Does St. Paul Think the Eucharist is Just Bread?

Georges Antoine Keman, The Last Supper (19th c.)
Georges Antoine Keman, The Last Supper (19th c.)

More years ago than I would like to admit, I was speaking to a Protestant friend from college about St. Paul’s teachings on the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians. I read her the passage in which Paul warns against profaning the Eucharist by receiving unworthily (1 Cor. 11:23-29):

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

I had been bowled over by the clarity of the passage. If the Eucharist were a mere symbol, why would he so gravely warn against the risk of profaning the actual “body and blood of the Lord”?  My friend, reading this exact same passage, had come to an opposite conclusion: “if the Eucharist is really the Body of Christ, why does St. Paul continue to refer to it as ‘the bread‘?” What seemed to me obviously a reference to Jesus, the Bread of Life, just as obviously seemed to her to be about literal bread.

So how do we know how to read this passage? One answer would be to look to how the early Church understood things. If nobody in the first few centuries of the Church read the Biblical teaching on the Eucharist in the way that you do, how likely is it that you’re right and all of them are wrong? How bad of a job would the Apostles have had to have done to leave a Church in which nobody understands the basic teachings of Christianity?

But there’s another way to approach this question, too, which is to let Scripture interpret Scripture. Shortly before this passage from 1 Corinthians, St. Paul says (1 Cor. 10:16-17):

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

I’ve previously mentioned a fascinating trifold comparison that St. Paul makes between:

  1. Pagans, who become “partners with demons” by offering food and drink to idols, and then eating and drinking that sacrificial food and drink (“the cup of demons” ), taken from the altar, which he calls “the table of demons” (1 Cor. 10:19-21);
  2. Jews, who become who “partners in the altar” when they “eat the sacrifices” offered at the Temple (1 Cor. 10:18); and
  3. Christians, who “participate” in the Body and Blood of Christ by consuming the Eucharist, taken from the Eucharistic altar, which he calls the “table of the Lord.” He refers to the Chalice as the “cup of the Lord,” and a participation in His Blood. (1 Cor. 10:16-21)

This analogy only works if, like the pagan and Jewish examples, the Christian Eucharist is a ritual and sacrificial meal. Otherwise, what is Paul proving by these examples?

But there’s another dimension to this passage that I had never noticed until I read a commentary on it recently. The author (Cardinal Ratzinger, if memory serves) asks what we ought to make of the line, “we all partake of the one bread.” Like the line in 1 Corinthians 11, the interpretation question is whether “the one bread” (or “the one loaf”) refers to Jesus or literal bread. Or to put it differently, does Paul mean “the one bread” or “the one Bread”?

The commentary points out that Paul can’t mean that he, the Corinthians, and the rest of the Church are all one Body because they share a single loaf of bread. That would be obviously untrue. It’s not like some early Christian baker was preparing gigantic loaves of bread for every Christian on earth to share. In other words, Paul can’t mean what my friend understood him to mean, because that reading just isn’t true. Rather, he clearly means that Christians are one because they are sharers in Christ (cf. Hebrews 3:14), and sharers through the Eucharist.

The “one bread” in 1 Corinthians 10-11 is the one Bread, the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. Read in that light, the passage is clearly teaching the Real Presence, which is why “any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor. 11:29).

50 Comments

  1. I had never thought about one bread in this context before and it’s so very thought provoking. It also reinforces my belief that if God ever decides to unify us here on earth, the Eucharist will be at the center of it all. My Protestant paradigm starting cracking under examination of the issues of authority, doctrine, history, and a few others, not the Eucharist. But, those issues almost seem inconsequential once you see the body and blood — it becomes the pearl of great price that you must have and it truly becomes the source and summit of your faith. Blessed are those called to the wedding supper of the Lamb.

  2. It seems pretty clear that the “one bread” is the “one Bread” as you say, and for the reason that you give, because Jesus Himself described Himself as ‘the bread of life”. However, I think we need to also take a good look at WHY St. Paul used the threat “eats and drinks judgement upon Himself” a little more closely. St. Paul is certainly pointing to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This should be beyond doubt. And this is the point he is trying to make with his threat. To teach people that it is truly Jesus Christ that we are uniting ourselves to in Holy Communion. This is main the thrust of His message.

    However, I don’t think that we should read into this passage that it is the flesh of Jesus Himself that condemns us for eating Him, or touching Him, without distinction of His true presence. And this is because Christ knows that people need to grow in faith in steps, just as His own disciples and apostles did. It is truly Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist, but it takes people a long time to really understand the significance of this truth, even after various degrees of catechesis. And many children also receive Holy Communion but with actually very little understanding of what they are doing. So, I don’t think that St. Paul is trying to teach that little children are drinking ‘judgement upon themselves ‘ when they receive Jesus carelessly in the Holy Eucharist. Many of them just don’t understand, and receive because their parents and teachers tell them to. I was like this for many years of my own youth, without very much understanding of what Holy Communion really signified.

    Moreover, Jesus had mobs of people touching Him all the time, not recognizing that He was the Lord and Savior of the world. The Gospels even discuss this with the story of the woman with the ‘issue of blood’. So, Jesus did not condemn those multitudes of people for merely touching His sacred body, but He DID heal the woman who indeed distinguished his holiness, and touched Him with faith, considering Him a great prophet and servant of God.

