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
CHAPTER V. The Mass
Our Lord Jesus Christ, " though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the Cross unto God the Father, by means of His death (Heb. ix. 5), there to operate an eternal redemption (ib. 12); nevertheless, because His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the Last Supper on the night in which He was betrayed --that He might leave to His own beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the Cross, might be represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit --declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, He 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. ... If any one saith that in the Mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God ... let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, sess. xxii. ch. I, can. l). See St. Thomas, 3, q. 85, with the commentaries thereon by Vasquez, Suarez, and the Salmanticenses; Bellarmine, De Eucharistia, lib. v.; De Lugo, De Eucharistia; Thomassin, De Incarnatione, lib. x.; Franzelin, De Eucliaristiae Sacrificio; De Augustinis, De Re Sacramentaria, lib. ii. p. 3; Hedley, p. 147 sqq.
Sect. 260. --Sacrifices and Divine Worship.
I. History knows of no religion without some form of sacrifice. Jews and Gentiles, civilized and uncivilized nations, have found in human reason, and in the religious instinct common to all, a natural impulse to communicate with the Supreme Being by means of gifts, called sacrifices on account of the sacred character they receive from being destined for Divine acceptance. As between man and man, so between man and God, gifts of things visible serve to express the invisible feelings of esteem and gratitude, to conciliate benevolence, and to atone for misdeeds. There is, then, in gifts to God, or sacrifices, an innate aptitude to be the external manifestation of all the acts of Divine worship --adoration, thanksgiving, petition, propitiation or expiation.
II. The natural aptitude of a gift to be the subject-matter of acts of worship, receives its final form when, by private intention or authorized institution, certain sacrifices are set apart to express certain acts of worship. Public worship necessarily postulates public institution by lawful authority. This alone can determine the signification of the single acts for the whole community, and impart to the whole system the uniformity required by society considered as a unit. In the supernatural order the lawful authority is God. He alone determines which sacrifices He accepts, for what purposes He accepts them, and by whom they are to be offered. Scripture --at least since the Mosaic legislation --is most explicit in this matter. Nothing essential is left to the arbitrary 'decision of man: God has revealed the matter and form, and the minister of the sacrifices by which He commands us to worship Him. .
III. The whole character of the sacrificial institutions of the Old Testament was temporary, and typical of the great sacrifice of the New Law. The Epistle to the Hebrews is devoted to the demonstration of this proposition. The Levitical priesthood, "who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. viii. 5), foreshadowed and pointed to the "High Priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens, a minister of the holies, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man" (ibid. I, 2). The sacrifices and ceremonies and the whole external worship were imperfect and powerless as to the expiation of sins. They produced only legal expiations, "the cleansing of the flesh," thus expressing the necessity of an internal expiation and of the sacrifice of Christ, by which this true expiation is accomplished. "The Holy Ghost signifying this, that the way into the holies was not yet made manifest, whilst the former tabernacle was yet standing. Which is a parable of the time present; according to which gifts and sacrifices are offered, which cannot, as to the conscience, make him perfect that serveth, only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and justices of the flesh laid on them until the time of correction (Greek). But Christ, being come an High Priest of the good things to come, ... by His own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb. ix. 8-12 sqq.).
IV. "Entering once (Greek, 'once for all') into the holies, Christ obtained eternal redemption;"that is, He acquired merit sufficient to redeem all mankind. His sacrifice has consummated the work of redemption: it need not and cannot be repeated (cf. Book V. §196). It deprives of their object the ancient sacrifices, which were but "an oblation for sin," a confession of impotence to give due satisfaction. It also excludes a repetition of itself for the purpose of further merit. But it implies, or at least does not exclude, a representation of itself for the application to individual members of mankind of the infinite treasure of grace gained by Christ. In view of the way in which saving grace is applied to man, viz. by the free use of the means of grace, and in view of the nature of public worship, of which sacrifice is the central and most solemn act, a perennial representation of Christ's sacrifice appears as a most fitting element in the organism of the supernatural order. The Council of Trent adopts this view (sess. xxii. ch. l).
Sect. 261. --The Sacrifice of the New Testament foretold by the Prophet Malachias.
I. The last of the Prophets of the Old Covenant prophecy announces the abolition of the Mosaic sacrifices, and the introduction of a new order of public worship: "I have no pleasure in you (the priests), saith the Lord of hosts, and I will not receive a gift of your hand. For from the, rising of the sun even to the going down, My Name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is a sacrifice, and there is offered to My Name a clean oblation: for My Name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mai. i. 10, 11).
I. "I will not receive a gift of your hand." These words clearly imply the abolition of the Mosaic priesthood, and of the public worship whose ministers they were. They have to give place, as appears from ver. 11, to an order of things in which the Name of God is great, not only among His chosen people and in the chosen land, but among all nations and in all places. The Prophets always characterize the coming of the Messias by this universal acknowledgment and glorification of God (supra, p. 52). Hence the idea underlying ver. 11 is that in the New Testament the particular priesthood and the particular sacrifices of the Jews will be abolished and their place taken by something better.
2. In everv place there is a sacrifice, and there is offered to My Name a clean oblation." From the text itself and from the context (vers. 5-10) we see that the Prophet deals exclusively with external worship. As the sacrifices to be abolished are real and true sacrifices, so the pure oblation to be substituted for them is a real and true sacrifice. The technical terms used in the Hebrew leave no shadow of doubt on this point. The term (Hebrew, muctar), a form of catar ("to burn incense") is used one hundred and forty-six times in the sacrificial sense; (Hebrew, muggas) from nagas ("to offer"), at least twelve times, and (Hebrew, mincha), an unbloody sacrifice, about one hundred and fifty-four times. Nowhere are they used in connection with internal worship; nowhere are they applied to oblations other than proper sacrifices. Taking, then, the three expressions together, we have a threefold argument in favour of the true sacrificial nature of the promised new worship.
3. Ch. v. 3: the sons of Levi, cleansed and purified, are said to be the priests of the new order. But Isaias (Ixvi. 21) has told us that God will take men of all nations and tongues to be priests and Levites. Hence the minister of the new sacrifice is a sacrificing priest as of old, only purer and nobler, as he offers a purer and nobler sacrifice.
II. The consent of the Fathers and theologians in this matter is all but unanimous. Bellarmine (1. v. c. 10) and Petavius (De Incarn., 1., xii. n. 12 sqq.) have collected the interpretations of the Fathers. Cornelius a Lapide is so impressed with their unanimity, that he confidently says, "It is of faith that this clean oblation is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist" (Comm. in Mal., i. 11). Such also is the explicit doctrine of the Council of Trent, sess. xxii. chap. i.
Sect. 262. --Institution of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
I. The prophecy of Malachias received its fulfilment at the Last Supper, when Christ instituted the unbloody sacrifice of the New Testament. The four accounts given of the institution by the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and by St Paul, slightly differ in their terms, but convey the same meaning, viz. what Christ meant when He used those or similar expressions. We subjoin the various texts in the original Greek, and in the Vulgate and Rheims-Douay translations. From an analysis of them we shall prove that they clearly and convincingly express the institution of a true sacrifice.
