Jesuit Thomas Reese against Transubstantiation. Wherein Fr. Z responds.

Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ, is well known to readers of this blog as a charlatan theologian. He was once the editor of Jesuit-run Amerika, but in 2005 the CDF ousted him due to his stances on the use of condoms, homosexual priests, Communion for pro-abortion pols, etc.

Reese has published a piece in Fishwrap sneering at a very recent Pew Research Center study on Catholic belief concerning the Eucharist.

What heaps additional scandal on this Jesuit’s head is that he first put this corrosive piece in Religion News Service, whence it slithered to where I first spotted it, The Capital Journal (of Pierre, SD). It wasn’t just corroding more the already corroded Faith of the catholic Left, it was working its acid on a wider audience, Catholic and non-Catholic.  This is the essence of what celebrity Jesuits are up to these days: undermining the Catholic Faith of the rank and file.

Why did this jesuitical spruiker go into the highways and byways to peddle his poison this time?

The Pew study showed that more than two-thirds of Catholics believe that the Eucharistic bread and wine remain only symbols of – and are not really changed into – the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

Reese argues that the Pew study misrepresents what the Eucharist is.  He says that,

“ultimately the Mass is more about us becoming the body of Christ than it is about the bread becoming the body of Christ.”

Something must have hit his nerve.

So, Reese pens that transubstantiation is an outmoded doctrine, fashioned in the 13th century at a time when Catholic laity did not receive Communion, but were encouraged instead to adore Christ in the Eucharist.

Reese implies that adoring Christ in the Eucharist is a poor substitute for receiving the Eucharist.

But it’s Fr. Reese who does not represent accurately either the history or the Church’s longstanding teaching about the Eucharist.

Let’s drill down.

This is important, folks.

First of all, the Pew study gave 1835 US Catholics the following question:

Regardless of the official teaching of the Catholic Church, what do you personally believe about the bread and wine used for Communion? During the Catholic Mass, the bread and wine…1) actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ, 2) are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, 3) no answer.

Only 31% answered with #1; 69% answered with #2. Note well that in order to answer #2, the respondents had to skip over and not choose #1. So, it is not as if the poll didn’t give respondents the option of affirming Catholic Truth. The vast majority simply rejected it.

So Jesuit Fr. Reese downplayed the poll results.  Why?

Reese was afraid of the reaction of orthodox Catholics who quickly – rightly – blamed the shoddy catechesis in the Church – particularly in ‘catholic’ schools and universities – since Vatican II, as well as the downgrading of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament in the Novus Ordo Mass and in our churches, the dearth of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes, the disappearance of Corpus Christi processions and other outward manifestations of Eucharistic faith in liturgy, architecture, music, etc.

Says Reese,

“the Mass is not about adoring Jesus or even praying to Jesus.”

Oh really?

St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) replies: “nemo autem illam carnem manducat, nisi prius adoraverit; … peccemus non adorando – no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; … we should sin were we not to adore it.” (Enarrationes in Psalmos 98:9, CCL 39, 1385)

Pope Benedict XVI quoted this very line from St. Augustine, and commented on it thusly:

“Receiving the Eucharist means adoring the One whom we receive. Precisely in this way and only in this way do we become one with him. Therefore, the development of Eucharistic adoration, as it took shape during the Middle Ages, was the most consistent consequence of the Eucharistic mystery itself:  only in adoration can profound and true acceptance develop. And it is precisely this personal act of encounter with the Lord that develops the social mission which is contained in the Eucharist and desires to break down barriers, not only the barriers between the Lord and us but also and above all those that separate us from one another.” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia (22 December 2005): AAS 98 (2006), 45)

Even Pope Francis – a Jesuit! – regrets the decline of Eucharistic Adoration. In a homily at Mass in 2016 he said,

One cannot know the Lord without the habit of adoring, of adoring in silence. I believe — if I am not mistaken — that this prayer of adoration is the least known among us; it is the one we engage in the least. To waste time — if I may say it — before the Lord, before the mystery of Jesus Christ. To adore, there in the silence, in the silence of adoration. He is the Lord and I adore Him.”

