FROM JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST BY REV. FERREOL GIRARDEY, C.Ss.R.
With the exception of a small number of obscure heretics, no one had denied the Catholic doctrines of the Real Presence until the appearance of Luther and other heretics in the sixteenth century. Not only the whole Catholic Church, but also all the ancient sects which, centuries previous to the pretended Reformation, had been cut off from the Church of Christ, such as the Greeks, the Nestorians, the Copts and the Armenians, had always believed and still believe in the Real Presence. But in the sixteenth century a novel and upstart religion, headed by the apostate monk Luther, with out either divine authority, mission, or sanction, came forward repudiating the ancient and universal belief in the Real Presence and other genuine Christian truths, charging them with being anti-Christian and idolatrous, striving in a hundred different and contradictory ways to explain and interpret the express and most plain words of Jesus Christ, constantly wrangling among themselves and splitting into numberless sects. On the other hand, the Catholic Church (and even all the aforesaid ancient sects likewise) has continued to believe and cling faithfully to the original doctrine of the Real Presence as preached to her by the apostles of Jesus Christ, maintaining that she has always been in lawful possession of this sacred doctrine taught by the apostles, who heard it from the very lips of the Savior.
That the Catholic Church received her doctrine of the Real Presence from Jesus Christ and His apostles, can be proved by arguments other than texts of Scripture and quotations from the writings of the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. One of these arguments is called the argument of "Prescription." This form of proof is used both in law and in theology. In law it is equivalent to the old adage: "Possession is nine points of the law." For instance, a man who has long been in undisputed possession of some property or privilege, is deemed its lawful possessor, and can not be dispossessed, unless legally conclusive proof is given, that he never had a lawful right to the same. The burden of impugning his right thereto; that is, he who is in possession needs not directly to prove his right.
Now let us see how in theology " Prescription " is an unanswerable and conclusive proof. That the Catholic Church alone has existed from the time of Jesus Christ and His apostles and was founded by them is admitted by all who are acquainted with history. Hence it was the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ commissioned to teach all nations, and of which all nations were bound to believe and to become members under the pain of eternal condemnation : " Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:15, 16). It is, therefore, clear that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and that all men were obliged to believe her teaching under the pain of forfeiting their salvation. Even Protestants admit that the Catholic Church was the Church of Christ, the true Church, during the first three centuries; " but," say they, " after the first three centuries, the Catholic Church began to corrupt the doctrines of Christ and His apostles, adding a number of doctrines and practices both false and idolatrous, which Jesus and His apostles had not taught, such as Confession,
the Real Presence, prayers to the Virgin and to the saints." Here we have only to refute them by using the argument of " Prescription," saying to them: " You say that the doctrine of the Real Presence was never taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles. If so, it must have been introduced into the Church at a later date; please tell us, then, when, where and by whom such a wonderful doctrine was introduced, for it must have drawn the attention of the Christians of the time; we know the place, time, and authors of the various novel doctrines, differing from and opposed to the doctrines transmitted to His Church by Jesus Christ and His apostles; we can give the time, place, and authors of the heresies broached in all ages. If the Real Presence is not a doctrine of Christ and His apostles, as you assert so boldly, you must be able to give us the particulars of its first appearance in the Church. But this you cannot do, for there is no record of a later introduction into the Creed of the Catholic Church, as there is for the first appearance of Arianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, Donatism, Pelagianism and Protestantism with its various sects. Hence the conclusion is clear that the doctrine of the Real Presence was contained in the doctrines, which Christ and His apostles commissioned the Church to teach to mankind, and to be believed by all men under pain of eternal condemnation''