FROM JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST BY REV. FERREOL GIRARDEY, C.Ss.R.
TESTIMONY OF TERTULLIAN: Tertullian lived in the second half of the second century and in the first quarter of the third. Before becoming a priest he had been married and had practised law. He was a man of great talent and learning. His great work is entitled, " On Prescription/' against heresies, refuting them by the argument known in judiciary proceedings by the name of Prescription, or as we popularly express it: " Possession is nine points of the law, and a person in possession of a thing cannot be lawfully dispossessed of it without clear and adequate proof that he has no right to it." In this work Tertullian proves that heresy can not claim to be the doctrine of Christ, because the Church from the beginning has possessed the true doctrine of Christ. But Tertullian, in spite of his learning and masterly ability, had failed to master himself, and therefore being disappointed in his ambitious aspiration and spurred on by his excessive rigorism, he fell into heresy, teaching among other errors that there should be no forgiveness to those who had fallen into great crimes, such as apostasy, murder, etc. He had previously refuted in his great work " On Prescription" his own errors. Nevertheless, in his former orthodox works, he is a genuine witness of the faith of the early Church in the Real Presence. " Christ," he writes, "taking bread and distributing it to His disciples, made it His own body by saying: ' This is My body/ . . . Our flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ, in order that our soul may thrive on God/' By these words he clearly declares that the Holy Eucharist is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ and the spiritual nourishment of our souls. This is the very teaching of the Church on the Real Presence.