Earlier that same year, Francis told the Italian Eucharistic Congress,

“Moreover, I want to encourage everyone to visit – if possible, every day – especially amid life’s difficulties, the Blessed Sacrament of the infinite love of Christ and His mercy, preserved in our churches, and often abandoned, to speak filially with Him, to listen to Him in silence, and to peacefully entrust yourself to Him.”

In seminary – what hell-hole that was – we were told that, “Jesus said ‘Take and eat!’, not ‘Sit and look!”

That’s what Reese is saying.

Concerning Fr. Reese’s bête noir, transubstantiation, already in 1968 – just shortly after Vatican II – in his Credo of the People of God St. Pope Paul VI warned theologians against abandoning the defined doctrine of transubstantiation:

“Christ cannot be thus present in this sacrament except by the change into His body of the reality itself of the bread and the change into His blood of the reality itself of the wine, leaving unchanged only the properties of the bread and wine which our senses perceive. This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church transubstantiation. Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable body and blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine, as the Lord willed it, in order to give Himself to us as food and to associate us with the unity of His Mystical Body.”

The same Paul already in 1965 in Mysterium fidei wrote:

For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on Masses celebrated in private or on the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved[Calling Fr. Reese! Calling Fr. Reese!]

11. To give an example of what We are talking about, it is not permissible to extol the so-called “community” Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism—which no one will deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist—fully expressed and exhausted the manner of Christ’s presence in this Sacrament; [NB] or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than “transignification,” or “transfinalization” as they call it; or, finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed.

12. Everyone can see that the spread of these and similar opinions does great harm to belief in and devotion to the Eucharist.

That is exactly the quote from Paul VI that I launched in a class at a heretical priest instructor (who the next year quit to shack up and live off a woman’s Vet benefits from her Vietnam MIA husband) who openly denied transubstantiation.  He became rector and threw me out the next day, but St. Thérèse won and got me back in.

Reese is still peddling that rubbish about transubstantiation, exactly what Paul VI found so dangerous.

Important as the dogmatically defined, technical doctrine of transubstantiation is, however, Catholics believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine since the beginnings of the Church. But Reese confuses the two theologies by conflating them in order to imply that belief in the Real Presence only really dates back to the 13th century!

This is chicanery!

Listen to St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350 AD):

“Do not see in the bread and wine merely natural elements, because the Lord has expressly said that they are his body and his blood: faith assures you of this, though your senses suggest otherwise.” (Mystagogical Catecheses, IV, 6: SCh 126, 138.)

In short, Reese argued that the Pew study misrepresents what the Eucharist is.

I guess he didn’t like the question.

On the other hand, Reese had no difficulty in 2018 touting an earlier Pew study on Catholic attitudes toward contraception.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Blatteroons, Jesuits, Liberals, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, Patristiblogging, The Drill, Wherein Fr. Z Rants, You must be joking! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I am all for dropping by and visiting the Blessed Sacrament frequently. I am fortunate to live in an area where four (4) parishes have perpetual adoration. These places protect the Sacrament by means of access codes or key cards.

    Sadly, many parishes keep their doors locked most of the time, so that one cannot go in and visit the Blessed Sacrament. If we want to increase devotion to the Eucharist, then we need to find a way to protect the church from vandalism without at the same time denying access to the faithful. One possibility would be to get men from the parish — say, from among the ranks of the retired — to volunteer to guard the church in pairs on rotating shifts. These men could thus kill three birds with one stone: adore Jesus in the Eucharist, keep Him safe from criminals, and make it possible for others to also adore Jesus, all at the same time.

    If we take concrete steps to increase devotion to our Lord in the tabernacle, will He not in turn pour out more graces on hardened hearts to move them to conversion?

