Maurice De La Taille, S.J.

Regarding The Most August Sacrament And Sacrifice Of The Body And Blood Of Christ

Maurice De La Taille, S.J.

Book 2



Chapter 1—Our Lord's Institution Of Our Sacrificial Offering Of His Body And Blood
Chapter 2—The Early Fathers And The Ecclesiastical Sacrifice Of The Body And Blood Of Christ
Chapter 3—On The Relation Of The Mass To The Sacrifice Of Our Lord
Chapter 4—The Different Opinions As To What Makes The Mass A True Sacrifice
Chapter 5—The Fruit Of The Legitimate Sacrifice
Chapter 6—The Mass Of A Priest Cut Off From The Church Or Deprived Of His Office
Chapter 7—How The Sacrifice Of The Mass Is Carried Out

Our Lord's Institution Of Our Sacrificial Offering Of His Body And Blood



CHRIST not only celebrated the Supper; He also commanded us to celebrate it. Both Sacred Scripture and the history of the Church make this ritual institution abundantly clear. Indeed up to the present time it has scarcely ever been denied by any heretics apart from a few more or less insignificant ones.[1]

The first of these heretics that we meet are the Gnostic Archontici, who in the beginning and during the course of the fourth century, according to Epiphanius (Haer. , 40. P.G. 41, 680-684), attributed the origin of the Eucharist to a certain Sabaoth, prince or archon of the seventh sphere, God of the Jews and father of the devil. They were followed in the fifth and sixth century by those Enthusiastae who were called either Massiliani, this title having a semitic origin, or Euchitae, from the Greek. These assigned no value to anything spiritual except prayer. According to Theodoret (Eccl. Hist. , 1, 4, c. 10. P.G. 82, 1144), they held that there was nothing either harmful or useful in the Eucharist. Akin to these from the seventh to the ninth century, and even later, we find a Manichean group, the Publiciani, who said that Christ did not commit to us any celebration of the Eucharist other than the utterance of the words: Take ye, eat, and drink, unaccompanied by any action on the bread or the chalice. For this we have the combined testimony of Photius (Contra Manichaeos, 1, 1, c. 19. P.G. 102, 56), Petrus Siculus (Historia Manichaeorum, c. 10. P.G. 104, 1256; Sermo 3, adv. Manichaeos, cols. 1348-1349), and Euthymius Zigabenus (Panoplia, tit. 24. P.G. 130, 1196). They were followed in the twelfth century by the Bogomili, in Greek the Theophili, who appeared first in Bulgaria and then spread over the rest of the Empire of Constantinople. According to Euthymius Zigabenus (Panoplia, tit. 27. P.G. 130, 1313), they held that the bread of the Supper enjoined on us by Christ was nothing more than the Lord's prayer in which we ask for our daily bread. The chalice was the last discourse of Christ after the Supper, in which our Lord left us His testament, so to speak: the chalice being the new testament. During the same period in France there flourished the heresy of the Petrobrusiani. These were mainly of Manichaean origin,[2] and from the letter of Peter of Cluny, written against them, we learn that they did not actually deny that the Eucharist was celebrated by Christ, though they said that He gave no power whatever to other men to celebrate it.[3]

All these early heretics, carried away by Manichaean or Gnostic preconceptions which led them to a hatred of the flesh, refused to admit that Christ commanded us to partake of His Flesh and Blood. They distorted the Scriptures as best they could, each one in his own sense. The attitude of modern opponents to the institution of Christ is quite as much vitiated by preconception as was the attitude of the earlier heretics.[4] For while the earlier writers would deny to Christ a human body like ours, the moderns, considering Him a man in the full sense, but denying His divinity, would have it that, since Christ was a mere man, He could not have foreknowledge of His own death and resurrection, and so could not found the Church, or could not endow it, if founded, with a sacramental commemorative rite. A preconceived opinion in each case is in charge, in each case it guides the mind, and in each case it amends the data to its purpose. There is a considerable similarity between some of the present-day interpretations and the imaginary reconstructions of those early times. On this, see Berning, Die Einsetzung der heiligen Eucharistie, pp. 7-17; Batiffol, Etudes d'Histoire et de Theologie positive, 2e Serie, 3, pp. 53-77; Rauschen, L'Eucharistie et la Penitence, French translation, pp. 50-60; Lebreton, Dictionn. Apol. , art. Eucharistie, 1548-1554; Ruch, D. T. C. , art. L'Eucharistie d'apres la sainte Ecriture, 1024-1031.

The genuine text of the Scripture narrative is not at issue now: for (1) Everyone admits that the command in the First Epistle to the Corinthians to repeat what Christ did is genuine. (2) Likewise everyone admits the coupling of the bread with the Body and the Blood with the chalice in St. Paul, St. Mark and St. Matthew. (3) Some of our adversaries also admit that the insertion in St. Luke, XXII, of 19b-20 discussed at end of Ch. III, vol. I, is genuine.[5] The question, therefore, is not what the sacred writers have narrated, but what Christ actually did or said. Did He or did He not command the Supper to be renewed in the Church, and to continue on through the ages until His return from heaven? We are not endeavouring to find out whether the text is genuine, we are asking whether it is historically true.

Among modern writers the leader of those who deny the historical truth or historicity of the texts in question[6] is Adolf Julicher (Zur Geschichte der Abendmahlsfeier der Alten Kirche, in Theologische Abhandlungen C. V. Weizsacker gewidmet, 1892, pp. 215-250), who says that the Lord merely enunciated an ex tempore[7] parable[8] indicative of His approaching death, which would be of benefit to the disciples.[9]

Spitta holds that Christ did not intend here to announce His death,[10] that the words welling up suddenly from His Messianic consciousness[11] were simply intended to predict in obscure symbolical language to His disciples the joys of that banquet, at which those who entered into the delights of salvation and eternal life would, as it were, feast upon Christ.[12] Recently Harnack (Dogmengeschichte bd. 1, p. 76) all but gave his consent to this interpretation: although he concludes with the words: It is not quite clear (ibid).[13]

After these comes J. Hoffmann (Das Abendmahl im Urchristentum, 1903), who thought that by the Supper itself Christ merely meant to foreshadow, in the common use by all the disciples of the same bread and the same chalice, a kind of union as of friends and brothers at the same table.[14] But, when Christ says later on of the bread: This is my body (while not saying anything about the Blood over the chalice),[15] He signifies that all of them should pass into the one body or social community in which He would hold the central place.[16] Thus Christ, on the approach of His separation from the disciples,[17] but thereby all the more conscious of His eschatological, His final victory,[18] desired in the meantime by this Supper to enter into a kind of pact of inviolable friendship with His faithful disciples.[19]

Julicher therefore considers the Supper to be a prediction by way of parable; Spitta takes it to be an eschatological prophecy; to Hoffmann it is a social symbol; in the mind of Goguel (op. cit., pp. 97-101) the signification of death, the consciousness of a final Messianic Victory, and a social bond between friends and companions—passion, kingdom, compact combine to make up one complex explanation of the Supper, so that Christ at the Supper signified His wish to give to the disciples, even at the loss of His own life, that which is most intimate to Himself, namely His innermost feelings, His mind, His power, that with Himself they should be sharers of the labour and of the kingdom.

Now if the action of Christ at the Last Supper was intended merely to indicate or prophesy something, or to comfort or exhort, there was certainly no reason for enjoining its repetition by way of sacrament. However, the question then arises; if the repetition was not commanded, why was the repetition ever made at all, and made in such a way as if it had been commanded by Christ? To this question various replies have been given.

According to Adolf Julicher, the repetition of the Supper arose from a kind of inward need (einem inneren Bedurfniss, op. cit., p. 245) of the minds and hearts of the disciples, deeply moved by the great signal fact of Christ foretelling His death in the bread and wine.[20] For when later on all the disciples were gathered together in the same Supper chamber awaiting His return, they would inevitably renew at their daily suppers the memory of all they experienced at that Last Supper of the Lord, and this would be done in no more fitting way than by repeating the same thing which had been done by the Lord.[21] 1 The next development was that by reason of the extraordinary psychological activity of that primitive period—a time prolific in fictitious tales—the Apostles would come to think, and even must have thought,[22] that they had received a command from Christ to renew the Supper.[23]

Spitta describes our rite as an elaboration of the supper celebrated by the Christian assembly,[24] which at first, like the other Jewish bodies, would have its own religious banquets; they could not hold those banquets without at the same time remembering the promise of Christ, that He would be invisibly present with them and would recall to their minds the words which He had uttered at the Last Supper. This being so, quite spontaneously they changed the thanksgiving over the bread and wine into a thanksgiving for the spiritual food of the soul, and for the fruits of the true Vine. As they said those prayers of thanksgiving, the promise of the future coming of the Lord, and also of the banquet in the world to come, was necessarily before their eyes.[25] But the whole of the evolution of faith and ritual could not stop here; it had to take on more and more the characteristics of a memorial celebration of the death of our Lord.[26] This evolution, according to Spitta, can be explained as follows: assuming that the Supper was held on the thirteenth day of the month Nisan, and so was not the paschal supper, the disciples, not having yet held or celebrated any pasch in the month Nisan, were bound by the Law to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the following month according to Numbers, IX, 10 et seq. (cf. II Paralip., 30 et seq.). At this latter pasch celebrated by them it was impossible for them not to advert to the various similarities between the paschal lamb and Jesus slain on the fourteenth Nisan (for instance no bone being broken), and by His death taking them out of the slavery of Egypt and leading them into the land of promise.[27] It was more than likely, too, because of their visionary state of mind at the time,[28] that the Apostles imagined they saw Him seated with them eating that pasch.[29] Such a pasch would inevitably appear to them as a new institution.[30] Through the influence of this paschal analogy, once induced in this manner, it came about, in the first place, that the words of our Lord were deflected from their original sense and taken to signify His death; and then later that, just as any head of a family in the Law would say: This is the pasch which we eat because the Lord passed, etc., so the Christians persuaded themselves that our Lord's words, This is my body, were to be recited to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ slain on the Cross; and this they did by borrowing from another source (the paschal supper) the character and the force of a testament intrinsically bound up with the blood.[31] Thus it came about gradually that the actual Supper of the Lord was presented in a new fashion, conformable to a more highly evolved rite of the Church,[32] and that the institution of this rite was attributed to Christ Himself.[33] J. Hoffmann (op. cit., pp. 94-95) and then Goguel (op. cit., pp. 101-102) offer even a more brilliant suggestion: the supper of the Christians was first introduced without any reference to Christ's Supper, and then later on with the passing of the years, the two suppers, paschal and Christian, were fused into one by a kind of process of development of the faith.

Hence two questions arise (J. Hoffmann, op. cit., p. 95) : what was the nature of this alleged primitive Christian supper which did not originate in the Last Supper, and how did it later on justify its claim to an origin which it did not possess?

To the first question, what was the original nature of the Christian primitive supper, Goguel (op. cit., p. 131) replies: that supper, namely the breaking of the bread, was the natural result of the communal life of the early Christians—the daily use of a common table. J. Hoffmann's description of those suppers is more vivid (op. cit., p. 108). He sets before us a picture of religious feasts for which each one brought his own contribution (religiosas symbolas). These feasts were celebrated after the manner of the Jewish meals, at which, since as a rule they were invested with a religious atmosphere, it was the custom of the head of the family to bless the bread and wine (op. cit., pp. 104-107).

To the second question, as to the linking up of the primitive supper of the Christians with the Last Supper, there are several replies given. J. Hoffmann, for instance, finds in these early Christian suppers a very ardent eschatological faith, a faith which was the bond of Christian community life,[34] and which urged the faithful to partake of the food, as in Acts, II" 46: with gladness and simplicity of heart, breaking bread from house to house.[35] Moreover, so vivid was the expectation of the coming of the Lord (parousia), that everyone seemed to feel that Christ living once more was present, though invisibly, at the feast.[36] Then, as the parousia was delayed, the Passion and death of the Lord came gradually more and more in their minds,[37] and so inevitably (necessario) came to be considered the scope and aim of the whole of Christ's life on earth.[38] Just as the Scripture declared the death of Christ, so now of necessity THEY MUST BELIEVE[39] that the Messiah declared it. In this way the Last Supper developed a new signification, for now THEY MUST NECESSARILY CONSIDER IT AS A BANQUET OF LEAVE-TAKING (abschiedsmahl), in which, and by which, the death of Christ was pre-announced.[40] Hence in the descriptions of the Last Supper they began to add to the comparison between the bread and the Body, a like comparison between the wine and the Blood.[41] As a matter of fact, the very difference which existed between the Last Supper and the daily supper of the faithful influenced them to compare the two and to study the kinship between the one and the other.[42] This kinship was now so obvious that it would be very strange if it were not recognised.[43] For if Christ had announced His death in the breaking of the bread and the distribution of the wine, the Christians would necessarily think of His death whenever they broke the bread and passed round the cup, that is to say at their daily meals.[44] This remembrance was a kind of "involuntary necessity" (ein unwillkurliches Bedurfniss) for the Christian community. Hence there gradually arose the custom of repeating the Supper narrative at the daily table, shortly after the usual prayers at the blessing of the bread and wine.[45] Later with the development of Christological faith, faith centred on Christ, when the thought now prevailed that the Lord submitted to death for the sins of men, Christ Himself was considered to have announced and promised at the Supper the atoning effect of His death.[46] The Christians applied this consoling promise to themselves every time they inserted at their own suppers the remembrance of the Supper of the Lord. Hence now it was not involuntarily, so to speak, but of set purpose, that they commemorated the redeeming death of the Lord in joy and gladness.[47] Still later they commemorated the death, not only of set purpose, but as a duty to be fulfilled in gratitude to Christ.[48] This consciousness of a duty to commemorate Christ's death begot an opinion that Christ had given a command that a commemoration of Himself should be made at the suppers held after the manner of His own Supper.[49] The final stage was yet to come when, under the influence of Paul, the Supper would blossom out into a mystery of communion with God, by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ unto the remission of sins.[50]

Goguel's view is that the thought of the invisible presence of Christ did not anticipate the commemoration of the Passion, but rather the commemoration of the Passion anticipated the thought of the invisible presence of Christ and led on to it. In other words, as the early Christians came to recall more and more the saving death of Christ and the Last Supper, they spontaneously arrived at the thought that their own supper was a continuation of it and an imitation also, all the more that the risen Christ had appeared before them, and especially at their meals in common. Hence they were easily prone to imagine that they saw Christ as though present in their midst (op. cit. , pp. 131-133). It was through the influence of St. Paul that they finally came to look upon the Supper as a means of communion with Christ, and the bread and wine to be the Body and Blood of Christ (op. cit. , pp. 187-188, and 289).[51]

We have seen that there were writers who said that there was no link whatever between the chalice and the Blood in the Last Supper; it still remained for critics to deny that there was any indication of a relationship between the bread and the Body. This the more radical writers have done. Axel Andersen (Das Abendmahl in den zwei ersten Jahrhunderten nach Christus, 2, p. 35),[52] Loisy (Les Evangiles synoptiques, t. 2, pp. 538-540; cf. L'initiation chretienne, loc. cit. , p. 280). By so doing they have equivalently denied that the Scripture account of the Supper of the Lord has any value at all as true history.[53] Very similar to the view of these critics is that of J. Reville (Les origines de l'Eucharistie, p. 145), who, while excluding from our Lord's words every reference to the real Body and Blood of Christ, thinks that the words of Christ are merely meant to signify the moral body, or the confederation of Christ and His disciples.

Other critics held even more daring views, saying that the Church's Supper originated in pagan superstitions, for example in the totemistic rites of barbarous tribes, as lately Solomon Reinach (Cultes, Mythes et Religions, t. 2, 1906, p. VI; cf. Orpheus, 3, p. 126) had the impudence to maintain. He nevertheless holds that there was an historical supper of the Lord, such as Loisy positively asserted; with this Reinach agrees in his more recent work Orpheus (1909, pp. 330-331), in which he admits that he has grown rather tired of totemism (Transactions of the Third International Congress for the History of Religions, 1908, V. 2, p. 118; cf. Huby, Christus, 1912, p. 26).[54]

But what is to be said of those who, overstepping the limits of mere foolishness, assert that Jesus never existed? Surely this is the sheerest insanity. They declare that He was some eponymous hero of that social revolution which gave a beginning to the Church, and hence that the Eucharist is nothing else than a transformation and adaptation of banquets in use in the religious mysteries of the pagans: so Kalthoff (Das ChristusProblem, Grundlinien zu einer Sozialtheologie, 2, 1903, p. 48); or they say, on no basis at all, that the life of Christ was simply borrowed from the most ancient myths, Babylonian for instance, as Jensen thinks (Das Gilgamesch-Epos in der Weltliteratur, bd. l; Die Ursprunge der alt-testamentlichen PatriarchenPropheten und Befreier-Sage und der neutestamentlichen JesusSage, 1906; and Hat der Jesus der Evangelien wirklich gelebt? 1910). Jensen even places St. Paul amongst the myths (Moses, Jesus, Paulus, 2, 1909), and traces the origin of the Eucharist back to the sacrifice which Xisuthros after the deluge on the mountain presented to the gods, before being endowed with immortality (Das Gilgamesch-Epos, etc. , p. 900, and Moses, Jesus, Paulus, pp. 46-48), and to the loaves which Xisuthros gave to his nephew Gilgamesch when he awoke from sleep (Moses, Jesus, Paulus, pp. 46-48). After these writers we have a succession of others to rival the reputation of these for ingenuity, amongst whom the most notorious is Drews. It is little wonder that he relegated the Eucharist to the world of myths (Die Christusmythe, pp. 89-99),[55] seeing that with Jesus (ibid. and Hat Jesus gelebt? 1910) he also mythologised St. Peter (Die Petruslegende, Ein Beitrag zur Mythologie des Christentums, 1910)! One surely will admit that our makers of myths, in their attempts to explain the origin of the Eucharist, are hardly more successful than the Gnostics and Manichaeans of the past. Solomon Reinach (Mythes, Cultes et Religions, loc. cit.) may quite justly claim the title of superdocetist of the Gnostic school of Docetists, and Jensen has no reason to complain if he is listed in kinship and placed on a level with the Manichaean brood of Babylon.

Indeed, the sins of the mythical school against the laws of criticism and logic, though not more grave, are in no way different in kind from those committed by writers who deny the institution of the Eucharist by our Lord. Some of these writers are more unbridled, some more cautious, but in either case the method is the same: there is a constant predilection for subjective invention as against objective testimony. Inevitably such a method issues in a crop of unreal fantasies, varying only according to the special studies and literary bent of the critic.[56] It can be truly said that the Eucharistic rite of the Christians can no more be derived from such a mutilated and jejune supper, as is attributed to Christ by the modern rationalists and liberal Protestants, than can the Supper itself and the Eucharist be explained by the myths.

For an insuperable obstacle to such an explanation is found in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, XI, 23, where St. Paul refers us to the teaching he had delivered to the Corinthians about five years previously. How could it come about that within twenty years after the death of Christ, not only a complete evolution or transformation would occur, a transformation in which the Supper would evolve from an almost primitive nothingness into a true action on the Body slain for us and the Blood of the New Testament, but also that in that short time a conviction would have developed in the mind of the Christians that Christ Himself had celebrated the Supper in this ritual fashion?[57] Not only is St. Paul a witness to this usage and belief, but he even tells the Corinthians that he has handed it on to them as the teaching or the dogma received from the Lord.[58]

On the other hand, the transformation of the Supper demanded by the critics is either the invention of St. Paul or it is not. If he did not invent it, it was devised by the whole primitive Church in common. Surely this is beyond credence. Imagine a mighty development uniform and concordant, from such a small imperfect seed, and this evolution spread among millions of believers throughout the world, and these believers absolutely diverse in race, condition and culture. What a miracle this would be! Far and away greater than any of the stupendous miracles of the Scriptures! If, on the other hand, you prefer to say that this teaching and that transformation is the invention of St. Paul, the difficulties will be no less formidable. For this was a matter of vast importance in the life of the Church, and how could he make innovations in a matter of such moment? He was not the only Apostle or only Doctor of the Church. How could he who was not present at the Supper persuade the others who were present at it that the Lord had said or done this or that, nay that He had commanded what He had neither commanded, nor said nor done?[59] And even if they were convinced, the twelve Apostles would then be compelled to admit that up to that present time they had celebrated the Supper, or the breaking of bread, in a different rite, in different words and, finally, for a different reason than that which they had now admitted (under the suasion of St. Paul) was shown to them and commanded by our Lord in the past. Did they admit this, they would stultify themselves in the sight of their churches, and undermine all the authority of their testimony.[60] For you could hardly suggest the only alternative: that St. Paul influenced the twelve Apostles and the other Christians to accept his rite, by persuading them that all this time they had been celebrating the Supper in a way which they had not been celebrating it. St. Peter might well protest, as he did on another occasion: these are not drunk, as you suppose (Acts, II, 15).

Hence St. Paul did not persuade the Apostles to accept his invention. If this invention did exist, and was not accepted by the Apostles, it is strange that we find no trace whatever of a mighty dissension between him and the Apostles, between the churches founded by St. Paul and the churches founded by the other Apostles, no trace of such a dissension within any of the churches themselves, say at Jerusalem, Ephesus, Antioch, Rome, no dissension between the followers of St. Paul and the followers of St. James, St. John or St. Peter. No such dissension is ever noted either then or later among themselves or between the churches regarding the celebration of the Eucharist. The rite all the world over was identical, a fact which argues for the most perfect harmony in the minds of all, in respect of the teaching and the propagation of it.

Added to the insuperable testimony of St. Paul, we have the no less formidable testimony of St. Luke (XXII, 15-20). We say that the text in question is genuine, not interpolated.[61] We may note here that the narrative according to St. Luke is not just a reflex of the teaching of St. Paul. St. Luke is himself a critic who sifts evidence carefully. His purpose in writing the Gospel is to describe in order things as they happened: according as they have delivered them to us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. This would be especially the case in matters of greater moment. Hence, in this matter of very great moment, St. Luke was critically convinced that his narrative was not only in perfect agreement with the teaching of St. Paul, but also in perfect agreement with the events as they actually occurred at the Last Supper of Christ. Hence we must hold that St. Luke's description of the Last Supper is historically true.

Now the very fact that St. Luke's account is historical demolishes at once a further objection of some of the critics who say that the identity of the primitive supper of the churches (as celebrated for instance in the Church in Jerusalem) and the supper of the Church at a later period (as in the First Epistle to the Corinthians) can be positively disproved from the expression the breaking of bread which was in general use (Acts, II, 42 and 46; XX, 11; cf. Luke, XXIV, 35), inferring from this that there was no chalice in the primitive Christian suppers (Goguel, op. cit. , pp. 130-131), or at any rate no comparison between the chalice and the Blood (Brandt, op. cit. , p. 234).[62] The objection is easily answered as follows: these passages either refer to the primitive supper of the churches or they do not. If they do not (as a few Catholics and quite a number of non-Catholics think), no inference whatever can be drawn from the passages as to the character of the supper of the Church.[63] If, on the other hand, these passages do refer to the supper of the Church (as most Catholics and some of our adversaries think), then (seeing that the sacred writer of the Gospel and the Acts is the same, and while writing the Gospel convinced himself from first-hand evidence that our Lord's Supper and the supper of the Church of a later period were identical, and actually considers this latter as a repetition of the former enjoined by Christ) he surely could not mean by the breaking of bread as in the Acts, the supper of the Church, unless the breaking of bread were identical with the Gospel exemplar and its copy in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Nor is it difficult to see why St. Luke speaks of it as the breaking of bread and not the distribution of the chalice. For in our ordinary every-day speech the name by which we describe our meetings for eating and drinking is taken rather from the eating than from the drinking, as when we in English speak of our daily meals. St. Paul in the eleventh chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, where, speaking of a supper (deipnon) in which liquids and solids are consumed (dj de menquei), mentions eating alone in two places (verses 20 and 33), and does not speak of drinking. Clearly here to eat (fagein) and to eat supper (deipnon fagein) is an exact equivalent as far as the sense goes of the other expression to eat and drink (esqiein kai pinein), which he also uses here incidentally (verse 22). So the word eating is often used for both eating and drinking. In other words, viewed as a whole, the feast comprising the different elements was named after its most prominent constituent.

In the third place we find both in St. Luke's and St. Mark's Gospels an implicit inculcation of the command to repeat. For first, the Supper is introduced as the new Pasch. Now the old pasch, once enacted at the time of the liberation of the people under Moses, was from thence on always celebrated each year, and was partaken of by every generation of the people of Israel, as part of the ritual fixed by law. In like manner, therefore, the use of the expression new Pasch suggests that this new Pasch is to continue on throughout the ages as part of the law of the New Testament (Berning, op. cit. , p. 140). But, furthermore, the reason why the Apostles were commanded to eat and drink of the Eucharist is indicated by the sacred writers clearly enough[64] to be because this would be the partaking of the Body and Blood, or, as we saw, of the Victim given over to death. But if it was necessary for the Apostles to partake of the Victim of the Redemption, it was no less necessary for the others to do so, for many, in the words of the narrative (Matth. , XXVI, 28; Mark XIV, 24), for whom Christ was given over to the death of the Cross. For them, and for us, the reason for eating was the same; hence the sacrificial food must be within our reach, and the repetition of the Supper amply provided this.

Finally, confirmation of our thesis is also found in the Gospel of St. John, though Loisy foolishly wrote once: "It is perhaps worthy of remark that the fourth Gospel displays no knowledge of this institution, and says nothing of a wish of Christ for it" (Les Evangiles Synoptiques, 2, 541). For all through the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel Christ insists that no one will obtain life without eating the Body and drinking the Blood. Therefore, according to the intention of Christ, the Eucharist was to be made available to all men for all time.[65] Moreover, how could the fourth Gospel be opposed to the institution of the Eucharist, seeing that the fourth Gospel was written at a time when the use and the rite of the Eucharist was universally known and accepted? (Lebreton, op. cit. , p. 1554).




A. Our Offering Of The Passion Of Our Lord

(A) This Offering Proved From The Words Of The Institution Of The Rite

Christ willed that the rite in bread and wine which He instituted to be celebrated by us should be a sacrificial offering on our part of His Body and Blood. This is at once evident if one keeps in mind what we have already said about the celebration of the Supper by Christ, from the words added by Christ Himself immediately after He had celebrated the Supper: Do this for a commemoration of me (St. Luke, XXII, 19) and as often as you shall drink (1 Cor., XI, 24-25). For, as Christ offered His Body and Blood at the Supper by way of sacrifice, hence we-commanded to do as He did-offer His Body and Blood by way of sacrifice. Just as Christ offered in the Eucharist the Victim of the sacrifice by which He redeemed us, so now we offer in the Eucharist the same Victim of the same sacrifice already completed in the Passion.

Naturally we must make due allowance for the difference of the time of offering and of the persons offering the sacrifice. First, there is the difference of time. When Christ offered sacrifice before the Passion, He offered Himself to be immolated at the Passion, but now, when we offer after the Passion, we give to God a Victim immolated in the long distant past and left eternally a Victim. In other words, we offer the Body and Blood of Christ, not now to become a Victim of the Passion, but having already been made a Victim by the Passion in the past. Our offering, just like the offering of Christ, involves an immolation in symbol or representation; but, because of the difference of time, there is a characteristic difference between the symbolical immolation in the one case and the other: for in the Supper it was directed to the Passion as yet to come, and hence it foretold the Passion, while in the Mass it signifies the Passion as having taken place, and therefore it now commemorates the Passion: (do this) for a commemoration of me. The offering, however, in the Mass, just as in the Supper is real and present (not represented as past or future only, like the immolation). Very rightly, then, do we say that in the Eucharistic celebration we truly offer to God, in a bloodless representation or sacramental commemoration, the very death in blood of Christ. For it is one and the same thing to offer the Body of Christ as having suffered and died in the Passion, as to offer the Passion and death of the Body; it is the same to offer the Blood as shed, as to offer its shedding; the same to offer Christ as Victim of a past immolation, as to offer that immolation itself.

Secondly, there is the difference in the offerers. In the offering of sacrifice Christ is the principal and universal cause, we are the particular and subordinate causes; for Christ is the one true Priest of the Most High God after whom there is none to follow. We ourselves have no priesthood except such as is derived from His, as the stream is derived from its source and the ray from the sun. Hence it is that we now offer sacrifice by virtue of that one sacrificial act carried out long ago by Christ Himself. Therefore our sacrifices and that of Christ do not exist as members of one and the same genus, in the strict sense, in which the word sacrifice, used of our sacrifices and of His, would be a univocal term, but they are only in the same order by way of analogy, His sacrifice being the principle, and ours being subordinate to it. Hence there is not the slightest reason for fearing that our sacrifices might detract from the sacrifice of Christ; all that they do is to place at our disposal, and, so to speak, put into our hands, the propitiatory and latreutic power of His sacrifice to be applied by us, portion by portion (particulate) according to our capacity, as will be explained in its own place.

It would be well if Protestants understood this, for then they would cease to accuse the Catholic Church of lowering the dignity of the priesthood of Christ. For the dignity is not lowered, nor is the all-sufficiency of our Lord's priesthood in any way impaired, where the Victim which we offer is none other than the Victim of the Passion, and where our sacrificial action of today claims no other excellence than that derived from that principal offering of the Supper. Meantime, it must be admitted that a perfectly satisfactory solution of every difficulty is not at hand, unless the oneness of the reality offered in that first sacrifice and in our subsequent sacrifices, as well as the subordination of our active offerings to that of Christ at the Supper, be kept intact. One would not safeguard the oneness of the Victim if one taught that we induce in Christ a condition of victimhood which He previously did not have; nor would the subordination be safeguarded of our own offerings of today to that offering of the Lord by which we are redeemed if one taught that Christ mingles, with each one of our sacrifices, a new, personal sacrificial action of His own. For such a present sacrificial action of Christ, coming by way of increase to that of the past, could not itself be subordinate to that of the past (as a participation from that past action, itself not by participation[tanquam imparticipatae participata] ) for Christ cannot be either His own chief or His own minister; but certainly it would be co-ordinate with that of the past, it would be commensurate with it, and it would be an addition by way of augment to it. Later we shall see that this intervention has no support from the Fathers or Doctors; meanwhile we note that it does not accord with Sacred Scripture, for Christ says Do this (do it, you, not I) for a commemoration of me; while the Epistle to the Hebrews (IX, 25, 28; X, 14) speaks of Him as having offered once only. The same difficulty confronts those theologians referred to already, Th. V and VI (Vol. 1) as assigning to Christ while He was on earth two sacrificial actions. For whether they wish it or not, the worth and the virtue of the one would come as an addition to the worth and the virtue of the other, and as not only commensurate with but even equal to it, not only as regards the Victim, but also the active offering of that Victim: thus the sacrificial efficacy of Christ would be multiplied, contrary to the prerogative of the one all-sufficient sacrifice of the Redemption. Therefore, just as Christ on earth absolutely and simply offered only one sacrifice, so the duality which exists between His sacrifice and ours must be such as not to imply any repeated sacrificial offering made by Christ, but such as to subordinate immediately our own sacrificial activity to the offering of sacrifice made by Christ in the past, which continues forever by its own efficacy. All this will be made clearer (Th. XXIII and XXIV) after we have reviewed the Fathers and Theologians.

(B) The Same Offering Confirmed By The Teaching Of St. Paul On The Sacrifices To Idols

St. Paul institutes a comparison between the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, the sacrificial character of the offerings to idols, and the sacrificial character of the Jewish victims (II Cor., X, 1 22). Just as the Jew, by eating the victims of the Law, was considered a partaker of the sacrifice placed upon the Jewish altar, and the Gentile, eating the offerings to idols, was considered a partaker of the sacrifice offered to the demons, so, too, the Christian, by eating of the bread and drinking of the chalice, became a partaker of the Victim consecrated to God, that is of the Body and Blood of Christ.[66] Therefore the Body which we hold in our hands under the appearance of bread, and the Blood in the chalice which we drink, have the same relation to God as the sacrifices of the idols have to the devils. Therefore the Body and Blood of Christ is our sacrificial banquet, in the Eucharist we have Christ as a Theothyte. But it was His Passion that made Him Theothyte. Therefore we receive in food the Victim of the Passion. True the Apostle does not say here explicitly that we offer that Victim, but we know otherwise that what we receive is what we have offered: hence as we receive that Victim of the Passion, we have offered that same Victim.[67]

(C) The Same Proved From The Words Of The Epistle To The Hebrews Concerning Partaking From Our Altar

As in the First Epistle to the Corinthians the Apostle forbade association with the pagan sacrifices, so in the Epistle to the Hebrews he stigmatises the observance of the legal meats, and this again by an argument drawn from the Eucharist.

We have an altar whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle (Heb., XIII, 10). The sense of this verse considered in its context is this: instead of those meats of the legal sacrifices,[68] of which those who serve the figurative altar partake, we must eat of another meat, a meat which gives strength to the heart, and of which we partake from another altar. From what altar? From Christ, the Altar of the true, not the figurative, sacrifice for sin, from Christ who suffered without the gate, just as with the Jews[69] the bodies of the expiatory victims were burnt without the camp.[70] This being so, in the interpretation of this verse the following two statements are in no wise contradictory, as many recent writers wrongly assert: (1) through the Eucharist we eat of the altar (Catholics for the most part agree to this);[71] (2) Christ Himself is the Altar (as St. Thomas and others hold, commenting on this passage).[72] Indeed these two statements are in complete agreement: for the very Body of Christ is our Altar, as we have already explained; and by the Eucharist we eat of the sacrifice from that Altar: in the words of Dionysius Bar Salibi, the consecration of the Eucharist gives us, with Emmanuel the Priest, both the Altar and the Victim.

It is not surprising then to find early exponents of this text interpreting the word eating here as eating of the Eucharist, and altar as Christ Himself. Hesychius, for example, among the Greek Fathers: "That Paul understands the intelligible altar to be the Body of Christ, learn from his words: We have an altar whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle, plainly meaning the Body of Christ of which the Jews may not eat" (In Levit., IV, 7. P.G. 93, 824). Among the Latins we find the author of the Glossa ordinaria on verses 10 and 11 speaking as follows: "We have an altar, that is the Body of Christ. The Apostle proves that the Body of Christ is not to be eaten by those who serve the tabernacle" (P.L. 114, 669). Lanfranc in h. 1. (P.L. 150, 405) likewise: "We must eat the Body of Christ which also in other Scripture places is called altar." St. Bruno the Carthusian in h. 1. (P.L. 153, 564) : "Of which altar, that is the Body of Christ, they have no power to eat, etc." Thomas Vercellensis (In Cantica Canticorum, 1, 6. P.L. 206, 400) says obiter as of a matter well known: "Christ is also called an altar. Hence the Apostle says: We have an altar."[73]

Therefore according to the Epistle to the Hebrews we eat by the Eucharist the very Flesh and Blood of the sacrifice of the Passion, as Chrysostom openly says (in h. 1. Hom. 33, n. 3 and 4; cf. n. 1. P.G. 63, 229 and 227). Hence we infer by a process of reasoning, similar to that of the last Article, that just as Christ did in the past so we now offer the very Victim of the Passion in the Eucharist.[74] Certainly no Catholic may doubt that what we receive from God when we communicate is the same as what we offer to God in our sacrifice. Furthermore, in the Epistle to the Hebrews the offering of the victim is inculcated even more expressly than in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. For having dealt with the partaking, the Apostle addresses himself to the offering, and by the tenor of his words, as well as by the sequence of the sentences, links up with the preceding verses (10-14) verse 15, which runs: By him THEREFORE let us offer the sacrifice of praise always to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to his name. What is that sacrifice of praise to be offered up by Christ, and to be offered up for the very reason that we have an altar of the true sacrifice, which altar is Christ? Would not one naturally expect it to be the offering of that which is proper to this Altar, that is Christ Himself? If this be so, have we not commended to us in this very Epistle to the Hebrews our own Eucharistic offering of the Body and Blood of Christ? It may be objected that the sacrifice of praise cannot be the Eucharist because it is said to be the fruit of lips confessing to the name of God. But as Estius and a number of other commentators have remarked in reference to this passage, the Apostle seems to have in mind the Greek Septuagint version of Osee, XIV, 3, which runs: We win render the fruit of our lips (instead of the accepted Hebrew version: We will render the calves of our lips), the probable meaning of which is: We will render the victims which we have vowed, we will pay our vows; in which case obviously sacrifices are intended.[75] "This corresponds closely to what we say in our Mass: ". ....who offer up to Thee THIS SACRIFICE OF PRAISE, and pay THEIR vows to Thee." And indeed, as will be seen at greater length later, Th. XVIII and XXXV, the early Fathers always spoke of our sacrifice as performed by words of prayer and praise, precisely because it is not by the sword or by fire that we offer the sacrifice, but by word of mouth. Meanwhile we note that this is quite in keeping with the explanation of this verse by Salmeron: (in h. 1.) "The words are particularly applicable to the sacrifice of the Mass which was never offered by any priest without the praise of God and the invocation of the divine name."[76] This sacrifice of praise, Chrysostom (I think), Damascene (in h. 1. P.G. 95, 996) and Theophylactus certainly, understood to be the Eucharist.[77]

Taking, then, the sacrifice of praise -of the First Epistle to the Corinthians to refer to the Eucharist, it is plain that in this Epistle St. Paul enjoins on us to offer this sacrifice of the Victim of the Passion, as in the Epistle to the Hebrews we are said to partake of it. Hence the First Epistle to the Corinthians reinforces the conclusion derived from the Epistle to the Hebrews: that our sacrifice and the sacrifice of our Lord are one; one, not only because of the material identity of the Body and Blood, but also because in both cases, and in the most formal sense, the Victim is one, in so far as there is only one immolation by which Christ passed into the condition of Victim of the eternal altar.

B. Our Offering Of The Celestial Victim

We offer then the Victim of the Passion. But this is a Victim that is eternal and celestial, the Victim of the one sacrifice that will never end. For St. Paul writes: We have an altar. He did not say we had an altar, or there was an altar for us, but we have an altar. Hence Christ is even now FOR US an altar, and so not now an altar of this earth, but of heaven, and so He is the Altar of the heavenly sacrifice; and just as we eat, partake of that sacrifice, so, too, we offer it. Hence we offer the eternal celestial sacrifice.

Some considerable light is thrown on this matter by the words in which St. Paul (II Cor., XI, 26), after he had given the words of institution, indicates what we are to confess by the Eucharist. For we read: For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until he come[78] Here is plainly set before us an announcement or proclamation, included in the Eucharistic rite itself, an announcement in which Christ is proclaimed, and Christ not merely as dead in the past, but Christ to come to us again, and meanwhile therefore living in heaven. Thus in the Eucharist profession is made of the Resurrection and the Ascension of Him whose death is there commemorated. That is to say, in the Eucharist we symbolically represent the death of Christ in such a way as meanwhile to proclaim Him as now living and glorious.[79] This does not mean that in the Mass we offer the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ as well as His death; we only offer His death. For we offer just what He offered—His death; the Resurrection and the Ascension were not included in the offering of Christ, but in the acceptance of God as signified by them. We give simply what Christ gave, but we give it as now ratified and accepted by God. Hence we see that St. Paul's description of the sacrifice of the Church unites, in a single whole, the elements which we have already seen to pertain, each in its own way, to the sacrifice of the Lord: the representation in symbol of the death in blood, and the condition of life in glory: both of which concur, so that in our Mass we offer the celestial Victim of the Passion.

If the words quoted by us above from the First Epistle to the Corinthians were actually spoken by Christ Himself, and were not just the words of the Apostle, our argument would be reinforced, for then they would be not merely an exposition of the matter by St. Paul, but an intimation coming directly from our Lord. It is true that the expression of the Lord ("the death of the Lord") is scarcely in our favour. They suggest rather the words of St. Paul about Christ than the words of Christ about Himself. Nevertheless, why may not St. Paul, when speaking of Christ, have changed to the third person what Christ said of Himself in the first person? For example, Christ might have said: You shall announce my death, or equivalently: You shall announce the death of the Son of Man, which in his account St. Paul might easily change to: You shall announce the death of the Lord. This would merely mean a change from the direct to the indirect manner of speech which is quite usual in every-day conversation, and would not be out of place here. For it is plain from verses 27-29 that St. Paul is not so much explaining or commending to the memory of his readers the actual deeds and words of the Supper, as using the account to draw moral conclusions as to how the great sacrament of the Eucharist is to be worthily received.

But not only could St. Paul have done this, but we have a suasive argument that he did so from the extrinsic authority of the most ancient liturgies,[80] of the great majority of them at least,[81] not to say all. For, in the anaphorae of these liturgies, after the words of consecration, we find words added AS IF SPOKEN BY CHRIST, words by which we are admonished, as often as we partake TO ANNOUNCE HIS DEATH UNTIL HE COME[82] (Constit. Apost. 8, 12, 37. F. D. 1, 5083), OR TO ANNOUNCE HIS DEATH AND CONFESS HIS RESURRECTION (Liturgia graeca Sancti Jacobi, B. 52; cf. Lit. Syr. S. Jac., B. 87;[83] the Greek anaphora from the Crum Papyri, published in D. A. C., 2, 1892; the Coptic Liturgies of Sts. Cyril, Basil, Gregory, R. 1, 47; 15, 31; the Egyptian Mass of the sixth century, edited first by Baumstark and later published by Dom. Cabrol, D. A. C.; 1, 1097; the ancient Byzantine Liturgy of St. Basil, B. 328); or TO ANNOUNCE THE DEATH, TO CONFESS THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION (the Greek Liturgy of St. Mark, B. 133; cf. the Greek Alexandrine Liturgies of St. Basil and St. Gregory, R. 1, 68 and 104-105);[84] or simply TO CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION (Testament D.N.J.C., ed. Rahmani, p. 43).[85] Consonant with these Eastern witnesses, we have from the West the Ambrosiana missa canonica, of the Sacramentarium Abiaschanum (in Lejay, D. A. C., 1, 1411);[86] the Ambrosian Mass In coena Domini (in Muratori, De rebus liturgicis dissertatio, c. 10. P.L. 74, 944-945; cf. the Pamelian text of the Ambrosian Mass in Probst, op. cit., p. 18);[87] and, according to the version of Moelcaich, the Irish text (no later evidently than the ninth century) called the Stowe Missal (published later by G. F. Warner, The Stowe Missal, Vol. 2, 1915, p. 13).[88]

From all these documents it would appear that Christ instructs us to preach His death, to announce His resurrection and hope for His coming from heaven. This intimation of our Lord is also attested by that very ancient liturgy to be found in the treatise, De Sacramentis (1, 4, c. 6, n. 26. P.L. 16, 445) : "As often as you do this, so often will you make a commemoration of me, UNTIL I COME."

Not only do the liturgies of the East and West set forth these words as uttered in the person of our Lord, but in the seventh book of the Apostolic Constitutions[89] it is distinctly taught (praedicatur) that the Lord commanded the making of a commemoration of His death; and in the Ambrosian Masses mentioned above, between the words of consecration and the injunction to make the commemoration we find these emphatic words: "Commanding also and saying to them. . ."

A careful study of these weighty and consonant testimonies gives good ground for the opinion that at the supper Christ not only said: Do this for a commemoration of me (II Cor., XI, 24), or: Do this as often as you shall drink for a commemoration of me (II Cor., XI, 25) but that He also intimated what was to be commemorated, His death; and for how long, until His second coming; in what state He would exist meanwhile, and be treated by us, as in heaven. The First Epistle to the Corinthians, XI, 26, gives us, in indirect speech, in the third person, a contracted form of this injunction, the Liturgies give us another form of it, more explicit, and in direct speech, in the first person. Hence perhaps the mode of speech indicated in the Greek Liturgy of St. James—an intermediate form, so to speak—approaches closer to the original words of Christ. So we conclude that Our Lord probably used some such words as these: "As often as you shall eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall announce the death of the Son of Man until he comes from heaven."

Were we quite sure that Christ Himself used these words, further light would be thrown both on the Liturgies and on the theology of the Mass. Concerning the Liturgies, it would be abundantly clear why nearly all of them have had an anamnesis (or commemoration) of those three sacerdotal mysteries of Christ: His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. For the anamnesis would be a profession of obedience to the command of Christ, the reply to His intimation, saying equivalently, as it were: Amen, Lord, the Mystery is celebrated with that intention and that belief which was commanded by thee. The theologian would see even more clearly in the first place how, from its very nature, the sacrifice is bound up with the Resurrection and Ascension, as we have indicated above, see Th. XII-XV (Vol. 1), and secondly, how essential it is, in the sacrifice of the Church, that we consider and treat Christ, not merely as once dead, but also now living and glorious.[90]


It is most probable that the Apostles were not given the Power of Celebration during the Three Days of Death

Some early theologians and canonists held, for reasons of some cogency, that Christ in the Supper did not entrust to the Apostles the office or confer on them the power (for the power was given by way of the command) of consecrating the Eucharist until after the Resurrection. As Gerson (Compendium theologiae, De septem sacramentis, De sacramento Eucharistiae, Opera (Omnia), Paris, 1606, t. 2, col. 82) merely refers to these, giving no names, one may well consult de Lugo, who enumerates them and leans towards their opinion (Disp. 19, sect. 6, n. 88-90). The main argument of these theologians, taken from John the Teuton (Glossa in caput. Timorem, De Consecratione, dist. 2, verbo, Cujus—Decretum Gratiani cum Glossis Dni. Johannis Teutonici, etc., Basle, 1512, fol. 399), is as follows: From the very words of the institution, our Eucharist essentially implies a reference to the Resurrection as past. These are his words: "No one but Christ could consecrate the true Body of Christ before the Resurrection, and so by the addition of the words: Do this for the commemoration of me, THE FORM IS SO GIVEN THAT THIS BE SO DONE AFTER THE RESURRECTION. And it is for this reason that the Mass is not offered during the three days of death." This exegesis is in conformity with that of Cyril of Alexandria (In Joann., I, 12. P.G. 74, 725) : "For the words which He uttered when He Himself fulfilled the type of the mystery, show clearly that the mystic eulogia is a confession of the Resurrection of Christ. For when He had broken the bread, He distributed it, saying: This is my body which is given for you unto the remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of me. HENCE THE PARTAKING OF THE SACRED MYSTERIES IS A TRUE CONFESSION AND COMMEMORATION THAT THE LORD DIED AND CAME TO LIFE AGAIN FOR US AND IN PLACE OF US; apart from the fact that it is by reason of this same death and resurrection that we are filled with the divine benediction." Hence also St. Augustine (Contra Faustum, 20, 21. P.L. 42, 385) says of the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord: "What was offered in the Passion of Christ by truth itself is celebrated by the sacrament of memorial AFTER THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST."[91]

To the scholastics, quoted by de Lugo, we may add Peter of Poitiers. Answering the question as to what would be the result were the consecration attempted during the three days of the death, by his use of the expression "they say" he indicates that it was the ordinary common teaching of his time, which he, too, adopts, that the consecration would be invalid. An objection had been raised against the form of consecration used in the Mass, that, were it effective, it could effect the consecration during the three days of death; but in that event it would be the consecration of the "inanimate Body, and if one were to so partake of the Body of Christ he would partake of it inanimate", which he considers unseemly.[92] The difficulty was solved thus: "To this THEY SAY that the bread could not be consecrated into the Body on such a day, nor could it be done by the Apostles until after the Resurrection. Hence also the decree of the Church that Mass is not to be celebrated on such a day. This also is the reason why the blessed Ambrose decreed that the Mass is never to be celebrated in Milan on Good Friday. ...." (Sententiarum, lib. 5, cap. 12. P.L. 211, 1249).[93]

A contemporary of de Lugo, Zacharias Pasqualigo (d. l664), a theologian whose authority in Eucharistic theology is quite equal to that of de Lugo, said in "his most excellent work" (Hurter, Nomenclator 2), De Sacrificio Novae Legis (quaest. 134, n. 19, Rome, 1707, tom. 1, p. 137), that were the Apostles to attempt to consecrate during the three days of death they would accomplish nothing. "If any of the Apostles had consecrated in the triduum mortis he would effect nothing," and for this reason especially "that the principal Priest whose ministers they were was then dead, hence they could not offer the sacrifice in His name or in His person". A reason which surely may not be lightly passed over.[94]

Shortly after de Lugo, Paulus Maria Quarti, who, however, had no knowledge (ignorans) of either de Lugo or Pasqualigo, defended this teaching very effectively (Commentaria in Rubricas Missalis, Appendix quaestionum de Sacrificio Missae, quaest. 1, punct. 7, Ed. Venet., 1717, p. 433).[95]

Later in the Vita abscondita, Cardinal Cienfuegos, S.J. (Disp. 4, sect. 4, parag. 1, Rome, 1728), defended and embellished de Lugo's opinion, through nineteen pages of the work: "At the same time I will not deny, indeed I admit very willingly, that for some considerable time I have had a strong leaning towards the teaching which says that the eternal sacrifice was impossible during the three days of death.... This is in accordance with what is actually and in the present providence instituted...." This opinion does not lack external authority,[96] which gives it great probability, as we shall show, it is grounded also on solid intrinsic argument (num. 59, p. 306). He concludes thus (num. 79, p. 322) : "This was first asserted hesitantly, and cautiously, then advanced step by step, till finally it took wings to itself and now flits abroad with general commendation, so that it can be said of it: 'Parva metu primo, mox sese attollit in auras'." Hence from the actual institution of Christ it seems clear that the consecration could not be validly performed during the three days of death. We find also, I think, an efficacious argument for this opinion in the very scope and purpose of the institution, which was: that we should offer a sacrifice that was not only neither weak nor void, or even not really assured of acceptance, but a sacrifice firm and secure, ratified and crowned with the seal of God in heaven, as already consummated in all respects.

Suarez (disp. 48, sect. 2, n. 12) claims that our opinion is opposed to the "common doctrine approved at the Council of Trent, that in this sacrament the living Body of Christ is not there by virtue of the words, but by concomitance". We do not admit any such repugnance. Our argument is drawn from the institution of Christ, independently of whether the living Body as distinct from the mere Body, is present in virtue of the words of consecration or by concomitance. The weakness of Suarez' argument can be shown by a parallel instance. The Body of Christ, as united hypostatically to the Word, is not present in the sacrament by virtue of the words of consecration, but by concomitance. Yet the Body cannot be consecrated except united to the Word. For no power was given to the Apostles to consecrate except as subordinate to the High Priest Christ, and hence according to the very institution they could not consecrate-if that High Priesthood were lacking, as it certainly would be lacking, were the hypostatic union lacking. Hence the Apostles, according to the institution of Christ, could not consecrate the Body not hypostatically united to the Word. Nevertheless the divinity (and hence the hypostatic union) is not in the sacrament by virtue of the words, but by concomitance; for the words of consecration do not formally signify the presence of the divinity, but only of the Body (on which see Suarez himself, disp. 51, sect. 6, n. 4). Hence the fact that the living Body, as distinct from the mere Body, is present by concomitance, and not by the virtue of the words, does not prove that the dead Body could be consecrated, any more than the fact that the Body united to the Word is present only by concomitance could prove (which no one admits) that the Body without the hypostatic union could be consecrated.

Theologians generally, like St. Thomas (3 S. 76, 1, lm, and 2, c; 3 S. 81, 4; in Joann., 6, lect. 6), teach that if the sacrament were consecrated during the three days of death the Body of Christ would be present without the Soul, etc. This is quite true, because the form signifies only the presence of the Body; the Body during that time being without the Soul, the Soul could have no title to be present even by concomitance. But such consecration is purely hypothetical, and, as de Lugo shrewdly remarks (loc. cit.), by putting such a case, "if it were consecrated," the theologians in nowise settle the question, whether according to the institution of Christ, such an hypothesis could be verified or not.[97]

A fortiori we must say that the Apostles had not the power to consecrate the Eucharist during the Passion, that is between the Supper and the death of Christ, because the institution was especially imposed on them to commemorate the death of Christ, which they could not do then, as the death had not yet taken place. What, moreover, would be the condition of the victim of their offering? Not immolated, for Christ was not yet dead. They could not offer Christ to a future immolation, for to do this belonged to Christ alone, High Priest and Redeemer, who alone offered Himself to be immolated.

It follows also from the condition of the institution that priests of the Church will have no power to consecrate after the day of judgment, because it was given to them to commemorate the mysteries of Christ until His second coming only: until he come.[98]

The Early Fathers And The Ecclesiastical Sacrifice Of The Body And Blood Of Christ


THE FATHERS, not only those of a later age, but even those of the apostolic and sub-apostolic period, undoubtedly held that there is in the Eucharist the essential character of a sacrifice by which we offer to God in a sensible rite the Body and Blood of Christ. Hence it is hard to understand how a present-day theologian, a man brought up among Catholics, could entertain a contrary view: that before Irenaeus the only offering known to the Church was the offering of those prayers or petitions by which the bread and wine was consecrated to become the Body and Blood of Christ, of which we were to partake but which we were in no way to offer to God (Wieland, Mensa und Confessio, pp. 25-52) :[99] moreover, though Irenaeus and even Origen (Wieland, op. cit., and Der vorirenaische Opferbegriff, pp. 150-151) thought that we offer something other than the Eucharistic prayers, they considered that this was merely the bread and wine itself, first fruits of the earth, in return for which God on His part gave us the Body and Blood of Christ. Only in Cyprian's time came the belief that we offered the Body and Blood of Christ.[100] Our theological innovator attempts to prove his point by three arguments. Firstly. Previous to Cyprian, he says, no Father speaks of an offering of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Secondly. All these Fathers said that no sacrifice was pleasing to God, or to be offered to Him, except that of the lips or of the heart.

Thirdly. Of these same Fathers, not one, with the exception of Origen—though Irenaeus implicitly agrees with him (Wieland, op. cit., p. 112). -acknowledged any altar other than Christ crucified. Therefore with the exception of these two Fathers no one admitted any sacrificial offering by us of an external gift.[101]

The third argument has been already answered: the real and true Altar of the Eucharistic sacrifice is the Victim of the Passion, and therefore the lack of a material altar (should this occur) does not affect our sacrifice. No one, of course, will deny that an altar is necessary for sacrifice, though meanwhile Catholics know that even today the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice can be validly carried out without a material altar. But, in such a case, though a material altar may be lacking, it is quite wrong to say there is no altar, for there is present in such a case the Body of Christ, the true Altar of the true sacrifice offered by the true Priest, and celebrated by the Church.[102]

The second argument proves too much: for, as we shall see, were it valid it would also prove that no sacrifice whatever of any external thing was allowed by Irenaeus and Origen; and yet Wieland admits that Irenaeus and Origen held that something external was offered, which most of the Fathers after the time of Cyprian said was the very Body and Blood of Christ.

The first argument is based on a false exegesis which we shall now rebut. A much clearer light will be thrown on the controversy if we first show the falsity of the statement that Irenaeus and Origen restricted the offerings to the purely natural substances of the bread and wine to the exclusion of the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ.


A. Irenaeus

In the fourth book, Adv. Haeres., there are three places in particular where Irenaeus speaks of the Eucharistic sacrifice (17, 5;18, 1;18, 4).[103]

In the first passage (17, 5. P.G. 77 1023) he has: "Commanding His disciples to offer the first fruits of His creation to God, not that He needed them, but that the disciples might not be fruitless and unpleasing to Him, He took from among created things bread, and gave thanks, saying: This is My Body. And the chalice likewise from the creatures of our world, He confessed to be His Blood, and He taught the new offering of the New Testament; which the Church, receiving from the Apostles, offers throughout the world to God who gives nutriment to us, the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament."

In the second (18, 1. P.G. 7, 1024) : "Therefore the oblation of the Church which the Lord commanded to be offered throughout the whole world is a pure sacrifice in the sight of God, and is acceptable to Him.... It is our duty, therefore, to offer to God the first fruits of His creation."

In the third passage (18, 4. P.G. 7, 1026-1027) : "It is our duty, therefore, to make an offering to God and to be found in all things pleasing to God our Maker, offering with a pure intention, with unfaltering hope, with fervent charity the first fruits of those creatures which are His. And this pure oblation the Church alone offers to her Maker, offering to Him, with thanksgiving, from His creation."

We learn from these three passages that the bread and wine enter into our sacrifice as the first fruits of the creation. But this certainly does not prove that they enter in such a manner as to exclude the Body and Blood of Christ into which those very elements of the bread and wine are said to be changed by the invocation of God (4, 17, 5; 4, 18, 5; 4, 33, 2; 5, 2, 2-3; cols. 1023, 1028-1029, 1073, 1125-1129). For, as we have said, both the apparent sacrifice of bread and wine and the real sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ belong to the Eucharistic sacrifice; in a different manner, however, for the apparent offering of bread and wine enters into the sacrifice as a sign,[104] and the real offering of the Body and Blood of Christ as the reality signified by that sign. Because the Body and Blood of Christ is offered after the manner of a sacrifice of bread and wine; Christ is the reality which we actually offer, but not without respect to the substances of the bread and wine, and He is offered by us, just in so far as He is the terminus of the transubstantiation made by us. Thus it is that if we consider the sacrifice in its outward appearance only it may be called the sacrifice of bread and wine, but if we consider the reality that lies hidden beneath those appearances it must be called the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ. Therefore the symbolical consideration of this sacrifice by no means implies a rejection of its real virtue, character and dignity, as Wieland seems to have thought.[105]

The truth of the matter is that in the Mass we may speak of bread and wine in two ways: in the first way, bread and wine, whether we call this the chalice or the mingled cup or the fruit of the vine, means simply ordinary bread and ordinary wine, each having the full reality of its own essence. In the second way, bread and wine is used by us to mean that earthly visible element which, after the consecration, remains mingled with the celestial and invisible element, the Body and Blood of Christ, and it is this second sense that Irenaeus has in mind when he writes: "The bread, receiving the invocation of God, is not common bread now, it is the Eucharist made up of two things; one heavenly, one earthly" (Adv. Haeres., 4, 18, 5. P.G. 7, 1028-1029).[106]

Now, if Irenaeus in the quotations given by us above speaks of bread and wine in the first way, simply as ordinary bread and ordinary wine, and means that bread and wine are offered, he simply does what we constantly do. For even in the present-day liturgy the Roman Church does not hesitate to call, in the Secret prayers, the proffered gifts of the people, which are to be changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, Sacrifices (as in the Secret prayer of the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, and of the feast of the Holy Name), or Victims (in the Secret of Tuesday in Passion Week, of Trinity Sunday, of St. Peter and St. Paul), Libations (Secret of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), Gifts dedicated to God (Secret Thursday of Passion Week), Offerings to be consecrated (Vigil of St. Andrew). Similarly all the Eastern churches in the epicleses, in reference to bread and wine, even before the transubstantiation, used such words as sacrifice, victim offered to God, and the like (V. g., Constit. Apost., 8, 12, 38-39. F. D. 1, 510: Greek Liturgy of St. James, B. 53; Greek Liturgy of St. Mark, B. 133), and even today use such expressions (V. g. Liturgia S. Chrysostomi, B. 386, Liturgia S. Basilii, B. 405). And yet it cannot be doubted that the Church knew then, and knows now, what is common knowledge to Catholics: that our offering is the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ. In other words, since the Church offers an apparent sacrifice of bread and wine, she can, if she wishes, accommodate her language to what is merely apparent, while at the same time accommodating her faith to what is hidden beneath those appearances (cf. Th. IX, Vol. I).

If, on the other hand, you choose to think that Irenaeus understood the bread and wine in the second sense in those quotations, as actually consecrated, then it is a priori incredible that he should have meant the giving as gifts to God of the mere appearances of earthly things, rather than of the heavenly things underlying those appearances, and so teach that the pure victim was merely those earthly appearances; rather he must have meant what we call the Eucharistic bread and the blest or consecrated chalice.

And this interpretation which we say is a priori most probable, is confirmed, in the first place, by the fact that he calls what is offered the first fruits of the creation; for, as even Wieland has to admit (Mensa und Confessio, pp. 52-53; Der vorirenaische Opferbegriff, pp. 146-147), the first fruits of the creation are properly the Body and Blood of Christ (cf., above, the commentaries of the Fathers on Levit., XXIII, 10-14).[107]

Secondly, the first words of the first passage support our interpretation. Christ is said to have taught us the rite of sacrificing, in that taking bread, He gave thanks saying: This is my body, and the chalice likewise He confessed to be His Blood. Therefore He taught us to sacrifice by the consecration. But if there is anything offered in sacrifice by the consecration, it must be the thing which after the consecration is found sacred to God: for to sacrifice is to make sacred. Now, as the terminus of the consecration, we have, according to Irenaeus, "the Eucharist. ....which is the Body and Blood of Christ" (5, 2, 3, col. 1127).

In the Eucharist, therefore, Christ offered His Body and Blood, and so, too, we offer it.[108]

Thirdly, the words which follow the third passage cited above favour our interpretation: "Those who say that the Father is not the Creator of all, and then offer to Him the things which we call creatures of the world we live in, show Him to be covetous and craving what is not His own. And those who say that the things of our world are the fruits of imperfection, ignorance and passion, sin against their own Father, when they offer to Him[what they consider to be] the fruits of disfigurement, ignorance, and passion, insulting Him rather than giving Him thanks. How will they be convinced that the bread in which thanksgiving is made is the Body of their Lord, and the chalice is His Blood, if they say that He is not the Son of the Maker of the world, that is the Word of HIM WHO MAKES THE TREE BEAR FRUIT AND THE FOUNTAINS FLOW, and the earth give the grain, then the ear, then the ripe WHEAT in the ear? How again is it that they say that the flesh goes into corruption, and does not receive life, the flesh which is nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lord? Therefore let them either change their teaching or refrain from offering as they do. But our teaching is in harmony with our Eucharist, and again our Eucharist confirms our teaching. FOR WE OFFER TO HIM WHAT IS HIS, CONSISTENTLY, too, with this, teaching communication and union with Him, and confessing the resurrection of the flesh and of the spirit. For just as the bread which is from the earth, on receiving the invocation of God is bread no longer but the Eucharist made up of two things, one earthly, one heavenly, so, too, our bodies, receiving the Eucharist, are now no longer corruptible, as they have the hope of the resurrection" (4, 18, 4-5, cols. 1027-1029).

Irenaeus exposes the inconsistency of the heretics in this passage. They said that the bread, wine and water were not created by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but that these substances were either entirely outside God's creation, or at best that they are disfigurements in the creation of God, and yet they profess that the Body and Blood of the Lord is offered in the consecrated bread and the consecrated chalice. Now in the chalice as well as in the bread of the Eucharist, there is a complexus of two things: one of these things is earthly, sensible, subject to conditions of matter—that element which retains the properties of bread and wine; the other is heavenly, invisible, endowed with a spiritual condition—the Body and Blood of Christ. It is by reason of the former earthly element in the Eucharist that these heretics offer a eucharist, either alien to God or at least unworthy of God, as it is in their view the fruit of disfigurement, ignorance and passion. Irenaeus contrasts with this inconsistency the harmony and consistency between what we Catholics offer and the doctrine we profess, whether in relation to the union of the spiritual and material in man as one being, or to the incorruptibility supervening on our corruptibility, and in particular with regard to the origin of all creation, both spiritual and material, from the one same God. He demonstrates this harmony from the fact that the Eucharist implies two elements, one earthly, the other heavenly. From Irenaeus' line of argument we infer that "what WE OFFER" is the Eucharist itself, "which is the Body and Blood of Christ".[109]

Fourthly, further support comes from Irenaeus, when he says that our offerings are made at the celestial altar: "for thither, he says, our offerings are directed" (4, 18, 6, col. 1029). Now we have seen that we can only offer the Body of Christ on the celestial Altar, which is the Body of Christ.[110]

Although Irenaeus was well aware that the primary role in our sacrifice is played by the Body and Blood of Christ, it is no surprise to us to find him dwelling rather on the sensible element, arguing, as he was, from the properties of this sensible element against the Gnostics who held that the world of matter was not made by God the Father, but originated from some demiurge, or at least from some corruption of the works of God.

Meantime, it is interesting to find in Irenaeus the two following statements side by side: firstly, that sacrifices are hateful to God, to whom faith, obedience and justice are alone pleasing; and, secondly, nevertheless the offering of the Church is acceptable as coming from the pure, and not offered to God as if He needed our gifts, but offered by us who need God's praise or approval. (Adv. Haeres., 4, 17 and 18).

B. Origen

Origen is replying to Celsus, who thought that thanksgiving, the offering of the first fruits and prayers, should be paid to the devils, because the devils have control over earthly affairs: "Let Celsus, who knows not God, render sacrifices in thanksgiving to the devils. But we, giving thanks to the founder of the universe, also eat bread, offered with thanksgiving and prayer said over the gifts (touj met euxaristiaj kai euXhj thj epi toij doqeiJi prosagomenouj artouj = A), which are made by the prayer (dia thn euXhn = B) a holy body sanctifying those who use it with right disposition" (Contra Celsum, 8, 33, P.G. 11, 1565).

Our innovator in theology was the first after Renz (op. cit., bd. 1, p. 206) to hold that in this passage Origen considers the consecration and the offering as two distinct things.[111] Renz proves this separation from the fact that an oblative prayer (A) is set before us by Origen as united with thanksgiving, while the consecrative prayer (B) is set before us with no mention of thanksgiving. But surely not to affirm a thing is not the same as to deny it. And even if Origen never affirmed it, that is no reason for saying that he denied that thanksgiving is contained in the consecrative prayer. Indeed when in the second part of the sentence he terms the prayer of consecration the prayer (tnv euxnv), by the use of the definite article he seems to designate the same prayer which he introduced in the first clause as oblative. Hence Wieland very rightly changed his opinion later on and wrote in his third work, that in this passage it must be admitted that the offering is made by the consecration (Der vorirenaische Opferbegriff, pp. 150-151). But he now falls back on another passage from Origen and fancies he has discovered that Origen at times leant towards the opposite teaching, that the offering and consecration are distinct. He quotes Origen commenting on Luke XIX, 24," Take the pound away from him, and give it to him that hath ten pounds," where he says: "And in this manner those things which we shall have given to God, He will give back to us, and with them other things which we did not have before. God asks and requires gifts from us, so to have an occasion of giving to us, to give to the one who gave (erogavit) to Him. For the pound is His grace returned in double measure, and more is bestowed on the worthy than they hoped for. Let us therefore rise and pray to God that we may be worthy to offer to Him gifts that He will give back to us, AND IN RETURN FOR WHAT IS EARTHLY BESTOW ON US WHAT IS HEAVENLY, in Christ Jesus, to whom is glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen" (In Luc., hom. 39. P.G. 13, 1900-1902). But what reason have we for saying that Origen, when encouraging liberality towards God, is referring to the gifts which the faithful present when asking the priest to offer the sacrifice, and not to the gifts actually offered by the sacrificing priest? The faithful's portion of these gifts consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ is presented to God, and is also given back to them, and so they really do receive heavenly gifts in return for their earthly gifts. This interpretation is most suitable to the above passage, and so we must either adopt it or unreasonably make Origen inconsistent. For elsewhere we find him speaking plainly of the Body and Blood of Christ, as the gifts presented to God. As proof of this, we select three different passages.

Firstly, in Contra Celsum (8, 57. P.G. 11, 1601-1604), he says we must not offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to the devils, through whom only evil befalls us, and that we have symbols of gratitude to God our benefactor in the bread which is called the Eucharist; and that the angels do not want sacrifices from us, for they do not aspire after the honour due to God alone: "Celsus would have us grateful to the devils, and thinks that we are bound to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to them. But we, well knowing what the virtue of gratitude is, deny that we are guilty of ingratitude, when we offer no sacrifice and render no worship to those who, so far from conferring benefits on us, are our enemies. But we do fear to be ungrateful to God, for we are laden with His benefits, we are His work, He provides for us in whatever position He deigns to place us, and in the life to come we are to receive from Him what He has wished us to hope for. And indeed we have a symbol or sign of our gratitude to God—the bread which is called the Eucharist ("Esti de kai sumbolon hmin thj proj ton qeon euxaristiaj artoj euxaristia kaloumenoj[112] But as we said above the devils have not the administration of the things made for our use. Hence when we use created things which do not belong to them, and refuse to offer sacrifice to them, we do them no injustice. Indeed, even when we know that it is the angels and not the devils who have been given charge of the fruits of the earth and of all living things, while we certainly praise and call blessed those to whom God has given charge of things for our use, we never give them the honour due to God. For God does not wish this, and the angels to whom He has given this charge do not desire it. It is not any offering of ours to them that they would approve of, but rather that we carefully avoid offering sacrifice to them. They have no need of incense sent up to them from the earth."

The context and the whole tone of the passage clearly show that the Eucharistic bread is the sacrifice offered to God, seeing that it corresponds to the sacrifices (euxaristhria[113] ) after which the devils aspire, while the angels do not. "The bread which is called the Eucharist" must mean the Body of Christ, as even Renz admits (op. cit., bd. 1, p. 199), nor can anyone deny it.[114]

Secondly. He says that in the Eucharistic bread there is the plenitude of propitiatory power, a slight participation of which existed in the figurative loaves of proposition. "According to Scripture, in the twelve loaves a commemoration of the twelve tribes of Israel appears to be made before the Lord, and it is ordered that these twelve loaves should be placed without ceasing in the sight of the Lord, that the memorial of the twelve tribes should be always before Him, so that through these loaves a prayer and a supplication would seem to be made for each of the tribes. But this is intercession on a small and slight scale.... But if we compare the loaves to the great mystery, we shall find that this latter commemoration has an immense propitiatory effect. If you turn to that bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world, those loaves of proposition which God Himself presented as a propitiation through faith in His Blood, if you consider that commemoration of which the Lord says: Do this for a commemoration of me, you will find that this is the only commemoration that makes God propitious towards men. If you then ponder deeply on the mysteries of the Church, you will find in what is read of in the old Law the image of the truth to come" (In Levit., hom. 13, n. 3. P.G. 12, 547). Now the power of propitiating God towards us is to be understood as residing in the gift as offered by us, and not as bestowed by God on us. Hence the Eucharistic bread has the character of a gift given by us to God.

Thirdly. He says that the rite of propitiation by the blood of a calf gave place to the new rite of propitiation by the Eucharistic Blood. For he writes: "The ancients possessed a rite of propitiation which was made to God, and God gave instructions as to the manner of its celebration. But thou who art come to Christ the true Pontiff, who made propitiation to God for thee with His own Blood and reconciled thee to the Father, do not cleave to the blood of the flesh, but learn rather of the Blood of the Word, and hear Him saying to thee: This is my blood which shall be shed for you unto the remission of sins. He who has been imbued with the mysteries, knows the Flesh and Blood of the Word of God. And so let us not dwell any longer on what is familiar to those who know the mysteries, while it must remain obscure to those who do not" (In Levit., hom. 9, n. 10. P.G. 12, 523). This passage clearly shows that, according to Origen, the Eucharistic Body and Blood is the reality that is truly sacrificed or offered by us to God, not only in thanksgiving for the gifts of God, but also in compensation and satisfaction for our own sins. Meantime it is well to note that, like Irenaeus, Origen held that only those sacrifices pertain to the true worship of God which consist in prayer that is constant and in probity of life (In Levit., hom. 9, n. 9. P.G. 12, 521-522; Contra Celsum, 7, 1; 8, 21; 8, 62; 8, 64; P.G. 11, 1421, 1449, 1609, 1613). Therefore he knew how to reconcile this teaching regarding the necessity of prayer and probity of life with the reality of the sacrifice celebrated in the Eucharistic bread and wine.


We have shown that neither Irenaeus nor Origen considered that the mere natural elements of bread and wine, that is to the exclusion of the Body and Blood of Christ, were what we had to offer in sacrifice to God. We have now to show that the other Fathers before the time of Cyprian did not consider that it was only prayers, to the exclusion of every other thing, that were to be offered in sacrifice to God. For clearness' sake, we shall first examine those Fathers whose teaching is evident.

A. Ignatius

For the proper understanding of Ignatius, a few preliminary remarks are necessary.

Firstly. We have at least one passage (Magnes., 7, 2, see below) where Christ is meant by the term altar, as was shown above in XIII (Vol. I). Now this acceptance of the word altar, as Christ, is so far from being opposed to our Eucharistic teaching that it actually throws a fuller and brighter light on it, as we have already seen, and as will be abundantly shown below.

Secondly. In the Epistles of Ignatius (loc. cit., especially), just as in the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (32, 2; 41, 2. F.P. 1, 138 and 150), in the Apocalypse (passim), and also in the Epistle to the Hebrews, XIII, 10, the term altar—whatever sense it has in these passages—usually connotes some temple, and, on occasion, vice versa, temple connotes altar. Moreover, the temple or the altar in question, or from which a comparison is drawn, is the temple and altar at Jerusalem. In other words, the words temple and altar either refer to the temple and altar at Jerusalem or, by transference, to something else, whatever that may be, signified by these words (cf. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 3, pp. 457-458).