Luke xxii. 20:
(quoting from Greek scripture)
Hic est calyx novum testamentum in sanguine meo, qui pro vobis fundetur" (Vulgate)
"This is the chalice, the new testament in My blood, which shall be shed for you." (Rheims-Douay)
Mark xiv. 24:
(quoting from Greek scripture)
Hic est sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur" (Vulgate)
"This is My blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many." (Rheims-Douay)
Matt. xxvi. 28:
(quoting from Greek scripture)
"Hic est enim sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum" (Vulgate)
"For this is My blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins." (Rheims)
1. St. Luke evidently speaks of the effusion of the blood "as it is in the chalice." "This chalice is shed," as the Greek has it, can convey but one meaning: that the blood contained in the chalice is shed, at the present time, for you. The same blood was shed on the Cross, but not as contained in the chalice, in its sacramental state. Matthew and Mark do not use the same figure of speech as Luke. Instead of naming the cup to signify what it contains, they directly name the contents, "My blood." The meaning, however, must be the same, as the three narratives report one and the same event. Hence they all refer to the blood as it is actually in the chalice, and all state that it is there shed for us, and unto remission of sins. Now, the shedding of blood unto remission of sins is a sacrifice. really and truly (cf. Book V. part iii. chap. 1). Christ commands the Apostles to do this for a commemoration of Him. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist, therefore, was instituted by our Lord as the perennial sacrifice of the New Law.
2. The words "for you, for many, for many unto remission of sins," make it clear that the consecration of the chalice is a sacrificial action. But they are not the words of consecration. The words used to put the body and blood of Christ into the state of victim are these: "This is My body, this is My blood." The sacrifice takes place when these words are uttered by the minister; what follows is but a declaration or explanation not essential to the sacrificial form.
3. By a natural association of ideas, "effusion of blood" and sacrifice have become, with the sacred writers, in the interchangeable terms. Instances abound: Acts xx. 28; Rom. iii. 25; v. 9; Eph. i. 7; ii. 13; Col. i. 14; Heb. and Apoc., passim. This usage suggests the question: How is the blood shed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice? Only in a mystical way. The real effusion took place once, upon the Cross, and cannot be repeated. But the bleeding victim of the Cross is made really present on the altar, under the appearances of bread and wine, and with the whole merit of the former sacrifice. The representation is made in a manner most fittingly representing the death of the victim, viz. the body and the blood, although inseparably united, are produced by a separate consecration and under separate species. The sacrificial words, like a spiritual sword, divide the Divine body and blood, and thus recall the memory of Christ's death on Calvary.
II. The words used in the consecration of the bread afford the same proof of the real sacrificial nature of the Mass as those used in the consecration of the chalice.
I Cor. xi. 24:
(quoting from Greek Scripture)
"Hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur" (Vulgate)
"This is My body, which shall be delivered for you." (Rheims-Douay)
Luke xxii. 19:
(quoting from Greek Scripture)
"Hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis datur" (Vulgate)
"This is My body, which is given for you." (Rheims-Douay)
John vi. 52:
(quoting from Greek Scripture)
"Et panis, quem ego dabo, caro mea est pro mundi vita." (Vulgate)
"And the bread that I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world." (Rheims-Douay)
In the received Greek text of St. Paul, the body of Christ, (Greek) made present under the appearance of bread, is said to be "broken for us." In the language of the Bible, "to break bread" is to give it as food. According to St. Paul, then, in the Eucharistic celebrations Christ is given us as food. The same meaning, therefore, attaches to the words of St Luke, who reports the same sentence of Christ. Now, the words of Luke, "My body, which is given for you," are identical in signification with those of Mark and Matthew, "which is given for you, for many unto remission of sins," and, like these, they directly convey the idea of a sacrifice offered hic et nunc. This idea of an actual and present sacrifice is, however, not so much conveyed by the present tense of the verb (frangitur, "is broken, given") as by the circumstance of being given "as food," which only is true of the Eucharistic Sacrifice (cf. Franzelin, th. xi.).
Sect. 263. --New Testament References to the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
I. The scantiness of references to the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the New Testament and in the early writings was formerly accounted for by the "Discipline of the Secret" --that is, the custom of concealing from the heathens and the catechumens the more sacred and mysterious rites and doctrines of the Christian religion, either by not mentioning them at all, or by merely alluding to them in enigmatical language. That this custom prevailed to some extent during the period of the catechumenate (from the end of the second to the end of the fifth century) is undoubted. But it does not account for the silence of the earlier writings; and indeed, even in the later period, the restriction had to do with preaching rather than writing (Batiffol, Etudes d' Histoire, etc., La Discipline de I'Arcane). A better explanation is that the doctrine of the Mass is an instance of the development of doctrine as explained supra, vol. i. p. 105. According to this, we cannot expect to find clear, explicit teaching in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages. Nevertheless we can produce distinct traces and germs of the doctrine as held in the later ages.
II. "They were persevering in the doctrine of the Apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread (Greek), and in prayers" (Acts ii. 42, 46). The breaking of "the" Bread, coming between the preaching and the praying, cannot refer to a common meal. It is the religious rite instituted at the Last Supper, alluded to in terms perfectly intelligible to the initiated, but telling nothing to the profane,
"As they were ministering to the Lord (Greek)" (xiii. 2). Here, for the first time, we meet with the term (Greek), which henceforth becomes for all time the Greek technical expression for the sacred functions of the Mass. Erasmus translates it by sacrificantibus. The suggestion that the ministering consisted in preaching, as it does in some sects without sacrifice, mistakes the signification of (Greek) and leaves unexplained how they preached "to God."
III. In I Cor. x. we read: Ver. 16. "The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the Communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord? 17. For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread. 18. Behold Israel according to the flesh: are not they that eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? . . . 20. But the things which the heathen sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should be made partakers with devils. 21. You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord and of the table of devils."
Verse 16 sets before us the Eucharistic blessing of the bread and wine, and their subsequent transmutation into the Body and Blood of the Lord, as taking place in the Churches of Corinth. The command, "Do this in memory of Me," is carried into practice. The Christian sacrifice gives to the converts from Judaism and heathenism a more intimate communion with God than the one sought for in their previous sacrifices. Having an altar of their own, they ought not to return to the "tables" of false gods. The sacred tables of the idols are the altars upon which is offered the meat afterwards to be partaken of by the worshippers. St. Paul, therefore, is witness that the Church at Corinth offered a real sacrifice, and that this sacrifice was the one instituted by the Lord on the eve of His Passion (cf. Cornelius a Lapide, in hunc loc.; Council of Trent, sess. xxii. ch. l).