  2. Kerry says:

    My dear Fr. Reese, I’ll see your Beringer of Tours, (c. 999-1088 A.D.) and go all in with:

    St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 110 A.D), St. Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 A.D.), St. Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 140-202 A.D.), Tertullian (c. 155-250 A.D.), Origen, (c. 185-254 A.D.), St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-216 A.D.), St. Cyprian of Carthage )c. 200-258 A.D.), Council of Nicaea (c. 325 A.D.), Aphraates the Persian Sage (c. 280-345 A.D.), St. Ephraim (c. 306-373 A.D.), St. Athanasius (c. 295-373 A.D.), St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350 A.D.), St. Hilary of Poitiers (c. 315-368 A.D.), St. Basil the great (c. 330-379 A.D.), St. Gregory of Nazianzen (c. 330-389 A.D.), St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-394 A.D.), St. Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 315-403 A.D.), Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 428 A.D.), St. John Chrysostom (c. 344-407 A.D.), Apostolic Constitutions (c. 400 A.D.), St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 333-397 A.D.), St. Jerome (c. 347-320 A.D.), St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.).

    Their commentaries about the Real Presence of Christ may be read here:

  3. Clinton R. says:

    For a Catholic, much less a priest to say this about Transubstantiation is very troubling. It reflects a faith lost or never had in the the first place. Our Lord is indeed Present in the Eucharist.

  4. chantgirl says:

    Reverence for the Blessed Sacrament needs to start from the top down. To encourage Catholics to go to Adoration, and to combat the lack of belief in the Real Presence, Francis should set a good example and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament.

  5. ex seaxe says:

    I wonder if I am misreading the article. What I see is Fr Reese’s first comment on the Pew research – “This certainly shows a failure in catechetics, … , Catholics have an impoverished idea of what the Eucharist is really all about.” That does not downplay it, he just goes on to move deeper, pointing out – “At the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, the bishops were arguing about whether the Eucharist is a sacrifice or a communion. Pope Benedict had to intervene and explain to the bishops that it was both, something the bishops should have learned in their first course on sacramental theology.”
    And I don’t see any denial of the Real Presence, what he does say is “I don’t think we have a clue what Jesus meant when he said, ‘This is my body.’ I think we should humbly accept it as a mystery and not pretend we understand it.”
    And “I personally find the theology of transubstantiation unintelligible, NOT because I don’t believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but because I do not believe in prime matter, substantial forms, substance and accidents.” [A viewpoint I share, I am not an Aristotelean, I don’t know anybody who is]
    And as far as the Mass is a Sacrificial Meal, surely among the most important words are ‘TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT, FOR THIS IS MY BODY …”, and if the celebrant, at least, does not partake, I doubt it is a valid Mass.

  6. onemore says:

    “Actually” is kind of an odd word choice in the survey. Could some people think that that meant the appearances would change? Or something like the Eucharistic miracles?

    I wonder if the results would be any better if they just asked: Do you believe in transubstantiation? Or if it used a more Catholic formula like: Do you believe the bread and wine become the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus?

    Trying to be optimistic … and I don’t think “actually” is a helpful word choice.

  7. Benedict Joseph says:

    One is left to wonder why this individual remains in his “profession.” Apparently it is the dime and the perks. His operative is caricature. It is at once quite sad and revolting.

  8. Credoh says:

    Might the idea of the bread and wine remaining substantially unchanged be termed “cisubstantiation”? More confusion between “trans” and “cis”? Is there a pattern?

  9. iPadre says:

    I pray Fr. Reese repents before he dies because “to whom more has been given, more will be expected.”

  10. Get back! Get way back if you are behind him in line at the Judgement Seat.

  11. mo7 says:

    What does this priest do for a living if not consecrate the bread and wine to become Our Lord?

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I still think it was “during the Catholic Mass” that people were shying away from. Makes it sound like that weird Anglican/Episcopal idea that the Eucharist only is Christ until Mass ends, or that transubstantiation happens as soon as Mass starts, or a bunch of other weird interpretations. Even if people think the other answers are wrong, they hate to say yes to an answer that is strangely worded. They would rather pick an answer which is wrong, but which can be understood in full.

  13. iamlucky13 says:

    I’m amused by his random need to criticize the Aristotilian concepts of substance and accidents. It provides no support for the points he wants to make and his contention that ideas dating to the 13th century and further back are foolish to consider in the 21st century is no more rational than mocking the wheel or fire as tools, which of course, both far predate Aristotle.

