Deus Ex Machina

"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

A Liturgy and Theology of the Lord’s Supper; The Eucharist as a Memorial Offering

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

Where is this written?

The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write thus:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.

After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Take, drink ye all of it. This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Martin Luther, The Small Catechism: “The Sacrament of the Altar”

I was teaching a friend of mine about the Augsburgian understanding of the Lord’s Supper and since it was quite a heavy lesson, he asked that I summarised my teachings here for easy and future reference of the main points. So I’m writing a summary of the lesson here concerning the nature of the Lord’s Supper. This is a theology which I’ve been developing and learning about ever since my time as a high Anglican and which there’s very little for me to need to amend now except to place it within the theological framework of the Lutheran Confessions. It is a conception which is largely informed by Melanchthon’s understanding of the Mass as it is written in The Apology of the Augsburg Confession and the Wittenberg Artlces of 1536 and from the 1549 Book of Common Prayer.

On Sacraments and Sacrifices

We us begin first with some general theological concepts. First we begin with Melanchthon’s distinction between a sacrament and a sacrifice:

Theologians are rightly accustomed to distinguish between a Sacrament and a sacrifice… A Sacrament is a ceremony or work in which God presents to us that which the promise annexed to the ceremony offers; as, Baptism is a work, not which we offer to God, but in which God baptizes us, i.e., a minister in the place of God; and God here offers and presents the remission of sins, etc., according to the promise, Mark 16:16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. A sacrifice, on the contrary, is a ceremony or work which we render God in order to afford Him honor.

Thus, to summarise, a sacrament is a rite or work whereby God presents and offers to us his grace and salvation, whereas a sacrifice is a rite or a work which we offer to God to honour him, etc.

Then it is necessary for us to distinguish between the two kinds of sacrifices, to cite Melanchthon again,

One is the propitiatory sacrifice, i.e., a work which makes satisfaction for guilt and punishment, i.e., one that reconciles God, or appeases God’s wrath, or which merits the remission of sins for others. The other species is the eucharistic sacrifice, which does not merit the remission of sins or reconciliation, but is rendered by those who have been reconciled, in order that we may give thanks or return gratitude for the remission of sins that has been received, or for other benefits received.

Now according to Melanchthon, “there has been only one propitiatory sacrifice in the world, namely, the death of Christ”. Thus the obedience and death of Christ alone is the sole propitiatory sacrifice which makes atonement and merits righteousness and forgiveness and salvation for us, etc. Melanchthon later continues regarding the other type of sacrifice,

Now the rest are eucharistic sacrifices, which are called sacrifices of praise, Lev. 3:1f.; 7:11f.; Ps. 56:12f., namely, the preaching of the Gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the afflictions of saints, yea, all good works of saints. These sacrifices are not satisfactions for those making them, or applicable on behalf of others, so as to merit for these, ex opere operato, the remission of sins or reconciliation. For they are made by those who have been reconciled. And such are the sacrifices of the New Testament, as Peter teaches, 1 Pet. 2:5: An holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. Spiritual sacrifices, however, are contrasted not only with those of cattle, but even with human works offered ex opere operato, because spiritual refers to the movements of the Holy Ghost in us. Paul teaches the same thing Rom. 12:1: Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, which is your reasonable service. Reasonable service signifies, however, a service in which God is known, and apprehended by the mind, as happens in the movements of fear and trust towards God.

To recapitulate,

(1) A sacrament is a rite or work instituted by God whereby he offers and presents to us his salvation,

(2) A sacrifice is a work which is offered to God to honour Him,

(3) A propitiatory sacrifice is a work which is offered to God to make atonement for sin, and according to the Christian faith, there is only one propitiatory sacrifice in the world, i.e. the obedience and death of Christ,

(4) A eucharistic sacrifice is a work which is offered to God, not to make atonement or merit righteousness, but to render thanks for the atonement and righteousness so received and in gratitude for the salvation granted, e.g. faith, prayer, worship, preaching, good works, etc.

“This is My body which is given for you, Do this in Remembrance of Me.

There are actually two parts to the Lord’s Supper, it actually consists of both a sacrament and a sacrifice. The sacrament part is “This is my Body which is given for you”, whereby this Word promises His true Body to those who eat and drink the bread so consecrated by these words. The sacrifice part is “Do this in Remembrance of Me”, whereby we call to mind and remember Christ’s work and death for us, rouse our faith and believe that truly his salvation is given for us and offered for us in his Body and Blood as Melanchthon puts it in the Augsburg Confession concerning the Mass,

But Christ commands us, Luke 22:19: This do in remembrance of Me; therefore the Mass was instituted that the faith of those who use the Sacrament should remember what benefits it receives through Christ, and cheer and comfort the anxious conscience. For to remember Christ is to remember His benefits, and to realize that they are truly offered unto us.

