Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 23.



I think it right here to offer a few remarks on the belief of the Iconoclasts as regards the Eucharist; who, having assembled at Constantinople, under the Emperor Constantinus Copronymus, anno 754, to abolish the use of images, in their definition of faith, said, 1st. There is only one true image of Christ to be worshipped, viz., the Eucharist, 2nd. That the bread which is to be consecrated, has not the shape of a man, lest men should adore it before consecration, or other pictures. 3rd. That consecration is a sort of adoption. 4th. That Christ would have the Bread of the Eucharist, being sanctified by the coming of the Holy Ghost, be made his own divine Body after consecration.  This shews they did not err in regard to the Eucharist, though it seemed suspicious their calling it three times, in the short space of a few lines, the image of Christ's body ; which, though it might be said in a Catholic sense, was not then the usual language of the Church according to the decision of the Church. Hence the Fathers of the Seventh General Council (which was the Second of Nice, anno 787, and consisted of 250 prelates,) in their refutation of the Decree of the Iconoclasts, read by Epiphanius, a deacon, Answer: "That never did any of the Apostles, or of the holy Fathers, call the unbloody sacrifice (which is made in remembrance of Christ, and of all that he did or suffered) the image of his body. For they did not learn that from Christ, but heard him say in the Gospel, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, you shall not enter into the kingdom And—This is my Body, &c. He did not say, take and eat the image of my Body. And so St. Paul, deriving his doctrine from the same divine fountain, (1 Cor. xi. 23, 24.) Neither Christ, nor the Apostles, nor the holy Fathers call the unbloody sacrifice, offered by the priest, an image, but the very Body, and the very Blood. Some of the Fathers indeed call them types before the consecration, as St. Eustachius—and St. Basil. But the following words shew that he means they were types before they were consecrated, but * That after consecration they are properly called the Body and Blood of Christ; that they are properly so, and so are believed to be.' They add, that the Iconoclasts, by a wicked sophism, say this divine oblation is made by adoption; and as it is madness to say this, so it is to call the Body and Blood of our Lord an image. At length, setting aside their false doctrine, they touch slightly upon the truth, saying, it is made the divine Body; but if it be an image of this divine Body, it cannot be the divine Body itself."