    So, I think, this is like the reception of the Eucharist. Many people touch the ‘Flesh’ of Jesus when they go to Holy Communion. But every person has his own particular understanding of what he/she is doing. Some are like children who are innocent through lack of clear explanation on the matter. But others are like the woman with the ‘issue of blood’ who are ‘healed’ of their loss of blood and spiritual life every time they receive Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity into their bodies. And considering this, I think that St. Paul was using the ‘threat of condemnation’ as a tool for catechesis, to teach all Christians on the nature of the ‘Real Presence’. That is to say, that He is not implying that the Eucharist is a poison for the ignorant, but rather, that everyone should know that it is indeed Jesus Christ who we are receiving and that we should come to know Him very well through the understanding of the Gospel message in order to KNOW who we are receiving. In this way we will not be like the ignorant mob that touched Jesus every day, but rather, we will be like the faithful woman who was healed of her chronic ‘loss of blood’ disability.

    1. Hi awlms,
      I appreciate your thoughts on the condemnation idea. I have another question: Do you have any inspirations about Jesus’ telling Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection that she ought not touch him? I’ve not ever completely made sense of that…Also, there is the notion of why some were able to see his resurrected body while others could not.

      And then there is the Mystical body teaching–that we who believe, follow, receive Him are now his body on earth.

      Thanks for any thoughts you or others want to share.

      1. Hi Margo,

        Regarding Mary Magdelene, the actions of Jesus after His resurrection were probably suited to her particular personality. We all know that their first encounter was very affectionate, with Mary weeping at His feet. This courage of hers, to act in the way she did at a public event such as an upscale (for those times) dinner party, reveals that she was not shy in demonstrating her affection to others. And Jesus permitted it, as we read in the story. So, after the resurrection, Mary was just being herself, and was openly affectionate with Jesus, maybe thinking that everything was the same as before. Apparently it wasn’t. There might have been a physical change in Him that would have surprised her or caused her to be afraid? This is a mystery. In any case, it wasn’t right for her to embrace Jesus, as He Himself told her not to do. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

        We do, however, know that He told Thomas to put his fingers into the holes of His hands. And this was to support his doubting faith. Mary apparently didn’t need such a proof.

        Another tender account after the resurrection is the encounter between Peter and Jesus, and which also included St. John the Apostle. As Peter denied Jesus three times,Peter was given to opportunity to tell Him that he loved Him three times, and wherein Jesus told Peter to “Feed My Lambs”, “Feed My Sheep”. He also told Peter that he would live to an old age, meaning that he would not be martyred soon. This must have given Peter some courage in ‘near future’ terms. But after this, Peter asked Jesus about St. John. And Jesus basically says to Peter to mind his own business. Peter’s job was to follow Jesus, he didn’t need to worry about John. His own problems were enough for him.

        So, we see that Jesus treats people according to our their own God given personalities, talents and callings. That’s what the gospels teach us in these accounts. And, what is written is enough for us, as the Apostles decided that this knowledge that we are provided is sufficient to get the Gospel message across. St. John wrote that the story would need a world full of books if everything was told about Jesus. So, we should always be happy with what we have before us, as they are consideredto be sufficient for our faith.

        If you ever want to read a great life of Christ, there is a classic work written by Archbishop Alban Goodier, SJ. titled “The Public Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, Vols. I & II (1936). Fr. John Hardon, S.J., wrote that he considered it to be one of the best literary works on the Lord after the Gospels themselves. You’ll find a wealth of in-depth perspective on the personalities of all those who associated with Jesus while He taught in Israel. I’ve read these books about 3 or more times over. Thet’re excellent in their portrayal of the humanity of the Lord. You can find copies on-line at Google Books.

        Best to you.

        – Al

        1. Hi Al,
          Thank you. The idea of Jesus responding to us as individuals reflects his perfection and omnipotence, doesn’t it? He knows better than us what we need. Glory be.

          Margo
          P.S.: I’ll look at Arch. Goodier’s work as I’ll peek at anything Fr. Hardon thinks is great. I also push Bl. (?) Bishop Sheen’s Life of Christ. Easily read, full of wonder.

  3. Due to this passage dealing with partaking in an “unworthy manner”, there were times as a Protestant I would pass the plate and not partake in the Lord’s Supper because I knew my life was not right. Looking back, it was a strange thing to do since my theology did not allow for sacraments; I did not believe graces came through the Lord’s Supper. But, I believed curses could come upon us due to unworthy partaking because the Bible said so; it was almost like it was a negative sacrament bringing curses but could not bring graces. A strange position for someone raised to believe it was simply symbolic.

    So the Eucharist was one of the least difficult doctrines for me to accept in Catholicism (at least on a theoretical level) because I had already felt there was something special going on. It just took Catholicism to bring clarity to the muddiness. It cast light upon items I sensed were there but were hidden in darkness.

  4. Now that I am home from work, I can make a longer comment.

    Personally, I never really gave that matter much thought (spiritual blindness, ignorance, etcetera.) Then, about six years ago (I think) I began reading the Fathers heavily. You see, I knew enough about the Bible that I was aware that there was not an inspired table of contents. So, I was interested to see how soon all the books of the NT were accepted. (Pretty much as soon as 1 Clement.)

