friday, both the priests and the people received the consecrated Host alone.3
3 The modern practice of pouring some drops of the consecrated wine over the consecrated bread has no warrant in antiquity.
Our Good Friday "Mass" is described in the ancient Ordo Romanus (Migne, Patr. Lat., tom. Ixxviii. p. 954). Moreover, theological reasoning tells us that if Christ is whole and entire under either kind alone, those who receive under either kind receive the whole of Christ.
(b) But does not communion under one kind destroy the very essence of the sacrament, which consists in eating and drinking? We reply that we do receive both the body and blood of Christ under either kind, and so the essence of the sacrament (partaking of the heavenly banquet) is retained. Those who do not believe in the real objective presence of our Lord in the Host, and who maintain that the essence of the sacrament consists in eating mere bread and drinking mere wine, are of course logically bound to insist on receiving under both kinds. But our doctrine of the Real Presence lays us under no such necessity.
The reasons why the Church has enjoined the use of one species (kind) are thus stated by the Catechism of the Council of Trent: "The greatest caution was necessary to avoid spilling the blood of the Lord on the ground, a thing that seemed not easy to be avoided if the chalice ought to be administered in a large assemblage of the people. Besides, as the Holy Eucharist ought to be in readiness for the sick, it was very much to be apprehended that if the species of wine were long unconsumed it might turn acid. Moreover, there are very many who cannot at all bear the taste or even the smell of wine; lest therefore what is intended for the health of the soul should prove noxious to that of the body, most prudently has it been enacted by the Church that the faithful should receive the species of bread only. It is further to be observed that in several countries they labour under extreme scarcity of wine, nor can it be brought from elsewhere without very heavy expenses, and very tedious and difficult journeys. In the next place, a circumstance most of all to the point, the heresy of those was to be uprooted who denied that Christ, whole and entire, is contained under either species, and asserted that the body only without the blood is contained under the appearances (species) of bread, and the blood only under the appearances of wine " (Part ii. ch. iv. n. 6 4 ).1
1 The appendix to the decrees on communion under one kind is worthy of note: "Whether the reasons by which the Holy Catholic Church was led to communicate, under the one species of bread alone, laymen and also priests when not celebrating, are in such wise to be adhered to, as that on no account is the use of the chalice to be allowed to any one soever; and whether in case that for proper (honestis) reasons, consonant with Christian charity, it appears that the use of the chalice is to be granted to any nation or kingdom, it is to be conceded under certain conditions; and what are those conditions; this same holy Synod reserves the same to be examined and defined at some other time." Pius IV in 1563 granted the use of the chalice to the German Churches, but the grant was withdrawn by his successor, Pius V.
IV. The effects of the Holy Eucharist are described at length by our Lord Himself (John vi. 48 sqq.): "I am the bread of life. . . If any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever. . . . He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day . . . [he] abideth in Me and I in him. . . . He that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. . . . He that eateth this bread shall live for ever." The Author and Fount of life becomes the true meat and drink of our souls; He abides in them, gives them life and preserves it in them. The physical union of Christ with us by entering within us, is not strictly the effect, but rather the application, of the sacrament; it is the spiritual union by charity which is the proper effect. See the passages quoted from the Fathers, supra, 257.
I. The Eucharist, however, is a sacrament of the living (p. 372). It was not instituted to confer the first grace; it cannot properly produce its effects unless the soul is already spiritually alive. "Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord, unworthily (Greek), shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord." "Let a man prove himself (Greek, put himself to the test, examine himself), and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice; for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment (Greek) to himself" (i Cor. xi. 27-29). So, too, the Fathers and the Liturgies insist that the Eucharist shall not be given to any who are in a state of sin. The very nature of the sacrament --the food and drink of our souls --requires that the recipient should be already alive in order to receive it. "If it is unbeseeming," says the Council of Trent, "for any one to approach to any of the sacred functions unless he approach holily; assuredly the more the holiness and dignity of this heavenly sacrament are understood by a Christian, the more diligently ought he to give heed that he approach not to receive it but with great reverence and holiness, especially as we read in the Epistle those words full of terror, 'He that eateth,' etc. Wherefore he who would communicate ought to recall to mind the precept of the Apostle: 'Let a man prove himself.' Now, ecclesiastical usage declares that necessary proof to be, that no one conscious to himself of mortal sin, how contrite soever he may seem to himself, ought to approach to the sacred Eucharist without previous sacramental confession" (sess. xiii. ch. 7, and can.11). "If any one saith that the principal fruit of the most Holy Eucharist is the remission of sins ... let him be anathema" (can. 5).
2. But do not the Fathers and the Liturgies often speak of remission of sins among the effects of the Eucharist? True; but this remission is attributed to the Eucharist as a sacrifice, or else it refers only to daily defects and venial sins. Many theologians also maintain that even mortal sins may be remitted by the Eucharist, though only per accidens; that is to say, if a person, unaware that he is in mortal sin, and having attrition for sin,1
1 For the meaning of "attrition," see infra, p. 471.
approaches the sacrament, his sin will be remitted by the action of the sacrament.2
2 This is denied by such grave authorities as Vasquez and De Lugo.
The remission of venial sins is a consequence of the principal effect of the Eucharist; for the union of charity with God, who is charity itself, removes all obstacles to the perfection of this union. Hence our Saviour "would that this sacrament should be received ... as an antidote whereby we may be freed from daily faults, and be preserved from mortal sins" (Council of Trent, sess. xiii. ch. 2).
3. The Fathers frequently speak of the effects of the Eucharist upon our bodies. The intimate union of our bodies with Christ's body makes us of one body and one blood (Greek) with Him. And from this union with Him, who cannot see corruption (Ps. xv. 10), there results an antidote to that bodily corruption which is the effect of sin. "The body attains ... to a participation of, and commixture with, Him Who is life. For as they who from some device have taken poison, quench its deadly potency by some opposite (other) remedy . . . so we, again, after having tasted of that which dissolves our nature, as a matter of necessity must also stand in need of that which reunites what has been dissolved. . . . What, then, is this? Nothing else but that very body which was manifested to be more powerful than death, and which was the principle of our life. For as a little leaven, according to the Apostle, leaveneth the whole lump, so when that body which was by God smitten with death is within our body it changes and transfers the whole unto itself" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Or. Cat., c. 37). This action on our bodies consists partly in allaying concupiscence (St. John Chrysostom, In Joann. Hom. xlvi. n. 4), partly in adapting them for resurrection. "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John vi. 55). See St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Joann. tom. iv. p. 363; St Irenaeus, lib. iv. cap. 18, n. 5. Our Saviour would have the Eucharist "to be a pledge of our glory to come and everlasting happiness, and thus be a symbol of that one body whereof He is the Head, and to which He would fain have us, as members, be united by the closest bond of faith, hope, and charity, that we might all speak the same things, and there might be no schisms among us" (Council of Trent, sess. xiii. ch. 2). See St. Thomas, 3, q. 79; Franzelin, theses xvii.-xix.; De Augustinis, part ii. art. 7; and Bossuet, Traitt de la Communion sous les deux especes.
On the Sacrament of the Eucharist see, in addition to the authors mentioned in the beginning of this chapter: Chardon, Hist, des Sacrements, livre i. sect. iii.; Billot, De Ecclesiae Sacramentis, p. 287 sqq.; Turmel, Hist, de la Theologie Positive, pp. 132, 306, 432; Batiffol, Etudes d'Histoire et de Theologie Positive, 2e serie; Bp. Hedley, The Holy Eucharist; Bridgett, The Holy Eucharist in Great Britain.