IV. "We have an altar (Greek), whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle." Is this altar the Cross, or the altar of the daily sacrifice? Many Fathers, and the majority of commentators, especially since the Reformation, hold the latter opinion. On the other hand, St. Thomas, Nicholas of Lyra, Titelmann, Estius, Oswald, and nearly all the Protestants (except Bahr, Böhme, and others) understand the altar to be the Cross, and the eating thereof to be through faith. The Council and the Catechism of Trent abstained from quoting the text, probably in deference to St. Thomas. Cornelius a Lapide, whose opinion is of great weight, argues in favour of the Christian altar as follows: "'An altar,' on which we offer the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ ... of which the Jewish Levites do not partake, but the Christian priests and faithful, when they take the Holy Eucharist in order ' that the heart be established with grace,' as the Apostle says (ver. 9). Thus Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Anselm, Sedulius, Haymo. That the Apostle does not speak of the altar of the Cross, as the heretics contend, is plain from the words 'we have.' For we have not the altar of the Cross, but had it 1600 years ago. Again, from the word 'to eat;' for we do not eat of the altar of the cross, but of the altar of the Eucharist. Lastly, from the contrast established by the Apostle between the altar of the tabernacle of old, from which the Jewish priests and worshippers ate the victims as holy meat, and this new altar of the Church, from which the faithful eat not the carnal viands of oxen and sheep, but a Divine and heavenly food, the body of Christ. The Apostle recommends this Eucharistic altar to the Hebrews in order to strengthen their souls during persecution. For nothing gives more strength and comfort to the soul than Holy Communion," etc. Further, Cornelius remarks that "altar" stands for the food and sacrifice on it, and then continues: "Hence it is plain that the Eucharist and the Mass are a sacrifice. The Eucharist has its altar; where there is an altar there must be a priest, and likewise a sacrifice, for these three are correlative. Hence also the Greek text has for altar (Greek, i.e. sacrificatorium, the sacrificial altar" (Comm. in Heb., xiii. 10).
Sect. 264. --The Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Teaching of the Fathers and the Councils.
I. The references to the Sacrifice of the Mass during Early the first three centuries are, as might be expected, few, but they are unmistakable.
1 In the Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (c. I00?) we read (ch. xiv.): "Having assembled together on the Lord's day, break bread and give thanks (in Greek) having confessed your sins beforehand in order that your sacrifice (Greek) may be pure." The text goes on to refer to Malachy (i. 11): "for that (sacrifice) is the same as that spoken of by the Lord. In every place and time to offer to me a pure oblation (Greek)." It is clear that the author of the Didache held that the Eucharistic rite was the "pure oblation" foretold by Malachy (supra, p. 434).
2. St. Ignatius ( 115) speaks of the Eucharist as "the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ," Who suffered for our sins, and Whom the Father in His mercy raised again (Ad Smyrn., c. 7). The repeated mention of the altar, through which the people are in communion with the bishops, priests, and deacons, and show their adherence to the Church, and the remark that through the Liturgy the power of Satan is broken, connect altar and Liturgy with the Cross, upon which Satan was conquered (Ad Phil.. 4; Eph., v. 13; Magn., 7; Trall., 7). "(in Greek, the bread of God), and (in Greek, within the altar) (Eph., v.), in view of parallel texts, must be understood of the Eucharistic bread and altar. "Hope of salvation and union between the members of the community" are but consequences of the eating of the Divine bread from the same altar. They cannot be read into the text as its literal and primary meaning.
3. Clement of Rome ( 102), in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, c. 40-44, compares the bishops and deacons with the priests and Levites, and exhorts them to perform (in Greek) (oblations and liturgical services) according to the prescribed order. (Greek) (offering gifts and oblations") are, in Clement's writings, interchangeable terms; and the new Liturgy is analogous to the old. Hence, in his mind, the new sacrifice is also analogous to the old: his name for it is (in Greek), to celebrate the Eucharist.
4. St. Justin ( 160) deals with the Eucharist as a true sacrifice, in a way which leaves no room for controversy. He distinguishes between (the Greek for ("oblation"), (Apologia, i. 67; Dial., 41) and (the Greek for) ("sacrifice"), (Dial., 117). The oblation is not only the act of offering, but, at the same time, the bread and wine offered; the sacrifice consists in the (Greek) ("the word of prayer and thanksgiving"), which is pronounced by the officiating priest. (Here phrases shown in Greek) ("to offer sacrifice," "to make the Eucharist," "to make the bread," "the chalice"), are expressions constantly used in reference to the public worship of the Christians. They show that the sacrificial character of the Eucharist was uppermost in Justin's mind (cf. Dial., 116-1 18).
5. St. Irenaeus ( 202) also represents the Eucharist as a true sacrifice. He connects (the Greek word) and (the Greek word) --the oblation and the sacrifice; and he is the first of the Fathers, antecedent to Cyprian, who designates Christ Himself as the victim offered. "And this oblation the Church alone offers pure to its Maker, offering to Him, with thanksgiving, things of His creation (ex creatura ejus). But the Jews do not offer; their hands are full of blood, for they have not received the Word which is offered to God" (Adv. Haer.,iv. 18, 4). Irenaeus already mentions, as different parts, the offering or oblation; the transmutation through prayer (epiklesis), and the Communion.
6. Tertullian (160-220) describes the Eucharistic sacrifice as a perpetual representation of the Sacrifice of the Cross. St. Cyprian ( 258) is still more explicit. He says, "If Christ Jesus our Lord and our God is Himself the High Priest of God the Father, and offered Himself as a sacrifice to the Father, and commanded this to be done unto a commemoration of Him, then truly does that priest perform the functions of Christ who imitates what Christ did, and offers a true and full sacrifice to God in the Church" (Ep., Ixiii. 14).
II. From the fourth century onwards, the teaching of the Fathers is so explicit and so complete that no doubt is possible as to their holding the Eucharist to be a real and true sacrifice. The question of fact (an sit) is settled; the inquiry now is as to the explanation (quomodo sit); the dogma enters the domain of theological science. St. Augustine says, "Through this sacrifice He is also priest, Himself offering and Himself being the oblation; the mystery (sacramentum) of which He willed -to be the daily sacrifice of the Church" (De Civ. Dei, x. 20). He calls the Eucharist sacramentum memoriae (C. Faust., xx. 21), and finds in this relation to the sacrifice of the Cross an analogy with the relation of the Jewish sacrifices to the same. Fulgentius, Caesarius, and others have examined into the identity of both sacrifices, and the difference of the manner in which they are offered. Leo I., commenting on I Cor. v. 7, celebrates Christ as the new Paschal Lamb, Who allowed Himself to be crucified outside the camp as the new and true propitiatory sacrifice, in order that, after the old sacrifices had ceased, a new oblation might be laid upon the new altar, and that the Cross of Christ might be made the altar not of the temple, but of the whole world. The place of the manifold sacrifices of the old Law is taken by the one sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ. For Jesus is the true Lamb, which taketh away the sins of the world (Serm. de Pass., viii. 5, 7). Gregory I has the expressions, "Eucharist," "sacrifice," "Mass" (missa), "oblation," "host" (hostia, "victim"), "sacrament of the Passion," "Communion."