    In my reading, I came upon Ignatius and he spoke of the Eucharist. He appeared to plainly uphold the Real Presence (though this is not exactly true but that’s a debate for another time.) Then the light bulb went off in my head.

    Even upon further study, even if we scratch Ignatius off the list of explicitly upholding the Real Presence, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus are so clear on the matter, and everyone who comments on it universally upheld the doctrine, that it would seem that if we accept what all of these Fathers said what the Canon was, why wouldn’t we accept their universal interpretation of what that Canon says is happening with the bread and wine?

    God bless,
    Craig

  5. Jesus did not teach that The Eucharist was symbolic. Here are His words:John 6:55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life:

    To symbolically eat another’s body and drink his blood is to persecute and assault him.

    If you think Jesus was speaking symbolically that would mean you think that when Jesus said if you eat my body and drink my blood you will have eternal life he really meant you will have eternal life if you persecute and assault me. (Jesus was either trustworthy or flat out insane)

    Here are some references to the symbolic use of the expression eat my body, drink my blood…

    Isaias 9:18-20; 49:26 For wickedness is kindled as a fire, it shall devour the brier and the thorn: and shall kindle in the thicket of the forest, and it shall be wrapped up in smoke ascending on high. 19 By the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is troubled, and the people shall be as fuel for the fire: no man shall spare his brother. 20 And he shall turn to the right hand, and shall be hungry: and shall eat on the left hand, and shall not be filled: every one shall eat the flesh of his own arm: Manasses Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasses, and they together shall be against Juda….. And I will feed thy enemies with their own flesh: and they shall be made drunk with their own blood, as with new wine: and all flesh shall know, that I am the Lord that save thee, and thy Redeemer the Mighty One of Jacob.

    Micah 3:3 Who have eaten the flesh of my people, and have flayed their skin from off them: and have broken, and chopped their bones as for the kettle, and as flesh in the midst of the pot

    2 Sam 23:15-17 15 And David longed, and said: O that some man would get me a drink of the water out of the cistern, that is in Bethlehem, by the gate. 16 And the three valiant men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water out of the cistern of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and brought it to David: but he would not drink, but offered it to the Lord, 17 Saying: The Lord be merciful to me, that I may not do this: shall I drink the blood of these men that went, and the peril of their lives? therefore he would not drink. These things did these three mighty men.

    Apocalypse 17: 6, 16 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And I wondered, when I had seen her, with great admiration… And the ten horns which thou sawest in the beast: these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire.

    Even Luther got it right about the Eucharist. “of all the early fathers, as many as you can name, not one has ever spoken about the sacraments as these fanatics do. None of them uses such an expressions as “It is simply bread and wine,” or “Christ’s body and blood are not present.” Yet this subject is so frequently discussed by them, it is impossible that they should not at some time have let slip such an expression as “It is simply bread” or “Not that the body of Christ is physically present” or the like; since they are greatly concerned not to mislead the people; actually, they simply proceed to speak as if no one doubted that Christ’s body and blood are present. Certainly among so many fathers and so many writings a negative arguement should have turned up at least once, as it happens in other articles; but actually they all stand uniformly and consistently on the affirmative side.” (Luther’s Works)

  6. Cornelius a Lapide on Mary Magdalene:

    Ver. 13.—They say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? This is no place for weeping, but rather for rejoicing, and being glad. Because thou seest not here the dead Body of thy Beloved One, thou oughtest to infer that Jesus has risen, and is no longer among the dead, but among the living; and more than this, that He is passing a blessed and heavenly life among the glorious angels, such as we are ourselves.

    She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

    I weep for three reasons. (1.) Because of the ignominious death of my Lord. (2.) Because His Body has been taken away, for if I saw It, I should kiss It, lament over It, and anoint It. (3.) Because I do not know where to look for It. For did I know, I should haste to the spot, embrace It, and overwhelm It with kisses. See here how Jesus suffers the souls of those that love Him to remain in ignorance for a while, in order to sharpen and enkindle their desire for Him; and when it is thus sharpened and enkindled, to comfort and make them glad with the full revelation of Himself.
    Ver. 14.—And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Christ appeared behind the Magdalene, so that the angels who beheld Him rose up and bowed their heads, and exhibited other tokens of reverence and adoration towards Him. And this was why she turned about, viz., to see who it was whom the angels saluted so reverently. So S, Chrysostom (Hom. 85), and the author of the Quæst. ad Antioch (Quest. lxxviii.), [Pseudo-Athanasian]. Some think that Christ made a noise with His feet to attract her attention.

    And saw Jesus.

    “The first to share the joy: as loving more than all.”
    And knew not that it was Jesus.