Thirdly. Possibly in the Septuagint, and probably in the New Testament, when the subject signified or the term of comparison is the temple and altar of Jerusalem, sometimes though not very often, the word altar is used for the altar and that part of the temple close to the altar considered as one thing, or, if we may describe it so, "the place of sacrifice" (Sacrificatorium) that is for the sacrarium or the sanctuary (I Mach., 1, 59; Eccli., 50, 11, et seq.; Apoc., XI, 1; XIV, 18), so that the expression without or within the altar is not without meaning. But although the word was used for the sanctuary of the temple of Jerusalem, nevertheless there is not a single example of it referring, to any material Christian sanctuary, either before Ignatius or among his contemporaries, or in any other writer during the next two centuries; although, as we have said, this same word is often used for Christian altars from the beginning of the third century.[115]

Fourthly. Whenever Ignatius speaks of the Eucharist, he adopts that symbolism which is intrinsic to the Eucharist, so that he either means the real Body of Christ, in so far as it is the Sacrament or symbol of the body of the Church, or the body of the Church with reference to the real Body of the Lord in which is its exemplar. Hence our Eucharist, the real Body of Christ, is always in evidence in these passages: whether he has directly in mind the real Body itself, not without respect to what is signified by it -- ecclesiastical unity; or whether he has directly in mind the ecclesiastical body which is related primarily and in itself to the real Body.[116]

(1) Ignatius, recommending ecclesiastical unity, from which one withdraws should he dare to perform sacred functions outside the order of the legitimate sacerdotal hierarchy, writes as follows: "Take care, therefore, to use the one Eucharist; for the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ is one, and one is the chalice in the oneness of His Blood, one altar, just as there is one bishop with the priests and the deacons my fellow-servants; so that what you do, you may do according to God" (Ad Philadelph., 2, 4. F.P. 1, 266). Our Eucharist, therefore, or the Flesh and the Blood of Jesus Christ, is a reality which has something in common with the altar. Now what the link is between the altar and the reality is further suggested from his Epistle to the Ephesians, where we read: "Let no one err; unless he is within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God" (Eph., 5, 2. F.P. 1, 216). The relation therefore between the altar and the bread is this: the altar, so to speak, underlies the bread, and therefore the bread is there after the manner of something placed on the altar, or offered in sacrifice to God. Although in this place it seems to me that the far more probable interpretation of altar is the altar not made with hands,[117] but the living, celestial, invisible Altar, contained in that Eucharist (i. e. the Body and Blood of Christ), it is nevertheless the altar which receives and transmits to God the sanctified oblation. Therefore our Eucharistic rite implies that in place of the ordinary bread and the ordinary chalice we have now the Body and Blood of Christ in the status of a real thing offered to God.

(II) Further, Ignatius exhorts the Trallians to be careful lest, presuming TO DO (agere) anything without the bishop, the priesthood, and the deacons, they may be found outside the altar; and similarly the Magnesians, that not only must they not do anything without the bishop, and the priests, but also that when they come together their prayer (proseuxh) and their petition (dehsij) should be one, so that they all come together in the one Christ as in one altar. He who is within the altar is clean; but he who is outside the altar is not clean; that is, he who does anything without the bishop, the priesthood, and the deacons, that man is not clean in conscience (Ad Trallianos, 7, 2. F.P. 1, 246-248). "Do nothing without the bishop and the priesthood, and do not presume that anything done apart from them is worthy of praise; but in your assemblies let there be one prayer, one petition, one mind, one hope in charity, in holy joy, which is Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is greater. Do ye all gather together as in the one temple of God, as to the one altar to the one Jesus Christ, who proceeds from the one Father, and was one with Him, and has returned to Him" (Ad Magnesios, 7, 1-2. F.P. 1, 236).

Our free-lance theologian Wieland is aware that the action implied by the word Do (Agere) here consists in the prayer and petition by which the Eucharistic bread is made or consecrated (conficiatur). He concludes from this that the consecrative prayer alone is the actual sacrifice offered on that altar which is either Christ or the Church (D. V. O., 51-52). But surely the inference is rather that the word do here is to be taken to refer to the sacrificial action itself (to sacrifice), and that the consecrative prayer, if it is the action, must be taken as the sacrificial action itself, or the offering of the sacrifice, not the sacrifice which is offered? For, as we have said before, we may consider sacrifice from a twofold aspect, the active sacrifice, or sacrificial action, and the passive, or the victim offered in sacrifice. As active sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Eucharist is indeed the prayer of the Church to God, as containing the words of Christ. As passive sacrifice, it is that which terminates the sacrificial action: namely the actual sacrificed Body and Blood of Christ. That the consecrative prayer is the sacrificial action therefore in no way militates against, but rather favours, the other part of our teaching, that the Body and Blood of Christ is the sacrifice offered to God. But of this more presently.

B. Justin

In the Dialogus Justin declared that the offering of flour—commanded in the Law to those who were cleansed from leprosy—was a figure of the Eucharistic bread which Christ commanded to be consecrated in memory of His Passion, and in thanksgiving for the Creation and the Redemption. Clearly this comparison suggests that as of old the flour was, so now the Eucharistic bread is, something actually offered to God. He then goes on to state more distinctly that the clean sacrifice, as foretold by Malachias, to be offered throughout the whole world, is none other than the bread and the chalice of the Eucharist. We could not wish for a clearer indication of the nature of the reality offered in the Eucharistic bread and chalice. These are his words: "The offering of flour also, prescribed for those who were cleansed from leprosy, was a figure of the bread of the Eucharist, which the Lord Jesus Christ commanded to be made (confici) by us in memory of His Passion, which He sustained for those whose souls are purged from all malice, and that at the same time we might give thanks to God, because He created the world, and everything that is in it, for the sake of man, liberated us from the wickedness in which we were, and completely overthrew the principalities and powers through Him who suffered the Passion according to His will. Hence God spoke, as I have already said, of the sacrifices which you offered at that time, through Malachias, one of the twelve, in these words: I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord, and I will not receive gifts at your hands, for, from the rising of the sun until the going down thereof, my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord, and you have profaned it. And so even as far back as that time He predicts those sacrifices, that is OF THE BREAD OF THE EUCHARIST, and likewise of the CHALICE OF THE EUCHARIST, which are OFFERED in every place by us, the Gentiles, adding this also: that His name is glorified by us, but profaned by you" (Dial., 41. P.G. 6, 564). Hence it is the bread and the chalice of the Eucharist that are offered in sacrifice, and not Eucharistic prayers.

Such is the first passage, and its meaning is so clear that it leaves no doubt at all about the meaning of this other: "Long beforehand (in antecessum) God declares that all those are pleasing to Him who, through His name, make the sacrifices which Jesus commanded to be made, those which we make in the Eucharist of bread and wine, and which are made by Christians in every place" (Dial., 117. P.G. 6, 745). One might infer, though the inference would not be obvious by any means from the last passage taken alone,[118] that the matter of the sacrifice is not the bread or the chalice, but the actual thanksgiving pronounced over the bread and the chalice; a comparison with the first passage, however, shows such an inference to be impossible.

We are now in a position to understand the words of Justin which follow immediately after the last quotation, in which he refutes the Jewish interpretation of the "clean sacrifice" foretold by Malachias, that it was merely the prayers of the dispersed Jews, substituted for the Jewish sacrifices. These are his words: "I, too, say that prayers and thanksgiving made by the worthy are the only sacrifices perfect and acceptable to God. For it is only such prayers that Christians are instructed to make, even in memory of their solid and liquid nutriment, in which a commemoration is also made of the Passion which the Son of God offered for them. But while the prayers and thanksgiving of the Jews are not said throughout the world, there is no race of people among whom in the name of Jesus Christ prayers and thanksgiving are not made to the Father of all things" (ibid., 745-748).[119] To us the plain meaning of the passage is that sacrifices really acceptable to God are not made by the sword or by fire, but by the prayers and thanksgivings of the lips. For among Christians there is no sacrificial action other than the pronouncement of the Eucharistic prayers over the bread and wine, of which Justin writes in another place: "We are taught that that food which is made the Eucharist (eucharistiata) by the word of prayer handed down by Him, di euxhj logou tou par autou,[120] and from which our flesh and blood are given nutriment by the change,[121] is the Flesh and Blood of the Incarnate Jesus"; that is to say, the prayers and thanksgiving, which while giving the words of Christ,[122] make (conficiunt) or consecrate the sacrament, constitute the whole sacrificial action in respect of the matter offered in sacrifice, which is the Body and Blood of Christ.

This teaching is not peculiar to Justin, Ignatius (see above) or Origen,[123] but it is the common teaching of all Catholics, constantly declared by the other Fathers; for instance, by Tertullian (Ad Scapulam, 2. P.L. 1, 700: "We sacrifice. pure prayer"), Cyprian (De Unitate Ecclesiae, 17; and Ep. 64, 4. P.L. 513 and 392), Firmilianus (Ep. ad Cyprianum, 10. P.L. 3, 1165), Lactantius ("for sacrifice must be offered to God by word", Institut., 6, 25. P.L. 6, 730), Jerome (Ep. 14, 8. P.L. 22, 352) : "they consecrate (conficiunt) the Body of Christ by sacred words"; and especially by St. Gregory Nazianzen, either where he writes to Amphilochius: "O holy worshipper of God, hasten to pray and fulfil your office for us, when by your word, you call down the Word, when WITH YOUR TONGUE FOR SWORD, YOU DIVIDE THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD WITH A BLOODLESS CUTTING (Eph., 171. P.G. 37, 280-281), or when he exhorts the magistracy of his own city to calm the citizens, by "this table to which we all in common approach, and the pledge (typos) of my salvation, which I consecrate WITH THE SAME TONGUE with which I now mediate with you, and the sacred liturgy which lifts us to heaven" (Or., 17, n. 13. P.G. 35, 980), or finally when he writes these poetic words about himself:

"I shall keep my tongue unsullied in the pure sacrifices, Whereby I conciliate the great King with mortal man. With guileless tongue and sinless soul I shall transmit the life-giving Victim to Him who is pure.....the Word knows that I did not loose my tongue in insult, I did no thing unworthy of our sacrifices"

(Carmen, 1, 2, sect. 1, poem. 34, V. 93-96, 181-182. P.G. 37, 1314 and 1320).

Similarly, from all we have said, the meaning of Justin is plain where, in the Apologia, 1, 11-13 (cols. 340-345), he says that God does not require material gifts, blood, libations, incense, but all that He desires is that oral prayer and thanksgiving which the Christians make over all that they offer.

C. Hippolytus

Hippolytus refers the prophecy of Daniel, IX, 27, regarding the cessation of the sacrifice to the time of Antichrist, and implicitly linking this sacrifice with the prophecy of Malachias, I, 11, declares that the VICTIM AND LIBATION (qusia kai spondh), which is to be swept away at the time, "is now OFFERED (prosferomenh) to God in every place by the Gentiles ".[124] Here the victim and libation can mean nothing other than the Eucharistic bread and chalice itself; hence there is not an offering merely of prayers made to God,[125] but the offering of something which is solid (victim) and something which is liquid (libation), and what precisely it is, of what nature, Hippolytus indicates clearly enough in other places, many of which will be found in Struckmann, Die Gegenwart Christi, 1905, pp. 211-215, or d'Ales, Theologie de Saint Hippolyte, pp. 147-150.[126]

D. Tertullian

A classic passage in the De Oratione appears to settle beforehand any dispute about Tertullian's teaching on this matter. Criticising those who absented themselves from the Eucharistie assembly to observe the fast, he says: "Similarly, too, there are many who think that we should not assemble FOR THE PRAYERS OF THE SACRIFICES, because the station (that is, the fast) is to be broken BY RECEIVING THE BODY OF THE LORD. Is the Eucharist then a hindrance to the devout worship of God? Rather does it not bring you closer to God? Will not your station be all the more solemn IF YOU STAND AT THE ALTAR OF GOD?"[127] "When you have received the Body of the Lord and reserved it, both of your duties are fulfilled, YOU HAVE PARTAKEN OF THE SACRIFICE, and you have discharged your obligation" (De Oratione, 19. P.L. 1, 1182-1183).

There can be no doubt about the meaning here. The altar is taken in the proper sense, as of that from which the sacrament is to be taken, and by the reception of the sacrament we are considered to partake of the sacrifice itself. Hence it is plain that the Eucharist was the Victim of the sacrifice offered to God through the prayers, by which it is consecrated, of the sacrifices.

We may well note here the parity observed by Tertullian between the sacraments of Christ and of Mithra: "Mithra also celebrates the offering of bread" (De Praescriptionibus, 40. P.L. 2, 55).

Consistent with this is what Tertullian has to say in a passage of his De Pudicitia. He will not admit that the prodigal son is a Christian who has been impure, or guilty of a more serious sin, for instance apostasy, but rather the pagan converted to the faith and the grace of Christ, and he sharply attacks the former interpretation in these words: "And so the apostate will recover his former robe, the vesture of the Holy Spirit, and again receive the ring, the seal of baptism, AND CHRIST WILL BE SLAIN FOR HIM ANEW!" He then constructs his own interpretation: "It is the pagan when converted who receives the pristine robe, that is, the state which Adam had lost by his sin; and then for the first time does he receive the ring with which, after he has been interrogated, he seals the pact of faith, and after that FEASTS OF THE RICHNESS OF THE BODY OF THE LORD, that is, the Eucharist" (De Pudicitia, 9. P.L. 2, 997-998). Here the parallelism of the two passages as well as the analogy with the language of the Gospel parable, shows clearly that the expression "Christ will be slain for him anew" must be understood of the Eucharist: so much so that, according to Tertullian, the celebration of the Eucharist is something in the manner of a re-enacted slaying of Christ.[128] No words could express more effectively the sacrificial action of the Body of the Lord, of whose richness the Christian then feasts.

We can now have no doubt as to the meaning of such expressions as "to offer the sacrifice", or simply "to offer" often occurring in the works of Tertullian. We have an example in the book De cultu feminarum. He is warning Christian women against elaborate adornment of the body, for, says he, they have no reason for going out except for reasons that have nothing to do with worldly pomp or display: "You must not go out except for some worthy reason—to visit one of the weaker brethren, to OFFER THE SACRIFICE, or to hear the word of God" (De cultu feminarum, 11. P.L. 1, 1330).

Again in De Virginibus velandis: "A woman may not speak in the Church, nor teach, nor baptise, nor offer, nor claim for herself the offices that fall to men, still less the priestly office" (De Virginibus velandis, 9. P.L. 2, 902). Finally in the De Exhortatione castitatis, where Tertullian, having become Montanist, and claiming the priesthood for the laity, imposes monogamy, one marriage only, on those who practise that priesthood: "Are not we of the laity priests also? It is written: He hath made us a kingdom and priests to God and his Father (Apoc., 1, 6). It is the authority of the Church, and the honour sanctified by the assembly of those with order, that establishes the difference between those with order and the people; so that where there is not an assembly of those with ecclesiastical order, YOU OFFER, you baptise, and you are a priest for yourself. But where there are three together, there is the Church, though they be laymen. For each one lives by his own faith, and there is no distinction of persons with God, because not the hearers of the law, but the doers are justified by God, according to the saying of the Apostle. If then you have in yourself the right of the priest where it is necessary, you must also have the rule of life of the priest, where of necessity you have the right of the priest. Do you, though twice married (digamus), baptize? Do you, though twice married, OFFER? Is it not far more sinful for a layman, when married a second time, to act as priest, seeing that a priest himself, when married a second time, is not allowed to act as priest?" (De exhortatione castitatis, 7. P.L. 2, 922-923).[129]

Though we admit that there are passages (Apologet., 30;[130] De Oratione, 27-28;[131] Adv. Marcionem, 3, 22;[132] and 4, 9.[133] P.L. 1, 444-445 and 1194-1195; 2, 353 and 376) in which Tertullian says that the only victim or the only sacrifice offered to God and worthy of God is prayer, still he should be considered to be speaking figuratively here (as ascetic writers today do constantly), as even Wieland (Der vorirenaische Opferbegriff, p. 143) admits: "The symbolism is evident." In so far as in these passages he is alluding to the Eucharistic prayer, as sacrificial, the figure is one of metonymy.[134] This seems plain from an example in the work Ad Scapulam, where he does not say "We sacrifice, or offer in sacrifice, prayers", but using the proper mode of speech, devoid of figure: WE SACRIFICE. God commanded, BY PURE PRAYER (Ad Scapulam, 2. P.L. 1, 700).

The fact that in other places Tertullian (Adv. Judaeos, 5-6. P.L. 2, 607-609),[135] rejecting the carnal and earthly sacrifices of the Jews, admits only spiritual sacrifices, by no means implies that he excludes the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ as offered by us, but that he lays special emphasis either on the spiritual aspect of the sacrificial action which is the praise of God coming from a pure heart, or at times the spirituality of the invisible and celestial Victim, hidden beneath the sacrament.[136] Do we not find, at a much later period, Ambrose using the same kind of language in the De Mysteriis: "Christ is in that sacrament, because IT IS THE BODY OF CHRIST: IT IS NOT THEREFORE CORPORAL BUT SPIRITUAL FOOD (De Mysteriis, 58. P.L. 16, 408).


We now come to those writers whose words, merely taken by themselves, are not sufficiently definite to settle the question whether what is offered to God is the prayer itself, or what is effected by the prayer.

A. Clement Of Rome

Clement of Rome, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, 44. (F.P., 1, 156), describes bishops as those who offer gifts: "for our sin will not be light, if we cast out from the episcopacy those who have offered gifts devoutly and without blame". True, he does not say of what kind are the gifts which bishops are competent to offer; but at the same time there is no suggestion whatever that these gifts are words. Indeed no prudent reader could say that the word gifts (ta dwra) standing here by itself, without any explanatory words, means prayers.[137] Wieland therefore justly reconsiders his earlier teaching (M. u. C.; p. 26), and admits that the word gifts (dwra) must here be understood as "real concrete gifts" (Die Schrift M. u. C., und P. Emil Dorsch, p. 79). But it is altogether too absurd for him to go on to say that here it is not a question of gifts to be offered to God, but of gifts to be set before the assembled faithful—namely, the gifts of the agape, to be distributed among the poor. To prove his point, he refers us to Justin, who says (Apol., 1, 13, P.G. 6, 345), first, that we "offer for ourselves and for the poor (eautoij kai deomenoij prosferetai) and, secondly (Apol. 1, 65 and 67, cols, 428-429), that the bread with the wine and the water is handed to the president (65: prosferetai tw proestwti), who then makes the Eucharist. From these examples of Justin he infers that the word offer (prosferein) in the passage from Clement has no other meaning than vorlegen, to hand to[the people], or to place before them, or to set before them as food to be eaten by them (meaning: to furnish a table with food, so to speak).

To all this we answer that in the first passage of Justin[138] the words for ourselves and for the poor (eautoij kai deomenoij) are datives of advantage, so that Justin's words do not mean that the offering is made to ourselves and to the poor (!) but simply that the offering is made in such a way as to redound to our advantage and to the advantage of the poor. Not only is this especially appropriate to the Eucharistic rite, but it is also declared by the whole tone of the passage in Justin, where the difference between the usual pagan rite of the sacrifices and our own manner of offering is explained. For the plain meaning of the words of Justin is, that we do not offer sacrifice to God as though He wished to grow rich through our gifts, but rather wishes to enrich us with His. We do however offer to Him, though not to any advantage of His. Nor can the sense of the Apologia here be: we are not atheists, for though we do not offer to God, we do offer to ourselves. Could anything be more absurd!

In the second example from Justin, to which Wieland refers, although we can fitly retain the simple sense of handing over the gifts by the deacons to the bishop to whom they minister,[139] it is clearly impossible to transfer this sense to the Epistle of Clement, for three reasons. In the first place, the bishop is said to offer gifts, and there is no suggestion, no insinuation whatever of any person to whom they are offered in the passage of Clement. Secondly, the word prosferein, which we translate to offer, is not aptly translated to hand over, except in the case where the inferior hands to the superior—the minister to his Lord. When the superior gives to the inferior, as when the bishop gives to the faithful, Clement would more naturally have used the word paradidonai or diadidonai (cf. Luke., XVIII, 22 and XII, 32, and Xenophon, Cyrop., 1, 3). Thirdly, Clement plainly tells us that the bishop offering gifts was typified in the Old Law by the man whom God chose through Moses "to offer sacrifice and to minister TO HIM" (II Cor. 43, 4. F.P., 1, 154).[140]

B. The Doctrine Of The Twelve Apostles

In the fourteenth chapter of the Doctrina (F.P. 1, 32) the word qusia is used twice when an order is given that on the Lord's Day thanksgiving should be made in the breaking of bread. Moreover, the allusion to Matthew, V, 23-24, shows that the rite is sacrificial: "Assembling on the Lord's day, break bread and give thanks, having confessed your sins that your sacrifice may be clean, any one who hath enmity with his friend, let him not come with you, until he is reconciled, that your sacrifice may be clean. For let no one who has a dispute with his friend come to your assembly, before they have been reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled. For thus hath the Lord spoken: In every place a clean oblation is offered to me, for I am the great king, saith the Lord, and my name is great among the gentiles. We can hardly say that the word qusia (sacrifice) here is the actual Body of Christ offered to God. For the faithful are commanded to prepare themselves by the confession of their sins, and by reconciliation with their enemies, so that their sacrifice may be clean and undefiled. Now the Body of Christ cannot become defiled nor made unclean, no matter how lax Christians may be in these two observances. Hence we are convinced that by sacrifice here we must understand, not the reality offered in sacrifice, but the sacrificial action itself.[141] The meaning, therefore, is that thanksgiving over the bread in the passage is the sacrificial action. This does not affect our position, for we hold that the sacrificial action is the Eucharistic or thanksgiving prayer, in as much as it contains the words of Christ, and this, too, is the teaching of the other writers and Fathers of the period. Hence we infer from the Doctrina, too, that the sacrificial action is the Eucharistic prayer.

But it does not follow by any means from these words that the Eucharistic prayer is the actual reality offered to God. Indeed it rather suggests the contrary. For if the giving of thanks is here to offer sacrifice, evidently that over which thanks is given is offered in sacrifice. Hence we conclude, naturally, that what is consecrated by the thanksgiving is offered in sacrifice. Even Wieland does not deny that in the mind of the early Christians the consecrated bread was the Body of Christ. Hence we conclude that the Body of Christ is offered. Meantime, let us not forget how we have already shown that in the Eucharistic consecration of the bread and wine is implied the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ, who actually suffered unto death for us.

C. Clement Of Alexandria

Clement vehemently and repeatedly condemned all the customary sacrifices offered by the pagans to their gods, Stromata, 5, 11; 7, 3;7, 6 (P.G. 9, 113; 417-420; 444). And in these passages his chief intention seems to be to insist that no earthly gift of ours can enrich God, so to speak, or give Him pleasure or honour. He does not, however, deny, indeed he distinctly affirms, that in place of such sacrifices we honour God in a reasonable manner "by prayer (di euxhj)." By prayer, or by the prayer, he most probably means the Eucharistic celebration," which excellent and most holy sacrifice we offer up with justice, paying honour to the most just Word,[142] through whom we receive knowledge, through Him glorifying those things which we have learned [for instance, the secrets of the Most Holy Trinity] . The altar, therefore, which is with us here on earth, is the congregation of those who are devoted to prayer, having one voice and one mind, so to speak. …. For the sacrifice of the Church is the prayer which is breathed by holy souls, when sacrifice, and at the same time our whole mind, is exhibited to God." The meaning is this: Clement, omitting the consideration of the celestial Altar, which is Christ, and dwelling only on the second altar which is the Church, rightly, though in an intricate way, lays down that the characteristic of the Eucharistic sacrifice is situated (1) in the oral sacrificial action; (2) in the internal sanctity of the Church offering the sacrifice; and (3) consequently in the simultaneous presentation of interior and exterior sacrifice.

Any obscurity inherent in these passages is cleared up to a great extent by a previous note, inserted in the first book of the Stromata, 1, 19. (P.G. 8, 813).[143] It appears from this note (1) that the word offering, strictly in the sense of active offering, was in general use for the Eucharistic celebration; and (2) that this offering consisted in the thanksgiving[144] in the bread and wine (eucharistiatione panis et vini).[145] Hence we gather that the giving in thanks (eucharistiatio) had the nature of an offering of what was given in thanks—the Body and Blood of Christ. We read something closely allied to this in a commentary on St. Luke, XV (P.G. 9, 760-761), attributed with a certain amount of probability to Clement, in which there is mentioned, as immolated (be it in blood or sacramentally), "the calf, elsewhere called the lamb", which is "flesh and bread". We then find the following words, not in reference to the prodigal son, but to the Christians partaking of the Eucharist," therefore to the children who approach, the Father gives the calf, and it is sacrificed and eaten". Surely it would be going too far to maintain[146] that the connexion between these two actions—one of sacrificing (quetai) and one of eating (trwgetai), both spoken of together in the present tense—is merely causal such as obtains between our communion and the sacrifice of the Passion, rather than a connection by continuity of time, such as exists between our recent sacrificial action and our present partaking of the Eucharist.

It is certainly true that Clement tells us the calf is "He who is led like a lamb to the slaughter, a victim full of marrow, all of whose fat passes into the possession of God, in accordance with the holy law: for he is wholly consecrated and dedicated to the Lord, so well nourished and so tall, that he reaches out to and suffices for all things, and satiates all who eat and enjoy his flesh", etc. But what follows from this? Does Clement's assertion of the one sacrificial action of the Lord in the past exclude necessarily any act of sacrifice on our part? Rather is not the oft-repeated conclusion forced upon us, that the one sacrificial action of our Lord in the past is so pre-eminent over ours that, unless it is presupposed, our sacrificial actions cannot take place; that Christ is a Victim from His own sacrifice of Himself; that He abides forever a Victim before God, in whose sight He ever lives, to whose worship He has been dedicated: the selfsame who is now offered in sacrifice by us, as He is also eaten by us.

And Clement enunciates this relation of our sacrificial action to the past immolation in blood in two passages which are undoubtedly genuine. In the first passage (Strom., 5, 10. P.G. 9, 101),[147] having declared that the contemplation of God is purchased for us by the eating of the Flesh of Christ and the drinking of His Blood, he adds that it was FOR THIS REASON that in the teaching of Plato there was truly need of a great and not a trivial victim for us, namely, Christ the Paschal Lamb, who was immolated for us, certainly in the Passion. In the second passage (Paedegog., 2, 2. P.G. 8, 409),[148] Christ the Word is described as the great grape cluster which WAS PRESSED for us (obviously in the Passion), the blood of which grape is now to be DRUNK by us.

D. Sayings Of Some Other Apologists

Like Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Tertullian, other early apologists dwelt on the abolition of the sacrifices.

Thus in his Apologia Aristides declares: "God does not require victims or libations, or any visible thing" (c. l; cf. c. 13, T. u. U., 4, 3, pp. 6 and 32).

Athenagoras, writing about the "Prohibition of sacrifice" in his Legatio pro Christianis, c. 13. (P.G. 6, 916), says that the knowledge of God, and pure hands lifted up to Him, is the only sacrifice acceptable to Him, who needs nothing, and whose victim must be bloodless and spiritual adoration.[149]

St. Apollonius of Rome, martyred under the Emperor Commodus, speaks similarly, as we read in the Acta S. Apollonii, paragraph 8. T. u. U., 15, 2, p. 98: "I and all Christians send up a bloodless and clean sacrifice to Almighty God, who rules over heaven and earth and every spirit: a sacrifice which is made, especially by prayers, on behalf of the rational and intellectual images of God, ordained in the providence of God to govern the earth (i. e. the emperors)." He is referring to the sacrifice which is offered by himself and by the Christian community. In these words we have an echo of the well-known early Christian liturgy for kings and all who are in high places (I Tim., II, 2, with which should be compared the intercession which is preserved in a much later compilation, Constitutiones Apostolicae, 8, 12 and 13. F. D. 1, 510-512 and 514). In the passage one should note that he does not say that prayers are offered, but that sacrifice is offered " by prayers ".

In another place indeed he does speak about offering prayers (parag. 44, p. 126). Here, however, he does not say that he is speaking of any Christian rite, but merely exhorting his judge (who certainly had not received instruction about the Eucharist) to offer a bloodless sacrifice of prayers and good works, which was the only kind of sacrifice, in a metaphorical not proper sense that he could urge on such a man, though it should be noted that, even so, he does not recommend it to the exclusion of every other kind: "I had hopes that holy thoughts would possess you, that the eyes of your soul would be opened to my plea, that your heart would bear fruit and worship God, the maker of all things, and that each day by your alms and humane mode of life and prayers it would send up[a bloodless and clean sacrifice] to the one God."

The author of the Epistola ad Diognetem (III, 3-5, F.P. 1, 394) says that the things that God in His bounty has given to us who need them should not be returned to Him, as though He needed them.

In the same way, Minucius Felix asks ironically: "Shall I offer to God as victims and sacrifices what He gave for my own use? Shall I cast His own gift back at Him? " Rather he decides that the victim that may be offered to Him is: good disposition, a pure mind and upright conscience, justice and mercy (Octav., 32. P.L. 3, 339-340).

In this manner of speech, not only do these writers agree with their contemporaries, whom we have already considered, but also with the Fathers and theologians of earlier and later times.

As examples of this style of speech even among the Fathers of a later period, when the teaching of the Church's sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ was taught by all quite finally and definitely, we may quote, in the West, St. Hilary, in Ps. 62, n. 8 (P.L. 9, 405); Zeno of Verona (lib. 1, tractatus 15, c. 5. P.L. 11, 364-365);[150] from the East St. Basil, Ep. 115 (P.G. 32, 528) and (?) In Isaiam, I, 24-27 (P.G. 30, 165-172); St. Gregory Nazianzen, Or. 45, n. 12, 14, 23 (P.G. 36, cols. 640, 641-644, 656); Carmin. lib. 2, sect. 2, poem 3, vers. 255-258 (P.G. 37, 1498); Epiphanius, Haer., 66, n. 71 (P.G. 42, 141-144). Indeed Theodoret in his Graecarum affectionum therapeutica (Sermo 7. P.G. 83, 992-1005) devotes a complete discourse on the offering of sacrifices to the censure and condemnation of all offerings of sacrifice, and meantime has not one word to say about the sacrifice of the Eucharist, commending only prayers and acts of virtue instead of sacrifices. And yet there is nothing so clear as the faith of that time, and the faith of those very Fathers on the offering of the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ by the Church.

Even before the early Fathers and Doctors, the author of the Epistola Barnabae (2, 6. F.P. l, 42), while insisting on the abolition of sacrifices, has something to say, nevertheless, on the character of the new offering: "God therefore abolished these[Jewish] sacrifices, so that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is not under the yoke of necessity, SHOULD HAVE AN OFFERING WHICH IS NOT MADE BY MAN. The New Law therefore has its own offering," and this is not made by man but by God. It is as though the writer were to say ina mh anqrwpopoihton alla qeopoihton, exh thn prosforan as we should say, so that the New Law should have an offering not of man's making, but of God's.

But, even before the author of the Epistola Barnabae, St. Paul had written practically the same words to the Athenians: "God, who made the world and all things therein, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is he served with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing that it is he who giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts, XVII, 24-25).

Indeed, everything that the Fathers have to say on the rejection of the sacrifices may be reduced to a few heads of doctrine, for in every sacrifice there are four aspects to be considered: to whom the sacrifice is offered, what is offered, how the sacrifice is offered, and by whom it is offered.

Under the first aspect, if we consider to whom sacrifice is offered, the Fathers excluded all sacrifices offered to God, as needing such. For the pagans, and at times even the Jews, foolishly imagined that we conferred a benefit on God by sacrifice (see Aristides, Athenagoras, Epist. ad Diognet., Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria). But in real truth God does not need our sacrifice of the Eucharist; it is we who need it. He is not pleased, so to speak, as one receiving the fruit of sacrifice, but as granting to us to secure, by sacrifice, the fruit of salvation.

Secondly, as regards what is offered. The Fathers excluded the offerings of the products of the earth, or offerings of things procured or fashioned by the art of man, such as it was a common custom among men to place upon the altar (cf. Ep. Barnabae, Justin, Tertullian, etc.).[151] For our Victim is not an earthly victim, it is not alone a rational and an immaculate (spotless) victim, but it is also a celestial Victim, in no way subject to the condition of corporeal things, but given to the world in a sacrificial state by the divine omnipotence alone.[152]

Thirdly, considering the manner of offering. In the first place, the Fathers excluded any and every kind of real immolation or slaying from our sacrifices, hence they often said that in our worship there is no qusia (Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria; cf. Gregory Nazianzen, Theodoretus). For words which are used to signify indiscriminately, at one time sacrificing or the offering of an immolated victim, at another time immolation or mactation, would naturally, according to the subject matter, be admitted at one time and rejected at another, according to the different point of view in each case; the true meaning could only be known by a full consideration of the context and occasion of utterance. For example, the Body of Christ is truly sacrificed by us when we offer it in our Mass in the state of perpetual Victim, into which it passed by the former real immolation of the Passion; but it is not here and now really immolated, or slain by us, and so, as it is subject to no recent immolation, it has been called in the Mass—in the Greek aquton iereion (Damascenus, In dominicum pascha. P.G. 96, 841). -an expression translated into Latin as "non-immolata victima"; in English, "a victim not really immolated or slain by us" (here and now at Mass); or it is said to be aqutwj quomenon by Gelasius of Cyzicus (Historia Concilii Nicaeni, 1, 2, c. 30. P.G. 85, 1317) that is, sacrificed without (true) immolation here and now in the Mass,[153] and he attributes this expression to the Nicene Fathers;[154] and the Liturgia Chaldaeorum rightly chants: "We offer the living and reasonable sacrifice of our first fruits, and the VICTIM NOT IMMOLATED[i. e. not really immolated here and now], and yet acceptable, the Son of our race, which. ....the priests HAVE IMMOLATED i. e.[mystically, symbolically] . ....on holy altars" (Max. Saxoniae, Missa Chaldaica, p. 26).

Or again, still considering the manner of offering, the Fathers excluded every kind of material rite, such as the real offering of material things, they only retained a rite that was spiritual and intelligible; not perceptible to the senses, perceptible only to the intellect of believers by means of sensible symbols; not consisting in any mere material or mechanical action, but in the intelligible virtue of the words uttered by the Lord and directed to God, words not of one directly declaring the action, but performing it, while symbolically he sheds from the Body of Christ its atoning Blood; by which action there is made in the apparent offering of the bread and wine, the real offering of Christ who suffered for us in the past.[155]

Fourthly, considering those who offer the sacrifice. The Fathers insisted especially on probity of life, on adoration in spirit and in truth, in which the invisible sacrifice consists; for unless the visible sacrifice is a symbol of this invisible sacrifice, it is not acceptable (thus practically all the Fathers, Zeno of Verona particularly).[156]

Appendix A

On John, IV, 23

We have just given above the four main reasons why the Fathers said that our sacrifice was a spiritual sacrifice. But even before the Fathers, does not our Lord Himself allude to this spiritual character? In John, IV, 23, He says: The hour cometh and now is, when true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth.

For, in the first place, the word adore in this passage appears to refer to sacrificial worship. This is suggested both by the subject matter and by comparison with other Scriptural passages.

Firstly, in regard to the subject matter. As an answer to the question put by the Samaritan woman, it must naturally be understood or interpreted in accordance with the sense of that question. The question concerned the dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans as to where sacrifice should be offered (verse 20). Should it be in the temple of Jerusalem, or in the shrines of Mount Garizim, where, according to the Pentateuch of the Samaritans (Deut., XXVII, 4), the people had been commanded by God to offer sacrifice, after they had crossed the Jordan, and blessings were undoubtedly bestowed on those who observed the law (Deut., XI. 27 and XXVII, 12). Therefore when the woman asks Him where men must adore, we must understand her to mean where men must sacrifice, all the more because she had already said: Our fathers adored on this mountain; that is, offered sacrifice.

We arrive at the same conclusion when we compare the word used with its use in other Scripture passages. In John, XII, 20, probably in the Acts, VIII, 27, and certainly in the Septuagint, Gen., XXII, 5, this word, translated adorare in the Vulgate, and adore in the Douay Version, signifies sacrificial worship, which, as all know, is adoration in the most perfect and proper sense.

Secondly, Christ seems to stress here the spirituality and the reality of the new worship, by reason of the excellence of our Eucharistic sacrifice as compared with the carnal and figurative sacrifices of the ancients. For He contrasts the locally circumscribed observance of the legal sacrifice with the ubiquitous Messianic sacrifice, when He says: (verse 21) : The hour cometh when you shall neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. And then he gives the reason for this ubiquity of the Messianic sacrifice (verse 23) : The hour cometh, and now is, when true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. The sacrifice will be universal because it will be spiritual and true sacrifice. For the Father will not be adored with carnal nor figurative sacrifices,[157] but with the spiritual sacrifice which is the fulfilment of the figures, namely, by the sacrifice of the one perfect Victim, of the rational and immaculate Victim, offered to God under the covering of symbols according to an immaterial rite. Hence neither the Victim nor the offering of the Victim will be tied to the limits of any place.

This interpretation was already given long ago by Eusebius (Demonstr. Evangel., I, 1, c. 6. P.G. 22, 57 et seq.) where he links up this passage in St. John on the change of altar and sacrifice with the prophecy of Malachias, I, 11-12. Theodoretus explains the words of our Lord in a similar manner: "The priestly worship which was restricted to one place has ceased, and every place has been declared meet for the worship of God; the slaughter of irrational animals has come to an end, and only the immaculate Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world is sacrificed" (In Malach., I, 11. P.G. 81, 1968).

Rupert likewise among the Latin Fathers: "For Jerusalem is not the only place where I must be adored, but in every place true adorers will adore the Father in spirit and in truth, and to my name they will offer a clean oblation, the oblation of bread and wine, the sacrament of the Body and Blood of their Redeemer" (In Malach., c. 1. P.L. 168, 821).

Appendix B

The Fathers, Clement in particular, consider that Communion with Christ by Contemplation and by the Eucharist is One and Indivisible.

Clement writes: "If therefore milk is for little ones (II Cor., III, 1-3), and solid food is said by the Apostle to be the nutriment of the perfect, milk will be understood by us as instruction (catechesis) as the first nutriment of the soul; and food as the contemplation of those fully initiated in the mysteries (epoptica contemplatio) : the very Flesh, I mean, and Blood of the Word; that is, knowledge of the divine power and essence.... Taste and see, for Christ is the Lord. FOR IT IS THUS THAT HE IMPARTS HIMSELF TO THOSE WHO ARE MORE SPIRITUALLY PARTAKERS OF THIS FOOD: namely when the soul nourishes herself, as Plato, the friend of truth, says "[According to Clement, therefore, Christ does not give Himself to be contemplated to all whosoever partake of this food, that is of His Flesh and Blood, but to those only who are spiritual partakers, that is those who are nourished by the Eucharist, not only according to the body, but also according to the soul] " for the food and drink of the divine Word is knowledge of the divine essence "[namely in as much as the sacramental eating is the sacrament effective of the spiritual eating] ." For this reason Plato says in the second book of the Republic: "Only when we have sacrificed not a pig, but some great and rare victim, should we seek favours from God." But the Apostle writes: "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed: in Christ indeed we have the rare Victim who is sacrificed for us" (Strom., 5, 10. P.G. 9, 101).

There are some who say that this passage does not refer to the Eucharist, even indirectly. Thus Batiffol (Eucharistie, 3, p. 181. Again Eucharistie 5, p. 254; against A. Struckmann, Die Gegenwart Christi in der hl. Eucharistie nach den schriftlichen Quellen der vornizaischen Zeit, 1905, p. 136-138). That Clement does refer to the Eucharist here seems to me far the more probable opinion, both for the reasons which I have interpolated in square brackets in the text, and also because of the connection asserted, by the words for this reason, between the sacrifice and the food and drink of the Word.

Here I would make the following remark which is of general application. That the Fathers often understand by the expression the bread and wine, and even the Body and Blood of Christ, either the knowledge of faith, the contemplation of the Word, the study of Holy Scripture, or some such thing, does not by any means affect the Eucharistic interpretation of the sixth chapter of St. John. For the whole discourse (John., VI, 27-59) conveys the idea, which is commonplace with the Fathers (cf. also Council of Trent, sess. 13, c. 8, D. 881, and read carefully Toletus on St. John, VI, 52, Cologne, 1589, cols. 593-594), that the Eucharistic eating is the sacrament or symbol of the spiritual eating which is done by a living faith (characteristic of which is loving contemplation of the Word, and devout meditation on the truth revealed in the Scriptures). Hence we are not surprised to find the Fathers saying, quite freely, that the bread and the drink, or the Flesh and the Blood, is the faith itself, the contemplation, the teaching, of which the former (bread, wine, Flesh, Blood) is the sacrament or the symbol, or vice versa: in as much as the one is linked up with the other by way of causality and signification or similitude." From the similitude they bear to the things they signify, very often symbols or sacraments take the names of those things", as St. Augustine reminds us in the Epistola ad Bonifacium episcopum (Ep. 98, n. 9. P.L. 33, 364).

This teaching is so far from excluding the Eucharistic interpretation, that it even implies it: seeing that the one interpenetrates the other. Hence the early Fathers repeatedly interweave these two interpretations. We give a few brief examples to illustrate this.

Thus Eusebius of Caesarea (De Solemnitate paschali, n. 2. P.G. 24, 696) speaks as follows of contemplation through the Eucharist: "We therefore, BEING NOURISHED BY THE INTELLECTUAL FLESH (intellectualibus carnibus) of this VICTIM, that is of our Saviour, who saved the human race by His Blood, that is to say BY DOCTRINES AND INSTRUCTIONS telling us of the Kingdom of Heaven, in fitting fashion feast on divine banquets." And in the same work he writes a little later (n. 7, col. 701), speaking this time explicitly of the Body and Blood of the Eucharist: "The followers of Moses immolated the paschal lamb once a year on the fourteenth day of the first month at eventide. We of the New Testament, fulfilling our Pasch every Lord's day, are always sated with the Body of the Saviour; we always partake of the Blood of the Lamb."

Athanasius also represents as offered to us in the invitation to the Paschal Supper, the food of Christian faith (Epistola heortastica, 28. P.G. 26, 1433) : "So that He might be made Victim for all, and we BEING NOURISHED BY THE TEACHINGS OF TRUTH, and PARTAKERS OF HIS DIVINE DOCTRINE, may be able, with the saints, to attain to the joys of heaven. For thither indeed THE WORD CALLS US, AS HE CALLED THE DISCIPLES TO THE SUPPER, WITH THEM HE SUMMONS US TO THE DIVINE AND TRULY INCORRUPTIBLE BANQUET: here indeed having suffered for us; and there preparing celestial tabernacles for all who with a prompt mind have been obedient to His call, and with firm purpose have followed Him to receive the reward of their heavenly vocation; where gladness and an imperishable crown awaits THOSE WHO COME TO THE SUPPER, and manfully do battle against their enemies." Another example of the spiritual supper interwoven with the sacramental may be seen in Epistola heortastica, 61, col. 1383. And on the other hand the Epistolae heortasticae of Athanasius present numerous examples of his teaching on the sacramental banquet, at which the Flesh and Blood of the Word, the very Lamb, the Word itself, is eaten (Epistolae heortasticae, 2, 3; 4, 4; 5, 1; 5, 5; 9, 9-10; 13, 7. P.G. 26, 1368, 1379, 1379-1380, 1382-1383, 1395-1396, 1418).[158]

Language of this kind was not confined to this period only, it was quite ordinary even during the Middle Ages. So, for example, we find William of St. Theodoric, at the time when writers were mainly concerned with defending the real presence in the sacrament, discoursing in most explicit terms about the spiritual eating as procured by the sacramental, interweaving the one with the other as freely as ever did Clement or Origen (In Num., hom. 16, 9. In Matth., Com. Ser., 85, etc., P.G. 12, 701-702; 13, 1734-1735) : "When therefore He gives us so much reason to love that Flesh of His[wounded, that is, in the Passion], He imparts to our souls the great wonder-working nutriment of life. This Flesh we eagerly consume, when we sweetly recall and hide in the bosom of memory all that Christ has done and suffered for us. And this is our banquet of the Flesh and Blood of Jesus, communicating with WHOM we have life abiding in us. Then indeed we communicate, when, IN ARDENT FAITH THAT WORKETH BY CHARITY, WE GIVE BACK TO THE TABLE OF THE LORD WHAT WE HAVE RECEIVED THEREFROM; that is to say, that just as He, constrained by no necessity, gave Himself for our salvation, so we, who have need of salvation, give ourselves completely to Him in faith and love. The one who partakes of this banquet, cannot eat his bread in idleness, but industriously, like the valiant woman, rises from the night of this time to the light of the word of God, that he may eat the work of his hands, that he may be blessed, and that he may prosper, etc. This then is to eat that Flesh of which Jesus says: He that eateth my flesh, abideth in me, and I in him." By way of preface to this exposition, he had written the following words which show clearly that in the excerpt quoted above he was speaking of the sacramental Body of Christ: "We must consider that this food[that is, the very Body of Christ; cf. c. 2-4] is so necessary to attain to true life, that without it true life cannot be obtained.... And so to secure that He[that is Christ] be loved by us. ....for that very purpose this food[that is, the Eucharist] must nourish us" (De Sacramento altaris, c. 5. P.L. 180, 351, 352-353). Note the fact (rather amusing under the circumstances) that William of St. Theodoric himself complained about the obscurity of some passages of the Fathers on the subject of the Eucharist (op. cit., c. 11. P.L. 180, 359).

See also the Epistola ad fratres de Monte Dei, c. 10, n. 30 (P.L. 184, 327), attributed with a certain amount of probability by Massuetus to Hugh the Carthusian, where the "reality" of the sacrament, that is the spiritual fruit, is said, not of course without reference to the sacrament itself, to be eaten, drunk, partaken of, received, in holy meditation on the Passion of the Lord.

We have still further support for our interpretation of the sixth chapter of St. John in many passages where the Fathers place before us, not as above promiscuously, but side by side, so to speak, both elements of the Eucharist, the significative or sacramental, and what is signified or the spiritual. Thus Origen (In Num., hom. 16, 9. P.G. 12, 701-702) writes, when explaining John, VI, 54: "We are said to drink of the Blood of Christ, not by the rite of the sacraments alone, but also when we receive His word, in which life consists." And again (In Exodum, hom. 13, n. 3. P.G. 12, 391) : "You, who are wont to assist at the divine mysteries, know that when you receive you are most reverent and careful lest any small particle of the Sacrament (ex eo) fall to the ground. If then you observe the utmost care for the conservation of His most sacred Body, and rightly so, how can you think that it is a less grave sin to have shown neglect in regard to the word of God than it is to have been negligent in regard to His Body?"

Similarly Didymus: "How shall we interpret the words: Man ate the bread of angels? Understand by my bread the whole solid PRECEPTS of God, and by the wine the KNOWLEDGE of God by contemplation of divine things. But likewise understand by these words His divine Body and precious Blood" (In Prov., IX, 5. P.G. 39, 1633).

These words are echoed by the commentary on Prov., IX, 2, attributed though with only slight probability to Hippolytus: "She hath set forth her table, that is to say the promised KNOWLEDGE of the holy Trinity, and also His most adorable and holy Body and Blood, which are daily consecrated (perficientur) and offered in sacrifice at the secret (arcana) and divine table" (P.G. 10, 628).

In the eleventh letter of the first book of Epistulae, attributed to St. Nilus, we read: "Moses tells the people in prophecy: You shall eat flesh, meaning by flesh the divine Body which the faithful eat in the Church, and also the most blessed KNOWLEDGE of Christians, higher than any other knowledge" (P.G. 79, 125).

Of the Latin Fathers, St. Jerome speaks in a similar fashion: "When He says: Except you eat of my flesh, and drink of my blood, although it can also be understood of the mystery (in mysterio), nevertheless truly the Body of Christ and His Blood is the word of Scripture, divine teaching. When we come to the mystery (the faithful understand), should we let a particle fall, we are in danger of sin (periclitamur). If when we listen to the word of God, and both the word of God and the Flesh of Christ are poured into our ears, and nevertheless we think of other things, in what grave danger of sin do we not place ourselves?" (Anecdota Maredsolana, vol. 3, pars. 2, p. 301, Tract sive hom., in Psalm 147). And again: "This is the only good we have in this world of ours, if we eat the Flesh of God and drink of His Blood, not only in the mystery but also in the reading of the Scriptures" (In Ecclesiasten, III, 12-13. P.L. 23, 1039).

Who does not know that the author of the Imitation (IV, 11) speaks in this manner when he writes of the two tables set for man in the Church? Christ is upon each table, to be partaken of in a different manner from each. So true is this," that the food of life is one, consisting both of the Word Incarnate as teaching, and of the Word Incarnate as the Victim, who justifies us" (Nicholas of Cusa, Exercitationes, lib. 4, Opera, Basle, 1565, p. 444).

Hence the teaching of the Fathers on union with Christ by the Eucharist and by contemplation as one and indivisible may be summed up as follows. As we have already said, and as will be made clearer later on, Th. XLIX (Vol. III), just as the Eucharist is the sacrament of that incorporation with Christ given by living faith, so lively faith is a spiritual eating of the Eucharist. Hence these two things are closely interwoven, as sign and what is signified by that sign, as sacrament or sign of a reality (sacramentum rei), and as reality signified by that sacrament or sign (res sacramenti); and so, in the nature of things, and according to common usage, in the language of the Fathers, the names and predicates of the one were transferred to the other. Let us admit that Origen led the way in this, but Origen was influenced to speak as he did by the very nature of things; and the same may be said of Ignatius, whom the ecclesiastical symbolism of the Eucharist (for the Church, as the body of the faithful, incorporated with Christ through the Eucharist, is the res sacramenti, the ultimate reality signified by the Eucharist,.

as its sign) led to speak of the Church in Eucharistic language.

Appendix C

Clement on the Partaking of the Blood of the Passion of the Lord in the Eucharist

We find such partaking of the Blood of the Passion asserted by Clement in a rather involved passage in which he makes a distinction as of a twofold Blood of Christ: "For one is carnal whereby we have been preserved from destruction, the other spiritual whereby we have been anointed[w kexrismeqa, meaning perhaps: we have been initiated in Christ] ." It appears to me that Clement distinguishes here a twofold Blood, much in the same way as the Fathers distinguished a twofold Flesh and Body of our Lord, We may live two examples of this, St. Jerome In Ephes., I, (7. P.L. 26, 481) : "The Flesh and Blood of Christ is understood in two ways: there is that flesh, spiritual and divine, of which He says: My flesh is meat: or there is that Flesh and Blood which was crucified, and which the lance of the soldier caused to flow"; and St. Augustine, En. in Psalm 98, n. 9. (P.L. 37, 1265) : "It is not this Body which you see, that you will eat, nor will you drink that Blood which my crucifiers will shed" (cf. Hesych., In Levit., 8, 22-29. P.G. 93, 883). For by reason of the different conditions (or manner of presence) in the two cases, we can distinguish between the sensible Flesh of Christ, the object of the senses, and the intelligible or spiritual Flesh of Christ, the object of intellect or faith alone (cf. Billot, De Ecclesiae sacramentis, 4, 1. P. 392). The one is spoken of in the Passion, the other in the Eucharist. Now his very subject matter led Clement, quite naturally, to refer to this distinction. For he is urging the Christian, when taking his ordinary food, to mix water with his wine, and his whole discourse turns on this point. After a few other considerations he sets before them the example of Christ, the great grape cluster of the true vine, who willed that with His Blood, or the blood of the grape, water should be mixed (just as His Blood is mingled with the grace of salvation). We know that in the case of Christ this was done in two ways: one way was when the grape was pressed in the Passion, and blood mixed with water flowed therefrom; the other, the more spiritual way, was in the Supper (the Blood of which leads us into the incorruptibility of the spiritual life). For in the Supper itself, in the more spiritual way, there was not merely one mingling, but two. There was first a mingling in the sensible element given the Apostles to drink, namely of WINE and WATER. Then there is a second mingling, whereby a purely spiritual element is mingled WITH MAN WHO DRINKS (for the uncreated Spirit of the Word may be considered as related to the Word, as the invigorating blood is related to the flesh, because the vigour of the Word is the Spirit of the Word. Now consider the Spirit of the Word as the Blood, then man, become one or mingled with the Spirit of the Word by drinking, is considered as the water. Hence then at the Eucharistic Supper there is a second mingling, as of water and wine, that is of man and of the Spirit).

Of these two Eucharistic minglings (wine and water, Spirit and man), we find that the former begets faith in the latter (it is the symbol of it); and the latter begets incorruptibility in man. And now from both these two there plainly arises a third mingling; namely of the sensible element, that is the drink, and of the spiritual element, that is the Word.

And, finally, this mixture of the Word and of drink, as one complexus, is called the Eucharist. The Word here is the Word Incarnate, as the excerpt will show. The passage runs: "The sacred vine put forth (germinavit) the grape cluster foretold by the prophets. For this is the sign given to all who have been led from the error of paganism into the peace of Christianity, the great grape cluster, the Word, pressed for u" when the blood of the grape, or of the Word, willed to be mingled with water (just as His Blood also is mingled with our salvation). Because the Blood of the Lord is twofold: for one is carnal whereby we are saved from destruction; the other spiritual whereby we are anointed. And to drink the Blood of Jesus is to be made partaker of the incorruptibility of the Lord. Now the vigour of the Word is the Spirit, just as blood is the vigour of the flesh. Similarly, then, wine is mingled with water, the Spirit with man; and the former mingling, of the wine and water, nourishes our faith; the latter mingling, that is of man and of the Spirit, leads us into immortality. Again the mingling of both, that is of the drink and of the Word, is called the Eucharist, which means grace worthy of praise and beautiful in God's sight (gratia laudabilis et pulchra), and those who are partakers of the Eucharist by faith are sanctified in body and soul: seeing that the divine will unites what is mingled with the divine (misturam divinam), that is man, to the Spirit and to the Word mystically. For now in truth the Spirit is united with the soul, which is begotten from it (ab eo fertur); while the Word is united with the Flesh, because of which the Word was made flesh?, (Paedagog., 2, 2. P.G. 8, 409-412).

There is no doubt, then, that in the above passage the expression, to drink the Blood of Jesus refers to the Eucharistic drinking. Meantime this Blood is likewise the blood of the grape, pressed for us in the past, in the Passion.

On The Relation Of The Mass To The Sacrifice Of Our Lord


THE FATHERS unanimously teach that not only sacrifice[159] and the representation of the Passion are included in our Eucharistic celebration, but that the sacrificial character of our celebration depends upon the fact that in our celebration there is an image, or representation of the PASSION, a symbolic immolation. 1

This teaching is so clear and well known, even to those who have merely glanced at the pages of the Fathers, that it would be simply waste of time to pile up the evidence here.

But, though this is certainly true, we are at once faced by a question of some subtlety. How does the character of a true sacrifice accrue to our sacramental representation of the sacrifice of the Cross? How can that sacrifice be real if it lacks true immolation, if it shows merely a similitude of real immolation, a representative, sacramental immolation, or (as the Greek theologians say) a mystic or symbolic immolation? For such is indeed an imitation of real immolation, but it is not the real thing of which it is an image.[160]

Though the Fathers did not deal ex professo with this question, nevertheless they have left us in no doubt as to their teaching in this regard: that representation or image of sacrifice passes into sacrifice itself because in that representation and by it there is offered that of which it is a representation: in other words, the death of Christ in blood is offered in the bloodless image of His death. One should here recall and keep in mind what we have said in Thesis III (Vol. I), in respect of such points of doctrine as the Fathers did not deal with specifically, because the necessity for defending those points of doctrine did not arise. And especially, and in particular, they would find still less necessity, we might presume, for making definitions and distinctions regarding such things as were quite familiar through constant use to all Christians, and so especially well known: of such things the sacrifice of the Church was a pre-eminent example. Wherefore the Fathers insisted on practical instruction on the Eucharist rather than on dogmatic teaching. Hence we must not expect the rigorous analysis and completeness of treatment which the necessities of the case forced upon the Fathers in their controversies on the Trinity, the Incarnation and grace. Hence often enough in Eucharistic matters the testimonies of the Fathers will not be conclusive, though they will at least be suasive, while again at times we shall find them absolutely conclusive. And, taken in itself, a collection of probable testimonies, all suggesting the same conclusion, is a very powerful argument. It becomes still more so, when, as in the case here, it is supported by clearer evidence in certain passages of the Fathers. These latter throw a brilliant light on the remaining probable testimonies, so that finally the whole mass of evidence points consistently to a clear definite teaching. The strength of this collective testimony is reinforced if we consider the lack of any authority among the Fathers for certain novel opinions, which we shall have to criticise when we have shown the mind of the Fathers.

Meantime, I should like to take as my patron that most painstaking and learned student of patristic theology, and brilliant ornament of the Society of Jesus, St. Peter Canisius. His Catechism was a most effective defence of the faith of the Fathers against the assaults of the innovators, not only in Germany and France, but indeed in practically every quarter of the globe. He asks (Opus catechisticum, De Sacramentis, q. 7) : "What are we to BELIEVE about the sacrifice of the altar?" And after a few preliminary paragraphs he replies: "The sacrifice of the Mass, carefully considered in all its bearings, is the holy and living representation, and at the same time the BLOODLESS and effective OFFERING of the Passion of our Lord, and OF THE BLOODY SACRIFICE which was offered for us on the Cross."

In this reply he clearly distinguishes and links together the two elements which we find constantly mentioned by the Fathers, representation and offering, both of the one thing, the Passion. For as we shall see in the elucidations which follow, the teaching of the Fathers consists in this, that the death of Christ is offered by the fact that it is represented. The representative rite itself is oblative of, or such that it offers, the reality represented by it. We give to God the Body and Blood of Christ crucified, as an offering of thanksgiving and propitiation (euxaristhrion and ilasthrion) in so far as by the separation of the species by which He is clothed He is represented, for the purpose of propitiation, as dead, who by His death entered into the true state of Victim, a state which (through His resurrection) persists for ever. Just as in the sacrament of His death Christ gave Himself to God unto death, so we, too, in the same sacrament offer the same death, repeating what He did. For when we, united to our Head by faith, are made sharers with Him in the rite which He employed, we are also rightly appointed sharers in the giving of the gift (donationis) which came from His hand and which God, by His acceptance of it, sanctioned with eternal glory.

Hence we shall find that the Fathers in their teaching, taken all in all, insist on three things, complementary to each other, and mutually necessary.

The first: that the Passion is offered by us in the representation of it.

The second: that the celestial Victim of the eternal sacrifice is offered by us.

The third: that Christ does not intervene in the Mass personally by a new act of offering of His own; the only new act of offering is on the part of the Church, offering in each Mass, in subordination to Christ, her Head.

Hence, in the first paragraph we shall consider the relation of the Mass to the Passion; in the second, the relation of the Mass t o the celestial sacrifice; in the third, the relation of the Mass to the actual offering of our Lord Himself.


The Fathers have illustrated the relation of the Mass to the Passion in two ways: first of all explicitly, when they say that the Passion is offered in the Mass; and in the second place implicitly, when they teach that the eating of the Eucharist is a participation of the bloody sacrifice.

A. The Passion Is Offered In The Mass

Cyprian here leads the way and leaves no doubt whatever as to his teaching. For he makes two assertions which put the matter beyond all doubt. The first is that the Eucharistic sacrifice is an imitation of the Passion, for he declares: "The sacrifice of the Lord is not celebrated with a legitimate sanctification unless our offering and our sacrifice correspond to the Passion" (Ep. 63, n. 9. P.L. 4, 381). Secondly, and most significantly, he says that the Passion of Christ is what is offered in the Eucharistic sacrifice: "FOR THE PASSION OF THE LORD is the sacrifice WHICH WE OFFER (n. 17, col. 387). Hence it follows, according to Cyprian, that the Eucharistic sacrifice consists in this, that the immolation of Christ slain in the Passion is truly offered to God in a representation of itself.[161] Now if Christ is held to be present in the Eucharist simply and solely as the Victim of the Passion, we readily understand how appropriately the Eucharist is termed by those early writers "the very sacrament of the Passion of our Lord and of the Redemption" (n. 14, col. 385); that is to say, not an empty sacrament, but a full one, containing both the Victim of the Passion and the price of our Redemption.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechesis 23, mystagogica 5, n. 10. P.G. 33, 1117), among the Greek Fathers, teaches us that in the Mass "we offer Christ slain for our sins" (in the Passion, of course).[162]

Hence we readily understand the words of Cyril earlier in the same work: "After having completed the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless worship on that Victim of propitiation, we invoke God in prayer for the peace of the Church in common, for the good condition of the world, for kings, etc." (ibid. , n. 8, col. 1115).[163] A bloodless worship, therefore, is offered over the Victim of the blood sacrifice, over the Victim of propitiation whereby we are redeemed, over the Victim slain in the Passion.[164]

Chrysostom (In Hebraeos, hom. 17, 3. P.G. 63, 130-131) inculcates most forcefully that Christ as Victim is formally one and the same in every one of our sacrifices, as well as in His own sacrifice in blood: "This Victim is one, says St. Paul, while the other victims were many; and plainly they were weak, because they were many. For why, I ask you, were many needed, if one would suffice? For the very fact that they were many and were always being offered, shows that the Jews were never cleansed by them.... But then you will say: Do we not offer every day? YES, INDEED[165] WE DO, BUT BY MAKING A MEMORIAL OF HIS DEATH: AND THIS VICTIM IS ONE, NOT MANY. How is it one and not many? BECAUSE IT WAS OFFERED ONCE, like that other in the Holy of Holies. This [which we do] is the image of that [which Christ offered], as the latter is like the other [which was offered in the Holy of Holies] . Because we always offer the same, not one lamb today and another tomorrow, but the same always, so that there is only one Victim. But would not this mean, you ask, as Christ is offered in many places, that there are many Christs also? Not at all, but there is the one Christ everywhere, here, whole and entire, there likewise, one Body. SINCE THEN He who is offered is one Body, and NOT MANY BODIES; SO, too, there is ONE VICTIM. OUR HIGH PRIEST IS HE WHO HAS OFFERED THE VICTIM WHICH CLEANSES US. NOW TOO WE OFFER THAT VICTIM WHICH WAS OFFERED THEN, AND WHICH IS INCORRUPTIBLE. What we do is done as a memorial of that which was done then. Do this, He says, for a commemoration of me. We do not offer another sacrifice as the High Priest did, but we always offer the same; OR RATHER WE MAKE A COMMEMORATION OF THE SACRIFICE."[166]

Here the two facts stand out crystal clear: firstly, that we make only a representation of the sacrifice of our Lord, doing nothing to make Christ a victim; second, that nevertheless we make an offering of that very same Victim, of the offering of which by Christ we make a commemoration. This Victim is the Victim of His death, it has been transmitted to the shrine of heavenly glory, incorruptible and eternal (and hence always at our disposition).

More specifically, however, we may infer from Chrysostom:

Firstly, that our sacrifice and the sacrifice of Christ in blood is one because of the oneness of what is offered, so much so indeed that not only do we offer the same Victim, but we also offer the one and the same sacrifice. In other words, not only do we offer the same Christ, but we also offer Him as the subject of the same sacrificial action, which was that of Christ, Chief Priest and principal offerer of our sacrifices.[167]

Secondly, we may infer from Chrysostom that, because there is no real immolation in the Mass, where there is merely a symbolical immolation, this sacrifice of ours, though it is a true sacrifice in so far as it is one with the sacrifice of Christ, nevertheless in a secondary sense it might more fittingly be said to be the representation of a sacrifice rather than a sacrifice. For it has in itself the representation or image of immolation, but no real immolation at all, because in our sacrifice there is no actual repetition of that by which real immolation came to Christ in His sacrifice.

We find a kindred passage in Chrysostom, where, confronting the heretics, he proves the reality of the bloody sacrifice from the Eucharistic mystery, saying quite plainly that our sacrifice could not exist without the bloody sacrifice, of which it is the symbol: "He [Christ] has bound up the memorial of the benefit with the mystery, thus, too, curbing the mouths of the heretics. For when they ask: How are we sure that Christ was immolated? apart from many other proofs which we might adduce, we can bridle their tongues by pointing also to these mysteries. For had Christ NOT DIED, OF WHAT WOULD THE ACTIONS THERE PERFORMED BE THE SYMBOLS? See how ardent was His desire that we should keep always in mind, that He died for us" (hom. 82, in Matth. , 1, 2. P.G. 57, 739).

In the forty-first homily on II Cor. (P.G. 61, 361), Chrysostom clearly has the same thing in mind; he is explaining why prayers are said in the Mass for the whole world and also for all who died in Christ, and advances the following argument: "Let us not hesitate to offer prayers for them, for before us lies THE COMMON EXPIATION OF THE WHOLE WORLD." Reasoning in such way, he plainly teaches that Christ in the Eucharist lies as the Victim of the Passion whereby the whole human race was redeemed. He gives expression to this same thought perhaps even more forcefully when, pointing to Christ on the altar subject to the immolation by which He reconciled heaven and earth, he indignantly remonstrates with the Christian who will not forgive his enemy, in the following words: "Give up your enmity, that you may obtain healing from the table. You approach that Victim before whom we all must stand in awe (tremendam), that holy Victim (qusia), and so show respect for what that offering teaches you. Christ lies slain there. And for what reason was he slain? Why? To reconcile heaven and earth, to make you a friend even of the angels" (Hom. 1, De Proditione Judae, n. 6. and hom. 2, De Proditione Judae, n. 5. P.G. 49, 381-390). This passage is cited by St. John Damascene? in Sacr. Parall. , A. 11. (P.G. 95, 1145). Cf. a lengthy discussion on the same argument in Homilia de coemeterio et de cruce, n. 3. (P.G. 49, 397-398).

Cyril of Alexandria so closely links up our sacrifice with our Lord's one sacrifice of the Supper and of the Passion by reason of the one Altar which is Christ, as to teach that the victim of our altar, just as much as the victim of the altar of the Lord, saves the human race from destruction. Hence from two points of view he teaches that our Victim is the Victim of the Redemption, the Victim of the very Passion of the Lord: because it is the victim of the same altar, and because it is of the same efficacy. Call to mind the commentary on II Kings, XXIV, 15-25, quoted in Thesis III (Vol. 1).

The words of Cyril are in keeping with those of Ps. Sophronius, where he says that the very Blood which the lance caused to flow from the pierced side of Christ is daily offered in sacrifice by the priest for the people: "Let us now speak of the Body that is offered in sacrifice by the priests. Our Lord Jesus Christ is daily offered in sacrifice for the life and the salvation of the world, as crucified on Calvary, so at the sacred offering (prothesi) by the priest; with a lance, too, lest we forget that HIS PURE SIDE WAS PIERCEI;> WITH A LANCE IN THE SACRED PASSION when straightway there issued BLOOD and water for the incorruptibility and restoration of the world: THE PRIEST OFFERS FOR THE PEOPLE THIS SAME BLOOD AND WATER IN SACRIFICE (Commentarius liturgicus, 8. P.G. 87 ter, 3988-3989). Therefore Ps.—Sophronius says that the Blood of the wounds is offered.

Nicholas Cabasilas discusses at length the question: How is our everyday offering of a true sacrifice reconciled with the apostolic teaching that Christ was sacrificed once and once only? He meets the apparent contradiction by assigning to Christ the formal condition of victim continuing from the Passion up to the present time. He says: "This sacrifice is not the image and the figure of a sacrifice, it is a real sacrifice; it is not the bread that is offered in sacrifice, it is the very Body of Christ. And, moreover, the sacrifice of the Lamb is one; it is enacted once only." He then goes on to explain: "As this sacrifice is carried out, not by the Lamb being slain, here and now, but by the bread being changed into the Lamb already slain, clearly there is a change, but quite as clearly there is no immolation here and now; and thus that which is changed[the bread] is many, and it is changed repeatedly; yet there is nothing in this to prevent that into which it is changed being in each case one and the same: INDEED, JUST AS THERE IS THE ONE BODY, SO THERE IS THE ONE SLAYING OF THE BODY " (Liturgiae Expositio, c. 32. P.G. 150, 440-441). He had already written in the same sense, referring to the time in the Liturgy after the consecration had been accomplished: "The whole sacrificial action is finished and consummated, the gifts have been consecrated, the sacrifice completed, the great Victim slain for the world is lying on the altar. ....that most sacred Body of the Lord which suffered all those things, abuse, contumely, scourging: the Body which was crucified, which was slain. ....the very Blood which gushed from the slain body" (ibid., c. 27, col. 426).

We return to the Latin Fathers. St. Ambrose, in book 2, De excessu fratris sui Satyri (P.L. 16, 1327), has this saying: "The world was redeemed by the death of one.... And thus His death is the life of all. We are signed with His death; praying, we announce His death; OFFERING, WE PROCLAIM HIS DEATH (mortem eius offerentes praedicamus); His death is victory; His death is a sacrament; His death is the annual festivity of the world." The probable meaning is: the same death which we commemorate or proclaim in our offering is offered by us when we commemorate or proclaim it." Offering, we proclaim His death"; i. e. offering his death we proclaim it.[168]

According to Gaudens of Brescia, the sufferings of the Passion of the Lord are set before God in the Eucharist: "For we present[the more trustworthy codices have: WE OFFER] THE SUFFERINGS OF THE PASSION OF CHRIST. symbols of his Body and Blood for the salvation of all, and with lips of those who know, we bear testimony to the abounding sweetness of the mysteries: Taste and see how sweet the Lord is" (Sermo 19. P.L. 20, 989).

In book 20, Contra Faustum (18 and 21. P.L. 42, 382 and 385386), St. Augustine embraces the whole matter at issue, teaching clearly: (1) The commemoration or representation of the sacrifice enacted in the Passion is celebrated "in the offering and in the partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ". (2) That true reality of the sacrifice which was promised in the figures, and which Christ gave to God in the Passion, is offered by us in our sacrificial action. His words are: "That true sacrifice, which is due to the one true God, and which Christ alone fulfilled on His altar, the demons arrogantly claim for themselves, imitating it in victims of animals.... The Hebrews, on the other hand, in the victims of cattle which they offered to God, celebrated the prophecy of the victim to come, which Christ offered. And so now the Christians, in the sacrosanct offering and participation of the Body and Blood of Christ, celebrate the memorial of that same sacrifice already carried out[by Christ] .... We read in the Psalms: A sacrifice of praise will glorify me. Before the coming of Christ, the Flesh and Blood of this sacrifice was promised THROUGH THE FIGURATIVE VICTIMS; in the Passion of Christ it was given IN VERY TRUTH; after the Ascension of Christ, it is celebrated BY THE SACRAMENT OF MEMORY. ....[The sacrifices of the Hebrews were immolated] to the one true God, so that a SIMILITUDE or figure promising the truth of sacrifice should be offered to Him, to Whom WAS TO BE OFFERED[by us in that sacramental commemoration] THE VERY TRUTH ITSELF GIVEN [by Christ] IN THE PASSION OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST."[169] That is to say, the Passion of the Body and Blood in which consisted the truth of the sacrifice promised in the ancient figures, and finally given by Christ to God the Father, is now offered by us in the sacramental commemoration of it.

Let us listen to St. Augustine again, where he puts this question to himself: from where did Christ entrust to us the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood? He replies in the words of the Apostle: "He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross, so that from the Cross was entrusted to us THE FLESH AND BLOOD OF THE LORD, THE NEW SACRIFICE" (Enarr. in Psalm. 33, 5-6. P.L. 36, 303-304). Thus we are given to understand that Christ is the Victim of our sacrifice, in so far as He has been made victim by His death on the Cross. He further says in the same sense (Ep. 102, q. 3, n. 21. P.L. 33, 379) that we Christians offer a sacrifice appropriate to the manifestation of the New Testament "which is administered FROM THE TRUE VICTIM OF THE ONE PRIEST, THAT IS FROM THE BLOOD SHED ON THE CROSS.

It is no wonder, then, that Augustine calls the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church "the sacrifice of our ransom", because in it we offer, in subordination to Christ, the very Victim by which we have been ransomed—the Victim of the Cross. So he speaks of himself at his mother's funeral: "Not even in the midst of those prayers which we poured forth to Thee, WHEN THE SACRIFICE OF OUR RANSOM was being offered for her, when her body had been laid beside the grave, before it was buried, as is usual in those parts, not even during those prayers did I shed a tear" (Confess. , 9. 12, 32. P.L. 32, 777).

Though Augustine says in another place (Civit. Dei, 1, 10, c. 20. P.L. 41, 298) that our sacrifice is the sacrament or symbol of a sacrifice ("Christ Jesus. the form of a servant. …. preferred TO BE THE SACRIFICE, rather than to take it to Himself[in the form of God] .... He desired the daily sacrament[or symbol] of this reality TO BE THE SACRIFICE OF THE CHURCH), he simply means by this what we have already learnt from Chrysostom, that our sacrifice is only an image or symbol of sacrifice as far as concerns immolation, though as far as the sensible offering on our part, and the true victimal status of what is offered goes, it must be considered simply a real and true sacrifice.

That what we offer is not the real Body of Christ, but only the spiritual body, the Church, is not to be inferred[170] either from what St. Augustine says immediately afterwards: "the Church, as she is the body of that Head, learns to offer herself through Him" (loc. cit.), or from words that he had already written (c. 6, col. 284); "It certainly follows (profecto efficitur) that the whole redeemed community (civitas redempta), that is, the congregation and assembly of the saints, is offered as a universal sacrifice to God.... This is the sacrifice of the Christians of whom it is said: we, though many, are one body in Christ. The Church celebrates this also in the sacrament of the altar, well known to the faithful." For Augustine means nothing more here than what we have already stated repeatedly that the consecration or the dedication of the whole Church is the second reality signified by this sacrifice, what it ultimately signifies. Augustine himself states this in the words immediately following: "where it is shown to her [that is, in the sacrifice of the Church] it is made plain to her THAT IN THE VERY THING SHE OFFERS[that is the actual Body and Blood of Christ] SHE IS HERSELF OFFERED", as the invisible in the visible sacrifice. Without prejudice, therefore, to the sacrificial action proper, which has to do with the Body and Blood of Christ, Augustine pointed out its mystic significance, in the representation of the sacrifice of the Cross, and its moral significance, as a sign of the internal surrender of ourselves.

St. Maximus of Turin (Sermo 77. P.L. 57, 690) tells us why it is becoming that the bodies of the martyrs should rest beneath the Eucharistic altar. It is fitting that those who suffered because of the death of the Lord should rest "where the members of the SLAIN BODY OF THE LORD are placed. Hence he says in other words that we have, in the Eucharist, the Body of Christ who suffered, was immolated, slain; we have the real members of the slain Body of the Lord, the true Theothyte of the Cross: "Appropriately, therefore, and in fellowship, so to speak, it was decreed that the tomb of the martyr should be there where the death of the Lord is daily celebrated. that they who died because He died should repose in the mystery of His sacrament. Not without merit, I say, and as it were in fellowship the slain martyr's tomb[171] is assigned to the place (illic ubi) where THE SLAIN MEMBERS OF THE LORD are placed: so that the hallowed sanctity of one place should join to Christ those whom the cause of the one Passion had knit to Christ."