III. The theology of the Middle Ages elaborated the teaching of the Fathers, and the Church formulated the dogma on the same lines. The Fourth Council of Lateran teaches: "In the Church the self-same is priest and sacrifice, Jesus Christ, Whose body and blood is truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the appearances of bread and wine" (Denzinger, Ench., n. 357). In the profession of faith proposed to the Waldenses, belief in the sacrifice of Holy Eucharist is commanded. Martin V rejected the thesis of Hus, that the institution of the Mass by Christ was not warranted by the gospels (Denzinger, Ench., nn. 370, 481). The Council of Trent, in its twenty-second session, fully sets forth the Catholic doctrine against the innovations of the Reformers. Cf. Schanz, Die Lehre von den h. Sacramenten der Kirche, Freiburg, 1893; Franzelin, th. xi.; Kirchenlexicon, s.v. "Opfer," "Messe."
Sect. 265. --The Eucharist a Sacrifice of Propitiation.
I. The root of the word "propitiation" is prope. "near." Hence its meaning, when applied to the relations between God and man, of "bringing together, making favourable." A propitiatory sacrifice brings man nearer to God by satisfying for man's sin, and obtaining for him God's favour or grace. The law was "a bringing in of a better hope by which we draw nigh (Greek) to God" (Heb. vii. 19). The English word "atonement," if the etymology "at-one-ment" is correct, beautifully renders the idea of propitiation. Man offers satisfaction for his misdeeds; God forgives, and restores the sinner to the communion of grace.
II. The sacrifice of the Mass has taken the place of all the sacrifices of the Old Testament. Hence it contains in itself alone all the efficacy and attains all the objects of the former institutions. Foremost among these was the sacrifice for sin. Primasius, a sixth century Father, commenting on Heb. x., says, "Our priests offer daily to commemorate His death. And because we sin daily and require to be cleansed daily, He Who cannot die again gave us this sacrament of His body and blood, in order that, as His Passion was the redemption and absolution of the world, so also this oblation might be the redemption and cleansing of all who offer it in the true faith." This a priori argument is fully confirmed by the words of the institution: This is My body "which is given for you;" My blood "which is shed for you, for many, unto the remission of sins." The sense of the Church that the unbloody representation of the sacrifice on the Cross has the same propitiatory character as its prototype, is abundantly declared in all our Christian liturgies. Not one of them is without prayers for the remission of sins on behalf of the living and the dead, or without formulas declaring in set terms the atoning nature of the sacrifice. "In the book of the Machabees," says St. Augustine, "we read that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But, even if nowhere we read this in the ancient Scriptures, we have for it the great authority of the universal Church which clearly adheres to this custom when, in the prayers, offered by the priest at the altar of God, commemoration is made for the dead" (De Cura pro Mortuis Gerenda, c. I, n. 3). St. Chrysostom refers this custom to the Apostles: "By Apostolic laws it is determined that in the venerable mysteries commemoration of the dead be made" (In Phil. Hom. 3, n. 4). The Council of Trent embodies the universal doctrine in the following canon: "If any one saith that the sacrifice of the Mass is only one of praise and thanksgiving, or the bare commemoration of the sacrifice offered on the Cross, and not also propitiatory; or that it only profiteth him who takes it, and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for punishments and satisfactions and other needs, let him be anathema" (sess. xxii. can. 3).
Sect. 266. --Efficacy of the Holy Mass.
I. The principal source of the value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the opus operatum; that is, the work done by Christ offering Himself to the Father for us. Accidental value accrues to it from the personal worth of those who offer it with Christ; that is, ex opere operantis. These are: the priest, who acts as the minister of Christ; the faithful, who, in one way or another, take part in the celebration; the Church as the spouse of Christ.
II. Provided the necessary conditions be present, there can be no doubt that the offering priest, and the faithful who assist or serve at Mass, or who have Mass said for them, acquire, ex opere operantis, certain benefits proportionate to their personal dispositions. These fruits of the sacrifice are, of course, finite. In as far as they consist in satisfaction and impetration, they may be applied to others, in virtue of the communion of saints; but the merit proper, being entirely personal, is not transferable.
2. The Church, as the mystical body of Christ, daily offers herself through Him to God. Each priest offers in the name of the whole Church (Heb. v.). From this point of view, God always accepts the sacrifice independently of the personal worth of the priest. The operans here is the immaculate spouse of Christ, whose adoration and praise, thanksgiving, satisfaction, and prayers, ascend to Him as an odour of sweetness. Hence the prayers of the Mass receive a (finite) value from the dignity of the Church (ex opere operantis), and no Mass is "private" in the sense that only one or a few persons share in its fruits.
III. Christ is the Minister of the Eucharistic Sacrifice: (1) as the author of the rite, and as delegating the priest to act in His Name; (2) as actually performing the sacrificial action in each Mass, when, by a present act of His will, He constitutes Himself the victim, and offers Himself to the Father. From this point of view the value of the sacrifice is entirely independent of the human priest, the Church, and the faithful. As far as these are concerned, the value is wholly ex opere operato. But with regard to Christ, the merit and satisfaction are derived from His death on the Cross ex opere operantis; the value accruing to the sacrifice from the dignity and work of the sacrificer and the victim, is derived from Christ Himself offering and offered on the altar. In both respects the value of the Mass is simply infinite; for it is the Sacrifice of the Cross daily renewed until the sanctification of mankind is consummated. This infinite merit, however, is not a newly acquired merit, but only the new presentation of the merit acquired once for all by Christ's death. The impetration and intercession (Rom. viii. 34; Heb. vii. 25; ix. 24), as distinguished from the merit on which they rely, are new acts of Christ as Priest of the daily sacrifice.
IV. Although the merits presented to God in the Mass are infinite in themselves (in actu primo) their application to individuals can only be finite (in actu secundo), because it cannot exceed the finite capacity of the receiver, and is, moreover, measured by the intention of Christ as man, and by the acceptance of God. The exact measure of the application is determined by 'the Divine laws ruling the supernatural order. It is, therefore, an idle task to pursue the question further. The curious will find the conflicting opinions of theologians in Suarez, disp. 79, § ii. 12; De Lugo, disp. 19, § 9; Ysambert, in 3, q. 83, disp. 7 a. 1, 8, 10).
V. The Mass is offered "for our needs" (Council of Trent, sess. xxii. can. 3), as distinguished from sins and punishments. This points out its character of "impetration," otherwise the power to obtain for us Divine assistance in our spiritual wants, and also in natural wants not incompatible with our supernatural end. The intrinsic value of the sacrifice is sufficient to "impetrate" the satisfaction of all possible needs; but in its actual working it is limited as stated above (IV.).
VI. The same canon lays down that the Mass is offered "for punishments and satisfactions," whereby the character of propitiation is pointed out. These pains and punishments are (1) those which the living members of the Church either have to undergo for their sins, or take upon themselves as spontaneous satisfactions, and (2) the pains suffered by the souls in purgatory. All liturgies are unanimous on this latter point. But if the Mass obtains the remission of the pains of the departed, much more may it be expected to remit the pains and penalties of the living.