    As appearing in the form of the gardener. Just as He appeared in the form of a stranger at Emmaus. For glorified bodies can put on any appearance they please, not by changing their own appearance, but by presenting only a refracted appearance to the sight of others. Christ did this, in order that she should not be startled. He appeared to her in consequence of her intense love to Him. But because she did not believe that He was alive, He veiled Himself from her, and presented Himself to her outward sight as the person she fancied Him to be. So S. Gregory (Hom. xxiii.), speaking of the disciples at Emmaus.
    Ver. 15.—Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? S. Ambrose (Lib. iii. de Virg.) explains the whole passage minutely: “Woman, why weepest thou? He who believeth not is a woman; for he that believes rises up into the ‘perfect man, into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.’ It is a reproach not on her sex, but on her slowness of belief. It is well said a woman hesitated, though a virgin had already believed. Why weepest thou? Thou thyself art in fault, as being incredulous. Dost thou weep because thou seest not Christ? Believe, and thou wilt see Him. Christ is close by thee, He never fails those that seek Him. Thou shouldest not weep, but have ready faith, as God requires. Think not of mortal things, and thou wilt not sorrow; think not of perishing things, and thou wilt have no cause for weeping. Thou weepest for that, at which others are glad. Whom seekest thou? seest thou not that Christ is at thy side?”

    Origen wrote a striking Homily, and one full of devout feelings, respecting the Magdalene,** in which he says, among other things, “Love made her stand there, and sorrow caused her to weep. She stood and looked around, if perchance she could see Him whom she loved. She wept, as thinking that He whom she was looking for, had been taken away. Her grief was renewed, because at first she sorrowed for Him as dead, and now she was sorrowing for Him as having been taken away. And this last sorrow was the greater because she had no consolation.” And then he proceeds to lay open the sources of her sorrow, saying, “Peter and John were afraid, and therefore did not remain. But Mary feared not, because she felt that there was nothing left for her to fear. She had lost her Master, whom she loved with such singular affection, that she could not love or set her hopes on anything but Him. She had lost the life of her soul, and now she thought it would be better for her to die than to live, for she might perchance thus find Him when dead, whom she could not find while she lived. ‘Love is strong as death.’ What else could death do in her case? She was lifeless, she was insensible: feeling she felt not, seeing she saw not, hearing she heard not. And she was not really there, even where she seemed to be. Her whole thoughts were with her Master, and yet she knew not where He was. I seek not for the angels, who do but increase, and not remove my grief, but I seek my own Lord, and the Lord of angels.” And after a few more bursts of glowing and holy affections, he adds, “I am straitened on every side, I know not what to choose. If I remain by the tomb, I find Him not; if I retire from it, I know not where to go, or where to seek for Him: hapless that I am. To leave the tomb is death to me, to remain by it is irremediable sorrow. But it is better for me to keep watch over His tomb, than to go far away from it. For perhaps when I return, I shall find that He has been taken away, and His sepulchre destroyed. I will therefore remain here and die, that at least I may be buried by the sepulchre of my Lord. Return, my beloved one,—return, the loved one of my vows.” He then adds, “Why, Beloved Master, dost Thou trouble the spirit of this woman? Why dost Thou distress her mind? She depends entirely on Thee, she abides entirely on Thee, she hopes solely on Thee, and utterly despairs of herself. She seeks Thee, as seeking or thinking of no one besides. And perhaps she does not recognise Thee because she is not in her right mind, but quite beside herself for Thy sake. Why then dost Thou say, ‘Why weepest thou-whom seekest thou?’”

    She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him.

    Because, as Theophylact and Euthymius say, “He was meanly dressed, and because He seemed from His dress to be at home there. She knew that Joseph of Arimathæa did not live there, and supposed that He was the person left in charge of the garden. So F. Lucas. [Pseudo]-Origen proceeds, “0 Mary, if thou art seeking for Jesus, why dost thou not recognise Him? And if thou dost recognise Him, why art thou seeking for Him? Behold Jesus cometh to thee, and He whom thou seekest asketh of thee, ‘Woman, why weepest thou?’ And thou supposest Him to be the gardener, as not knowing Him. For indeed Jesus is also the Gardener, as sowing the good seed in the garden of thy heart, and in the hearts of His faithful servants.” Whence S. Gregory (in loc.), “Is He not the Gardener who planted in her breast, through His love, the flourishing seeds of virtues?”
    Sir, if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.

    She does not say “Whom,” but means Jesus, of Whom her heart was full. S. Thomas and others say, that this is the feeling of those who are deeply in love. They suppose that others are thinking about the same person as themselves. Although she might have thought that He knew the answer she had already given to the angels, They have taken away my Lord, &c., as S. Chrysostom seems to indicate. [Pseudo]-Origen remarks, “Such great grief for Thy death had overwhelmed her, that she could not think of Thy resurrection. Joseph placed Thy body in the tomb, and Mary also buried her spirit there, and so indissolubly united it as it were to Thy body, that she could more easily separate her soul from the body which it animated, than she could separate her soul from Thy dead body, for which she was seeking. For the spirit of Mary was more in Thy body than in her own; and in seeking for Thy body she was at the same time seeking for her own spirit, and where she lost Thy body she lost also her own spirit. What wonder then she had no sense, since she had lost her spirit? What wonder if she knew Thee not, as not having the spirit wherewith to know Thee? Give her back then her spirit, I mean Thy body, and she will then regain her senses and abandon her error.”
    And I will take Him away—