Faustus of Riez, or whoever is the author of the Homiliae de Corpore et Sanguine Christi (n. 1), inserted in the edition of the works of St. Jerome (P.L. 30, 271-272), says that the Body and Blood of Christ once in the past offered in ransom unto death, from which it rose an eternal Victim, is now worshipped by us in the sacrament in such a way that we have a perpetual offering of the Redemption: "Seeing therefore that by the transgression of Adam we became by our origin subject to death, God looking down from heaven. ....purchased for us (reparavit) the gift of the Redemption, in such a way that He offered, to replace the death which was due from us, [His own] death which was not of obligation.... Therefore He assumed matter from our mortality, so that life could die for the dead. And because He was about to remove the assumed Body from our sight and place it among the stars, it was necessary that He should consecrate the sacrament of His Body and Blood for us on this day, so that what was once offered in ransom for us should be perpetually adored through the perpetual mystery, and that as the saving redemption of man was tirelessly proceeding day by day, THERE SHOULD ALSO BE A PERPETUAL OFFERING OF THE REDEMPTION, AND THAT ETERNAL VICTIM should live in memorial, and should BE ALWAYS PRESENT in grace; a true, unique, and perfect Victim, to be measured by faith and not by appearances, not to be estimated by the outward vision of man, but by interior devotion. Justly, then, the divine Author says: My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."

St. Gregory the Great says in so many words that when we imitate the Passion in the sacrament we offer the Victim of the Passion (" we offer to Him the Victim of His Passion "). These are his words: "Let us send an embassy to Him [God] .... Let us slay expiatory victims on His altar. As we have said, let us send our embassy to Him. offering sacred victims. For the Victim of the holy altar, offered in tears and with a generous heart, pleads pardon for us in a singular way: because He who, rising from the dead, dieth now no more, suffers for us again even now, through His Victim in His mystery. FOR AS OFTEN AS WE OFFER TO HIM THE VICTIM OF HIS PASSION, SO often do we renew (reparamus) that Passion to obtain our pardon" (Hom. 37, in Evangelia, n. 7. P.L. 76, 1278-1279). In another passage and in more solemn language he says something similar: "For this Victim saves the soul from perdition in marvellous ways, for us it renews through the mystery the death of the Only-Begotten, who, though rising from the dead, dieth now no more, death hath no more dominion over him, nevertheless, while immortally and incorruptibly living in Himself, He is immolated again for us in the mystery of the sacred offering.... Hence let us weigh well what this sacrifice means to us, which is constantly imitating the Passion of the Only-Begotten Son for our Salvation" (Dial., 4, 58. P.L. 77, 425). The Mass so imitates the Passion, so renews it, that we offer the Victim of the Passion by which the soul is saved from eternal perdition.

Similarly Ps. Primasius says that the Victim of the Church consists in the Blood of the Passion of Christ: "The celebrations of the Church, made today in the very truth[replacing the figures], are cleansed by better victims. ....: NAMELY BY THE BLOOD OF PASSION OF CHRIST (In Hebr., IX, 23. P.L. 68, 745, cf. In Hebr., X, 26, col. 753). Hence it would seem that what he wrote on Hebr., X, 2, following in the steps of Chrysostom, should be interpreted in the same sense as we interpreted Chrysostom above: "And are not our priests doing this same thing every day, by continually offering the sacrifice? They do indeed offer, but this offering is a memorial of His death; and because we fall into sin every day and every day need cleansing, because He dieth now no more, He gave us this sacrament of His Body and Blood, so that just as His Passion was the redemption and the atonement of the whole world, this oblation of ours may also be the redemption and the cleansing for all those offering in true faith and with good intention" (P.L. 68, 748).

St. Isidore (who comes before the probable date of the Ps. Primasius) combines the three following statements:

First, Christ offered to God the one Victim of His Passion (Mysticorum expositiones sacramentorum, In Leviticum, c. 1. P.L. 83, 321).

Second, He offered in the Eucharistic Supper as priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech (De ecclesiasticis officiis, 1, 1, c. 18, n. 1 and 2. P.L. 83, 754).

Third, the same "is done by us as He Himself did for us" (ibid., n. 2).

These three statements show that when we consecrate the Eucharist we offer the Victim of the Passion (cf. Etymologiae lib. 6, c. 19, n. 38. P.L. 82, 255). His language is quite explicit, where, speaking of the sacrifice of Gedeon, as a type of the Eucharistic sacrifice,[172] he says: "He slew the bullock deputed by his father to the idols, and he then immolated to God another bullock of seven years: he revealed very clearly in this fact that, after the coming of the Lord, all the sacrifices of the Gentiles were to be abolished, AND THAT ONLY THE SACRIFICE OF THE LORD WAS TO BE OFFERED BY THE NATIONS, in reverence to God for our Redemption" (Quaest. in Vet. Testam., In lib. Jud., c. 3, n. 4. P.L. 83, 382).

Florus the Deacon sums up this doctrine in a few expressive words: THE DEVOTION OF THE FAITHFUL THEREFORE OFFERS THIS SACRIFICE OF PRAISE, that is, THE OBLATION OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD for themselves and for all their own. ....namely, both the living and the dead" (De Expositione missae, c. 53. P.L. 119, 48). What, therefore, is the sacrifice of the Mass? It is the offering of the Passion of the Lord.[173]

From this time onwards, owing to the controversies which arose between St. Paschasius Radbertus and Ratramnus as to the identity between the Eucharistic and the historical Body of Christ, and later owing to the necessity of meeting the Berengarian heresy respecting the real presence of Christ, the theologians came to pay much more attention to the explanation of the Sacrament than of the sacrifice. Hence most of the theologians of this mediaeval period teach scarcely anything explicitly about the Eucharistic sacrifice, except that in it the sacrifice of the Passion is commemorated. That the Passion itself is offered is taught less explicitly by them, as a rule.

It seems to me, however, that the words of Radulphus Ardens (Homilia de Sanctis, 25. P.L. 155, 1589-1590) hark back to the teaching of Florus: "We, the priests of the Gospel, do not, like the priests of the Law, OFFER ALIEN VICTIMS, but every day we renew in the sacrament THE VICTIM OF THE PASSION OF CHRIST, obedient to His command Do this for a commemoration of me. ....Because. ....we fall every day, WE RENEW THE VICTIM OF THE PASSION OF CHRIST IN THE SACRAMENT, in order that His daily sacrament may be a cleansing of our daily sins."

Meantime some words of Rupert (In Ezech., 1, 2, c. 27. P.L. 167, 1488), take us back to Cyprian: "Indeed the whole sacrament of the altar of Christ comes from the wood of the life-giving Cross, BECAUSE THE WHOLE SACRIFICE [which is offered in the sacrament] IS THE PASSION OF HIM who offered Himself in sacrifice on the wood of the Cross." Likewise Stephen of Autun states that we offer to God the chalice of the very same sacrifice whereby we were redeemed on the Cross: "Our redemption was wrought once by the death of Christ on the Cross. For we are redeemed and freed from the power of the devil by the Passion of Christ. Frail men as we are, we fall every day into sin; from this fall we rise again and are renewed by the repeated immolation which is made at the altar. The immolation is repeated: CHRIST IS NOT SLAIN, but HIS PASSION IS REPRESENTED BY HIS PRESENCE.... WE OFFER TO GOD THE CHALICE OF HIS SAVING SACRIFICE, by which we are liberated and saved, having the blessed hope of rising with the salvation of our souls and the incorruptibility of our bodies" (Tractatus de sacramento altaris, c. 13. P.L. 172, 1290).[174]

In the treatise Contra Petrobrusianos Peter of Cluny is clearer still: "The sins of the whole world are taken away by His death.... THIS IS OUR SACRIFICE. ....which was THEN once OFFERED TO GOD ON THE CROSS by the Son of God and man, and which He commanded and instituted TO BE ALWAYS OFFERED by His people ON THE ALTAR. For what is offered now is not a different thing from what was offered then, but what, as Scripture says, CHRIST OFFERED ONCE, THAT HE LEFT TO HIS CHURCH TO BE ALWAYS OFFERED" (P.L. 189, 797-798). In the Mass, therefore, we offer the death of Christ.

William of Paris says the same thing: "The Mass is the offering of HIS MOST FRAGRANT SACRIFICE, BY THE ODOUR OF WHOSE SWEETNESS THE WORLD WAS RECONCILED TO GOD, and all its foulness cleansed" (De Sacra Eucharistia, op., t. 1, p. 447). No words could be plainer than these. For what was the sacrifice that reconciled the world to God? Certainly it was the sacrifice of the Passion and death of the Lord. But William says that the Mass is the offering, on our part, of that sacrifice. What then do we offer in the Mass but the Passion and death of the Lord?

Even more striking is the language of Albert the Great. In order to grasp its full import it should be known that by immolation Albert means, first of all and directly, slaying or killing, and in a secondary manner, still not improperly as he says, the offering of the thing slain, or killed, or put to death; he usually understands by the word sacrifice the same offering, but as fruitful or propitiatory for the offerer. This presupposed, to the question (in 4 D. 13, art. 23) : whether Christ is or is not immolated in every sacrifice; he replies as follows: "Every day, when sacrifice is offered to God the Father, Christ is most truly immolated.... For, in respect of what is offered, THE THING OFFERED (oblatio)[175] ALWAYS REMAINS OFFERED FOR US, AND TO BE OFFERED, we always immolate and we always sacrifice.... But our immolation is not a representation only, it is real immolation, that is, THE OFFERING by the hands of the priest OF THE THING IMMOLATED. Hence it implies two things, namely: THE THING SLAIN, AND THE OFFERING OF IT, because immolation is properly THE OFFERING OF THE SLAIN THING to the worship of God; AND IN RESPECT OF THE OFFERING, IT IS NOT REPRESENTATION ONLY, IT IS A REAL ACT OF OFFERING. But IT IS NOT SO with the slaying and the crucifixion."[176]

Albert in these words clearly teaches: that by virtue of His own offering unto death Christ is a real and not an intermittent victim; it is in our power to offer this Victim to God, not by the addition of any new immolation,[177] but by the effect of that one immolation of the past, always represented and always offered: hence our sacrifice is the daily offering of Christ once immolated. The importance of this pronouncement cannot be too strongly insisted upon.

It must be admitted that St. Thomas did not explain the Eucharist under its sacrificial aspect as copiously as he explained it as a sacrament.

But, even so, he clearly distinguishes and co-ordinates the component elements of our sacrifice.

In the first place, he distinguishes between the elements of offering and of representation, and says that both are necessary constituents of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. "This sacrament," he says, "is at the same time a sacrifice and a sacrament; it is a sacrifice IN AS MUCH AS IT IS OFFERED (3 S. 79, 5 C.). Here we have the oblative element. The representative element follows: "This sacrament is not only a sacrament, but it is also a sacrifice. For in as much as in this sacrament THE PASSION OF CHRIST IS REPRESENTED, in which Christ offered himself a sacrifice to God, as is said in Ephes., V, it is a sacrifice" (3 S. 79, 7, c.; cf. 3 S. 74, 1).

Secondly, he states that in this bloodless representation of the sacrifice in blood a real victim is offered, because Christ is contained in the Eucharist as the very Victim of the Passion: "This sacrament is called a victim in as much as it contains Christ Himself WHO IS THE VICTIM OF SALVATION, as is said in Ephes., V" (3 S. 73, 4, 3 m). Note carefully here that St. Thomas does not say that the sacrament is a victim because Christ is made a victim in it, but because He is a Victim in it: already a Victim, that is, from another cause, the Passion,[178] to which the verse of the Epistle to the Ephesians refers (not only considered in itself, but also according to St. Thomas' own interpretation, both here and in the passage cited above) (3 S. 79, 7).

We know, therefore, from St. Thomas,[179] and also from Albert the Great, that in the sacrifice of the Mass the immolation is mystic only, or representative; that the offering is not representative only, but that it is actual; finally that in this sacramental offering the very Victim of the Passion is offered, as such.

It is of interest to link with the angelic prince of theologians the admirable master of mystic theology, Blessed John Ruysbroeck (d. 1381), who in his Speculum aeternae salutis (ch. 113) has these words on the Mass: "In every one of her daily sacrifices the Catholic Church must offer to the Lord God the Lamb of all of us, Christ Jesus, and HIS PASSION AND MOST HOLY DEATH. For without these we could not ever please God" (Latin version of Laurentius Surius, Cologne 1609, p. 243).

Shortly afterwards in the heat of the controversy on the sacrifice of the Mass—with the followers of Wycliffe and Huss first, then with the Protestants—Catholics were compelled to refurbish their arms.

Thus in his famous work called Sacramentalia, against the Wycliffites, Thomas of Walden (d. l430) hurls deadly missiles at the heretics. His arguments are not derived from Augustine, as he says, but from some other source. So he writes: "Christ is Himself the Priest and the Sacrifice, and at His daily intercession for us from the altar God the Father accepts WITH THE PASSION THE CONSECRATED VICTIM OF THE PASSION (Sacramentalia, tit. 4, c. 39, Paris, 1523, fol. 93, in his explanation of the prayer Supplices te rogamus). In the treatise De Sacramentis he had already written as from himself: "The unique and superexcellent sacrifice of the altar. . ., is FORMALLY and only the very sacrament OF THE FLESH OFFERED IN THE UNIQUE SACRIFICE for our salvation" (Doctrinale, t. 2, De Sacramentis, c. 31, incun., fol. 52). The daily sacrifice, therefore, is that Flesh which was once offered in the Passion, and by the Passion consecrated a Victim, the Flesh which exists formally as the Flesh of the unique sacrifice of the Cross.[180]

Thus, too, and practically at the commencement of the Lutheran heresy, James Latomus of Louvain (De questionum generibus quibus Ecclesia certat intus et foris, A. D. 1525), maintaining that the Body of Christ in the Eucharist is in a state of immolation derived from the Cross. "Do you[Luther] seek for a living offering? The true body of Christ is living. DO YOU SEEK THE BODY THAT WAS SLAIN IN THE PAST? SUCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST ON THE ALTAR" (fol. a. 7). And it was in this sense that he added: "The priest celebrating Mass OFFERS to God the Father Christ Himself, THAT TRUE AND UNIQUE SACRIFICE OFFERED TO GOD on the altar of the Cross" (fol. b. 1).

Nicholas Stagefyr or Herbornus, O. M., theologian of Cologne, wrote more definitely in his Confutatio Lutheranismi Danici anno 1530 conscripta, (tertius congressus, art. 19, Ed. L. Schmitt, S.J., Quaracchi, 1902) : "This unique sacrifice of the Mass truly, and in a living fashion, represents, exhibits and OFFERS to God the Father THE OFFERING (oblationem) OF THE CROSS (p. 205). And again: "It is, I say, a representation and an imitation of the Passion of the Lord.... And this WITH A NEW OFFERING OF THAT OLD OBLATION MADE ON THE CROSS, and a present exhibition of the same Victim then offered" (p. 206). He then goes on to lay down his own definition which anticipated that of Canisius: "The Mass, therefore, is. ....the representation and the new offering OF THAT ANCIENT OFFERING MADE ON THE CROSS (p. 206). That is, the Mass is a new though bloodless offering of that bloody sacrifice formerly enacted on the Cross.

Seven years later Thomas Herenthalinus, O. M., in his Speculum vitae christianae, written in Flemish first (Antwerp, 1537), later translated into Latin by Nicholas Zegerus, a Minorite (Cologne, 1555), proves that the Mass is a sacrifice in this way: "Hence this divine mystery is very properly called a sacrifice, because it is truly, of all offerings, the most sacred. For when the Catholic Church obeying the command of Christ, by her daily commemoration in this sacrament, in her faith rehearses (resumit) and renews [symbolically] the death of Christ, at the same time, too, in her faith, she renews the offering of Christ, and this by the priest as by her minister, who in the person of the Church OFFERS TO GOD THE PASSION AND DEATH OF CHRIST unto the remission of sins and the bestowal of divine favours " (pars 2. De septem orthodoxae Ecclesiae sacramentis, fol. 201).

Finally, only a few years before Canisius, John Gropper, a theologian no less (vix minus) worthy of praise, in his "very fine work" (Hurter, Nomenclator, 3, 2, 1421), entitled Antididagma (1544),[181] wrote in words of gold: "In the Mass (which is the most sacred action of all the holy ceremonies) Christ the Lord (who once offered Himself in His mortal Body a bloody sacrifice to God the Father in heaven for the sins of the world) is again offered in the name of the whole Church in a bloodless manner, in spiritual representation and commemoration of His most sacred Passion. This very thing is done, when the Church places before or represents to God the Father Christ and His true Body and true Blood, with thanksgiving and earnest (attenta) prayer, for her members' sins and for those of the world. FOR ALTHOUGH IN THAT FORM IN WHICH IT WAS OFFERED ON THE CROSS, this sacrifice was only once offered, and the Blood was only once shed, so that it cannot be repeated and again offered, AT THE SAME TIME IT STILL IS AND STILL REMAINS THE SAME SACRIFICE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, accepted forever in its power and efficacy, so THAT THIS SACRIFICE ONCE OFFERED ON THE CROSS is today no less efficacious and full of power (vigens) in the sight of the Father than it was on that day when blood and water flowed from His wounded side.... For this reason, as the ravages inflicted on our own body wounded by sin (cum vulnerati corporis nostri plagae) are always in need of THE RANSOM OF REDEMPTION, the Church again sets before God the Father (spiritually and figuratively, however) in true faith and devotion THAT RANSOM unto the remission of sins.... In accordance with this teaching, the holy Fathers sometimes call the Body and Blood of Christ present on the altar, the satisfaction for our sins and for the sins of the whole world, and sometimes they call it the price of our Redemption" (fol. LXIIIb-LXIVa). Consequently, then, he says later on: "Just as in the true and BLOODY sacrifice of the Cross Christ was Priest and Victim, so in this representative sacrifice, BECAUSE THAT SACRIFICE IS AGAIN SET BEFORE GOD (proponitur), the Church stands before us, offering it through the temporal priest her minister" (fol. LXXa). There can be no question that in their defence of the faith John Gropper and the Canons of Cologne were convinced that the Mass is a sacrifice, precisely because in the Mass Christ is exhibited, placed before, or offered to God, as the existent Victim of His sacrifice. Hence it is well said that the bloody sacrifice of the Cross is offered or placed before God in our bloodless rite.[182]

In Italy we already find Jerome Fossanus, O. S. A., in close agreement with the theologians of Belgium and Germany, defining the Mass in his De admirando mysterio (lib. 3, de Sacrificio, Turin, 1554, fol. 133), as follows: "The Mass is that BLOODLESS OFFERING and repeated commemoration OF THE PASSION AND DEATH OF CHRIST, which Christ commanded to be made, and gave only the Apostles and priests the power of making[183] and the use of which He desired to last to the end of time." For this reason he had written before: "If we prove that what was done by Christ and what is celebrated in the Mass is one unique sacrifice, and that what Christ did is not one thing, and what the priest celebrates is another, I think that Egyptian frogs[the heretics] will cease their croaking."[184]

From Spain, Cano (De locis theologicis, 1, 12, c. 12) gives us the unsullied teaching of antiquity: "Let us grant to our adversaries what they bring forth in argument (what we also believe pertains to the perfect immolation of an animal), that if Christ is truly sacrificed, He must be destroyed, HE MUST BE KILLED. ....But although the Body of Christ in the Eucharist is living, and the Blood is in the Body, we do not offer the Body because it is living, and the Blood because it is in the Body, but we offer the Body BECAUSE IT WAS SLAIN, the Blood BECAUSE IT WAS SHED ON THE CROSS. For although that offering made by Christ in the past and the visible slaying is over, it is still so acceptable to God, so everlasting in its power, that it is just as effective in the sight of the Father today as it was on the day when the Blood gushed from the pierced side: HENCE WE OFFER NOW, AND TRULY OFFER WITH CHRIST, THE SAME VICTIM OF THE CROSS.... In very truth this sacramental image and exemplar in no way prevents OUR OFFERING HERE AND NOW (modo) THAT SAME BLOOD OF THE CROSS, JUST AS IF IT WERE NOW SHED IN OUR PRESENCE."

The words of Matthaeus Galenus Vestcapellius are well worthy of consideration, where he clearly states, in his De sacrosancto missae sacrificio commentario (1574), whence there accrues to Christ in the Mass the true victimal condition which is essential to true sacrifice: "Therefore CHRIST JESUS CRUCIFIED. ....IS PRESENT on the Catholic altar. ....set before us by the mysterious words of the priest, and, as Chrysostom says, called down from heaven. And yet this same Christ, endowed though He is with a glorified Body and glorified to the utmost, is truly and really present, though clothed in the vesture and teguments of symbols (for such is the name given by the Areopagite to the Catholic species), nevertheless He is no other than the very same Christ Jesus who in the past WAS IMMOLATED AS A VICTIM BY THE JEWS, and poured forth His own divine Blood with His life. AND SO IN HIMSELF HE GAVE US A TRUE SACRIFICE. When therefore that first victim [of bread and wine] passes into THIS VICTIM, and so is finally placed before God and the Father, HOW CAN WE DENY THAT THE VICTIM OF THE MASS IS EFFICACIOUS? There is, of course, a difference between the Jewish sacrifices and OUR SACRIFICES, for in OURS, when the victim is offered, THE SLAYING IS NOT REPEATED, but IN THEIR SACRIFICES A SLAYING TOOK PLACE BEFORE EACH OFFERING. The difference in our sacrifice is derived from the dignity, the excellence and the efficacy of the Victim. For if the blood of goats and bulls which used to be offered in the Old Law had paid a price which, once offered, would be sufficient, there would have been no need to repeat the slaying, and ceasing to repeat the slaying would undoubtedly have commended the value of the victim.... From this also it is quite clear that we do not by any means teach that the highest act of Christian worship, or the worship of God, terminates in mere (nudo) bread and wine, but we place it in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine ritually mingled, or in the consecration, or IN THIS THAT CHRIST, IMMOLATED IN THE PAST, EXISTS UNDER THE. TWOFOLD SYMBOL, in a manner wondrously sudden" (op. cit., c. 7, pp. 110-111). Having posited all this, Galenus goes on to lay down his great axiom: "ITS IMMOLATION IS SUPPLIED TO THE MASS FROM THE CROSS (Missae sua e cruce suppeditat immolatio) " (ibid. p. 117).[185]

Throughout all that period, then,[186] we find the theologians and apologists of all the religious orders—the Augustinians, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits, as well as the secular clergy—in agreement as to the nature of the Mass, and after what manner it is a sacrifice.[187] But also, apart from any controversy whatever with the Reformers, the same teaching that was spread all over Germany by Canisius was given by the French Episcopacy in catechetical instructions to their people. We know this from the work of Louis Albert Joly de Choin, Bishop of Toulon, published in 1748, and entitled Instructions sur le Rituel (Du sacrifice de la messe. Excellence du sacrifice. Ed. Besancon. 1827, p. 266).[188] "The Eucharist includes His Passion, and we announce His death in it, only BECAUSE HE HIMSELF OFFERS HIS PREVIOUS DEATH ON OUR ALTARS: and it is true to say with St. Cyprian that the sacrifice which we offer is the very Passion of our Saviour."[189]

The sacred Liturgies agree with the Fathers and Doctors. In the Gelasian Sacramentary, for example, the Secret of Palm Sunday reads: "May this offering,[190] which reconciled enemies through thy Son, commend the faithful to thy majesty, O Lord" (P.L. 74, 1093; ed. Wilson, p. 60).[191] Now what offering was it that reconciled enemies to God through Christ if not the Passion itself? The Passion, therefore, is the offering which we set before God in the sacrament. In the Stowe Missal (newly published by G. F. Warner, Vol. 2, 1915, p. 17) we read (in the rescript of Moelcaich) between the doxology of the Canon and the Lord's Prayer the following (which was already in the Gothic Missal, P.L. 72, 314) : "We believe, O Lord, we believe, THAT WE ARE REDEEMED IN THIS BREAKING OF THE BODY AND SHEDDING OF THE BLOOD." SO that the sacrifice of the Mass does not differ from the sacrifice of the Supper, and in both the Victim of the Redemption is offered in sacrifice to God.

The post-pridie prayer in the Mozarabic Mass for the Wednesday after Easter, has the same meaning: "We beseech thee, O Lord, that THE BLOOD OF THE JUST ONE and the humility of our Lord may reconcile thee to sinners. THIS IS THE VICTIM WHICH HUNG ON THE WOOD, this is the Flesh which has risen from the grave. WHAT OUR PRIEST OFFERED FOR US, THIS WE OFFER IN COMMON in the sweetness of the bread and wine: We pray thee, O Omnipotent God, RECOGNIZE (cognosce) THE VICTIM BY WHOSE INTERCESSION THOU ART APPEASED (P.L. 85, 502). We have the same again in the post-pridie prayer of the fifth Sunday after Easter: "O God our Father, THIS IS the loving and saving VICTIM BY WHICH THE WORLD IS RECONCILED TO THEE. This is that Body which hung on the Cross. This also is the Blood which flowed from the sacred side" (P.L. 85, 597). See how our Victim is presented to God as the very Victim of the Passion itself!

There certainly can be no other interpretation of the prayer for Thursday in the third week in Lent, in which, commemorating Sts. Cosmas and Damian, we pray: "In the precious death of thy just, O Lord, WE OFFER THAT SACRIFICE, FROM WHICH ALL MARTYRDOM TOOK ITS BEGINNING. That sacrifice was undoubtedly the Passion. It is the Passion, therefore, that "we offer". We find the same thing clearly expressed in the post-communion prayer for the feast of the Lance and Nails: "O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst offer thyself ON THE CROSS, an immaculate and voluntary holocaust to God the Father, we beseech thee, that THE VENERABLE OFFERING OF THE SAME SACRIFICE may obtain pardon and eternal glory for us." We offer the same sacrifice that Christ offered on the Cross, that is, the sacrifice of His death. So, too, in the Secret of the same Mass, Christ is said to have offered on the Cross the very same sacrifice which we offer: "We pray thee, O Lord, THAT WE MAY BE SANCTIFIED by THIS holy immaculate evening SACRIFICE, which thy Only-Begotten Son OFFERED ON THE CROSS for the salvation of the world." The same sense is given when, in the Mass of the Five Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are said to offer to God in the Eucharist the very wounds of Christ by which we are redeemed: "O Lord, we beseech thy majesty, that the gifts in which WE OFFER TO THEE THE VERY WOUNDS OF THY ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON, the price of our freedom, may be acceptable to Thee." These words clearly show that even now in the Mass we offer Christ as the Victim of His Passion.

The Eastern Liturgies furnish us with innumerable prayers of this kind, for example: "(The priest elevates the chalice with the Host, saying) : Desirable SACRIFICE WHICH IS OFFERED FOR US; VICTIM OF CONCILIATION WHO OFFERED His own Person to the Father; Lamb who IN THE ONE PERSON WAS MADE HIGH PRIEST: He it is who offers.... Father of truth, BEHOLD THY SON, A VICTIM PLEASING TO THEE! Take Him to thy bosom, WHO DIED FOR ME, and through Him be propitious!. ....BEHOLD THE BLOOD SHED ON GOLGOTHA for my redemption, and because of it receive my prayer!. ....Look upon my sins, but at the same time look upon THE SACRIFICE. WHICH IS OFFERED FOR THEM; for far greater than the guilt is the sacrifice and the victim. Thy beloved endured the nails and the lance for the sins which I have committed; LET HIS SUFFERINGS SUFFICE TO APPEASE THEE, and that through them I may live!" etc. (Anaphora of the order of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, in the Missa Syro-Maronitica, published by Max. Saxon, pp. 47-48). Does not all this mean the same thing: that we offer the very Passion of the Lord, that Christ is victim for us only in so far as He is the Victim of His Passion, that the chalice which we drink is none other than " the chalice of redemption" (ibid., p. 32)?



B. Recipients Of The Eucharist Partake Of The Sacrifice In Blood

We have often repeated that it was the custom of the ancients, did circumstances permit, to partake of the victim after the sacrifice had been concluded. What had been offered to God was then received by the faithful. If then at our Sacrifice by the institution of Christ we eat of the Victim of that blood sacrifice, we must of necessity in that sacrifice of ours offer that Victim and no other; this we have already proved when comparing the Eucharist with the sacrifices to idols. The Fathers at once saw and insisted on the connection between our eating of the Body and Blood of Christ and the sacrifice of the Passion.

Hence in the earliest days we find Ignatius bitterly reproaching those who " absent themselves from the Eucharist and the prayer, because they do not admit that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, which the Father in His Goodness raised FROM THE DEAD. Therefore they who speak against 'THE GIFT of God'," etc. (Euxaristiaj kai proseuxhj apexontai, dia to mh omologein thn euxaristian sarka einai tou swthroj huwn Ihsou Xristou thu uper twn amartiwn hmwn paqousan, hn th xrhstothti o pathr hgeiren. Oi oun antilegontej th dwsea tou qeou ktl. Smyrn., 7, 1. F. P. 1, 280). He plainly says here that the Eucharist is the gift of God to man, in no way precluding thereby the previous offering of it already made by man to God, but just as the pagans looked on the flesh of the victims, as given to man by the divinity after it had been made sacred to the divinity by the sacrifice. He also says that the Flesh which we receive from God is the same Flesh which suffered unto death and returned to life.

We have already seen (XVIII) how Clement of Alexandria describes the Blood of the Eucharistic chalice, as the blood of the grape trodden in the Passion for us, and the Flesh and Blood of the Eucharistic banquet as the partaking of the great Victim immolated for us long ago on the day of the pasch.

In that early time, too, we find Cyprian of the Latin Fathers saying: "We could not drink of the Blood of Christ had not Christ first been trodden on and pressed" (Ep. 63, n. 7. P.L. 4, 379). Do we not see then that in the Eucharist we are given to drink the Blood of the Passion?

St. Augustine speaks constantly of drinking our ransom (pretium), the Blood of Christ flowing from the Cross for our Redemption. He speaks in praise of the martyrs who gave back their blood to Christ in return for the Blood which they drank from the Cross: "For Christ made the great purchase ON THE CROSS where the PURSE OF OUR RANSOM WAS OPENED when the soldier's lance pierced His side: FROM THENCE THE PRICE OF THE WHOLE WORLD FLOWED. THE MARTYRS WERE PURCHASED, THEY GAVE BACK WHAT WAS PAID OUT FOR THEM. .…It is written: When thou hast seated thyself at a great table, consider diligently what is set before thee, since such things too thou must prepare (Prov., XXIII, 1-2). Great indeed is the table at which we feast on the Lord of the table Himself. No one feasts his guests of himself: but Christ the Lord did, He is the host, the food and the drink. THE MARTYRS KNEW WHAT THEY ATE AND DRANK, AND SO THEY GAVE BACK TO GOD LIKE THINGS (Sermo 329, n. 1. P.L. 39, 145 1455; cf. Sermo 336, c. 4, n. 4 and Sermo 213, c. 8, n. 8, cols. 1473 and 1064), namely, their own sufferings. He has similar words about people recognising and DRINKING THEIR RANSOM in holy humility" (Trin., 4, 13. P. I. 42, 900), he is speaking of all the faithful in Christ, to each of whom the following words are addressed: "You already know YOUR RANSOM, you know to what you approach, you know WHAT YOU EAT, WHAT YOU DRINK, nay whom you eat, whom you drink" (Sermo 9, c. 10, n. 14. P.L. 38, 85).[192]

He exhorts a schismatic to seek communion with the Church as follows: "Behold Christ has suffered, the merchant has displayed his wares, see the PRICE which He paid, HIS BLOODSHED. In the purse He had OUR RANSOM, He was pierced with a lance, the purse was torn open and the ransom of the whole world poured forth. …. Even still HE WILL SATIATE YOU (In Psalm 21, n. 28. P.L. 36, 178-179). He said of himself finally: "Because I meditate on MY RANSOM, I EAT IT, I DRINK IT, I DISTRIBUTE IT (erogo), and I who am poor desire to be filled with it, in the company of those who eat and are filled" (Confess., 10, 43, 70. P.L. 32, 810). Hence he calls the Eucharist simply "the cup of our ransom" (ibid., 7, 21, 27, col. 748).

He has the same thing in mind when He says the price paid for us on the Cross and the pledge given to the Church in the sacrament are one and the same: "For that Blood is RANSOM FOR THE SLAVES, PLEDGE FOR THE SPOUSE [of Christ] (In Psalm 122, n. 5. P.L. 37, 1634). It is well worth noting that for Augustine the pledge is indifferently either the Eucharist or the death of Christ: "Desire and seek earnestly for the life of Christ bestowed on you, and until you finally attain it cling to THE PLEDGE, THE DEATH OF CHRIST. For when He promised that He would live with us, HE COULD GIVE NO GREATER PLEDGE to us, than TO DIE for us.... He promised, He gave us His bond, HE GAVE A PLEDGE, and do you dare to doubt? He gave the promise when He lived on earth with us, He gave us His bond when He gave the Gospel. TO HIS PLEDGE you daily say Amen. YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE PLEDGE, it is DISPENSED to you daily. Do not you despair, YOU WHO HAVE LIFE FROM THE PLEDGE" (Sermo 335, n. 2. P.L. 39, 1470).

Quite consistently, therefore, he writes: that from our altar " is dispensed to us the holy VICTIM WHEREBY WAS BLOTTED OUT THE HANDWRITING which was contrary to us, by which the ENEMY computing our sins HAS BEEN CONQUERED " (Confess., 9, 13, 36. P.L. 32, 778). Who could doubt that the victimal condition attributed to Christ in these words is the very condition which was induced by the Passion?

In this same strict sense, too, commenting on the words of John, XXI, 9-13: They saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon and bread. ....and Jesus cometh and taketh the bread, and giveth to them, and the fish in like manner, the saint wrote: "The roasted fish IS CHRIST SLAIN (Piscis assus Christus est passus). He is also the BREAD which is come down from heaven. WITH HIM the Church is incorporated unto the participation in eternal happiness. Hence He said: Bring hither the fishes which you have now caught, so that all of us who have this hope may know how to partake in common (communicare) of this great sacrament, and share in the same happiness" (In Joann., tract. 123, n. 2. P.L. 35, 1966).

He evidently wrote also in this formal sense, when speaking of our approaching to receive the Body of Christ: "Come ye to him and be enlightened (Psalm 33. 6). Let us come to him to be enlightened, not like the Jews who came to Him to enter into darkness, for they came to Him in order to crucify Him; let us come to Him in order to receive His Body and Blood. They THROUGH THE CRUCIFIED WERE PLUNGED INTO DARKNESS; WE, BY EATING AND DRINKING OF HIM CRUCIFIED, ENTER INTO LIGHT" (Ennar. in Psalm 33, Sermo 2., n. 10. P.L. 36, 313). In like manner he speaks of the repentant Jews: "On the descent of the Holy Spirit after the Ascension, they were converted to Him whom they crucified, and, believing in the sacrament, they HAVE DRUNK OF HIS BLOOD WHICH in their fury THEY HAVE SHED (Sermo 87, c. 11, n. 14. P.L. 38, 638).

He reveals his mind to us most clearly, however, when he asks the question: why the Hebrews were forbidden to partake of the blood of the legal sacrifices "if these sacrifices signified this ONE SACRIFICE [that is, of the Cross] IN WHICH WAS THE TRUE REMISSION OF SINS, seeing that, nevertheless, not only was no one forbidden to PARTAKE IN NUTRIMENT OF THE BLOOD OF THIS SACRIFICE, but rather all who desire to have life are exhorted to drink of it" (Quaest. in Heptat., 1, 3, 57. P.L. 34, 704). Therefore, according to Augustine, the Eucharistic Blood is the very Blood of the sacrifice of the Cross, just as the Body is food for us from the Cross: "WE ARE FED FROM THE CROSS OF THE LORD, because we eat His Body" (In Psalm. 100, n. 9. P.L. 37, 1290). And therefore, as we eat, so we offer nothing other than the very Body and Blood of Christ the Theothyte, or Victim to God and accepted by Him, as we have said.[193]

St. Gaudens of Brescia unfolds the same doctrine to the neophytes fresh from the baptismal font: "In the shadow or figure (umbra) of the legal pasch, not merely one lamb but many were slain; a lamb was slain for each house, since one could not suffice for all, the pasch was the figure, NOT THE TRUTH (proprietas) OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD. For a figure is not the real thing but an imitation of it.... In this truth—not figure—in which we live (in hac veritate qua sumus) ONE HAS DIED FOR ALL, AND THAT SAME ONE, IMMOLATED IN EVERY CHURCH IN THE WORLD IN THE MYSTERY OF THE BREAD AND WINE, GIVES US STRENGTH. He gives us life as we believe in Him (vivificat creditus), and, being consecrated, He sanctifies the consecrators. THIS IS THE FLESH, THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB (Sermo 2. P.L. 20, 854-855). This one Lamb, therefore, once slain, suffices for all the houses of the churches in the world, because in that one Lamb abides the true reality of the Passion of the Lord, concealed in the sacrament, it is true, but at the same time made known to us " by means of the image of His true Passion" (ibid).[194]

One interpretation only can be given to those words of Gaudens: that in our Eucharistic refreshment Christ is eaten by us just in that condition of victim of His sacrifice which He has from His Passion.

And what other meaning does St. Leo the Great convey when he sets before us the devil as caught in his own devices in the matter of the Passion of the Lord, in which "he[he here is the devil] shed the just blood which would be both the price and the cup for the reconciliation of the world"? (Sermo 62, De Passione, 11, c: 3. P.L. 54, 351.) Here the Blood of the Lord is our drink just as it is also our ransom, because by the malice of the devil it was shed on the Cross.

Verecundus of Junca speaks similarly in a neatly turned comment on the grape which Moses (Deuteron., XXXII, 14) says was given by God to His people: "The blood of the grape is the blood of martyrs, or certainly THE VERY BLOOD OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD, THE BLOOD BY WHICH WE ARE DAILY FEASTED FROM THE SACRED ALTARS" (In Canticum Deuteronomii, c. 14. Spicileg. Solesm., t. 4, 18).

Amalarius gives the following reason for the abolition of the sacrifices of the Church during Holy Week: "The proper order of things is for us to wait until our Lord CONSECRATES THE SACRAMENTS OF HIS BODY AND BLOOD ON THE CROSS, and makes them new by His Resurrection and so FINALLY FOR US TO EAT AND DRINK that most saving sacrament" (De ecclesiasticis officiis, 1, 1, c. 15. P.L. 105, 1032). That is, we do not offer the holy sacrifice between Holy Thursday and the night of the Resurrection, in order to appear, as it were, waiting until Christ bestows on His Body and Blood of the Eucharist the condition of true Victim immolated on the Cross, after which it still remains for the condition of Christ to become new by the Resurrection, from corruptible being made incorruptible, that so we may partake of a perfect Victim, fully sanctified and fully sanctifying (cf. ibid., c. 12, col. 1023, quoted above, Th. XII, Vol. I).

St. Paschasius Radbertus gives a full exposition of the doctrine in question, when he asks himself why the Eucharistic Supper took place at the TIME (in articulo) OF THE PASSION: "It was more fitting, he says, to give this sacrament AT THE TIME OF HIS PASSION, rather than after the Resurrection, because THIS IS WHY THE LAMB WAS IMMOLATED, THAT WE SHOULD EAT HIS FLESH. ....IN HIS DEATH WE RECEIVE THOSE THINGS (ista percipimus) so THAT WE MAY BE FEASTED OF THEM UNTIL THE END OF TIME" and nevertheless that what was sown, rising again should remain incorruptible. ....FOR THIS REASON as often as we eat those things (ista) we announce the death of the Lord, BECAUSE FROM THAT DEATH WE HAVE MERITED THOSE IMMORTAL THINGS" (Lib. de corp. et sang. Dmni, c. 18. P.L. 120, 1326).

Quite the same sense is conveyed in the Expositio missae, erroneously attributed to St. Isidore, by the paraphrase of the words of the Canon calicem salutis perpetuae: "Thou didst desire us to drink of Thy Blood through THE CHALICE OF THE PASSION" (n. 28. P.L. 83, 1150). We may now return to a contemporary of St. Augustine, the writer of the work Liber de promissionibus et praedictionibus Dei, probably St. Quodvultdeus, Bishop of Carthage.[195] His words are at first sight quite amazing where he represents the Eucharistic food in the Passion as given to us from the Cross where it is killed and cooked! These are his words: "The people are bidden to take bread in the morning and flesh in the evening (Exod., XVI, 8). But that flesh is a figure of what is given to us. For first the people received that bread to be eaten which came down from heaven, later they received THE FLESH OF CHRIST KILLED (confectam) IN THE PASSION, it is of this that the Lord says: Unless you eat," etc. (pars 1, c. 39, n. 56. P.L. 51, 765). "That the ravens by divine command ministered to the same Elias in the desert, bread in the morning and flesh in the evening (III Kings, XVII, 6), is shown to be a figure of the whole Body of the Lord, when, in accordance with the command, the Jews, like crows, first ministered bread to the Gentiles, then the FLESH OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD, like ravens of sombre hue, raucous voice, fetid odour and horrid aspect, for when preparing THE; FLESH MADE READY AS THOUGH BY COOKING (carnem. ....decoctam) FROM THE WOOD OF THE CROSS for the Gentiles, like the ravens, the Jews cried out with one croaking voice to Pilate: Crucify, crucify! Those eat this Flesh who hearken to the words: Unless you eat," etc. (pars 2, c. 18, n. 62. P.L. 51, 802).

Four hundred years later, Hincmar speaks of the bread of the Eucharist as the Body of the crucified roasted[196] as it were on the altar of the Cross, and of the chalice of the Eucharist as the chalice of the Blood dripping from the wounds. In the eyes of Hincmar, the Church "partakes of the Body of the crucified, roasted on the altar of the Cross (in ara crucis torridum), as well as the red Blood pouring from the side of the crucified" (De cavendis vitiis et virtutibus exercendis, c. 9. P.L. 125, 928).[197]

The expression "baked", "roasted" (torridus) is not peculiar to Hincmar's time only; indeed it was quite commonly used. Thus, in a medieval Tropus ad Graduale for the Mass of the Resurrection (from a French hymnal Ms. of the thirteenth century, A. H. 49, 227), the Eucharistic bread is described as the dish of food baked or roasted (torrefactum) on the altar of the Cross, and at the same time enriched with the Blood of which we drink:

"O BANQUET DISH how sweet it is (O quam dulce ferculum)
Whence full of flavour streams
The Blood, a drink
For us."

So, too, in an expressly Eucharistic Prosa de corpore Christi (from a prayer book in Ms. of Champagne, 1462, A. H. 31, 105) we find:

"Hail to thee, rich Flesh of Christ (Ave caro Christi crassa)
Savour it but once in tasting,
Palate of the soul, then spurn
Every other dish."[198]

It was also preached to the faithful from the pulpit. For example, we have Cardinal James de Vitriaco (d. before A. D. 1245), Bishop of Tusculum, in his Sermo 2 in coena Domini, speaking as follows: THE TRUE BODY OF CHRIST WHICH IS CONTAINED UNDER THE SPECIES OF BREAD was formed by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin, AND COOKED (decoctum) IN THE FIRE OF THE PASSION ON THE ALTAR OF THE CROSS, IN ORDER TO BE SUITABLE FOR EATING" (Sermones in Epistolas et Evangelia dominicalia totius anni, Antwerp, 1575, p. 336). Again in Sermo 2 feriae sextae parasceves (op. cit., p. 355) : "The Flesh of Christ on the Cross was roasted (assata) in the fire of the Passion in order to be suited for eating." The exegetes, too, give the same explanation. For instance, Rupert (In Joann., VI, 27. P; L. 169, 457) : "This bread will be cooked (coquetur) in the fire of the Passion."[199]

The language of William of St. Theodoric, though not strictly proper, is not deserving of positive censure,[200] when he says that the Flesh of the Lord as food proceeded from the Flesh of the Lord suffering the Passion. Making a distinction between the Flesh of the Lord in the Passion and the intelligible Flesh of the Lord in the Eucharist, he writes: "This other Flesh comes from that former Flesh which was crucified.... And just as the Gospel calls the Body of the Lord which suffered death the grain of corn falling on the earth, so in the Psalm (103), the fat of the corn is that mystic Flesh, which Flesh the Lord exhorted the disciples to eat, when He said: Unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood, you shall not have life in you" (De sacramento altaris, c. 6. P.L. 180, 353).

In a sermon of uncertain authorship, but published among the works of St. Bernard, De excellentia SS. Sacramenti, Christ is represented as speaking so: "This liquid which you see is no longer wine, IT IS MY BLOOD WHICH I SHED FOR YOUR RANSOM RESERVING THE CUP ON THE ALTAR FOR YOU. I, the grape cluster of the flesh, was led TO THE WINE-PRESS OF THE CROSS, for your salvation: THENCE WAS DRAINED THE NEW WINE OF YOUR REDEMPTION. My blood is drink indeed" (c. 11. P.L. 184, 988). Hugh of Amiens says that just as Christ suffering on the Cross is our Redemption, so, too, He is our nutriment: "In that hour[of the Supper] the Body of Christ was eaten, on the morrow it suffered on the Cross for the redemption of the world. In that hour the Blood of Christ was drunk, on the morrow that same Blood was poured out for the redemption of the world ON THE CROSS: SUFFERING ON WHICH FOR US, He is both the price of our redemption and IS CONSUMED AS THE FOOD OF LIFE by us who are redeemed" (Hugh of Amiens, Archbishop of Rouen, Dialogorum, 1, 5, c. 14. P.L. 192, 1209).

Robert Pullen says that the Blood of the Cross is our drink: "The Jews nailed the wounded Christ to the Cross: as type of this we read that the rock (which according to the Apostle is Christ) was struck by Moses with a rod. The rod, however, shed water, WHILE BLOOD TO BE THE DRINK OF THE FAITHFUL FLOWED FROM THE WOUNDS OF Christ" (Sententiarum, lib. 8, c. 1. P.L. 186, 959-960).

Gerhoh of Reichersberg writes vividly: "If the unworthy approaches to eat of the Body of Christ and to drink of His Blood, as he is putting new wine into old vessels the wine pours out of the vessel and the vessel is destroyed. The wine pours out, but does not perish. For how could He be lost who came to save that which was lost? How could the Body and Blood perish of Him who is everywhere? NEVERTHELESS THEY WHO PUT THIS BLOOD OF THE GRAPE TRODDEN IN THE WINE-PRESS OF THE CROSS into old vessels have become guilty of His Blood, because that which does not perish did not remain in them" (In Psalm 22, 5. P.L. 193, 1055; cf. In Psalm 140, 1. P.L. 194, 934).

Finally, St. Martin of Liege (Sermo 26 in resurrect. Domini. P.L. 208, 966) : "THE CROSS OF CHRIST PREPARED HEAVENLY FOOD FOR US, that is, Christ who is truly the bread of angels and men."[201] Just as other writers said with St. Augustine, so, too, our poets, and with them the faithful, sang that we are feasted from the Cross (Psalterium sanctae crucis, A. H. 35, 22-23). So we read, in a London codex Ms., thirteenth-fourteenth century:

"Hail Cross, to those who fear the Lord, (Salve Crux, timentibus)
he immolated Flesh of Christ
Hanging on thy beam."[202]

Our fainting souls are fired with new life from the Cross (Prosa in die corporis Christi. A. H. 34, 47. Ex Graduali ms. Coloniensi, fifteenth century) :

"The soul of him who drinks
Fed with rich BLOOD from CROSS of Christ,
Is sweetness all within,
Exults in joy divine."

Again we read (Psalterium sanctae crucis, A. H. 35, 22) :

"Hail, CROSS, the mystic press art thou
From which is trod the wine
Filling the altar chalice now

We drink the Blood of the Passion (Hymnus Mozarabicus, IV Sunday of Lent, A. H. 27, 83, ex cod. ms. saec. X) :

"Word of the Father, Word made Flesh to us revealed,
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world
To thee we come with bended head in awe to drink
Thy glorious Blood, thy LOVING PASSION'S gift to us."[204]

Of the Fathers of the East, Ephraem may have had this in mind when he wrote: "On the evening of this pasch He gave the command to His Church to commemorate the Lamb, the Son of our God, who, BEFORE BEING SLAIN FOR US, gave us His own Body and Blood. .…On that evening when the Jews ate unleavened bread, Jesus made the Church in the world the HEIR OF HIS BLOOD"; that is, of His death (Sermo 3 in hebdom. sanct., n. 7, ed. Lamy, t. 1, p. 426-428).

Athanasius likewise: "The Resurrection took place at the time of the Passion, in which our Lord died for us and Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. BECAUSE HE WAS IMMOLATED, THEREFORE, EACH OF US WILL EAT OF HIM, and partake of this nutriment joyfully and constantly" (Epist. heortast., 11, n. 14. P.G. 26, 1412).

Chrysostom apparently refers to this when, among many other expressions of the same tenor, he exhorts the Christian to forgive his enemy:[205] "Your enemy has not yet crucified you, as the Jews did to Christ, and yet HE GAVE THE VERY SAME BLOOD WHICH HE SHED, FOR THE SALVATION OF THOSE WHO CAUSED IT TO FLOW." In other words, He gave the Blood of the Passion (Hom. 1, de proditione Judae, n. 6. P.G. 49, 381).

Sophronius of Jerusalem seems to indicate the same, addressing the Cross as follows: "Hence we glory in Thee with our whole heart because. ....ON THEE WAS SHED flowing from God Himself, that BLOOD of the Son and Word of the invisible Father, OF WHICH whosoever TODAY PARTAKE they are reconciled again with our God who gives life" (Or. 5, de festo sanctae Crucis. P.G. 8, ter. 3313). Therefore it is the Blood of the Cross of which we are partakers.[206]

Cyril of Alexandria surely conveys the same idea in his commentary on Deuteronomy, XV, 13-14: "And when thou sendest him out free, thou shalt not let him go away empty. But thou shalt give him for his way: out of thy flocks and out of thy barn-floor and thy wine-press. You see the virtue of the mystery of Christ shining forth crystal clear in these words. For we have been redeemed, and gratuitously the Saviour of the world sent us out free.... And when He had sent us out free, that is, when He had freed us from sin, and had embellished us with the grace of adoption, He gave us, in addition, Himself as rich provision for our journey, LED AS AN IMMACULATE VICTIM AND AS A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER BECAUSE OF US, AND GENEROUSLY MAKING US PARTAKERS OF THE LIFE-GIVING EULOGIA, THAT IS, OF HIS HOLY BODY AND BLOOD. This, I think, is the viaticum or provision for the journey to be given from out of the flocks, and out of the barn floor and out of the wine-press, to those who in the seventh age, that is in the spiritual Sabbath, are called to liberty by the goodness of the Lord" (De adoratione in spiritu et veritate, 1, 7. P.G. 68, 501).

In so explaining the provision made for us for life's journey, does not Cyril remind us that our Eucharistic participation is of the Body of the slain Christ?

The commentary of Hesychius on the verse from Leviticus: the flour shall be tempered with oil, and fried in a frying-pan, leaves no room whatever for doubt: "THE FRYING-PAN must be interpreted THE CROSS OF THE LORD: for it was the Cross also that gave back THE FLESH PLACED THEREON MADE FOOD for men. For had not the Flesh hung on the Cross, we could never have mystically partaken of the Body of the Lord" (Hesychius, In Leviticum, VI, 21. P.G. 93, 852).

St. John Damascene has many examples of this argument, as, for instance, when he sings of the Blood flowing from the sepulchre of Christ (In Dominicum Pascha, str. 4. P.G. 96, 840) : "Come let us drink of the new DRAUGHT, not now that drawn by miracle from the sterile rock, but that from which gushes for us like rain (pluente) a spring of incorruptibility FROM THE SEPULCHRE OF CHRIST." Or, when he speaks of a multiplication, as it were, of the crucified Body, as food for the faithful, comparing the multiplication of the loaves with the food dispensed through the Cross: "Five thousand, and again seven thousand are fed under the one symbol OF THE CROSS. Where, therefore, are the fragments of the food? How is it that I who was not there will receive fragments of the food of those who were there? Of the fragments twelve baskets remained. Grace supplies the answer. CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED AND WE ARE ALWAYS NOURISHED: and when we have been sated, again we ask for more; and though we receive the food again we still seek it, and there is still more remaining over for us. For grace does not allow of any lessening" (Sermo in sanct. parascev., et in crucem, n. l. P.G. 96, 589). Hence we understand clearly his meaning when he wrote: "Let us approach with a burning desire; having composed our hands in the form of a cross, LET US PARTAKE OF THE BODY OF THE CRUCIFIED (De fide orthodoxa, 4, 13. P.G. 94, 1149). It is then the Body of the crucified which, after the manner of the loaves, the Lord multiplied to be set before men as food for all time.

What we have said is confirmed by a statement attributed by St. John Damascene to Chrysostom, that the Victim of the Blood of Christ has come to us as the fruit of the Cross: "The soldier opened His side and pierced the wall of the holy temple, and I found the treasure[that is, the Blood], and took the riches to myself. This happened, too, in the case of the Lamb. The Jews slew (esfazon) the Lamb, and I plucked the Victim (kagw thn qusian ekarpwsamhn), THE BLOOD AND WATER, FROM HIS SIDE. Just as a mother nourishes her child with her blood and her milk, so, too, Christ ever nourishes His own children with His own Blood" (Parallela Sacra Theta, tit. 4. P.G. 96, 17).

Symeon of Thessalonica is no mean exponent of Eastern tradition in this matter: "The aim or purpose of the whole mystery is this, that we should partake of the Flesh and Blood of Christ Himself. It was for this that He was crucified and that He shed His Blood for us, that we should partake of Him in communion; and before the Cross He gave the sacraments by His priestly action (hierurgiam), so that He would be with us, and that we might partake of Him now and for all time, and that we might be sharers in all His benefits" (De sacramentis, 58. P.G. 155, 233). And again: "The communicant should make a cross with his hands, in symbol of his service and confession of the Crucified" (De sacra liturgia, c. 99. P.G. 155, 301).

Turning to the Liturgies, we first select the prayer which used to be said in the post-sanctus of the Mozarabic Mass which was said on the Wednesday after Palm Sunday: "Therefore we immolate[to the Son of God] today a humiliated heart in the sacrifice of praise: beseeching Him that today, tomorrow, and all the days of our lives, freed from sin, we may be worthy to drink THE CHALICE OF HIS PASSION (P.L. 85, 405). Again in a post-communion prayer: Sipping THE CHAI. ICE OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD, and tasting the sweetness of His most sacred Body, we give thanks and praise to Him, walking in His house with joy and gladness" (P.L. 85, 568). The chalice which we drink is the chalice of the Passion; therefore we offered in our sacrifice the chalice of the Passion. The Supper, too, which we eat is the Supper of the Passion: "Let us approach with confidence TO THE MOST SACRED SUPPER OF THE PASSION" (Post-pridie prayer on Palm Sunday, col. 400).

Another prayer Post-pridie Missae votivae singularis is: "May this bread which THE WOOD OF THE CROSS BAKED (coxit), and this chalice WHICH THE WINE-PRESS OF THE PASSION PRESSED. ....afford true consolation to the partakers" (P.L. 85, 993).[207]

The ancient Liturgies abound with prayers and attestations like the following: "With a devout mind, we pray thee, O Eternal Majesty, that we may receive the bread, changed into thy Flesh, and the chalice changed into thy Blood by thine omnipotent power, that very Blood in the chalice which flowed from thy side on the Cross" (Missale Gothicum, Missa Dominicalis, PostSecreta, in Mabillon, Liturgia Gallicana, 1, 3, c, 80. P.L. 72, 317)." WE EAT THY BODY CRUCIFIED FOR US, and we drink thy holy Blood shed for us" (ibid., post orationem dominicam, col. 318; cf. ed. Bannister, p. 140 et seq.).

In the Eastern Liturgies, the deacon in the Syro-Maronitic Mass, inviting the faithful to communion, exclaims: "Behold the chalice which our Lord mingled AT THE HEAD OF THE CROSS: approach, mortals, and drink of it unto the remission of sins" (Maximil. Saxon., Missa Syro-Maronitica, p. 56. Compare the Liturgy of the Syrian Jacobites, B. 104). Our Eucharist, therefore, is the Blood of the Passion: and this, first offered by us in the Mass, is what we receive from God when we communicate.




There still remains for us to show from the authoritative teaching of the Fathers and Doctors[208] that we offer the actual heavenly Flesh of the eternal sacrifice.[209] It will be seen that the doctrine is implicitly taught by all those Fathers who have combined the following two statements:

(1) That Christ is the eternal Victim of His sacrifice: cf. Theses XII-XV, (Vol. I). (2) That the Victim of our Lord's one sacrifice is offered by us, as such: cf. Theses XVII, XIX-XX.

For the obvious conclusion from these two statements is: that what we offer is the celestial sacrifice.[210] But, apart from such implicit teaching, our masters in the faith have at times more expressly declared the same, and in two ways: first, directly, when they say that our sacrificial action is performed on the Victim of heaven, or that it takes place on the heavenly Altar; and, second, indirectly, when they say that when eating the Eucharistic food we partake of the heavenly sacrifice.

A. Direct Connection Between The Sacrificial Action Of The Church And The Victim Of Heaven

(A) The Fathers Assert That We Offer The Heavenly Sacrifice

Of the Fathers, St. Ambrose says: "The shadow was in the Law, THE IMAGE is in the Gospel now, THE TRUE REALITY IS IN HEAVEN. Formerly a lamb was offered and a calf; now Christ is offered: but He is offered as Man, as subject to the Passion; AND HE OFFERS HIMSELF AS PRIEST, in order to free us from our sins: HERE IN IMAGE, THERE IN TRUE REALITY, WHERE, AS ADVOCATE, HE MAKES INTERCESSION WITH THE FATHER FOR US (De officiis ministrorum, 1, 238. P.L. 16, 94). At greater length in another passage: "In the beginning then the shadow went before, the image followed, the true reality is to come. The shadow was in the Law, THE IMAGE IS NOW IN THE GOSPEL, THE TRUE REALITY IS IN HEAVEN. THEREFORE THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE CELEBRATED IN THE CHURCH NOW were foreshadowed in the language of the prophets. WE SEE NOW THE good things BY WAY OF THE IMAGE, and we hold the good things of the image. We saw the Prince of priests coming to us, we SAW and WE HEARD[211] HIM offering His own Blood for us; we priests follow, as we can, to offer the sacrifice for the people; though weak in merit, we are ennobled by the sacrifice; because although Christ is not seen offering now, none the less He is Himself offered on earth, when the Body of Christ is offered: nay He Himself, whose word sanctifies the sacrifice which is offered, is manifested as offering through us. And He Himself STANDS BEFORE THE FATHER AS OUR ADVOCATE. We do not see Him now, but we shall see Him then, WHEN THE IMAGE SHALL HAVE PASSED, AND THE REALITY SHALL HAVE COME.... Go up, therefore, into heaven, O man, and there you will see THOSE THINGS of which here was the shadow and THE IMAGE....YOU WILL SEE the true light, the eternal and PERPETUAL PRIEST" (In Psalm 38, n. 25-26. P.L. 14, 1051-1052).

The meaning of each passage is quite clear—we sacrifice Christ in image; but, let it be understood well, the image is that of a true existent reality. For St. Ambrose places the true reality of the sacrifice in the Passion (which He resumes, so to speak, that is, He takes it to Himself once more in similitude), but in such a way that it is at the same time permanently preserved in the celestial life of Christ which is one of immolation, in so far that in heaven He is an eternal Victim for us, just as He is forever in heaven our Priest (He offers Himself). When we priests offer to God in image the Victim of that Priest, we do in truth offer sacrifice, offering as we do to God the Victim of the Passion, now in glory. Hence Ambrose justly remarks: "Let there be no figure of a lamb in sacrifice now, but the reality of the Body of Christ. Let not the shadow of the Law restrict our vision, but, clearly manifested, LET THE GRACE[212] OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD AND THE SPLENDOUR OF THE RESURRECTION SHED THE GLORY OF ITS BRILLIANCE ON THE SOUL" (De Cain et Abel, 1, 2, c. 6, n. 19. P.L. 14, 350). The truth, the reality foreshadowed in the figures of the Law, is here with us now; we hold in our hands now that very thing which will be revealed in the life to come: I mean the true Victim which was bathed in its own blood in the Passion and glorified in the Resurrection.

The contemporary author of the Consultationes Zacchaei et Apollonii (1, 3, c. 7. P.L. 20, 1120) puts it in a nutshell: "The heavenly gift of the faithful is celebrated by the pure oblation." From the writers of the Middle Ages we have already quoted, Th. IX (Vol. I), Isaac de Stella who says that in the Mass after the consecration has been performed by the pronouncement of the words of the Lord," the priest, no longer the Melchisedech of old, no longer flesh born of flesh, but the new Melchisedech, Jesus born of the breath of the Holy Spirit, from the divine gifts and presents, OFFERS FROM HEAVEN CELESTIAL VICTIM OF FLESH AND BLOOD," etc., while, meantime, the visible priest prays that "in the very truth of the Flesh and Blood, from the second altar beyond the veil in heaven, he may obtain grace and benediction" (Epist. de officio missae. P.L. 194, 1894-1895).[213]

At this same time, as we have already mentioned, the Libellus de canone mystici libaminis of Ricardus Weddinghusanus was very well known in the schools. In this work we find the following comment on the part of the Canon immediately following the consecration: "Our petitions are now made known to the Father, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE MOST HIGH AND TRUE PRIEST; in the presence OF THE MOST HIGH AND TRUE VICTIM, we now pause for a little while longer. Then a memorial of the great things He did is made, so that through Him, and through the things which He did, the clemency of the Father may be prayed for and obtained. We therefore make five crosses, not in order to sanctify Him, the Holy of Holies who is present here, but in order to obtain, by His presence and by the efficacy of the Cross, a five-fold grace whereby we may worthily offer and partake of the saving Victim, and, conformed to Him, we may merit admission into the company of the saints. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS A PURE VICTIM IN HIS PASSION, IN HIS RESURRECTION A HOLY VICTIM, IN HIS ASCENSION AN IMMACULATE VICTIM, THE BREAD OF ETERNAL LIFE to those who hunger, THE CHALICE OF ETERNAL SALVATION to those who thirst after justice. We therefore who approach to OFFER Him should become like to Him, and be conformed to Him" (Libellus de canone mystici libaminis, c. 6. P.L. 177, 463). Notice how Christ is already presupposed as both Victim and Priest when our own action occurs; how the heavenly Victim is at hand to be offered by us through the consecration.[214]

This teaching is taken for granted in the following question put by William of Paris: "It may be asked why THE HIGH PRIEST AND VICTIM, Christ the Lord, SHOULD DESCEND on to the altar into the hands of the priest, when ALL THIS SACERDOTAL OFFICE could be fulfilled laudably and sufficiently before God the Father in His home in heaven" (De sacramento Eucharistiae, c. 5, op. t. 1, p. 447). According to William of Paris, then, we do not make Christ Victim, but He, already pre-existent as Victim, comes down to the altar; although without any ministration of ours, He could fulfil sufficiently in heaven the office of Victim, just as well as that of Priest. Hence plainly, according to William, our Victim is the victim of that celestial sacrifice, of which Christ is the eternal Priest.

We have seen already, Th. XIX, that this is the teaching of St. Thomas. We may add here also the testimony cited in Th. III (Vol. I), on the perpetuity of the victim of our Lord's sacrifice. Precisely because He continues forever in His office of Victim, our daily offering of this Victim is our daily sacrifice (4 d. 12; cf. In Hebr., 5, lect. 1, cited in Th. V: Vol. I).

Cajetan, a disciple of St. Thomas and an acute interpreter of his teaching, finding it necessary to safeguard and preserve intact the truth of our sacrifice against the onslaught of the Protestants, did not fail to advance this argument resting on the eternal state of victimhood in Christ. He propounded it in the treatise De sacrificio missae, written against Luther in A. D. 1531, "a work which is both erudite and sound, IN WHICH HE EXPOUNDS THE TEACHING OF ST. PAUL IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, CC. 7-10" (Hurter, Nomenclator 2, 2, 1207). He states there that the permanent condition of immolation in Christ is an absolutely necessary condition for the reconciliation, and compounding of our sacrifice with the one sacrifice of Christ which is never to be repeated. So much so that the mystic immolation which we make contributes nothing to the condition of immolation in Christ; it merely serves to introduce and repeat an outward similitude or representation of the real immolation, by means of which representation of real immolation we offer the heavenly Victim of the Passion.

Cajetan propounds the question as follows: "Lutherans agree that the Mass may be called a sacrifice of commemoration, in so far as the true Body and true Blood of Christ is consecrated, adored, and partaken of, in memorial of the sacrifice offered upon the Cross, in accordance with the words of our Lord: Do this for a commemoration of me. However, they deny two things: firstly, that the Body and Blood of Christ is offered to God; for though they say that the true Body of Christ is present on the altar, nevertheless they deny that this true Body of Christ is offered to God; and, secondly, they deny that there is on the altar a victim or a sacrifice of atonement for sin, either for the living or for the dead. They defend their position by appealing to the Epistle to the Hebrews, where it is shown clearly that one sole offering of the Body of Christ made once on the Cross is all-sufficient for the sins of the world " (c. 2). In their argumentation the Lutherans quote at large the Epistle to the Hebrews from chapters VII to X inclusive. Cajetan answers them as follows: "They advance three kinds of argument against the daily offering of the Eucharist. First, they argue from the number of priests....Secondly, from the repetition of the offering.... Thirdly, from the actual thing which is his own blood he offered himself once; hence they conclude that it is quite incongruous that Christ who was once offered all-sufficiently by Himself should be offered by us under the teguments of bread and wine. Against our teaching that the Eucharist is a victim for sins, they argue. the first place, from the repetition: because the repetition of the victim unto the forgiveness of sins is attributed in the same Epistle to the infirmity of the victims of the Old Testament.... Secondly, from the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ, because Christ offering Himself by His one oblation on the Cross, perfected all approaching to Him, etc. Hence it is an insult to the all-sufficiency of Christ as Victim for the sins of the whole world to add in the New Testament another victim for sins" (c. 5).

Having enumerated these five objections of the Protestants, he gives the principle by which they are solved in the following words: "In the Eucharist, through the daily repetition of the institution of Christ, there is the unique Victim once offered on the Cross, AND PERSISTING IN THE STATE OF IMMOLATION (C. 6). He then applies this principle to the five objections.

To the first: "It is one thing to say that different victims require a succession of priests; it is another to say that THE PERPETUITY OF THE VICTIM OFFERED ON THE CROSS requires a succession of ministers." To the second: "The sacrifice or offering[215] is not repeated, but THE UNIQUE SACRIFICE, once offered, PERSEVERES IN THE STATE OF IMMOLATION, and REPETITION INTERVENES in the mode of continuance, NOT IN THE REAL THING OFFERED, AND EVEN THE MODE ITSELF OF CONTINUANCE WHICH IS REPEATED [in the Mass] DOES NOT PERTAIN TO THE SACRIFICE BECAUSE OF THE SACRIFICE ITSELF, but in order that the offering of the Cross be commemorated in a bloodless manner." To the third: "The fact that Christ once shed His own Blood all-sufficiently and superabundantly on the Cross is quite consistent with this, that in the Eucharist the unique and all-sufficing shedding of His Blood on the Cross continues in the condition of immolation." To the fourth: "To the inference that in the New Testament it is wrong to speak of a victim for sin which must be repeated, WE COMPLETELY AGREE, if the words are used in their proper sense, because the Victim is not repeated in the Mass; rather in every Mass the commemoration is made OF THAT VERY VICTIM WHICH WAS IMMOLATED ON THE CROSS, AND WHICH CONTINUES IN THE CONDITION OF IMMOLATION. To the fifth: "Just as Christ by His own Blood entered into heaven, and remains Priest forever to make intercession for us (as is written in the same Epistle), so, too, by the Eucharist, He remains with us in a state of immolation, making intercession for us. For just as the all-sufficiency and infinite efficacy of the sacrifice on the altar of the Cross does not exclude the continuance of Christ in heaven in the office of making intercession for us, so it does not exclude the continuance of the same Christ with us in the condition of immolation to make intercession for us. FOR JUST AS THE CONTINUED INTERCESSION OF CHRIST IN HEAVEN FOR US DOES NOT DETRACT FROM THE UNIQUE INTERCESSION OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST, SO, AND EVEN MORE SO, THE CONTINUANCE OF CHRIST DOES NOT DETRACT FROM THE SAME INTERCESSION WHEN HE COMES TO US IN THE CONDITION OF IMMOLATION, to make intercession for us, that we may be partakers of the remission of sins made on the altar of the Cross, WHEN THAT INTERCESSION IS MADE THROUGH THE MYSTERY, UNDER THE APPEARANCE OF BREAD AND WINE; but the intercession in heaven by Christ is made in His own very form in which He was crucified " (c. 6).

Shortly after Cajetan, the author of the Antididagma, John Gropper, wrote and signed with his name a book entitled Von warer, wesentlicher, und bleibender Gegenwartigkeit des Leybs und Bluts Christi (1548), and in the Latin translation of this work by F. Laurentius Surius (Cologne, 1560) we find the following words: "Chrysostom affirms that everywhere there is only one Christ, who once brought Himself as an offering into the Holy of Holies (obtulerit se in Sancta), AND FOR THIS REASON THAT ONE OFFERING DOES NOT CEASE, AND NEVER CAN CEASE OR COME TO AN END (consumi); AND THAT OUR VICTIM is the same Body of Christ, which He, our one High Priest, MAKES AVAILABLE FOR US (nobis praestet) and offers through us" (p. 179).[216] We can see how necessary it was, against the objections of the Protestants, to renew the integral, undiluted teaching of the early Fathers!

The following year, George Witzel (De Eucharistia, Cologne, 1549),[217] also engaged in the task of refuting the Protestants, argued thus: "Is the true Body and the true Blood of Christ under the sacramental species on the altar? If you are a Catholic you must say: Yes. Again, IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND HIS BLOOD ALSO a sacrifice or VICTIM? Here you are face to face with the real difficulty [that is, raised by the Lutherans] . But I will solve it. IF THEN THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IS NOT A VICTIM, OUR FAITH IS VAIN AND WE ARE STILL IN OUR SINS. If, on the other hand, His Body and Blood is a VICTIM, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER, WHY SAY THAT HE IS NOT A VICTIM IN THE SACRAMENT?....Just, therefore, as you cannot separate Christ from the sacrament, SO YOU CANNOT SEPARATE THE SACRAMENT FROM THE VICTIM " (pp. 322-323). See how from the state of enduring Victim, which is inseparable from Christ, he goes on to prove that He is Victim in the sacrament. Here indeed he used a true, unanswerable argument, ready at his hand, and most effective to silence his Protestant opponents.

Conrad Cling, the "Ecclesiastes of Erfurt", applied the same argument at Cologne in the year 1552, in these words: "The Church teaches that the Mass is a true sacrifice on this ground, that CHRIST IS THE PERPETUAL SACRIFICE FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD, just as He is also Priest forever. Wherever, therefore, Christ is with His Flesh and Blood, there is also a true sacrifice[that is, in the passive sense] . And this is the same sacrifice once offered to the Father on the Cross" (Loci communes theologici, 1, 4, c. 29, Paris, 1565).

We may now quote a fourth German theologian, Joannes Fabri of Heilbronn (Missa Evangelica, Paris, 1558), to whom we have already referred. He teaches that in the sacrament we offer to God the one Victim of the Cross abiding in heaven: "JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER, making intercession for us, UNCEASINGLY OFFERS HIMSELF TO GOD, in order that His Passion may be effective in us" (fol. 42a). "WE OFFER NO OTHER VICTIM ON THE ALTAR than that which was immolated by Christ on the Cross in His mortal Body, whereby He superabundantly satisfied for our sins. THE SAME VICTIM, I say, we sacrifice, and sacrifice today, THE SAME, BUT IMPASSIBLE AND GLORIFIED.... We have. ....Christ invisible and impassible in the Sacrament of the altar, and Him we offer daily to the Father. For since we have nothing else worthy to give back to God for all the gifts He has given to us, WE TAKE THE CHALICE OF SALVATION, THAT IS, THE PASSION OF CHRIST, or the work of the Redemption, and that, according to the command of Christ who said: Do this for a commemoration of me, we PLACE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, that by it He may make us partakers of that unique Victim sacrificed on the Cross" (fol. 148).

To these four German theologians let us add a fifth, Joannes a Via, who, like his fellow Catholic Germans, and especially those of the Church of Cologne, used this same defence as an impregnable bulwark against the Protestant assault on the Mass. In his learned work, giving us the very pith and marrow of the matter, entitled Jugis Ecclesiae Catholicae Sacrificii. ....Defensio et Assertio…. contra calumnias et cavillationes Jacobi Andreae Smidelini (Cologne, 1570), he sets out to defend the following thesis (p. 445): "The Body and Blood of Christ[that is, wherever they are now after the Resurrection and Ascension, either in their proper form or under an alien species] are always a sacrifice[that is, in the passive sense, as Victim of a sacrifice] ; they are not made anew"[that is, made anew as Victim of a sacrifice, for example, by us] .