    I also had a chuckle over this progression of thought:

    (1) At the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, the bishops were arguing about whether the Eucharist is a sacrifice or a communion. Pope Benedict had to intervene and explain to the bishops that it was both, something the bishops should have learned in their first course on sacramental theology.
    (2) The Mass must therefore be seen as a sacrificial meal where we give thanks to God, especially for the gift of his son; where we renew the new covenant with him; and where we are united with him through Christ.

    (3) The Mass is not about adoring Jesus or even praying to Jesus.

    (1) Mock others for presumably being well-educated but misunderstanding a relatively basic Catholic theological concept as a matter of “either/or” rather than properly as “both/and”.

    (2) Continue the discussion with another, closely related concept.

    (3) Explicitly and incorrectly claim the second concept is strictly “either/or”

  14. iamlucky13 says:

    Quoting chantgirl:

    Reverence for the Blessed Sacrament needs to start from the top down. To encourage Catholics to go to Adoration, and to combat the lack of belief in the Real Presence, Francis should set a good example and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament.

    Agreed, and fortunately, he does, although perhaps the Church would benefit from more frequent and prominent example in this regards.

    Click for a Google image search of him doing so, if you would like

  15. Pingback: ASK FATHER: Bring pebbles to church so we can make a new altar | Fr. Z's Blog

  16. Lurker 59 says:

    @Suburbanbanshee — As much as religious survey questions are generally not asked well, being an ex-Protestant, I can guarantee you that the majority have no understanding of the finer points of their own theology, weird or otherwise, and that your average Catholic, not knowing his own theology, is even more in the dark. I don’t think that causes the survey to be flubbed (unlike a previous survey a few months ago).

    I actually think that the numbers are inflated and if one were to ask the question, as below, that the numbers would be worse.

    During the Mass, the bread and wine…1) become vehicles for the presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. 2.) become symbolic representations of the body and blood of Jesus Christ 3.) becomes the symbolic incorporation of the congregation into the body and blood of Jesus Christ 4.) become the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ 5.) no answer.

  17. robtbrown says:


    1. Use of “Transubstantiation” does not necessarily refer to the categories of Aristotle. It is first used in Lateran IV in 1215, ten years before the birth of St Thomas. St Thomas was first exposed to Aristotle when studying at Naples under Peter the Hibernian. The study of Aristotle was forbidden within the Papal states. Naples was outside the Papal States, so it makes no sense to think that Lateran IV would refer to the metaphysics of Aristotle.

    2. I know of no official document that refers to accidentia when referring to the Eucharist. Instead, the word species (appearances) is used.

    3. In Catholic intellectual formation, however, Eucharistic change was usually explained with the substance/accidents couplet. This began to change with the rejection of neo scholasticism and the adoption of Existentialism. The problem is that the claim that Aristotle is being rejected is not correct, as shown above.

    4. It also needs to be noted that neo scholasticism and the thought of St Thomas are not the same thing. Neoscholasticism was heavily influenced by Rationalism, according to which distinctions like Substance and Accidents are merely structures of the mind that have little or nothing in common with Reality.


    The Jesuit Theology of the Sacraments, i.e, Suarez, is contractual and moral, and thus depends upon the legislative, i.e., governing, authority of the Church. (In the Ratzinger Memoirs he points out that Rahner’s Sacramental theology is that of Suarez, but with the language of German philosophy).

    On the other hand, the Sacramental approach of St Thomas is based on Scripture and Reason and does not depend on the governing authority of the Church.

    When the Jesuits attempt Sacramental Theology independent of Church governance, confusion follows. Big Time Confusion.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Also: The Eucharist is not a meal.

    There are three possibilities.

    1. The Eucharist has the Form and Content of a meal

    2. The Euchatist has Form of a Meal but Content of a Sacrifice.

    3. The Eucharist has the Form and Content of a Sacrifice.

    JRatzinger wrote an article on this, in which he says the obvious answer is #3

  19. Lurker 59 says:

    I am sure in here is some joke that revolves around Jesuits and their understanding of liturgy, but it is probably so old and Fr. Reese s.j. makes it such a truism that it need not be repeated.