    “What if He is in the High Priest’s palace? What if He is in Pilate’s house? Yes, I will take Him away. Love conquers everything. It counts impossibilities as possible, nay, as easy.” So [Pseudo]-Origen and S. Chrysostom. Though S. Jerome (Quæst. v. ad Hedib.) regards them as the words of ignorance and want of consideration.
    Ver. 16.—Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master. He called her not merely by her own name, but with that tone of voice, that sweetness, grace, and efficacy, with which He used to speak to her; and she at once recognised Him. Whence [Pseudo]-Origen, wondering at the condescension of Christ, exclaims, “0 the change of this right hand of the most High (Ps. lxxvii. 10). My great grief is turned into great joy; the tears of sorrow are changed into the tears of love. When she beard the word ‘Mary’ (for thus He used to address her), she perceived a wondrous sweetness in the name, and knew that He who called her was her Master. Her spirit then revived and her senses returned, and when He wished to add something more, she could not wait, but from excess of joy she interrupted Him, saying, Rabboni. For she thought that having found the ‘Word’ she did not require a single word more, and she deemed it more profitable to touch the ‘Word’ than to hear any words whatever. 0 vehement and impatient love! It was not enough for her to see Jesus and to talk with Him; unless she also touched Him, for she knew that virtue went out from Him, and healed all.”

    She turned herself.

    For when He was slow in answering, she had looked away from Him towards the angels, as if to ask them who was this gardener who was talking with her, and why they stood up and greeted Him with such reverence? But when she heard Jesus addressing her by name, and recognised His voice, she was enraptured with joy, and at once looked straight towards Him. The voice of the Shepherd reaching the ears of the lamb, at once opened her eyes, and soothed all her senses with its secret power and wonted sweetness; and so carried her away out of herself, that she at once was carried away with unhoped-for and inexplicable joy, and cried out “Rabboni,” my Master. I, as Thy disciple, Thy spiritual daughter, give myself wholly to Thee. In Thee who hast risen, I myself live again, I exult and rejoice. So S. Cyril, Chrysostom, and others. And accordingly she fell down at His knees, and wished, as she was wont, reverently to touch His head and His feet, and cover them with kisses. Just as the Shunammite embraces the feet of Eliseus the prophet (2 Kings iv. 27). This is plain from Christ’s instant prohibition.
    Rabboni.

    This was a word of greater reverence than Rabbi, and was used by the Magdalene only after His Resurrection. [But see Mark x. 51.]
    Ver. 17.—Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father, &c. This is a difficult passage, and the connection between the two parts is even more difficult. (1.) S. Augustine explains the connection thus, “Touch Me not, for as yet thou art not worthy to touch Me; for in thy thoughts regarding Me, I have not as yet ascended to My Father, for as yet thou dost not perfectly believe that I am the Son of God, and that I ascend to My Father.” And S. Jerome (Quæst. v. ad Hedibiam) explains it much in the same way. But this is a mystical rather than a literal explanation. As also is that of S. Leontius (Serm. ii. de Ascens.), “I do not wish you to approach Me bodily, or recognise Me with thy bodily senses. I reserve thee for higher things. I am preparing for thee greater things. When I shall have ascended to My Father, then wilt thou touch Me more perfectly and truly, for thou wilt comprehend that which thou touchest not, and believe that which thou seest not.” (2.) S. Cyril (Lib. xii. cap. i.) says, “ He forbade her to touch Him, to signify that no one ought to approach His glorified Body, which was soon to be touched and received in the Eucharist, before receiving the Holy Spirit, which He had not yet sent.” But, on this ground neither would the other women, or Thomas, or the rest have been able to touch Him—which yet they did. (3.) S. Chrysostom (in loc.), Theophylact, and Euthymius say that He forbade her to touch Him, because He wished to be touched with greater reverence than heretofore: since He would not henceforth hold converse with men, but with angels and blessed spirits. But it does not appear that the Magdalene failed in reverence. And after all, what connection has this with the reason given, “I have not yet ascended to My Father”? (4.) [Pseudo]-Justin (Quæst. a Gentibus, propos. xlvii.), and after him Toletus and others, explain it thus: Touch Me not: for I am shortly about to ascend to heaven, and I wish to withdraw you gradually from My accustomed presence. Therefore, says [Pseudo]-Justin, “He did not constantly show Himself to His disciples after His Resurrection, nor yet withdraw Himself entirely from their sight, so that He was seen, and yet not seen.” But this explanation is not clear, and requires many things to be supplied, besides misinterpreting the reason given. (5.) The best explanation is this, “Do not waste any more time in thus touching Me. Go and bear the glad tidings of My Resurrection to My disciples at once. I do not just yet ascend into heaven. You will have ample time before then to touch and converse with Me.” (See Suarez, par. iii. Disput. xlix. § 3, Ribera (in loc.), and others.) Christ afterwards allowed Himself to be touched by her and the other women, because they were then on their way to tell the Apostles that He had risen. (Matt. xxviii. 9.)

    1. It is said that Christ when speaking these words touched the forehead of the Magdalene, and that Sylvester Prieras saw those marks when her tomb was opened in 1497 (see Surius, in Vita S. M. Magdalenæ). 2. S. Epiphanius (Her. xxvi) gives a moral reason, viz., that Christ did not wish to be touched by any woman, except in the presence of others; an example followed by SS. Augustine and Ambrose, S. Martin, S. Chrysostom, S. Charles Borromeo, and others. 3. Rupertus gives an allegorical reason. Mary, he says, here represented the Gentile Church which was to come to Christ, not by corporal but by spiritual contact, after His Ascension. See also Chrysostom, Serm. lxxv.