He proceeds, firstly, to state the objection of Smidelinus against the sacrifice of the Mass: "The priest, says Smidelinus, according to Catholics, makes the sacrifice of reconciliation from the Body and Blood of Christ: this is opposed to all sacred Scripture which attests that Christ with His unique sacrifice is our reconciliation, and merited eternal life for us by the same" (p. 446). Secondly, he solves the objection in this way: "I reply: first, we do assert that the priest OFFERS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST for the redemption of our souls, for the hope of salvation and safe keeping, and, finally, that it may be propitious both for the offerer and for those on whose behalf it is offered. But we deny that he ATTEMPTS (intentet) HERE AND NOW TO MAKE THEM [the Body and Blood] THAT SACRIFICE [that is, the Victim of the sacrifice] ;[218] nor can it be proved by any true testimony that the priest has any such intention. For this is neither the intention of the Church nor of her sacrificing minister. For wherever the Body and Blood of Christ is, we know that there, too, is the sacrifice[that is, the Victim] of. the same, so THAT THERE IS NO NECESSITY FOR THAT TO BEGIN ONLY NOW TO BE, WHICH BEFORE NOW EXISTS ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE EITHER IN ITS OWN PROPER FORM, OR IN AN ALIEN FORM. This is confirmed not only by the testimony of St. John (1 John, II, 1-2) : We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only but for those of the whole world, but most of all by the oath of the Father in Psalm CIX. For there the Father decrees that the very same One whom He wishes to sit at His right hand until He make His enemies His footstool is His Priest according to the order of Melchisedech, not for a time, but forever. IF THEN THE PRIEST IS ETERNAL, THE SACRIFICE MUST BE ALSO ETERNAL, not in effect only, but in FUNCTION also, although in a different manner in heaven and on earth: in heaven in His own proper form, here on earth on the altar, in an alien form, through a secret operation. In the words of the Apostle. ....the same Christ who suffered without the gate now sits (assistat) as the Pontiff of the good things to come. ....[who] by His own blood entered once into the holies, not made with hands, but into heaven itself, that He may now appear before the face of God for us. And why would He appear were it not TO OFFER THE SACRIFICE OF HIS BODY FOR SIN, which St. Paul describes as the office of every pontiff? And so JUST AS CHRIST IN HEAVEN does not offer A NEW propitiatory sacrifice of reconciliation, but AS ETERNAL PRIEST DAILY PRESENTS IN THE SIGHT OF HIS FATHER THAT WHICH ONCE LONG AGO WAS MADE SUCH A SACRIFICE: SO, too, in this Church militant of ours (hac) HE DOES NOT BY THE MINISTRY OF THE PRIEST MAKE HIMSELF TO BE A NEW SACRIFICE (novum se facit sacrificium), but WHAT HE ONCE MADE SUCH, THAT HE EVER OFFERS; SO that He is Himself the sacrifice and the sacrificer forever, one and the same everywhere, the one mediator between God and man, the Man, Christ Jesus. AND IT IS TRUE AND CONSISTENTLY TRUE FOREVER (ac perpetuo sibi constet) THAT BY THE ONE OFFERING He found eternal redemption. The sacrificing priest (sacrificans) then does not make a new sacrifice of propitiation or reconciliation from the Body and Blood of the Lord, but, as minister of the eternal Priest (as we said in the preceding article from Chrysostom), offers that eternal sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ (which works eternal redemption) to the God of all, for the redemption of all believers" (pp. 445-447; cf. pp. 466-467). Here, l think, everyone will admit that our Cologne theologian gives us a most apt and effective vindication and exposition of the Catholic teaching.

At Louvain, in the name and with the authority of the whole University, Ruardus Tapper," hostile to every kind of innovation" (Hurter, Nomenclator 2, 1451), reasserted against the Protestants that "just as Christ in the Church triumphant offers Himself unceasingly for us to God the Father, so, too, we continually offer the same Christ " (Declaratio articulorum a veneranda Facultate Theol. Lov. adv. nostri temporis Haereses, etc., Lyons, 1554, p. 266) : that is the same Christ who is the celestial oblation.

Coming down to a later period, Francis Babin,[219] Dean of the Theological Faculty at Angers, an eminent theologian, in a work entitled Conferences Ecclesiastiques du Diocese d'Angers sur le Sacrement de l'Eucharistie et le Sacrifice de la Messe, tenues en l'annee, 1716, redigees par M. Babin, doyen de la Faculte de Theologie d'Angers (ed. Angers, 1755, p. 239), expresses the faith of the Church as follows: "In the Catholic Church we believe that the sacrifice of the Mass is the same in substance as the sacrifice of the Cross; we admit only ONE SOLE OBLATION, ONE UNIQUE SACRIFICE, BY WHICH THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD WAS IMMOLATED AND DIED ONCE FOR US, AND WHICH HE OFFERS AT THE PRESENT MOMENT (actuellement) IN HEAVEN, WHILE ON EARTH WE CONTINUE TO OFFER IT BY THE MINISTRY OF PRIESTS.

The teaching of the Church in France was also declared to his people by L. A. Joly de Choin, Bishop of Toulon, to whom we have already referred, in the following words: "He also offers Himself[in the Mass] as at the Resurrection, since there[in the Mass], too, He offers His Body immortal and glorious; He offers Himself as at the Ascension, since He again ascends from the altar on earth to the sublime altar in heaven, in the words of the Canon, in order to go and live there and make intercession for us, THUS ALWAYS OFFERING ONE SAME VICTIM.... Thus the sacrifice of the Mass is a holocaust where Jesus Christ offers Himself wholly to God His Father, as he offered Himself on the Cross, and AS HE OFFERS HIMSELF IN HEAVEN (Instructions sur le Rituel. Du Sacrifice de la Messe, ed. Besancon, 1827, pp. 226-227).

The Liturgies abound with attestations of this kind: "For this is THE LAMB OF GOD, Thy only-begotten Son, who taketh away the sins of the world; who never ceases OFFERING HIMSELF FOR US, and protects us by His perpetual intercession IN THY PRESENCE: BECAUSE He never dies, though immolated[that is, in the mystery], but always lives though slain[that is, in the Passion] ." (Attestation in the third paschal Mass in the Missale Bohiense, or the Gallican Sacramentary of Mabillon, according to the pseudo-Muratorian edition. P.L. 72, 511).[220]

More concisely in the Mozarabic Mass of the Nativity of our Lord: "And the Victim immolated[in the Passion] lives, and living is continually immolated[in the sacrament] " (Oratio postnomina. P.L. 85, 187).

So we see that the sacrificial intercession of Christ is one and the same, of old in the Passion, eternal in heaven, daily in the Mass. The Victim of the Passion lives in heaven appeasing the Father; and, while He is sacramentally immolated by us, the sacrifice of the Mass is offered.

(B) Our Sacrifice Is Enacted On Christ, The Heavenly Altar

(i) Testimony of the Theologians.

We have already seen that Christ is the celestial Altar of His own eternal sacrifice. That He is also the Altar of our sacrifice was indicated, when occasion arose, by Ignatius (XIII (Vol. I) and XVIII), Irenaeus (XIII), Cyril of Alexandria (XIV Vol. I), Hesychius, Andrew of Caesarea, the author of the Glossa ordinaria, Lanfranc, Bruno the Carthusian, Thomas of Vercellae, Peter Lombard, Innocent III, Peter of Tarantasia, etc.[221] Meantime, from the Greeks, we must add to these[222] the Ps. Dionysius, who says that Christ is a permanent Altar, whereon the things that are sanctified by the consecration are placed: "Jesus is our most divine Altar. ....let us look with supra-mundane eyes on that most divine Altar on which those things whose consecration is made are consecrated and sanctified" (De Ecclesiastic. Hierarch., c. 4, 12. P.G. parag. 3, 484-485). Compare the paraphrase of Pachymera, cols. 497-500.

Among the Syrians, Dionysius Bar Salibi in his Expositio Liturgiae (C. S. C. O., t. 93, translated by Labourt, p. 99) sums up the Eucharistic teaching as follows: "The Body is not consecrated (perficitur) without the Altar, neither is the Body consecrated without the priest. Emmanuel is all these things: Altar, and Body or Victim, and what is offered (oblatio), and Priest, and offerer." Hence the consecration gives us, with the Victim and the Priest, the Altar also of our sacrifice—Christ.

We have St. Paschasius Radbertus from the Latin Fathers, commenting on the verse of Jeremias (Thren., II, 7), The Lord hath cast off his altar: "The allegorical meaning seems unsuitable here, for it would mean that the Lord hath cast off His altar from the Church, in which we believe CHRIST TO BE THE ALTAR, the Victim, and the sacrifice, the Pontiff and the Priest. FOR IT WOULD NOT BE RIGHT TO SAY THAT THERE WAS TO BE AN ALTAR OF THE CHURCH OTHER THAN THIS ONE ALTAR, ON WHICH THE VOWS AND SACRIFICES OF ALL THE FAITHFUL ARE OFFERED (Expositiones in Lamentationes Jeremiae, 1, 2. P.L. 120, 1118).

After Paschasius (and Ratherius, Serm. 3, n. 5. P.L. 136, 718), Honorius of Autun may well be quoted, where, commenting on the words of the Canon, he says: "The sublime altar of God in the sight of God is Christ, UPON THIS ALTAR THE CHURCH IMMOLATES SPIRITUAL VICTIMS, and on this altar God receives the vows of the faithful and the sacrifice of justice" (Gemmae animae, 1, 1, c. 106. P.L. 172, 579).

Again in the Speculum Ecclesiae (In Coena Domini. P.L. 172, 928) he says: "Tomorrow the altar is stripped. ....BECAUSE CHRIST, THE TRUE ALTAR ON WHOM THE VOWS OF THE FAITHFUL ARE SANCTIFIED TO GOD THE FATHER, was stripped of His garments on that day by the impious Jews beside the Cross."[223]

Similarly Sicard of Cremona: "Command these gifts to be brought by the hands of the holy angel to thy sublime Altar. This is the Angel of the great Council, the Counsellor at whose counsel the Father created and re-created (recreavit) the world. The SUBLIME ALTAR of God in the sight of God is CHRIST CRUCIFIED, SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER (Mitrale, 1, 3, c. 6. P.L. 213, 132).

Between these two liturgists we have Radulphus of Tongres (In Leviticum, 1, 1, c. 1, Cologne, 1636, p. 2), a noted Scripture exponent, who writes: Christ the Lord is our TRUE ALTAR, BECAUSE WE PLACE OUR OFFERINGS ON HIM."

Similarly Gerhoh of Reichersberg on verse 4, Psalm LXXXIII: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts: "The altars of God are the human Flesh and the rational Soul of Christ upon which the sacrifices of the faithful are daily offered" (P.L. 194, 514).

Moreover, this teaching has the support of ecclesiastical authority, where the Pontificale Romanum warns those who are being ordained to the subdiaconate: "The altar of Holy Church is Christ Himself. ....ON WHOM (in quo) an (l by whom THE OFFERINGS OF THE FAITHFUL ARE CONSECRATED to God the Father...."

The bishop explains what these offerings are: "The offerings which come upon the altar are called the loaves of proposition[the bread offered] ."[224]

This teaching, deeply rooted in the tradition of the Church, is a further proof that in our sacrifice we hold in our hands no other victim than the heavenly Victim which is eternally offered to God for us in heaven, by Christ once slain on earth. Because, as we have seen, it is the same thing for Christ to be Victim and to be Altar, just as for Him it is the same thing to act as Priest and to fulfil the function of Victim or Altar; in Him, Priest, Victim, and Altar are inseparable. Since then we use no other altar but that of the heavenly sacrifice, we offer no Victim but that of the heavenly sacrifice.

(ii) Testimony of the Liturgies.

From all we have said, little doubt should remain as to the meaning of the prayer Supplices te rogamus, said in the Mass after the narration of the institution of the Eucharist (which includes the consecration) and the commemoration of the Death, the Resurrection and the Ascension of our Saviour. We ask God in this prayer that the gifts which have been offered be taken to the sublime Altar of God: "We humbly beseech thee, O almighty God, command these gifts to be carried by thy holy Angel to thine Altar on high in the presence of thy divine majesty." For only the one true Victim, who is Christ, can lie upon the sublime (celestial) Altar of God, which is Christ; and again this true Victim must always lie on the Altar of God on high; for it is one and the same thing to be on that Altar and to be that Victim. When, therefore, we are praying for the heavenly gifts to be transferred onto the heavenly Altar, we are actually praying that they may be changed into the heavenly Victim of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Hence it seems beyond doubt that we have here a Roman epiclesis, corresponding in position and in meaning, though not in form, to the epicleses of the Eastern liturgies.[225]

We would be quite justified in inferring this conclusion from our previous argument; but it is useful to give documentary evidence for it, which evidence will again in turn confirm the teaching of theology regarding our heavenly Altar and Victim.

Our argument will be twofold: firstly, from a comparison with other Liturgies; and, secondly, from the authority of ancient exponents of the Liturgy.

Our comparison with other Liturgies can be made in two ways: firstly, by comparison with petitions made previous to the consecration; and, secondly, by a comparison with a similar prayer after the consecration.

In the first place, our prayer can be compared with formulae of the same trend which are found in the Eastern liturgies before the Supper narrative, either at the beginning of the anaphora (Greek Liturgy of St. Mark, B. 129), or before the anaphora at the Offertory (Greek Liturgy of St. Basil, B. 319; cf. the present-day Liturgy of St. Basil, B. 401), or before the Offertory at the Great Entrance (Greek Liturgy of St. James, B. 41); or even before the Entrance, in the preamble of the Mass at the prothesis (Liturgia Armenorum, B. 419; ancient Liturgy of St. Basil, B. 309; cf. present-day Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, B. 360). Now in these places it is scarcely possible for a prayer said over the simple bread and wine to mean anything else than a petition for the change by God of the gifts which are proffered into the Victim of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Here is the formula in the Liturgy of St. James (identical with the prayer in the Armenian Liturgy, and with the prayer said in the Liturgy of St. Basil at the prothesis) : "O God, our God. do thou thyself bless this oblation set before thee, and take it UNTO THY SUPERCELESTIAL ALTAR."[226]

The offertory in the Mass of St. Basil runs as follows: "May we be made worthy to offer to Thee this rational and bloodless Victim, for our own sins and for the misdeeds of the people; and when Thou hast taken it UNTO THY HOLY, SUPERCELESTIAL AND INTELLIGIBLE ALTAR in the odour of sweetness, do Thou send to us in turn the grace of thy Holy Spirit." And here, finally, is the text of the Liturgy of St. Mark: "O God, take (suscipe) what we offer (offertorium), our Victims, oblations, sacrifices, TO THY HOLY AND SUPERCELESTIAL AND INTELLIGIBLE ALTAR, to the top most heavens, through the ministry of the archangels (per archangelicam liturgiam)."

The meaning of these prayers, clear enough in itself, considering the circumstances and the subject matter, will become still clearer if we compare the prayer at the prothesis cited above from the ancient Liturgy of St. Basil with the corresponding prayer at the prothesis in the parallel ancient Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, which is: "O Lord, our God. ....look on this bread and this chalice, and make them thy immaculate Body and thy precious Blood" (B. 309).[227]

But the sense is made most clear and evident, if we compare with these prayers the word which, in the Greek Liturgy of St. James, the deacon addresses in a clear voice to the people while the priest meanwhile prays to God, after the narration of the institution and the epiclesis. The deacon says: "Over the gifts which have been offered and sanctified, precious, supercelestial, ineffable, spotless, glorious, revered, awe-inspiring, let us pray to God our Lord for divine gifts; that our Lord God, who has TAKEN (suscepit) THEM to His holy, supercelestial, intelligible and spiritual ALTAR, in the odour of sweetness, may in turn pour out His divine grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit" (B. 58-59). Meanwhile the priest is praying in these words: "O God, Father of our Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. ....THOU HAST TAKEN TO THYSELF (suscepisti) the gifts, presents and sacrifices, and hast deigned to sanctify and CONSECRATE them BY THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: sanctify also, O Lord, our souls and bodies and minds" (ibid).

A study of these parallel utterances shows very clearly that when the deacon asserts that the gifts have been taken up unto the altar he understands by this the change, or the sanctification and consecration which meanwhile the priest says has been accomplished by the descent of the Holy Spirit. Hence what is now declared as accomplished is that very thing for which a petition was being made when this taking up unto the altar was being prayed for. Now if transubstantiation was prayed for in this petition, the natural inference is that in our prayer Supplices te rogamus, which is similar in form, we pray also for the transubstantiation.

There are some, however, who, in spite of what we have already advanced, find a difficulty in the fact that our prayer is said after the recitation of the words of institution by which the consecration is effected. So they seek for a different explanation of it. This, however, is quite unnecessary, as we shall see from the second comparison we shall now make, with similar prayers said after the consecration.

Secondly, therefore, let us compare our prayer with a practically identical petition found in the Liturgy of the Apostolic Constitutions, and here, be it noted, after the consecration: "Again the deacon will say in a clear voice for all to hear (praedicet) : Again and again let us pray (adoremus) to God through His Christ, for the gift which has been offered to the Lord our God; let us pray that God, who is good, may, through the mediation of His Christ, receive it on to HIS HEAVENLY ALTAR, in the odour of sweetness." Now we know with certainty that the deacon is here telling the faithful to pray to God to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. For at this place the Liturgy of the Constitutions proceeds in the following manner: after the words of the institution have been recited, and the anamnesis said, the bishop makes several petitions to God, in this order: (1) that God, looking down on the proposed gifts, would send the Holy Spirit to change them into the Body and Blood of Christ: "We beseech thee, to look down in mercy on these gifts placed in thy sight, that thou who dost not need anything may take pleasure in them in honour of thy Christ, and may send the Holy Spirit on this sacrifice, witness of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus, to make this bread the Body of thy Christ, and this chalice the Blood of thy Christ" (F. D. 1, 510; B. 21) -this is an epiclesis; (2) that it may be beneficial to the Church; (3) that it may be beneficial to the whole episcopacy; (4) that it may be beneficial to himself and to all the clergy; (5) that it may be beneficial to the king and to those in high places; and (6) that it may be beneficial to all the saints and martyrs, etc.

The series of prayers enjoined by the deacon on the people, and the prayers offered to God by the bishop, are evidently concordant. Now the first injunction of the deacon to the faithful was that related above: prayers were to be offered that the proposed gifts which have been offered may be transferred to the Altar of God. Hence this petition, the first to be made by the people, corresponded to the first petition of the bishop in which transmutation was prayed for, or to the epiclesis. Hence we must conclude that what the priest is praying for, that the Holy Spirit may descend to effect the transmutation, is the same as what the people are asking for, that the gifts may be taken up to the celestial Altar by transmutation.[228] We have here two kinds of epiclesis: one directed to praying for the descent of the Holy Spirit, the other for the taking up of the oblata;[229] the two prayers exhibit simply two aspects of the one same divine operation which gives us Christ under the sacramental teguments as Victim and as Altar: as Victim, in so far as Christ, Victim of the Passion, is the resultant of the change of the gifts offered by us; as Altar, for the Altar of God, which is Christ, receives the offering which has been placed thereon.[230]

But the Greek theologian Nicholas Cabasilas had already in the fourteenth century directed attention to the real identity between our Roman epiclesis and the epicleses of the East:[231] " The Latins do not petition for the sanctification and the change into the Body and Blood of the Lord, but they use other words with the same bearing, words which have exactly the same meaning. What prayer have I in mind? Command these gifts to be borne by the hands of the Angel to thy supercelestial Altar. ....The Saviour Himself alone comprises everything that has the power of intercession and all that sanctifies. What, then, are those things which have the power of intercession and which give sanctification? The Priest, the Victim, the Altar. For the altar sanctifies, as the Lord tells us: For it is the altar that sanctifies the gift. Hence, since it is He alone who sanctifies, He alone must be Priest, and Victim and Altar.... The[Latin] priest prays that the gifts be taken up to this supercelestial Altar, that is be sanctified, be changed into the very supercelestial body of Christ.... For since it is the altar that sanctifies the gifts placed upon it, it is the same to pray that the gifts be sanctified, as to pray that they may be placed upon the altar. (For what is the sanctification with which the altar sanctifies the superimposed gifts? It is that with which the Priest Himself sanctified Himself: namely in that He has been offered to God and sanctified.) For since the Priest and the Altar and the Victim is the same, it is the same to be sacrificed by the Priest, to be changed into that Victim, and to be placed and dedicated upon that supercelestial Altar. For this reason when you have prayed for any one of these three separately, you have prayed for all of them" (Liturgiae Expositio, c. 30. P.G. 150, 433-437). Compare Cabasilas' explanation of the prayer said by the Greeks at the offering of the gifts before the consecration (op. cit., c. 25, col. 421). The fact that Cabasilas erred in thinking that the consecration did not take place until, after the utterance of our Lord's words, the epiclesis was made, does not affect in any way the truth of the comparison which he made between the Greek epiclesis and the Latin prayer; it remains most true as a principle of Christian and evangelical theology, that the bearing of our gifts to the altar of God means the same thing as their sanctification or consecration because the sacrifice derives its sanctity from the altar.

But long before the time of Cabasilas, St. Paschasius of the Latin Fathers had given an exposition of the words of the Canon in this same sense: "The Flesh of Christ is never rightly received, except from His hand and from the sublime altar where Christ, the Pontiff of future goods, stands for us all. Hence when the priest begins to immolate these things, along with other words he says: Command these gifts to be borne by the hands of thy holy angel unto thy sublime altar, in the sight of thy divine majesty. And do you think, O man, to receive it otherwise than from THE ALTAR WHERE, TRANSLATED ON HIGH, IT IS CONSECRATED? (Lib. de corp. et sang. Christi, c. 8, n. 1. P.L. 120, 1286). Paschasius teaches, therefore, that the consecration is given to us in that translation to the sublime Altar. He says again: "Do you think that THERE IS ANY OTHER ALTAR where Christ the Pontiff stands, THAN HIS BODY by which and ON WHICH HE OFFERS to God the Father the sacrifices of the faithful and the faith of believers? And if you truly believe THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST IS THAT HEAVENLY ALTAR, then you will hold that you receive the Flesh and Blood not OTHERWISE than from the Body of Christ Himself" (ibid., n. 2, cols. 1286-1287). Further on we read: "By the Hebrew altar, set within the holy of holies, is signified that intelligible aItar, where the prayers of all and the sacrifices of each are offered by the High Priest, Christ the Lord.... The votive gifts of the sacraments ARE OFFERED FOR US ON THAT ALTAR.... And we pray that these things may be gloriously carried thither to God the Father by the hands of the angel" (ibid., n. 6, col. 1290). Our Eucharist, therefore, is offered on that celestial Altar. Even more fully: "In this mystery it is believed that BY THE SAME POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THE WORD OF CHRIST HIS OWN FLESH AND BLOOD IS MADE PRESENT (efficiatur) by an invisible action. HENCE THE PRIEST ALSO SAYS: Command that these gifts be borne by the hands of thy holy angel unto thy sublime altar, in the sight of thy divine majesty. Why pray that these things be borne thither, unless it means THAT THIS IS DONE IN THE EXERCISE OF HIS PRIESTHOOD. ....(in eius sacerdotio). ....That which is properly His is not rightly taken to Himself by any other than by Him, the High Priest Himself (ibid., c. 12, n. 1. cols. 1310-1311).[232]

So true is it that the Body of Christ is the proper Altar of Christ, that our sacrifice cannot be effected on that Altar by any other than Christ the Priest. And so Paschasius proves that the consecration is effected by Christ, from this very petition for the taking of the gifts on to the celestial Altar. Finally: "THE POURING BACK OF OUR GIFT ON THE ALTAR, which occurs when we say: Command that these things be borne, so occurs in order that the Blood of Christ MAY BE RECEIVED THENCE BY US AS THE PRICE OF OUR REDEMPTION for the forgiveness of our daily sins" (ibid., c. 21, n. 2, col. 1334).[233] By the consecration the Blood, the price of our redemption, is as it were poured back on to the Body of Christ, the celestial Altar, that it may be received thence by us. In these documents Paschasius gives his full teaching regarding our sacrifice of the Mass: BY THE CONSECRATION THERE IS PRESENT TO US THE CELESTIAL ALTAR OF THE DIVINE SACRIFICE THE BODY OF CHRIST, ON WHICH WE ARE PERMITTED TO OFFER, UNDER CHRIST THE PRIEST, THE EVER PERSISTENT VICTIM OF OUR REDEMPTION, THE BLOOD OF THE PASSION.

Gezo is in perfect harmony with Paschasius where he applies the words of St. Gregory the Great, to be found in 1, 4 Dialog., c. 58, to the present matter in his Liber de corpore et sanguine Christi, c. 70. P.L. 137, 406:[234] "For we most truly and firmly believe that in the very moment of the immolation, at the prayer of the priest, the heavens are opened, and by the ministry of angels, that sacrifice IS CARRIED TO THE SUBLIME ALTAR, WHICH IS CHRIST HIMSELF, WHO IS BOTH PRIEST AND VICTIM, and by contact with it (contactu illius) are made one with Him." We find the same word for word almost in the work De corpore et sanguine Domini (P.L. 139, 187) of Heriger.

Hugo of Langres quotes Paschasius Radbertus in the same sense: "-- We walk by faith and not by sight. In no other way do we come to the ALTAR which IS BOTH PRIEST AND SACRIFICE. FOR ALL THESE ARE IN CHRIST. For He is the sublime AItar of the Father, as has been written[by Paschasius] : Do you think there is another altar where Christ the Pontiff assists than His own Body, by which and on which the sacrifices of the faithful and the faith of believers are offered to God the Father?" (Tractatus de corpore et sanguine Christi contra Berengarium. P.L. 142, 1322).

Guibert of Nogent says that apart from that celestial Altar, which is the Body of Christ, no victim can exist: "The oblations will be borne on to the sublime ALTAR of God by the hands of the angel, which is none other than THE BODY OF CHRIST APART FROM WHICH THERE IS NO VICTIM (Epistola de bucella Judae data et de veritate dominici corporis, c. 3. P.L. 156, 531). If apart from the celestial altar there is no victim, it must follow that the consecration places our sacrifice on the celestial altar. Hence when we pray for the carrying of the oblation to the sublime altar, we pray for its consecration.

Alger finally, second only to Paschasius in Eucharistic matters, sums up all the heads of our teaching in a few sentences: Christ in heaven is not only Priest, but also He is Victim and Altar, and our gifts cannot be changed into the celestial Victim except in so far as they are placed on the celestial AItar: "The priest, when, taking the place of Christ, he consecrates the Body of the Lord at the earthly altar, attributes nothing to his own merits, but everything to divine power and grace, and prays to God the Father in the Canon, saying: Command these offerings made to thee to be BORNE, by the hands and by the power of thy Son, thine Angel, who is the Angel of great Counsel, not on to this lowly and visible altar, which is here now, BUT ON TO THY SUBLIME ALTAR, THAT IS THY SON, whom thou hast raised aloft to thy right hand in the sight of thy divine majesty; THAT IT MAY BE MADE FOR US THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THY BELOVED SON: thus showing that the Son is offering IN HEAVEN at the command of the Father, and that He is THE VICTIM and THAT ON WHICH IT IS OFFERED, because we absolutely rely on our faith in Him and on His grace, and we believe that the earthly elements are changed into Christ, and that He, sitting at the right hand of His Father, makes intercession for us, and that He is consecrated and is in the sacrament of the altar" (De sacramentis corporis et sanguinis dominici, 1, 1, c. 14. P.L. 180, 781).

Besides those theologians we may quote Remigius of Auxerre. For though he does not teach that the celestial altar is to be understood as the Body of Christ, he does say, nevertheless, that what we petition for in the prayer Supplices te rogamus is the consecration: "Hence, too, in that oblation something ineffable is done, so that by the angelic ministry IT IS OFFERED to the divine majesty AS FROM THE SUBLIME ALTAR, WHEN CHRIST, assisted by heavenly ministers, IS TO BE BELIEVED PRESENT TO CONSECRATE THE OBLATA (De celebratione missae et ejus significatione. P.L. 101, 1263).[235]

Gerhoh of Reichersberg (Liber de Gloria et Honore Filii Hominis, c. 14, n. 3. P.L. 194, 1122), Peter Lombard (Sententiarum, lib. 4, dist. 13. P.L. 192, 868), Magister Bandinus (Sententiarum, 1, 4, dist. 13. P.L. 192, 1097), Peter of Poitiers (Sententiarum, 1, 5, c. 13. P.L. 211, 1257), the anonymous author. of the Tractatus de Schismaticis (Libelli de lite, t. 3, pp. 112-113), not only recognise here a prayer for the transubstantiation, but trace their interpretation back to St. Augustine, citing the following words from a pseudo-Augustinian discourse De corpore Domini: "For it is called the Mass[Missa-sending] because the heavenly messenger (missus) comes to consecrate the life-giving Body according to the words of the priest who says: Omnipotent God, command these gifts to be borne by thy holy angel on to the sublime altar," etc. (so writes Gerhoh, and the others speak similarly). The Glossa ordinaria Decreti also (De consecr., 2, 72, Rome, 1584, tom. 2, p. 1813), independently without quoting any such spurious authority, points out that transubstantiation is asked for in that prayer: "Command (jube), that is, bring it about, that these things be borne (perferri), that is, be transubstantiated; or be borne (perferri), that is, be borne on high, that is, be converted, changed (converti) into thy holy altar, exalted above the choirs of angels."[236] This explanation did not escape the notice of Durandus of Mende, Summarist of the Glossae, though he (Rationale, 1, 4, c. 44), influenced by the authority of Innocent III (De S. Alt. Myst., 5, 5. P.L. 217), gives preference to another meaning, which with Innocent he calls " simpler and safer": namely, that in this prayer we make a petition that our prayers be carried to heaven. The older interpretation is merely permitted by Bernardus de Parantinis (about A. D. 1330), where he writes: "It can be expounded so: Omnipotent God, command these gifts, that is the bread and wine, to be translated, that is, to be changed into thy sublime Altar, that is, into the Body and Blood of Christ thy Son, who is called an Altar" (Lilium, sive Elucidarium difficultatum circa sacrificium missae, incun., fol. 91D).

Later on the ancient doctrine was restated vigorously by Thomas of Walden when defending the Catholic faith against the heresy of Wycliffe (Sacramentalia, tit. 4, c. 39, fol. 94). For he first quotes from Bede (De Tabernaculo, 1, 3, c. 12. P.L. 91, 494) the words: "To what better than to this Altar[Christ] are suitably applied what we read: It will be holy of holies to the Lord; concerning whom when He was to be born into the world the archangel said to His Virgin Mother. ....The Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God?" and then goes on to say: "Christ therefore in His humanity in persona humana (sic). -is Altar. The Body of Christ is Victim. Christ Himself is eternal Priest. The temporal priest, therefore, appropriately transmits to Him by his ministering angel (per ejus vernaculum angelum) the Body and Blood of Christ on to His sublime Altar."

Our apologists also relied on this interpretation later on in controversy with the Protestants. Joannes a Via, for instance, whom we have quoted above, thus defends this part of the Canon, which Smidelinus had branded as impious: "I ask our ancestors to tell me, what and where is the altar; they answer all with one voice, that Christ is the Altar on whom and through whom we offer the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips. NOR IS IT PERMITTED TO us TO CALL ANYTHING BUT THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST THIS ALTAR" (Jugis Ecclesiae Catholicae Sacrificii. ....defensio, etc., p. 349). He quotes only St. Bernard, but he had read and, I think, understood the Fathers and Doctors.[237]

When the sixteenth century was ending and the seventeenth beginning, James Gordon Huntley, S.J. (Controversiarum christianae fidei adversus hujus temporis haereticos epitome, Controv., 9, Cologne, 1620, pp. 330-331), strongly insisted that between ourselves and God there must be no mediator, either as victim, or altar, or priest, other than Christ Himself. "Protestants object that after the consecration the priest prays to God, to command the Body and Blood of Christ to be borne by the hands of His holy Angel in the sight of His divine majesty. Let them remember here that THIS ANGEL is none other than Christ Himself, if they understand these words as referring to the very Body and Blood of Christ. For Christ is the most true Angel of the testament, whom we desire, according to the prophet Malachias. Moreover, what we have in this same prayer about the sublime ALTAR which is in the sight of the divine majesty, is taken from the Apocalypse of St. John. All this must be mystically understood OF CHRIST HIMSELF OUR MEDIATOR: for Christ Himself is the Priest who offers, the sacrifice which is offered, and the golden Altar on which the sacrifice is offered."

Even towards the close of the seventeenth century there were those who followed the now less well-worn path of tradition. Thus Herissonius in his Manuductio sacerdotis ad primum ejus ac praecipuum officium (Lyons, 1691, p. 303) has these words: "You ask, in the third place, what is that sublime altar of which the rubric speaks here. I answer from Durandus first, that it is the BODY AND BLOOD of the Son of God exalted above the choirs of angels. Secondly, I answer from the holy Alger, that it is THE SON OF GOD, whom the Father raised to His right hand in the sight of His majesty: who is consequently said, and rightly so, to be the offerer, OR PRIEST, and VICTIM, and ALTAR upon which the sacrifice is offered."

Later in the eighteenth century, Joly de Choin, already often quoted by us: "It can also be said that this angel. Christ Himself. ....HE IS THE ALTAR, the sacrificer, the mediator and the Victim" (op. cit., p. 324).[238]

We have, therefore, the testimony of the Fathers and Doctors, and of the sacred Liturgy, considered in itself as well as in the light of the interpretation of the earlier commentators: that the altar of our sacrifice is not earthly, not made with hand, but celestial and living, the glorified Body of Christ. Now if the Altar is celestial, must not the sacrifice placed upon it be celestial also? For the sacrifice is imbued with that sanctity which the Altar possesses. Hence we offer to God in sacrifice that Victim which of itself, apart from any ministry of ours, exists in heaven as the eternal sacrifice to God.


The Antiquity and Integrity of the Prayer Supplices te rogamus.

When Dom F. Cabrol (D. A. C., 1, 1885) first attributed to the prayer Supplices te rogamus the character of an epiclesis, he wrote: "Notwithstanding all opinions to the contrary, the Supplices te rogamus represents the ancient Roman Epiclesis WHOSE FORM HAS BEEN SLIGHTLY MODIFIED TO AVOID ERRORS OF INTERPRETATION TO WHICH THE EPICLESIS HAS GIVEN RISE IN CERTAIN LITURGIES." We are in agreement with the first part of this statement, but do not admit the second part in which the eminent liturgist makes two claims: (1) that a change was introduced into the form of the epiclesis; and (2) that the purpose of the change was theological. We would rather say that the formula as we have it, that is, a formula such as this, is of the highest antiquity, for five reasons.

Firstly, it is plain that a Roman epiclesis, of the same tenor as Supplices te, was in use for many centuries before even the slightest signs appeared, either in the West or in the East, of a wrong opinion as to how the epicleses should be interpreted.

Secondly, we learn from the fifth book of Ps. -Ambrosius, De Sacramentis (c. 5 and 6. P.L. 16, 443-446), that already in the fourth century either the very same word formula, or at any rate one which was an exact equivalent, was customary and familiar to all.

Thirdly, the diction of the formula, where it keeps so closely to the primitive teaching regarding the sublime altar, reveals the great antiquity of the formula, so much so that one would rightly conclude that the formula should be referred back to sub-apostolic times when the faithful, when reading the epistles of Ignatius or the Epistle to the Hebrews, would find no difficulty at all with such an expression, as strangers to the faith might do, but, as those of the household of the faith, would find nothing at all disturbing in it.

Fourthly, the phrase by the hands of thy angel suggests that the formula is very ancient. For by the use here of the word angel (cf. Apocal., VIII, 4) the Church seems, while having in mind the ministry of the angels (Ambros., Expos. Ev. sec. Luc., 1, 1, c. 28. P.L. 15, 1545; Ps-Ambrose, De Sacramentis, 1, 4, c. 26. n. 27. P.L. 16, 445; Gregory the Great, Dialog., 1, 4, c. 58. P.L. 77, 428), and especially perhaps that of St. Michael Archangel (Greek Liturgy of St. Mark, B. 129; also cf. Dom Leclercq, D. A. C., art. Alexandrie, col. 1192), to have meant us to understand first and foremost the Word of God Himself,[239] the angel of the testament (Mal., III, 1), that is, of the new and eternal testament, and the angel of great counsel of our Redemption (Septuagint, Isaias, IX, 6), for whom in the theophanies angels often stood; upon whom also the angels are said, in John, I, 51, to be ascending and descending, as Jacob also saw the angels ascending and descending on the ladder set over a stone, which rising he set up for a title, pouring oil and wine on the top of it (Gen., XXVIII, 11-18), and so consecrated the first altar in type of Christ, cf. Th. XIII (Vol. I). Now it is in the Eucharistic mystery that we find the great and wondrous theophany of the New Testament: "to show forth this bread to be the Body of thy Christ, and this drink to be the Blood of thy Christ" opwj apofhnh ton arton touton swma tou Xristou sou kai to pothrion touto aima tou Xristou sou Constit. Apost., 1, 8, c. 12. F. D. 1, 510) : until at last the final and tremendous theophany of the Judge shall arrive, when He will come from the heavens in the glory of his Father with his angels (Matth., XVI, 27; cf. Mark, VIII, 38), indeed in his majesty, and that of his Father and of the holy angels (Luke. IX. 26). It is most appropriate, then, that in the Eucharistic theophany of the present time we should find, together with our Priest, who by nature is messenger between God and man, the thronging of the angels and, if I may say so, their go-and-come between heaven and earth. Moreover, if one weighs the matter impartially one will see that to envisage such a companionship of Christ and the angels was particularly easy and natural to the faithful in those earliest days of Christianity, when Justin could say as a matter of course: "We worship God the Father and the Son. ....and the army of other good angels (who follow Him and are assimilated to Him), and the prophetic Spirit" (Apol., 1, 6. P.G. 6, 336).

Fifthly, if the translation (sanctification) is to be made by the hands, that is, by the operation of Christ Himself, it is clear enough that in this epiclesis we invoke the divine power not as of the Holy Spirit, but as of the Word. Now epicleses directed to the WORD petitioning for DESCENT upon the gifts to be changed are quite as ancient as epicleses directed to the Holy Spirit, cf. Th. XXXIV: and so, it would appear to me, that we may rightly presume great antiquity for those other epicleses of the divine Word where the petition is made that the Word should ASCEND to unite the gifts with the altar.

From every point of view, then, the supposition of Dom Cabrol seems to us quite improbable: that we have not in Supplices te the original form of the Roman epiclesis, but a modification of it made for a theological reason.

Nor does another hypothesis, that of Dom Probst (Die abendlandische Messe vom funften bis zum achten Jahrhundert, pp. 177-180), appeal to us. He maintains that there is no epiclesis at all in the present form of our prayer. He thinks that immediately after the words in conspectu divinae majestatis tuae and before the words ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione there was formerly some other expression invoking the descent of the Holy Spirit to effect the change of the gifts. We think rather that in our Supplices te we have the formula in its original integrity, and this for three reasons:

Firstly, what we have already said shows clearly that this opinion is based on a false supposition, namely: that there is no epiclesis in the present form of our prayer.

Secondly, the inconsistency, which he thinks that he has discovered[240] in the present form, does not exist. He seems to think that there in our prayer two mutually conflicting altars are mentioned, one celestial—sublime altare tuum, thy sublime altar; the other earthly—hac altaris participatione, by participation of this altar. This we do not admit. For in our prayer there is only one altar, the celestial Altar which is the Body of Christ. For what we really do pray for is: that, our offering having been placed upon the celestial Altar by the transubstantiation, we may now, having been made partakers of the same AItar by commmunion, obtain the grace of sanctification. Indeed at the very moment at which we have the celestial Victim present in the sacrament, in that same moment we have the celestial Altar present in the sacrament. Hence not only may we speak, as the Roman Missal does speak, of the participation of the[celestial] altar, but we may also speak of the[celestial] altar of sanctification, an expression which we find in the corresponding prayer in numerous manuscripts and old editions of the Ambrosian Missal (cf. Lejay, D. A. C. t. 1, 1408 and 1412-1413), and in the Stowe Missal (p. 13) and the Missale Francorum (P.L. 72, 340). Indeed, in the post-pridie prayer of the Mozarabic Mass for Monday after Easter (P.L. 85, 491), which occupies a parallel position to our Supplices te, we find the expression: "May the odour of sweetness ascend in the sight of thy divine majesty from THIS THY SUBLIME ALTAR.[241] Both the words and the context of this prayer show clearly that the sublime Altar of God is here present on earth with us, and therefore that it is none other than the Body of Christ made present to us here and now by the consecration. When therefore we of the Roman rite pray that the offering be borne to the sublime altar of God, we must conclude that we pray for nothing else than that the bread be changed into the Body and Blood of Christ by the consecration; when we pray to obtain sanctification from this sanctification of the altar, we pray that sanctity may be bestowed on us from the same celestial Altar, through the sacred banquet.

Thirdly, the fact that in the above Mozarabic post-pridie prayer, immediately after the mention of the altar, a petition is made to the Holy Spirit to descend, does not prove by any means Dom Probst's hypothesis. For in this post-pridie prayer the petition was not for the offering to be borne on to the altar, but for the odour of sweetness to ascend from the altar: hence we have not here an example of one single Latin prayer, asking both that the gifts be carried on to the altar, and that the Holy Spirit descend on the oblata. Hence no valid argument can be drawn from this prayer, that some words signifying descent of the divine power have been deleted from our Supplices te rogamus.

A reasonable supposition is that in the early Roman Mass, as in the Liturgy of the Apostolic Constitutions from which we have already quoted, there were two parallel epicleses, one (perhaps proclaimed by the deacon)[242] in which a petition was made for the taking up of the gifts to the altar, the other (in which there was a petition made by the bishop) for the descent of the Holy Spirit :[243] and that later on, when Mass began to be said without a deacon, in various places, either one or the other of these two epicleses alone remained; and sometimes perhaps there may have arisen a mixture or amalgam of the two.[244



B. We Partake Of The Heavenly Sacrifice In The Eucharistic Food

(I) We have already seen this teaching clearly indicated by St. Paschasius Radbertus, particularly in the first, second and fifth passages quoted in the last section, where he says that the Eucharistic Blood must be dispensed to us from the celestial altar. The Latin Church enunciates the same teaching in the concluding words of the prayer Supplices te rogamus: that as many of us as by partaking from this [sublime] altar shall receive the most holy Body and Blood of thy Son.... The Greek Liturgy of St. James also has the same sense: "O God, who hast deigned to make us partakers of thy supercelestial table" (B. 65). Indeed, all those must admit the same who understand that it is precisely because we receive the Eucharist from the celestial Altar which is Christ, that we are favoured above those who serve the tabernacle (Heb. XIII, 10). For it is only the flesh of the celestial sacrifice that can be eaten from the celestial Altar. Which again is a proof that in the Mass we have offered the celestial Victim, for we eat only of what we have offered.[245]

(II) However, even independently of the testimony of the Fathers and the Scriptures, the same doctrine could be gathered from our remarks on the partaking of sacrifice in general in Th. I, (Vol. I), For we eat of the sacrificial Victim just in so far as it has been made the property of God, and has been dispensed to us as His own by God. Hence as the Victim of Christ was accepted by God as Victim in the Resurrection, we receive from God the sacred banquet of that Victim formally as celestial. And it is as a celestial banquet that it sanctifies us: for the Victim when eaten by us is a pledge of our future sharing in the good things of God, or induces in us present sanctity, just in so far as the victim is understood to be filled with the sanctity of the divinity, whose food, as it were, it has become. Hence Christ the Victim in us is the pledge of future glory for us, and the cause and source of grace for us, just in so far as, or precisely because Christ the Victim has been taken by the Resurrection and the Ascension into the sanctuary of God. Therefore the Victim sanctifies in as much as it is celestial, the Eucharistic Christ sanctifies in as much as He has been translated from death to glory; and in very truth, as Paschasius says, our Eucharist is the Flesh of Christ as it is from the Resurrection: THE FLESH OF CHRIST IS MADE THE EUCHARIST FROM THE RESURRECTION (Lib, de corp. et sang. Dom., 5, 1. P.L. 120, 1280).

(III) Quite in keeping with this teaching, the Fathers proclaim that the beneficent virtue of the Eucharist is derived from Christ in glory. Thus Ignatius (Smyrn., 7, 1. F.P. 1, 280) tells us that "THE GIFT OF GOD" in the Eucharist is "the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and WHICH THE FATHER in His love RAISED FROM THE DEAD (cf. Ephes., 20, 1-2, and Magnes., 7, 2. F.P. 1, 228-230 and 236). Irenaeus also (Adv. Haeres., 4, 18, 5. P.G. 7, 1029) : "our bodies partaking of the Eucharist are now no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection" because "the Eucharist is composed of two things, the earthly[that is, the visible element], and the heavenly[that is, the glorified Flesh of Christ] .[246] Hence again, in the Consultationes Zacchaei Christiani and Apollonii Philosophi (1, 2, praef. P.L. 20, 1109), the neophyte is said to be "made a partaker of the eternal SACRIFICE, nay, by partaking of God, part of God Himself." Indeed, for the same reason it would appear that "by eating of the sacred Body he is made a sharer in the eternal inheritance" (1, 2, c. 18, col. 1143).

Our Liturgies abound in expressions like the following: "filled (or satiated) WITH THE VIRTUE OF THE HEAVENLY TABLE (Missale Romanum, Post-communion fifth Sunday after Easter). Quite plainly, then, our ancestors, considering the life-giving effect which is peculiar to the Eucharist, derived that effect from the celestial condition of the Flesh of our Lord.[247]

In this they followed St. Paul, who in many places attributes all our vivification to Christ triumphing over death in His Resurrection, by which He the last Adam was made into a quickening spirit (II Cor., XV, 45; cf. ibid., XV. 42-46; Rom. IV, 25; II Cor., XV, 17; II Cor., IV, 14, etc. See Prat, Theologie de saint Paul, t. 2, p. 301). In other words, in as much as by His glorious resurrection He has attained to a spiritual condition of the Body, He vivifies, by His own Flesh, both our souls and bodies. It is in this spiritual condition, therefore, as spiritual and life-giving, and formally as such, that He must be given to us in the Eucharist, in which He is our Life Giver above all else. Hence the teaching of mediaeval theologians according to Peter of Poitiers (Sententiarum, lib. 5, c. 13. P.L. 211, 1253) : We are taught that THE BODY OF CHRIST EFFECTS IN THE PARTAKERS THAT WHICH HE HIMSELF HAS. It is because He possesses the eternal life of glory that He instils it into us, first sending the grace from which the glory will spring.[248]

(IV) No valid argument can be advanced against our thesis from the fact that quite a considerable number of the Fathers, particularly those of Alexandria, attributed the life-giving virtue of the Eucharist, immediately and adequately, to the hypostatic union of the Flesh with the Word, as a result of which the. Flesh of life is life-giving to those who partake of it, a view, moreover, which has the sanction of the eleventh Anathema of Cyril (D. 123) which was accepted by the whole Church in the fifth Oecumenical Council (Canon 13, D. 226) : "If anyone does not confess that the Flesh of the Lord is life-giving. ....because it is the proper Flesh of the Word which prevails to vivify all things. A.S." This, however, in no way militates against our thesis, for, in the first place, the Fathers did not at all intend here to set up any opposition between the Incarnation and the glory in heaven, but merely to exclude the Nestorian heresy which claimed that the union between the divinity of the Word and the Flesh of Christ was purely moral, in accordance with which heresy the Word would vivify us in the Eucharist by a flesh which was not its own, that is, not the proper flesh of the Word. Secondly, it was only at the Resurrection that the personal union of uncreated life with the assumed humanity put forth its ultimate effects;[249] so much so that it was precisely then that the Incarnation as it were reached its climax, its crowning completeness,[250] as St. Paul says: "This same [promise] God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus, as in the second Psalm it is written: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (Acts, XIII, 33).[251]

It must be remembered also that when the Fathers attributed the life-giving influence of the Body of Christ to the Incarnation they were here considering the Incarnation adequately, either as having already attained to its full increment, if it were a question of Christ in heaven, or at least as soon destined to attain it, if they were speaking of Christ still on earth.

Thus Cyril himself, while deriving our vivification from the Flesh of Christ united to us by the Eucharist (In Lucam, XXII, 19. P.G. 72, 908-909), goes on to ask himself how the exercise of the vivifying power is given to that Flesh, and his answer is, by the Resurrection: "We receive within us the Word of God the Father, made man (humanatum) for us, which is life and gives life. Now then, let us study carefully the inward reason of this our mystery. It was necessary for mortal flesh to be made sharer of the vivifying power of God. Now the vivifying power of God the Father is the Only-Begotten Word. The Father sent the Word to us to be our Saviour and Redeemer; and the Word was made flesh. ….born of woman according to the flesh, and assuming His own Body from her, THAT HE MIGHT UNITE HIMSELF INSEPARABLY WITH US, and show us forth (apofhnh) as victors over death and corruption. For He clothed Himself with our flesh, IN ORDER THAT, RAISING IT FROM THE DEAD, HE MIGHT THEREBY throw open a way of return to immortality for the flesh fallen in death, as St. Paul says: For by a man came death, and by a man came the resurrection of the dead: and as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. When therefore the Word (who is God and life) had united to Himself the flesh which was subject to death, HE DROVE OUT FROM IT CORRUPTION [that is, by the Resurrection], AND SHOWED IT ALSO (apefhne) AS LIFE-GIVING. Again: The dead are changed, the corruptible puts on incorruptibility, when the Only-Begotten has been made like unto us, has conveyed mortality into immortality and transformed corruption into incorruptibility, and first of all in Himself, FOR IT WAS EVEN THUS THAT HE HAS BEEN MADE THE WAY UNTO LIFE TO OURSELVES (De recta fide ad principissas, P.G. 76, 1281-1284, cf. ibid., col. 1273).

Hence by the Resurrection Christ made His Flesh vivifying. Cyril then goes on to say the same thing is done by the Ascension; and do not blame him here for inconsistency, because both the Resurrection and the Ascension, as one whole, consummate the sacrifice of Christ. Commenting on the words; Doth this scandalize you? If then you shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before, he says: "And if my Flesh transcending its nature should ascend to heaven, what is to prevent it from giving life? Because He who [by the Ascension] EXHIBITED (apodeixaj) AS CELESTIAL WHAT IS FROM THE EARTH, WILL ALSO MAKE IT VIVIFYING, though by its nature it is subject to corruption" (in h. 1. P.G. 73, 601).

A little before (In Joann., VI, 54. P.G. 73, 577-580), he had spoken of our Lord's present immortality as the cause of our vivification. For, having shown how, by the touch of His Flesh, Christ, while on earth, raised some from death to temporal life, he goes on to infer how we shall derive the gift of life which shall never fall back into corruption, from the now immortal Flesh of Christ: "If what is corruptible is given life by the touch of His holy Flesh, will not this life-giving Eucharist be far more beneficial to us, when we shall actually taste of it? It will completely transform all who partake of it INTO ITS OWN GOOD STATE, that is, INTO IMMORTALITY.

Athanasius, before Cyril, had written commenting on the same passage of John, VI, 62-63 (Ep. 4, ad Serap., 19. P.G. 26, 665-668) : "The reason why He mentions the ascension of the Son of Man into heaven is to divert them from thoughts of material things, and they might learn from this THAT THE FLESH OF WHICH HE HAD SPOKEN is given by Him to them AS CELESTIAL FOOD FROM ABOVE, and spiritual nutriment." His words in the Epistula heortastica, 11, 14. (P.G. 26, 1411), are especially to the point here, where he says: "Truly we have here a cause for joy. I mean IN THE TRIUMPHANT VICTORY OVER DEATH AND AT THE SAME TIME OUR OWN INCORRUPTIBILITY THROUGH THE BODY OF THE LORD, because now that He has risen, so, too, will come our own resurrection: AND SINCE HIS BODY HAS BECOME IMMUNE FROM CORRUPTION, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT IT HAS BEEN MADE THE CAUSE OF OUR OWN INCORRUPTIBILITY. Again in the Epistula heortastica, 28. (P.G. 26, 1433) : "Let us be partakers of the immortal food, so that we may live forever immortal in heaven."

Saint Asterius of Amasea speaks well to the point: "One grain was sown and the whole world WAS NOURISHED. As Man He was slain, and as God HE WAS VIVIFIED AND HAS VIVIFIED THE WORLD " (Hom., 19. P.G. 40, 436).

After the time of Cyril, Leontius of Byzantium, a worthy exponent of the Alexandrine teaching, asserts that the Body risen from the dead is, in the Eucharist, the real cause of our own resurrection." Since Christ MADE HIS OWN BODY FROM THE RESURRECTION (to eautou swma ec anastasewj) = His risen Body) spiritually dead (nekron pneumatikon = sacramentally immolated in the Eucharistic sacrifice), and since He gives it to us in food, in order through it to instill the virtue which effects the resurrection from the dead, He is without doubt the author in us of the spiritual nature which is to be ours in the life to come" (Adversus eos qui duas affirmant Christi personas, nullam in ipso conjunctionem confitentur, 1, 5, c. 22. P.G. 86, 1744-1745).

In the West later on we find St. Bernard teaching the same (In vigil. nativit. Dmni., Sermo. 1, n. 6. P.L. 183, 89) : ".... Receive that bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world, that is the Body of the Lord Jesus, in order that THAT NEW FLESH OF THE RESURRECTION may restore and sustain the aged vessel of thy body."

His contemporary, Peter of (Cluny, also says that we are vivified by Christ leading men BY MEANS OF HIS NOW IMMORTAL BODY TO THE SAME immortality" (Tract. contra Petrobrusianos, P.L. 189, 814).

But especially noteworthy is the magnificent expression given in our own time to this doctrine by Leo XIII:[252] "That divine VICTIM begets in us the future resurrection; FOR THE IMMORTAL BODY OF CHRIST SOWS in us the seed of immortality" (Encyc. Mirae Caritatis).[253]

It was thus possible, nay incumbent on the early Fathers, to speak of the life-giving virtue of the Eucharist, as the effect of the Incarnation, without thereby precluding the effect of the state of glory, which was the culmination and the perfection of the Incarnation. But because the glorification of the assumed nature could be only by way of the sacrifice, in the divine economy, for: Thus it behoved Christ to suffer and so to enter into his glory (Luke XXIV, 26), so it is that the vivifying power not only can, but must, be attributed to the Passion and death also: for His death gives life to us, as the prophet Isaias (LIII, 10) says: If he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long lived seed. In other words, in the divine economy it is the glory of Christ that illuminates us; it is His incorruptible life that gives and will give us life; but this glory is itself simply the consummation of the sacrifice in which Christ gave Himself over to death, although it is also due to Christ by the title of the Incarnation of which it is but a kind of natural expansion, and blossoming if the word can here be excused. Hence our Eucharistic vivification can and must be regarded as an extension of the Incarnation, in so far as it introduces us into the fellowship and communion of the Only-Begotten; and also as the fruit of the Passion, whereby the Victim was prepared for us; and as the influx of glory by which free and unimpeded power is given to the consummated Victim to sanctify men incorporated with Itself.[254]

(V) In this we have a confirmation of what we have already said (XVII) regarding the teaching of St. Paul: that the command of the Lord to repeat the Supper, formally implied that this repetition would have to do with the risen Christ, now in heaven, until His second coming. So that just as our Mass is, from its very institution, a commemoration of the Passion, so too it is a confession of the Resurrection, as Cyril of Alexandria says in the passage quoted above (In Joann. 1, 12. P.G. 74, 725)[255]

Hilary had already said before him: "For the sacrament of the celestial bread is received in the faith of the Resurrection" (In Matthaeum, c. 9, n. 3. P.L. 9, 963; cf. the excellent note of Constant). And before Hilary, Cyprian (Ep. 63, c. 16 and 17. P.L. 4, 387) had noted this difference between the Supper and the Mass; that although the Passion of the Lord is offered ("for the Passion of the Lord is the sacrifice which we offer"), still the Resurrection is celebrated (WE CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD in the morning"), and so the Mass should be celebrated in the morning, although the Supper took place in the evening (" in order that even the hour of the sacrifice might point to the decline or setting—occasum—and the evening of the world "). Of course in the Last Supper the Resurrection could not be celebrated as having already taken place, because then the Lord offered Himself to the death which was to take place the next day. On the other hand, it is essential to the Mass, according to Cyprian, that the Resurrection be celebrated as having taken place.

In the Middle Ages we find Rabanus Maurus (De clericorum institutione, 1, 1, c. 31) coupling the Passion with the Resurrection at the table of the Lord "where the immaculate spotless Lamb is slain, and where the ADORABLE MYSTERIES OF HIS PASSION AND RESURRECTION are celebrated by the faithful" (P.L. 107, 319). And Rupert of Dietz says that in the sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord "under the appearance of bread and wine is CONCEALED THE EFFICACY OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION (De victoria Verbi Dei, c. 12, P.L. 169, 1472).[256]

St. Martin of Liege gives a complete definition of the Eucharist as a sacrament in these two words—Passion and Resurrection: "THE SACRAMENT OF THE PASSION AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD" (Sermo 26, in resurrect. Dom. P.L. 208, 946). It is precisely through the merit of the Passion and the virtue of the Resurrection, that these sacraments free us from the bonds of sin, and enliven us spiritually; hence it follows from the very nature of the Eucharist, that we treat Christ in the Eucharist at all times, and in the Eucharist partake of Christ as He is in heaven, celestial.

(VI) It may be objected against our thesis, and especially against the argument drawn from the nature of the Eucharist, that it would make the reception of communion by the Apostles at the Last Supper nugatory. In the Last Supper the Flesh of Christ was not glorified yet; therefore, if our thesis and argument stand, the Flesh of Christ conferred no benefit on those who partook of it at the time. But this is contrary to Catholic sentiment, as declared by Innocent III: "He gave what He had at the time, namely, what was mortal and passible. NEVERTHELESS IT HAS NO GREATER EFFICACY NOW, JUST AS IT HAS NO GREATER POWER" (De sacro Altaris Mysterio, 1, 4, c. 12. P.L. 217, 864).[257

I reply: de facto the natural and legal order of the sacrifices was inverted in the Supper, in so far as the eating had taken place before the death (in which was the immolation) and the Resurrection (where we have the divine acceptance) : for the Flesh of Christ was given as the banquet of the sacrifice to the Apostles, at a time when the Flesh had not yet suffered, though by the sacramental immolation it was already deputed to, and was under obligation to, death in blood.[258] Similarly, too, though the Flesh was not yet glorified, it was given, nevertheless, as the flesh of the sacrifice, ratified and accepted by God, and thus the Resurrection and the taking up into glory of that Flesh offered by the true Priest was of obligation from God. Therefore what was not yet actually effected was even then strictly due to Christ by right of His sacrifice; indeed it was also pledged by God, in so far as the transubstantiation was accomplished by the divine power, and accordingly the sacrificial offering of our Lord was not made without the divine approval and even a sign (omine) of it :[259] for what is offered to God by the eternal Spirit is necessarily acceptable to God. Thus even then (at the Last Supper) the three mysteries—the Supper, the death, and the Resurrection—were morally linked together in a bond of juridical union. And in virtue of this moral link, even at the Supper the Eucharist could signify the fruit of the death and Resurrection, and hence cause it.[260]

Rightly and properly, therefore, just as the death was anticipated in the Supper partaking, so, too, was the Resurrection. Nor could it be otherwise, for He was our Priest; and because of the perfection and authority of His priesthood He, too, was to partake of His own sacrifice, cf. XI (Vol. I) : which he could do only as a Viator, a pilgrim still on the earth, seeing that the participation of sacrifice pertains only to the order of symbols (and symbols are not for the blessed, the comprehensores), and before all else the signification of partaking is anagogic—mystic, reminding us of and preparing for the life of glory in heaven (which is especially proper to those still on earth and on the way to future glory). And so it was that " the eating of the true Lamb" should proceed "NOT ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF THE LAW OR OF NATURE, when the VICTIM STILL LIVING and SOON TO DIE" was given to the Apostles"[261] as Baldwin of Canterbury says in the work de Sacramento Altaris. (P.L. 204, 660).[262]

Because at the Supper the Eucharist anticipated the Resurrection, it was right and proper that the disciples should receive the Eucharist in the faith of the Resurrection, and that our Lord Himself should partake of it as a pledge of the same. Hence it was that at the Supper itself Christ not alone strengthened the faith of the Apostles in His Resurrection and future life by repeated and prolonged discourse, as when He gave the command of the commemoration of His death and future coming (II Cor., XI, 26), or foretold the kingdom of His Father and the celestial table (Matth., XXVI, 29; Mark, XIV, 25; Luke, XXII, 30); or promised them that they would see Him in glory (John., XIII, 32; XIV, 2-3 et seq.; XVII, 24; cf. John, VI, 63); while He also prayed to the Father for Himself, for that glory that was due to Him because of His sacrifice: I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now glorify me O Father, with thyself, with the glory which I had before the world was with thee (John, XVII, 4-5), but, drinking the chalice, He drank the Resurrection; and, drinking it first Himself, He likewise gave it to them to be drunk—cf. Th. XI, (Vol. I).[263]


The Teaching of St. Paul and St. John on Eucharistic Communion Compared.

Some time ago Rev. P. Batiffol in his book on the Eucharist (Eucharistie, 3) wrote: "St. Paul's idea of partaking of the sacrifice is destined to remain always obscure for Christian piety, which will be attracted rather by the concept of St. John: that communion is a partaking of the divine life: He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life. Christian piety, strengthened by experience, in clinging to the idea of St. John, will have the intuition of a more tangible reality than that which the idea of communion in the sacrifice represents" (p. 52).

In this passage we note two things. In the first place, the concept of LIFE-GIVING FOOD is contrasted with the concept of SACRIFICIAL BANQUET. Secondly, the one concept is assigned to St. Paul as properly his, the other concept is assigned as properly his to St. John.

Two remarks are called for.

In the first place, it is plain that we cannot in any strict sense appropriate the one and the other concept to St. Paul and St. John respectively. For St. John also considered the Eucharist as a sacrificial banquet, as will be seen if one links up[264] the remaining verses of St. John's sixth chapter with verse 51 (Vulgate 52) : The bread which l shall give, is my flesh for the life of the world (and apart from this, as we have said in Thesis VII (Vol. I), the discourse after the Supper is wholly Eucharistic and wholly sacrificial in its reference); while St. Paul clearly enough indicates the life-giving character of the Eucharistic food, where, as we have said above, he represents us as partaking of the Flesh of the risen Christ, who is the life-giving spirit.

Secondly, the implication that one of these concepts is clearer, the other not so clear, seems to call for a distinction. If there is a question of that uncultivated elementary understanding of our mystery, such as is necessary in every adult for the right reception of the sacrament, it is quite true that the life-giving character of the Eucharist is more easily grasped by the untutored intellect than its sacrificial character, as the Victim of the sacrifice. It is different, however, where there is a question of more cultivated intelligence, when we seek to know, not only whether the bread is life-giving, but for what reason it is life-giving. It cannot then be said that one concept is clearer than or not so clear as the other; for the one supposes the other, and both are only completely understood in their mutual correlation. Just as it is not life-giving food, except in so far as it is the sacrificial banquet, so it is not the sacrificial banquet, except in so far as it is life-giving food. The Victim offered to God and accepted by Him is given back to us as life-giving food.

Hence later on in the same work (Eucharistie, 5) P. Batiffol, not admitting any real contradiction between St. Paul and St. John, but coming to the root of the matter, wisely says: "These two teachings[of St. Paul and St. John], though in different language, reveal to us and sound the depths of the same one mystery, which is expressed in the formula: This is my Body, this is my Blood" (p. 159). A most true, and most just conclusion.




The Fathers and Liturgies constantly declare that Christ as Priest offers our Eucharistic sacrifices. We have already quoted many testimonies of this kind, and we could add to them almost indefinitely. All repeat the teaching expressed by the words of the Great Entrance in the ancient Liturgy of St. Basil: "Thou art both the offerer and the offering (o prosferwn kai prosferomenoj) " (B. 318; cf. the present-day Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, B. 378). To these testimonies the Council of Trent (sess. 22, cap. 2) has added its authority: "And the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the Cross" (D. 940).

The question therefore arises: after what manner is Christ the offerer of each of our sacrifices? Does He offer by a new formal act of offering? Or does He offer by the causal virtue of the one oblative action of the past, never to be repeated?

For as every Mass is a new sacrifice added to those of the past, and as in every new sacrifice some new act of offering necessarily intervenes, the question inevitably arises whether this new act of offering is an act of Christ, or only a new act of the priests of the Church subordinate to Christ? In other words, does Christ intervene as Priest by a new sacrificial action, or is He content, as offerer of each of our sacrifices, with the true and proper sacrificial action which He once performed on earth in a duly sensible manner, to present eternally to God the Victim eternally accepted?

Clearly we must attribute a new oblative act to Christ in each Mass, if we hold that in the Mass He is affected by us with a new state of victimhood, or in any way clothed with a new condition of immolation, which He had not before, so that through us He passes from the state of non-victim to that of victim. For the oneness of our priesthood with the Priesthood of our Lord postulates that Christ Himself; High Priest of all our sacrifices, should be the offerer in respect of any new condition of victimhood which may exist; and the offerer of a new condition of victimhood can only be such by a new oblative act. Hence a number of theologians in recent times have attributed to Christ such a new act in our Masses;[265] and from it, they thought, was derived that value of the Mass, which we call its value ex opere operato,[266] and which we shall deal with later on, in Th. XXV.

If, on the other hand, in our Masses no new victimal condition is induced, and we only offer a new sacrifice in so far as we are new offerers of the eternal Victim, offerers admitted to share in Christ's sacerdotal offering of the past, then we must say that Christ offers here and now, in so much as my offering proceeds VIRTUALLY from His. It proceeds virtually, in so far as His offering lasting through the ages is supereminent to all our offerings, which offerings it incorporates with itself, imparting to them the power of presenting the Body and Blood of Christ to God as our Victim. For Christ is one with the Church of which He is the Head. And Christ the Head communicates to the body that power which He put forth at that very moment when He gave Himself over to death for the life of the world. Hence it is that we offer the Body of Christ which died and was taken up into the glory of God. Therefore, just as His sacerdotal power by which He was ordained, in the things that pertain to God, to offer gifts, is the principal cause of our power, so, too, on the exercise of that same power, which He put forth only once, depends our sacerdotal activity in every Mass. The offering of Christ is the principal and universal cause in its own order; our offering is the subordinate and particular cause. Thus it is that Christ offers through us, when we offer, without offering anew in His own person. All that is new is from the Church, while all the power is from Christ.[267]

The Fathers rarely dealt with this question in definite terms.[268] But, in the first place, the solution is implied in the general teaching regarding the sacrifice of Christ, handed down to us by the Fathers, and mainly derived from the Epistle to the Hebrews, as we have already shown. Secondly, when explaining Christ's offering in respect of the Mass, it was usual for them to do this by ascribing to Christ some causal influence on our own offering. Thus in the passage quoted earlier by us, after Eusebius of Caesarea had said: "Even now Christ carries on the work of His priesthood THROUGH HIS MINISTERS, he explains this by saying that our priesthood, derived from His, is exercised by us when we offer, according to the exemplar of His Priesthood, the sacrifice of His Body and Blood in the mystery of the bread and wine (Demonstrat. Evangel., 5, 3. P.G. 22, 365). Here we meet with two causes operative, one efficient (our priesthood is derived from that of Christ as its efficient cause), the other exemplary (the original sacrifice of Christ is the prototype of our sacrifice, or its exemplary cause).

St. Ambrose likewise reduces the offering by our Lord in our sacrifice to this: "The word of the Lord sanctifies the sacrifice which is offered" (In Psalm 38, n. 25. P.L. 14, 1052).[269] So, too, St. Augustine holds that the Melchisedechian sacrifice of Christ, that is in bread and wine, is (ever since the Last Supper) enacted in the Church, in so far as the Eucharist is offered "BY CHRISTIANS", "by the priesthood[that is, by the priests] of Christ", "UNDER CHRIST AS PRIEST".[270] The pseudo-Primasius is in agreement, remarking that Christ, having once offered His own sacrifice while on earth, must be considered now also to offer sacrifice to the Father unceasingly, simply by the fact that the Church offers the Eucharist; that is to say, that while we, who are His, are offering, He is to be regarded as offering: "Our High Priest offered a clean victim to God the Father for us. The same Priest, still existing, and still sacrificing, also offers THROUGH HIS CHURCH a sacrifice acceptable to God the Father. THEREFORE WHILE WE OFFER THE SACRAMENTS OF HIS BODY, HE HIMSELF OFFERS" (In Hebr., VIII, 3. P.L. 68, 734). That is to say, His offering consists in this, that the Church offers: Christ's Church, I say, offering by the virtue or power of Christ Himself.[271]

St. Thomas has little to say on this subject. Nevertheless, when occasion arises, he notes that Christ is the Priest of our sacrifices, "because, for the same reason[namely, that the celebration of this sacrament is the image representative of the Passion], the priest also BEARS THE IMAGE OF CHRIST, IN WHOSE PERSON AND BY WHOSE POWER he pronounces the words TO EFFECT THE CONSECRATION. And so IN A MANNER the priest and the victim is the same" (3 S. 83, 1, 3m). Though Suarez thinks that more than this should be attributed to Christ, he sees, nevertheless, that St. Thomas attributes no more to Christ in the Mass than the part of exemplary and virtually efficient cause: "The priest consecrates in the person of Christ, acting as His representative and His delegate: and IN THIS St. Thomas seems to place THIS OFFERING OF CHRIST (disp. 77, sect. 1, n. 6).

In the third place, at least some of the Fathers explicitly exclude from the Mass any new offering made by Christ Himself. In fact Theodoret writes: "Christ now fulfils the office of the priesthood, NOT BY OFFERING ANYTHING HIMSELF, BUT BY CONTINUING TO EXIST AS THE HEAD OF THOSE. WHO OFFER. For He calls the Church His body and as Man THROUGH HER He fulfils the office of the priesthood, while as God He receives those things which are offered. But IT IS THE CHURCH THAT OFFERS the sacraments of the Body and Blood" (In Psalm 109, 4. P.G. 80, 1773). In these words, Theodoret not only excludes what we exclude, but he also maintains what we maintain, namely, that Christ can only be said to offer in each Mass virtually, in so far as the Church, His body of which He is the Head, offers at each Mass, in virtue of the power He has given to her so to offer. Before Theodoret Chrysostom had already taught that Christ was not now "A priest or liturgus" actively offering, just as St. Gregory Nazianzen had said that He was not now an active suppliant, see XIV (Vol. I).

Among the Latin Fathers, St. Bruno the Carthusian, in his Expositio in Psalm. 109. (P.L. 152, 1228), is equally clear: "Thou art, I say, a priest according to the order of Melchisedech, and this forever, so that thy priesthood, established in place of the Levitical priesthood now made void, continues forever IN THEE AND IN THINE. IN HIS OWN PERSON He is said to be priest forever, not that HE OFFERS THE SACRIFICE OF HIS BODY AND BLOOD FOREVER, FOR THIS HE DID ONCE ONLY, but because He prays forever before the Father for His children. For it belongs to priests not only to offer but also to pray for the people. IN HIS OWN he is Priest forever both BY THE OFFERING WHICH THEY MAKE FOREVER, THAT IS, ALWAYS UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD, and also by prayer, for His priests daily make the offering of His Body and Blood, and send up prayer for the people."

Hence rightly does Scotus in Quodlibet XX take care to warn us that Himself, Christ, does not offer now in His own person: "Although Christ, as contained in the sacrifice, is offered here, nevertheless He does not here immediately offer sacrifice as we see from Hebrews, IX: Nor yet that he should offer himself often. And again: Christ was offered only once, understand, by himself offering." However, this passage and the context of Scotus will be considered later, when we are estimating the value of the sacrifice of the Mass.

Vasquez has an interesting passage where he condemns as novel the opinions opposed to our teaching: "I hold that in the other life Christ does not merit for us, because having completed in His mortal life the work of our redemption, now in heaven He no longer prays for us, He no longer offers anything to God for us.... In view of this doctrine I consider that some RECENT theologians ARE IN SERIOUS ERROR, when they teach that Christ actually merits now. ....[272] in the sacrifice of the Mass, since they consider the sacrifice of the Mass AS THE ACTION OF CHRIST HIMSELF, because He is said to offer Himself.... But when we say that Christ offers Himself in the Eucharist, we do not mean that the offering of His Body which the ministers of Christ make to God each day, is also AN ACTION OF CHRIST ELICITED BY HIMSELF, here and now, and so to be accounted meritorious. Our real meaning is this: seeing that the offering is made in the name of Christ, for that reason we say that Christ Himself offers in it" (In 3 S. 19, 4, disp. 76, cap. 1. n. 6).

After Vasquez,[273] Hickey should be read in his Quaestio VI on the commentary of Scotus in IV D. 13, 2, conclusion 4 (Lyons, 1639, p. 831 et seq.).[274]

The question is by no means an idle one, as a little consideration will show that conclusions of vital importance depend upon it. Once admit that Christ Himself personally intervenes by a new sacrificial action in each one of our Masses, and every argument that we have hitherto so carefully advanced, to safeguard the unique sacrificial action of our Lord, falls to the ground (V (Vol. I), etc.). For on such a supposition innumerable sacrificial actions of Christ Himself would be added to the first sacrificial Action of our Redeemer; and each of these, too, equal in dignity and worth to that pristine sacrificial Action: thus the all-sufficiency of the Cross is made void, contrary to the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews.[275] Wherefore Scotus rightly adds the following to his words above quoted: "Otherwise it would seem that the celebration of one Mass would be equivalent to the Passion of Christ, if the immediate offerer and what is offered were the same. But it is certain that a Mass is not equivalent to the Passion of Christ." Likewise on this supposition the oneness of the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrifice of the Supper and the Passion would fall to the ground. This oneness is kept intact only if my present offering is subordinate to that past offering of our Lord, in so far as I, as minister of Christ, by my offering participate in the chief and principal offering of Christ Himself. For Christ is not subordinate to Himself, and so no later proper offering of His can be related to the first by way of participation and ministry of it; but any second offering of the Lord would of necessity be co-ordinated and co-numerated with that first offering of His, as perfectly equal to it.[276]

Hence whatever is new IN THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS in relation to the sacrifice of the Cross COMES ONLY FROM THE CHURCH, which now makes its own the offering made by Christ in the past, making it new only in so far as the power and the act of sacrificing passes from the Head to the body.