    Let us instead posit the question differently. Is Fr. Reese s.j. within the bounds of current catechesis, the mode of the Liturgy and how it forms individuals? Or in other words, is the common experience of the Sunday Liturgy such that Fr. Reese s.j. is correct to say “ultimately the [Mass as experienced by people] is more about us becoming the body of Christ than it is about the bread becoming the body of Christ.”

    I submit that Fr. Reece s.j. is correct and that is the focal point of what most people experience in terms of the Mass. In looking at the chosen structure of the OF Mass in one’s local parishes, what is preached on, the various songs, and how long various liturgical elements are elongated, can one say otherwise?

    If one were a priest, one of the easiest things to do to increase belief in the Real Presence is looking to the modular nature of the OF Liturgy — pay attention to what you are leaving out and including. Pay attention to the hymns. Pay attention to what you are preaching on. Look at the structure of everything as a whole and ask “what message is really being sent?”.

  20. Spade says:

    This reminds me of the old joke about how the Jesuits are so into innovation that there’s only two things that have never changed at a Jesuit Mass.

  21. lgreen515 says:

    I would be interested to hear some reflection of what adoration is. I am a convert and I am still trying to get my head around it. I go to adoration–our parish has it every Tuesday. I look at Jesus. I talk to Jesus. But I don’t always get a feeling that I have encountered him.

  22. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    “the Mass is not about adoring Jesus or even praying to Jesus.”

    That is simply an unbelievable quote from even a liberal Jesuit priest….

  23. robtbrown says:

    The bread and wine become the Body and Blood so that we may become members of the Body of Christ. This happens by:

    Being present at the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.
    Eating the Body of Christ
    Adoration of Him in Prayer and Sacramental Exposition

  24. robtbrown says:

    This isn’t necessarily a matter of Jesuit attitude toward liturgy. Even in their times of theological glory, the 16th and 17th centuries, they had a funky understanding of how the Eucharistic Sacrifice is effected

  25. TonyO says:

    Let us instead posit the question differently. Is Fr. Reese s.j. within the bounds of current catechesis, the mode of the Liturgy and how it forms individuals? Or in other words, is the common experience of the Sunday Liturgy such that Fr. Reese s.j. is correct to say “ultimately the [Mass as experienced by people] is more about us becoming the body of Christ than it is about the bread becoming the body of Christ.”

    I submit that Fr. Reece s.j. is correct

    Robtbrown, you would have to rephrase the question as “is it correct to say ‘ultimately the [Mass as experienced by people] is more about us having the feeling like we are becoming the “body of Christ” than it is about the actual Christ, whether taking the place of the bread or otherwise?’ ”

    Note the differences: first, the scare quotes around the “body of Christ” are from the people themselves scare-quoting the phrase because even they know (i.e. they believe) it is a loaded phrase which they seek to distance themselves from in its essential meaning. Second, the people’s experience is ABOUT their feelings, not about anything substantive that exists outside of their feelings – like Christ. Third, the nature of the either / or offered (i.e. the “more / than “) displays the antipathy toward actually adoring the real Christ, and thus presents an impediment to being assimilated into the Body of Christ . Fourth, the poverty-stricken theology that undermines the very basis on which we become assimilated into the Body of Christ, that of adoringly partaking of the sacrament of the divine Presence, in which when we eat the (real) Christ, because this Food is overwhelmingly stronger than us, it instead transforms us rather than we transforming it (Him).

  26. TonyO says:

    There are three possibilities.