This faith which remembers the work of Christ and believes the benefits and graces so offered in the sacrament is our spiritual worship and eucharistic sacrifice unto God.

Thus falsely are the Lutherans accused of teaching that the Lord’s Supper benefits its participants ex opere operato by a sheer mechanical eating of the bread and wine, for we insist that the eating of the Body and Blood benefits us solely by faith which believes in the words of Christ which says that this bread/wine is his Body/Blood given/shed for us for the remissions of sins. Without this faith the eating and drinking instead would be an occasion of judgement and not salvation. Both oral eating (whereby Christ’s body and blood are eaten orally with the mouth and tongue), and spiritual eating (whereby Christ’s body and blood are eaten by faith which believes the words) are necessary and neither are to be pitted against the other. Without the oral eating faith would have no object to believe in and without the spiritual eating our faith would not be edified nor us sanctified which can only occur through faith alone.

Commemoration or Anamnēsin

I wish here to focus upon the sacrifice part of the Lord’s Supper, upon the “Do this in Remembrance of Me”. The word “remembrance” is the Greek word anamnēsin which we shall be looking into further detail later. But let us begin with some preliminary observations first.

The consecration of the bread and wine occurs by virtue of the institution and words of Christ. It is the Words of the Institution which consecrates the bread and wine to be the Body and Blood of Christ, not any prayer, faith, or work of man. Thus, to “Do this in remembrance of me” is not to say that the bread and wine is the Body and Blood of Christ by virtue of the commemorative action but solely by virtue of the Words of Christ.

With this clarified, it is therefore safe now to say that this work of commemoration is indeed our action, our response to the promise of grace given by the Words of the Institution, our proper eucharistic sacrifice and work. Let us begin our explanation of the memorial with Melanchthon’s words in the Wittenberg Articles on the Mass,

But when Christ said [Luke 22:19], “This do in remembrance of Me,” He instituted this sacrament in order that in it true faith might make a memorial of His death and of the benefits which He merited for us by His death. And these benefits are through the sacrament granted to him who receives it when by means of this memorial he rouses up his faith and believes that Christ really gives us His benefits when He presents to us a guarantee which is to unite us to Himself, which has the purpose of preserving us as His members, and which is to cleanse us by His blood.

This faith, by means of which Christ’s benefits are received, is the spiritual worship of God; and since to this faith there must be joined the giving of thanks, whereby our hearts truly thank God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and redemption, therefore the ancient church called this celebration of the sacrament the Eucharist…

(italics mine)

This ultimately the remembrance or memorial work is our work of faith, it is faith which “makes a memorial of His death”, which remembrance or memorial is supposed to rouse and strengthen faith. Thus we must insist again that the memorial exists for faith, not for the consecration of the elements. The elements are consecrated by Christ’s words, but our faith is roused and encouraged by the memorial whereby we receive the benefits of the Lord’s Supper.

But here we need to ask, what does it mean to “make a memorial”? What is a commemoration? What is the meaning of anamnēsin or “remembrance”?

Let me postulate three parts to the commemoration and then justify them. The Eucharistic Memorial consists of (1) Remembrance, (2) Representation/memorial offering and (3) Application or Reception.

Keeping in mind that the entire commemorative work is rooted in faith, the first part (1) Remembrance is easy to understand, the commemoration is first and foremost the calling to mind of the work of Christ, his death and resurrection and ascension. This is brought to mind by preaching or public proclamation which Melanchthon identifies as a eucharistic work or sacrifice. Thus, a memorial is first and foremost a remembrance or a calling to mind of Christ, which comes about by proclamation of his deeds.

Representation, Memorial Offering/Sacrifice

With this calling to mind of Christ’s work or remembrance, faith is roused and recognises a gracious and loving God, and is thereby encouraged to call upon God, to desire and seek our good in him, etc, which desire is expressed in prayer for our salvation and benefits as Melanchthon puts it in the Wittenberg Articles on Good Works,

… we teach that such virtues as calling on God, loving Him, and the like cannot exist in us unless our hearts are first raised up by faith through the Gospel, since as long as they feel God’s wrath, they do not believe that their prayers are heard, and they do not love God, as it is written [Rom 10:14]: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” Therefore faith must be present– faith by means of which we not only are raised up and recognize that God has been reconciled to us, and whereby, as Paul says [Rom. 8:15], “we cry, Abba, Father”; but by which we finally really call on God and love Him. This very faith is the foremost work and the foremost worship of God, because it recognizes Christ as our Mediator.