Sacrifices of the Mass, like the actual consecrations or eucharistiations of the bread and wine, are distinguished from one another in two ways. Firstly, by the very fact of there being different celebrants; for the celebration by one is not the celebration by another, except perhaps in the case of concelebration, where a number of priests, under a bishop—as at an ordination Mass—concur to effect one consecration. For then, most probably,[277] there are not as many offerers as there are co-celebrants; morally there is only one offerer, just as there is only one consecrator; that is to say, the group of priests acting as one body. Secondly, when one priest performs successive consecrations, which imply necessarily a number of offerings, because it is by the consecration that the immolation by similitude is effected, which involves the offering of our Victim.

It may be objected: the offering is involved in the consecration; but the constant teaching of the Fathers and Doctors is that the consecration is effected by Christ, therefore it is Christ that offers.

I reply, in the first place: the Fathers also teach that the consecration is effected by the divine omnipotence; yet we do not say that the Trinity offers the sacrifice to Itself. Moreover, as a matter of fact, the consecration is effected in the first place by Christ in His divine nature, for the transubstantiation is an effect proper to the divine nature, as we shall see later; the priest operates in the actual transubstantiation of the bread and wine, only as the medium or the instrument of the divinity acting here and now. Hence the fact that Christ consecrates at each Mass, as remote agent, acting through the priest, in nowise proves that He here and now offers.[278]

But, secondly, and more strictly to the point, I reply: the consecration is also effected by Christ and by Christ as possessed of His human nature. In His human nature He is the High Priest who was the first to consecrate, who by imprinting the character of the priesthood gave men the power to consecrate, and now actually conveys through us the virtue of the first cause to consecrate the material elements.

Regarding this conveyance of the divine power, two things must be kept in mind: In the first place this conveyance does unquestionably imply in the humanity of Christ some instrumental activity, here and now exerted in reference to the sacramental effect. But it is one thing to assert such fresh activity of the humanity of Christ, and that of course conscious and voluntary, and another to invent for Christ a kind of formal, liturgical, and, so to speak, completely new act of consecration. The real reason for this instrumental causality of the assumed humanity, is effectively to make us (through our sacramental character) sharers in the consecrative act elicited by Christ, once and for all in the past, over the bread and wine of the Supper. For it is necessary that each daily consecration of ours be made in virtue of this act of Christ in the past.

For when Christ said in the Supper: This is my body, these words of Christ who by the eternal Spirit offered Himself to God (Hebr., IX, 14; see Th. V (Vol. I) ), had, by the addition of the injunction Do this an eternal and eternally availing power. This power ever pervades our own utterances of the words of our Lord, in order that Christ, the Church's Victim, may yet again in our hands be mystically immolated and really offered; and it is in this sense that the Doctors of the Church have often said that the very words of the Lord are operative through our lips:[279] a pronouncement, so to speak, of a prince, promulgated through his minister. A comparison may make this clearer. When we administer the sacrament of baptism, it is Christ who baptises through us. Not that He is here and now in the act of baptising, as if besides my baptism there were another coming from Christ. The act of baptising is only one, performed by me, according to the institution of Christ, and subordinate to Christ who actively communicates to me the divine power. So, likewise, I consecrate in the name of, and in the power of, and, as St. Paschasius said, in the very priesthood of, Christ, though nevertheless Christ does not consecrate by any new liturgical action of His own. It is precisely by this comparison between baptism and the Eucharist that our Doctors explained how it is that Christ consecrates His own Body and Blood, through the ministry of even the most abandoned priest, just as He also baptises through the ministry of a pagan (among others read Alger, De sacramentis corporis et sanguinis Dominici, 1-3, c. 2-10. P.L. 180, 833-834). This parity, far from favouring the objection urged above, as some think, rather completely answers it, and is a positive argument against it.

Secondly, this instrumental causality of the assumed humanity, no matter how active it be here and now, does not at all imply that Christ is here and now the actual or formal offerer. All that it implies is that He offers in this sense that the consecration of the past, to which in the present moment He associates us, was His own offering, and that offering of His in the past gives virtue and meaning to all of our offerings, while not being itself repeated. Hence no new offering of our Lord is added to our Lord's offering of the past; but that is, and remains everywhere, virtually operative, and by reason of it Christ is the virtual offerer, we the formal offerers.

We might add, too, that he alone formally offers sacrifice who offers visibly. Christ, however, does not act visibly now, but only invisibly, and so from this point of view He could not be the formal offerer of the sacrifice of the Mass.

One who has carefully weighed all we have said should not find it difficult to understand why we say that although Christ actively co-operates in every consecration of ours, nevertheless He only offers our sacrifices virtually.

Finally, what we shall have to say regarding the fruit of the Mass, as affected by the offering of the Church, in (XXVI), and particularly regarding the causality of the sacraments, as implying a divine influence Th. XLVIII (Vol. III), will make this matter abundantly clear.

The Different Opinions As To What Makes The Mass A True Sacrifice


THOUGH the sacrifice of the Mass does not consist formally in a mere commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ, nevertheless apart from the commemoration of that sacrifice nothing is induced in the Mass whereby Christ is in any way changed in Himself from not being to being our Victim. The commemoration becomes a true sacrifice in this way that, in the first place, in the sacrament wherein the image or the commemoration of the Passion is exhibited, Christ Himself is contained, left from His Passion in the true state of a victim consummated by glory; and, secondly, that in this sacramental immolation repeated by us there is involved and enacted our real offering of the Victim so exhibited. For a true sacrifice is a true and sensible offering of a truly immolated victim. Hence our Mass is a true sacrifice, although no true immolation, that is, immolation in blood, is found in it apart from that which is presupposed as already enacted by the deicide Jews, and the result of which was that Christ was left in the condition of Victim offered to God and accepted by Him, a true Theothyte. Hence there is no change effected BY US in the Victim of our sacrifice except an extrinsic one consisting in this: that by the power of the sacramental symbol, from being Christ's Victim only, it becomes also our Victim. He becomes our Victim in as much as we, being members of Christ, by the power received from Him, renew, under Christ our Head, the Eucharistic mystery by which the Victim of the Passion, the Body and Blood of Christ, is offered to God under the appearances of bread and wine.[280]

What we have just said will indicate why and to what extent we disagree with the views of a number of theologians of the present day or of an earlier date, both as regards THE TRUE REALITY OF OUR OFFERING AND THE PROPER CHARACTER OF OUR VICTIM.


They surely undermine the reality of our offering who, like Renz (op. cit., 2, 499—503 and passim), say that WE MAKE NO OFFERING WHATEVER OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD,[281] and maintain that the Mass formally consists solely in the preparation and setting before man of a banquet of the Body and Blood of Christ crucified, present in the guise of immolation, or, what is the same thing, in the giving to us of the Victim of the Cross in the condition of food. The Council of Trent clearly condemns any such teaching, where it says: "Should any one say that in the Mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God, or that the offering is nothing other than the giving of Christ to us in food, let him be anathema" (D. 10, 948).

Some theologians, such as Dominic Soto[282] and his followers, Cano[283] and Bellarmine,[284] though absolutely opposed to this error condemned by Trent, for they insisted firmly on the offering, nevertheless do not appear to grasp the precise nature of the relation between the offering and the holy communion. For while they certainly do not say that the communion is the whole sacrifice, nevertheless they looked upon the communion as a constitutive element of the sacrifice if not even a chief element, in so far as the communion causes either the symbolic (Soto, Cano) or the real destruction of the victim (Bellarmine).

Cardinal de Lugo is closely allied to these theologians in so far as he teaches that to a kind of real destruction[285] already effected in Christ by the-consecration, the actual communion is added as a (symbolic?) complement of that destruction.[286] The Salmanticenses, however, have a far stronger title to be included with them, for they admit of no condition of immolation in Christ in the Mass apart from the destruction of the sacramental presence affected by the communion.[287]

The teaching of each of these theologians regarding the relation of the communion to the sacrifice raises many difficulties, but a fatal objection to all of them is this: that the Body of Christ is neither offered nor immolated by the communion. In the first place, it is not offered by the communion, but, having been offered to God already by the consecration, it is now at communion received back from the hands of God as our food and for our sanctification. Hence St. Thomas[288] holds expressly that not only is the sacrifice completed before the communion, but he also observes that our communion can have no effect ex opere operato for the salvation or for the benefit of another,[289] because all this effect is included in the fruit of the sacrament, which belongs to the recipient of the sacrament and no other. The reason is plain. Compensation can be made for another by our offerings, and we can impetrate favours for him by our prayers; but the reception of the divine gift is in itself neither an offering nor a prayer, just as giving something or asking for something is not the same as, but quite different to, receiving something.[290]

Neither, in the second place, is Christ immolated by communion. It would be wrong to say: we admit that Christ is not offered to God by the communion, but by the communion He is certainly immolated, having been already offered to God; He is undoubtedly offered by the consecration, but offered to be immolated by the communion. Such a position is untenable; for in this view Christ would be considered to be immolated by the communion either really in Himself, or symbolically in the species. But Christ could only be immolated really in Himself, if either His very existence in heaven were to be destroyed (which is obviously absurd), or if some other existence of His produced by the transubstantiation were destroyed. But it will be proved later, in L (Vol. III), that there is no such other existence produced by the transubstantiation. You might choose to say that He is immolated symbolically in the species in so far as their corruption would terminate their function of designating and containing Christ. But such destruction of the species, not in any way really affecting Christ, can never be called true immolation; it is merely an image or representation of it. And indeed symbolical immolation through the species has already preceded the communion by the consecration under the two separate species. Hence the immolation of the sacrifice cannot be placed in the communion, but immolation already being presupposed, communion is simply the partaking of the Victim.

Moreover, so to link up the communion, as immolation, with the sacerdotal offering enacted in the consecration, would give as many immolations as there are communions received, either by the priest or the laity (both within and without the Mass) : because immolation in itself, when separate from the offering, may just as well be performed by a layman as by a priest. So the immolations of the Mass would be multiplied indefinitely.


Error in this regard may occur by excess, by unduly exaggerating the victimal condition in Christ; or by defect, by denying to Him the real intrinsic properties of Victim.

A. Errors By Excess

De Lugo (De venerabili eucharistiae sacramento, disp. 19, sect. 5, n. 67-68) and his contemporary, Raynaud (Candelabrum sanctum septilustre divinae mensae illucens, sect. 3, c. 5, n. 19-23),[291] and afterwards a few others,[292] latterly Cardinal Franzelin (De SS. Eucharistiae sacramento et sacrificio, 1868, pp. 265, 379-380, 384, 391), would seem to err by excess, when they teach that by the consecration Christ is placed in a lower status—in statu decliviori—(thus de Lugo, Franzelin), in other words, He is subjected, not indeed to a new immolation in blood but still to some kind of real lessening, or deprivation and destruction not of the substance itself, but of the proximate capacity to exercise acts of the sensitive life. For so Cardinal Franzelin writes: "Formally as He is constituted under the species, EVERY ACT CEASES WHICH IS CONNATURAL TO CORPORAL LIFE AND DEPENDING ON THE SENSES; SO THAT IN HIS BODY HE CAN DO NOTHING CONNATURALLY" (loc. cit., p. 380. In the third edition, p. 403 coll., p. 398-399 and 404). Again: "He is constituted there AFTER THE MANNER OF AN INANIMATE THING, as far as regards any act connatural to the sensitive life, which state, in comparison with the connatural state, is a kind of exinanition" (ibid., p. 383).

Again: "THIS EXINANITION is not only rightly (satis) understood as TRULY AND PROPERLY SACRIFICIAL but also, with the exception of the sacrifice in blood on the Cross, we cannot conceive any more sublime and more profound manner of true and proper sacrifice" (ibid., 380, ed. 3, p. 403).

If we ask what would hinder the vital action of the senses of Christ, we receive the reply: "To understand this clearly it must be borne in mind that the Body of Christ has REALLY two distinct modes of existence, one connatural in heaven, the other sacramental which He assumes under the species of bread and wine. As formally constituted in the sacrament, that is, not only as regards our perception, but REALLY AND IN HIMSELF, HE EXISTS THERE IN AN UNEXTENDED CONDITION, and is thus BEREFT of the acts connatural to corporal life, bereft also of the connatural capacity (facultatem) for such acts" (p. 382).

The following words of Cardinal de Lugo give the teaching in a nutshell: "Although the Body of Christ is not substantially destroyed in the act of consecration, STILL IT IS DESTROYED IN A HUMAN MANNER, in as much as it is given a lower status, and such that IT IS RENDERED USELESS FOR THE HUMAN SERVICES OF THE HUMAN BODY (loc. cit., n. 67).

Renaud did not hesitate to push the principle to its ultimate conclusions: "In the Eucharist (what a humiliation!) Christ so humbled Himself and chose a state so abject that, apart from a singular miracle, He is like a dead trunk or a log, HE CAN NO LONGER OBTAIN KNOWLEDGE THROUGH ACQUIRED IMAGES, NOR ANY LONGER CAN HE, IN THE LIGHT OF THAT KNOWLEDGE, MAKE ACTS OF THE WILL, likewise He has no more power to feel or move in any way whatever than He would have if He possessed no faculty of reason, sense, or motion.... This is true (probo) because the extension of the body is necessary for it to effect any bodily action. The same is true of all bodily activities whatsoever, whether these be immanent or transient, as well as of all spiritual activities of the soul, while it is united to the body, such as those acts which the intellect can elicit by making use of the acquired species or images, or the will when acting in the light of such knowledge provided by the intellect. For there is a common characteristic of all these actions. I have, however, restricted my remarks to the knowledge which is acquired immediately from acquired images….for such knowledge is wholly bound up with fantasy which of its very nature demands extension, being material and corporeal....[293] Could anything be added to the supreme humiliation of Christ in the Eucharist, since He lies there like a dead trunk or a log, a state not realised even on the Cross? For there, in the midst of His torments, His senses still exerted their con natural function.... Hence this state of Christ is by far the most wretched, a greater humiliation than even His abject condition on the Cross" (loc. cit., Avignon, 1645, pp. 225-228). Raynaud draws no inference that does not follow naturally from the principles held by him in common with de Lugo.[294] But would it not follow from this that we are worse than the deicide Jews? ....And yet we must admit that this opinion is scattered here and there in numerous books and sermons.[295]

We have no need to point out that such indignity inflicted on Christ by us, more ignoble even than the degradation inflicted by the Jews, is absolutely inconsistent with Christian piety. Any such thought was far from the mind of our ancestors, and as far as I know there is no trace of it among the early writers, except in Rupert of Dietz, and immediately his teaching became known it was severely censured. Rupert was dealing with an objection raised against the true presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist: "But the adversary says: Christ, God and Man, is living, sensible and mobile in His Body. BUT THE BODY OF THE SACRIFICE HAS NOT LIFE, IT HAS NOT SENSE, IT IS NOT MOBILE. This being assumed, our adversary concludes: Therefore the Body of Christ is not present, Christ is not present [in the Eucharist] ." Rupert thought to solve the difficulty by making a distinction: "I ask you: what do you look for in the Body of the Lord? For there is the animal life and the spiritual life. THE ANIMAL LIFE HAS THE USE OF (fungitur) FIVE SENSES, sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch. This is the animal life, it is the carnal life, it is the flesh. But the Lord says: The flesh profiteth nothing.... Animal life therefore because it is the flesh, were it to be present in the Body of the Lord, would profit us nothing, AND FOR THIS REASON IT WOULD BE SUPERFLUOUS TO REQUIRE IT (De divinis officiis, 1, 2, c. 9. P.L. 41, 170).

This answer does indeed appear to concede to the adversary, that the Eucharistic Body of Christ is without the vital motion of its senses.[296]

William of Theodoric at once indignantly rebuked Rupert for this monstrous suggestion: "What you call the Body of the sacrifice, I understand to be that Body and no other which died and rose again: but we do not speak of it as the Body of the sacrifice, we call it what it really is: the Body of the Lord. And you sometimes call what you here call the Body of the sacrifice, the Body of the Lord. But, if you will forgive me for saying so, you draw an inference regarding what you call the Body of the sacrifice, which certainly does not hold of the Body of the Lord. For no one but the fool who hath said in his heart: there is no God will deny that the Body of the Lord, yea in very truth the Lord Jesus IN His own Body, IN THAT VERY BODY IN WHICH HE IS PRESENT BEFORE YOU ON THE ALTAR (which is no other than that which is seated at the right hand of the Father), has MOVEMENT and FEELING and everything which is natural to us, though of another glory" (P.L. 180, 342).[297]

Three centuries later this opinion of Rupert was urged against the presence in the Eucharist of the true Body of Christ by Wycliffe, who, however, attributed the opinion to Ambrose. Thomas of Walden not only proved that it was not the teaching of Ambrose, but that the Saint simply and absolutely rejected it as heretical (Doctrinale, t. 2; De Sacramentis, c. 31 and 47, fols. 52 and 81).

Let us now hear what Raynaud has to say about the opinion of Rupert (loc. cit., n. 21, p. 226) : "Nevertheless the teaching of Rupert seems to be quite true, provided we understand him to speak of life in complete activity (in actu secundo), as we do. For we may not deny to Christ in His Eucharistic life, even sensitive and vegetative life, though without its connatural activity (in actu primo), seeing that this is simply the existence of the soul in the body.... Speaking, therefore, only of that fullest vegetative, sensitive and rational life, such as we can bring into play through acquired images, I admit with Rupert that it is not in Christ in the Eucharist."

Probably it was for this reason that Cardinal Franzelin does not include Raynaud among the supporters of his own teaching (op. cit., p. 378).

Possibly we may bracket with Rupert a theologian and friend of Rupert himself, whom Guibert of Nogent mentions without giving his name, and who held that the death and the crucifixion of Christ is repeated as often as Mass is offered (De pignoribus sanctorum, 1, 2, c. 6, parag. 1. P.L. 156, 645).

Apart, then, from one or two exceptions, all our great Doctors of theology (omnes doctores nostri) taught unanimously that Christ is in no way injured or lowered by the consecration of the sacrament. Call to mind the many Fathers cited above (XIX), particularly St. John Chrysostom and St. Thomas. Call to mind, too, what the Fathers have to say (XVIII) regarding the nonimmolated victim sacrificed without immolation by the priests.

Let us now consider the unimpeachable authority of the Eucharistic Doctor, St. Paschasius Radbertus. It is true that at first sight he sometimes appears to exaggerate our sacrificial action beyond the limit of truth, as when he says: "How is this sacrament called a victim if Christ is not immolated in it? For in the strict sense of the word we do not rightly speak of immolation UNLESS SLAYING OF THE VICTIM accompanies it. Nevertheless the priest is rightly said to immolate in this bread and wine, since therein Christ, so to speak (ut ita fateor), in this oblation, after the manner of (ac si) a victim for our sins, or in the food of our salvation, IS IMMOLATED (victimatur) to God the Father" (Expositio in Matthaeum, 1, 12, c. 26. P.L. 120, 894). But do not the expressions so to speak, after the manner of, so qualify his words as to convey the suggestion of a figure of speech, Paschasius introducing these modifications to indicate that no immolation or victimation is asserted, but one that is merely symbolical? Moreover, other excerpts from his works demand this interpretation. For in his book De corpore et sanguine Domini (c. 4, n. 1. P.L. 120, 1278) he distinctly points out where in the Eucharist there is true reality and where there is figure. The true reality, he says, is found in the actual presence of the Body of Christ; but THE FIGURE is found IN THIS, THAT—while the priest is, according to external appearance, doing (gerente) something else as it were (quasi aliud) in commemoration of the sacred Passion—every day at the altar THE LAMB IS IMMOLATED, a thing which was really done once only (quod semel gestum est).

Therefore the immolation, once only really enacted in the Passion, is each day figuratively re-enacted in the sacrament. Again, in the course of the same work, he definitely says that Christ is immolated in the mystery (that is, in the symbol) of the Passion, that Passion which, enacted once only, must be daily commemorated.[298] Finally, any lingering doubt as to the teaching of Paschasius is removed by a study of the Epistola de corpore et sanguine Domini ad Frudegardum (particularly cols. 1353-1355). In this epistle he makes use of all those expressions of Augustine which bespeak real things, to assert the presence of our Lord, and all that denotes symbolism in the same author, to explain the immolation which we make. Hence it was most unjust for whoever was the author of the Epistola ad Egilem Prumiensem (P.L. 112, 1 5 12). -putatively for some centuries assigned to Rabanus—to accuse Paschasius of teaching the error that Christ suffers as often as Mass is celebrated. Heriger, in the treatise De corpore et sanguine Domini (c. 8, inter opera Silvestri, II. P.L. 139, 187), had no difficulty in defending him from such a charge.[299]

When the Berengarian heresy arose, Guitmund of Aversa in the clearest of terms explained the sense in which at that time the Eucharistic immolation was understood:

"When we say that in the celebration of the Body of the Lord CHRIST IS IMMOLATED, NO ONE MUST INTERPRET THESE WORDS LITERALLY IN A CARNAL SENSE. For Christ, having once died, dieth now no more, death hath no more dominion over him. But when we MAKE THE COMMEMORATION OF HIS PASSION in the celebration of Mass, HIS DEATH FOR US in the past IS SIGNIFIED (De corporis et sanguinis Domini veritate, 1, 2. P.L. 149, 1455).

No less than Guitmund, Alger rejects any notion of lessening of status in the Eucharistic Christ. Commenting on the words of Chrysostom, which at that time were wrongly attributed to Ambrose, he writes: "We must now see why Ambrose, having said a short time before that in Christ there was once offered a victim all powerful for salvation, puts a question which would seem to imply that our daily offering was not true, coming after that true offering made once only, or was superfluous, after that one, all powerful and sufficient for our salvation: What then do we do, do we not offer every day? But it must be plain to us that if OUR DAILY OBLATION WERE OTHER THAN THAT ONCE OFFERED IN CHRIST, IT WOULD NOT BE TRUE, but would be SUPERFLUOUS. For since that oblation once offered in Christ is really true, because truly it is eternal life, and since of itself alone it is sufficient to confer that life on us, if there were another offering, what other life could it promise or confer? For another offering would need to confer another salvation; or, to confer the same salvation which the single oblation of Christ was sufficient to confer, which would be superfluous and vain. Hence as another salvation is an impossibility, THAT OBLATION OF CHRIST ONCE MADE, AND OUR DAILY OBLATION MUST BE THE SAME: SO THAT THIS SAME OFFERING IS NOT SUPERFLUOUS TO ITSELF, but is ever sufficient and ever necessary.... Ambrose, answering as it were his own question, says: we offer, but in commemoration of His death; and there is only one victim, not many, BECAUSE CHRIST WAS OFFERED ONCE ONLY, our sacrifice is the image of His (hoc autem exemplum est illius) : the very same, always the very same.... THERE IN THE REALITY OF THE PASSION IN WHICH HE WAS KILLED FOR US, HERE IN THE FIGURE AND IMITATION OF THAT PASSION, in which Christ does not suffer again really, but the memorial of His actual true[reading 'verae' not 'vere'] Passion is daily repeated for us.... Although the offering of Christ in the past was real, and our daily offering on the altar Is FIGURATIVE, nevertheless here, as well as there, we have absolutely the same grace of our salvation" (De sacramentis corporis et sanguinis Dominici, 1, 1, c. 16. P.L. 180, 786-787).

In the passage, as he clearly uses the word oblation as meaning immolation, or to use the word of Paschasius victimation, he reduces all that we do to Christ to the symbolic, or, as he says, to the figurative immolation: this being perfectly consistent with his own principle already laid down in chapter 12: "We receive the Body of Christ in the sacrament, such as He is in Himself after the Resurrection" (ibid., col. 781).

We may not lightly pass over this clear and emphatic teaching of Alger on the Body and Blood of Christ. Comparing him with his predecessors, Lanfranc and Guitmund, Peter of Cluny, a most competent judge, writes as follows: "The first of these theologians treated of the true reality of the Body and Blood of Christ, hidden under the sacramental veils, well, fully, perfectly; the second, better, more fully, more perfectly; the last, best, most fully, most perfectly; so much so that nothing is left to be desired even by the most exacting student" (Tract. contra Petrobrusianos. P.L. 189, 788). This same sense is conveyed in the words of a theologian who followed immediately after Alger, Hugh of Amiens, Archbishop of Rouen (Contra Haereticos, 1, 1, c. 14. P.L. 192, 1272) : "Made a saving victim for us. ....offered to God the Father on the Cross, He redeemed His faithful from sin. ....and so, seated at the right hand of His Father, He gives Himself on the altar of the Cross through the ministry of priests, WITHOUT SUFFERING ANY DETRIMENT, ANY LESSENING WHATEVER. ....This is the living victim which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself offered to God the Father for us, and commanded us to offer in due manner: Do this, etc., He says."[300]

The Scholastic Doctors who followed did not depart from the principles of Paschasius, Guitmund and Alger. Thus Peter Lombard, their leader: "It is asked: is sacrifice or immolation the proper term for what the priest does, and is Christ immolated each day, or was He immolated once only? Our answer is briefly this: what is offered and consecrated by the priest is called a sacrifice and an oblation, BECAUSE IT IS THE MEMORIAL AND THE REPRESENTATION OF THE HOLY IMMOLATION made on the altar of the Cross. And Christ died on the Cross once, and in Himself He was immolated there; but He is daily immolated in the sacrament, because in the sacrament was made the memorial of what was done once" (Sentent., 1, 4, dist. 12, n. 7. P.L. 192, 866).[301]

Bandinus, more clearly distinguishing the words sacrifice and immolation, gives the same teaching (Sententiarum, lib. 4, dist 12. P.L. 192, 1097) : "This sacrifice is called the immolation of Christ. For Christ IS IMMOLATED DAILY, NOT IN THE ESSENCE OF HIMSELF, because He died once only, and dieth now no more, BUT IN THE SACRAMENTAL REPRESENTATION."

Peter of Poitiers speaks in the same sense (Sententiarum. lib. 5, c. 13. P.L. 211, 1256), but in words of greater vigour and penetration: "We are asked, is what the priest carries out every day on the altar true immolation, and whether Christ is immolated daily, killed every day, and so the one death of Christ is insufficient? To this it must be said that Christ is immolated in the sacrament, and this immolation is called immolation FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THAT IT REPRESENTS THE TRUE IMMOLATION which was once made of Him with hands extended on the Cross. JUST AS A PICTURE represents that of which it is a likeness, and we are accustomed to give to the image the name of that which it portrays, as the image of Achilles is said to be Achilles, so this immolation takes its name from the true immolation which was effected once only."

All these theologians rightly understood what Augustine had to say in his letter to Boniface the bishop: "On this Sunday we say, Christ rose from the dead today, though many years have elapsed since the day of the Resurrection itself. Why is it that no one is so foolish as to say that we are lying when we use this manner of speech? Is it not because we habitually give a name to certain days from their likeness to others in which the events actually took place? We call a day such, though in reality it is not the actual day itself, but such as the other by the revolution of time. Similarly, because of the celebration of the sacrament, we say that on such and such a day something was done, which actually was not done on that day, but took place in the past. Was not Christ immolated in Himself only once in the past, and yet He is immolated in the sacrament for the people, not only every paschal day, but every succeeding day, and certainly a man does not lie, when, on being asked whether Christ is so immolated, he answers: Yes. For if the sacraments did not have a likeness to those things of which they are the sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all, and so quite commonly we name them after those things of which they are an image or similitude" (Ep. 98, n. 9. P.L. 33, 363-364).

It is certainly true that Christ, who once submitted to real immolation, is daily immolated only in a sign or a symbol or a sacrament of immolation. Nevertheless our sacrifice is a true sacrifice, not a fictitious one: for immolation is not the same thing as sacrifice. The sacrifice is the offering of the immolated Flesh. Now the Flesh of Christ was immolated in the Passion, and, living as the Victim of the eternal sacrifice, He is offered by us who do the same thing as Christ Himself did, when He sacramentally at the Last Supper shed the life blood of His Flesh. St. Thomas therefore introduced nothing new, but simply stated the tradition of the Schools, when he said: "But the celebration of this sacrament is an image representative of the Passion of Christ, which is His true immolation. And for this reason the celebration of this sacrament is called the immolation of Christ" (3 S. 83, 1; cf. XIX above). Such is the real tradition of the Church, rejecting in the Mass not only any real blood-shedding in Christ, but any detrition or lessening or lowering of any kind, any change whatever, even bloodless, in Christ, retaining nothing but the symbolical imitation of the past slaying.

To conceive any other immolation or lessening of status in Christ is not only contrary to the teaching of the saints, but in direct opposition to the doctrine of the incorruptibility of Christ, to the divinely revealed prerogative of the Victim, which is subject to one victimation only, but to such a victimation or real immolation as is all-sufficient for atonement, throughout all generations for all time. We have insisted frequently on this principle, which we now repeat: that the necessary intrinsic oneness of the Mass with the sacrifice of the Cross is destroyed if anything is done in the Mass considered in itself, whereby it would subsist as a true sacrifice, even apart from the Cross. Certainly we may say that the Mass is intrinsically and absolutely a sacrifice, but only if we use the words intrinsically and absolutely to exclude every teaching that the Mass is a mere effigy or a mere commemoration of sacrifice, a mere convivial partaking, a mere extrinsic commemoration of sacrifice. But it would not be intrinsically and absolutely a sacrifice without the previous sacrifice of the Passion, whence the Victim which we offer is made available to us. Hence, from this point of view, we must say that the Mass is ESSENTIALLY a relative sacrifice, relative, I say, to the sacrifice of the Cross.[302]

Finally, against the teaching of any lessening or degradation of Christ in the Eucharist, I most firmly hold and confidently assert with Cardinal Billot (whose teaching is otherwise in direct opposition to mine) a principle which we shall establish elsewhere: that not only is no lower state induced in Christ by the transubstantiation, but, furthermore, He cannot be affected by any change whatever, indeed He persists simply and absolutely immutable, not only in substance, but also in everything inherent to Him in any way, which of course includes His dimensions or stature.[303]

But someone may object: one cannot deny that in the sacrament Christ has degraded Himself in a new and unspeakable manner, for He has concealed not only His divinity, but also His humanity, and so has descended to a point beneath the level of His assumed mortality, down even to the condition of a lifeless and irrational thing, corporal food and drink. I reply that all these things are true, but they concern the appearances merely and not the reality; that is, they apply only to the teguments or the species under which Christ is; they do not affect Christ Himself in any way. They are of the same order as the symbolic immolation, of which they are the logical consequence. That is to say, just as Christ is represented to us by means of the species as slain, so consequently by means of the species or appearances He is set before us as food and drink to be corporally partaken of. For Christ, however truly partaken of under the species of food and drink, is not Himself something eatable and drinkable, in the condition of our corporal food and drink, this condition being restricted to the symbolical teguments of Christ, the species. Hence by His presence in the sacrament under the appearances of food and drink Christ is not affected by any real intrinsic condition of immolation, but in appearance only.[304] Hence anyone who would be contented with such a condition of immolation in our Victim, that He is in the condition of food and drink, seeing that this condition is found, not in Christ Himself but in the species, would rightly be considered to err, not now by excess, but by defect, like the other theologians whom we shall consider in the next section. For we are here seeking whence Christ has a real intrinsic victimal condition, not a condition which is extrinsic, and to that extent fictitious, found only in an image of real immolation, in the alien species. And it is just such real immolation that those Doctors, too, arc seeking, with whom we are concerned in this section. Thus they are not satisfied with this explanation either (see Franzelin in the passages considered above), and so assign to Christ a lower intrinsic condition, such as we have been discussing in this section.

It should be remembered, moreover, that the condition of Christ as food for us, follows logically, as we have frequently said, on the condition of Christ as Victim to God, just as the sacred banquet follows from the sacrifice. The sacrifice is presupposed before the banquet, hence the former cannot be formally constituted by the latter.

Indeed it would be quite absurd to suppose that a sacrifice would be formally constituted by the fact that a banquet was prepared for ourselves; since every sacrifice must consist in the giving of something by us to God, not in some favour redeemed by us. The sacred food is as it were returned to us by God, and proposed to us for our consumption, only in so far as it is already presupposed that it has been made sacred to God by the sacrifice. The sacrifice must come first, then our sacrificial food as a consequent. In other words, something is a sacrifice in so far as it is offered to God; but this offering to God is not found in the deputing by us of this something to our use; but it is deputed to our use by God, in so far as it has been offered by us to God and accepted by Him, and God then grants us, as His commensals, a participation of the sacred banquet.

Furthermore, such a notion of sacrifice would make the sacrifice in the Eucharist absolute, of such a nature that it could exist even without the Passion, in flat contradiction to the teaching on the Eucharist which we have so often quoted from the Fathers. Besides, where the Fathers have been cited as favouring the opinion we have just rejected (see Franzelin, ed. 3, p. 298 et seq.) it will be found that they really say nothing but what is (or should be) common to all theologians: namely, (1) that Christ is our food just in so far as He has been (sacramentally) immolated—so the vast majority of those cited; (2) the fact that He is our food implies in Him a real victimal condition, because, had not Christ died for us, He would not be our food in the Mass—so, among others, the Fathers cited in Thesis XX; just as He would not have been food for the Apostles at the Supper—thus Gregory of Nyssa, mentioned in III (Vol. I), thus Ephraem, also quoted above from III to VII (Vol. I). But apart from what we have already said, we shall see that this theory is implicitly refuted in our critical analysis of the teachings to be reviewed in the next two Sections, B and C.

B. Errors By Defect

They err by defect who, avoiding the true and permanent victimal condition of Christ in heaven, restrict to the sacramental appearance or species whatever there is of immolation in the Eucharistic Christ.[305] Thus Vasquez (in 3 S., d. 222, c. 7 and 8, particularly n. 68) apparently thought that the sacramental species, precisely because of their commemorative character, bestow on Christ, whose presence they indicate, a real sacrificial condition; while Cardinal Billot (De Ecclesiae sacramentis, 4, t. 1, pp. 611, 616; cf. pp. 568-572) holds that the species, even apart from their commemorative character, have the power to constitute a true sacrifice and that absolute, because they fittingly represent the internal and invisible dedication of the offerers themselves to the praise and worship of God.

Against the position of these theologians, unless they would be ready to admit (which I greatly doubt) a further element, which we shall indicate later, stands the fact that a sign empty of reality cannot be equated with reality; and so neither a commemoration nor a symbol of sacrifice can be considered a sacrifice when a victim in the true and proper sense, with the true and intrinsic condition of victim, is lacking therein. For all sacrifice consists in the offering of a true victim. There is no true sacrifice, if truth is lacking either in the offering or in the victim. But there is no true victim if the immolation of the subject is only apparent, external and alien, and not proper and intrinsic to that subject. Such a symbol of immolation does not take away the necessity of a real true immolation; on the contrary, it demands it: For take away the reality and the sign is deceptive, as suggesting a condition which does not exist; that is to say, there is not here and now a real condition of immolation of which the sign is given, nor does it come with the giving of the sign, nor after the sign has been given. What, then, have we but a fiction? You pretend there is an immolation, where in reality there is no immolation. You simulate a sacrifice where there is no sacrifice. Whether you make this simulation to commemorate a past reality or not is of no account in view of the deficiency of a present true reality. There is no present true reality, but only a mere ghost of reality.

We now come to consider in particular the teaching of Billot: that the Mass is a true sacrifice because the representative immolation of itself alone suffices as a sign of our own internal immolation, which is proper to sacrifice. This argument, however subtle in conception, is ineffective, since the mere shadow of a sacrificial action cannot convey the aforesaid signification BY WAY OF TRUE SACRIFICE.[306] For in every true sacrifice, as we have already said, two things are to be considered; one is the reality and sign (res et signum), the other the reality only (res tantum). The reality only is our internal immolation. The reality and sign is our giving over to God, by an action apparent to the senses, of a victim either already immolated, or of a victim actually now submitted to immolation, or to be immolated in the future. This external giving is a sign in as much as our internal dedication is denoted by it; it is a true reality in as much as in itself it is a real genuine handing over and dedication of some external gift. If there is no condition of immolation in the external thing offered, there is no sacrifice; for no external thing is either immolated or to be immolated, no matter what latreutic sign may be alleged or may be present. Moreover, as we remarked in reference to our Lord's Supper, there is also something in the Eucharistic sacrifice by way of sign only (signum tantum), the symbol of immolation to be found in the species (which have been given by the consecration the virtue of signifying, separately, the Body and Blood of Christ). But that sign of immolation would be without a corresponding reality, as we said, did not the actual condition of immolation underlie it. (Surely it will never be seriously maintained that what is simply a sign only will at any time bestow on the Body and Blood of Christ, however truly present, the true reality of a thing immolated or changed in any way whatever?) It is absolutely essential, then, for the reality of the sacrifice, that there should be some condition of immolation in the very Body and Blood of Christ intimately bound up with our offering, so that the Flesh of Christ, though not now offered to death, should at least be offered, here and now present, as a Victim to God through His death. We adopted a similar line of argument in our treatment of the Supper in III (Vol. I), though in inverse order. We said then that we must consider Christ in the Supper as offering Himself to His death in Blood, for a sacrifice cannot consist of mere representation. We now say that as Christ is no longer offered to an immolation in the future, hence He must be offered as a victim already immolated.

From all this we infer that we have no right whatever to claim that any kind of external signification of our own internal immolation to God suffices to give the true essence of sacrifice, but only such a signification, with a true state of immolation in the external thing offered, so giving us both the reality and the sign. Hence a thing is not sacrificed from the fact that a sign professedly sacrificial is employed in connection with it; rather the latreutic signification proper to sacrifice arises from and has its foundation in this: that an offering is made of an external thing truly immolated. The implication in the sacrificial sign is that it designates us as given over to God by the medium of a victim. The immolative reality, therefore, is not to be proved by the sign, but, on the contrary, the sign is to be regarded as dependent on the immolative reality, as presupposed and underlying that sign. Hence immolation must exist in its own right and in itself. Whatever attempt we make to explain sacrifice in contravention of this principle will lead us, not to an explanation of sacrifice, but to the fabrication of something quite different, void of the very essence of sacrifice.

Further, this teaching, equally with that of de Lugo, is untenable for another reason. It would make the sacrifice of the Mass absolute, in the sense that it could still exist in its own right, even if there were no sacrifice of the Cross. Hence there would be no intrinsic oneness between our sacrifice and the sacrifice of our Lord.

Finally the admission of this opinion raises a difficulty of no small moment, as it would leave nothing of propitiatory value to the Mass,[307] which (propitiatory value) is to be found in the intrinsic elements of the sacrifice, but at the most, something coming to it from another source, attached to it, as it were, and borrowed from without. In my mind this would be contrary to the teaching of the Fathers,[308] and the universal belief among the faithful: that the Mass has in its intrinsic essence a propitiatory force, not merely one of impetration.

C. Errors By Both Excess And Defect

Some authors steering an unsatisfactory course between the two extremes with which we have dealt meet with all the inconveniences of both. Such are those theologians mentioned by Bellarmine (loc. cit., prop. 8a, parag. Alii volunt), without giving their names, who hold with Lessius (De perfectionibus divinis, 1, 12, c. 13, n. 97), Pasqualigo (De Sacrific. Nov. Leg., q. 43, n. 2, t. 1, p. 44; cf. q. 49, n. 4, p. 54), Gonetus[309] (Manuale Thomistarum, in 3 S., tract. 4, c. 12, parag. 2, n. 11 and 12), Billuart (De almo euchar. sacramen., diss. 8, a. 2, Dico 30), etc., that a sacrifice is implied in the consecration, in as much as the consecration effects here and now a CONDITIONAL slaying of Christ, for, they say, by their inherent power the words of consecration would separate the Body and Blood of Christ, did not something else—the present incorruptibility of Christ—prevent it. These authors, I say, impinge on the rocks both of excess and defect. For in the first place, with de Lugo and his school, they fail to observe that the formal concept of transubstantiation does not imply, indeed it rather excludes any change, and hence any deterioration of Christ.[310] Secondly, since separation of the Body and Blood or killing does not really follow from this, as it were, ineffectual attempt of the consecration, but only would have taken place were it not prevented, the state of victim is not actually induced in Christ, but only would have been induced, were the attempt effective. Hence in this theory, as in the others discussed in Section B above, Christ lacks the true condition of victim; hence there is no true sacrifice, for a true sacrifice necessarily implies a true victim. When the condition for the existence of anything is unreal, what is subject for its existence to that condition must also be unreal.[311] Hence we reject this middle view of Lessius, Billuart and others, which has all the inconveniences of the two extremes, and follow the lines laid down by the early Doctors of the Church. So, it seems to us, we can avoid the reefs on this side and that, while still safeguarding any elements of truth to be found in the other teachings, and even bringing them into clearer relief. With Cardinal Billot we hold that we make no real immolation in Christ; with Cardinal Franzelin, that to be a sacrifice in the true sense our sacrifice must have a really immolated victim.[312] But, meanwhile, we retain the true reality of the sacrifice, by insisting that we have persisting and that there still persists in Christ, from the Lord's own sacrifice, the proper and intrinsic status of a consummated victim; which victim we are authorised and have the power to offer to God, by the consecration, as we have already said.

We have often dwelt on the nature of our offering. It is involved in the symbolical or mystic immolation which Christ first made, and which we renew every day, and consists in the twofold consecration of the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood; so that thereby Christ appears as given over through death to God, in so far as He is clothed with a sacramental separation of the Body and Blood. As we said when speaking of the Last Supper, this mystic separation alone is suited and has the power to constitute a proper active offering of the true immolation in blood, of which it is the image; an offering which is not merely internal or invisible, but external and sensible, not merely verbal, but real or pragmatic. Hence, though we exclude from the Mass, all real immolation, induced here and now in Christ, we strongly maintain a symbolic immolation of Christ. Hence, if anyone should exclude from the Mass, not only real but also mystical immolation, so far would he be from thinking with the Fathers and with us that, we say this without hesitation, his teaching would be repugnant to the truth handed on to us by tradition, and to Catholic sense. The unavoidable defect of such a teaching is that anyone who maintained it could never, however much he tried, safeguard the true and real offering of the Body and Blood of the Lord, and so would be forced to void the whole sacrifice from its very foundation upward. All that would be left for him would be to see a mere vestige of the sacrifice, in that the bread and wine undergoes some kind of immolation, being destroyed in its substance, when subjected to transubstantiation, while that which hung on the Cross could not have in the Mass the status of a true Victim, but only that of an apparent victim, according to the mere external appearances given by the species. But what we seek and what is required in the Mass is a true Victim truly offered, which will ever elude our search, if we look for it outside of the immolation of the Lamb once slain of old, now living, and meanwhile persisting as a Theothyte, true Victim, truly offered to God, and accepted by Him.

The Fruit Of The Legitimate Sacrifice


IN THIS chapter we deal only with the Mass of a priest in peace and full communion with the Church, leaving to the next chapter the consideration of the Mass of a priest either suspended or excommunicated by the Church.


By the Mass here we mean the essence of the sacrifice apart from the accidental variations of rite; that is, the one sacrificial offering of the Body and Blood of Christ. We have already seen (1) that the efficacy of sacrifice, as such, is by way of impetration and propitiation. The impetratory efficacy of the sacrifice belongs to it in so far as it is latreutic and eucharistic, an act of supreme divine worship and thanksgiving; the propitiatory efficacy of the sacrifice belongs to it in so far as it is expiatory, an action which appeases the offended Go (l. Now propitiation essentially implies compensation for wrongdoing, atoning for and remitting the guilt, and paying the penalty. In so far as it atones for the guilt, so as it were restoring the balance of commutative justice, it placates the person injured or offended, and for this reason is called propitiation, in the strictest sense, reconciliation;[313] in so far as it supplies for the penalty, satisfying the claims of vindictive justice, it stays the hand of the judge or avenger, and hence is properly called satisfaction. And since propitiation implies impetration as well as supreme worship, see Th. I (Vol. I) and thanksgiving, for the sake of brevity it suffices to place the fruit of the sacrifice in the propitiatory effect.[314]

When dealing then with the fruit of the Mass, we have nothing to do with the question of merit properly so called of grace and glory, such as must regularly accompany the oblative action as an act informed by charity, as the action of one in such and such a grade of divine charity, or as the work in this sense of such and such a one, or, as we say in our theology, ex opere operantis. This merit will later be increased by the subsequent sacramental communion, and then, too, by the virtue of the sacrament itself, or, as again in our theology we say ex opere operato, through the work done, not by the sacrifice, however,[315] but by the sacrament itself. The only question we ask ourselves is this: to what extent has the Mass itself the power to make propitiation to God for man?

Nor again do we ask: what propitiatory power the Mass may have, precisely as the action of the offerers, and from that point of view alone, considered in so far as it is a human action, and even one performed under the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit; we simply ask ourselves this: what is the atoning power inherent in the Mass itself, by its own virtue, or ex opere operato?

We are now in a position to mark an important distinction between the work done by the sacraments or the opus operatum of the sacraments and the opus operatum of the sacrifice. The sacrifice does not consist in the receipt of a boon from God, but in the offering of a gift to God, whereas in the sacraments we do not offer, but receive. We are active as regards the sacrifice, passive as regards the sacraments. God acts in us in the sacrament; we act towards God in the sacrifice. Hence arises a difference in the fruit coming from each ex opere operato. For the fruit of the sacrament, derived from the beneficent action of the sacrament itself, or ex opere operato, consists in a sanctification effected in us by God; the fruit of the sacrifice, on the other hand, as we have said repeatedly, consists in atonement to God and in reconciliation with Him. This fruit of the sacrifice, though immediately arising from the work done, or ex opere operato, does not of itself imply the immediate infusion in us of grace or other divine gift, or the production of anything whatever by way of efficient causation; but the sacrifice intervenes merely as a moral cause, in so far that, when by way of sacrifice we give praise to God, or offer Him just compensation, THE WAY IS OPENED FOR THE MERCY OF GOD TOWARDS US, either to justify us or to keep us good and make us better. In a word, whatever fruit there be of the sacrifice itself, or ex opere operato, call only consist in this: that in view of our sacrifice, over and above the mere consideration of the intensity of our devotion, God is PREPARED and in a manner BOUND to bestow His mercy on us in a way suitable to our own individual state and condition.[316] Hence the Apostle wrote: He died for our sins (to make propitiation for them), and he arose for our justification (to effect it).

From what we have said it is clear that some recent theologians (V. g. Suarez, disp. 79, sect. 2, n. 6 et seq.) quite unjustly maintain that sacrificial impetration is outside the scope of the sacrificial action as such; as though apart from the propitiation or satisfaction no other fruit is derived from the work done in the Mass, or ex opere operato. For in real truth the Mass works impetration (securing favours by petition) in exactly the same way as it works propitiation (appeasing God). For of itself all sacrifice is a pragmatic impetration, or impetration by way of action, see Th. I (Vol. I). The sacrifice of Christ, therefore, was a pragmatic impetration of unmerited benefits, not indeed for Himself, but for us whom He bore in Himself. Moreover, the sacrificial impetration of Christ (as revealed in His sacerdotal prayer) was effective with God. For by raising Him from the dead God made known that He accepted the offering made by Christ. In other words, at that moment God ratified on His side the contract in virtue of which the Victim of Christ would be efficacious for the end to which it was offered. And now, when we offer under Him Christ's Victim, WE MAKE THIS EFFECTIVE IMPETRATION OF CHRIST OUR OWN; and so it is that, OVER AND ABOVE ANY PRAYER OF OURS, the impetration of our High Priest, now ratified and heard by God because of His reverence, goes up to heaven BY OUR HANDS, and there obtains infallibly for us every good gift impetrated by Christ for us in the past when He laid down His life for us on Calvary. And the sacrificial impetration made by the Mass is said to be effective, by virtue of the work done, or ex opere operato, just in so far as it contains in itself and applies to us that impetration of our Lord—a charter, as it were, sealed by the eternal impress of divine glory. Therefore we have just as much right to say that the Mass, in view of the work done, or ex opere operato, is impetratory, as to say that it is propitiatory ex opere operato, because it makes the intercession of Christ our own in the same way as it makes the propitiation of Christ our own; and, finally, propitiation, no more than impetration, avails of itself to produce in us any positive effect by way of efficient causation.[317]

Hence all that we have to say in speaking of the fruit of the Mass as a work done, or ex opere operato, must be taken as equally true of propitiation and impetration: though, for the reason we have given, for convenience we only speak of propitiation. It now remains for us to answer two questions: the first, how great is this benefit of the Mass; the second, to whom is it beneficial.

The first question then bears on the quantity of the fruit: to what extent does one particular sacrifice of the Mass avail in making amends for sin, or in acquiring other benefits?

The second question centres on the kinds of people who receive the fruit: for whom does the offering of the sacrifice make propitiation?

Regarding the first question, we shall examine how the fruit of the Mass is restricted in general; and we shall find that it is limited by the devotion of the offerers, whoever they are. Later we shall speak of the intervention of various offerers specifically.


From the nature of the Mass, as explained by us, it should already be clear that its value or fruit, though it would be infinite if we merely had to take into consideration the infinite worth of what is offered in the Mass, is limited, nevertheless, by our offering. This fruit is limited primarily by the devotion of the Church offering in common; it is also limited in a secondary manner and cumulatively by the devotion of the individual offerers.

A. The Intervention Of The Offerers Of The Mass In General

In the first place we note that the sacrifice of the Mass avails more to make propitiation to God than does our own oblative action, from its very nature and condition, considered namely in its own intrinsic atoning and impetratory character. For certainly the offering of the sacrifice does not avail to produce this immense fruit merely as the action of these or those men, ex opere operantis, but undoubtedly and above all does it avail in view of what is offered, Christ the Victim of the Passion. Hence we say that the fruit arises from the Mass, ex opere operato, as we have already explained. For though, as we shall see, an act of the offerer is required, still the immensity of the fruit is not by any means just equivalent in value to that act, rather it exceeds it in a wondrous degree: for, what is offered, the Victim of the Passion, of infinite propitiatory power, contributes its own value to the sacrifice. So priceless is the Victim that it can compensate for every crime, and is equivalent in value to every possible gift of God—for being offered once by Christ, in whose active offering we participate, it was ratified and accepted for evermore by God, and accepted as having all the value and worth of the gift and of the giver: Christ our Redeemer. Hence we must say that our sacrifice is in itself infinite in value on the side of that which is offered. If any curtailment of the value to us of the fruit of the Mass does occur it must originate elsewhere than in the precious Victim we offer.

First, then, we ask: is there a limit to the fruit received by us from the Mass? and if so, we ask in the second place: whence does this limitation arise? Is it due to a positive act of the divine will, taxing, so to speak, the value of the Mass, or is it intrinsic to the Mass itself? If there is no positive divine intervention limiting the value for us, what element intrinsic to the Mass has this limiting power?

To the first question, whether the fruit of the Mass offered by these or those of the faithful is limited, all seem to agree that it is. It is true that some theologians mentioned by Suarez (disp. 79, s. 11, n. 1), have been cited as seeming to favour the opposite opinion, that the Mass as offered by these or those of the faithful has infinite efficacy to propitiate God and make satisfaction. No such conclusion, however, can fairly be drawn from the writings of these theologians, as we shall see later in regard to Cajetan in particular. And, indeed, any such view would be out of keeping with the custom of the Church to celebrate a number of Masses in satisfaction for even a single sin (cf. 4 D. 45, q. 2, a. 4, q. 3, ad 2m).

To the second question: whence comes the limitation of the fruit? some have answered that the fruit is limited by a divine decree taxing once and for all, and so lessening the effect of the offering. Suarez (disp. 79, s. 11, n. 5) apparently is in favour of this opinion.[318] This, however, is not only a gratuitous assertion, but has unseemly implications. For God does not grudge His good gifts to anyone, and so it would be inconsistent with the divine wisdom were God Himself to curtail and assign a limit to the value of work done in praise of Him and for our benefit.[319] Hence the limitation of the fruits of the Mass must be imposed by the intrinsic elements of our sacrifice, and we agree with St. Thomas, who teaches (as Suarez himself also testifies, ibid., n. 2) that the actual value to us of the fruit of the sacrifice is not indeed equated, but is proportioned to the fervour of the offerers. The reason is that "in satisfaction the devotion of the offerer is considered rather than the magnitude of the offering" (that is to say, of the thing offered); and so "although this offering[that is to say, the thing offered], in view of its great worth, suffices to satisfy for all penalties, nevertheless it obtains satisfaction for those on whose behalf it is offered, and for the offerers also, according to the intensity of their devotion, and not for the whole penalty" (3 S. 79, 5, c; cf. 4 D. 12, 2, 2, 3).[320] Therefore with very good reason do we pray to God that our sacrifices may be acceptable to God, and pray thus even though the Body and Blood of the Lord is offered in them, even praying that they may be acceptable to Him, just as the sacrifices of the ancients in cattle and the first fruits were acceptable to Him, because of the intense devotion of the offerers, as St. Thomas himself (3 S. 83, 4, 8m and 9m) says.

Scotus is in perfect agreement with this. For in Number XX of his Quodlibeta, making a distinction between the efficacy of the Mass, as the action of the sacrificing priest (ex opere operantis), and the efficacy of the Mass as work done by the sacrifice itself (ex opere operato), which he calls the efficacy or value by virtue of the sacrifice, and assessing the magnitude or the measure of this latter, he asks: "To what merit does the benefit given us by virtue of the sacrifice correspond?" And he replies: "It can be said that it does not correspond precisely to the good contained in the Eucharist, for that good is exactly the same when the Eucharist is reserved in the pyx, and nevertheless it is not of the same efficacy for the Church as when it is offered in the Mass.... Hence, besides the good contained in the Eucharist, THERE IS REQUIRED THE OFFERING of the Eucharist. THIS OFFERING, HOWEVER, IS NOT ACCEPTABLE UNLESS IT IS THAT OF AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERER.... Clearly then, just as the Eucharist is NOT FULLY ACCEPTABLE PRECISELY BY REASON OF WHAT IS CONTAINED THEREIN, but it must be also offered, so, too, the offering is not fully acceptable, except by reason of the GOOD WILL OF SOME OFFERER. Thus Scotus.

It is plain then that the Mass, because of what is really contained and offered in the Eucharist, is far higher in value than the goodness and worth proper to our own oblative action, but nevertheless its value to us is adjusted in due proportion to that goodness and worth, just as the sacraments sanctify us ex opere operato indeed, that is by the virtue of the sacrament itself, but still with a due proportion to our dispositions. The Victim of the Passion is there as an inexhaustible fount of benefit, from which gushes forth propitiation, which each one according to his capacity may take for himself to exhibit to God as his own.

The fruit of the Mass, therefore, is proportioned to and restricted by the devotion of the offerers. Hence we must now see by the devotion of what offerers the value of the Mass is determined and limited, or who are the offerers who so determine the fruit. They are many and diverse. The whole Church, as we have often said and shall at once prove, offers. The priest, the legitimate minister of the Church, offers. Those of the faithful also offer who make contributions to provide for the materials which are consecrated in the sacrifice, and for the sustenance of the priests and others who rightly live by the altar. Finally, the faithful who assist offer the sacrifice. The devotion and fervour of all these contribute to limit and determine the fruit of the Mass, not, however, in the same manner or degree.[321]



B. The Church As Offerer

First let us note that those who assist at a particular Mass might have no devotion, or there might be nobody present; those who have the Mass offered and even the celebrant may have no devotion (consider especially, for instance, the case where the priest offers in the state of sin, and the requisites for the sacrifice are provided by himself, not by others) : even in such an extreme case there still remains the devotion of the Church which holds the chief place in the offering of Mass and wins without fail acceptance for the offering of the victim.[322] For properly we are said to present to God the Victim of the Body and Blood of Christ, only in so far as, since we are members of His body, when we offer, our Lord incorporates His own offering with ours, or, in other words, were we not united with our Head we could not place His gift before God as our own. But he who offers as a member of the body of Christ does not offer a Victim as exclusively his own, but the common Victim of the whole body of the Church. Hence it is that no sacrifice is ever presented to God except on the part of the whole Church. There is never then such a thing as a private sacrifice of the priest, it is always the public sacrifice of the Church of whom the priest is the lawfully designated minister (Trent. sess. 22, c. 6, D. 944); so that the Pasch of our salvation is "to be immolated BY THE CHURCH through priests" (ibid., c. 1, D. 938).

You might perhaps object: on the one hand, the priest does not consecrate. as deputy of the Church, but as deputy of God; on the other hand, the consecration and the offering are not two actions, but one, because the consecration is truly oblative, and the offering consecrative, so much so that, should anyone wish to consecrate, and ABSOLUTELY refuse to offer sacrifice, he would effect nothing,[323]—having no intention of doing what the Church does and what was instituted by Christ.[324] Hence it would seem to follow that as the priest does not consecrate as deputy of the Church so neither does he offer as deputy of the Church and so the Church does not offer through the priest. To this objection we answer that, although the consecration and the offering are one action of the priest, nevertheless they are in concept two actions (Suarez, disp. 76, sect. 3, n. 7), for, if God had so willed, He could have instituted the consecration as non-oblative, and the offering as non-consecrative. Hence it is that this one action may be spoken of in two ways, corresponding to its twofold aspect or relation, both as to its origination and its results: by the consecration God changes the bread into the Body of Christ, by the offering men (the Church) present the Body of Christ to God as Victim.[325] And thus the priest consecrates in the name and in the power of the omnipotent God; yet he makes the offering in his own name and in the name of all the faithful. He consecrates as the minister of God, but he offers as the deputy of the Church, as William of Paris says: "The cause of the whole Church is pleaded in the Mass, namely, before God the Father, by the priest as her deputy" (De Sacram. Euchar., c. 2, t. 1, p. 435). Thus we see how it is that the Church truly offers through the priest, as William of Paris says in another place: "The priest at the altar acts as minister and agent of the affairs of another, that is to say, of the affairs of the Church herself; he also assumes the person and the voice or words of the Church: But IT IS THE ONE IN WHOSE NAME THE BUSINESS [of the Mass] IS CARRIED OUT THAT REALLY TRANSACTS THAT BUSINESS (ille autem agit negotium, cujus nomine agitur) " (.De Sacram Ordinis, c. 5, t. 1, p. 538).

Hardly any of the early writers who expounded the Mass have failed to insist on this. Thus Remigius of Auxerre (De divinis officiis. P.L. 101, 1258) : "We must consider in the light of faith (fideliter considerandum) that the whole Church offers this sacrifice of praise to God." But among them all St. Peter Damian gives perhaps the clearest and fullest exposition of this doctrine. The following quotation will suffice: "Hence when we celebrate Mass we address these words to the Lord: Remember, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids, and then a little later: For whom we offer, or who offer up to thee, this sacrifice of praise. In these words it is plainly indicated that THIS SACRIFICE OF PRAISE IS OFFERED UP BY ALL THE FAITHFUL, NOT ONLY MEN BUT ALSO WOMEN, though it is seen to be offered in a special manner by one man, the priest; because the whole multitude of the faithful, with the intense devotion of their minds, commits to him what he holds in his hands, to offer it up to God. The same thing is affirmed also in the words: this oblation therefore of our service, and of thy whole family, we beseech thee to accept. In the light of these words it is very clear that the sacrifice offered by the priest on the holy altar, IS OFFERED IN GENERAL BY THE WHOLE FAMILY OF GOD (Liber qui appellatur Dominus vobiscum, c. 8. P.L. 145, 237-238).

All this is still more evident in the words "We offer to thee, together with thy servant our Pope and our bishop, AND WITH ALL ORTHODOX BELIEVERS OF THE CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC FAITH."

As far as this common and general offering is concerned the whole Church is sacerdotal, a kingly priesthood (I Pet. II, 9), that is to say, all of us whom Christ hath made a kingdom and priests to God (Apoc., I, 6 and V, 10). For the baptismal character is a participation in the sacerdotal power wherewith Christ dedicated Himself as a Victim to God; and each one of the faithful, united to Christ in the Church, has at least the habitual desire of being conformed to Christ in offering to God the unique Victim of our salvation; outside of whose adoration of God no fount of propitiation flows for us.[326] It is for this reason that we pray as follows in one of the secret prayers of the Mass: "We beseech thee, O Lord, that the soul of thy handmaid may be liberated from every sin, BY THESE SACRIFICES WITHOUT WHICH NO ONE IS FREE FROM BLAME". (Missale Romanum 6, pro una defuncta among the orationes diversa pro defunctis). Hence again let us quote Remigius of Auxerre speaking of the relation of the offering of all the faithful to that of the priest: "For what is fulfilled by the ministry of priests in their proper office is done in general by the faith and by the devotion of all." And Innocent III: "It is not only the priests who offer, each one of the faithful offers also. For what is accomplished by the ministry of priests in their special office is done in general by the desire and intention (votum) of the faithful" (De Sacr. alt. myst., 1, 3, c. 6. P.L. 217, 845).[327] One must not think, however, that this desire or intention (votum) of the faithful implies that their common offering is merely internal, in which case it would not even be the beginning of a true sacrifice, properly so called. On the contrary, the proper offering of the faithful is external or outward by a double title: in the first place, and fundamentally (principaliter), by reason of the public initiation made in baptism, whereby each one of the faithful is ordained to offer the sacrifice of the Church by the ministry of priests; and by reason of the sacerdotal ordination whereby every priest is publicly deputed to present the sacrifice on behalf of all the faithful; secondly, by reason of the liturgical formulae of the Mass which give open expression to this community of offering. By the aforesaid desire or intention, which is perfect when made with charity, imperfect when made in faith not informed by charity, every one of the faithful consents to this office and duty of his; and this common desire or consent simply ratifies what is essentially implied in the public profession of Christian worship. The internal desire adds nothing to the public profession, except to render it sincere; just as the intention of the minister conferring the sacraments gives to the external rite sincerity, without which the external rite lacks efficacy. Hence, in accordance with this desire or intention, the faithful are truly offerers of every sacrifice.

The intervention of the whole Church can be proved in another way. Invisible sacrifice in general is shown or indicated by visible sacrifice, hence by the Victim of the Body of Christ is designated the invisible offering of the members of Christ on earth, that is, of the Church militant (to whom it belongs still actually to offer the sacrifice). For just as the whole Church body is the true reality of which the sacrament of the Eucharist is the external symbol or sign, so the offering or the dedication to God of the same body of the Church is the true reality of which the sacrifice of the Eucharist is the external symbol. But only the whole Church is competent to offer the whole Church to God. Hence there will not be a true and sincere sacrifice, unless the Church offers and dedicates herself, her whole self, in it. Every sacrificial activity, therefore, must be in the name and on behalf of the whole Church.[328] St. Augustine teaches this truth in many passages (see XIX), to which we add here a passage from a letter Ad Paulinum (Ep. 149, c. 16), where he explains the word proseuxaj (prayers) of the Apostle (I Tim., II, 1) as referring to the Canon of the Mass: "This word has a proper and special reference to the prayer which we make in pursuance of our vow (proj euxhn). Everything that is offered to God, particularly the OFFERING OF THE HOLY MASS, is vowed or dedicated to God. IN THIS SACRAMENT THAT GREATEST DEDICATION OF OURS IS PROCLAIMED, IN WHICH WE DEDICATE OURSELVES TO REMAIN IN CHRIST, THAT IS (utique), WITHIN THE STRUCTURE (compage) OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. The sacrament or symbol of this underlying reality is that we, though many, are one bread, one body."

For this reason, even though the devotion of any particular person or persons be lacking, there always remains in each one of our sacrifices the general devotion of the whole Church, by which the offering of the sacrifice is always commended, and its acceptability safeguarded. Indeed the influence of this general devotion on the offering, as it is more universal, so is it paramount; for all other offerers (as ministers or assistants) are regarded as organs or members of the whole Church. Thus it is that even the sacrifice of the most abandoned priest is acceptable with God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church, espoused to whom the spotless Church offers a spotless Victim, the Body of her Head (the Church), and the Head of her body (Christ Himself). Irenaeus seems to have had this in mind when he wrote: "It is not sacrifices that sanctify man. ....but the conscience, when it is pure, of him who offers, that sanctifies the sacrifice, and makes it acceptable to God as from a friend. The sinner, says the Lord, who slays an ox to me in sacrifice is as one who brains a dog (Isa., LXVI, 3). Therefore SINCE THE CHURCH OFFERS IN SINCERITY, HER GIFT IS JUSTLY REGARDED AS A PURE SACRIFICE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD (Adv. Haeres., 4, 18, 3-4. P.G. 7, 1026). Hence, too, Scotus, having excluded from the Mass any repeated offering on the part of our Lord, very rightly added: "So then it is clear that as the offering of the Eucharist is not acceptable by reason of the good will of Christ immediately offering it, it is acceptable by reason of the good will of the whole Church, the merit of which is finite" (loc cit.).[329] Thus, therefore, every Mass, as it is offered on the part of the Church, is actively propitiatory, ex opere operato, its fruit, however, having a due proportion to the habitual devotion of the Catholic Church at the moment of offering.

The habitual devotion of the Church is susceptible of increase and decrease. It will never wholly disappear, for the Spirit of sanctity which the Church has received will abide with her forever; but at one time it may be greater, at another time less. The greater it is the more acceptable will be the offering of the Church, and the fruit of the sacrifice ex opere operato will increase with the increasing sanctity and, as William of Paris (De sacramento ordinis, c. 5, t. 1, p. 535) says, "graciousness or charm" (gratiositate) of the Church in the sight of God.[330] It is then of the greatest importance that there should be in the Church many holy, many very holy persons. Devout people, men and women, should be urged by every means to higher sanctity, so that through them the value of our Masses may be increased, and the tireless voice of the Blood of Christ crying from the earth may ring with greater clearness and insistency in the ears of God. His Blood cries on the altars of the Church, but since it cries through us, since our lips and hearts are its organs of expression, it follows that the warmer the heart, the purer the lips, the more clearly will its cry be heard at the throne of God. Would you wish to know why for many years after the first Pentecost the Gospel was so marvellously propagated; why there was so much sanctity among the Christian people; why such purity in heart and mind, such charity, the sum itself of all perfections? You will find the answer when you recall, that in these times the Mother of God was still on earth giving her precious aid in all the Masses celebrated by the Church; and you will cease to wonder that never since has there been such expansion of Christianity, and such spiritual progress. For, apart from the first grace, which in respect of the Church corresponded to the descent of the Holy Spirit, all other graces have, so to speak, to be purchased from God through its aid. These graces the Church earned then; these graces the Church earns now—in a smaller measure indeed, yet always in a measure worthy of God and sufficient for the elect. Its daily increase in worth and efficiency should be our earnest endeavour.[331] May the offering of the Church, by increase in sanctity of her members, every day increase in worth and efficacy!


The Apostles could not Offer the Sacrifice before the Day of Pentecost.

The necessary intervention of the Church as offerer suggests, moreover, that the Apostles could not offer the sacrifice before the day of Pentecost.[332] For on earth Christ did indeed found the Church as far as its institution went, and the conferring on it of doctrinal, disciplinary and sacramental power, a power, however, only to be exercised, when by the descent of the Holy Ghost the Church became a living organism. And she does not live or exist in full perfection, except as animated by the Holy Spirit which descended upon her at Pentecost, and remains with her ever thenceforward as the spirit and the soul and, so to speak, the very heart of the Church (3. S. 8, 1, 3m). The social body or the society of the faithful was indeed formed before the day of Pentecost, but as it were an inanimate body, as its faith was still incomplete, as was plainly seen in the case of all the Apostles after the Passion, and in the case of St. Thomas even after the Lord manifested Himself to the other Apostles and had given the power to forgive sins.[333] Especially was there lacking a true understanding of what was to be believed, as is shown by the question put to our Lord just before His Ascension, whether He was now going to restore the kingdom of Israel? (Acts, I, 6). But eventually on the day of Pentecost the Church was to receive the Spirit of truth, sanctity and fortitude. Then the Lord, as it were breathing into her face the breath of life, that is, of indefectible faith, hope and charity, the ecclesiastical body of Christ stood forth, made one living organism by the internal power of the Holy Spirit. Thence onward it was in the power of every priest to offer the sacrifice on behalf of the now fully constituted Church, and so offer validly (because, as we have said, no consecration is valid unless the offering is on behalf of the whole Church) on behalf of the Church sanctified, and so fruitfully (for only a member or organ of the Church can, by his own devotion, affect or modify the value to the faithful of the offering of the Eucharist). The power of the priesthood was given at the Supper, as we have already indicated, but it was conferred then for now, that is, for the time when the Victim, now having been received into heaven by God, and the Church on earth having received life from God, nothing of those things required was further wanting for the fulfilment of the Mystery instituted by Christ, either on the side of the Victim or the Church; both of these—what is offered, and the offerer—being perfected. The sacerdotal character was undoubtedly impressed at the Supper; but just as there can be no consecration of the Body of Christ after the final resurrection of us all, though the sacerdotal character will still remain, because by the institution of Christ such consecration was to be made only until the coming of Christ at the last day; so neither could the consecration be made before the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; because by the institution of Christ such consecration was only to be made in the kingdom of God.[334] Hence one may judge what there is of truth or falsehood in these words of Nicholas Cabasilas: "He Himself said: This is my body: this is my blood. He also commanded the Apostles, and through them the whole Church, to do this: Do this, He said, in remembrance of me. But He would not command them to do it were He not going to give them the power with which they could do it. What is the power? The Holy Spirit, the power which, coming down from on high, armed the Apostles with that power as the Lord had told them: Stay you here in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high" (Liturgiae Expositio, c. 28. P.G. 150, 425-428). If by the word power (dunamin) Cabasilas meant the sacrificial power of order, he would be teaching that that was not conferred in the Supper, and would be in error, his teaching then being liable to the condemnation of the Council of Trent (sess. 22, canon. 2 D., 949) promulgated after he wrote; if, however, he only meant that there could be no exercise of the power of order already conferred before the descent of the Holy Spirit, empowering them, fully equipping them by its power (dunamin) to say Mass, he would say nothing contrary to Catholic faith. And indeed, long before Cabasilas, Paschasius Radbertus had taught the same in a full Catholic sense. FROM THE TIME WHEN THE HOLY APOSTLES WERE MADE NEW BY THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM HEAVEN, and were inebriated by the wine of charity, FROM THAT TIME WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THIS CHALICE WAS CONSECRATED IN THE CHURCH, because that Spirit of truth in whom from what was old they were made new, had led them into all truth, and had confirmed them in the perfect plenitude of doctrine. And so in the Church (ubi) now (after the descent of the Holy Spirit—jam), just as it was consecrated by Christ, so TOO IT IS CONSECRATED BY THEM, AND THENCEFORWARD IT IS CONSECRATED IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT (Lib. de corp. et sang. Dmni., 21, 2. P.L. 120, 1335).[335]

We have already seen in Th. XII (Vol. I) how, before Paschasius, Bede declared that the sacrifice of our Lord was only finally consummated on the day of Pentecost. Even earlier Chrysostom had laid down principles from which the conclusion of Cabasilas (interpreted in a Catholic sense) might be inferred.[336] For Chrysostom, having proved from various sources that the Holy Spirit, having once descended on the Apostles, abides in the Church, draws a final argument from the sacrifice of the Eucharist (De S. Pentecoste, hom. 1, n. 4. P.G. 49, 458-459) : "The priest does not take into his hands the proposed gifts until he has prayed to the Lord for grace for you, and you have answered: And with thy Spirit; by which answer you recall to memory that the man standing at the altar supplies nothing, that it is not by human nature that the proposed gifts are made propitious, but that the grace of the Holy Spirit, present and hovering over all those who fulfil the priestly office. ....consecrates the mystic sacrifice.... UNLESS THE SPIRIT WERE PRESENT, THE CHURCH WOULD NOT EXIST: but if THE CHURCH DOES EXIST, THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE SPIRIT IS PRESENT. Further on (n. 6, col. 64) : We show that the Holy Spirit is present, from the remission of sins. ....from the ordinations, from the mystic sacrifice." Hence, arguing from the principles laid down by Chrysostom, if the Eucharistic Sacrifice presupposes that the Holy Spirit, sent from God, has persevered with us, plainly we could not offer that sacrifice before Pentecost; at which time the Church did not yet "exist". Hence we are not surprised to find St. Thomas (in the second nocturn of the office for Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi) telling us that the solemnity has been assigned to Thursday after the Octave of Pentecost, "so that the institution of the Eucharist may be recalled by us especially at the time when the Holy Spirit instructed the hearts of the disciples in the fuller knowledge of the mysteries of this sacrament. For it was at the same time, too, that this sacrament began to be solemnised by the faithful."

That the sacrifice was not offered by the Apostles before the day of Pentecost, is the argument of Theophile Raynaud, S.J., throughout his whole treatise, De prima missa et praerogativis christianae Pentecostes (Opera omnia, t. 6, pp. 523-622). Very recently Dom. Cagin (Eucharistia, p. 70), having proved the same thing to his own satisfaction from the epicleses of the earlier Liturgies, goes on to say: "The sacramental action of the Apostles only began with the descent of the Holy Spirit. The foundations of the Redemption, of the new sacrifice, of sanctification, had been laid on the day of the Passion.... It was for the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit to ratify and confirm their accomplishment, to signify their ratification, at the same time as their dispensation was inaugurated" (cf. P. 208 also). These words appear to me to contain the kernel of the ancient dogma (cf. what we have said above, Th. XII in Vol. I).



C. Special Offerers

(A) The Priest As Offerer

From what we have already said it should be plain how a Mass is good even when said by a bad priest; nevertheless it will be better if the priest himself is good, and better in proportion to the devotion of the celebrant.