    1. The Eucharist has the Form and Content of a meal

    2. The Euchatist has Form of a Meal but Content of a Sacrifice.

    3. The Eucharist has the Form and Content of a Sacrifice.

    Robtbrown, you juxtapose an OPPOSITION to the two ideas, meal and sacrifice. But in the Old Testament, more than one type of sacrifice under the Law was of an animal or grain, part of which was burnt as an offering to God, and part of which was to be consumed, by either the priest or the person bringing the sacrifice. It is not essential to the notion of “sacrifice” as a whole that it not be involved in a meal, the whole animal offered was considered the “sacrifice” although only part was burnt to God. What seems essential is that the animal was consumed: burning is one way of consuming, but not the only way. The thanksgiving and peace offerings (see Lev. 3 and 7) involved part of the animal being burnt to God and part being consumed by the offerer. It would be silly in the extreme to say that the notion of the PEACE offering did not include the form or content of a meal, given that it was, precisely, the taking food together before God that restored and cemented the peace.

    Furthermore, in the sacrifice of the New Law, it is an improper sacrifice if the priest does not consume the Body and Blood. There is something awfully, awfully strange about demanding that when the priest (either under the Old or New Covenants) eats the portion allotted to him, it is NOT in either the form or content of a meal. See, rather, Benedict’s declaration in 2005 to the bishops: it is both / and.

    Finally, in a discussion of the Eucharist, the terms “form” and “content” are imprecise. The Church has developed more precise language in order to avoid confusion and error. The Eucharist is under the outward appearance (or “species”) of bread and wine, but it is in substance Jesus Christ. This truth is neither against the Eucharist going forward as under the aspect of a meal, nor against it going forward as under the aspect of a sacrifice, because both a meal and a sacrifice allow for the consuming of the sacrificial animal prepared: they are not in opposition.

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    lgreen 515 — Adoration is not about feeling a connection to Christ (although one often does). It’s about having that connection by doing something for Him. “Will you not stay awake one hour with Me?”

    God is always there for each of us. But we aren’t always mindful of being there for Him. Adoration is spending time with Him — putting in the effort, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It’s sitting at the feet of the Master, whether the Master feels like talking or not. Family time.

    And of course, it’s pretty handy for contemplation, or any other kind of prayer.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Tony O,

    You quoted someone else, assuming it was me. It was not.

    An easy way to understand the question is that Christ’s Life and Death (re-presented in the Eucharist) is the cause of incorporation into the Mystical Body, which is obviously the effect.

    As an unapologetic follower of St Thomas I insist that Theology is not only concerned with causes, but first causes. The Reese article, however, primarily concerns the effect of the Eucharist. Thus, strictly speaking, I would not consider it theology–maybe spirituality is a better description.

    Unfortunately, I have to at least familiarize myself with post modern theology not only in its academic forms but also in forms like the Reese article, which barely qualifies as theology, if at all.

    I’ll respond to your second comment later.


  29. Pingback: The Devil Wears SJ. The Jesuit Superior General: The Devil is a symbol, not a person. | Fr. Z's Blog

  30. Unwilling says:

    lgreen 515, Suburbanbanshee said all that is necessary. But as a fellow convert I would add to the parenthesis that, in early stages of conversion, it is not unusual to receive unspeakably pleasurable feelings and intimacies (“consolations”) that accompany our worship. It is also quite usual to find these become less frequent as we mature, and are sometimes replaced with terrible sufferings (“dark night”) participations in the sufferings of Christ who knows what is best for you. I found the best model in the autobiography or Life of St Teresa of Avila and, if you can find it, you might study Garrigou-Lagrange The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life.

  31. robtbrown says:

    Excuse the delay. I am traveling.

    1. There is nothing wrong with using the words form and content in this sense. Form refers to the litugical structure, Content to what it contains. In fact, Aristotle uses form ontologically as an analog of the shape of a statue, matter with the stone or clay.

    2. As I noted above, most of what I wrote is taken from JRatzinger in an article that refers to his thought.

    3. Historically, the Eucharist is said to be a memorial of Christ’s Life and Death, instituted at the Last Supper. Because Protestants denied transubstantiation. it became a memorial of the Last Supper. That is where the mass as meal idea comes from. The Novus Ordo adopts a structure appropriate to mass as meal.

    4. JRatzinger considers mass in some lesser way a meal. I dont. There is no doubt that it provides nourishment, but so does the multiple vitamin/mineral pill I take every evening.

Comments are closed.