VII. Again, in the same canon, we are taught that the Mass is offered "for sins." The propitiatory bearing of the Eucharistic sacrifice on sin requires a special explanation. The Council's doctrine on Justification shows that, in the present order of things, there is no other ordinary means of immediate sanctification than the personal acts of the sinner (ex opere operantis) or the efficacy of the sacraments (ex opere operato). Hence the Eucharist, as a sacrifice, is not appointed to be a vehicle of habitual grace; if it were, it would be a sacrament of the new Law. On the other hand, the universal Church proclaims aloud that the Eucharist is a "propitiation for sins." To reconcile the two statements, the latter must be taken to imply, not that the Mass imparts "immediate" sanctification, but that it propitiates God, Who, favourably looking down upon the sinner, brings him to repentance and justification by the ordinary means. Such is the doctrine of the Council: "The sacred Synod teacheth that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory. . . . For God, appeased by its oblation, grants grace and the gift of repentance, and remits crimes and even the greatest sins" (sess. xxii. chap. 2). Although mortal sin is here chiefly aimed at, we may apply the same principle to venial sins. These also are remitted, ex opere operato, inasmuch as the Divine Justice, appeased by the sacrifice, does not punish venial sins by a withdrawal of grace, but continues to supply sufficient help to avoid mortal sin and to repent of venial sin.
VIII. The nature of the Eucharistic sacrifice entitles us to distinguish three degrees in the distribution of its fruits.
1. The priest, as minister and delegate of Christ, offers the sacrifice for the Church as a whole, and consequently for all its members, and indirectly also for such as are only members in potentia. The good resulting from this application is aptly termed fructus generalis.
2. According to the universal practice, based upon the general rule that works of satisfaction and prayers may be applied to others, the priest applies the fruit of this sacrifice to certain specified persons, either living or dead. This special intention carries with it the fructus specialis. It confers upon these persons all the fruits of the sacrifice which do not belong either to the Church as a whole or to the person of the sacrificing priest.
3. The personal benefit to the priest is called fructus specialissimus, because it is the most specialized of the three. It arises from the sacred function itself in which the priest acts as another Christ, and partakes of the Sacred Victim. The faithful who take part in the celebration by their presence and intention, likewise gather a special fruit analogous to the fructus specialissimus of the priest (Cf. Suarez, disp. 79).
Sect. 267. --How the Mass is a True Sacrifice.
So far we have dealt chiefly with the dogmatic question, "Is the Mass a true sacrifice?" (an sit); we now face the theological question, "How is the Mass a true sacrifice?" (quomodo sit). The former point is of faith, and admits of no controversy on the part of Catholics; the latter is left open to discussion, and every Catholic is at liberty to follow his own opinion. When a dogma is defined, the definition necessarily supposes a certain knowledge of its terms. Otherwise it would be unintelligible and to no purpose. The knowledge, however, of the terms, or, to be more accurate, of the things connoted by the terms, must be deemed sufficiently perfect when it contains one or more essential notes, and enables us to give a reasonable assent to the dogmatic statement. To believe that "in God there are three persons," it is enough to conceive God as the Supreme Being and a person as a reasonable being. That "grace is necessary for" salvation," that "Scripture is inspired," that "original sin is a true sin," are propositions to which the assent of faith can be given on the vague knowledge that grace is a gift of God, inspiration a Divine influence, and sin something wrong. In like manner the simple believer, who knows sacrifice only as "a sacred offering to God," satisfies the claims of faith when he admits that the Mass is truly such an offering The Councils speak the general language of the Church In their decrees and canons they are most careful to avoid terms or expressions favouring particular schools of theology. No scientific definition is usually expected from any Council. That is left to theology. On the other hand, dogmatic definitions are a help to the theologian in search of scientific definitions. E.g. if he strives to define a sacrament by genus and species, he must analyze the several rites defined as sacraments by the Church, and first find an essential note common to all, and then another proper to each. In like manner, the dogma that the Mass is a true sacrifice, compels him to find in it the essential notes of all sacrifices, and another essential note which distinguishes it from all other sacrifices.
I. In the treatise on Redemption (§ 209), we have given the essential elements of sacrifice on the lines laid down by Scheeben, the deepest and most fascinating of modern theologians. As, at the present time, the papal Bull on Anglican Orders, the "Reply" by the Anglican Archbishops, and the "Vindication" by the Catholic Bishops of England, have given a new interest to the question in hand, we shall now put before the reader a summary of what Dr. Paul Schanz wrote on the subject in 1895. See the Freiburg Kirchenlexikon, Opfer.
The inquiry into the idea which underlies the various sacrificial rites is one of the most difficult problems of the philosophy of religion. On the one hand, sacrifices are the symbols of certain feelings, desires, and ideas; on the other, they are types of the future. The first we gather from the rites themselves; the second, from the fulfilment in the Christian dispensation. The notion of offering (oblatio, Greek) may be taken as the fundamental notion of all sacrifices. Man gives to the Divinity part of his property in order either to express his veneration and gratitude, or to secure the Divine favour, taking it for granted that God is pleased with such gift and with the dispositions of the giver. The Divine pleasure is supposed to be increased by the fact that the gift implies submission, acknowledgment (= adoration), and veneration on the part of the giver. In this St. Augustine sees the reason why demons desired sacrifices to be offered to them, and why no man has such a desire (Contra Advers. Legis et Proph. i. 18, 37. cf. Thomassin, De Incarn., 10, 2). The burning or outpouring of the gifts hands them over to God, and through their acceptance God admits the giver to communion with Him. For the essential character of the sacrificial gift is not its destruction, but its handing over and consecration to God. The privation suffered by the giver parting with his property, and the dispositions with which that privation is endured, may have a great moralizing influence on the giver, but they are not essential.1
1 Many sacrifices involve no appreciable privation; the Mass probably none at all.
The outpouring of the libations and the killing of the animals are but the means for handing over the gift to God, and for bringing the giver into communion with Him. The killing necessarily precedes the burning, but the killing is not the sacrifice. "The victim is killed in order to be offered " (Greg. I., In Ezech. i. 2, Hom. 10, 19); in other words, the killing is preparatory to the sacrifice. More importance attaches to the blood of the victim which is gathered and poured out at the altar. For, according to ancient ideas, the life, or the soul, is in the blood. When, therefore, the blood is offered, the highest that man can give, viz. a soul or a life, is handed over to God. On the received principle of "soul for soul ( = life), blood for blood," the sacrifice of blood was a substitute for the sacrifice of self. Human sacrifices were prompted by the same idea of giving to the Divinity what is best in man, the soul which is in the blood. As milder views came to prevail, the life of domestic animals was offered instead of the life of man. They who see in the killing of the victim the final act of the sacrifice, have no satisfactory explanation for the pouring out of the blood, the offering of the life in it and the burning. These rites cannot mean " that the two essential points of the sacrifice (adoration and propitiation), already expressed in the act of killing by the shedding of blood, are once more clearly and prominently represented." Against this stands the fact that the pouring out of the blood is the special function of the priest, whereas the killing --which nowhere is set down as a pain or punishment inflicted on the victim --may be performed by a layman. Moreover, the sacrificial eating of the victim is insufficiently accounted for. Hence in the sprinkling with the blood there is more than an act of propitiation, and in the cremation there is more than an act of supreme worship (latria). Both express in the first place, the oblation of self to God and the union of self with God. The sanctifying power of fire is as well known as the role it plays in heathen mythologies. God Himself was a fire, "Our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. xii. 29), or the fire was a power sent from heaven, and frequently the heavenly fire is said to have consumed the victim. The Persians only offered the soul in the blood, and Philo explains the shedding of blood as an oblation of the soul (839 B, in the Paris edition of 1640). Our Lord Himself says that He will give His soul (Greek) for our redemption (Matt. xx. 28). The independent unbloody sacrifices can only be explained from the same point of view, viz. that they express oblation of self to, and union with, God. In the most ancient sacrifices of incense (and of oil) the sweet odour generated in the burning is the chief object in view.1
1 The fire which consumes the victim or the oblation represents God accepting the gift, and thus establishing a bond between Himself and the offerer.