For it must be remembered that the priest is a member of the Church; and hence his devotion augments the total devotion of the whole Church. Moreover, he is not an ordinary member, but just as his dignity is the highest, so, too, and indeed particularly in the matter of the offering of the Eucharist, his union with her is closest and most intimate. For in this matter he is the chosen organ of the Church; in him alone is the power to effect by his action the symbolic immolation in which the general public offering is made; on this title the sacrifice is imputed to him especially, over and above the other individual members of the faithful (as man's sight though belonging to the whole man is assigned especially to his eye). We must consider the celebrant, then, as contributing far and away beyond the rest to the increase in value of this his sacrifice; but, nevertheless, the whole body is more potent than the individual member, and the body, indefectibly holy, more potent than the corrupt member: so that the Church may still obtain propitiation for herself by the agency of her minister, no matter how greatly he personally provokes the anger of God.[337] The unworthiness or the malice of the minister does not take anything away from the efficacy or the fruit corresponding to the general devotion of the Church, as has been said, although the present sanctity of the minister does add to it.

Hence it is that the two statements hereunder are perfectly compatible one with the other. The first, the common opinion of all Catholics,[338] that the sacrifice is not made corrupt or void by the badness of the priest,[339] because "this is the clean sacrifice which cannot be defiled by the unworthiness or the malice of the offerers" (Trid., sess. 22, c. 1, D. 934); the second: "the holier priests are, the more beneficial to the faithful are their sacrifices," by which words Suarez (disp. 79, s. 8, n. 10), though opposed to us in the point at issue (Thesis XXV), rightly interprets[340] the chapter Ipsi sacerdotes (Decret. 2, 1, q. 1, c. 91) from the second Epistle of the pseudo-Alexander (P.G. 5, 1069),[341] where we read: "The priests themselves make intercession for the people, and they eat up the sins of the people, because by their prayers and offerings they destroy and consume them. The more worthy they are, the more readily are they heard for the need of those for whom they supplicate."

Here, however, we must note carefully that, however great the sanctity of the celebrant may be, it does not affect in any way the propitiatory value of the Victim considered in itself, the efficacy of which Victim to propitiate is, as we have said, infinite. The homily of St. Chrysostom, which is often quoted against us by our adversaries, simply expresses this truth: "I wish to add something really stupendous; but do not wonder or be perturbed. What is this? Whoever the offerer is, be he Peter or Paul, the offering is the same; WHAT CHRIST GAVE TO THE DISCIPLES and what the priests now consecrate (faciunt) is the same; this is no less than that, for it is not men who sanctify this, but HE HIMSELF WHO ALSO SANCTIFIED THAT. For just as the words which God spoke are the same which the priest now utters, so is this offering the same, just as also is the baptism which He gave.…. This, therefore, is the Body of Christ as well as that: he who thinks that this is less than that does not know that Christ is present and offering now also" (In II Tim., hom. 2, n. 4. P.G. 62, 612).[342] Here, evidently, the word offering prosfora) refers not to the active but to the passive sacrifice, the thing offered, or the actual Victim, because it is said to be the same as that which was consecrated and distributed by Christ to the disciples at the Supper.[343] In other words, what is consecrated has not only the same personal worth but the same propitiatory value, no matter who consecrates.[344] But from this it does not follow that the active offering of the same Body and Blood of Christ is of the same efficacy, no matter who offers.

Nor again is this Victim affected by the sanctity (and much less by the badness) of the celebrant, in so far as it is a sacrament, considered in reference to those who partake of it. This is still more evident, seeing that he who communicates is not made thereby a direct partaker of the sacrificial offering, but of the Victim offered in sacrifice, the very Victim of the Passion, sacred to God forever and sanctifying men." It is not men who sanctify this, but He Himself who sanctified that" when He said of old: This is my body, when He also prayed: For them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. Hence Nicholas Cabasilas, after discoursing at length in the same sense as Chrysostom above, very beautifully concludes the argument as follows: "These gifts sanctify all the faithful, and at all times, for, they are always acceptable to God" (Pantaj touj pistouj agiazei tauta ta dwra, kai pantote, pantote onta dekta tw qew) (Liturgiae Expositio, c. 46. P.G. 150, 469).[345] If these preliminary remarks are kept well in mind, it will be found that St. Thomas is not against us in 3 S. 82, art. 6, and ad. 1m, where he strictly limits the equality of a Mass said by a bad priest and one said by a good priest to the actual sacrament which is consecrated in the Mass. It must indeed be admitted that previously (4 D. 13, 1, 1, 5) he contrasted "that which is essential[in the Mass], namely, the Body of Christ", and that which "is annexed to the sacrament, as it were secondary", namely, our oblative action, ascribing no "efficacy ex opere operato" except to the former member (" the Body of Christ", the " sacrament "). Hence possibly some one might urge against us: therefore, according to St. Thomas, the Mass of a good priest and the Mass of a bad priest, as far as their efficacy ex opere operato goes, have the same value. Such a literal interpretation of St. Thomas would, however, result in a denial of all propitiatory value in the sacrifice itself as a work done, or ex opere operato; for the sacrifice, as St. Thomas himself agrees (3 S. 79, 5, c and 7, 3m), is not what is offered ("the Body of Christ", "the sacrament"), but the offering of it (our oblative action).

This interpretation we must reject, as it would be contrary to the teaching not only of St. Thomas himself, but also of all Catholics who today profess that there is a propitiatory value in the sacrifice of the Mass, ex opere operato. The fact is, that since St. Thomas' time the terminology has changed, not the teaching. St. Thomas and the writers of that time were not accustomed to the use of the term ex opere operato in reference to the value of the act of offering, but only in reference to the Victim offered which is infinite and always the same. Scotus, too, used similar language. Indeed all these earlier writers assigned the virtue of the offering to the virtue of the prayer, that is, the sacrificial prayer. This was quite reasonable, because intrinsically all sacrifice is impetrative, it is really pragmatic prayer, and our own sacrifice is enacted by certain words of Eucharistic prayer. Later on, the expression opus operatum or work done, first used for the work done by the sacrament, was then transferred to the work done by the ritual offering of it, and appropriately, too, by analogy. For just as the sacrament in itself (ex opere operato) has effects incomparably excelling any effect which could be due to the devotion of the individual receiving it (ex opere operantis), so, too, the fruit of the sacrificial offering incomparably excels the devotion of the individual who offers, and even the devotion of the Church offering as a body, since that which is offered, the Victim in the sacrament, affects by its own worth the value of the active offering of it.[346] Our interpretation of St. Thomas has the powerful support of the Father of the Salamanca school, Francis a Victoria, "a theologian of the highest rank" (Hurter), in the Summa sacramentorum Ecclesiae, published under the supervision and care of Thomas a Chaves: "The question is asked; is the Mass of a bad priest as beneficial to others as the Mass of a good priest? St. Thomas says that in the Mass two things are to be considered—the sacrament itself, and the prayers which are to be said in the Mass and THE OFFERING OF THE SACRIFICE." Having first stated that in each case the sacrament is equal, the author continues: "AS FAR AS THE PRAYERS AND THE ACTUAL OFFERING ARE CONSIDERED, the better the priest the more acceptable will the offering be: for a good priest more readily and more often and more fully receives an answer to his prayer than a bad priest" (Antwerp, 1594, fols. 47-48).

Indeed the teaching of St. Thomas on this matter appears to me to be the same as that indicated by Scotus in two contrasted statements: "The Mass of the better priest will be better, and nevertheless in both cases the sacrament is equal" (4 D. 13, q. 2, ad 3m, n. 19). For as far as propitiation is concerned, "God has not, IN RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE, to give to anyone in the Church, nor to the whole Church, the same compensation for one Mass[of a bad priest] and for the other[of a good priest] " (ibid.).

The reason he gives is that we must not consider the Mass in so far as it is propitiatory in the abstract, as satisfying its definition, in that it is the offering of the Eucharist, but we must consider it in the concrete, where the mode or manner in which it proceeds from the offerer is taken into account. It does not proceed in the same way from the living member as from the dead member.[347]

The elucidation of this point was of the highest importance in the controversy with the Protestants, as appears from the Antididagma of the Canons of Cologne, against the renegade Archbishop Hermann, where we read: "Another calumny of the heretics against the Church. Many make difficulties for themselves AT THE PRESENT TIME, and even dare to assert that hitherto the Church taught that the sacrifice of a priest was fruitful ex opere operato before God, without any good motion on the part of the person who offers. They also call the work of the priest, in the Mass, whatever be its character, apart from any consideration of the thoughts in his mind, opus operatum (the work done). Here again great injury and harm is inflicted on the Church of Christ. For Innocent III in 1, 3, De sacro altaris mysterio, AND ALL SCHOLASTIC THEOLOGIANS HERE UNDERSTAND BY OPUS OPERATUM (the work done) THE SACRIFICE OF THE ALTAR, not the outward actions of the priest, but THE WORK OF GOD IN THE CONSECRATION and sanctification OF THE SACRAMENT, which depends on the power of Christ, not on the merits of the priest.... They say that this, being the work of God alone and Christ, NOT CONSISTING IN THE OFFERING, but in the consecration and sanctification of the sacrament, is always pure and holy" (fol. LXXI b).

Galenus Vestcapellius in like manner censures contemporary writers who held the opposite teaching, distinguishing in the following argument the twofold effect of the consecration. In the first place: "that by which Christ becomes present for us, which is the sacrament; we profess with mother Church, with her victorious leaders and heralds, John Chrysostom and Nicholas Cabasilas, that neither the badness, nor even the goodness of her minister, has any influence on this effect." Secondly: "that which is proper to the sacrifice and given to others (present or absent, living or dead), by the imparting to them of the virtue and the grace of the Cross of Christ". "Will anyone dare assert that this effect is the one and the same, or equal, no matter who the minister is?" (De sacrificio missae commentarius, c. 19, p. 242).[348]

Among later theologians we may not pass over Henriquez and Fagundez of the Society of Jesus. Henriquez says: "The fruit of satisfaction which is imparted ex opere operato to another person in the state of grace, on whose behalf the sacrifice of the Mass is offered, is more abundant ex opere operato in proportion to the devotion of the offerer" (Summa theologiae moralis, 1, 1, De sacramentis in genere, c. 14, n. 4). And again: "The offering of the Mass consists in an action, and the merit of the suppliant consists in his vital and free action, hence both fruits of the Mass[of propitiation and impetration] increase ex opere operato for another person in the state of grace, according to the better disposition and devotion of the offerer; just as the effect of baptism increases ex opere operato with the better disposition of the recipient adult.... Hence we must seek out good priests, to treat the holy things in a holy manner, so that by the greater devotion of their offering they may apply to others, whole and entire, a more abundant fruit of the Mass", etc. (ibid., 1, 9, de missa, c. 18, n. 5). Fagundez speaks similarly: "Everything considered, therefore, the Mass of a good priest avails more than the Mass of a bad priest. ....: because from his side, in so far as he is a public minister of the Church, the fruit increases accidentally ex opere operato" (Tractatus in quinque Ecclesiae praecepta. Primum Ecclesiae praeceptum, 1, 3, c. 6, n. 22).

Outside the Society, Zacharias Pasqualigo (De sacrificio novae legis, q. 102, n. 6 and q. 103, n. 5, Rome, 1707, tom. 1, pp. 103 and 104) undertook ex professo the defence of the following thesis: "It must be said that the substantial fruit of the Mass increases accidentally ex opere operato with the greater DEVOTION [that is, actual devotion] of the celebrating priest." And again: "It must be said that the fruit of the Mass ex opere operato, both of propitiation and of satisfaction and impetration, increases accidentally in proportion to the greater SANCTITY [that is, habitual sanctity through habitual grace, sanctifying grace] of the celebrating priest." Since then the priest, though in a degree subordinate to the general influence of the Church, plays a very large part in determining the measure of the fruit of the sacrifice, is it any wonder that practically all through the Mass he is praying to God for the grace to be worthy to offer an acceptable sacrifice to Him?[349]

(B) The Person Who Gives A Stipend As Offerer

Besides the priest, as such, that is, the public minister of the Church in the sacrificial action, those also intervene as offerers, on whose part in a special way the sacrifice is offered through the priest, in as much as they have furnished the Eucharistic table with the material requisites for the sacrifice of the Church.

For the Mass is not only the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, but also that sacrifice offered under the Melchisedechian appearances of bread and wine; and although the appearances do not enter into that which is really offered, they unquestionably enter into the offering of it. Because it is only by the mediation of the complexus of the sensible elements, wherein the symbolic immolation is effected, that the sacrifice of the Victim of the Lord can be made ours; and this complexus includes not only the words proceeding from the priest, but the species or the appearances drawn from the bread and wine.[350] In view of this element the sacrament undoubtedly belongs to those whose gifts, presents, sacrifices (sacrificia-that is, the material elements for the sacrifice), are to be consecrated by the priest; for on the one hand, as the unknown author of the Quaestiones Veteris et Novi Testamenti (c. 46. P.L. 35, 2246) rightly says-: "that person is always said to offer, whose oblations the priest places upon the altar. ....for the offering is imputed to him whose gifts are offered"; and, on the other, these gifts are entrusted to the priest simply and solely "in order that they may serve the purpose for which they were offered" (Walafr. Strabo, De ecclesiasticarum rerum exordiis et incrementis, c. 22. P.L. 114, 948), namely, that they may be changed into the Flesh and Blood of the Victim, and that their outward guise may serve for the carrying out of the symbolic immolation.[351] There is, moreover, the divine appointment that they who serve the altar shall live by the altar (II Cor., IX, 13-14). It is fitting, therefore, that the one who presents the sacrifice to God should receive sustenance from the offerings of him who provided the materials for the sacrifice. Hence in the eyes of God one will not be considered to have prepared the Eucharistic table, unless he has provided sufficient, not only that the sacrament may be duly consecrated, but also that those may be given sustenance to whom it is due from the altar.[352]

In our time, persons who give what is termed an adequate alms or stipend for a mass do this, the stipend corresponding to the gifts offered of old.[353] That those who give alms, gifts or stipends in this way, are in their own manner true offerers of the sacrifice, is attested by the Fathers, Councils and Liturgies.

Turning first to the Fathers, and omitting two passages from Tertullian (De exhort. Cast., 11, and De Monogamia, 10. P.L. 2, 926-927 and 942) sufficiently dealt with already (XVIII), we find Cyprian rebuking as follows a woman who through avarice desists from giving her offering: "You are rich and affluent and think that you are celebrating the mystery of the Lord. come to it without a sacrifice of your own, and take your share OF THE SACRIFICE WHICH ONE WHO IS POOR HAS OFFERED " (De opere et eleemosyn., c. 15. P.L. 4, 612-613). She took a part of the sacrifice, that is to say, she went to communion at it. But the sacrifice, a part of which she took, had been provided for by the gift offered at the hands of a poor person. So this poor person was looked upon as the one who offered the sacrifice.[354] Caesarius of Arles, urging the faithful to offer in this way, speaks similarly: "Bring your offerings to have them consecrated upon the altar. One who has the means to do it SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO COMMUNICATE OF ANOTHER'S OFFERING " (in the appendix to the sermons of St. Augustine, Sermo 265, n. 2. P.L. 39, 2238).[355] Hence St. Gregory the Great speaks quite simply of a man "for whom his wife was wont to offer the sacrifice on fixed days" (Dial., 1, 4, c. 57. P.L. 77, 424. cf. Hom. 38 in Evangel., n. 8. P.L. 76, 1279).

The faithful were not deprived of this faculty to offer except by a sort of minor excommunication, a noted example of which is mentioned in the eleventh canon of the Council of Nice: "With regard to those who have lapsed.....under the tyranny of Licinius. ....not under the pressure of necessity (praeter necessitatem), it has pleased the Council to deal leniently, undeserving of sympathy though they be. Let all those, therefore, who do penance for three years, be among the faithful as hearers [audientes, that is, hearers of the Mass of the catechumens only, and from the porch], and for seven years let them be among the prostrators [substratos—who heard the Mass of the catechumens inside the church door and prostrated before leaving] ; moreover, let them for two years communicate with the faithful in the prayer without offering (xwrij prosforaj koinwnhsousi tw law twn proseuxwn)" (Mansi Concilia, 2, 673, coll. 680; cf. Dom Leclerq, Histoire des Conciles, tom. 1, p. 590). On this subject Petavius makes the following just remark: "This was the PERFECT COMMUNION to which penitents and those expelled from the sacred mysteries aspired, and to which they arrived after a long period of intense sorrow and public penance, in order TO REGAIN THE RIGHT OF OFFERING, which they call (in Greek) koinwnian meta prosforaj, which without doubt, is the same as having a part in the offering (communicare cum oblatione), that is, having the right of offering" (De potestate consecr. et sacrif., cap. 1, t. 8, pp. 8-9).[356] Hence we can easily understand the words of St. Ambrose when writing to Theodosius, guilty of the slaughter at Thessalonica: "Then only will you offer, WHEN YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE FACULTY TO SACRIFICE (sacrificandi facultatem), when your victim has become acceptable to God" (Ep. 51, n. 15. P.L. 16, 1163).[357]

Similarly the best-known Liturgies speak of all those who have presented gifts for the Eucharistic sacrifice as offerers of it. First, the Roman Liturgy, after the commendation of the gifts, commends to God all those who have given them in these words: "WHO OFFER UP to thee this sacrifice of praise for them and theirs, for the redeeming of their souls, for the hope of salvation and safety, and who offer their vows to thee, God everlasting, living and true." Here undoubtedly the sacrifice of praise offered to God for the redemption of our souls is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ.[358] Similarly the Liturgy of St. Mark: "Receive, O God, the victims, oblations, and thank-offerings (taj qusiaj, taj prosforaj, ta euxaristhria) OF THOSE WHO OFFER THEM TO THEE" (B. 129). In the anaphora of Serapion, after the recital of our Lord's words and the epiclesis, we have the following prayer: "Receive also the thank-offering of thy people (thn euxaristian tou laou), and bless those WHO HAVE OFFERED OBLATIONS and thanksgivings (ta prosfora kai taj euxaristiaj) " (F. D. 2, 176).

In the Liturgy of St. James similarly: "Remember, O Lord, those who have offered these oblations on thy holy altar, and those for whom each one has offered" (B. 56). Of those offering the sacrifice or "victim" in this way, Innocent I wrote in his Epistola ad Decentium Eugubinum a document of the highest authority in the Middle Ages with liturgists (V. g. Remigius of Autun, De celebratione missae et ejus significatione. P.L. 101, 1258) and jurists (De consecratione, dist. 1, c. 73) : "Regarding the recital of the names of the offerers by the priest before saying the Canon (precem) and commending to God by his prayer the offerings of those whose names are to be recited, you in your wisdom know how superfluous this is, so to insert, though nothing is unknown to God, the name of the one WHOSE VICTIM you are not yet offering to God. First, therefore, the offerings are to be commended to God, then the names of those of whom they are the offerings are to be declared: so that these names may be mentioned within the sacred mysteries and not among the other things which we place before the mysteries" (Ep. 25, c. 2. P.L. 20, 553-554).

Hence we see that those who have offered gifts, or give a stipend, seeing that it is they who have provided for the sacrifice in this way, are properly and intimately connected with it, in a more special way, than others who have not done so; hence, too, the sacrifice is more affected by their offering, and their devotion and fervour is more efficacious than that of those who do not so contribute to secure abundant fruit from the sacrifice.

For every sacrifice is a gift, and it is plain that the person to whom the gift is presented is more beholden to one who contributes more to the gift than to one who contributes less. Say, for instance, that a gift is given in the name of all France to some highly esteemed man, while at the same time it is the good will and the liberality of a number of private individuals who are in the main responsible for it. The recipient will be grateful to all for the gift, but especially to these generous contributors, and his gratitude will be the greater the greater their goodwill towards him. Similarly, the one who gives an alms for a Mass plays a greater part than those who do not so provide for the Mass in the offering of the sacrifice and the apportioning of its fruit.

Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that the priest, while presenting the gifts of those who offer, is obliged, as their representative, to conform his own intention to theirs;[359] and since he always offers in every case by the commission of the whole Church, he commends their gifts and transmits their offering also in the name and with the devotion of the whole Church. "For the Doctors of the Church have seen quite clearly (providerunt) that whatever IS REVERENTLY OFFERED BY ANY MEMBER OF THE CHURCH IS ALSO PRESENTED BY THE FAITH AND DEVOTION OF ALL. For the Spirit of the Church is one, whereby is vivified her one body, preserved by Christ who is her Head. The whole Church then consists of a combination of diverse members, but still she is in very truth one body, founded in the solidity of one faith, perfused with one power of the life-giving Spirit. Hence the Apostle says: One body, one spirit, as you are called in the hope of your calling (Ephes., IV, 4).

"In the sacred mysteries, then, it is proper THAT WHATEVER IS ESPECIALLY DONE BY ANY OF THE FAITHFUL SHOULD BE ALSO CONSIDERED AS DONE BY THE WHOLE CHURCH in the unity of faith and the love of charity" (St. Peter Damian, Liber qui vocatur Dominus Vobiscum, c. 7. P.L. 145, 237).

(C) The Congregation Who Assist At Mass, As Offerers

Next after those who give a stipend come, as offerers, those who assist at Mass. For those who assist exert, in a greater degree than those who are not present, their native power to offer as members of the ecclesiastical body, in so far as they are more intimately united with the sacrifice by this outward expression of actual devotion. By their presence they indicate that they ratify, as far as in them lies, the offering which is made in their name, and hence by a special title they make it their own and offer it.[360]

For it is not without reason that the congregation, having been first invited by the priest to render to God the thanks which are meet and just, Eucharistic praise, afterwards, at the conclusion of the sacerdotal prayer, answer, or one or more in their place answers: Amen. For undoubtedly Amen is said at this point to give outward expression to the common assent of those assisting, to what has been done by one for all.[361]

This was always the custom. For, as regards the invitation, or invitatorium, in the first place, in every one of the most ancient Liturgies, the anaphora commences with a dialogue, similar to what, from the very earliest times, was considered the commencement of the Roman Canon (cf. Cabrol, art. canon, D. A. C., t. 2, 1849: "One must affirm, even if one pushes the investigation back to a date anterior to that of the formation of the Roman Canon. ....that the Eucharistic prayer, by whatever name it is called, must be introduced by the dialogue of the preface") : Let us give thanks to God. -It is meet and just. We find it in the Apostolic Constitutions (F. D. 1, 496) and in the Greek Liturgy of St. Mark (B. 125) to which also may be added the Apostolikh Paradosij of Hippolytus (Canonum qui dicuntur Apostolorum et Aegyptiorum reliquiae, ed. Hauler, 1900, p. 106), the Constitutiones Ecclesiae Aethiopicae (B. 189; cf. Constitutiones Ecclesiae Aegyptiacae, F. D. 2, 99), the Canones Hippolyti (n. 21, et seq. ap. Duchesne, Orig. du culte chretien, 3, p. 526), and the Testamentum Domini nostri Jesu Christi (ed. Rahmani, 1899, p. 39).[362] Indeed, in the Greek Liturgy of St. James (B. 49-50) the dialogue is even longer and more expressive. The Priest: "Peace be to all." The people: "And with thy spirit." The Archdeacon: "Let us assist devoutly, let us assist prudently, let us assist with the fear of God and with compunction. LET US BE CAREFUL TO OFFER TO GOD IN PEACE BY THE HOLY ANAPHORA. The people: THE PROPITIATION OF PEACE (eleon),[363] THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE. The Priest: May the charity of God the Father, the grace of the Lord and the Son, the communication and the gift of the Holy Spirit, be with you all." The people: "And with thy spirit." The Priest: "Let us lift up our minds and hearts." The people: "We have lifted them up to the Lord." The Priest: "Let us give thanks to God." The people: "It is meet and just."

Apart from the unanimous consent of the Liturgies, we have Cyprian also (Lib. de orat. Dom., c. 31. P.L. 4, 539) in the West, and Cyril of Jerusalem (Cateches., 23, n. 4 and 5. P.G. 33, 11121113) in the East, bearing witness to this ancient custom.

The significance of the custom is explained quite clearly and definitely by St. John Chrysostom: THE PRAYER WHEREIN THANKSGIVING (tathj euxaristiaj) IS MADE TO GOD IS COMMON TO BOTH[that is, the priest and the people], it is not the priest alone, but the whole of the people, too, who give thanks to God. FOR IT IS ONLY WHEN HE HAS TAKEN UP THEIR WORDS, BY WHICH THEY HAVE AGREED THAT IT IS MEETLY AND JUSTLY DONE, THAT HE BEGINS THE ACTION OF THANKSGIVING or Eucharist.... All this I have said, so that each one, even those of you who are of lower grade[the laity], may be vigilant and attentive; and that we may understand this, that we are all the one body, differing one from another only as member from member; therefore let us not throw everything back on to the priests at the sacrifice; rather let us also have a care for the whole Church, as for our common body. Because thus we secure greater confidence and obtain more abundant fruit" (In III Cor., Homil. 18, n. 3. P.G. 61, 527).[364]

So much for the invitation to the Eucharistic prayer. Coming now to consider the Amen at the very end of the Canon or anaphora, said aloud by the people in reply to the celebrating priest, we find its antiquity assented to even more certainly, as reaching back to the very beginnings of our Mass.[365]

Apart from the Liturgies, this is attested to, if not by St. Paul's words in II Cor., XIV, 16, where this sense is not quite evident, and where the language is very similar to that of the Didache XVI, 6 (F.P. 1, 24), at any rate by the positive statement of St. Justin (Apol. 1, 65 and 67),[366] and by the letter of Dionysius of Alexander to Xystus of Rome (in Eusebius, H. E., 7, 9. P.G. 20, 656) on the question of one who without true baptism, but still in good faith," has frequently heard the thanksgiving[Eucharistic] prayer, and has answered with the rest: Amen; who has stood at the sacred table, and has stretched out his hands to receive the sacred food, and who has received it, and has a long time been a partaker of the Body and Blood of our Lord".[367] That the little word Amen expresses assent is very well known." In the Epistle to the Corinthians St. Paul tells us that it expresses the ASSENT of the hearer, and the seal set to what is accepted as true: Else if thou bless with the spirit, how shall he that holdeth the place of the unlearned, say amen to thy blessing: because he knoweth not what thou sayest? (II Cor., XIV, 16). He shows here that the unlearned cannot answer that what is said is true, unless he understands what he is taught" (Jerome, Commentariorum in Epist. ad Galat., I, 3, c. 6. P.L. 26, 438).

Hence, too, St. Augustine looks upon the Amen of the faithful which comes after the doxology of the Canon as an expression of assent by the congregation to what has been done and said by the priest: "When you have heard the priest say: Lift up your hearts you reply: We have lifted them up to the Lord. Take pains to answer truthfully, because you are answering in the presence of the action of God. Let it be so, as you say it is; do not allow your tongue to give utterance to what your heart tells you is not true. And since it is by God's gift and not by your own unaided powers that you have so lifted up your heart, after you have said that you have lifted up your hearts to the Lord. ....comes the invitation: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. For why do we give thanks? Because our hearts are now lifted up, and had God not raised them up[by His power] we would still lie grovelling on the earth (in terra jaceremus). And now comes what is done IN THE HOLY PRAYERS which YOU ARE ABOUT TO HEAR, that when the word is uttered, the Body and Blood of Christ is there. For take away the word, there is[only] bread and wine; add the word and now it is something else. What is this other thing? The Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ. Therefore take away the word and there is only bread and wine, add the word and it will become the sacrament. TO THIS YOU SAY: Amen. TO SAY Amen IS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRUTH. In Latin Amen means It is true. THEN[after you have said Amen] the Lord's prayer is said; this you have been taught already and you have repeated it. Why is it said BEFORE you receive the Body and Blood of Christ? Because, etc." (Sixth, amongst the sermons published by Michael Denis, n. 3. P.L. 46, 836).[368] Moreover, since "to say Amen is to subscribe to the truth", Augustine desired the celebrants in the mysteries to speak clearly and distinctly "so that the faithful may say Amen to what they plainly understand" (De catechizandis rudibus, c. 9, n. 13. P.L. 40, 320).[369]

Mediaeval writers interpreted in just the same way as Augustine the Amen that is said at the end of our doxology, Through Him and with Him and in Him. ....which concludes the Eucharistic prayer before the priest begins to say the Lord's prayer.

So Florus of Lyons: "The Amen, which is answered by the whole Church, means it is true, not everywhere and in everything, but in the mystic religious sense. This response then the faithful give TO THE CONSECRATION OF THIS GREAT MYSTERY, just as they do in every legitimate prayer, AND BY SO REPLYING SUBSCRIBE TO ITS TRUTH (De expositione missae, n. 74. P.L. 119, 65).

Similarly Remigius of Auxerre: "The Amen, which is answered by the whole Church, means it is true. The faithful therefore give this reply TO THIS GREAT MYSTERY, as they do in all legitimate prayer, AND THEY AS IT WERE SUBSCRIBE TO ITS TRUTH BY SO REPLYING" (De celebratione missae et ejus significatione. P.L. 101, 1265; cf. Rabanus Maurus, De Cleric. Institut., 1, 1, C. 33. P.L. 1075 323; the uncertain author of the Micrologus, c. 7. P.L. 151, 981).

Something similar can be gathered from the kiss of peace which in olden times was given by all the faithful to one another within the Mass. Whether it occurred, as in the Eastern Liturgies and also in the Gallican and Mozarabic, at the Offertory, or at the Communion as in Rome at least after the second century,[370] it certainly seems that among the reasons that can be given for the kiss of peace or the pax is that assigned to it by Innocent 1 in the Epistola ad Decentium Eugubinum (c. 1, n. 4. P.L. 20, 553) : "You state, therefore, that some command the people to give the pax before the mysteries are carried out, or the priests to give it among themselves, because after all these things which I need not disclose it is necessary that the pax be enjoined, that by this pax it is made clear THAT THE FAITHFUL HAVE ASSENTED IN COMMON TO ALL THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE DONE IN THE MYSTERIES AND CELEBRATED IN THE CHURCH.".[371] Evidently, then, the faithful who assist take a greater and more intimate part in the sacrificial offering as compared with those who are not present. Hence St. Leo the Great does not hesitate to say that the sacrifice is offered by them. For so he writes in the Epistola 9, ad Dioscurum Alexandrinum, c. 2, De iterando missae sacrificio ut plebi inter venienti satisfiat (supplying more than one Mass that all the faithful may be able to assist) : "Necessarily some of the faithful would be deprived of their devotion if, by keeping the custom of supplying only one Mass, ONLY THOSE WOULD BE ABLE TO OFFER THE SACRIFICE who were present in the early part of the day " (P.L. 54, 627).[372] This being so, it is not surprising that the deacon, as the leader or spokesman of the faithful, so to speak, says with the priest: "We OFFER to thee the chalice of salvation. ....for our own salvation and that of the world"; or that the priest himself turning to the people says: "Pray, brethren, THAT MY SACRIFICE AND YOURS may be acceptable to God the Father almighty";[373] and then turning to God he says: "We beseech thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this OBLATION of our[that is, nostrae of my] servitude, BUT ALSO OF THY WHOLE FAMILY (that is, the faithful);[374] and again also, after the consecration, similar language is used: "We thy servants[that is, I] and also THY HOLY PEOPLE[that is, the congregation] . ....OFFER unto thy most excellent majesty of thy gifts and presents a pure VICTIM, a holy Victim, a spotless Victim, the holy BREAD of eternal life and the CHALICE of eternal salvation."

The offering proper to the congregation was in the olden days proclaimed in the diptychs of the living, such as are still preserved for us in the Mozarabic Missa cottidiana: "Our priests, the Roman pope and the rest (papa romensis et reliqui), offer the oblation for themselves and for all the clergy and the faithful committed to their care, and for the whole fraternity. All the priests, deacons, clergy AND THE PEOPLE ASSISTING, offer it likewise in honour of the saints, for themselves and for their own. They offer for themselves and for the whole fraternity" (P.L. 85, 541-543).

In the post-pridie prayer for Tuesday after Easter, a clear distinction is made between " offerers " (who give a stipend) and " those who assist " (who do not give a stipend); and yet the sacrifices which are dedicated and offered are said to be proper to both classes indiscriminately: "May thy Holy Spirit be brought down on these solemnities, and may He sanctify alike the vows and the offerings of the faithful who assist, and the faithful who offer " (P.L. 85, 491).

Hence, since the sacrifice which is being carried out at Mass is the sacrifice of those who assist, there is no doubt whatever that the value to them of the sacrificial offering which ascends to God at the Mass, its fruit for the effect which is intended by them in their offering, increases proportionately to the increase of the devotion of those who assist.



D. Computation Of The Fruit Of The Mass

We can compute the fruit of one Mass corresponding to one stipend; we can then compare the fruit of one Mass with the obligation which arises from several stipends. These two cases are separate and we shall deal with them in order.

The fruit of the Mass and the obligation towards a number of persons giving a stipend.

The fruit of the Mass and a number of stipends from one person—Concelebration.

(A) The Fruit Of One Mass Said By A Mandate From A Single Member Of The Faithful

It should be now quite clear how a measure or limit is set to the value of one Mass offered by these or those members of the faithful: the infinite price of the Victim is paid out in a measure proportioned to the devotion of the offerers. First and primarily in proportion to the general devotion of the Church; secondarily and cumulatively, in proportion to the devotion of the celebrant, of the person giving the stipend, and finally of those present at the Mass (amongst whom the servers at the altar are pre-eminent). The greater the devotion with which the universal Church appropriates to herself the offering made by our Lord at the Last Supper, in virtue of which oblation of His she herself now offers the sacrifice, the greater the devotion with which the priest and the offerers above enumerated appropriate the same offering to themselves, by so much greater will be the value in God's sight of our sacrifice, as it will, in proportion to this greater devotion, appropriate more and dispense to us more from the heavenly fountain overflowing with divine satisfaction, once rendered to God by our divine Lord in the Passion, and now offered to Him by us in the Mass.

Meanwhile one should note that the person giving the stipend may also assist at the Mass and so offer under a double title; and since the devotion with which the stipend is given is different from the devotion with which the Mass is heard, one fruit may be garnered in virtue of the former title, another in virtue of the latter. The same may be said of the priest who, besides acting as minister of the whole Church, and also offering the gifts of the person who gives the stipend, can also at the same time offer the sacrifice as a member of the faithful. This is indicated in the Canon of the Mass by the words of the commemoration either of the living or of the dead.[375]

Again, just as each one of these could offer the Mass under different titles, but for the same intention, so also any one of them could offer the Mass under one title for this intention, under another for that. For example, the same person could direct his intention, as giving the stipend, toward one end, and as assisting at the Mass toward another end. Or the priest could have one intention as presenting the offered gifts of the person giving the stipend, and this would naturally be the principal intention, as the stipend provides the material for the sacrifice and so initiates its existence, while he could also have another intention as assisting at the Mass.

Hence we conclude:

(I) The greater number of titles under which one Mass is offered by a member of the faithful for one and the same person, the more fruitful is the Mass for that person.

(II) The greater the number of those on whose behalf a member of the faithful offers a Mass under a certain title, and with a certain intensity of devotion, the less fruit is available for each one of that number from that Mass, in so far as it is offered by that one of the faithful: because the fruit of such Mass is measured in proportion to the devotion of the offerer; hence, as there is only a certain measure of this fruit available, it cannot be as great for many as it would be for one only. If, therefore, the same one had offered for one person with the same intensity of devotion, and under the same title, the same Mass which he actually offered for a number, it would have been more beneficial for that single individual than it was for each of the number on whose behalf he actually offered it. Hence if the one who gives the stipend to a priest for a Mass, and the priest, too, on his part both were to offer for ten sinners, each one of the ten would receive a tenth part, so to speak, of the fruit ex opere operato of the Mass as offered by these two; similarly, if a person assisting at the Mass were to offer for ten, each one of the ten would receive as it were a tenth part of the fruit ex opere operato of the Mass, as offered by that person. Nevertheless it must be noted that it is possible that, in the case of a devout person assisting at Mass, who keeps on increasing the number of intentions for which he offers the Mass, his devotion may increase to such an extent that the sacrifice he so offers would be almost as fruitful, for the furtherance of each one of these intentions, as it would have been if he only had one intention, with less devotion.

(III) The greater number of persons assisting at Mass, other things being equal, the greater the fruit of the Mass.[376] Because there are as many offerings as there are offerers, the devotion of one is not detrimental to the devotion of another; the offering of the one therefore does not detract from the offering of the other, rather it is an addition to it. Hence the fact that one person hearing Mass makes to a certain extent the inexhaustible boon his own does not hinder another from doing the same, even though the intention of each one may be different. If they all agree in offering the Mass for one and the same intention, so their united, and so to speak multiplied, intensity of offering will be the more powerful to secure the common end, the common fruit they desire. With very good reason, then, do the faithful invite their friends to be present at a nuptial or a requiem Mass. With very good reason also does the Church assemble the people in large numbers to offer a votive Mass to secure some favour of great moment (pro re gravi). .

(IV) From the mere fact that the Church is spread throughout the world, it does not necessarily follow that either a greater or lesser measure of fruit comes to the individual members of the faithful from the common fruit of the sacrifice. For all the Church members offer in common for all together. Hence with the increase in the number of offerers, there is a corresponding increase in the number of those for whom the sacrifice is offered, and conversely. Hence the amount of fruit in the enjoyment of each one, and derived from the common fruit, remains always more or less the same. And thus we see how the fruit of the Mass is measured, primarily indeed by the devotion of the Church, but secondarily and cumulatively by the devotion of the celebrant, of the person giving the stipend, and of those assisting at Mass: so that even if the special particular offerers were to have no devotion whatever, there still would remain active the devotion of the Church. And, moreover, in every case necessarily, owing to the intrinsic value of the Victim, greater fruit arises from the Mass than the devotion of the Church would merit, apart from the worth of the Victim, either to make compensation for sin, or to secure benefits by impetration.

(B) The Intrinsic Obligation Of Celebrating As Many Masses As There Are Stipends Accepted

We can compare the fruit of one Mass with the obligation arising from several stipends. Two cases arise. First, where a number of people have each given a stipend; second, where one person has given several stipends.

(i) The Fruit of the Mass in relation to Several Stipends each Given by a Different Person. The Teaching of Cajetan examined.

A rather subtle question was raised by Cajetan in 3 S. 79, 5, and particularly in t. 2, Opusculorum, tr. III, q. 2. We may state it in this way:

We have seen that the number of people assisting increases the efficacy of the Mass, as each one adds his devotion to the offering, so that the fruit received by one of those assisting is in no way prejudicial to the fruit of any and all of the others assisting. Hence the question arises: may not something similar occur where several of the faithful ask for a whole Mass each for himself, each one giving a just stipend for a Mass? Might it not be that, owing to the devotion added to the offering by each one who gives a stipend for a Mass, the value and efficacy of one single Mass said for all those stipends at once would increase to such an extent, because of this devotion, that this one single Mass would avail as much to further the intentions of all those who gave the stipends, as would a number of Masses, equal in number to the stipends given, each said separately for each individual stipend?[377] Should you answer this question in the affirmative, it would follow that a priest would not defraud one of the faithful who has given him a stipend for a Mass, if he said one Mass only both for that stipend and the stipend of another: for the fruit would in no way be lessened for the first (or the second) giver of the stipend by this mode of action. Now Cajetan does reply in the affirmative, relying, be it noted, on the principle which we have invoked in respect of those who assist at or hear Mass—the devotion of one does not detract from the devotion of another. For so he writes: "The measure or quantity of the devotion of one person giving a stipend takes away nothing from the measure or quantity of the devotion of another person likewise giving a stipend" (3 S. 79, 5). "Here we must weigh the quantity of devotion in the offerer rather than the greatness of what is offered in the sacrifice. And seeing that in this sacrifice what is offered is infinite, and cannot be exhausted or lessened by a single devotion, consequently one single sacrifice sufficiently corresponds not alone to many but to infinite devotions for the procuring of sure satisfaction for each offerer. Therefore a person having this sacrifice offered for himself suffers no deprivation whatever... from the fact that another makes provision for the same Mass to be said for himself, nor conversely: but each one receives as much as if it were offered for him only—because the Mass is sufficiently and efficiently available for each one, according to the measure of each one's devotion" (tom. 2, tr. 3, q. 2).[378]

Cajetan does not of course hold that APART FROM THE CASE WHERE A NUMBER HAVE GIVEN STIPENDS either the person who has given the stipend or the priest can by his own will or intention make a sacrifice offered in favour of a number, benefit each one of the number to the same extent as if it were offered for only one of that number. He plainly teaches the contrary: "Nevertheless, we must be on our guard here lest we reach a wrong conclusion, thinking that it follows from what we have said that a Mass, if said for a number, satisfies as much for each one individually, as it would satisfy for one, if said for one alone. This does not follow from what we have said: for we did not say that the effect of this sacrament corresponds to the intention, we said it corresponds to the devotion. For I do not satisfy just so much as I intend to satisfy by this sacrifice, but I draw satisfaction from the sacrifice in a measure corresponding to my devotion. In offering the sacrifice, then, should I have a measure of devotion in the sacrifice which corresponds to one year's satisfaction, and if I intend to celebrate the Mass for the satisfaction of one person, that person will be relieved by the satisfaction of one year. Should I intend to share the satisfaction equally between two, each will be relieved to the extent of a half year, if between three, to the extent of a third and so on." What he here teaches about the priest who celebrates the sacrifice he also holds regarding each one giving a stipend: "I say the same of the satisfaction corresponding to the devotion of Martin when he has a Mass said.

"If offered on behalf of one, I hold that it obtains the whole satisfaction for that one; if offered for a number the satisfaction is shared between them. The same may be said about any others who may have that same Mass said. Because the satisfaction corresponding to any individual devotion is always finite, and if by intention it is applied to a number, it is divided and the share of each is less. And thus we verify the teaching of theologians that the effect of this sacrifice is finite, and when applied to several persons it is divided, each one receiving a portion only, corresponding to the number to which it is applied. For (clearly from what we have said) the effect is understood here, not as proportionate to the devotions of a number, but as shared in part by this or that devotion" (ibid).

Again Cajetan does not hold that, to further the intention of one who requests that a hundred Masses be celebrated for a hundred stipends given by him, one celebration of a single Mass would be as fruitful as a hundred. He holds the contrary, and quite in accordance with his principles. For the devotion of that member of the faithful, his habitual good disposition and actual fervour, seeing that it is, in accordance with his compact, sufficiently efficacious to provide for a hundred sacrifices of the Church, will draw more fruit from a hundred such sacrifices than from one only.[379] In such a case, then, the priest would defraud one of the faithful by saying fewer Masses than the stipend provides for (tom. 2, tr. 3, q. 2, ad 3m).

Clearly, then, Cajetan restricts the sufficiency of one Mass for several stipends to the case where each of a number of the faithful asks a priest to say Mass for his intention.

We reject this opinion of Cajetan, while admitting that it is acutely conceived and defended. For, as regards the multiplication of the fruit in proportion to the multiplication of devotions, there is a very great difference between the part played by the person who assists at Mass and the person who gives a stipend. For the faithful who assist at Mass are united, as we have said, to the offering of the sacrifice by a bond which as it is looser than that of the one who gives a stipend, so is it more capable of multiplication; their role is to ratify, each one individually, the sacrificial action performed in the common name of the Church. But those who give a stipend share in the sacrificial action by a special title, one absolutely singular and not admitting of multiplication, in so far as they supply the material for the sacrifice, which is adequate for the sacrifice both in fact and in virtue of the contract. For once a person has by contract provided adequately for a sacrifice, there is no further room for another to provide for it, and should any other contribute anything further, the contribution would be outside the ambit of the material corresponding to the celebration of that sacrifice. The reason for this is that when something is materially and formally adequate for a purpose, that is to say, has been given and received in contract as such, nothing further can be added while the contract holds, except what is extraneous. For example, a particular tax cannot be paid twice, but once it has been paid, whatever is superimposed on that payment must have some other title. Hence when a priest says Mass for the intention of Titus, Titus having given and he having accepted an adequate stipend for that Mass, HE CANNOT at the same time say that Mass for the intention of Caius, as the giver of another stipend. He can, of course, as we have explained at the beginning of this article, while saying the Mass for the intention of Titus, who gave the stipend for it, under another title, in his own name, as a private person make an offering of it for the intention of Caius. But to accept a stipend for any such transaction of this nature is fraud and simony, for in such a case no title exists to justify a monetary pact, as the only title justifying such a pact is found in the provision of material for the sacrifice, which has already been done by Titus. Hence it is from the intrinsic nature of things that the condemnation of the Church fell upon the two following propositions:

"A priest can lawfully accept a double stipend for the same Mass, applying to the petitioner the most special part of the fruit which belongs to the celebrant himself, and this is so even after the decree of Urban VIII."

"It is not contrary to JUSTICE to accept stipends for a number of Masses and to offer one sacrifice only. Nor is it against fidelity, even if I promise under oath to one person, giving a stipend, that I will offer for no other than him" (D. 1108, 1110).[380]

(ii) The Teaching of certain other Theologians on the Fruit of the Mass in relation to a Number of Stipends given by one Person.

Even more extreme than that of Cajetan was the view adopted by Vasquez, held, too, by the Salmanticenses (disp. 13, dub. 6, n. 119 et seq.) and accepted by St. Alphonsus Liguori (Theologia Moralis 1, 6, tr. 3, c. 3, dub. 1, and De eucharistia, n. 312) :[381] "this sacrifice if offered for many is just as fruitful for each one, as if it were offered for a lesser number." Thus Vasquez (disp. 231, c. 3, n. 15) who holds this to be true whether, as in the case considered by Cajetan, many stipends have been given or not: because the sacrifice is operative according to the measure, not of those who offer, but of those on whose behalf it is offered, and the devotion of the one of these takes away nothing from the devotion of the other. Hence (apart from the legislation of the Church) according to this teaching it would be quite lawful to celebrate one Mass for the ten brothers of Caius who asks for a separate Mass for each of the ten, giving ten different stipends. Even the teaching of Cajetan would certainly not permit this.

These theologians, however, made the mistake of presupposing a close parity, which does not exist, between the offering of a sacrifice on behalf of anyone and the conferring of a sacrament on anyone: "It is wholly reasonable that this sacrifice should be effective for the person on whose behalf it is offered, according to the measure of his devotion, since it operates in the way a sacrament does (instar sacramenti); and it is the most certain teaching of the schools that the sacraments are more and more operative in proportion to the disposition of the recipients " (Vasquez, disp. 231, c. 7, n. 50; cf. c. 3, n. 17). We do not admit this parity between the sacrifice and the sacraments. On the contrary, there is this very great difference between the sacrifice and the sacraments: that the sacrament is a good thing conferred on man by God; while the sacrifice is a good thing offered to God Himself by man, and hence accepted by God as propitiatory in proportion to man's devotion: therefore the fruit of the sacrament which is grace, is measured by the disposition of the recipient; while the fruit of the sacrifice, which is propitiation, is measured by the disposition of the offerer, as such. Hence we reject the teaching of Vasquez, as devoid of a reasonable foundation and of any intrinsic probability.[382]

Some colour indeed or show of reason is given to this opinion by the fact that some condition is necessary in those for whom the sacrifice is offered, that propitiation may be efficaciously salutary and fruitful in their regard; because, though grace is always obtained infallibly by the sacrifice, the benefit of grace is not always infallibly obtained for this or that individual. Likewise a sufficiency of satisfaction is always procured by the sacrifice, but the benefit of this satisfaction for these or those is not always infallibly obtained. For, in the first place, say that a Mass is offered for a man who is in mortal sin and rejects all, even the most abundant graces of God, the propitiation though undoubtedly purchased by the sacrifice cannot be efficaciously salutary for this man while he is in this condition. In the second place, if the Mass is offered for one in the state of grace, though satisfaction no matter how great is procured by the sacrifice, it will be of no benefit to him in the matter of venial sins for which he has no sorrow; the penalty for these cannot be remitted while the guilt remains, and the guilt even of venial sins cannot be removed unless one repents of those sins. In both these cases, however, all that is lacking that the propitiation may be efficacious is not a positive condition but something negative, the absence of an obstacle. Once that obstacle is removed, each one of those on whose behalf you have offered the Mass will obtain a share of the fruit of the sacrifice unto eternal life, in proportion to your own devotion in offering the Mass. Even Cajetan had already noted this: "The devotion which measures the effect of the sacrifice is not to be looked for in those who receive the effect, although their lack of proper disposition may impede the communication of the effect (FOR THE SACRIFICE is NOT OPERATIVE AFTER THE MANNER OF AN AGENT, BUT AFTER THE MANNER OF AN OFFERING); but this devotion is to be looked for in those who concur in the sacrifice in a causal way, in whatever way the causal intervention occurs, for example, when one asks for the sacrifice to be offered, when one ministers at the sacrifice. .." (tom. 2, tr. 3, q. 2). Hence we conclude that Vasquez and St. Alphonsus Liguori (locis citatis) are wrong in claiming the support of Cajetan for their opinion, and no such claim can be admitted. (J. Pohle, Lehrbuch der Dogmatik, 3, Paderborn, 1905, 373.) We conclude, therefore, that in every case, and from the nature of things, justice is infringed (and most seriously also the virtue of religion), unless one celebrates just as many Masses as one has accepted stipends.


Stipends of Concelebrants

Here I shall attempt the solution of the difficulty to which we have already referred (XXIII), in respect of the stipends of concelebrants. The difficulty cannot be solved unless we first establish some definite conclusions regarding the virtue and efficacy of concelebration. It should be noted that this matter of Eucharistic concelebration is still shrouded in the densest clouds of theological obscurity, though it has undoubted application not only in the ordination of priests, but in the consecration of bishops also, and much more even in the Oriental use, quite legitimate and most frequent among Catholics of Oriental rite, of the concelebration of priests with the bishop, and of the bishops with the patriarch. This custom was also found in olden times in the Roman Church, as well as in many Churches of the West, the Gallican in particular (cf. P. de Puniet, art. Concelebration, in D. A. C.). Not only do the stipends of a concelebration come under discussion, or the number of sacrifices to be found in a concelebration; it is also controverted in the Schools, whether all the concelebrants consecrate or not. How thorny this question is, and how elusive, may be seen if one compares the lengthy discussion of Suarez (disp. 61, sect. 4) with the still longer one of Vasquez (disp. 218, c. 2-4) in opposition to Suarez, and in which he demolishes the contention of Suarez. Moreover, neither of these two Doctors makes any attempt to safeguard the consecrations of each of the concelebrants except in the rather chimerical case in which all the consecrations would be finished (absolverentur) at the same moment (in the same one mathematical instant of time, so to speak). Both Suarez and Vasquez seem to me to fall short of the simple solution offered by St. Thomas.

St. Thomas' solution (3 S. 82, 2m) is based on this admirable principle, that our priesthood, since it is in us by participation in the Priesthood of our Lord, is essentially one: hence it matters little whether the action is done by an individual priest separately, or by the college of priests in common and acting as one body (in solidum). "The priest consecrates only in the person of Christ: and the many priests are one in Christ." It follows from this that all properly sacerdotal sacraments, that is, such as can be given only by priests, can be effected collectively: so Confirmation (Acts, VIII, 15-17); Penance (Cyprian, Ep. 9, 2; 10, 1; 16, 2. P.L. 4, 251-252, 254, 257); Ordination; Extreme Unction, both among those of the Oriental rites and the Latins (Rev. C. Ruch, art. Extreme-Onction du Ier au IXe siecle, in D. T. C., col. 1983); and the Eucharist. In the case of the other sacraments this is not so; for, as St. Thomas (3 S. 67, 6) remarks, were a number of ministers to say "We baptise thee", they would effect nothing; the reason being that, on the one hand, the action not being strictly sacerdotal, it is impossible for the ministers of baptism to coalesce, as such, into one body or college (especially seeing that they might even be outside the Church, in which case the ministers of baptism, as such, would not even coalesce in the unity of the ecclesiastical body, the Church); and on the other hand, as Vasquez (disp. 148, c. 5, n. 39) shrewdly remarks, the natural meaning of the words " We baptise " is to denote a number acting as one group to bring about something collectively, namely by way of one cause, which, as we have said, in this case they cannot do. In matrimony it is abundantly clear that a number of men cannot say to a number of women: we take you as wives. But in the sacerdotal sacraments the whole priesthood always acts, either through all together, or through one; because we are one priesthood, we are all priests in Christ, the one High Priest.

In accordance, then, with this principle, we say that priests can, in complete conformity with the institution of Christ, consecrate collectively AS ONE UNDIVIDED PRIESTHOOD: SO that the utterances, as many in number as there are priests, nevertheless constitute (by agreement) only ONE SACRAMENTAL SIGN and therefore ONE FORM OF CONSECRATION: which accordingly is incomplete, until all have finished their own recital. This is not (as some have thought) because the efficacy of any form, complete and integral in itself, is suspended, as it were, in concelebration until that point is reached when all have finished their own recitals, but because at that point only the collective utterance (and so, too, the form) is, as such, integral and complete. The unity of the various utterances, therefore (though physically diverse and not terminated in the same mathematical moment), their unity in the nature of one sign, or one pronouncement and intimation (such as usually comes from any collective body), or their unity, to use the words of Thomas of Walden, as one promulgation of the words of our Lord, regarding this bread and chalice, effectively safeguards the unity of the consecration as uttered by one body of priests, collectively celebrating. And this is the sense of the words of St. Thomas (loc. cit.), practically following Innocent III: that the intention of each one of the celebrating priests is referred to the same instant of consecration, namely, to the last moment of the last utterance, such intention being included in the efficacious wish to co-operate in one celebration. And thus all consecrate and the consecration is one; and although it is one, nevertheless, since it is indivisible, the whole is referred back to the individual concelebrants. Yet no one single person of the corporate body of celebrants is the total cause, the individual is the partial cause only, as part of the total cause.[383] Since each of the priests here are parts of one total cause, it follows that, should any person request the sacrifice giving his stipend, each concelebrant should receive his own share of the stipend given. And in accordance with the principles already established (XXVII), such a one of the faithful will not be considered effectively to give a mandate for the sacrifice, or really offer the sacrifice in virtue of his contribution, unless he gives a stipend sufficient for the sustenance of the celebrating clergy. In the event, then, of the corporate body concelebrating, the adequate stipend should be such that each of the concelebrants may receive sustenance from it. Necessarily, therefore, the stipend will increase with the

increasing number of concelebrants. On the other hand, too, the fruit ex opere operato will increase with the increase of devotion, both on the side of the larger number of concelebrants, and in view of the greater liberality shown in providing more richly for the sacrifice (XXVII). Hence it would seem that until the Church decrees otherwise it can be tolerated (as is the custom in the East), that when a priest has received a stipend (not less than the usual one) from a member of the faithful for the celebration of one Mass on his behalf, such a priest may satisfy his obligation in a concelebration. For although such a sacrifice is one common sacrifice of all the concelebrants, still, as we have said, it is equivalent to a number of sacrifices (hence the faithful are not defrauded), and, moreover, to each member of the concelebrant body is due the equivalent of an ordinary stipend (and hence by such a mode of action the priest is not dishonestly enriched).

What we have said here, however, is in no way proposed as a final settlement of a matter still controverted among theologians. Our aim has rather been to co-operate sincerely in the common search for theological truth.




The question before us now is: who benefits by the Mass, either by way of propitiation or by way of assistance.

A. The Faithful Both Living And Dead

It is clear, in the first place, that by its own virtue or ex opere operato the Mass propitiates and obtains assistance for those for whom it is offered. As for propitiation, the one who compensates for his offence propitiates the one whom he offended, is received once more into his favour; but sin is compensated for by way of the sacrifice, in as much as the gift is presented in the sacrifice to compensate for that sin; hence the only person who obtains propitiation through the Mass is he for whose sin the gift is presented. The reasoning will be much the same, if we consider the sacrifice, apart from propitiation, in so far as it is impetratory. For of its very nature impetration benefits only that person for whom the benefit has been asked. Vasquez puts this well: "In order that the sacrifice may benefit anyone, ex opere operato, it must benefit him in so far as it is a sacrifice, but to benefit him as a sacrifice it must be offered for him" (disp. 231, c. 3, n. 11). Hence when considering those who receive fruit from the sacrifice we must keep in mind not the efficient cause, the person who offers, but the final cause of the offering, the intention for which the offering is made. Indeed if the sacrifice could be offered for others in such a way that the person who offered it did not offer it FOR HIMSELF at all that person would receive no fruit from the sacrifice itself. And so indeed it was in the sacrifice of Christ Himself, and this is the fundamental reason why we must hold that "the death of Christ was of no profit to Him by way of the sacrifice, but merely by reason of His devotion... and thus Christ did not receive in Himself the effect, the fruit of His Priesthood... rather He communicated that effect or fruit to others: because Christ did not offer Himself to the Father for Himself but for others. We say, however, that the sacrifice of His death profited Him by reason of His devotion, because for Him it was a meritorious work" (Vasquez, ibid.).

But, Christ alone excepted, all others must necessarily offer the sacrifice for themselves, at the same time as they offer it for others. This is evident in two ways, from a consideration either of the propitiatory or the impetratory character of the sacrifice.

As regards propitiation we must remember that all adult men are sinners, and that no sinner can, while passing over his own sins, offer an acceptable compensation for the sins of others. This is the reason why the priest of the Law needed to offer sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people's (Heb., VII, 27, cf. V, 3; see Suarez, disp. 78, sect. 1, n. 3).

Again, as regards impetration, it must be remembered that, even when the evil of sin has been removed, every man who still lives in the body as a pilgrim, absent from the Lord, has not yet reached his final goal in union with his Creator, seeing that he still lacks the beatific vision and that supreme love, in which he enjoys to the full, as far as this is his due, the sight of the happiness and perfection of God as He is;[384] indeed his salvation is still at stake, while the law of sin is still raging in his members and the evils of this life press upon his soul. Now the offering of sacrifice essentially signifies the wish which man has to set himself towards God and transfer himself to God: but this wish implies an earnest desire for all the divine benefits needful for that end; hence this desire is signified and, as it were, intimated to God through the sacrifice. But a desire made known to God is a prayer. And so through the sacrifice the one who offers it impetrates those graces, without which it is impossible for him to give to God that which is invisibly dedicated to Him in the visible gift. Hence also it is that when any of us offers the sacrifice of the Eucharist with a sincere mind, we offer first for ourselves, and then for others whom we love as ourselves. It is also for this reason that we must say that even baptised infants, wholly free from sin as they are, must be said, by virtue of the habitual intention which accompanies infused faith and charity which is theirs, to offer up the sacrifice for themselves, that they, too, may obtain God's benefits, chief amongst which is the gift of final perseverance.

Each one of us, therefore, who offers the sacrifice is at the same time among those for whom the sacrifice is offered, as each one always offers for himself. And thus it is plain that every one of the faithful of the Catholic Church undoubtedly enjoys the fruit of the sacrifice in accordance with his manner of offering, either habitually or in act, and according to his grade and position among the various offerers of the Mass.[385]

Furthermore, besides the offering which each one can make for himself, others can also offer the sacrifice for him, not only in the general offering for all together, but also specially, in view of the charity by which, as we are all knit together in the oneness of the body of Christ, each one can and should treat any other member as though a part of himself.

Thus we see that each individual member of the Church militant can secure the fruit of the sacrifice in two ways: both BY WAY OF PERSONAL PETITION OR QUEST, SO to speak, in as much as he offers for himself:[386] and BY WAY OF SUFFRAGE, in as much as others offer for him. And it is in this sense that St. Thomas wrote: "The Eucharist has the effect of a sacrament in him who receives it in communion; but the effect of a sacrifice in him who offers, or in those for whom it is offered." And again: "This offering... works satisfaction for those for whom it is offered, and also for those who offer, according to the measure of their devotion" (in 3, S. 79, 5 c.).[387]

We now come to consider the faithful departed. These, as members of the Church suffering, still in the process of being freed in Purgatory from all the penalties of their sins, may certainly profit by the Mass, in so far as it satisfies for sin, in this latter way, by way of suffrage,[388] for on the one hand they are in need of satisfaction, and on the other, as they are united with us by charity, each one of them can be considered and viewed by each one of us as a second self.

But a further question arises, whether the sacrifice of the Mass can profit them in the former manner, by way of personal quest. The reply to this question involves a distinction.

If while in life they made provision for Masses to be said for them after death, by a legacy for instance, then such Masses benefit them by way of personal quest, namely as the fruit of their own offering. For such as these have already offered, as givers of stipends, so far as they could, when they assigned their stipends to the celebration of Mass, and the sacrifice, when celebrated, is directed, according to their intention, towards their own personal benefit; and so they reap the fruit of the sacrifice as their own.[389]

With the exception of this case, the souls in purgatory do not offer in any way, either habitually or actually, in any Mass, and hence do not share any of the fruit derived from the sacrifice as their own. Therefore though they are united to us by charity, still we may not consider them united with us in the common offering of the sacrifice.[390]

Finally, when there is no obstacle on the side of the one for whom the Mass is offered, the benefit of the Mass by way of suffrage, that is, when the offerer offers it for another, to whom the fruit passes, is no less infallible than is the benefit derived from the reflex intention and application, which reverts to the offerer; and again it is no less infallible in respect of the dead than it is in respect of the living: and all this is by reason of the spiritual identity and oneness of all the saints, triumphant, militant, and suffering, communicating in the one body of Christ.[391]



B. Infidels And Others Outside The Visible Church

Regarding such persons, two questions arise: firstly, can they offer the sacrifice; secondly, can the sacrifice be offered for them by way of suffrage?

(A) Those Outside The Visible Church Are Not Competent To Secure For Themselves The Fruit Of The Mass By Giving A Stipend For It.

The same principle which we have invoked already in dealing with the other questions regarding the utility of the Mass is applicable here also: the Mass can be offered BY ONE ONLY who is of the body of Christ. The reason is, as we have said, that no one but Christ Himself, or one who is of Christ, offers the Victim of Christ, and no one is of Christ unless he is in the body of which Christ is the Head. Therefore no one who is foreign to the Church offers the sacrifice. But the person who commissions a priest to present his gifts offers his sacrifice through the priest. Therefore the sacrifice of the Mass cannot be offered by one foreign to the Church who presents a stipend for it.[392]

De Lugo expresses this well: "Those who are not members of the visible Church cannot offer this sacrifice. For the priest is priest of the Church alone, not of the gentiles; therefore it is of the Church alone that he is the legate or the messenger to God. Therefore ONLY THOSE CAN OFFER THROUGH HIM WHO BELONG TO THIS COMMONWEALTH OF THE CHURCH, to which Christ left this sacrifice" (disp. 19, sect. 10, n. 167).

(i) Infidels.

Before all others the infidel is most alien to the Church. Hence the sacrifice cannot be offered as his, nor can he delegate a priest to offer his gifts to God.

Hence, too, it follows that a compact whereby an infidel gives money or its equivalent and a priest in turn binds himself IN JUSTICE to celebrate the Mass according to the intention of the infidel, would not be free from simony.[393] Because in this case the sole title is lacking which would justify the giving of money for a Mass: namely, the provision for the adequate materials for a Mass, which implies a mandate given to a priest for the celebration of the sacrifice. Failing this title, any money given (and received by way of a contract) could only be considered as payment for the suffrage (suffragium-"suffrage" here means the offering of a Mass by "A", say, for the benefit of "B") or purchase of the fruit of the Mass to be secured by that suffrage. For if an infidel should give money in this way, seeing that he cannot thereby, as do the faithful, give a mandate to the priest for the offering of the sacrifice, what else does he do but attempt to buy the suffrage for himself, a thing which of course the faithful never do? For, as we have already said, the faithful, when giving a mandate for a sacrifice, do not as it were pay so much by the stipend for the suffrage of the priest, but they procure the fruit of the Mass offered by them in this way by the ministry, not the suffrage of the priest, for themselves or others. Just as any member of the faithful would sin, if he were to transfer to another, for money given to him by that one, the suffrage of a Mass procured by himself, so, too, would the priest, were he to give to an infidel for money the suffrage of his own Mass.

Two objections might be advanced against our position: first, the money in this case need not be considered as a price or compensation, and need not be looked upon with suspicion as "a motive or inducement for the conferring or effecting something spiritual",[394] rather it is an allowance for the sustenance of the priest, which is a legitimate title for the giving and receiving something temporal for a spiritual benefit.

I ANSWER: it is true that the stipend given by one of the faithful for a Mass has in view the sustenance of the priest, but this is so only in consequence of the divine law, by virtue of which it is lawful for priests to live by the altar, that is, by the sacrifices which are entrusted to them to offer: so much so that the stipend does not adequately originate the sacrifice, unless it includes sufficient for the sustenance of the sacred minister. Hence, for the transfer of money, the title of the sacrifice arranged for by the mandate is presupposed, and is the very basis of the title of sustenance: if it lapses, the title of sustenance lapses also; and there remains no legitimate title, whereby the priest can make a contract, binding either in justice or in fidelity to his promise, with the person giving a stipend, in respect of the fruit of the Mass.

A second objection might be raised: the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office decreed otherwise in reply to the following question: "Is it lawful for priests to celebrate Mass for the intention of Turks or other infidels, and to accept an alms from them for the celebration of Mass?" The reply given on 12th July 1865 was " Yes, provided no scandal is given, and nothing is specially added in the Mass and provided that it is plain that there is nothing evil or erroneous or superstitious in the intention of the infidels offering the alms."

I REPLY: this decision, even without any mention of pontifical approbation, has its own authority, and high authority, too; and therefore if, as appears at first sight, it is to be interpreted of a monetary pact, it may be acted on with a safe conscience, as long as the decision remains unchanged. But meanwhile the interpretation, as of a monetary pact implied by the alms, is somewhat doubtful. Quite possibly the word alms here may have another meaning.[395] Might not the alms be offered and accepted in this case in such a way that it would be considered that neither the person who gave the alms was thereby constituted the offerer or the author of the sacrifice, nor did the person who received it contract any obligation either in justice or fidelity, but merely signified by his acceptance of it his intention of offering out of charity and gratitude,[396] for the benefit of others by way of suffrage, as is explained in the next Thesis?[397]

(ii) Heretics and Schismatics

What we have said about the infidel applies equally to the heretic and the schismatic, for both of them are outside the communion of the Church which consists in the unity of faith in the bond of peace. Hence it would be simoniacal to accept a stipend for a Mass from either a heretic or a schismatic, seeing that the sacrifice of neither of them can be offered by the priest ordained for the faithful alone in the things that pertain to God.

IT MIGHT BE OBJECTED: Not all those who belong to a schismatical or heretical sect are guilty of the sin of formal heresy or formal schism. Some of them may be in invincible error in respect of one or other article of faith, or in respect of the right of legitimate authority: such would not lack the virtue of faith, and there is nothing to prevent them being endowed with charity. Besides, as we have said, they have the baptismal character which has a direct reference to the Eucharistic mystery. Therefore both by reason of the sacramental initiation of baptism, and by reason of invisible grace, such persons would be within the unity of the Church, and outside of it only in appearance. Hence they would have the power inherent in the faithful of offering the sacrifice of the Church through the priest: hence a priest might lawfully accept a stipend from them.

To this I REPLY: Such persons are certainly not outside invisible communion with the Church, nor are they deprived of the power which is intrinsic to the baptismal character. Hence we say that they make the common offering with the universal Church, in virtue of that one and indivisible oblative power which is exercised by all the faithful in every one of her sacrifices. It is very different however, in respect of the special individual offering implied by the giving of a stipend. For while God judges what is internal to man, man judges by what is external. The Church being composed of men can only take cognisance of what is shown externally, leaving the rest which is hidden from her to the divine judgment.[398] Hence if one makes a public profession of heresy, or adheres to a schismatical sect, he must NECESSARILY BE REPUTED to be outside internal communion with the faithful, and so to lack external communion with the Church. And nothing is more pertinent to this external communion with the Church than is that participation in the offering (koinwnia meta prosforaj) according to which a man personally gives a mandate to a priest to offer the sacrifice. Failing this external communion, there is no title to justify the pact implied by the stipend. Nevertheless were this man to ask you EXPRESSLY to say a Mass for the intention that he may obtain the grace to return to the Church, he there and then gives sufficient EVIDENCE of his desire to cleave internally to the true Church and the true faith. His position therefore in respect of sacred things (excepting, of course, those things in which some special legislation of the Church may possibly intervene) is no worse, even if he is in sin, than that of any other tolerated excommunicate. And the present law of the Church authorises the tolerated excommunicate to give a mandate for the sacrifice. Hence the Sacred Congregation of the Council answered the following question in the light of genuine theological principles: "Could or should a Mass be celebrated and an alms received for a schismatic Greek who earnestly and persistently asks that a Mass be applied for himself, either while he is present in the Church at the time, or remains without?" On 19th April 1837 the answer was given: "According to the terms of the question, it is not lawful, unless there is express evidence that the alms is presented by the schismatic to pray for his conversion to the true faith." THE SUPREME PONTIFF GREGORY XVI APPROVED OF THIS ANSWER TO THE QUESTION PUT.

Note, however, that, particularly in the case of the tolerated excommunicate, the Church may forbid tomorrow what she permits today; and in the case where excommunication is added to heresy and schism, she may show less indulgence than in other cases; for example, she may absolutely forbid that an indulgence be shown towards one sect, as that of the Methodists, that she may allow in regard to another, say that of the Greek schismatics; then again her attitude towards the same people may be different in different parts of the world. For the Church reserves to herself the right to deal in this way or that with an excommunicated person at her own free will and as she thinks best, as we have said.

(iii) Catechumens.

Catechumens are in a more favourable condition than schismatics and heretics, for they profess the true faith and give due obedience to the Church: in this way they are at one with the faithful. Hence one might think that they could concur in the offering of the sacrifice by giving a stipend. The obstacle which prevented the heterodox from acting in this way is not present in the case of the catechumens, who are publicly known and recognised by all as mentally adhering to the Church and in agreement with the teachings of the Gospel. A special obstacle, however, exists in their case, that no one can offer the sacrifice unless he is conformed to and united with the priesthood of Christ by the baptismal character which the catechumens lack, and the person who gives a mandate for the sacrifice by giving a stipend for the Mass is rightly considered to offer the sacrifice through the priest in virtue of this compact. Hence a stipend compact for a Mass between a catechumen and a priest has the taint of simony.[399]

BUT YOU MAY OBJECT: this argument proves too much, because it would follow from it that the catechumens would not be even invisibly associated with the common offering of the sacrifices; while, nevertheless, even they, through the desire of baptism perfected by charity, can in their own invisible way be so incorporated with Christ that, were they to be overtaken by death, they would be enrolled among the citizens of the Church triumphant: and so, since meanwhile they are within the body of Christ by grace and charity, they are necessarily united with the universal body of Christ in offering the sacrifice of Christ.

This objection is met by the distinction made by Cardinal de Lugo (disp. 19, sect. 10, n. 168) between affective and effective offering. Everyone who by the desire of baptism belongs to Christ and the Church offers the sacrifice affectively, that is, in his heart and soul he would wish to offer it actually, if he could. But only such a one as has actually received the sacrament of baptism effectively offers it, really offers it. The ancient Patriarchs offered the sacrifice of Christ affectively when they actually offered the figurative sacrifices, wherein was the promise of that great Sacrifice which, once it should have been enacted by our Lord for the redemption of the world, would be offered by the Church, not in shadow and figure, but in truth.

In such a way, though the rite is changed, do the catechumens offer affectively, that is, they would wish to offer really if they could while their faith is (or may be) even clearer than that of the Patriarchs, in view of the presence of the true reality, and their desire, too, to offer really, if they could, is more distinctly envisaged.

Far otherwise do the faithful offer, signed as they are with the impress of the priesthood of Christ, and so united with the sacrifice of Christ, not by mere intention of faith, and the mere desire of charity, but a true power to transmit to God by the ministry of their priests as their own victim, that is, dedicated in their own name, that Victim who is the common Victim of the whole Catholic Church. But this Victim is not offered in the name of the catechumens,[400] though they can and should long for or DESIRE[401] a place among those in whose name it is offered.

Hence it is plain that the earlier theologians whom we have quoted above, when they said that the sacrifice is offered by the desire of the faithful, used this expression in a different sense to that in which we now say that catechumens offer in desire. For all the faithful have the effective desire or INTENTION, even though it be implicit, in respect of every sacrifice of the Church, OF EXERCISING THAT POWER and prerogative WITH WHICH on their first entrance into the Church, THEY ARE EQUIPPED. Catechumens, on the other hand, have the wish or the desire of acquiring that power first, and then of exercising it.

Moreover, the desire of the unbaptised to offer may be absolutely invisible. But the desire of the Christian to offer is always visible after its own manner: for it is exhibited by the outward profession which intrinsically accompanies baptism, as has been said, Th. XXVI.[402]



(B) Non-Catholics And The Fruit Of The Mass By Way Of Suffrage.

(i) Living Non-Catholics.

We must distinguish between what could be done in this matter, if one only had to take into consideration the nature of things, or the divine law; and then what can be done if we also take into consideration the restrictions imposed by Church law.

The Divine Law.

If we consider the divine law alone, Mass can be offered by way of suffrage for all living men, including heretics and schismatics, and the unbaptised, both catechumens and infidels.

Although Vasquez (disp. 227, c. 3) will not admit this in respect of the unbaptised,[403] we hold that it must be admitted, for the unbaptised as well as for the rest, for many reasons. We prove this first by arguments resting on authority, and in the second place on intrinsic grounds.

(I) The authority for our assertion is twofold: the ancient usage of the Church and the teaching of the Fathers.

In the liturgy of the Apostolic Constitutions (8, 12. F. D. 1, 512) not only do we find a prayer "for the king", and, be it noted, at the time when the Apostolic Constitutions were written there were none but pagan kings; but also expressly "for those who hate us and PERSECUTE US FOR THY NAME, for those who are WITHOUT AND IN ERROR, THAT THOU MAYST LEAD THEM TO WHAT IS GOOD and mitigate their fury,"; and finally " for the catechumens of the Church", and all this within the anaphora itself, where certainly the actual sacrificial intention is indicated.[404]

In offering the sacrifice for pagans and for the king especially, the early Christians had in mind the words of the First Epistle to Timothy: I desire therefore first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings (dehseij, proseuxaj, enteuceij, euxaristiaj) be made for all men, for kings and all that are in high station.... For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator for God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all (I Tim., II, 1-6). Hence the deacons inserted in the Liturgy words taken directly from this epistle when they exhorted the congregation as follows: "Let us pray for kings and those who are in high station," while the bishop said his own corresponding prayer " for the king and those who are in high station" (Const. Apost., 8, 12 and 13 pp. 512-514).