    It is most probable, as S. Augustine (de Consen. Evang. iii. 24), Theophylact, and Euthymius (in cap. ult. Matt.), and S. Jerome (Epist. ad Hedibiam, Quæst. v.) say, that Mary hastened away, and came up with the other women who went away with Peter and John, and that she then saw Christ again when He appeared to them all; that she then touched His feet, and adored Him (see Matt. xxviii. 9). But Toletus says it was not so.

    Tropologically.

    Hence learn that it is more acceptable to Christ to comfort those who are in any affliction, than to look only to one’s self. So that when necessity, or piety or charity require it, it is allowable to postpone the Sermon, or even Mass, on a Feast day, for the purpose of aiding the sick and suffering. See notes on Matt. ix. 13.
    Symbolically.

    S. Bernard (Serm. v. in Fest. Omn. Sanct.) says, “This is a word of glory, ‘A wise son is the glory of his father.’ Touch Me not then, says the Glory. Seek not glory as yet, rather avoid it. And touch Me not till we come to the Father, where all our glorying is secure.”

    1. Nice catechesis, ABS. I like the last quote from St. Bernard: “And touch Me not till we come to the Father, where all our glorying is secure.”

      Mary was still running the ‘race’ as St. Paul describes it. She, as did the other apostles, still had much work to do to spread the teachings of Christ to the world. They still had their own crosses to carry in imitation of the Lord, before the time of their ‘glorying was secure’. This might also be a lessen to all those who believe the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’. It is God who is our final Judge, and we must be careful through prayer and mortification to guard and grow our faith and grace within us., lest ‘our oil run out’ through negligence in waiting for the ‘Bridegroom’ to arrive. And also regarding taking continual care of our spiritual state in life, Jesus reveals how detailed will be the judgement, when He says :

      “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.” (“Matthew 12:36)

    2. Thanks, ABS, for this quote I found most sensible and forceful.

      S. Cyril (Lib. xii. cap. i.) says, “ He forbade her to touch Him, to signify that no one ought to approach His glorified Body, which was soon to be touched and received in the Eucharist, before receiving the Holy Spirit, which He had not yet sent.”

  7. Dear awins and Margo.

    The Commentary by Cornelius a Lapide is simply beautiful, trustworthy, traditional, and insightful. One can’ t go wrong relying on his commentary. His work used to be available in many (most?) seminaries but one supposes he has been consigned to the dustbin owing to the desire of the new theologians to have their works supplant Tradition because Ecumenism.

    Oncet, there used to be fear of God whereas now there is a fear of offending those who reject Him and His Church. I realise I am hopelessly atavistic but if one desires to be Christian one must be a Christian Catholic – a Christian who follows Christ in the Church He established.

    I any event, I have no desire to offend my protestant brethren or to be rude or hateful to them (The Manuals always taught we Catholics to be kind to our protestant brethren) but the plain and simple truth is that truth divides and Jesus is Truth.

    1. ABS,

      I like the post that Joe made last week, with the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger, saying …“I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated.” This is to say, that there are different types of apologetics supporting the Catholic faith. One can focus on the heresy and evils that the opponents of the Catholic Church promote. But, another is Pope Benedict’s strategy of focusing on the beauty and wisdom of the great servants of God, which the Church promotes and defines as ‘Saints’. This way of Pope Benedict is to show the great love and devotion that these great men and woman, throughout the ages, had for God, and how they put that love to practice in their lives through virtuous deeds. In this way, it is always stressing the light and love of God. It is always encouraging people to repent from sins and return to a life of charity and virtue, to return to the Sacred Heart of the merciful and loving Jesus.

      Now, it might be said that Jesus used both strategies to teach His Gospel to us. We read of the many times He called the Pharisees, Scribes, etc. ‘hypocrites, serpents, generation of vipers,’ etc… And we also hear Jesus warning everyone using the terms ‘Woe to you scribes and Pharisees’, ‘woe to you that are rich’, ‘Woe to you that are filled’, ‘Woe to you, because you are as sepulchres’, ‘Woe to you lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge’, etc…. etc..

      So we have different strategies for evangelization. However, I think the predominant way that the Lord used for spreading His faith was the was that Pope Benedict describes as demonstrating the beauty of the true faith. And, if the Lord indeed used the way of warning on occasion, He used miracles, charity, demonstrations of true affection, forgiveness of sins, and ultimately, the sacrifice of His life in a spirit of love for both God and Man, on far more occasions. And He also said: “Greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friends”, which shows the main virtue that Christ had when dying on the cross for us.

      My own style of apologetics, or evangelization, naturally tends to the second style, the one of charitably trying to explain the beauty of the faith to others that I meet. I also like to give out multitudes of holy Catholic readings… mostly from the lives and writings of the saints, and I have my own printing press to duplicate them easily and economically. For me, this is about the best I can do, because I’ve tried the other in the past, to a small degree, and my family and friends were more or less repulsed by it. I even told one friend, whose father had died as an non-practicing Protestant, that “he was probably in Hell”. My friend deeply regretted me saying this, and after a few years, I can understand why. I would have done much better for my friend had I just purchased a copy of the Life of St. Francis for him, and tried to teach him the greatness of the faith in that manner.