Remembering that prayers are part of the “eucharistic sacrifices” in Melanchthon’s exposition, we move next to the concept of representation. The idea behind the commemoration as representation is that commemoration represents before God his Son’s sacrifice and pleads the benefits of the Cross and his sacrifice. This is rooted in the biblical idea of the memorial offering spoken of in Leviticus.

Often when we speak of “remembrance” our automatic assumption is that it is only for us to remember God. But yet in the Scriptures the concept of remembrance is also often used in the sense of asking God to remember us! In the famous canticle often called the Magnificat or the Song of Mary, a part of the song goes,

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.

Luke 1:54-55

The Song of Zechariah also speaks of it this way,

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

for he has visited and redeemed his people,

and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

that we should be saved from our enemies,

and from the hand of all who hate us;

to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,

and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,

to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.

Luke 1:68-75

The problem is that we don’t pray this way any more, asking him to remember his mercy or covenant or to remember us, etc. How many of us when we pray use phrases like, “Lord, remember me…” or “Lord, remember your promises…”? The fact is that such expressions are virtually extinct amongst us. We ask our friends to remember us in their prayers, but we never ask the Christ to remember us in his intercessions to the Father. But even though such expressions are extinct amongst us, it is very much part of the life and prayer language of the people of the Bible, which is littered with so many examples of it. In 1 Samuel 1:11 when Hannah was anguished over her childlessness she prayed, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son…” Solomon when he dedicated his temple to the Lord prayed in 2 Chronicles 6:42, “LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant.” The Psalmist in Psalm 25 prayed in verse 7, “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me,for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!”.

The association of the anamnēsin of the Lord’s Supper with this memorial offering whereby we offer up prayers asking God to remember us is confirmed in this portion of Leviticus about the Bread of the Tabenacle,

“And you shall take fine flour, and bake twelve loaves of it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two rows, six in a row, upon the table of pure gold. And you shall put pure frankincense with each row, that it may go with the bread as a memorial [anamnēsin] portion to be offered by fire to the LORD. Every sabbath day Aaron shall set it in order before the LORD continually on behalf of the people of Israel as a covenant for ever. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the offerings by fire to the LORD, a perpetual due.”

Thus, the anamnēsin here is exactly the same as the anamnēsin of the Lord’s Supper. It is done before the Lord “as a covenant for ever”. (sounds familiar?) Thus, this memorial is invoked to ask the Lord to remember his everlasting covenant with Israel. So in the Eucharist we proclaim our faith in Christ and invoke the memory of him, offering it up to the Lord by faith in prayer and pleading his work before Him for whose sake we ask God to hear and receive our prayers and our eucharistic sacrifices. Melanchthon himself confirms this in this part of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession,

…although a ceremony is a memorial of Christ’s death, nevertheless it alone is not the daily sacrifice; but the memory itself is the daily sacrifice, i.e., preaching and faith, which truly believes that, by the death of Christ, God has been reconciled.

The memory itself is the daily sacrifice. The memory or memorial of Christ’s death, by preaching and faith, is represented and pleaded before Him whose sake we ask God to hear and receive our prayers and eucharistic sacrifices.

Application/Reception

Thus let us recapitulate: By the preaching or proclamation of Christ’s death and atoning work are they brought to mind and faith is roused and encouraged to seek and desire their good and salvation from God (remembrance), and this seeking leads to prayer which is made on the basis of Christ’s work which is represented before God and which benefits are pleaded and whose deed is invoked as the basis for God to hear and receive our prayers favourably (representation).

Finally we come to the application/reception part of the commemoration. Since faith is encouraged to seek their good and salvation from God by the preaching or proclamation of Christ’s death, therefore faith will pray and ask of God for all our needs, both spiritual and temporal, and this prayer for our benefits is the application of the commemoration to us. For an explanation of this, we turn to one of Luther’s early works on the Eucharist when reconciles the conception of the “sacrifice” with the Mass.

Luther first explains that all our spiritual sacrifices, our prayers, praise, thanksgiving and most importantly ourselves and our very own lives, “we are not to present before God in our own person, but we are to lay it on Christ and let Him present it”, “because He intercedes for us in heaven, receives our prayer and sacrifice, and through Himself, as a godly priest, makes them pleasing to God”. Then he goes on to say that we,

do not offer Christ as a sacrifice, but that Christ offers us. And in this way it is permissable, yea, profitable, to call the mass a sacrifice, not on its own account, but because we offer ourselves as a sacrifice along with Christ; that is, we lay ourselves on Christ by a firm faith in His testament, and appear before God with our prayer, praise and sacrifice only through Him and through His mediation; and we do not doubt that He is our priest and minister in heaven before God.  Such faith, forsooth, brings it to pass that Christ takes up our cause, presents us, our prayer and praise, and also offers Himself for us in heaven. If the mass were so understood and therefore called a sacrifice, it would be well.