Of the Fathers, Tertullian (ad Scapulam, 2. P.L. 1, 700) bears witness to this early custom: "We offer the sacrifice for the salvation of the Emperor, but it is to our God and to his that we offer the sacrifice, and we offer it in the manner commanded by God, by pure prayer.[405] For God, the founder of the universe does not need the odour or blood of anything."[406] Chrysostom seems to attest to a similar custom in his time, at least as far as the catechumens were concerned. Praising charity as the adornment of all Christian worship, and the cause of all good things, he says: "For this reason also we give the kiss of peace within the sacred mysteries, that, though many, we may be made one; we also say the common prayers FOR THOSE NOT INITIATED, for the sick, for the fruits of the earth, for land and sea. Do you not see the full force of our charity?" (In Joann., hom. 78, n. 4. P.G. 59, 426.)[407] Moreover, in his commentary on I Tim., II, 1, he certainly teaches plainly that within the mysteries themselves prayers are to be said for pagan kings: "The priest is as it were the common father of all the world. Therefore let him have a care for all, like God whose priest he is. Hence St. Paul says: I desire therefore that first of all supplications, prayers be made.... What does first of all mean? It refers to the daily worship. And the initiated know this, how prayers are made every day, morning and evening; how we pray for the whole world, for kings, and for all who are in high station. Perhaps some one may say: he did not say that we should pray for all without exception, but for the faithful only. But if so, why did he say for kings? For during that time kings or emperors were not of the true faith, but for a long period the ungodly had been succeeding to the ungodly.... Finally, as it was quite probable that the Christian, hearing this, should lose interest (torpescar), and might not accept this admonition, if he had to offer prayers FOR THE PAGAN DURING THE MYSTERIES, attend to what Paul says further. . that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. In other words, their safety brings peace to us.... For God founded kingships for the common good. Surely, then, it would be absurd that they should do battle and carry arms in order that we may live in peace; and that we should not offer petitions for them in their perils and their warfare?"

Finally, he expressly desires the priest to make intercession with God for all the needs of the whole world: "He who speaks for the whole state—but why do I say for the whole state?-rather I should say, he who speaks FOR THE WHOLE WORLD, and beseeches God TO BE APPEASED FOR THE SINS OF ALL, not only the living, but also those who have died, what kind of a man, I ask you, should he be?... For just as though the whole world were committed to his trust, and as if he himself were the father of all, so does he approach God, praying that ALL THE WARS OF THE WORLD be extinguished, that tumults be quelled, asking for peace, prosperity, and the speedy warding off OF ALL EVILS THREATENING EACH SINGLE INDIVIDUAL either as a private person or as a member of the general public" (De Sacerdotio, 1, 6, n. 4. P.G. 48, 680-681).

Likewise when St. Augustine says that the priest " at the altar "[408] exhorts the people to pray and also offers his own prayers for the conversion of infidels, he evidently has in mind a liturgical custom in the Mass, and when he says that the people answer Amen to such prayers of the priest he further suggests that the appointed place for that intercession was actually within the Canon. For, to Vitalis of Carthage who taught that the beginning of faith was not a gift of God, he writes: "Publish broadcast your disputations against the prayers of the Church, and when you hear the priest of God, at the altar, exhorting the congregation to pray for unbelievers, that God may lead them into the faith, and to pray for the catechumens that He may inspire them with the desire of regeneration... make a mockery of the holy prayers, and say that you do not do as he exhorts you to do, that is, you do not pray to God for infidels, that He may make them believers. ... Surely you will not prevent the Church from praying for unbelievers, that they may become believers, for those who are unwilling to believe, that they may be willing to believe; for those who dissent from her law and teaching, that they may assent to her law and teaching, that God may give them what He promised through the prophet—a heart to know Him and ears to hear Him! When you hear God's priest at His altar exhorting the faithful to pray to Him, even when you hear him praying God in a loud voice, to compel the unbelieving nations to come to His faith, will you not answer Amen?" (Ep. 217, n. 2 and 26. P.L. 33, 978 and 988.) Furthermore, in the Epistola ad Paulinum (Ep. 149. 16-17, P.L. 33, 636-637), when commenting on the command of the Apostle (I. Tim., II, 1-6), and having noted that the prayers (proseuxaj) there mentioned signify the Canon of the Mass, he adds expressly that the intention and scope of these words of St. Paul was "to prevent anyone from thinking, for such is the weakness of the human mind, THAT THESE THINGS WERE NOT TO BE DONE FOR THOSE AT WHOSE HANDS THE CHURCH SUFFERED PERSECUTION, seeing that the members of Christ are to be gathered together from all mankind."

Celestine (Ep. 21, ad episcopos Galliarum, c. 11, n. 12. P.L. 50, 535) defends the same thesis as Augustine in respect of the beginning of faith, arguing likewise from the liturgy: "Let us consider the sacraments (sacramenta; that is sacred significance) of the sacerdotal supplications (obsecrationum) which, handed down from the Apostles, are uniformly celebrated throughout the world and in every Catholic church, so that the law of supplication may establish the law of belief (ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi).[409] For when those who preside over the holy peoples fulfil the office entrusted to them, THEY ARE PLEADING THE CAUSE OF THE HUMAN RACE before the divine clemency, and while the whole Church mingles its sighs with theirs,[410] they beg and pray that faith may be given to the infidels, that idolators may be freed from the errors of their impiety, that the light of truth may appear to the Jews, the veil being lifted from their hearts, that heretics may return to wisdom with the true comprehension of the Catholic faith, that schismatics may receive the spirit of charity once more revived in them, that to those who have lapsed may be given the remedy of repentance, and finally that for the catechumens, led to the sacraments of regeneration, the gates of heaven's mercy may be opened."

We meet a parallel passage in the first book of his De Vocatione omnium gentium (cap. 12. P.L. 51, 664), where, having referred to the instruction of the Apostle (l Tim., II, 1-6), Celestine goes on to say: "The devotion of all the priests and all the faithful observes this law of supplication with such accord that there is no part of the world where the Christian people do not duly recite (celebrent) these prayers. Hence the whole world over the Church supplicates God, not only for the saints and those who have been regenerated in Christ, but also for all infidels and enemies of the Cross of Christ, for all worshippers of idols, for all who persecute Christ in His members, for the Jews, on whose blindness the light of the Gospel does not shine, for heretics and schismatics who are estranged from the unity of faith and charity."

Vasquez (loc. cit., n. 24), it is true, is in opposition to us, where he says: "Public prayer can be offered for unbaptised infidels, Jews or Gentiles... unless a contrary legislation of the Church intervenes; not so the sacrifice, however." Later he says in the same place: "As regards prayers we readily admit that it was the custom of the early Church to pray for them, as well as for the catechumens in the solemnities of the Mass; however this is allowed now on Good Friday only,[411] for these others, so for the catechumens, because the Church permits this on no other day, nor has she prescribed any other prayer to be said for them on any other day." Here, however, Vasquez, for all his mental acuteness, lost sight of an important fact which de Lugo later clearly emphasised: "The Church practically never indicates in actu signato that she is offering the Mass to obtain this or that particular favour; what she does is to pray for that favour while actually offering the sacrifice; and this is in actu exercito to offer the Mass to obtain it" (disp. 19, s. 10, n. 174).

However, the principal argument of Vasquez was based on the defect of baptism in the catechumen "without which no one is competent to receive any sacrament: therefore no catechumen is competent to receive the fruit of the Eucharist" (disp. 228, c. 3, n. 17). But apart from the fact that we must deny this parity between the conferring of a sacrament and the suffrage of the sacrifice, it may be asked how can one evade the implication of the many examples of the Church offering the sacrifice for catechumens expressly? For example, in the Gelasian Sacramentary, from the first to the fifth Sunday in Lent, not only do we find a number of prayers (collects, secrets, post-communions) for the elect catechumens (to be baptised very soon, on Holy Saturday), but—a most important fact—within the Action itself we find such a prayer, included within the Hanc igitur: "Therefore we pray thee, O Lord, that thou wouldst graciously receive THIS OBLATION WHICH WE OFFER TO THEE, for thy servants and handmaids, whom thou didst deign to set apart ELECT and call to eternal life and the blessed gift of thy grace. Through Christ. And the names of the elect are recited. After the list is read you say: We pray thee, O Lord, THAT THESE WHO ARE TO BE RENEWED IN THE FOUNTAIN OF BAPTISM by the gift of thy Spirit may be prepared for the plenitude of thy sacraments. Through" (Sacramentarium Gelasianum, 1, 1, c. 26. P.L. 74, 1076; cf. the Ordo Romanus edited by Mabillon, n. 3. P.L. 78, 996). Note also in particular the following Secret to be read on the fourth Sunday of Lent: "Joyfully we offer to thee, O Lord, the gifts of eternal salvation, humbly beseeching thee to grant that we may worthily venerate them and DULY PRESENT THEM FOR THOSE WHO ARE TO BE SAVED" (ibid., c. 27, col. 1079). More openly reference is made to the catechumens on the fifth Sunday: "Hear us, O almighty God, and grant that thy servants whom THOU HAST IMBUED WITH THE BEGINNINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH MAY BE CLEANSED BY THE OPERATION OF THIS SACRIFICE (ibid., c. 28, col. 1081; ed. Wilson, pp. 34, 38, 42).[412] Hence the catechumens can be cleansed after their own manner, that is, find propitiation before God by means of the sacrifice, so that the remission of their sins and the grace of God may come to them later on by the actual baptism. Could the Church more forcefully inculcate the efficacy of the sacrifice itself, ex opere operato, in favour of the catechumens? Hence the opposition of Vasquez collapses with its foundation.

I admit that these prayers for the catechumens are no longer in use in the Mass, now that the liturgical custom of paschal baptisms with their preamble of scrutinia has lapsed. But meantime in our own day (to say nothing of the votive Mass for the Propagation of the faith, in which, in the collect, secret, and postcommunion, we find, in order, the following petitions "that all generations may know... the true God," " that the name of God may be glorified among the gentiles," " that the true faith may ever make progress"), does not the Church every day pray, at the offering of the chalice, in which the intention of the sacrifice is declared, that the chalice of salvation may ascend FOR OUR SALVATION AND THAT OF THE, WHOLE WORLD, calling it at the offertory, some considerable time before the consecration, the chalice of salvation, because by anticipation it is regarded as the chalice of the Blood of Christ, by which we have been redeemed?[413]

In keeping with all we have said is the indulgence of one hundred days granted, in October 1907, by Pius X to the work of mercy which is recommended to priests in many churches by printed charts which read thus: "Every priest celebrating Mass in this Church is asked in the Lord to have in mind at the Memento the sinners of the whole world, now in their agony and who are to die today." He likewise granted an indulgence of three hundred days to the following formula of offering: "My God, I offer thee all the Masses celebrated today throughout the whole world, for sinners who are in their agony and who are to die today. May the precious Blood of Jesus the Redeemer obtain mercy for them."[414]

And—indeed, seeing that the Jewish sacrifices which prefigured ours were beneficial to the pagans on whose behalf they were offered, would it not be strange if ours which are the perfection of theirs should be in no wise effective in favour of infidels? Hence we surely can offer the sacrifice for an infidel king, as the Jews did for Darius (I Esdr., 6), for an unbelieving people, as they did for the Spartans (I Mach., XII, 11), for an impious persecutor, as they did for Heliodorus (II Mach., III, 32-34); although as fits the dignity of our sacrifice, only those consecrated by baptism can have a share in the actual offering of it.

(II) For intrinsic reasons also, and on three heads, we can arrive at the same conclusion.

In the first place, the Victim which we offer, the Victim of the Passion, was offered in sacrifice by Christ for all the sins of all mankind. When we therefore by our sacrifice take part in the offering of our Lord, why should we not be able to offer the sacrifice for the benefit of all who need propitiation for their sins and efficacious prayers for their salvation? Will you say that such suffrage of ours is out of place for non-Catholics who lack the bond of unity which the faithful have by incorporation in Christ? We admit, of course, that those are not yet incorporated in Christ who lack faith and baptism; and that those who by the desire of the sacrament have received, without the sacrament itself, the reality, the grace which it signifies, even such are only incorporated by an invisible effect of grace. Nevertheless, anyone still living who is not yet incorporated in Christ has the potentiality, the possibility of such incorporation. And just in so far as infidels are potentially united with us, so in accordance with the faith we have in the will of God to save all men, and the Passion of Christ directed to the same end, with hope reaching out to embrace also the salvation of those still without the fold, in our charity desiring that they should be co-heirs with us in the divine benefits, we can, in view of their future communion with Christ (should it so please God), by the benefit of our suffrage, help, cherish and fortify every one still living on earth. So it comes about that "while the Church mingles her sighs with ours," the priest "pleads the cause of the human race" (Celestine). Thus the priest pleads," as the appointed suppliant for the whole world: such is the force of charity" (Chrysostom). Hence St. Thomas says: "The Eucharist as a sacrifice has effect also on others for whom it is offered, in whom it does not require, as a prerequisite to its effect, actual spiritual life, but such in potentiality only. And if one objects that the sacrifice is offered only for the members of Christ, it must be understood that it is offered for the members of Christ, when it is offered for some that they may become members" (4 D. 12, q, 2, a. 2, qcl. 2, 4m).

Should you urge that even so it remains true that the sacrifice of the Mass is offered in the full and proper sense only for the Church, you would not so exclude from the suffrage and benefit of the Mass those who are still outside the Church. And this for the following reason: the Mass is offered for the Church that it be enlarged, extended, gathered together from the four winds into the kingdom of God, in accordance with the prayer we find in the Didache X. 5 (F.P. 1, 24);[415] or in the anaphora of Serapion of Thmuis: "Gather together thy holy Church from every nation and from every land and from every city, and hamlet and home, and make her one living Catholic Church" (F. D. 2, 174). Christ died certainly for the Church, as St. Paul says: Christ loved the Church and delivered himself up for it, that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life. That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph., V, 25-27). But He died for the Church so that it should be built up of every kind of men, none of which He rejected, but rather He called and still does call everyone to His Catholic Church, both by the outward preaching of the Gospel, and especially by the hidden workings of His secret grace. Hence the Church calls all men to her fold (omnes sibi reclamat homines Ecclesia), and no one remains until the end estranged from her except one who strives against the will of Christ and resists the suffrages of her whose constant wish has always been that he and with him all others join her and adhere to her, for she is catholic, universal. Hence St. Augustine (loc. cit.) declared rightly that the sacrifice was to be offered "for those at whose hands the Church suffered persecution, seeing that the members of Christ were to be gathered together from all mankind." And Bellarmine wisely remarked that the present-day ritual usage according to which the sacrifice is offered "for the increase, unity, and peace of the Church which lives in the midst of heresy and pagans" is equivalent to that other ancient ritual use which showed a direct concern for infidels (De Missa, 1, 2, c. 6 foll.) .

In the second place, viewing the matter on a higher plane, let us speak not now of profit to infidels and the expansion of the Church, but of the glory, the kingdom, and the supreme domination of God. For judging from the practical unanimity of liturgical documents, even from the first beginnings of our sacrifices, the Lord's prayer immediately follows the sacrificial prayer, as if the virtue of the one blossomed forth in the petitions of the other.[416] Optatus of Milevis affirmed that this custom of saying the Lord's prayer at the end of the Canon must not be omitted; claiming as witnesses to this custom even the Donatists who had to say it at Mass, even though they dared to maintain that they were immune from sin: "When you have your faces turned towards the altar, you cannot omit the Lord's prayer" (De schismate Donatistarum., 1, 2, c. 20. P.L. 11, 975; cf. August., cited above, from Sermo 6 of the Denis collection n. 3. P.L. 46, 836).

St. Jerome would even seem to trace the tradition right back to the Apostles, where he writes: "Thus Christ taught His Apostles that every day in the sacrifice of that Body, believing, they should make bold to say (docuit apostolos suos, ut credentes audeant loqui) : Our Father who art in heaven (Dial. adv. Pelagianos, 1, 3, c. 16. P.L. 23, 585).[417]

Chrysostom is certainly with us. Listen to his vigorous words: "There is no indication, you will say, that in it[the Lord's prayer] WE ARE TO PRAY FOR UNBELIEVERS. You do not see the full force of the prayer, you do not recognise its sublimity, you do not know the treasures it contains. If you examine it diligently, you will find that, too, which you deny. For when in the course of the prayer we say: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, NOTHING ELSE BUT THAT IS IMPLIED. How so? Because in heaven no sinner, no unbeliever is found. So to understand those words as referring only to believers would not make sense; if the faithful only were to do His will, and the unbelievers not also to come to do so, then His will would not be done on earth as it is in heaven. And so this is our prayer: just as in heaven there is no wicked person, so may there be none such on earth; but do Thou draw all men to the fear of Thee, make all men Thy angels[that is, ministers of Thy will], even those yet estranged from Thee, or hostile to Thee" (l Tim., hom. 6, n. 3. P.G. 62, 533).

What Chrysostom says regarding the universal reference of the petition that God's will be done, is also true of the petition that the divine name be praised, treated as holy, hallowed; as also that the kingdom of God may come. How could we say that it is not the wish of the Church to promote, by her sacrifices, all honour for God and universal empire, not a kingdom which would be cramped, encompassed and imperfect? But such an all embracing intention implies a wish that all men still on life's pilgrimage should be turned to God by faith and divine grace. Hence the Church could not suitably pray by the Lord's prayer for the fruit of the sacrifice, unless that fruit were taken to extend to the whole human race. From every point of view therefore, we are driven to the conclusion that the suffrages of our sacrifices extend to infidels.

This is not surprising, for in the third place, we must note that the sacramental words imply today what they implied when they were uttered by Christ: that the mystic shedding wherein the offering is made, is enacted for you (pro vobis), believers, and for many (et pro multis) who will come to believe, and hence do not believe yet.[418]

An objection is raised from St. Augustine who not only lays down the principle that the Body of Christ can be offered only for the members of Christ: "For who would offer the Body of Christ except for those who are members of Christ?" (De anima et ejus origine, 1, 1, c. 9, n. 10. P.L. 44, 480), but deduces from this principle the following rule: that we cannot offer for the unbaptized: "On no account is it permitted to offer the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ for unbaptized men of any age" (ibid., c. 11, n. 13, col. 481; cf. 1, 2, c. 11, n. 15, and c. 15, n. 21; 1, 3, c. 12, n. 18, cols. 504, 508, 520). But the context and the subject matter show that all these passages are to be understood as referring to the offering of the sacrifice for the dead, in which case, as we shall see later, the rule laid down by Augustine that, which rightly follows on the principle established and declared by himself, is pertinent. That the question under discussion between St. Augustine and his opponents was that only of sacrifices for the dead is quite clear from the words of the holy Doctor himself, where he expresses his disagreement with the opinion of Vincentius Victor. He first gives us the teaching of Vincentius: "I certainly think that constant oblations and sacrifices of holy priests should be offered for them[infants who died unbaptized in Christ] " (ibid., l, l, c. 9, n. 10; cf. 1, 2, c. 11, n. 15; c. 15, n. 21; 1, 3, c. 12 n. 18). "Frequent sacrifices for them will cleanse these[souls of infants] which baptism has not washed, because a foreseeing God willed that they should be implicated in alien sins for a brief time, without any punishment of eternal damnation, and with the hope of eternal happiness" (ibid., c. 11, n. 13). After discussing this opinion Augustine concludes by giving his own opinion, restricted expressly to sacrifices for the dead: "Do not believe or say or teach that the sacrifice of the Christians is to be offered FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DEPARTED FROM LIFE WITHOUT BAPTISM (1, 3, C. 12, n. 18). That is to say, we must not offer the sacrifice for children who have died without baptism, precisely because neither actually nor potentially do they belong to the body of Christ. Who would dare to offer the Body of Christ for those who are forever exiles from the Body of Christ?

A further objection is advanced from St. Thomas (3 S. 79, 7, ad 2m) : "This sacrifice which is the memorial of the passion of the Lord, has effect only on those who are joined to this sacrament by faith and charity." But here the sole aim of St. Thomas is to prevent anyone from thinking that by virtue of the sacrifice, there is induced in anyone the effect of sanctifying grace or glory, or the forgiveness of mortal or venial sin, as long as no disposition of faith or charity on his part intervenes. This is evident from the words of the objection which St. Thomas is answering at this part of article 79.[419] Hence he wisely remarks that the ultimate-and mediate—effect of the sacrifice (grace and glory, etc.) cannot be found except in those who have faith and charity. All must agree with the Angelic Doctor in this. However this in nowise prevents the sacrifice from exerting its power both of propitiation and impetration (the primary and immediate effect of the sacrifice) in favour of those who are without faith and charity: so that in view of this propitiation and impetration, God may give them the grace to dispose themselves by faith and charity for justification.

Nevertheless we do not pray for infidels in the Canon.[420] The reason of this is that in the present Canon of the Roman Church, we only pray for those with whom we are considered to offer; and such are those only who, as they are within the unity of the body of the Church, are presumed to be united with the sacrament of the Body of Christ by faith and charity, as St. Thomas remarks in the same place.

Moreover, since we do not pray for infidels as co-offerers, evidently we do not pray for them in the same way as we pray for the faithful, as St. Thomas had already clearly noted in the commentary on the Sentences (4 D. 18, 2, 1, 1, 1m), when solving the following objection: "It seems that the following definition of excommunication as given by some is incorrect: Excommunication is separation from the communion of the Church in respect of the fruit and the general suffrages. For the suffrages of the Church avail for those on whose behalf they are made. But the Church prays for those who are outside the Church, for example, heretics and infidels. Therefore she also prays for excommunicated persons, and the suffrages of the Church avail for them." The holy Doctor replies: "To the first objection it must be said that we pray for infidels; BUT THEY DO NOT RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF THE PRAYER UNLESS THEY ARE CONVERTED TO THE FAITH. In like manner too prayer can be said for excommunicated persons, although NOT WITHIN THE PRAYERS WHICH ARE SAID FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH; nevertheless[although we can pray for them] they do not partake of the fruit of the sacrifice as long as they remain in the excommunicated state: but we pray THAT THE SPIRIT OF PENANCE MAY BE GIVEN TO THEM, that they may be released from excommunication." And further on, answering a second objection, he says: "Those suffrages of the Church WHICH ARE MADE FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH do not benefit those who are excommunicated (eis); nor can prayers be said for them, AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, in the name of the Church (ex persona Ecclesiae)."[421]

The mode of our prayer does indeed correspond closely to the mode of our offering. Hence it is that St. Thomas rightly adapts, to the question proposed in 3 S. 79, 7, 2m, the words of St. Augustine: "Who would offer the Body of Christ except for those who are members of Christ?"[422] For we do not offer for the infidel as we do for the faithful, that is AS FOR CO-OFFERERS who will receive in themselves infallibly the effect of the sacrifice. We do offer for them, however, that they may, if they so desire, from being infidels receive and accept the faith, and from being slaves of sin become members of Christ, as St. Thomas himself carefully explained, when discussing the words of St. Augustine quoted above (4 D. 12, q. 2, a. 2, qcl. 2, 4m).

(III) Can the sacrifice be beneficial to the unbaptized both by way of propitiation and impetration, or by way of impetration alone?

On this question the teaching of the theologians who have supported us so far, is divided.

Suarez (Disp. 78, s. 2, n. 6) holds as probable, and de Lugo (Disp. 19, s. 10, n. 166) as certain, that the unbaptised receive the fruit by way of impetration alone.

The Salmanticenses (Disp. 13, dub. 4, n. 60) hold the contrary view which we adopt.[423]

Both Suarez and de Lugo restricted the fruit to the effect of impetration in this case because they were anxious to avoid extending the effect ex opere operato to those whom we know, since they are unbaptised, to be incapable of receiving any further sacrament (Suarez disp. 79, s. 10, n. 2, De Lugo, loc. cit.). Against this, I reply: In the first place, that even the sacrificial impetration is itself an effect ex opere operato, as we saw above (XXV). It remains for Suarez and de Lugo, therefore, either to reject all the fruit of the sacrifice by way of impetration in the case of the unbaptised, or to admit that it comes to them ex opere operato. Secondly, there is no parity, as we have repeatedly said, between the opus operatum-the work done—by virtue of the sacrament itself and of the sacrifice itself, and so between the effects ex opere operato-through that work—in each case. Hence the Salmanticenses say rightly: "It must be denied that this fruit of the sacrifice ex opere operato is to be considered as the fruit of the sacrament" (loc. cit.).

Moreover, Suarez in particular, since he admits no other fruit of the sacrifice, ex opere operato, apart from satisfaction for the punishment of sin, cannot admit that any fruit comes to the infidel ex opere operato. For we all agree that "the sacrifice of the Mass cannot be offered for infidels in respect of the fruit of satisfaction; because this fruit supposes the state of grace in the subject to whom it is applied: since punishment for sin cannot be remitted before the remission of the guilt, and infidels, as infidels, and so devoid of faith, cannot be in the state of grace; since faith, which they lack, is the beginning of salvation. Therefore the sacrifice of the Mass cannot benefit them as infidels, by way of satisfaction" (Salmanticenses, disp. 13, dub. 4, parag. 3, n. 65). But this hindrance in regard to infidels (the absence of faith) does not by any means prevent catechumens (who have faith) from receiving the fruit of satisfaction, as the Salmanticenses wisely remark: "The sacrifice of the Mass in respect of the fruit of satisfaction can benefit catechumens living in the state of grace. And this seems to us to be absolutely the more probable opinion?" (n. 60). But we must also remember, as we have said in Th. I, (Vol. I.) and XXV, that satisfaction for punishment is not the whole of propitiation. It is only a part of propitiation in the broad or general sense, and indeed can be distinguished from propitiation strictly so called.[424] And propitiation, properly so called, that is, compensation or indemnification for the injury done to God, whereby God is appeased, can undoubtedly have place in favour of those who are wanting not only in faith but even in charity. For propitiation, in this strict sense, is of its nature something which comes before justification itself and the actual call to faith. Therefore there is nothing to prevent such an effect being secured by the Church for all living men in her daily sacrifices.

We must conclude, therefore, that as far as the divine law is concerned the suffrage of the Mass can be beneficial to catechumens in all three ways, of propitiation, satisfaction, and impetration: and to infidels by way of propitiation and impetration.

The Law of the Church.

So far we have considered what may be done in this matter, if we take into consideration merely the divine law or the nature of things. We now take into consideration the law of the Church, and ask ourselves whether any restrictions are imposed by ecclesiastical law. Two questions arise:

(1) Does the law of the church forbid a special offering of the Mass in favour of a (living) excommunicated person?[425]

(2) Are the common suffrages of the Church, as distinctly expressed in the public formulae of the Eucharistic Liturgy, forbidden in respect of the same?

(I) Taking the second question first, we answer: those common suffrages of the Church, explicitly expressed in the Mass, are absolutely forbidden in respect of excommunicated persons. The history of the Church makes it clear that measures were constantly taken to prevent the naming of an excommunicated person publicly within the sacred mysteries, so much so that, were anyone to transgress this rule, he would there and then disclose that he was associating in sacred things with the excommunicated person; just as, on the other hand, were a person's name to be excluded from the diptychs, he was thereby branded as excommunicated. For as Leslie justly remarks in his notes on the Missale mixtum: "The purpose and chief use of the diptychs was to retain Catholic communion both of the living WITH ONE ANOTHER, and of the living and the dead" (P.L. 85, 541).[426] In the diptychs, besides the Roman pontiff and the bishop of the locality, other bishops were sometimes named, so, too, the king or emperor, his wife and children, other princes or benefactors, and so on. If any of these were to incur excommunication, his name was to be deleted from the diptychs. Such is the historical background of that law whereby excommunicated persons were deprived of the common and public suffrage of the Church: in the sense that they were deprived of this public mention of them by name and of their commendation in the prayers of the sacrificing Church. This was indeed the proper penalty and branding, so to speak, of an excommunicated person.[427]

This was all the more reasonable, because priests gradually became accustomed to commend no living person in these public suffrages of the Church, except such as could be reckoned among those with whom he was considered to be offering the sacrifice. Of this we have indubitable evidence in the forms of the Latin Diptychs which have come down to us: see above, Thesis XXVII, the Mozarabic diptychs of the living; and compare them with the post nomina prayers of the same Missal, where the priest prays that the offering may be accepted by God of all those living who have just been commemorated; note also the saying of St. Isidore: "The third prayer[which comes after the announcing of the names in the diptychs] is said FOR THE OFFERERS, or for the faithful departed" (De ecclesiasticis officiis 1, 1, c. 15, n. 1. P.L. 83, 752)[428] The same is clear also from the actual formula found in our own Roman Canon at the end of the prayer Te igitur, the first prayer of the Canon, where the celebrant says: "WE OFFER... together with our Pope N. and our Bishop N. (and our King N.) and with all orthodox worshippers of the Catholic and apostolic faith." Formerly, too,[429] it should be noted that, in the commemoration of the living which follows immediately after the prayer Te igitur, the words now inserted there, for whom we offer up to thee, or (pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel), were not found, but the prayer ran as follows: Be mindful, O Lord, of thy servants and handmaids N. and N. and of all here present, whose faith and devotion are known to thee; who offer up to thee this sacrifice of praise, etc., a formula which makes it abundantly clear that the custom was to mention no names in the list of the living, except of those who were plainly united with the priest in the offering of the sacrifice. But an excommunicated person is not reckoned among those who are competent to offer the sacrifice: for he is excluded from the body of Christ, and there can be no offerer outside the unity of that body.

Hence were anyone to mention by name an infidel, a heretic, a schismatic, or an excommunicated person (whether a king, or a bishop, or any other), either in the prayer Te igitur or in our commemoratio pro vivis, he would certainly[430] violate the law of the Church.[431]

Moreover, since TODAY neither in the commemoratio pro vivis nor in any other part of the Mass does the Church commend by name any living person except such a one as is considered to be in communion with her, today also it would appear sinful to mention by name in any liturgical prayer whatever, an infidel, a heretic, a schismatic, or an excommunicated person.

This privation of the common suffrages of the Church is by no means confined to the excommunicati vitandi alone, as may be seen from the Code of Canon Law (can. 2262, parag. 1).

(II) We now deal with the first question proposed above, whether in accordance with the law of the Church, the sacrifice of the Mass may be offered for an excommunicated person. Theologians for the most part say no, maintaining that it is not lawful for a member of the faithful to have a Mass said, or for a priest to celebrate a Mass for an excommunicated person, at any rate if he is an excommunicatus vitandus ("to be shunned, "as distinct from the toleratus, "tolerated"). Not all, however, hold this view.

For Billuart writes: "I do not see why it would not be lawful for a priest to celebrate for an excommunicated person, even if he is of the non-tolerated class (that is, a vitandus)....[432] I am aware that this view is commonly rejected by theologians, BUT ON WHAT GROUNDS I DO NOT KNOW (De religione dissert. 2, art. 6). Neither do I.[433] For the offering of the Mass by way of suffrage of which we are now speaking implies no association in sacred things with the excommunicated person.

For there is no communication in sacred things with an infidel, when one of the faithful gives a mandate for the offering of the sacrifice for the salvation of an infidel, or when a priest offers the sacrifice in accordance with such a mandate: although, were the name of the infidel inserted in the Canon or other prayers of the Mass, there would be (according to the trend of our present day Liturgy) such communication. Hence, a pari, in the case of an excommunicated person, though his name must not be mentioned within the sacred mysteries, there is nothing to prevent a member of the faithful giving a mandate for the sacrifice on his behalf, or a priest from presenting the sacrifice for which he has received the mandate, provided only that no circumstance intervene which would make it appear to be done in commendation of him, or to show him honour or patronage. Such circumstance would intervene, if, for example, an announcement were made in public that the sacrifice would be offered, for a person who was excommunicated, on the occasion of his birthday, for instance, or the feast day of his patron saint, especially were such a man the head of a state, which would make the commendation more notorious. For the Church only gives such manifestation of honour and companionship to those who live in peace and communion with the body of the faithful. But the case would be different if it were understood that the Mass was celebrated for his conversion, reconciliation, salvation or the like. Hence in our own day Wernz wrote with full justification: "This prohibition does not exclude the secret application of the Mass for the living[even the excommunicati vitandi] to obtain their conversion" (Jus Decretalium, 1908, t. 3, p. 2, n. 542).

So far then, and for intrinsic reasons, we consider it safe to adopt the conclusion of Billuart.

He goes too far however when he says "I do not see why it would not be lawful for a priest to celebrate for an excommunicated person in the class of those not to be tolerated [hence a vitandus], WHETHER HE RECEIVES A STIPEND FROM HIM OR NOT (loc. cit.). For there is a vast difference, as we have abundantly shown, between a Mass offered by way of suffrage in favour of any person, and a Mass offered as from him. The excommunicated person, by the fact that he is excommunicated, is juridically outside the number of those who are competent to offer the sacrifice, even in that common offering of all the faithful, and accordingly (even though he be in the state of grace), he is not permitted to exercise any special offering, either as assisting (hence he is not allowed to be present where such a Mass is being said), or, a fortiori, as giving a stipend: because to treat him as a co-offerer is to communicate with him in sacred things, and in no case does a person treat any one more as a co-offerer than when he offers Mass for a person giving a stipend. Hence again Wernz very judiciously remarks (loc. cit.) : "the right is in no wise granted to these people, excommunicated persons, etc., to ask for these suffrages of Masses, e. g. for votive Masses, (missas votivas)[434] in the way in which this can be done by the faithful."[435]

It will be seen how fully this teaching is in accord with canons 809 and 2262 of the new Code of Canon Law: "It is lawful (integrum) to apply the Mass for all LIVING MEN, if one observes the precept of canon 2262, parag. 2, n. 2, which is: 'Priests are not forbidden... to apply the Mass privately, with all scandal removed, for him[the excommunicated person], but, if he is vitandus, for his conversion only.'"

It is interesting to note that here the Code seems to prescribe nothing regarding acceptance or non-acceptance of a stipend for Mass from non-Catholics or from excommunicated persons; but on the other hand it expressly permits that the sacrifice be offered for them at least by way of suffrage. The restriction of the scope of the offering, in the case of the excommunicated person, to his conversion, is in no way odious. For as a matter of fact, the Mass is offered for no one except in order to his salvation or to the benefits conducive to salvation. If then a man is excommunicated, as he is thereby presumed juridically to be contumacious towards the Church, the Mass can only be offered for him in order to his justification, by which way alone he can be led to his own salvation.



(ii) Dead Non-Catholics.

As we have already said (in XXIX), the sacrifice of the Church can certainly be offered for Catholics who have died in the peace of the Church. It is quite another matter when we come to consider other dead persons. For just as the Church presumes that all her children have died in Christ, so she presumes that all others, whoever they be, who have died outside of all visible communion with her, are now forever alienated from Christ: because, as we have said, the Church must judge according to outward signs. In this connection the saying of St. Augustine is properly, especially applicable: "For who would offer the Body of Christ, except for those who are members of Christ?" (De anima et ejus origine, 1, 1, c. 9. n. 10. P.L. 44, 480). For anyone who is judged to have died outside the body of Christ is considered as no longer competent to become a member of Christ at any future time.

Hence arose the question for which different solutions have been offered, as to the offering of the sacrifice for those of the departed who died either as non-Catholics or as excommunicated Catholics. We shall first deal with the question of catechumens as easiest of solution, then we shall deal with the case of non-Catholics and the excommunicated.


In the matter of Catechumens, at first sight patristic authority appears to be conflicting.

For in the first place we have the words of St. Ambrose in reference to the departed emperor Valentinianus who, when "in good health and with all his faculties unimpaired (sanus, robustus, incolumis) " had asked the saint by letter for baptism (De obitu Valentiniani consolatio, n. 51 and 52. P.L. 16, 1374; cf. Ep. 53, n. 2, col. 1166). In this case Ambrose confidently declares: "Freely offer for him the holy mysteries; with pious affection let us pray for his repose. Offer the celestial sacraments; let us assist the soul of the prodigal (nepotis) with our oblations... . I shall not therefore strew flowers on his tomb, but I shall saturate his spirit with the sweet odour of Christ" (Consolatio, n. 56, cols. 1375-1376).

Innocent III (see Chap. Apostolicam, Decr., 1, 3, tit. 43, c. 2) likewise writes to the bishop of Cremona, referring to a man who died with the grade of the priesthood, not knowing that he had not been baptised: "So hush to sleep the disputes (sopitis disputationibus) of theologians (doctorum), hold fast to the teachings of the Fathers, and order that constant prayers and sacrifices be offered in your church for the priest you have mentioned."

Moreover, St. Augustine is not to be quoted as in opposition to Ambrose and Innocent, where in the course of the same work mentioned above (De anima et ejus origine, 1, 3, c. 12, n. 18. P.L. 44, 520) he denies that "the sacrifice of Christians is to be offered for those who died without baptism" (cf. Serm. 172, c. 2. P.L. 38, 937). For the subject matter and the whole trend of the argument clearly show that he is speaking of those unbaptised dead persons who either would not or could not show before death their desire of baptism, such as infants who died without the sacrament. Indeed he clearly held that those who had such desire of baptism, are baptised or incorporated with Christ: "I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply what was wanting from baptism, but also faith and conversion of heart, if perchance, owing to stress of circumstances, recourse could not have been had to the celebration of the mystery of baptism.... For then it is supplied invisibly, when it is not contempt of religion, but pressing necessity that prevents the ministration of baptism" (De baptismo contra Donatistas, 1, 4, c. 22. P.L. 43, 173).[436]

A more formidable difficulty arises from the words of Chrysostom, who thus addressed the faithful of Antioch: "For very good reasons the Apostles made a law that the departed should be remembered in the awe-inspiring mysteries. They knew that great fruit and benefit would accrue to them[the departed] from these mysteries. Certainly then when the whole people and the sacerdotal body stand with outstretched hands, and the awful Victim lies there, we shall not fail to make supplication, calling upon God on their behalf. But while this is true of those who have died in the faith, the catechumens are not deemed worthy even of this consolation, but with one exception they are deprived of all assistance. What is this exception? It is permitted us to give alms to the poor for them" (In Phil., hom. 3, n. 4. P.G. 62, 204). He had already said: "Weep for the unbeliever, weep for those who differ in nothing from the unbeliever, who have departed without the illumination, without the Seal[of faith] .... They are outside the kingdom together with those who are in punishment, together with the damned" (ibid., col. 203). Though these words of Chrysostom do seem at first sight to exclude the offering of the Mass for catechumens, a closer examination will show that they may be interpreted as differing little in sense from those cited from Ambrose and Innocent. In the first place we must note that he was dealing especially with the customary public commemoration of the departed, made within the Mass; that is, in the diptychs of the dead, and in these diptychs we certainly never see the names of catechumens mentioned. Nor indeed in the Roman Canon are we supposed to mention by name any dead except those u ho have gone before us WITH THE SIGN OF FAITH.[437] The same reason probably is that, while living, such could not be offerers (except affectively, that is, in desire only, not effectively), and hence, seeing that their names could not be mentioned while they lived in the diptychs of the living offerers, much less would it be appropriate for their names to be inserted in the diptychs after their death. For although the dead were not properly considered as offerers,[438] nevertheless, as has been said, the diptychs of the dead as well as those of the living were introduced for the very special purpose of retaining and declaring, also after death, communion with those who while living took part in or had a share in the offering (koinwnian thj prosforaj).[439]

Moreover, if in this passage Chrysostom appears to exclude also the simple offering of the Mass (that is, without public mention in the diptychs) in favour of such departed catechumens, it should be noted that he clearly enough has in mind those catechumens who through carelessness, contempt or laziness put off baptism to the end of their lives and so were never baptised;[440] such persons, if while living after this manner were surprised by death, could hardly be considered, in the judgment of the Church, as effectively and sincerely anxious for baptism. Chrysostom therefore does not seem to be in opposition to Ambrose who allows the offering of the sacrifice for Valentinian who asked for baptism before death, and only accidentally could not receive it; or to Augustine who could only forbid the offering of the Mass for those who while living showed no desire for it, through contempt of it, or for unbaptised infants; or to Innocent III, who is considering an erroneous conscience in the case of the priest mentioned above who died not knowing that he had not been baptised.

The Council of Braga (A. D. 563) is also quoted against us. The seventeenth canon reads: "We decree that for catechumens who have departed without the redemption of baptism likewise (simili modo) no commemoration be made in the offering, and no office chanted for them: for this also has been done through ignorance" (Mansi, 9, 779). But in the first place there is no reason why this canon should not be interpreted in the same manner in which we have interpreted the words of Chrysostom above. Secondly, the Council may have had in mind nothing more than the making of a positive law to prevent the excessive delay of baptism in the future. For the Council says "likewise"; this " likewise " refers obviously enough to the preceding canon which forbids these offices of piety to persons condemned to capital punishment. But it is clear that, in the case of such persons as these last, nothing but a positive law could deprive them of the suffrages of the Mass.

Hence it seems, all things considered, that we must certainly adopt the more benign interpretation of the testimony of antiquity in this matter, and so we consider it lawful, unless the Church (for particular reasons) has decreed otherwise, to offer the Mass even specially and publicly for the relief of the dead adhering to the Catholic Church in so far as during life they showed themselves sincerely desirous of baptism.[441]

Infidels, Heretics, Schismatics.

Even should anyone consider that, as far as practice is concerned, the question of offering Mass for infidels, heretics and schismatics is solved in the way indicated later on, nevertheless its theoretical discussion bristles with theological difficulties, weighty arguments and authorities being advanced on either side.

And in the first place, if we consider the matter according to the intrinsic nature of things, it is by no means easy to understand how the sacrifice of the Church could be offered specially or by name (even if the name be not openly mentioned) for any non-Catholic dead person. The reason of our difficulty is that the Church is a visible society, in which everything which pertains to public law, or the external forum, must necessarily be ordered and transacted in the light of what is apparent externally; and in this case not only is the defunct non-Catholic—to judge by the only apparent external signs we have—outside the bounds of salvation, but also the special application of our sacrifices would appear to be essentially a matter of public law, external regimen.

And first of all, regarding the dead man himself: although during his lifetime the departed non-Catholic may, by faith and charity, have belonged to the body of Christ (which is the Church) invisibly, nevertheless just as then he was considered publicly as outside of it, so now, and as a consequence of that estimate of him while he was living, he is considered, presumed to be, outside of it eternally. Hence the Church must regulate everything in his regard which comes within the scope of the external forum, in accordance with this juridical presumption. Secondly, moreover, any question regarding the special application of the fruits of the Mass would seem to be a matter for the external forum of the Church. For even though this special application of the sacrifice were known only to the person giving the mandate, and to the priest presenting the sacrifice, it must nevertheless be borne in mind that this application will be considered, and reasonably so, as something of a social, public nature, in so far as the celebrant carries out his ministry, according to the intention of the faithful, not otherwise than as the public official of the Church, so that he recommends these intentions and promotes them before God[442], with all the full unimpaired authority and power of the whole Church. This being so, it is not easy to see how the Mass can be specially offered for a departed non-Catholic, even privately, as we say, that is, suppressing the name. So much for the intrinsic aspect of the matter.

Secondly, considering the question in the light of extrinsic authority, so far as I know not a single example can be brought forward, even if we go back to the earliest history of the Church, of such a special application of the Mass for a departed non-Catholic. Moreover, as far as I am aware, no theologian before our time has declared it lawful. Every student who has read what the scholastic theologians, moral and dogmatic, have said on this subject (to give a list would be tedious) knows,[443] that in reference to the application of the Mass the theologians have always divided the dead into three categories—the blessed, the souls in purgatory, and the damned; that in general they forbid the celebration of Mass for the damned,[444] permit it with reservation for the blessed, and permit it without reservation for the souls in purgatory.[445] Such is the well-known teaching of theologians. This general teaching, however, still leaves unsolved the further practical question, whether I can offer the Mass specially for this particular departed person by name, for I do not know under what category he comes. Here, however, a principle of great practical utility comes to our aid: visible peace and communion with the Church during life gives a juridical presumption, in the external forum, of peace and spiritual communion of the dead man with Christ, whose body the Church is. Such a juridical presumption supplies, in practice, for our ignorance; its presence or absence justifies or prohibits the special application for the dead person in question. Hence these leading theologians who maintained the right of offering for all the souls in purgatory had no hesitation when the question arose[446] in excluding the special application for a dead non-Catholic. And, indeed, a careful consideration will show that this triple category of which these theologians spoke (blessed, souls in purgatory, damned), and the other distinction by which the dead are divided into Catholic and non-Catholic, are in entirely different spheres. That triple distinction of the earlier writers regarded the present real state (unknown to us) of the separated souls—the blessed, the suffering souls in purgatory, and the damned; it was used most of all in polemics against the Protestants. The other distinction concerned their juridical state in this life (known to us), either of visible communion with the Church or of at least apparent estrangement, which gave a juridical presumption as to their state after death; and it is immediately practical in respect of our individual offerings. Hence the theologians did not argue from one set of categories to the other, for such a mode of argumentation was illicit, except when the legal presumption mentioned above supplied a link.

What the scholastic theologians taught in this matter had already been taught centuries before by Augustine, who says that the sacrifice cannot be offered for the unbaptised dead,[447] "of no matter what age"[448] (De anima et ejus origine, 1, 1, c. 11. P.L. 44, 481).[449]

After the Scholastic theologians we have the weighty authority of Gregory XVI. He writes to the Bishop of Augsburg on 16th February 1842, telling him that he acted unlawfully in appointing sacrifices to be offered for the soul of a dead heretical queen: "We can scarcely express in words how grieved we were to learn from reading this same letter that you ordered those public supplications which were instituted by the Church for all who have died in Christian and Catholic unity[Augustine, De cura pro mortuis gerenda, c. 4, n. 6. P.L. 40, 596] to be made for an heretical queen who died as she had lived, in open heresy. NOR IS IT IN ANY WAY TO THE POINT THAT IN THE LAST MOMENTS OF HER LIFE SHE MAY HAVE BEEN LED TO PENANCE BY THE HIDDEN GRACE OF A MERCIFUL GOD. FOR THESE HIDDEN MYSTERIES OF DIVINE GRACE IN NO WAY PERTAIN TO THE OUTWARD JUDGMENT OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL POWER[that is, to the external forum] . And HENCE it has been forbidden by JUST discipline, both ancient and modern, to honour with Catholic rites those who have died in open and notorious profession of heresy"[450] (Acta Gregorii, P. P. XVI, ed. A. M. Bernasconi, Rome, 1902, tom. 3, p. 199). Will you say that it was only the publicity and notoriety of the celebration that the Pontiff reprehended? But as Wilmers (Lehrbuch der Religion, Munster, 1903, bd. 4, p. 564)[451] very rightly remarked, although here there was a case of public and notorious celebration, the reason given by the Pope for the discipline of the Church in this matter excludes any celebration whatever, no matter how private, specially or by name for a departed non-Catholic;[452] namely, that good faith, even if it did exist in such a person, is invisible, betrayed by no outward signs, and hence gives no warrant to the Church for the offering of sacrifice for such a one. For God, not the Church, is the judge of these hidden secrets. In other words, in matters of this kind the Church can be guided by no other rule than the dictates of juridical presumption. That this is the right interpretation of Gregory is confirmed by his quoting the words of St. Augustine on the supplications instituted by the Church for all who have died in Christian and Catholic communion. For the holy Doctor was speaking there of the sacrifices to be celebrated for the departed " without even mentioning any names".[453]

We have a further proof of our contention in another letter of the same Pontiff—ad Praesidem Monachorum Schyrensium. In this letter, dated 9th July 1842, he protests that he cannot permit an annual celebration of this kind for a defunct non-Catholic, even under the coloured title of a Mass for all the departed of a certain royal family, the majority of whom were Catholics.[454] And this," lest there be any evasion whatever of that prohibition WHICH IS BASED ON CATHOLIC DOCTRINE ITSELF OF NOT CELEBRATING THE SACRED OBSEQUIES (funere)[455] for defunct non-Catholics".[456] Here it should be noted that the Pontiff definitely excludes all non-Catholics from the special application of the Mass; he makes no distinction between heretics and unbelievers, and therefore does not appeal to any positive law of the Church regarding excommunicated persons but simply to Catholic teaching itself.

It is not surprising, then, that to the following question: "Is it lawful to offer the Mass for those who die in manifest heresy... even in the case where the application of this Mass was known only to the priest and to the person giving the stipend?", the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office replied on 7th April, 1875: "It is not lawful." Such are the reasons given by those who say that the Mass cannot be offered for the non-Catholic dead.

Those, on the other hand, who say that the Mass can be offered urge an intrinsic reason of some moment: that the intention of the person who gives the mandate is purely internal, so much so that it need not be made known even to the celebrant, for he may celebrate, as the saying is, ad intentionem dantis, "for the intention of the giver of the stipend", and such intention may not be known even to himself. I would not care to decide whether this reason is convincing, since even if the intention is internal it is promoted, nevertheless, by the public action of the sacrifice, as was said above. But whatever may be said of this argument, we have at least the extrinsic weighty authority of theologians of the present day, who hold that the Mass can be celebrated privately for a deceased non-Catholic in a certain case, if he died with truly probable indications of good faith and the state of grace. Thus Lehmkuhl (Theol. Moral., 5, n. 176), followed by Genicot, Noldin, Wernz, Lepicier, etc. But the practical difficulty in respect of the required condition is that, juridically, in the external forum of the Church, signs of good faith are of no value unless at the same time a desire has been manifested in some way or other of entering into or returning to the Church:[457] so that the person concerned may then be considered in the same way as catechumens or those who retract their errors.[458] But whatever may be said of this difficulty, the formidable authority of these theologians of note (allowing the application under the conditions stated) must stand for what it is worth.

And now at long last we must deal with an important consideration. Does not the Code of Canon Law actually give authentic support and assent to the teaching of these theologians? For so we read: "It is permitted to apply the Mass for any of the living, and also for any of the dead who are atoning for their sins in the fire of purgatory" (Canon 809). Certainly, if by that Canon the supreme authority of the teaching Church sanctions even indirectly the teaching of the above-mentioned modern theologians, by all means let the teaching flourish and prevail, and the other be abandoned, as the arguments in its favour must then be considered weak and ineffective.

However, before concluding that the matter is thus settled, we should first carefully consider what is the proper meaning and the scope of the Canon. Does the Canon really say that the Mass can be specially offered for dead non-Catholics? It plainly says that the Mass can be offered for any dead persons who are in purgatory, but this we already know to be, we might say (fere), the universal teaching of the Scholastic theologians,[459] and yet, as we have stated above, we cannot conclude from it that the Scholastic theologians taught that the Mass could be offered in a special manner for departed non-Catholics. What justification have we then for inferring more from the Canon than from this well-known teaching of the theologians?

And indeed a priori it is most unlikely that the Legislator wished to decide this matter by way of a Canon, in opposition, it would seem, to the teaching of Gregory XVI, and to the still more explicit decision of the Holy Office. Seeing, too, that the Canon affects the customary style of the scholastic theologians, is it not also reasonable to suppose that it keeps within the limits of their commonly received or more general teaching? Moreover, suppose the purpose of the Canon was to establish definitely the legal right of offering the Mass for this or that dead person, whatever may have been his visible relation to the Church on earth, the words for those expiating their sins in the fires of purgatory would seem to serve no practical purpose whatever, as they speak of a condition which we cannot verify. On the other hand, these words are useful and necessary if the Canon is to be interpreted as giving its sanction, in accordance with the common teaching of the Schools, to the well-known triple category of the separated souls in their relation to the sacrifice of the Church.

Furthermore, among the sources to which the Codex refers us not one has any bearing on this controversy.

Bearing all this in mind, we should hesitate before extending or amplifying the sense of this Canon.[460]

Having weighed the arguments on either side, I find it no easy matter to arrive at a final decision regarding the celebration of the Mass for a dead non-Catholic. On the one hand, I feel inclined to oppose such application by reasons for which I find no adequate answer. On the other, I hesitate to decide finally against such application, not only because of the authority of modern theologians which seem to favour it, but also because of the difficulty from Canon Law which does not appear to me to be completely solved. Therefore though the solution which says that the Mass cannot be offered seems to me to be the truer, nevertheless I prefer to submit my judgment to the wisdom of more expert theologians, or to an authentic decision, should one be made, both as to the actual celebration of the Mass for departed non-Catholics and as to the interpretation of Canon 809.

Meantime we need not fear that by adopting the severer teaching we would thereby exclude all help for the souls of those non-Catholic departed who, although they lacked all visible union with the Church, nevertheless inwardly, in good faith in God our Saviour, had charity towards the heavenly Father and the universal brotherhood. For it follows from our teaching, and also from our interpretation of Canon 809, against Vasquez, that every sacrifice of the Church benefits such generally, with the souls of the baptised, and much more so those sacrifices whose first intention is the relief of the souls in purgatory. Therefore no matter to what class the soul of the departed may belong, be it that of those who lived in heresy and schism or even in apparent infidelity, nevertheless if, with the grace of God strong in his soul, he has died in Christ, every suffrage of the Church for all the souls in purgatory in common will benefit him, even though no special offering can be made for such a soul. The reason is that the Church when offering generally for all the faithful departed excludes no one of the members of Christ from her suffrage. She passes no judgment, makes no distinction; she offers the Body of Christ for all the members of Christ. Thus, therefore, assistance is rendered to all the holy souls by the universal brotherhood of charity, even to those who are without the baptismal character, and who never by any outward sign manifested the desire of entering the Church.

If you are worried, therefore, about the eternal welfare of a relative or a friend, who never (alas!) was known to be within the fold of the Church, devote your suffrages to all the departed in Christ, hoping that he, too, may thus reap the fruit of the common benefit of the suffrage. Nor will you do anything against the divine law if you pray to God in your own name that a larger and more abundant share of the suffrage which is common to all, and which is derived through the Mass, may be bestowed on him. For it is one thing to offer specially for a certain one (which means to direct by your own intention to the special benefit of that one the suffrage of the Church's sacrifice which is celebrated by her public representative), and quite another thing to offer indiscriminately for all, and while offering humbly to beg of God in your own private name and not by the public act of sacrifice, that what is beneficial to all in general may benefit that one especially.[461] For even though we may offer the Mass specially only for the faithful departed, still we are unquestionably within our rights when offering in this other way for any or all departed adults. For we are told never to despair of the salvation of anyone, and consequently, too, we are never forbidden to help towards the salvation of anyone by our prayers, until we have positive certainty that by final impenitence he has placed himself outside the possibility of salvation; and of this as a rule we can have no certainty in the case of any man.

(C) Repentant Excommunicated Persons Absolved After Death.

All we have hitherto said about the non-Catholic dead can be applied with due proportion to a Catholic should he die under excommunication in the class of the Vitandi ("to be shunned"). In the Decreta there are many passages forbidding the special offering of the Mass for such a one (cap. A nobis and Sacris, Decret., lib. 5, tit. 39, c. 28 and 38, etc.). The reason for such a prohibition is much the same as that given above in the case of non-Catholics. For such a man, because of his contumacy, his obstinate disobedience towards the Church, was ejected by excommunication from the body of the Church, and the injunction of Christ is therefore applicable to him: Let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican. Moreover, as he died in the state of excommunication, HE IS PRESUMED in the external forum still to be outside the bounds of salvation. Nevertheless, if before death he had given "evident signs" of repentance, whereby it is plain that he submitted to the keys of the Church and would have received absolution had he not been overtaken by death, there is now no reason why he should not be absolved even after death, by the Church, under whose sentence he was bound; after such absolution he would no longer be regarded juridically, in the external forum, as reprobate, but as elect, and it would be lawful to celebrate Mass for him (cap. A nobis, from Innocent III, Regest., 1, 2, c. 61. P.L. 214, 599-601), even publicly.

Perhaps we may understand in this way the words of Cardinal Gasparri (op. cit. n. 489, p. 349) when he says: "What if a Mass were requested with the offering of a stipend for a person who died in infidelity, or heresy, excommunication or in open sin? Let the priest answer that he can apply the Mass for all the faithful departed with the intention of assisting also the soul of that particular departed one, if this is acceptable to God." Lepicier, even in the very place where he permits a special offering, recommends this as the safer practice (De sacrosancto sacrificio eucharistiae, Paris, 1916, q. 4, a. 5, n. 7, p. 211).

The Mass Of A Priest Cut Off From The Church Or Deprived Of His Office


SO FAR we have dealt with the Mass celebrated by a priest in union with the Church. A question now arises, not in itself so easy of solution, and further complicated by the want of agreement regarding it among the earlier theologians. What is the value, what is the fruit of the Mass celebrated by one who is not just a bad or unworthy priest, but one either separated from the Church as by public excommunication, or notorious heresy, or perfect schism, or a priest who, while himself remaining within the fold of the Church, is deprived of his office and status.[462]


In the first place, then, a doubt arises as to what value or acceptability and efficacy such a Mass could have.[463] For, as we have said, the sacrifice of any priest is infallibly acceptable, just in so far as the chief earthly offerer is the Church, in whose name the priest offers as the proper organ of the ecclesiastical body. But how shall we consider that the Church offers through the priest whom she has cut off? The priest himself may be free from his erstwhile guilt, he may be repentant, nevertheless he is now guilty of the sin of contumacious offering of the sacrifice. In such a case, where, to use the words of Scotus (quoted by us above, Th. XXV), is the "acceptable offerer", where is the "good will of the offerer (voluntas offerens) "? How could the acceptability of the sacrifice come from the active offering of such an one?

Will you say that the acceptability rests with Christ, the principal offerer? True, Christ is the principal offerer of every Mass, but not, as we have said, in the sense that when Christ through the priest makes a new consecration He at the same time elicits a new act of offering. The offering of each Mass by Christ is virtual, not actively elicited in each case: through His one unique offering elicited long ago, and by virtue of which we now offer, He virtually offers each sacrifice coming from His mystic body, which we are. Hence, if any offering cannot be considered to come from His body, the Church, the offering of our Head cannot be considered in any degree whatever to pour its virtue into that offering. Hence, any sacrifice that does not proceed from the Church will have no acceptability derived from Christ's offering.[464]

Indeed, not only does acceptability seem to be lacking in the sacrifice of a priest who is cut off, but also validity of the consecration. For no priest can offer except on the part of the Church, as we have said; and without a true offering no consecration is valid. Hence if the priest who is cut off cannot offer on behalf of the Church, evidently he cannot consecrate validly.

We see, then, that there are intrinsic reasons for doubting, not merely the acceptability, the value to us, but even the validity of the Mass of the priest who is cut off. Our Catholic doctors of theology have never raised the question[465] whether the power of consecrating was lost or the sacrifice itself infected by the badness or unworthiness alone of the minister.[466] The real and only question at issue was: what value, if any, could be assigned to the Mass of priests separated from the Church's communion by heresy, apostasy, schism or excommunication, or of such as were at any rate deprived by Church law of the right to exercise their office though not cut off from the Church.

For since priests deprived of their sacred office are no longer publicly deputed or commissioned by the Church to offer the sacrifice in her name, we must investigate if they, too, though not cut off from the Church, can offer sacrifice in her name. Many thought that these were in the same position as those cut off from the Church in respect of the offering of the sacrifice; indeed some held that their condition was even worse in this regard than that of those cut off (see jurists and William of Paris below).

The present question is akin to but not identical with the question as to the validity of ordinations administered outside the Church. This last question was dealt with by L. Saltet in his learned work Les Reordinations (Paris, 1907), in which, by reason of the internal similarity and historical connection of the subject matter, he necessarily inserted a number of quotations which will be found also in the course of the present discussion.[467] The difference between the two questions is plainly seen first of all if we compare the power of conferring orders in the case of a bishop ordaining outside the Church, and the power of consecrating in a priest celebrating outside the Church; for in the one case we can advance an argument proving invalidity, which in the other has not the slightest semblance of truth. Thus, in certain cases and for historical reasons, there have been some who denied the power to confer orders while admitting the power to consecrate (see below, St. Peter Damian, after A. D. 1060); while there were others again who would not allow that certain persons could consecrate validly, while maintaining that they had the power of conferring orders (see Gerhoh and the author of the Summae Sententiarum, below).

Secondly, if we compare the case of a priest cut off from the Church with that of a priest ordained outside the Church, the question of what sacrificial power each may have, in each case, is completely different. Regarding the priest ordained in heresy or schism, the real point at issue is whether he has received true orders. If the order was invalid (and according to the teaching of those who require reordination in such case it was invalid), then that man can never consecrate the Eucharist validly either within or without the Church, even if he may happen to be a Catholic, or become one (unless we imagine a kind of sanatio in radice for those later reconciled to the Church, as Hugo of Amiens thought possible—see below). Our question, on the other hand, absolutely presupposes the incontestable validity of the orders. We speak of a real priest and of a priest ordained legitimately within the Church. If this priest celebrates outside of the Catholic Church, what does he effect?

The difference between these two questions is further indicated by the fact that many of the Fathers and Theologians dealt with illegitimate ordination without speaking at all of illegitimate celebration, and vice versa.

While dealing with this question the Fathers had constantly in mind the following or similar texts from the Old Testament:

The victims [that is, the sacrifices] of the wicked are abominable to the Lord (Prov., XV, 8).
The sacrifices of the wicked are abominable (Prov., XXI, 27).
The Most High approveth not the gifts of the wicked (Eccli., XXXIV, 23).
Their sacrifices shall be like the bread of mourners; all that shall eat it shall be defiled (Agg., II, 15).

Before indicating the general principles for the solution of this question, we must first examine the most relevant passages from the Fathers and Doctors, giving explanations, critical or historical, as occasion demands.


1. St. Cyprian (D. 258).[468]

St. Cyprian uses every endeavour to prevent the faithful from holding communion with the priest Fortunatianus, lapsed into apostasy," since the offering cannot be sanctified where the Holy Spirit is not" (Ep. 64, c. 4. P.L. 4, 392). The schismatic, he says, "dares to set up another altar... to desecrate (profanare) THE TRUTH OF THE VICTIM OF THE LORD BY FALSE SACRIFICES (De unitate Ecclesiae, c. 17. P.L. 4, 513).

He would reduce to the state of laymen, after they had been converted, those priests who "have attempted to offer FALSE and sacrilegious SACRIFICES outside the fold of the Church, over against the one divine altar" (Ep. 72, c. 2. P.L. 3, 1048-1049).[469] The rebels Chore, Dathan and Abiron " were immediately punished for their lawless attempts, nor could their impious and sacrilegious sacrifices, offered in opposition to the law of divine disposition, be ratified and fruitful, and yet they did not cause a schism". Hence, he argues, a fortiori the sacrifices of the schismatical Novatianists will neither be ratified nor fruitful: "How can they perfect what they do, or how in their lawless endeavours impetrate anything from God, they who strive against God to do what is unlawful for them?" (Ep. 76, c. 8. P.L. 3, 1144-1145; cf. Testimoniorum liber, 3, c. 111. P.L. 4, 778).[470]

Perhaps some might doubt whether Cyprian in these passages is speaking of the fruit alone, or of the validity as well as the fruit of the sacrifice. One who held that he is speaking of the fruit alone might perhaps say that the phrase the oblation cannot be sanctified may well refer to the impious, irreligious, sacrilegious and profane ACTIVE offering, and that the sanctity of the thing OFFERED is not thereby necessarily excluded. Again he might argue that Cyprian does not deny the truth of the Victim in such a case, that is, he does not deny that the Victim is truly Christ, but rather asserts it, no matter how much it be profaned by false sacrifices, that is, by an offering not acceptable to God, and so not ratified. For that sacrifice only is true in which God truly accepts our gift; and He certainly does not accept it from our hands, no matter how acceptable in itself the gift may be, if He looks on our offering with disgust.

However, we find a passage in the Epistola ad Januarium, etc., 70, c. 2. (P.L. 3, 1040-1041), which creates a slight difficulty against this view: "It is through the Eucharist that (Eucharistia est, unde) the baptised are annointed with oil (baptizati unguntur oleum) sanctified on the altar.[471] But he who had neither altar nor church could not sanctify the creature, oil. Hence the heretics cannot have the spiritual unction, since it is plain that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE AMONG THEM FOR THE OIL TO BE SANCTIFIED OR THE EUCHARIST TO BE MADE fieri). "These words appear to imply a blunt denial of the validity of the Eucharistic celebration by heretics; on the other hand, however, it is just possible that they may mean merely that the Eucharist CANNOT BE MADE IN ORDER TO SANCTIFICATION by the heretics: their Eucharist would be validly made, but it would not serve, as a vehicle of sanctification, to consecrate their oil by its influence, so to speak. This comes to the same thing as saying that the Eucharist could not be made in all its elements by the heretics, seeing that that would be wanting in it which is the reality only (res tantum), which is incorporation with Christ in the Church by the Holy Spirit.

Though such interpretations of Cyprian (we omit for the moment another from William of Paris which we shall give later on) are not fully convincing,[472] nevertheless they should make us hesitate to state confidently that the validity of all consecration by heretics was certainly denied by Cyprian. However, even if it were proved beyond doubt that Cyprian denied the validity of consecration by heretics, this would cause little surprise, as he certainly did deny the validity of baptism conferred by heretics.[473]

2. St. Optatus Of Milevis (D. 384)

St. Optatus of Milevis notes the inconsistency of the heretics who, though they do not belong to the universal Church, claim, nevertheless, to offer the sacrifice for the universal Church. In other words, they should be within the Catholic Church—by renouncing heresy, of course—and so offer the sacrifice for her, or, if they wish to remain without the Church, pay heed to God rebuking them: "Why do you offer for the whole (pro tota) if you are not of the whole (qui non es in tota) "? The full passage runs: "You can be justly convicted of falsehood on this very ground that you offer sacrifices daily. For, in the mystery of the sacraments who could have any doubt that you cannot pass over as of no importance the very thing that makes them legitimate (illud legitimum in sacramentorum mysterio praeterire non posse). YOU SAY THAT YOU OFFER TO GOD FOR THE CHURCH, WHICH IS ONE; part of the lie is this: that you call that one which you yourselves would make two. And you say that you also offer to God for the one Church which is spread throughout the world. What if God were to say to each of you: Why do you offer for the whole, you who are not a part of the whole?" (De Schismate Donatistarum, 1, 2, c. 12. P.L. 11, 965).

Nevertheless, these words of Optatus are no certain proof that he considered the sacrifice of schismatics to be invalid. He would certainly be maintaining their invalidity if we understood him to say: He who offers can only offer for the whole Church. BUT the schismatic not being in the whole Church cannot offer for the whole Church. THEREFORE the schismatic cannot offer. But we can interpret his words in another way, by leaving the Major of the syllogism as it stands, but changing the Minor as follows, and so reaching a somewhat different conclusion: BUT he who is not in the whole Church cannot, without being inconsistent, offer for the whole Church. B UT to be inconsistent is to be false. THEREFORE he is proven false. The schismatic may be false and inconsistent, but this does not at once prove that his offering is invalid, no matter how foolish and inconsistent his mental attitude may be.[474]

It is not easy to decide which interpretation is the better. The second, however, seems to be the more probable.

For, in the first place, Optatus himself is here arguing ad hominem against those who looked upon the Catholic Church as an unlawful sect. The Donatists, he says, should not have treated as profane and polluted the altars and the sacred vessels used by the Catholics, for, even if the Catholics were polluted, still the invocation of God to sanctify would have greater power than the contact of Catholics to defile. Though Optatus did not apply this principle expressly to the Eucharist, still he enunciates it in the most general sense in the words: "You say that we read in the Scripture: Should the unclean touch it, it is unclean.... Yes, granted, if touch alone is in question, and the invocation of the divine name of God does not intervene.... For if the invocation of God intervene, that invocation sanctifies even what appeared to be polluted.... It is clear, therefore, that a thing can be sanctified by the invocation of God, even if it is a sinner who invokes God, for mere touch cannot have as great power as the invocation of the divine name has" (ibid., 1, 6, c. 3, cols. 1071-1072).

Secondly, though Optatus often draws a sharp line between heretics and schismatics when speaking of the sacraments, and though it is not always clear whether when he uses the word sacrament he means what we properly call sacraments or rather sacred things and the mysteries of faith in general (op. cit., 1, 1, n. 10-12, cols. 899-908), nevertheless he certainly seems to consider that baptism received by any man, even a schismatic, is valid provided it is received in right faith and with the invocation of the Trinity (op. cit., 1, 5, c. 1-8, cols. 1047-1061).[475]

But would not this statement of Optatus increase the difficulty regarding the validity of consecration by heretics, as Optatus excludes them from the reception of baptism, by opposition to those who have faith (loc. cit.)? The difficulty disappears, however, if we note that in baptism it is the faith not of the minister of baptism (or, as he says, "operantis", 1, 5, c. 4, or "operarii", c. 7) that he insists on, but of the receiver only of the sacrament. And so we may at least conjecture that faith in the minister is not held to be necessary by him for validity of the Eucharistic consecration.[476]

3. St. Jerome (D. 420)[477]

St. Jerome says that sacrifices offered by heretics are not acceptable to God. And although he includes in the list what can only be called sacrifices in an improper or metaphorical sense, there is no doubt whatever that he has in mind principally the sacrifice of the Eucharist.

Thus on Amos, V, 22: If you offer me holocausts and your gifts, I will not receive them: neither will I regard the vows of your fat beasts, he makes the following comment: "We can say all this of the heretics. God detests their sacrifices and casts them from him, and whenever they assemble in the name of the Lord He hates their filth and closes His nostrils.... And if they offer sacrifices, give alms, fast, promise purity, all of which are holocausts, the Lord does not accept them, nor does He deign to regard their richest victims. For He does not judge the magnitude of their sacrifices, rather He judges the merits and the motives of the offerers.... But God looks upon our gifts, that is the gifts of the Church, which we offer from our first fruits, as He once regarded the sacrifice of Abel" (P.L. 25, 1033-1034).

Again on Aggaeus, II, 15 (P.L. 25, 1049) : "Aggaeus, well acquainted with the sacred solemnities, and for this reason called Aggaeus, ' of the festival' (et ob id festi sortitus est nomen), answers as follows: So is this people, and so is this nation, that is, of the Jews and Gentiles, AND OF ALL HERETICS, before my face, saith the Lord. ALL THAT THEY HAVE OFFERED TO ME, that is, sacrifices for salvation, sin, peace offerings, offerings for sin or fault, in holocaust, in alms, in fasting, in restraint in the use of food and chastity of body, SHALL BE DEFILED BEFORE MY FACE. For though what are offered by such seem in outward appearance to be holy, nevertheless because they are touched by one whose soul is defiled all these things shall be defiled."

Similarly he comments on Osee, IX, 34 (P.L. 25, 982) : "What the heretics offer does not please Him, nor do they themselves who offer, please Him."

Then again Jerome seems to deny the validity of their sacrifices, where not only does he say that God will not accept anything from them, but also says that their sacrifices are simulations; "The Apostle teaches that in the Church there is one Altar, one faith, one baptism (Ephes., IV); deserting this Altar, the heretics have built for themselves many altars, not so to appease God but to add to their crimes.... Whatever they do SIMULATING THE ORDER AND THE RITE OF THE SACRIFICES, whether they give alms, or promise purity, or simulate humility, and deceive the simple by false blandishments, THE LORD WILL ACCEPT NO SACRIFICES OF THIS KIND (P.L., 25, 888—889).

The expression " simulating the order and rite of the sacrifices" reminds us of Firmilian's letter to Cyprian, c. 10. P.L. 3, 1165, where he refers to a woman who " by a not altogether contemptible invocation would SIMULATE the sanctification of the bread, and the making of the Eucharist, and so offer the sacrifice to the Lord, not omitting the significant words of the customary Canon prayers (solitae praedicationis) ".[478] The word "simulation" was certainly used by writers to denote an invalid sacrifice. It is no wonder then that mediaeval writers like Gratian (below) appealed to Jerome as maintaining the invalidity of sacrifices offered by the heretics.

And what of another passage (Homilia de Exodo, in vigilia Paschae, Anecdota Maredsolana, vol. 3, par. 2, p. 406) where he distinctly says that the Lamb is not truly eaten or truly immolated by heretics? "We must not think that this one-year-old lamb can be eaten in any place whatsoever. It is enjoined upon us to eat it in one household, that is, we must not think that it is immolated outside the Church. It is plain from this that the Jews, heretics, and the conventicles of perverted teaching, seeing that they do not eat the Lamb within the Church, eat not the Flesh of the Lamb, but rather that of the dragon, which the psalm says was given to be the meat of the Ethiopians.... In the immolation (immolatione) of the Lamb, therefore, the Lamb is only then truly slain (occiditur) when it is immolated (mactatur) in the one household."[479]

Nevertheless we do not think the holy Doctor should be interpreted so strictly as to imply invalidity. For in the Dialogus contra Luciferianos, c. 6. P.L. 23, 160, he seems openly to defend the validity. The Luciferiani would have the Church refuse to restore to office priests who were implicated in Arianism for a time, and held that they should be received back into the Church after conversion not in the grade of priests, but only with the status of laymen. Jerome argues thus: "I beg of you, either to give permission to offer sacrifice to the one of whose baptism you approve, or to reject the baptism of the one whom you do not consider a priest. For it cannot be that one who when baptising (in baptismate) is holy, at the altar is a sinner." I am well aware that here the only purpose of St. Jerome was to claim for those who have returned to Church unity authorisation to offer the sacrifice in the Catholic Church; from which alone it does not of course follow that he considered that the sacrifices celebrated by them while still in heresy were valid. But the principle from which he argues implies both the authority to offer the sacrifice in the Church and the validity of the sacrifice of such men while still out of it. For if a heretic could not validly consecrate in his own sect, argues St. Jerome, it would be possible that the same person who is holy in the administration of baptism, that is to say, has the co-operation of the Holy Spirit when he is baptising, would be a sinner at the altar, that is, would lack the cooperation of the same Spirit of sanctification for the consecration. Now when Jerome says that this cannot be, he therefore affirms that the Arian who validly baptises also consecrates validly, of course on the supposition of his valid ordination as a priest.