The Fathers (e.g. Theodoret, q. 62, In Exod.; cf. q. 62, In Genes.) remark that burnt bones and flesh produce no sweet odour, and that, consequently, the pleasure God finds in the sacrifice must lie in the pious dispositions of those who offer The sacrificial meal is an element to be considered in the interpretation of sacrifices; but, taken by itself, it affords no explanation for the outpouring of blood (which is no food) and of the incense offering. It is altogether too gross a notion to see in the ancient sacrifices nothing but a banquet in which the gods were supposed to take part. The eating of the victim accepted by God is simply the symbol of the union with God intended by those who offer the sacrifice. This (Greek) --making perfect (Heb. ix. 9; x. i, 14) --is the end and final object of all sacrifices. St. Irenaeus says, "Sacrifices do not sanctify man, for God is not in want of sacrifices; but it is the conscience of him who offers which sanctifies the sacrifice, for when it is pure it causes God to accept the sacrifice as from a friend" (Adv. Haereses, 4, 18, 3). Sacrifice in general may therefore be defined as "the offering to God, by an authorized minister, of an external gift of something our own [transformed] by the consecration of the minister, and thus passing into the dominion of God, Who accepts the gift for the sanctification of the offerer." The self-sacrifice which lies in the parting with the gift works for the same ends as the sacrifice itself: acknowledgment of the Deity, thanksgiving, atonement, impetration --in short, for the sanctification of man. The Fathers and Schoolmen laid peculiar stress on the juridical aspect of sacrifices, yet without overlooking the end of sanctification and union with God. St. Augustine sets down as a true sacrifice any work performed in order to unite us with God in holy society.1
1 "Verum sacrificium est omne opus, quod agitur, ut sancta societate inhaereamus Deo " (De Civ, Dei, x. 6).
Alexander of Hales follows Augustine: "Sacrificium est oblatio qua sacra fit offerendo et sanctificat offerentem" (Sum. Theol. 3, q. 55, n. 4, a. i). St. Thomas has several definitions or quasi-defmitions: "In the oblations and sacrifices man offered to God things of his own to acknowledge that he held them from God" (ia 2ae, q. 102, a. 3); "properly speaking, a sacrifice is something done to give God the honour due to Him, and to appease Him" (3 q. 48, a. 3); "in order perfectly to unite the spirit of man with God" (3, q. 22, a. 2); "the term sacrifice expresses that man makes something sacred" (2a 2ae, q. 85, a. 3, ad. 3). Later, the scholastic aliquid facere circa rem oblatam ("doing something to the gift") was supplanted by conficere rent ("to make the gift"), (Suarez), and this was further explained as conficere per immutationem ("to make by means of a change"). Vasquez again narrowed the notion by describing the confectio as destructio, the immutatio as demutatio (i.e. change for the worse), and the dominium Dei as the Divine dominion over life and death. Franzelin and many modern theologians take the notion of sacrifice to include the following elements: "Sacrifice is an offering made to God by the destruction or quasi-destruction of some sensible object, such offering having been instituted by public authority to acknowledge God's supreme dominion over all things and man's absolute dependence on God for life and everything; after the Fall it also expresses a sense of sin for which Divine justice must be satisfied" (Franzelin, De Eucharistice Sacrificio, thes. ii.). But, as Schanz justly observes, so far as this definition makes it essential to a sacrifice that it should recognize God's supreme dominion by the destruction or destruction of something, it evidently does not correspond to the notion of sacrifice in the old heathen world, for it implies that sacrifice cannot be offered to inferior deities, nor to heroes; nor does it express the meaning of the Jewish sacrifices, for the victim in these sacrifices was not un frequently killed by the person offering it, and not by the priest. As to the burning on the altar, it was regarded as the means of conveying the victim to God, or, when the fire was kindled from heaven (3 Kings xviii. 38; 2 Paral. vii. 1), it was God's acceptance of the sacrifice. Many of the Hebrew sacrifices may be described as things given to God to secure His favour, or to appease His wrath, or as thank and tribute offerings; but frequently also they meant an act of communion with God, either by means of a feast, which God was supposed to share with His worshippers, or by the renewal of a life-bond in the blood of a sacred victim.
These reasons justify the elimination of the element of destruction, real or equivalent, from the essential con- stitution of sacrifice in general. With Scheeben and Schanz we revert to the definitions commonly adopted before the time of Vasquez ( 1604).
II. Two more questions lie before us: Does the Mass contain the above generic element of sacrifice? and, What is its specific element? We deal first with the second of these questions, because on its solution depends the solution of the first. It is admitted on all hands that the Mass is a sacrifice "relative to the sacrifice of the Cross." The relation is founded extrinsically upon the expressed will of Christ: "This do ye as often as you shall drink for the commemoration of Me; for as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until He come" (i Cor. xi. 25, 26); intrinsically upon the identity of priest and victim in both sacrifices, and upon the similarity between the mystical effusion of blood in the Mass and the real effusion on the Cross. The relation, external by institution, and internal by nature, belongs uniquely to the Eucharistic sacrifice. It is this specific difference which, added to the generic notion of sacrifice, gives us the definition of the Mass: "The sacrifice in which, by the institution of Christ, the sacrifice on the Cross is re-offered in an unbloody manner." For the better understanding of the relative nature of the Christian sacrifice we add some details.
I. The Last Supper was the celebration of another commemorative sacrifice, the Jewish paschal lamb. "This day shall be for a memorial to you; and you shall keep it a feast of the Lord in your generations with an everlasting observance. . . . And when your children shall say to you, What is the meaning of this service? you shall say to them, It is the victim of the passage of the Lord, when He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, striking the Egyptians, and saving our houses" (Exod. xii. 14, 26). Jesus, as head of a house, acted as minister of this most typical of all sacrifices; and when it was over, when He had explained its meaning to the Apostles, He offered Himself as the antitype, "Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed" (i Cor. v. 7), and His words, "Do this for the commemoration of Me," sound like the echo, or the literal repetition of the words by which God instituted this typical sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb (cf. Cornelius a Lapide, In Exod. xii. 14, 26, 47; In Matt. xxvi. 17, etc.).