(italics mine)

Thus, by the preaching of Christ, we know of the work of Christ as our great high priest who continually intercedes for us in heaven before the Father and who is praying with us and receiving and perfecting our prayers before God, and faith which believes in Christ as Mediator boldly presents its petitions and prayers to God, pleading and representing Christ before God.

But so far nothing has been said which relates thesel sacrifices to the sacrament, all this is true even of private prayers and individual eucharistic  sacrifices offered outside of the context of the mass. But then he goes on to explain how to relate this to the sacrament.

…we receive the testament and at the same time admonish ourselves and be minded to strengthen our faith and not doubt that Christ is our priest in heaven, who offers Himself for us without ceasing and presents us and our prayer and praise, and makes them acceptable; just as though I were to offer the human priest as a sacrifice in the mass and appoint him to present my need and my praise of God, and he were to give me a token that he would do it. In this case I would be offering the priest as a sacrifice; and it is in this wise that I offer Christ, in that I desire and believe that He accepts me and my prayer and praise, and presents it to God in His own person, and to strengthen this faith, gives me a token that He will do it. This token is the sacrament of bread and wine.

Thus the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood confirms our faith that God indeed has heard and received our prayers and looks upon them favourably. As Romans 8:32 puts it, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” Thus, it is as if God is saying: I have given you my very own Son here in the Eucharist to eat, will I not also not hear your prayers and receive it?

The Book of Common Prayer 1549

Let us arrange all these insights into a coherent whole by examining Cranmer’s 1549 Book of Common Prayer which was conservative reworking of the Roman Mass according to Protestant principles.

The Canon (which is traditionally considered to be the prayer which consecrates the elements) or the Commemoration begins with,

ALMIGHTY and everliving GOD, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers and supplications, and to give thanks for all men: We humbly beseech thee most mercifully to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy divine Majesty, beseeching thee to inspire continually the universal church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord…

Thus the Canon begins with the offering of prayers and then it goes on to pray for various groups of people and their needs, e.g. the King, for bishops, for all Christians, and the present congregation, the prayer items following quite closely the order of items of the pre-reformation liturgy for which the sacrifice is offered, even ending with a commendation and prayer for the dead.

After these supplications are made then begins the memorial proper where Christ’s sacrifice is invoked and proclaimed,

O God heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesu Christ tosuffer death upon the cross for our redemption, who made there, by his one oblation once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us, to celebrate a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again…

Then he goes on to ask God to “bless and sanctify” with the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine that it may be the Body and Blood of Christ, before going on to the narrative of the Lord’s Supper. After the Words of the Institution, the pre-reformation liiturgy will go on to the memorial offering whereby the priest asks God to accept the sacrifice, which has now become the Body and Blood of Christ by virtue of the Words of the Institution, as they remember the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Cranmer would actually retain this structure but with a couple of additions and modifications which would prove interesting for our discussion, as the Anglican scholar C.D. Heath explains concerning the memorial prayer of Cranmer,

Although extremely long, it is grammatically straightforward, with four participial phrases dependent on the main clause (we . . . make . . . the memorial):

“Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesu Christ, we thy humble servants do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, the memorial which thy Son hath willed us to make;

(1) having in remembrance his blessed passion, mighty resurrection and glorious ascension;

(2) rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same;

(3) entirely desiring thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving;

(4) most humbly beseeching thee to grant that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his Blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits

of his passion”

This use of participles, rather than a series of ands, is the most important characteristic of this section of the 1549 Canon. They make the whole sentence the expression of a single, integrated act in which having in remembrance, rendering thanks, desiring God to accept our sacrifice and beseeching him to grant the grace requested are part and parcel of the making of the memorial and not to be distinguished from it as additional acts supplementary to it…

To recapitulate, first we offer up our prayers and supplications, then we proclaim and invoke the memory of Christ’s sacrifice and the promise of grace and gift of his Body and Blood in the Words of the Institution, then hearing these proclaimed and preached to us, we call to mind his passion, resurrection and ascension, we give thanks for the benefits received, we desire that God would accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, so as to confirm our faith and confidence, whereby we pray that he would grant to us through faith in his Blood and by the merits of Christ, “remission of our sins and all other benefits of his passion”, namely not only salvation, but also a favourable reception of our prayers and supplication, etc.