      So, I think apologetics has different styles. I just prefer the peaceful way, as Jesus Himself sent out His disciples with this command:

      “And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go thence. [12] And when you come into the house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house. And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you.”

      This was also St. Francis’ style of apologetics, as he followed the Gospel literally. And, he is probably the saint that has had the greatest influence on me.

      Anyway, keep up the great comments. I always enjoy your abundant sources and quotes from the ‘Fathers’ and Christian history.

      …Oh, and I have something in common with you. In my spare time I’m a D.I.Y.O.S….a ‘Do it yourself oral surgeon’ with a proclivity towards DIY Dremel tool root canals. They’re pretty tricky and you need ALOT of Advil!

      🙂

      – Al

      1. Dear Al,
        Once again, thank you. Re the two basic evangelization methods? Thank God for his mercy and time to let us learn from our mistakes! I too passed through a time of anger, impatience, lack of understanding, and poor word choices when explaining my beliefs. It still seems to be my natural inclination. Now I know and hope to take a breath of the Holy Spirit’s peace and wisdom; in His time, He’ll guide. All is left to ‘not’ me as I trust he’ll go where He wills and when and how.

  8. AWIMS One has to be cautious. As an Amateur Brain Surgeon, I gained the confidence of potential patients by explaining to them that ABS was the first to identify Wilson Pickett as a prophet.

    Pickett was the first man to identify America’s first woman in space in Mustang Sally:

    All you want to do is ride around sally, ride, sally ride.

    Oncet, ABS operated on a man in Aroostook County Maine without anastheisa (I was dating a nurse and never did find any anesthesia or surgical suture in her purse) but it was in February and so he was numb as a Hake. in any event, the surgery, although routine – BIC lighter, Meat thermometer plunged into the man’s brain several times at a precise depth of two to four inches) resulted in a somewhat less that desirable results – the man is now working as a scarecrow in a potato field – I maintain that my choice to operate was sound even though his daughter, the nurse, no longer speaks to me and refers to me as “a dangerous lunatic who shouldn’t be allowed to carve a pumpkin.”

    1. Don’t worry. Everything takes practice.

      Best of luck….but keep sending good Catholic quotes. If they stop I’ll just figure you performed one too many self brain surgeries. 🙂

      1. I better abandon comedy and stick to theology. You don’t find it in the Gospels… and very little in the lives of the Saints. The example of Christ in all things is what should be followed.

        1. If you’re not seeing humor in the gospels, you’re not seeing it all. I’d suggest Fr Rich Simon on his radio program Fr Simon Says. He often points out the humor of the gospels.

          1. Yes, there are humorous accounts, such as when Jesus sends Peter to catch a fish, open it’s mouth and then use the coin to pay the Temple tax for them. The process itself is humorous. And maybe when Jesus says to the Sidonian woman ” Is it right to throw the bread of the children to the dogs?”… this account might also be humorous in it’s bluntness. But, joking, I think, is not found in the Gospels. I usually try to keep in mind the saying of Christ: ‘In the Judgement you will be held accountable for every idle word’. And, unfortunately, from experience I find it to be pretty easy to fall into both ‘idle’ conversation, and idle words. But we can always fight the good battle and try to mend our errors when they happen.

  9. Well my own personal opinion is the whole concept was made up by Catholics in the 3rd century on the pattern of Mithraism and thrn added to scripture, and I think the Didache shows this. Note that the bread and wine in the Didache DO NOT have ANYTHING to do with Jesus’ body or blood.

    From the Didache, Roberts-Donaldson translation, Chapter 9:

    We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever..

    And concerning the broken bread:

    We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever..

    But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.”

    1. Oops, some of the quote got cut off. Should be:

      Chapter 9. The Eucharist. Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup:

      We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant,……

      1. The Didache also says this:

        Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord’s Day. But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.”

        My question to you is – What pure sacrifice is being offered?

    2. David,
      I’ve ever heard this claim that “Catholics” ‘made something up’ and added that to scripture in the third Century. I didn’t realize that scripture had been modified in any way before Luther. If Catholics made something up, what exactly did they make up? And why do you say “Catholics” made something up and inserted it into scripture in the third C. if there were only Christians at that time? Why were not all Christians involved in the ‘making up’?

      Are you saying that Mithraism had something to teach to Jesus? The practice and beliefs of Mithraism were secret except to initiates? Are you suggesting that Jesus followed them?

      I don’t buy such claims; I’m astonished at them!

      And the role of Didache? Wasn’t it more or less a Jewish/Christian catechism? Would you consider it more inspired than the Books of Sacred Scripture?

  10. brainerd has it exactly backwards.

    For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do in remembrance of Me, Luke 22:19 this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done..