2 The internal fitness of the yearly sacrifice of a lamb to represent and commemorate the first Pasch celebrated in Egypt is founded upon the identity of the minister, the victim, and the ritual. The minister was not the ordinary priest, but the head of the house, a layman; the victim was a lamb one year old, male, without blemish; the ritual was the same, with one important exception: the relative sacrifice omitted the sprinkling of the door-posts with blood, because the redemption from the Egyptian slavery had been accomplished, and needed no repetition. The object of the commemoration was to gather the fruit of the model sacrifice: the closer union of the people with God through the grateful acknowledgment of His sovereign power. The Eucharistic sacrifice adapts itself better to the commemoration of its type on the Cross than the Paschal Lamb to the commemoration of the Egyptian sacrifice. In the Mass the real minister and the victim are identically (numero) the same as on the Cross, whereas in the paschal sacrifice they were so only specifically. Both rites differ in a similar way from their types. They both are unbloody, whereas both the types are bloody sacrifices. In the Jewish rite the eating of the victim, symbolizing union with God, is the consummation to which the whole rite leads up; and the same is true of the Mass.
3. We use the term "mystical" in reference to the "mystery in which the effusion takes place; it is opposed to "real," and equivalent to "representative, commemorative, or relative." The mystical effusion consists in placing the Divine body and blood on the altar under distinct and separate species. Of course Christ is wholly present under either species, yet so that the words of consecration which strike our ears, and the species which strike our eyes, convey a first impression (only to be rectified by reason and faith) of a divided presence. Considering the glorified state of the victim on the one hand, and on the other the manner in which the human memory is awakened by sense perceptions, it seems impossible to devise a better commemoration of the death on the Cross. The distinctness and expressiveness of the words of the institution, "This is My blood which is shed; My body which is given (= sacrificed), leave no doubt that in the mind of Christ the very essence of the commemorative sacrifice lies in the separate presence of body and blood on the altar.
III. This reflection leads us on to the crucial theological question how the Mass is a real sacrifice, and not a mere (nuda) commemoration.
As long as theology was taught from the bishop's pulpit, rather than from the professor's chair, the subtle question under consideration received but scant attention. It was only when the Schoolmen began to scrutinize the Scriptures and the Fathers that such pointed questions were mooted and solved according to the principle quot capita tot sensus. The Fathers, who spoke and wrote for the instruction of the faithful at large, when touching on the Eucharistic sacrifice, naturally laid greater emphasis on its objects, chief among which is the sanctification of the people by close communion with God. In the Middle Ages stress was laid upon the notion of commemoration and representation. The Mass is an immolation of Christ, because it is "a certain image representative of the Passion of Christ, which is His true immolation" (St. Thomas, 3, q. 83, a. 1). The further explanation of the sacrificial act differs according to the theories held on the essence of sacrifice. Nobody placed it in the offertory, because there bread and wine, and not the body and blood of Christ, are offered; and the offerer is the priest (with the congregation), not Christ, who is only introduced with the words of consecration. Bread and wine are indeed called oblations, but merely as the matter prepared at the offertory for the sacrificial transformation in the canon. St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and others, see the sacrificial act in the consecration; some in the consecration and the Communion taken together (Bellarmine, the Salmanticenses, Tournely, etc.); others, again, in the breaking of the bread, the dipping of the particle in the consecrated wine and the Communion (e.g. Canus). This latter opinion found but few followers, because the breaking and dipping affect the species only, and not the body of Christ; and even at the Communion, the transformation is but the destruction of the species. At the consecration itself, the commemoration and representation of the scene on the Cross are not effected by the transformation of the substance (Suarez), or by the mystical killing of the celestial body in the separation of body and blood on the altar (Lessius), but by the presence of separate species. In this separation may be traced an immutation of the victim, inasmuch as Christ is wholly present under each separate species on only per concomitantiam (Vasquez, Tournely). De Lugo and Franzelin take the consecration to be the sacrificial act. The latter has this thesis, "We think, with Card. De Lugo, and a great many later theologians, that the intrinsic form (essence) of the sacrificial act is in this: Christ, the High Priest, by the ministry of the priests offering in His name, puts His body and blood, under the species of bread and wine, in a state of food and drink, by way of despoiling Himself (exinanitionem = Greek, 'emptying') of the functions connatural to His sacred Humanity."1
1 "Christus . . . corpus et sanguinem suum sub speciebus panis et vini constituit secundum quandam sanctissimae suae humanitatis a functionibus et rationibus existendi connaturalibus exinanitionem ad statum cibi et potus" (De Sacrif. Euth., th. xvi.).
In proof of his theory, he describes the state of victim as follows: Christ's body and blood are present as meat and drink, i.e. as inanimate things; the Eucharistic body, not occupying space, cannot naturally receive actions from, nor react on, external material objects; His sense-life is suspended; He lies under the species as if He were dead, and subjects Himself, through the species, to be dealt with at the will of His creatures. Exception may be taken to this on two counts. The suspension of the lower life in Christ on the altar is a theological deduction not easily understood; at any rate, it is too dark to throw light upon other dark questions. Again, the state of meat and drink, and all the rest, do not produce in the real victim, i.e. Christ glorified, any change for the worse which may be called, or likened to, destruction. Christ dieth no more. The painful efforts of some theologians to inflict at least a semblance of death on the Giver of life, are entirely due to their narrow notion of sacrifice. If we eliminate the "change for the worse" from the notion of "victim," and replace it by "a change for the better," we obtain a notion of the sacrificial act which throws new light upon all sacrifices. That we are justified in so doing, has been shown above. The student may turn to Scheeben's Dogmatik, vol. iii. p. 400, for further proofs and explanations.
In the definition of man as a rational animal, the specific element (reason) fixes the generic element (animal) as the form fixes and determines matter. The genus is the secondary, the specific difference the primary, section the element in the compound. The same is true of a all definitions by genus and species. Hence, in the definition of the Mass as "a sacrifice relative to the sacrifice on the Cross," the element "relative" is the form, and gives us the proper essence, the true nature, the essential character, of the Mass. The relativeness is founded upon the will of Christ and the identity of Sacrificer and Victim on the Cross and on the Altar; and also upon the similarity between the mystical and the real effusion of blood. The representation of the sacrifice of Christ is, therefore, the proper essence of the sacrifice of the Mass.
IV. It only remains to show how all the elements of a real sacrifice are found in the representation of Christ's death. For our starting point we take the definition of Tanner, adopted by Scheeben (cf. Book V. § 209).
1. "Sacrifice is an oblation." The prayers of the canon, before and after the consecration, abundantly show that the offering of a gift to God is the primary motive of the whole action. The oblation is expressed eight or ten times.
2. "Of a corporeal thing," i.e. of some sensible object. The body and blood of Christ are corporeal, but it may be objected that we see only the appearances. The ready answer is that Christ cannot be perceived by us exactly as He is in heaven, and that He expressly willed to be sacrificed under these appearances. The representative nature of the sacrifice accounts for this slight divergence from other sacrifices.