But it is the next part of the prayer which is the most interesting, Cranmer goes on with,

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee, humbly beseeching thee that whosoever shall be partakers of this holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious body and blood of thy son Jesus Christ: and be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with thy son Jesus Christ that he may dwell in them, and they in him.

We can clearly see the influence of the Lutheran Reformation here in the offering of “ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and lively sacrifice unto thee”, the idea that we offer ourselves unto Christ who as high priest presents us as acceptable unto the Father. But notice the structure of this prayer: We offer ourselves to the Lord, so that we may become worthy partakers of the holy communion (“worthily receive the most precious body…), to the end that we may be filled with his grace and made one body with thy son Jesus Christ. This corresponds to Melanchthon’s argument elsewhere that our highest act of worship, or spiritual sacrifice, is the have faith in Christ, to believe in Him, and to receive his benefits, i.e. his most precious body and blood of Christ and grace and heavenly benediction, etc.  

And finally the Canon ends off with the Final Doxology whereby the entire commemorative action, remembrance, representation, application, is done by faith in Christ, and by Him, with Him and in Him are they all done,

and athough we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any Sacrifice: Yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service, and command these: our prayers and supplications, by the Ministry of thy holy Angels, to be brought up into thy holy Tabernacle before the sight of thy divine majesty; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty world without end, Amen.

Thus, the Canon begins with offering of prayers and supplications and the Final Doxology beautifully ends the Canon with our preaching, faith, memorial offering and pleading, worship of praise and thanksgiving, etc, and our prayers and supplication are brought up by his holy angels before his divine majesty, not on the basis of our merits, but by his pardon, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Some Contrasting Conclusions

I think this note has grown sufficiently long and although there is a lot more to be said, but I think this will do for now. I shall end off with making some contrasting comparison with this Augsburgnian conception of the Eucharist with the Roman conception of the Eucharist.

First, although we insist on the necessity of the Eucharistic sacrifice, but this eucharistic sacrifice is not atoning or propitiatory, etc. To summarise very briefly, the entire commemorative action is simply an exercise of faith whereby the benefits of the atonement are received. This is in contrast to the Trendentine idea that the work of the Mass is atoning, propitiatory, etc. No human work except the work of Christ on the Cross is atoning or propitatory. The Eucharistic sacrifice is properly our work, which work merely receives the benefits of the atonement but doesn’t make the atonement.

Secondly, our prayers and works are offered up to God, never the Body or Blood of Christ. Christ is not “re-sacrificed” or “re-offered” in the Mass. Only our spiritual works, faith, preaching, prayer, worship, praise and thanks, etc, are offered up, and maybe even the bread and wine itself. But the Body and Blood of Christ is not offered up. The most that can be said is tha memory of the atoning death is represented before God and pleaded, but that is the farthest we can go. This is in contrast to the Trendentine understanding that Christ “instituted the new Passover, (to wit) Himself to be immolated, under visible signs, by the Church through (the ministry of) priests, in memory of His own passage from this world unto the Father”.

Now, no one really knows what the word “immolated” means; it can be roughly translated as “sacrifice”, although the connotation of destruction is unavoidable. (Cardinal Bellarmine himself personally thought that sacrifice necessarily involves destruction and that Christ is sacrificed or destroyed in the Mass by the act of consumption). Whatever it is, this is the greatest blasphemy of the Mass whereby it is imagined or taught that in the Mass Christ is sacrificed or “immolated” or offered, etc. Only our prayers, supplications, worship, faith, and at most, the memory of Christ’s death and our proclamation of it is offered. But the body and blood of Christ is not offered at all, and the sacrament of the body and blood offered and given to us is at most the reason for eucharistic sacrifice, but it is not itself sacrificed to God.

It is anyway interesting to observe that even the Romans themselves have dropped the “immolated” language after Vatican II and did not appear again in their Catechism. Instead, there is now this theory of the priest “making present” or “re-presenting” (not representing!) the Sacrifice of the Cross to God. One is not exactly certain what it means to speak of “offering” the event of the Sacrifice of the Cross, and how does this “making present” the event of the Cross or “offering” the event of the Cross to God square with the idea of offering the Body and Blood of Christ itself to God (which language is still retained in the Roman Canon). If one represents and offer the memory of Cross, then Protestants are fully agreed, but are puzzled why do you need to offer the Body and Blood of Christ to offer this memory or the event since we can offer this memory simply by prayer and proclaming the event before God.

Ah well, but that’s really their problem. 😛 Personally, I would abandon this “re-presenting theory” which is quite frankly incoherent and just dogmatically stick with the “immolate” language. But then again, I’m not a Roman.

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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