All things considered, therefore, it is safer to understand the "simulation" to which Jerome refers above in the same way as we interpreted the words of Cyprian, that the sacrifice offered by a heretic is false in the sense that such a sacrifice not only has no fruit either to the offering minister or to the one who asks that the sacrifice be offered, or to the assisting congregation, but rather avails to their ruin (as will be explained at greater length in the third paragraph of this chapter). Similarly, when he excludes from the sacrifice of heretics true immolation and true eating, he merely wishes to exclude immolation fruitful of propitiation, and eating fruitful of sanctification for those who receive.[480]

4. St. Augustine (D. 430)

Certainly this is the teaching of St. Augustine. Commenting on Psalm CXV, 17-19: I will sacrifice to thee a sacrifice of praise, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the sight of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem, he has the following words: "One who remembers not only that he is a slave of God, but also that he is the child of the handmaid of God, clearly sees WHERE HE PAYS HIS VOWS, conformed to Christ by the chalice of salvation: In the courts of the house of the Lord, he says. The handmaid of God is here the same as the house of God, and what is the house of God but all His people? Hence the words that follow: in the sight of all his people. And now He clearly gives the name of His mother. For who are His people but those who are in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem? FOR THEN IS THAT WHICH IS RENDERED TO GOD PLEASING WHEN IT IS OFFERED FROM PEACE AND IN PEACE. They who are not the children of this handmaid have loved war rather than peace" (Enarr. in Psalm, CXV, n. 9. P.L. 36, 1494) . Although here Augustine has in mind not so much the visible sacrifice as the invisible sacrifice, in which we dedicate ourselves to God even unto martyrdom (cf. n. 5, col. 1493), still his language is so comprehensive that it does not exclude reference to the visible sacrament of the invisible sacrifice, which is our sacrifice of the Eucharist. Therefore unless this sacrifice is offered in the peace of the Catholic Church, it is not pleasing to God.

One must not, however, infer from the fact that Augustine says these sacrifices are not acceptable that he considers them invalid, for he constantly insists on their validity.[481] For in the first place he asserts in the most general terms that the Donatists have all the sacraments which they now give in the way in which they were given by them before they seceded: "FOR ALL THE SACRAMENTS OF THE LORD ARE FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH; you have them and give them, just as you had them and gave them before you abandoned her. The fact that you are not in the Church from whom you have the sacraments does not mean that you have not the sacraments. YOU ARE WITH US in baptism, in the symbol, IN THE OTHER SACRAMENTS OF THE LORD (Ep. 93, n. 46. P.L. 33, 343). "They do not cease to be the sacraments of Christ and the Church because the heretics and even all the impious and iniquitous use them unlawfully. These men are to be corrected or punished, their sacraments are to be acknowledged and venerated" (Contra Donatistas, 1, 3, c. 10, n. 13. P.L. 43, 144).

The reason for this is that the sacraments of Christ cannot be defiled by men, either within or without the Church (ibid., 1, 4, c. 12, n. 18. P.L. 43, 166).

"Neither inside nor outside the Church can one who is on the side of the devil pollute, either in himself or in another, the sacrament which is Christ's." Indeed "God is present in the sacraments and in His words, no matter who administers them, and the sacraments of God are everywhere good" (ibid., 1, 5, c. 20, n. 27, col. 190).

Secondly, of the Schismatics in particular he says that they have the sacrament of the Body of Christ, but they have not the thing signified by that sacrament of the Body of Christ, which is ecclesiastical unity (Ep. 185, n. 50. P.L. 33, 815). "Let them not seek the Holy Spirit except in the body of Christ [meaning the Church], outside of which they have the sacrament[meaning the Eucharist], while they do not hold the reality within[meaning ecclesiastical unity and peace], of which it is the sacrament; and therefore they eat and drink judgment to themselves", that is to say, not discerning the real Body of the Lord; for while they receive this Body contained in the Eucharist, they do not adhere to the ecclesiastical body of Christ, of which the Eucharist is the sign.

Thirdly, he says explicitly that in dissension and schism they offer the sacrifice (Ep. 43, c. 8, n. 21. P.L. 33, 170) : "They baptise outside the Church... they sacrifice in dissension and schism."

There is nothing strange in this: for if the legal sacrifice celebrated by the fornicating (unfaithful) Jews was valid, because it was not their institution but God's, for a far higher reason, therefore, the sacrifice of the New Testament instituted to replace that legal sacrifice will be valid when celebrated by heretics and schismatics: "The fornication of the people of that time, which in His indignation the Lord condemned, did not have the effect of making those sacraments theirs which were not their sacraments but the sacraments of God, who, speaking to the fornicating people, says that all these sacraments are His. And so even the Lord Himself sent those whom He had cleansed from leprosy to the same sacraments to have the sacrifice offered for themselves by the priests (for the time of His own sacrifice had not come yet, that sacrifice which was to replace all the others, because in all these others He was Himself foretold). How much more must we, finding the sacraments of the New Testament among heretics and schismatics, not attribute these sacraments to them, nor reprobate those sacraments, as though we did not recognise them; rather we must recognise the gifts of the legitimate husband, though they are in the hands of the fornicating wife" (Contra Donatistas, 1, 3, c. 19, n. 27. P.L. 43, 154).

Fourthly, he holds that all the sacrifices of the schismatics and the heretics, though valid, profit them nothing: "When the heretics and schismatics return to us, we do not change, but rather we approve of those things they have and do in the same way as the true Church. For they are not separated from us in those things in which they agree with us. Nevertheless because THESE THINGS DO NOT BENEFIT THEM AS LONG AS THEY ARE IN HERESY OR SCHISM, because of other things in which they dissent from the truth, and because of the monstrous crime of schism... we exhort them to return to the right way of peace and charity, not only that they may enter into the possession of something they did not have, but also that what they did possess may begin to be of benefit to them" (ibid. 1, 1, c. 13, n. 21. P.L. 43, 121).

Indeed, these things can only harm them in their separated state: "We must take away from them the error which they wrongfully imbibed, not the sacraments which they received, also wrongfully. These THEY HAVE AND KEEP TO THEIR OWN PUNISHMENT, in so far as they possess them unworthily, though they nevertheless do possess them" (Ep. 89, n. 7. P.L. 33, 312).

5. St. Prosper (D. 455)

Though professing to set before us the mind of St. Augustine in this matter, St. Prosper uses expressions which go considerably beyond those of his master. In his Liber Sententiarum ex operibus S. Augustini delibatarum, c. 15. (P.L. 5 1, 430), he says: "You must consider where you offer, because WITHOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THERE IS NO PLACE OF TRUE SACRIFICE.[482] As we see it, Augustine merely stated that the sacrifices offered by heretics were not acceptable. Prosper goes a long way further when he says, as though from St. Augustine, that they are lacking in truth, if by truth he means validity. But even if by true Prosper means valid, this expression of Prosper, not of Augustine, contains nothing contrary to faith, as we shall see, in the sense that the sacrifice of no man outside the Church is valid, unless it is offered within the Catholic Church, from some point of view.

6. St. Leo The Great (D. 461)

The words of Leo the Great present no difficulty where he forbids Anatolius of Constantinople to receive any bishops from the Eutychian heresy into communion with the Catholic Church: "unless they first condemn by a fitting anathema the doctrines which have been accepted by them against the Catholic faith. For otherwise in the Church of God, which is the body of Christ, NEITHER ARE PRIESTHOODS RATIFIED, NOR ARE SACRIFICES TRUE, unless the true Pontiff, possessing all the properties of our human nature, reconciles us[with God], and the true Blood of the Immaculate Lamb cleanses us. Though He is seated at the right hand of the Father, it is nevertheless in the same flesh that He took from the Virgin that He enacts the sacrament of propitiation" (Ep. 80, c. 2. P.L. 54, 914). St. Leo shows the folly of professing to offer the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Church, which is the body of Christ, while at the same time not confessing the true humanity of Christ, without which there is no Body of Christ (neither a proper Body, nor a mystic body, for the mystic body is the increment of the other), and in turn there is no sacrifice of the Body of Christ, no priesthood of the Church, no propitiation. All of this is very true and very evident.

Some may find greater cause for doubt in the words of the same Pope Leo to Leo Augustus, when the Church of Alexandria had fallen into the hands of Timotheus Aelurus and his Monophysite followers, after the murder of St. Proterius: "For it is manifest that through most cruel and insane violence all the light of the heavenly sacraments has been extinguished there: THE OFFERING OF THE SACRIFICE IS CHECKED, the sanctification of chrism has failed, AND ALL THE MYSTERIES HAVE WITHDRAWN BEFORE THE PARRICIDAL HANDS OF THE IMPIOUS (Ep. 156. P.L. 54, 1131). In these words, however, Leo has in mind only one thing: that the Emperor should make provision as soon as possible for the Alexandrine Church. Owing to the contamination of the intruded bishop and clergy of Alexandria, the faithful have now no longer the grace ('lumen'—light) nor benefit of the sacraments, and no propitiation of the sacrifice. This is certainly true, whatever view one might hold as to the validity of the rites attempted by the heretics.[483]

7. Faustus Of Riez (D. 485)

I think we can interpret in a similar fashion the words found in the fifth of the sermons attributed to Faustus of Riez (c. 2. P.L. 58, 878). "This is that lamb which the law commands us to eat in the one house with our loins girt. But what is the meaning of saying to eat the head with the feet in the one house? It means that we are commanded to eat the flesh in the unity of the Church. Hence the Arians and various other perverse sects of heretics do not eat it in the one house; and it is FOR THIS REASON THAT, JUST AS in the deluge, those only who were within the ark of Noah WERE SAVED, SO THOSE OF DIFFERENT FAITH, IF WITHOUT THE HOUSE OF THE CHURCH, HAVE NOT THE LAMB, WHICH IS CHRIST. And when Holy Scripture bids us to eat the head and the feet of this Lamb, it bids us with a like profession to venerate in Him both God and Man." So, Faustus says the Arians and others have not the Lamb fulfilling His function of Lamb, that is, His function of saving them.

8. St. Fulgentius (D. About 460)

St. Fulgentius of Ruspe certainly uses harsher words than Faustus, in this connection. Answering the question why in our sacrifice we pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit, he says that it is because by the Holy Spirit the Church is bound together in one with Christ, as the body with the head, and so we are built up into the holy temple of God in Christ; hence he argues: "All those who segregate themselves from the unity of the body of the Church, being inflated with pride or depraved by perfidy, lose this Spirit by their departure from us. It is clear, therefore, that the grace of the Holy Spirit is not with any of the heretics, and that their sacrifices, AS LONG AS THEY ARE HERETICS, cannot be pleasing to God, NOR CAN THE SANCTIFICATION OF SPIRITUAL GRACE BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE SACRIFICES OF THOSE who offer while separated from the unity of the ecclesiastical body; for God takes pleasure in the sacrifices of the Church only, which sacrifices are made by the one body united by the Spirit (quae sacrificia facit unitas spiritualis) " (Ad Monimum, 1, 2, c. 11. P.L. 65, 191). But, from the very reasons advanced by Fulgentius for his conclusion, his teaching is quite clear, that what alone is lacking to the schismatics and heretics is the spirit of sanctification by which the sacrifice is sanctified, in order to signify sincerely and induce effectively the above-mentioned final reality signified by the Eucharist, namely, the building up of the ecclesiastical body and of the celestial temple.

9. Pelagius I (D. 559)

Certainly the words of Pope Pelagius I are not a little surprising, where in the Epistola ad Victorem et Pancratium he goes so far as to write: "It is not the Body of Christ that the schismatic consecrates (conficit)."[484] However, a glance at the proximate and remote context and comparison with a parallel epistle of his to John the Patrician will show that even Pelagius teaches nothing which impugns the validity of the Eucharistic consecration carried out by schismatics. The passage runs: "You must keep away from the sacrifices, rather the sacrileges of the schismatics.... For so it comes about that, because they are not one with the Church in unity, because they have chosen to stand apart, because they have not the Spirit, THEY CANNOT HAVE THE SACRIFICE OF THE BODY OF CHRIST....[485] Either believe them to be the Church, and then, since there cannot be two Churches, you will judge us (God forbid) to be schismatics; or if it is plain to you that the true Church is in the apostolic Sees, then recognise that they are cut off from unity, and there can be no question of communion with them, for plainly such communion can only be in the unity of the Church. Do not then, as if there were no difference between the schismatics and the Church, wish to associate yourself indifferently with the sacrifices of either. FOR IF WE ARE GUIDED BY THE LIGHT OF TRUTH, IT IS NOT THE BODY OF CHRIST THAT THE SCHISMATIC CONSECRATES. For no one may pretend that Christ is divided and escape the condemnation of the Apostle. Because it is plain, as we have often said, that the Church which is the body of Christ is one and cannot be separated into two or into many. As soon as anyone has seceded from her, he has ceased to be of the Church. Jerusalem is one temple; he who separates himself from her must of necessity immolate to idols" (P.L. 69, 412-413). Just as Pelagius throughout the whole epistle looks upon Christ and the Church as one, so, too, he looks on the proper Body of Christ contained in the Eucharist, and the ecclesiastical Body of Christ, not only signified by, but also to be built up by the Eucharist, as one. This being presupposed, when he says that it is not the Body of Christ the schismatic consecrates, he is careful to add, "if we are guided by the light of truth", that is, the truth, as his further words explain, in the light of which we rightly estimate the Body of Christ as itself the sacrament or sign of our incorporation with Christ in the Church. Hence, when schismatics celebrate or receive, they make false pretensions to this signification and this efficacy; hence they have not the Body of Christ in the way Pelagius has in mind as the sacrament of ecclesiastical unity; so neither have they the sacrifice of the body of Christ in the true sense according to which the faithful know that, in offering Christ, they immolate themselves as members of the body.[486] The above mentioned epistle ad Joannem patricium corroborates this interpretation: "Do not defile your ever catholic mind by any communion with the schismatics. It is manifest that the Body of Christ is one, and the Church is one. The altar separated from unity CANNOT CONGREGATE INTO ONE FLOCK (congregare) THE TRUE REALITY OF THE BODY OF CHRIST" (P.L. 69, 412). Here, then, we see how Pelagius finds the true reality of the Body of Christ in that element which can be "gathered together", compacted of the multitude of Church members, united to the Body of the Lord, as the thing signified is united to its sign, and as the living animal is united to its internal vital principle. Schismatics have no part in this living animated body, and therefore precisely do they lack the vital principle, the Body of Christ, which is wanting to them as far as its sacramental virtue goes, that virtue which of its very nature congregates and unites, whereas they have chosen division.[487] So that even admitting that the schismatics have the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, even so, according to Pelagius, they will not have the Body of Christ fulfilling its office as the sacrament or sign of Church unity.

This is the meaning of St. Augustine's words in the sixth of the sermons edited by Michael Denis (n. 2. P.L. 46, 835) : "When heretics receive this, they receive a witness against themselves, for they seek separation, whilst this bread indicates unity." And the words of Sermo 272, of those published by the Benedictines, has the same sense: "He who receives the mystery of unity and does not keep the bond of peace does not receive the mystery to his advantage, but receives a witness against himself."

However, this is not merely the teaching of St. Augustine or Cyprian, but it is the well-known teaching of Hilary and Chrysostom (Th. XXXVII, Vol. III), of Ignatius (XVIII) and St. Paul (II Cor., X, 17).[488]

10. St. Gregory The Great (D. 604)

St. Gregory the Great not only says that no sacrifice whatever is acceptable unless it is offered within the Church, "for it is through the Church alone that the Lord is willing to accept sacrifice"; but he goes even further and says that no sacrifice can be carried out outside the Catholic Church: "In the Catholic Church alone the true Victim of the Redeemer is immolated" (Moral., 35, 8. P.L. 76, 756). But here, as we said above, in reference to Prosper, Gregory, if properly understood, is simply speaking the truth. His words do not justify the conclusion that heretics cannot offer the sacrifice, but that they cannot do so without in some way acting within the Church; so much so that if they wish to act absolutely and entirely outside the Church they effect nothing.

11. St. Cyril Of Alexandria (D. 447)

After what we have said about the Latin Fathers, the following passage of Cyril of Alexandria needs no explanation: "The Law, by decreeing that outside the holy tabernacle sacrifice must not be performed, shows plainly that there is one Church and one ministry of Christ, and that the sacrifice is not legitimate, indeed IT IS REJECTED AND IN NO WAY PLEASING TO GOD, IF IT IS NOT MADE WITHIN THE CHURCH" (De adoratione in spiritu et veritate, 1, 13. P.G. 68, 880). Here we have simply the same teaching as above: that if the sacrifice is altogether separated from all connection with the Church, it is by that very fact invalid.

12. St. Theodore Of Studium (D. 826)

The words of St. Theodore of Studium on the Eucharist of the Iconoclasts calls for a special interpretation. He says (1) that the Eucharistic bread of heretics is heretical; (2) that it is not the Body of Christ. For, permitting the sacrifice to be offered on behalf of those who before death rejected heresy, he deprives those who died in heresy of all such suffrage: "Should a person who in the past through fear of men had communicated with heresy confess the true faith (substitit confitens) at the time of death, and thus become part of the orthodox communion and die, it is fitting that he should have a place among the commemorations of the orthodox.... But if nothing of this has been done, and the one who communicated with heresy was not before his death a partaker of the Body and Blood of the Lord (FOR THEIR BREAD IS HERETICAL, IT IS NOT THE BODY OF CHRIST—airoetikoj gar o artoj ekeinoj, kai ou swma Xristou we dare not say that the sacrifice should be offered for him. He who even in his last hour did not communicate with orthodoxy will not be given a place with the orthodox. For, where he was overtaken by death, there will he be judged, and such viaticum as he partook of unto eternal life, that will be apportioned to him" (Epistolarum, 1, 2, 197. P.G. 99, 1596-1597). When he says that the bread is heretical he means that it is such that the eating of it is a communication with heresy.[489] When he says that it is not the Body of Christ, he says THAT IT IS NOT RECEIVED AS THE VICTIM OF THE SAVING SACRIFICE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE. Indeed, for those who communicate with heresy it is food of death; and just such as the food is, such, too, will be the condition and the eternal lot of the partakers.

This is strengthened by another epistle written to a person forced by violence to the communion of heretics: "What a calamity! What shall we say of this abduction of the unwilling! What of this forced partaking of communion under a threat of bodily harm by one who is unwilling to partake of HETERODOX BREAD? The Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ IS A VOLUNTARY SACRIFICE (O most Christian thought!). Seeing therefore that it is a voluntary sacrifice, it is given voluntarily to the willing, not to the unwilling.... For in his Epistle Peter says: feed the flock, not by constraint but willingly. Hence those who violently force the unwilling to their communion must know that in doing so they act like the Gentiles, NOT OFFERING THEM THE BODY OF THE LORD WHICH IS FREELY OFFERED, but, on the contrary, what has the appearance (because it has the appearance of what is forced) of what is sacrificed in libations in which honour is RELUCTANTLY (kat outwn) given to the devil " (Ep. I, 12, 136. P.G. 99, 1436).

This passage shows clearly enough in what sense the heterodox bread is not the Body of Christ; in as much as, contrary to the very nature of sacrifice, the voluntary characteristic is removed, in the first place, from the immolation, when it is made by heretics (honouring not God but the devil in the sacrifice); and, secondly, from the participation, when it is given to the faithful under pressure to their destruction, by the heretics.

13. Florus Of Lyons (D. 860)

About the same time, in the West, Florus of Lyons in his work De expositione missae (c. 53-54. P.L. 119, 49) comments on the words of the Mass: who offer to thee this sacrifice of praise, and pay their vows to thee, the living and true God. Quoting the saying of Prosper, already cited by us: "Outside the Catholic Church there is no place of true sacrifice," he concludes from his words nothing more than what follows: "In complete accordance are the next words we find in the mystery: Communicating and venerating the memory of in the first place, etc.... down to and of all the saints. For who are those specified by the priest as communicating and venerating the memory of the blessed Mother of God, the Apostles, martyrs and all the saints? Who but the offering priest himself and the whole congregation who together with him offer the one sacrifice of praise? AND THAT IT MAY BE ACCEPTABLE AND WELL-PLEASING TO GOD, THE PRIESTS, AND WITH THE PRIESTS THE CHURCH, OFFER THIS SACRIFICE, NOT ELSEWHERE THAN IN THE COMMUNION AND IN THE SOCIETY OF THE SAINTS, whom the same Omnipotent God wished to be the foundation of His Church" (Eph., II, 19).[490]

14. St. Paschasius Radbertus (D. 865)

St. Paschasius Radbertus has left us no clearcut answer on this matter. In the Liber de corpore et sanguine Domini, c. 12. (P.L. 120, 1310-1315), though he says that consecration even by criminal priests is unquestionably valid "even though they are full of hatred, are adulterers, homicides, and have done much work of the devil",[491] nevertheless, he had already said, making a certain restriction, as it were: "We must truly believe without shadow of doubt THAT WITHIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH where this mystery is celebrated IN THE CATHOLIC FAITH nothing greater is received from the good priest, and nothing less from the bad priest, nothing other than the Flesh and Blood of Christ, WHEN IT IS CONSECRATED IN THE CATHOLIC MANNER" (col. 1310). And later on he adds: "Nothing greater or nothing less comes from any minister, even though he be still in the darkness of error, provided the sacrament is given in virtue of his office, and grace is given FROM THE PARTICIPATION AND THE UNITY OF THE DOVE, in whom the fountain of life flows, and with whom resides the remission of sins, whose Priest and Pontiff, Christ, makes eternal expiation, and daily offers Himself for us in the sight of the divine majesty" (col. 1315).

In my mind this restriction of Paschasius is limited to the fruit only. There can be no hope of fruit from the partaking of the Eucharist celebrated and administered by heretics and schismatics.

So far we have met passages from the Fathers and theologians, which, though difficult, can bear a lenient interpretation, of greater or less probability. Now, however, we must consider certain passages from the writers of the Middle Ages which do not seem susceptible of a lenient interpretation of any kind whatever.

15. Guido Of Arezzo (D. 1050)

The monk Guido of Arezzo said in the clearest terms that the Body of Christ cannot be consecrated (confici) by simoniacs whose ordination was considered to be invalid, and not even by heretical priests: "Can the accursed by his blessing change the bread into the Flesh of Christ, especially seeing that the Lord declared that He would curse whatever such a one blessed?... If the heretical priests cannot give exhortation, how can they change the wine into the Blood of Christ? " (see Bernoldus, Epistola ad Adalbertum. P.L. 48, 1159).[492]

16. St. Peter Damian (D. 1072)

(I) In the twentieth chapter of the Liber Gomorrhianus, with the title God is unwilling to accept sacrifice from the hands of the impure, St. Peter Damian indignantly inveighs against impure priests as follows: "Almighty God disdains to accept the sacrifice at your hands. Hear Him. Hear Him, I repeat, openly rebuking you, thundering against you, rejecting your sacrifices, publicly protesting against your service." Then after quoting numerous testimonies from the Old Testament, he finally concludes: "So finally by our long discussion we have clearly shown that the Lord Himself rejects the sacrifices of the impure and openly forbids them" (P.L. 145, 181-182). On reading these words one might easily suppose that St. Peter Damian considers the sacrifices of the impure to be utterly void.

On the contrary, nothing is more plain than that St. Peter Damian defends time after time the validity of the sacrifices even of the most unworthy priests. Resting on the authority of St. Augustine and St. Paschasius Radbertus, he says that "these sacraments (baptism and the Eucharist), whether they may be made by thieves, adulterers, or even homicides, differ in no way whatever (nil prorsus) from the mysteries which holy priests dedicate" (Liber qui dicitur gratissimus, c. 9. P.L. 145, 109; cf. c. 21, col 132 and passim). Here we see how little reliance we can place at times on such eloquent denunciations, for the sake of argument. In many cases they must not be pressed to the letter, but the sense must be turned so as to accord with the common norm of doctrine, taking into consideration the main intention of the author in his fight against corrupt morals and for the extirpation of vice. Still even though St. Peter Damian does not hold that the sacrifices of the unworthy are invalid, this tells us nothing about what he thought of sacrifices celebrated outside the Church.

(II) Neither can this last question be solved, in favour of the validity, by a consideration of what St. Peter Damian has to say about priests simoniacally ordained.

In the first place, we cannot prove that he considered as valid the sacrifice of heretics, from the fact that he holds that priests simoniacally ordained have the authority to offer sacrifice (ibid., c. 6. P, L. 145, 106). For, unlike many of his contemporaries, he does not think that the simoniacs are true and proper heretics: "For although the Simoniac may become a heretic through his perverse traffic (perverso commercio), HE IS NEVERTHELESS IN FAITH A CATHOLIC; it would seem to be the bribery which he used to effect his end that is condemned, not any lack of faith (ejusque damnatio magis ex ambitione descendere, quam videatur ad perfidiam pertinere) " (ibid., c. 5, col. 104). "It is one thing to sin while still in the faith (in fide peccare), it is another to abandon the faith" (ibid., c. 22, col. 133; cf. c. 30, col. 145). The truth of the matter is that he considers the Simoniacs simply to be guilty of a very heinous crime.

Secondly, no argument can be urged to prove that he considered that in itself the sacrifice of heretics was invalid, from the position taken by him after the Roman Council held under Nicholas II (A. D. 1059), in which it was decreed that IF IN THE FUTURE Simoniac ordinations took place," the consecrator and the consecrated... being each deposed, should be deprived each of his proper dignity" (cf. further ibid., c. 39);[493] but rather it would appear that he held THAT FROM THAT TIME ONWARDS those who were Simoniacally ordained could not consecrate validly: "Now not only do we hold Simoniacs reprobate, but we also despise the sacraments given by them" (De sacramentis per improbos administratis, c. 1. P.L. 145, 524). This, I say, proves nothing to the point. For he evidently did not think that these men were validly ordained from that time onward. On this supposition all their sacraments would be necessarily void, apart altogether from the question under review.[494]

(III) Again the question can hardly be solved from the teaching of St. Peter Damian on ordination conferred without belief in the Holy Trinity. Such ordination he holds to be invalid (Lib. qui dic. grat., c. 6, and 22-23. P.L. 145, 106, and 133-135); he therefore could not defend the validity of the sacrifices of such men whose priesthood he denied.[495] But as to whether he considers that a priest rightly ordained within the Church, who afterwards comes to be infected with heresy in respect of the Trinity, does or does not thereby become incapable of validly consecrating, St. Peter Damian leaves us in the dark. He certainly whittles down the priesthood of the Arians to such an extent as to say that their baptism "alone" (using the words of Innocent I) is ratified. But whether here (the reference is to the first authors of the Arian heresy) by "alone" he would exclude all the other sacraments, or only those in which the Holy Spirit is conferred (confirmation and orders), is by no means clear. In view of the reasons he adduces from Innocent I, the second alternative appears to be the more probable: "For seeing that the authors of their sect have abandoned the Catholic faith, they have lost the perfection of the Spirit which they had received, and cannot give its plenitude which is operative particularly in ordinations," (c. 22, col. 134). Hence it is in no way certain that St. Peter Damian denied the validity of the sacrifices even of the authors of the Arian heresy.

(IV) All we can state definitely is this: that St. Peter Damian held that every sacrifice of every priest who professes the true faith in the Trinity is valid.[496]

17. St. Gregory VII (D. 1085) And His Circle

A most unjust accusation was made against Gregory VII by some of his contemporaries who were implicated in the schism of the antipope Guibert. They alleged that he not only denied the validity of the sacraments administered by schismatics, but even of those administered by priests who were simply unworthy.

Prominent amongst these opponents was Guido of Ferrara, who states clearly the accusation against Gregory in book 2, De schismate Hildebrandi. Pro illo et contra illum. This book is an imaginary dialogue between two persons, one of whom he calls the proponent (=P) and the other the respondent (=R).

"R. He taught what is contrary to the Fathers of the New Testament when he commanded that the sacraments of schismatics and UNWORTHY ministers were not to be received but rather to be rejected with scorn; when he, too, declared that the consecrations of the excommunicated, whether in oil or IN THE EUCHARIST, or in the ordinations of those on whom hands are imposed, had no force and should not be called consecrations" (Libelli de lite, t. 1, p. 558). After a few words: "P. It is certainly my opinion that what you say is true and that the sacraments OF THE UNWORTHY CAN BE BENEFICIAL, and that they are effective unto the salvation of the recipients; for this reason I consider that one who condemns this evident teaching (documentum) has not the Catholic sense" (ibid., p. 559).

First, then, we must examine the teaching of Gregory VII regarding the ministrations of the unworthy, and, secondly, regarding those of schismatical priests.

(A) The Sacraments Of The Unworthy

It is true that in the first Roman Council of 1074 Gregory made a law in which, after condemning heresy, he decreed: "But neither must those who are living in the sin of fornication celebrate Mass, nor minister at the altar according to the function of the lesser orders. We also decree that if they treat our constitutions, nay the constitutions of the holy Fathers, with contempt, the faithful must absolutely refuse their offices; so that they who do not reform for the love of God, and for the dignity of their office, may be brought to a sense of their duty by public disgrace, and by the indignation of the faithful" (Ep. extra registr. vagantes, 3. P.L. 148, 646). The decree appears to have been drawn up in words of stinging severity: "If there are priests or deacons or subdeacons living in the state of fornication, in the name of the omnipotent God, and with the authority of Saint Peter, we interdict their entry into the Church, until they repent and-mend their ways. If they continue in sin, no one of you may presume to hear their services, because their blessing is turned into a curse, and their prayer into a sin, as the Lord says by His prophet: Because it is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel, and like the crime of idolatry to refuse to obey. Therefore he who says that he is a Christian and refuses to obey the Apostolic See is guilty of the sin of paganism" (Gerhoh of Reichersberg, in Ps. 10, 3. P.L. 193, 794).

Here we must distinguish between two things: firstly, that the Pope forbids the faithful to assist at the masses of fornicators; secondly, he declares that those who refuse to obey this most salutary command are guilty of the sin of idolatry.

It suffices to remark on the first point that a similar prohibition was already decreed by Nicholas II, in the Roman Council of A. D. 1O59. We read in the third canon: "Let no one hear the Mass of a priest when it is certain that such a priest has a concubine, or that he secretly has a mistress (subintroductam mulierem) " (Nicholas II, Ep. 8 and 9. P.L. 143, 1315-1317; cf. Jaffe, Regesta, 4399); and again by Alexander II, A. D. 1063, in the Concilium Romanum, can. 3 (Alexander II, Ep. 12. P.L. 146, 1289; cf. Jaffe, Regesta, 4501). Hence, as Dom. Leclercq remarks (Hist. des Concil., t. 5, 1, p. 91), there are no just grounds for the silly assertion of Sigebert of Gembloux (Chronica, 1074. P.L. 160, 217), that this constituted a "new precedent".

The reason for the Decree was not, as insinuated by the schismatical writer (Guibert), that Gregory VII held these sacraments invalid.[497] The very purport of the decree is to bring the blush of shame on the impenitent, so that finally they should be driven to repentance: "be brought to a sense of their duty by public disgrace and the indignation of the faithful."[498]

In regard to the second point, Gregory evidently did not impute idolatry to the faithful for assisting at the Masses of married priests, as if it were an adoration, so to speak, given to the bread and wine after an invalid consecration of the sacrament; but, as he expressly states, the sin is found in the refusal to obey, which refusal in sacred scripture is compared to idolatry. The particular reason for this prohibition was, that the faithful might realize that, in assisting at such Masses forbidden by the Holy See, they were in no way performing an act of piety, but one of impiety.

That this was the sense of the decree was explained not only by his contemporaries when defending the decree (like Bernoldus in the Apologeticus super decreta quae... Gregorius... VII in romana synodo promulgavit, c. 19. P.L. 148, 1134-1135), but authoritatively by Urban II in Ep. 273, Ad Lucium. (P.L. 1 5 1, 532).

Meantime, it should be remembered that after the time of Gregory VII incontinent priests were excommunicated, first by Paschasius II in the Council of Troyes, A. D. 1107, C. 4 (cf. Leclercq-Hefele, Hist. des Concil., t. 5, 1, p. 501), and a second time by Callistus II, A. D. 1119, in the Council of Rheims, c. 5 (cf. ibid., p. 590). So from that time onward, because of the opinion which was spreading ever more and more regarding the sacraments of the excommunicated, it came about that some people considered these priests who lived in concubinage incompetent to consecrate, NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE UNWORTHY, but because they were excommunicated.[499]

We may also add that at the time there were writers who said, even before the excommunication of Paschal I and Callistus II, that priests living in concubinage, by the very vice of clerical fornication, should be considered heretics. Indeed, they charged them with the heresy of the Nicolaites, the first of all heresies after that of the Simoniacs. Thus in the time of Gregory VII Manegoldus, an Alsatian writer, in his Liber ad Gebehardum, c. 76 (Libelli de lite, t. 1, p. 429), whose teaching his friend Gerhoh of Reichersberg afterwards made his own, writes in his Liber Epistolaris: "Fornicators and they who usurp forbidden offices are Nicolaite clerics and heretics" (P.L. 194, 1415; cf. 14001401). Hence he inferred that their sacraments were deservedly scorned.[500]

(B) The Sacraments Of Schismatics

Upon the sacraments of schismatics we find extant no pronouncement from Gregory VII at all. And indirectly we gather that he made no pronouncement for or against. His most ardent supporters publicly maintained directly opposing views on the matter, St. Anselm of Lucca holding that the sacraments of schismatics were valid, Cardinal Deusdedit that they were not.

18. St. Anselm Of Lucca (D. 1086)

Anselm certainly inculcates very strongly that an acceptable sacrifice can be presented to God only within the Church. Using the words of Gregory the Great, he thus addresses Guibert the antipope: "Come to your weeping and lamenting mother the Church, so that she may offer an acceptable sacrifice for you. FOR IT IS THROUGH THE CHURCH ALONE THAT THE LORD WILLINGLY ACCEPTS THE SACRIFICE.... All those are impious who outside of her partake of the Lamb: the Flesh of which the Lord forbids to be taken outside of her (efferri) " (Contra Guibertum antipapam. P.L. 149, 456).

But, nevertheless, earlier in his allocution he had acknowledged the validity of the sacraments of heretics: "It is not the sacraments of the Church that we detest, as you falsely state, but the schismatics and the sacrilegious.... The Church venerates her holy sacrament (Sanctum suum) which you outside of her have, which to your harm you have received, for you have lost the good odour" (ibid., col. 450). This is the genuine teaching of St. Augustine. Hence to the earlier passage quoted by us above he added the following words: "In many things indeed you are WITH HER [that is, the Church] ; but do not console yourselves with that thought, but rather tremble at what follows in the same psalm: they have defiled his covenant. Just as Christ, bound and scourged, did not benefit Pilate and Herod, so His sacraments are even more detrimental to you, helping you to impiety and perdition" (col. 456). Note how freely he admits the real presence of Christ in their sacrament, but to their ruin.

19. Cardinal Deusdedit (D. 1099)

On the other hand, Cardinal Deusdedit,[501] himself an ardent champion of Gregory VII and Urban II against the antipope Guibert (Clement III), strenuously maintained that the Eucharist of the schismatics and heretics was invalid: "Those who are BAPTISED BY HERETICS AND SCHISMATICS do certainly not receive the Holy Spirit in their baptism... but once they have returned to the unity of the Catholic Church they receive the plenitude of the same Holy Spirit by the imposition of hands. From this it is plainly understood that the Body of Christ IS NOT RECEIVED IN THEIR SACRIFICE[that is, that of heretics and schismatics], just as the Holy Spirit is not received in their baptism" (Libellus contra invasores et simoniacos, 2nd ed., Libelli de lite, p. 323).

By collecting the authorities from the Fathers he endeavours to show that St. Augustine supports his view, mentioning a few sayings of the Holy Doctor "which show clearly that just as the Holy Spirit is not received in the baptism of heretics and schismatics, so neither is Christ received in their sacrifice" (ibid., p. 324; cf. 325). The passages he quotes are those in which Augustine distinguishes between the sacrament and the virtue of the sacrament. In view of this distinction Deusdedit infers that Augustine could have recognised something in the baptism and the confirmation of heretics that was holy, in so far as these are "permanent" sacraments, that is, of their very nature not admitting of repetition; but not in the sacrament of the Eucharist, which, because it is a sacrifice, is of its very nature "transient", that is, to be repeated daily (p. 325). A strange partition of the sacraments surely!

20. Urban II (D. 1099)

Meantime Urban II (early in A. D. 1089) was defending the directly opposite teaching on this very point: "Following the teaching of the Fathers, we do not reject the sacrifice of those who were ordained within the Church, but abandoned her by schism" (Loewenfeld, Epistolae pontificum romanorum ineditae, Leipzig, 1885, Ep. 127, p. 62).[502]

21. Bernold Of Constance (D. 1100)

At this same time the learned priest, theologian and historian, Bernold of Constance, though at first misled by the letter of Guido of Arezzo already mentioned by us, taught in his Epistola ad Adalbertum, that not only those ordained in simony or otherwise irregularly promoted (whom apparently he considered as not ordained, P.L. 148, 1157-1163) but even those who were publicly excommunicated could not validly consecrate (conficere) the Body of Christ; later on, having studied the subject more carefully, he defended the opposite teaching in his Tractatus de sacramentis excommunicatorum (P.L. 148, 1061 et seq.), and in his Tractatus de reordinatione vitanda, etc. (P.L. 148, 1260 et seq.), so that he finally concluded: "Let no condemned or excommunicated person applaud himself for making the sacraments (de confectione sacramentorum); on the contrary, let him realise that this increases his condemnation, for he shows himself the more wicked, and so is more pernicious to himself, the more holy he considers that to be which, with sacrilegious daring, he does not fear to make use of. For his crime would be less loathsome were he to take a meal of ordinary bread from the altar rather than kill his soul by an unworthy communion. For the Apostle says: He that eateth unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself" (col. 1068).

22. Alger (D. 1130)

Alger, my great fellow countryman (Algerus noster), most reliable exponent of the full Catholic teaching, with greater penetration not only recognises the power of every heretical and excommunicated priest to sacrifice validly (De sacramentis corporis et sanguinis dominici, 1, 3, c. 9-12. P.L. 180, 841-847; cf. De misericordia et justitia, pars. 3, c. 54 and 83, cols. 956 and 965 et seq.), but also, a point well worth noting, indicates the intrinsic reason for this validity, when he writes: "Seeing therefore that all the sacraments of the Lord, without any exception, are from the Catholic Church, even among the heretics, who are united with the Church in so far as they celebrate with due rite, who can doubt THAT THE SACRAMENT OF THE DIVINE SACRIFICE, WHEREVER OFFERED, IS WITHIN THE CHURCH, since it is of the Church" (ibid., c. 9, col. 482)? Here we have indicated the solution of all the difficulties set out in the beginning of this chapter, as we shall show at some length at the end of the chapter.

23. Honorius Of Autun (D. 1135)

Meantime Honorius of Autun was writing in the Gemma animae, 1, 1, c 169. (P.L. 172, 596.) : "Legitimate sacrifice is offered within the Catholic Church, and outside of her no sacrifice is acceptable to God." Indeed he had written earlier: "This sacrament is made (conficitur) ONLY IN THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH" (ibid., c. 10, col. 547). Those words you might think capable of the lenient interpretation, as though Honorius merely meant to say with Alger that wherever this sacrifice is offered, it is offered within the Church. However, his words in the Eucharisticon exclude such lenient interpretation. For so he writes: "This Body is consecrated no less by the ministry of the most criminal, than by that of the most holy, if such a one be within the Catholic Church.... But outside the Church, that is BY HERETICS, Jews and Gentiles, NEITHER IS THIS SACRAMENT MADE (perficitur), nor is the gift accepted. Simoniacs, even though reputed among the heretics, who nevertheless are one with Catholics in the fullness of the faith, consecrate (conficiunt) the Body of Christ by faith in the Trinity" (Simoniaci... qui inter haereticos censentur, qui tamen fide integra, etc.) (Eucharisticon, c. 6. P.L. 172, 1253). Here Honorius seems to go even further than Peter Damian, as he implicitly denies the power to consecrate in heretics who have not faith in the Trinity.

Though Honorius denies the validity of consecration by such heretics, he admits the validity in the case of the excommunicated as such. Writing in the Elucidarium (if he is the author of this work), of the excommunicated simoniacs, he says: "Do such people consecrate (conficiunt) the Body of the Lord? However great be their condemnation, still the Body of the Lord is made[present] . .. fit... by the words which they recite" (Elucidarium, 1, 1, c. 30; cf. n. 29. P.L. 172, 1129-1130).

24. Hugh Of St. Victor (D. 1141)

Hugh of St. Victor or one of his disciples, author of Quaestiones et decisiones in Epistolas Pauli, 2, 102. (P.L. 175, 532), is more severe when he writes: "Though some may be of evil life, if they are, not only in name but by the sacrament within the Church, such are believed truly to consecrate. THOSE, HOWEVER, WHO ARE EXCOMMUNICATED, AND THOSE IN NOTORIOUS HERESY, ARE CONSIDERED INCAPABLE OF THIS.

25. Robert Pullen (D. 1146)

In his Sententiae Robert Pullen has nothing to say about heretical, schismatical, or excommunicated priests.[503] But he maintains the irrevocable power of the priesthood in the suspended and the degraded priest: "Suspension is inflicted on ordained priests, and if the sin is grave, degradation also. Neither penalty takes away his control of the sacrament; both, however, deprive him of the exercise of his office; the one is a lesser deprivation of the use of the sacrament, the other has a more permanent effect....... But what happens if the forbidden office is exercised during the term of suspension or degradation? The power is certainly not taken away, and the priests who use it, though forbidden to do so, can use it just as effectively as good priests, but they do so to their own ruin, and to the ruin of all those who, THOUGH WITHIN THE CHURCH, NEVERTHELESS FLOUT THE PROHIBITION " (Sententiae, 1, 7, c. 14. P.L. 186, 927).

26. Rupert Of Dietz (D. 1135)

Rupert gives us no clear indication of his opinion on this matter when he says: "Moses says: in the place where holocaust is offered, that is, in the Catholic Church, outside of which one cannot have or receive the fire of the Holy Spirit, it shall be immolated before the Lord. Otherwise if it is immolated in any other place, if in some conventicle of the heretics, it is not a victim for sin, it is not the Body which is given for us.... The conventicles of the Jews and of the heretics are unclean, and in these this holy Victim must not and cannot be slain" (In Levit., 1, 1, c. 32. P.L. 167, 778). Does Rupert here mean that heretics do not have the true Body and Blood of the Lord at all in their sacrifices, or only that they do not have the benefit of it in so far as the Body and Blood is not for them a victim for sin, and cannot be said to be given for them as the price of their salvation? I would not venture to decide one way or the other.

27 Radulphus Flaviacensis (D. 1157)

The words of Radulphus Flaviacensis certainly admit of a lenient interpretation: "But holy Church is altar for us: she is distinguished from all others in this, that in her alone sacrifice is devoutly offered to God. THE GIFT WHICH IS OFFERED OUTSIDE OF; HER IS NOT RECEIVED" (In Levit., 1, 1, c. 1, Cologne 1636, 1, p. 2).

28. Hugh Of Amiens (D. 1164)

The teaching of Hugh of Amiens, Archbishop of Rouen, as we find it in the fifth book of his Dialogi leaves no room for doubt: "It is not given to everyone to celebrate the mysteries of the altar. No one is admitted to this (in his nemo suscipitur) unless he be consecrated after the manner of the Apostles to celebrate the mysteries. Moreover, Christ, whenever it is expedient, through the Church deprives of his office the one to whom Christ, through the Church, has entrusted the office of consecrating, and forbids him to minister. And sometimes she does depose him, or even by excommunication expels him from the body of the faithful. And so when Christ through the Church has deprived a priest of his office BY DEPOSITION (deponendo) OR EXCOMMUNICATION, if he presume to administer the sacraments, HE WHO IS NO LONGER MINISTER ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING (Dial., 1, 5, c. 11. P.L. 192, 1204). He considers therefore that Christ through the Church takes away the power of consecrating the Eucharist from the excommunicated, and that this power is lacking as long as the excommunication or deposition remains.

The reason he gives is that otherwise ecclesiastical order would be destroyed: "For on careful consideration it is evident that, if any or all could administer the sacraments, the whole position of the Church would be undermined. For if everyone could act as it pleased him in respect to the sacraments, of what avail would be the key of the Church? What would it bind? What would it loose? But whether wicked men like it or not, Christ rules. The key entrusted to the Church binds and looses, it ordains, deposes and reconciles the ministers of the sacraments" (ibid.).

As this declaration of Hugh became the occasion of considerable comment, he wrote a letter to his friend Matthew, Cardinal Archbishop of Albano, to whom he had dedicated the work. In this letter he set himself to defend his teaching, by making a distinction between the sacrament of order which is retained by the priest who has Been excommunicated or suspended and the office of order of which he says they are deprived (P.L. 192, 1227-1230) . He concludes as follows: "Hence we are surprised at some who say of the excommunicated or the deposed priest, that because he retains the sacrament of his ordination once it has been received, when he presumes to consecrate, his ordination is effective " (cols. 1229-1230).[504]

To the six books of the Dialogi already published-he added later a seventh in which he defends his opinion by another argument drawn from the necessity of the co-operation of the Holy Spirit: "Let us treat of the sacraments in the light of the Catholic faith.... The sacraments are divine, not human: they are the benefits of grace, not the power of nature; the work of the Holy Spirit not the merit of man. Hence in the ministry of the sacraments the minister of the Church must have with him the Holy Spirit. For in the Holy Spirit all things are made? but by a special operation are sacraments ratified in Him and effective; without the Holy Spirit they are void and useless. Let a minister see to it therefore that he be not a minister only in name, that he be a minister of Christ, that he have the Spirit of Christ, for if he has not that he cannot be of Christ. But he who is not of Christ cannot be said to have the Spirit of Christ, without which no sacrament can be made (fieri). How then can those who are excommunicated, who are schismatics, deposed from office, rebels against the Church, or branches cut off from the vine, effect anything (agere) in the sacraments? I know that there has been diversity of opinion in this matter either in spoken word, or in writings. But how can he bless, whom Christ curses? How can he consecrate whom Christ execrates as profane (exsecrat)?" (Dial., 1, 7, c. 13, col. 1244). On close examination, however, this argument will be found not to differ from his previous one. For here he is not speaking of the indwelling of the Spirit by grace, but of the communication of the Spirit to produce sacramental effects: and this communication he considers to be imparted by Christ only to the priests who are within the Church and authorised by her, as above.

29. Gerhoh Of Reichersberg (D. 1169)

Gerhoh with many mediaeval writers, following St. Augustine (Sermo 71, c. 19, n. 32. P.L. 38, 463) and Leo the Great (Ep. 159, c. 7. P.L. 54, 1139), distinguishes two elements in the sacraments; one which he calls the form (or intrinsic perfection) and another which he calls the virtue of the sacraments (Liber epistolaris ad Innocentium II. P.L. 194, 1394. Tractatus adversus Simoniacos, c. 19. P.L. 194, 1353). By the form he means the sacrament itself, by the virtue he means the thing signified by the sacrament (Liber epistolaris, col. 1404).[505]

In the same sense, too, he distinguishes between the passive effect "by which word we mean not that effect which the sacraments effect, but that by which they are constituted sacraments, that is, the signs of sacred things" (Tractatus adversus simoniacos, c. 23. P.L. 194, 1358), and the active effect, "which the sacraments cause, bring about—efficiunt" (ibid., c. 21, col. 1354). Having made these distinctions, Gerhoh goes on to distinguish two kinds of sacraments: one, which exerts its activity "ON THE RATIONAL CREATURE... as the sacraments of ordination and baptism, the other which exerts its activity " UPON INANIMATE THINGS... as those sacred signs which by the addition of the divine words to the elements are made in the consecration of chrism... or also in the consecration of the bread and wine" (ibid., c. 31, col. 1367; cf. Lib. epist., col. 1405).

He says that the sacraments of the first kind, administered by a heretic to recipients with "Catholic mind" (that is in good faith without admixture of heresy), are valid and fruitful, or, in his words, ratified in form and virtue, both in the sacrament itself and in the thing signified by it, in passive and active effect (Lib. epist., cols. 1403-1405; Tract. adv. Simoniac., c. 21, cols. 13551356).

But when administered by a heretic to heretics,[506] he concedes that such a sacrament is ratified in the form or sacrament itself, or the passive effect, but maintains that it is not ratified in the virtue, or the thing signified by the sacrament, or active effect, except after reconciliation with the Church (Lib. epist., cols. 1403-1405; Tract. adv. Simoniac., c. 23, cols. 1357-1358).

He then goes on to consider sacraments of the second kind, that is, the sacraments which exert their activity on inanimate things, admitting likewise that what heretics do in regard to these, is ratified, in form, sacrament, and passive effect,[507] but maintaining that one can find no cause sufficient to ratify them in virtue, or reality signified by them or active effect (Lib. epist., col. 1406; Tract. adv. simoniac., c. 23, cols. 1357-1358) . For in the former sacraments the ratification came either from "the Catholic mind" of the recipient, or from reconciliation with the Church, and no such source of ratification can be imagined where the sacrament has to do with inanimate things, which are not receptive of reconciliation or penance ("in which there is not or cannot be the Catholic mind": Lib. epist., col. 1405; "those created things cannot do penance": Tract. adv. simoniac., c. 31, col. 1367). Therefore the Eucharist of heretics cannot be ratified in virtue, or reality, or thing signified by the sacrament, or active effect (ibid.).

But, really, Gerhoh makes a rather startling division, in the Eucharist, between what pertains to the form or the passive effect, and what pertains to the virtue or reality or active effect. For he allocates the conversion of the bread and wine, not to the passive effect ("by which the sacraments are made to be sacraments"), but to the active effect ("which the sacraments effect"-Tract adv. simoniac., c. 23-24, cols. 1358-1360). To the passive effect (as defined above) he only assigns the power bestowed on the bread and wine of immediately signifying ecclesiastical unity (ibid.), and at the same time the Body of Christ (absent, however, in the case of the Eucharist of heretics).[508] Hence the conclusion follows that, in the mind of Gerhoh the heretics[509] lack the Body and Blood of Christ in their Eucharist, though it is truly a sacrament (Lib. epist., 1406-1407; Tract adv. simoniac., loc. cit.; cf. Lib. de glor. et honor. Filii hominis, c. 14, n. 4, col. 1123).[510] But not having the Body of Christ which is our one sacrifice, they simply and absolutely have not a sacrifice at all (Lib. epist., loc. cit., and the Tract. adv. simoniac., c. 29, col. 1366). The Fathers "convict them of having no true sacrifice, although they have a true and integral sacrament, sacrificing according to the rite of the Church".

So convinced was Gerhoh of the truth of his teaching, both from the logic of the case and from the support of authority, that he even branded its denial as heretical. Thus in the Proemiun of his Liber contra duas haereses: "In the present work I am speaking particularly of two heresies, partly ancient, and partly new." One of these heresies, with Nestorius, detracts from the dignity of Christ born of a virgin. "The other takes nothing from Christ but attributes too much-to Antichrist, when it says that priests deprived in Synod of their divine office,[511] or of Christian communion, if they dare to officiate against the will of the Church, can consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ" (cols. 1162-1163).[512]

30. Author Of The Epistola De Sacramentis Haereticorum

Somewhere about this time was written the Epistola de sacramentis haereticorum, the authorship of which is not certain. In it is maintained that heretics and schismatics cannot consecrate the Body of Christ because of a threefold defect, of efficacy in their priesthood, of ecclesiastical unity, and of the vital Spirit of Christ. On the defect of sacerdotal efficacy it says: "What then do the separated possess? What do they do? Have they the priesthood? They have indeed the sacrament of the priesthood which they received while within[the Church] but now outside of it (foris= outside of the Church) they have lost the power and the virtue of that sacrament.... Because they have lost the virtue of the priesthood, for this very reason it is clear as day that they cannot consecrate (conficiant) the Body and the Blood of Christ" (Libelli de lite, p. 15).

The letter goes on then to consider the question of ecclesiastical unity: "The sacrament of unity is made (conficitur) only in unity and from unity. For the Apostle says: We being many are one bread, one body. What do you say about their case, Osee? They will eat and will not be filled. This is indeed true of them, for what is effected (conficitur) by such as they, outside of the Church is not in essence the Body and Blood of Christ" (ibid.).[513]

Finally regarding the Spirit of Christ: "They are not members of Christ, and they do not possess the Spirit of Christ; they have gone out and are withered and bear no fruit, because they are without Christ who said: Without me you can do nothing... The hand of the heretic and the schismatic is withered, so that it effects (conficiat) nothing" (p. 16).

Notice how closely these arguments are knit, resting as they do on (1) our incorporation with Christ by the Holy Spirit, (2) in the Church, (3) which alone has sacerdotal power in respect of the Body and Blood of Christ.

31. Gratian (D. 1158)

Juristic studies began to flourish about this time. In the Decretum of Gratian regarding heretical priests, we find conflicting statements. Thus in Causa 1, quaest. 1, c. 75, commenting on the saying of Jerome: "Either permit him whose baptism you recognise to offer the sacrifice, or reject the sacrifice of one whom you do not consider to be a priest," he remarks. "This is to be understood only of the Catholic who is a sinner, and not of a heretic... for, if Jerome were understood here to be referring to heretics, it would be inconsistent with what he says elsewhere of heretics, on Amos, c. 5: The Lord hates their sacrifices" (P.L. 187, 513). By making this restriction, Gratian certainly seems to say plainly he considers the consecration performed by a heretical priest to be invalid.

And yet a little later on, in c. 97 of this same question, in the words of Alger, quoted above (De miseric. et justit., p. 3, c. 54. P.L. 180, 956), he unreservedly admits the validity of the consecration performed by a heretical priest, explaining Jerome in exactly this sense (cols. 527-528).

Meantime, he leaves no room for doubt about the unauthorised priest, where he writes: "As regards the suspended or deposed priest, no power is left to him to sacrifice" (col. 525). Hence what he allows to the heretic he denies to the unauthorized priest. After him the jurists held conflicting views on this matter,[514] until we come to St. Raymund of Pennafort who writes peremptorily in his Summa, (1, 1, tit. 5, para. 6, Verona ed., 1744, p. 38) : "You may take it as a rule (regulariter teneas) that EXCOMMUNICATED, HERETICAL, or DEPOSED bishops or priests confer true sacraments, provided, however, they confer them in the form of the Church" (cf. tit. 6, n. 3, p. 46). And again: "As far as the true reality of the sacrament is concerned, it does not matter by what priest they are made (conficiantur) and conferred in the form of the Church. However, they who unworthily make the sacraments (conficiunt) or celebrate, commit sin; they sin also who receive from heretics or schismatics any sacrament other than baptism in articulo mortis, and then only when no Catholic is available" (1, 3, tit. 24, n. 5, p. 306).

32. Peter Lombard And Other Compilers Of The Sententiae

Meantime, on this matter the theologians show just as much confusion of mind among themselves as the jurists.

Thus we find Peter Lombard quite as inconsistent in his utterances as Gratian. In the fourth book of the Sentences he denies validity (Distinctio 13, n. 1. P.L. 192, 868) : "It appears to me that although the excommunicated and those in open heresy are priests they cannot make (conficere) this sacrament, because in the consecration[that is, in the actual prayers of the consecration, in other words, the Canon], no one says I offer, but We offer."[515] Hence, owing to their lack of union with the Church, these do not offer the sacrifice, seeing that they are not those through whom the Church offers (utpote per quos non offerat Ecclesia), and unless you offer sacrifice on the part of the Church, sacrifice is not offered; and hence no sacrament is made (conficitur). But then in Dist. 25 of the same work, he leans not a little towards the teaching of Alger, whom he follows almost word for word (Sententiae, 1, 4, dist. 25, n. 3, col. 907); indeed, in the next paragraph, having first settled that simoniacs are heretics ("there can be no doubt that the simoniacs are heretics"), he goes on to assert that they have authority to confer orders and to consecrate the Eucharist validly. He adds meanwhile: unless they are degraded ("if, however, they ordain and consecrate before the sentence of degradation", col. 907). Hence finally we gather that, according to Peter Lombard, it was the deprivation of authority to use the power (exauctorationem) rather than the heresy that availed to inhibit the sacrificial power.

Hugo de Mauretania (tract. 6, c. 9. P.L. 176, 146), author of the Summa Sententiarum, is clearer and more definite: "Others think that neither the excommunicated nor those in open heresy make the sacrament (conficiunt). For in the consecration no one says I offer, but We offer as from the person of the whole Church. Since the other sacraments can be made outside the Church, but this sacrament never, it seems that we must agree with them."

So, too, Bandinus: "This sacrament is made (conficitur) by any priest according to the rite and intention of making it (conficiendi), that is, if he is in union with the Church. HENCE THE EXCOMMUNICATED OR THOSE IN OPEN HERESY do not make (conficiunt) this sacrament" (Summa Sententiarum, 1, 4, dist. 13. P.L. 192, 1097).

Petrus Pictaviensis held the same view: "While the other sacraments can be celebrated outside the unity of the Church, the excommunicated cannot make (conficere) this sacrament, because they do not say Offero but Offerimus as from the person of the Church" (ibid., 1, 5, dist. 13. P.L. 211, 1257).

33. The Author Of The Tractatus De Schismaticis

The anonymous author of the Tractatus de schismaticis (Libelli de lite, t. 3), written about the beginning of the year 1165, or a short time afterwards,[516] attacks at length both the supporters of the antipope Paschal III, and those who remained "neutral" between him and the lawful pontiff Alexander III, holding that both parties, being heretics and schismatics, are without the power to make (conficiendi) this sacrament (op. cit., t. 3, pp. 112113 and 123), because "it is only among-Catholics that Christ changes the bread and wine into His Body and Blood" (p. 126). Moreover, the author holds that the fact that these men only hold in their hands and deal with mere bread and wine all the time (their consecration being invalid), they are nevertheless guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, for they also do not clearly discern, show reverence to the Body of the Lord; because "it is no less sacrilegious to call the Body of Christ what is not the Body of Christ than to deny that that is the Body of Christ which is truly so" (p. 128). An ingenious argument certainly.

34. Peter De La Celle (D. 1180)

In his seventh sermon in coena Domini (Sermo 40. P.L. 202, 769), Peter de la Celle would have ten points of doctrine preached from the housetops regarding the sacrament of the Eucharist. The tenth point is: "Tenthly, does the sinful or the heretical priest make the Eucharist? However sinful the priest may be, provided he is nominally within the Church, though not according to the life he leads, he makes the sacrament (conficit)[517] because the effect does not come from the merit of the consecrating priest, but from the word of the Creator, and nothing more is received from a good priest, and nothing less from a bad one. THE HERETIC DOES NOT MAKE THE SACRAMENT (conficit) BECAUSE HE IS WITHOUT THE CHURCH.

35. Innocent III (D. 1216)

Innocent III seems to have had the same thing in mind when he wrote: "Although only one offers the sacrifice, nevertheless he says we offer in the plural, because the priest SACRIFICES NOT ONLY IN HIS OWN PERSON BUT IN THE PERSON OF THE WHOLE CHURCH. FOR THIS REASON, in the sacrament of the Body of Christ nothing greater is effected (perficitur) by the good priest, nothing less by the bad priest, PROVIDED THE PRIEST IS IN THE ARK WITH THE OTHERS, and observes the form prescribed by the dove" (De sacro altaris mysterio, 1, 3, c. 5. P.L. 217, 844).[518]

36. William Of Auxerre (D. 1223)

William of Auxerre gives the true teaching (In quatuor libros sententiarum, fol. 284) : "We ask: do heretics ordain or not, do they truly consecrate (conficiant)...? If heretics observe the form of the Church, whether cut off or not, they give true sacraments."

37. William Of Paris (D. 1249)

In his treatise De Sacramento ordinis c. 6 (t. 1, p. 539) William of Paris distinguishes between the priest who has been degraded, whose sacerdotal character he believes to be completely taken away, and the priest who is not unauthorised or degraded, but who, joining a false sect, attempts celebration outside of ecclesiastical unity. He says of the latter: "Apostates and heretics who publicly and openly abandon the Church, and go over to the synagogue of Satan, that is to any sect of infidelity, behaving not as priests of the Catholic Church but of the synagogue of Satan, and presenting its accursed petitions, both by their sacrilegious ministry, as we said above, and with their lips, DO NOTHING ON THE PART OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, as they act neither as her spokesmen nor ministers, nor do they effect anything for the perfidious faction on whose behalf they speak, whose voice God does not listen to, but rather He abhors and execrates it, as the cawing of a crow or the hiss of a serpent."

Clearly, therefore, according to William, the sacerdotal office can fail on two grounds:[519] either by the recall of the commission of the Church, as happens in the case of those deposed from office, or through lack of the ratification of the Church, as in the case of heretics: "Clearly the sacerdotal office or ministry is perfect only when it combines two elements: the ratification of the Church, and the limited exercise of the office of proxy; similarly it is nullified or made void by two causes, on the side of the Church and on the side of the ministry" (ibid.), that is to say, ministry which has been abolished as such, in certain cases.

38 Leaders Of The Older Scholastics

And now the great luminaries of the school of Paris appeared, whose leader, St. Albert the Great (d. 1280) (4 D. 13, 11, art. 30)[520] with St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) (4. D. 13, art. 1, q. 1), and St. Thomas (d. 1274) (3 S. 82, 7 and 8), declared unanimously[521] that every priest validly consecrates (conficit) the Body of Christ, if, intending to consecrate, he observes the form of the Church. Nor had they any doubt that such a priest, validly consecrating, truly offered sacrifice.

39. Scotus (D. 1308)

Scotus admitted that heretics and priests who have been degraded can consecrate validly ("because any priest competent to pronounce the words with the intention to consecrate (conficere) can consecrate"—4 D. 13, 2). Nevertheless—because " the priest does not offer in his own person, but in the person of the Church of which he is minister: but such a one is cut off from her" (ibid.)—he denies to them all sacrificial action or offering of the victim;[522] explaining this further by the following reason: "Offering does not pertain to the essence of consecration" (ibid.) . This of course is true if it is a matter here of merely formal distinctions (in the Scotist sense). If, however, he means to imply, as indeed he did, that the offering may be separated from the consecration, it is certainly false. For, as we have said, our offering is made in the consecration itself, the one is inseparable from the other: for it is in the symbolical immolation. that the offering of the Victim truly immolated in the past consists. However, this solution of Scotus had scarcely any supporters, and all the theologians retained the teaching of the schools, that anyone who can consecrate can also sacrifice.[523]

The number and the authority of the theologians who maintained both the validity of the consecration of the sacrament and the offering of the sacrifice by all priests, even those priests under the severest condemnation of the Church, increased to such an extent that Thomas of Argentina (d. 1357) wrote: "I hold the aforesaid conclusion, because it is commonly (satis communiter) held by theologians" (4 D. 13, a. 2, Venice, 1564, f. 111). And shortly afterwards Nicholas de Ausmo, in a work entitled Supplementum (incun. f. 135a) : "Should a priest celebrate, even though he is a heretic, excommunicated or degraded, he consecrates conficit) to his own destruction... thus theologians generally."

So unanimity was reached and the memory of the earlier dispute faded to such an extent that even learned men did not hesitate to write, as did Hartzheim (Concilia Germaniae, t. 3, Cologne, 1760. p. 234) : "If any priest had fallen into heresy or schism, or if he had been excommunicated, no one ever said that he could not validly consecrate (conficere) the Eucharist."

The truth of the matter is that the question of the sacrifices of priests, either cut off or deposed, was solved in either of two ways by the earlier writers. Some denied only the fruit of the sacrifice, while others denied the validity also. Those who denied the validity of the sacrifice of such priests had especially in mind, in the case of those cut off from the Church, THE LACK OF CONNECTION WITH THE CHURCH, in which alone the priesthood of Christ is exercised through the Holy Spirit: because Christ is knit in one with the Church (Christus aliquid unum est cum Ecclesia) so all sacerdotal activity or sacrificial offering is that of Christ only in so far as it is that of the Church.

In the case of priests who are deprived of authorisation (though still true priests in communion with the Church), they thought that the ecclesiastical authority for the sacrifice was lacking, the Church, as it were, being now UNWILLING to perform any priestly action through the deposed or the degraded priest.

Hence they considered that the terminus a quo, that is, the source or fount of valid sacrifice, the Church, was lacking for both classes of priests.

Those, on the other hand, who upheld the validity of such sacrifices insisted, nevertheless, that connection with the Church was necessary for the validity, as did Augustine especially and Alger, adding meanwhile that the sacrifices celebrated by those who are outside the Church come from the Church, indeed are sacrifices of the Church, and hence that heretics in respect of sacrificial power remain in some manner within the Church: and this is the true solution which we shall now develop.


(1) Just as a person who is baptised cannot be so completely cast out from the Church as to be IN EVERY WAY as the heathen and the publican; but, if he enters into lawful marriage, his marriage will be sacramental; if he receives the Eucharist, his communion will be sacramental (a thing not to be thought of in case of the heathen); so, too, and even much more so, a priest, though cut off ever so much from the Church, STILL RETAINS THAT MINISTERIAL UNION WHEREBY, HAVING ONCE BEEN CONSTITUTED BY GOD THE AGENT (procurator) OF THE CHURCH FOR THE OFFERING OF SACRIFICE, HE REMAINS THE AGENT OF THE CHURCH FOR ALL TIME;[524] the Church doing through him whatever he attempts, even unlawfully, to do, through the power of the commission entrusted to him by God. He is and remains the organ of the body. The body may ban the organ, the organ may forsake the body, but it is still the organ, and whatever it does or desires to do as organ is done as from the Church.

You will say: How does the Church act through one through whom she does not wish to act, as is plainly indicated to the priest who has been degraded by her, and is even more plainly understood in the case of one cut off from her?

I reply: The refusal of the Church is not absolute; she certainly manifests her unwillingness, but this does not amount to an absolute refusal to act through him. For indefectibly holy and faithful to God as the Church is, she cannot absolutely wish anything contrary to the order fixed by God. But God joined both together, priest and Church, for the offering of sacrifice. Hence the Church in her holiness cannot absolutely wish to rescind that union. No matter how much she may prohibit the priest, no matter how much she may hold him in abhorrence, nevertheless she is still bound to him and wedded to him, so to speak. And what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Therefore whenever the priest means to offer the sacrifice he truly offers it and offers it on the part of the Church: for, though she does not wish him to offer at all, still when he does offer she wills that he do so in her name (the Church in this is nolens secundum quid, volens simpliciter).

Hence, to the question as to what a priest cut off from the Church or degraded can do in this matter, we answer, as all Catholics now do, that he can validly offer the sacrifice, adding meanwhile that, according to the teaching of the earlier theologians, he can do so because on the side of the Church the essential font or terminus a quo of sacrificial offering is not lacking, even in such cases.

So much for what the heretic can do in this matter. If, however, you ask what he does do in any particular case, the reply is not necessarily the same. For though the Church will certainly never fail her legate, her legate may fail the Church, being unwilling to act for the Church, in her name, his intention being simply and absolutely to act for himself only, or what is much more probable, to act as minister for a false sect.

And indeed, EVERY FORMAL AND OBSTINATE HERETIC, IF HE IS CONSISTENT, must be so affected towards the Church, as to exclude all connection with the Church in the offering of the sacrifice. For no one acts as minister of the true Church without desiring, implicitly at least, to exercise the ministry on her behalf RATHER THAN ON BEHALF of his false and schismatical sect. He must have, as we say, a prevalent intention of doing what Christ instituted to be done.[525] But no one is a formal and obstinate heretic unless he ABSOLUTELY sets his own opinion above the truth of faith, or his own will above the charity of union. And such a one can never act for the Church, unless at least at the moment of one or other celebration he is implicitly inconsistent, having at the time of offering a prevalent desire of offering for the Church, though habitually quite the opposite desire prevails. Hence in the case of one who is completely carried away with hatred of the true Catholic, Apostolic Church, namely the Roman communion, one might well conclude that the prevalent intention of such a one, if he is consistent, would be not to do anything as minister of the Church, but simply and absolutely as an official of his own sect.[526] In such a case he will do nothing, effect (conficiet) nothing in his Eucharistic celebration, for in no sense does he offer on behalf of the Church, as he himself, not the Church, deliberately and absolutely excludes such intention.[527]

Should, however, such a one simply wish, at least in implicit intention, to act as minister of the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, though in other ways in opposition, then his action will be effective and he will consecrate. In this case it should be borne in mind that the sacrifice is not offered by the separated one as separate, but it is offered by one who, though outside the Church (by his personal legal status and habitual intention), is nevertheless as one within the Church (by reason of his office or ministry, or inalienable deputation, and by the actual direction here and now, or rather correction of his intention).

Hence the axiom of the earlier theologians stands: "Outside the Catholic Church there is no place of true sacrifice." For sacrifice, to be true, is made by one, not in so far as he is without, but in so far as he is and remains within; so that always in every case sacrifice is within the Church.

Hence, too, every true sacrifice is always the sacrifice of the Church.

Suarez among the more recent theologians implies this where he writes: "Should a heretic or any other excluded from the Church offer it, although he offers outside the Church, HE NEVERTHELESS OFFERS THE SACRIFICE OF THE CHURCH: and this he can effect, just because he retains the character by reason of which he belongs to the Church in some way" (De Eucharistia, disp. 77, s. 2, n. 7).[528] For it is by the sacerdotal character that one is appointed precisely to offer, as representative of the Church, gifts and sacrifices to God. Hence the persistence in him of this character is enough to guarantee that he remains the Church's deputy, and acts as such, as often as he desires to do so, provided only that his prevailing intention be to act for the Church.

Hence, no matter how unfaithful be the priest who offers the sacrifice, the Church is faithful, it is her cause he pleads, and it is her gifts and sacrifices that he offers; so that it is always the true faith, the Catholic faith, that begins and originates every sacrificial action, and so, too, every Eucharistic consecration, if not proximately, on the part of the minister, at least remotely, on the part of the Ecclesiastical Society whose minister he is.

And in this sense can be retained what William of St. Theodoric wrote (De corp. et sang. Dmni, c. 6. P.L. 180, 355). "In the sacraments the FAITH OF THE CHURCH consecrates (facit= conficit, consecrat) the Body of the Lord, the sacrifice being that of the Church in general, no matter what be the merit of the one by whom the offering is made."

(II) The question of the fruit of such sacrifices is solved by the same principle by which we have solved the question of their validity.

Here, as on the question of validity, there have been divergent opinions.

A few theologians thought, as some do, I believe, still think, that there is absolutely no fruit whatever from the sacrifice of the priest cut off from the Church, no matter how valid the sacrifice may be.

The greater number, however, made a distinction, and, following St. Thomas[529] and St. Bonaventure,[530] deny the fruit to those only who specially intervene in such sacrifices as offerers or cooperators. Thus Suarez (disp. 77, s. 2, n. 7) distinguishes the "offerers and co-operators" (to whom the sacrifice cannot be beneficial) from others, to whom the sacrifice can be beneficial.

But when we come to consider these others who derive fruit from such sacrifices, for example the universal Church, and ask how this fruit is derived, we find difference of opinion among theologians.

Those theologians who hold that Christ intervenes in each of our sacrifices by a new act of offering, newly elicited in each and every Mass, and that so the fruit of the Mass can be limited by Christ Himself and so computed independently of the intervention of the offering by the Church, would hold that, even though the universal Church did not offer at all, some fruit of the Mass could be assigned to the sacrifice of the priest cut off from the Church.

But as we have repeatedly rejected the teaching that Christ at each Mass elicits a new act of offering, we likewise reject the explanation of the point at issue, which relies on that teaching, and say that, as the Church offers through those cut off and unauthorised (as we explained above), so the devotion of the universal Church is not lacking to commend their sacrifices.[531] Indeed, on this head their sacrifices are no worse than those of the unworthy priest. But from another point of view they are worse. Because in the sacrifices of bad priests, who nevertheless are Catholic, apart from the general offering of the whole Church, there is added the more special offering of some, for instance of those persons who give a stipend, of the faithful who assist, by which the fruit is increased. In the sacrifices of the outcast or the deposed, however, no such increase is possible, seeing that the co-operation of the faithful, either by way of stipend or by assisting, is itself bad.

However, this must be understood only as the general rule, for good faith will excuse the faithful when through ignorance they co-operate in this way, especially when they wish to do so for some otherwise good reason (titulus coloratus). And in some cases the priest, though outwardly a heretic or schismatic, may be inwardly in good faith, and so guiltless of sin, and ignorant of his entanglement in error, so that nothing is wanting to prevent his sacrifice from being acceptable to God, so as to further even the most special intentions in the offering. God grant that this may often be so with our brethren in the East! Were this so, there would be no fear of the strengthening of schism by such sacrifices, since every such sacrifice offered as from the one true Church would be efficacious with God, and so would help towards greater unity and against schism.

Since, however, every Eucharistic communion is a profession of ecclesiastical communion between the consecrating and distributing priest and the recipient, it is usually unlawful and pernicious, AS A SCHISMATICAL AND HERETICAL ACT, to receive the Body of Christ, even though it be validly consecrated, from the hands of a schismatical or heretical priest; just as a person excommunicates himself if he receives communion from a priest who is excommunicated by name. Hence Durandus of Mende (4 D. 13, q. 1, n. 12) : "Both those who consecrate the sacrament and those who receive it at their hands have it not to their salvation but to their damnation."

Should, however, the sacrament, validly consecrated by a priest cut off from the Church, be reserved in every way according to Catholic prescription, it could be received and distributed in similar manner by Catholics, and in such a case the communicant would not be acting in communion with heresy or schism, but with the true Church, to which the sacrament belongs.[532]