3. "In which oblation this thing, by means of a transformation (per immutationem transformativam) is made and consecrated (conficitur et conficiendo consecratur)." Where does the transformation come in? There is no real effusion of blood, no material fire to consume the victim, no victim even capable of immutation as commonly understood. These difficulties disappear if we remember that the sacrifice is essentially representative, and, as much as possible, identical with Christ's own. We have the same victim in the real presence; we have the mystical separation of body and blood in the separate presence under separate species; we have also the same sacrificial act (sacrificatio). Only this latter point requires elucidation. The making of the victim by the sacrificial act (conficere conficiendo) has always been understood to mean the productio corporis Christi per conversionem panis in ipsum (the production, or making present, of the body of Christ through the conversion of the bread into the body). In this sense conficere sacrum (to make the sacrifice) is a technical term with the Fathers, and in all liturgies. When Christ, through the priest, pronounces the words of consecration, he puts Himself, as much as possible, in the same state of victim as on Calvary. There He gave to His violent death the character of the most perfect sacrifice by an act of His will: the complete gift of Himself to God as the price of our redemption. That intention transformed His whole life, and especially His death, into the state of victim. For the crucifixion performed by the soldiers was but a preparation, a condition, of the sacrifice. This takes its being, its dignity, and all its effects from the holy will of Christ. Like the fire which consumed the victims and the incense of old, and made them a sweet odour to God, the love of Christ, burning with all the energy of the Divine Spirit Who fills Him, transformed Him into "a pure Host, a holy Host, an immaculate Host" On the Christian altar, our Saviour does the same when He makes Himself "the holy bread of eternal life, and the chalice of everlasting salvation" (Prayer, Unde et Memores, immediately after the consecration).
4. "As an earnest (testimonium) of the Divine Majesty and of the subordination (ordinis) of the creature to God, its first principle and last end." These words express the objects for which sacrifices are offered. They are but an expansion of the simple and more appropriate idea of our communion with God, i.e. our sanctification. The Eucharistic sacrifice brings us into communion with God in more ways than one. For the real Sacrificer is Christ, the Spiritual Head of Whom we are the body. The Church, His bride, and we, its members, unite our intention with His, and make ourselves a joint sacrifice with Him. "Through Him, and with Him, and in Him (we give) to Thee God the Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory (per ipsum et cum ipso, etc.)" (Canon of the Mass). The same idea is beautifully rendered in the blessing of the water before mixing it with the wine at the Offertory: "O God, Who in creating human nature didst wonderfully dignify it, and hast still more wonderfully renewed it; grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His
Divinity, Who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord." Freedom from sin is the first condition of our participation in the Divine life; hence we pray, "In the spirit of humility, and with a con- trite heart, may we be received by Thee, O Lord . . . (in spiritu humilitatis . . .);" and "May the Lord enkindle in us the fire of His love and the flame of everlasting charity" (Ascendat . . . prayer after incensing the altar). At the Orate, Fratres, the priest turns to the people and says, "Brethren, pray that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty." The people answer, "May the Lord receive the sacrifice from thy hands, to the praise and glory of His Name, to our benefit, and to that of all the Church." At the Preface, in union with the Angels in heaven, we offer thanks and praise to the thrice-holy Lord God, and then the Actio, the sacrifice, commences. First the Church on earth, with "our Pope, our Bishop, and all believers of the Catholic and Apostolic faith," are introduced to the altar; then the Church triumphant in heaven with "the glorious Mother of our Lord, the Apostles and all the Saints," is communicated with, and the Lord is besought to "accept this oblation of His whole family." The objects of the Actio are again laid before Him: "Dispose our days in Thy peace, command us to be delivered from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the flock of Thy elect." The Divine High Priest now takes up the Actio, and performs anew the sacrifice He instituted at the Last Supper. The pure, holy, and immaculate Host is immediately presented to God, with a prayer "that as many of us as, by participation at this altar, shall receive the most sacred body and blood of Thy Son, may be filled with all heavenly benediction and grace; through the same Christ our Lord." The "servants and handmaids who are gone before us with the sign of faith, and slumber in the sleep of peace," are remembered; "we sinners" beg for "fellowship with the holy Apostles and all the Saints, not considering our merits, but expecting the free pardon of our offences." The supreme and all-embracing object of the sacrifice receives its fullest expression in the communion of the priest and the people. "The body --the blood --of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my (thy) soul to life everlasting." The sacrificial action terminates with the sacrificial feast, in which the Victim is taken as food "with a pure mind, and of a temporal gift becomes to us an eternal remedy." The eternal participation in the Divine life by the union of charity is not only fore-shadowed, but actually commenced in the sacramental Communion. At this sacred banquet, the adopted sons of God sit down with the Natural Son, Who made them heirs of His kingdom; they appropriate the benefits of His Passion, and receive a tangible pledge, and a foretaste of the glory that awaits them "when that which is perfect is come" (i Cor. xiii. 10). As now "they see through a glass in a dark manner, but then face to face," so also now they adhere to God in a true and real, but imperfect, manner; but then they will be "made participators of the Divine life."
It may be useful and acceptable to the reader to have doctrine on in brief the essential points of the Catholic doctrine on the Mass. We give them m the words of the "Vindication" of the Bull on Anglican Orders by the Bishops of England, n. 12: "The Mass, according to Catholic doctrine, is a commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross, for as often as we celebrate it 'we show the Lord's death till He come.' At the same time, it is not a bare commemoration of that other sacrifice, since it is also itself a true sacrifice in the strict sense of the term. It is a true sacrifice because it has all the essentials of a true sacrifice: its Priest, Jesus Christ, using the ministry of an earthly representative; its victim, Jesus Christ, truly present under the appearances of bread and wine; its sacrificial offering, the mystic rite of consecration. And it commemorates the sacrifice of the Cross, because, whilst its Priest is the Priest of Calvary, its Victim the Victim of Calvary, and its mode of offering a mystic representation of the blood-shedding of Calvary, the end also for which it is offered, is to carry on the work of Calvary, by pleading for the applications of the merits consummated on the Cross to the souls of men. It is in this sense that the Mass is propitiatory. To propitiate is to appease the Divine wrath by satisfaction offered, and to beg mercy and forgiveness for sinners. The sacrifice of the Cross is propitiatory in the absolute sense of the word. But the infinite treasure of merit acquired on the Cross cannot be diminished or increased by any other sacrifice. It was then offered once and for all, and there is no necessity of repeating it. That plenitude, however, of merit and satisfaction by no means excludes the continual application of such merit and satisfaction by the perpetual sacrifice of the Mass. Thus the sacrifice of the Mass is also propitiatory. And so, according to Catholic doctrine, even the dead in Christ are not excluded from the benefits of this sacrifice; we call the Mass 'a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.'
"Such being our doctrine on the Eucharistic Sacrifice, its essential dependence on the doctrine of the Real Objective Presence is manifest. For, if there were no power in the words of consecration to make the true body and blood of Christ really and objectively present on the altar, we should not have on our altars the Victim of Calvary, and without its Victim the sacrifice could not subsist."
Scholion. In 1905 the late Bishop Bellord suggested and defended the "banquet" theory of sacrifice. A long and interesting discussion ensued, in which his view was almost universally rejected, and various other theories were discussed. See American Ecclesiastical Review , 1905-6.