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm

  11. The preceding chapter also has a powerful statement against the Protestant doctrine ‘Sola Fide’. Not only is the following quote by St. Justin a very good description of the current Catholic Mass and Eucharist, but includes the necessity of ‘good works’ and the following of the ‘ Ten Commandments’:

    “Chapter 65. Administration of the sacraments

    But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, THAT WE MAY BE COUNTED WORTHY, NOW THAT WE HAVE LEARNED THE TRUTH,BY OUR WORKS ALSO TO BE FOUND GOOD CITIZENS AND KEEPERS OF THE COMMANDMENTS, SO THAT WE MAY BE SAVED WITH AN EVERLASTING SALVATION. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.”

    We might note also that the deacons bring the Eucharist to those who could not receive in at the Eucharistic liturgy. This is the same that happens today in the Catholic Church.

    Question: Is this custom practiced at any Protestant Denomination in the world…the bringing of the Eucharist to those who are sick or homebound? And if not….Why not? The Early Church certainly did, and the Modern Church continues to practice this on a daily basis through the use of ‘extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion’.

    1. awlms:
      Question: Is this custom practiced at any Protestant Denomination in the world…the bringing of the Eucharist to those who are sick or homebound? And if not….Why not?

      Coming from a former Protestant perspective, it is a common practice in traditions derived from the Anglican Church (Episcopalians, Methodists, et cetera). In the UMC community I was formed in, whatever was left over from the elements (they are pretty weird and fuzzy on what exactly they believe it is) is first taken with the pastor to the hospital to be shared with any of the sick, the rest is “reverently consumed”.

      In the Episcopal Church, the common practice is reservation of the elements in a tabernacle, and they can be brought to the sick. (Though, they also can practice a short form of their eucharistic liturgy in the hospital room itself)

      Hope that helps.

      1. I might have guessed that the Episcopal Church would have continued this to some degree as a remnant from it’s Roman Catholic Heritage. But, considering that Justin Martyr was born only about 10 years after the Book of Revelations was written, I would think that knowledgable Protestants would consider his writings (cited above) on the Eucharist, to be authoritative for custom and doctrine. That’s to say, all Protestants should follow the example of this very early Christian history, following their example, and take care to provide the Eucharist to the homebound and sick of their congregations. I guess this is just one example of Protestants ignoring major customs found in ancient Church history. With Catholics, on the other hand, these ancient customs are practiced not less that they were in the 2nd century, but actually more. Back then the Eucharist was taken to the homebound on Sundays, as Justin writes. Today, it is taken up to seven days a week, in countless parishes around the world, by an army of lay faithful.

        It is one of the major lay apostolates in the Catholic Church today. Thanks be to God!

        1. Justin Martyr also thinks Jesus is the angel of the Lord, impossible per Heb 1:1, and problematic to reconcile with Triniarianism. And he claims the Jews corrupted the Hebrew to get rid of Messianic prophecies and only the LXX is clean, which thr present RCC rejects. So apparently he’s full of stupid opinions.

          1. It’s easy to view and criticize in hindsight the theological speculations of others, even saints. Every theologian, if he is pushing the frontiers of novel thought will ultimately be proved wrong by future theologians, or scientists, in some points or other. St. Justin was both a Christian and a philosopher, even as was Origen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Augustine, and so many other early philosophically trained Christians. And all of these had some pretty wacky ideas about both theology and science. Especially when dealing with astronomy, they really didn’t know whether the Sun was a living being or not. They were also struggling with how to interpret the Book of Genesis, and how to harmonize it with both science and Greek logic. Even today theologians do the same, with every new scientific discovery we need to re-analyze the scriptures, because both science and Sacred Scripture are right, in their own way.

            So, if there are mysteries today regarding items such as the Biblical exegesis of the book of Genesis,mysteries to be reconciled with science even after 2000 years of Christan history, you might try to give him some slack on some of his theological or philosophical positions that he held back then…1900 years ago. I personally give him credit for the excellent contributions to church history that he did provide. One is his heroic faith and martyrdom as a Christan teacher and witness, and another, is his personal historical account on the historic practice of the early Christian liturgy. Is there anything controversial about Justin explain how the early Christians practiced their religion? Or, Is this not valuable for us 1900 years later? Maybe the Protestants, Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Fundamentalists of our day might learn something from St. Justin. Maybe their electric guitar ‘rock and roll’ revival meetings would begin to resemble something similar to the liturgies and practices of the past, from a person who lived join close chronological proximity to Christ Himself?

            I don’t know much of the claim that St. Justin rejected the Pauline Epistles. But even if He did, so what? His perspective was from a person who was raised in the Holy Land, in Samaria, but was also trained in classical Platonic philosophy. His personal experience was with the Pagans, Jews and Jewish Christians of his native birth place, and so this would influence His thought and theology. Either his father or grandfather would have witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem in real time, and He also would have experienced some of the ramifications of this historically significant event in world history.

            From my view, I understand that there are many parts in the one body of Christ. And we must be patient with parts that seem different from ours. Every Christian has a particular talent, and the focus should be on the good to the Church derived from that talent. And even if 10-20% proves to be incorrect in the future, what about the other 80% that is highly profitable and perfectly accurate. And that the Orthodox and Catholics term him a ‘saint’ also gives him exceptional honor for all of his contributions to the Holy Church.

            On my part, I try to be patient and understanding, regarding both the scientific and theological speculations found in early Christianity. Hind site, is, as they say, easy.

          2. You’re not very convincing, David.

            You have been confronted with multiple disparate examples of the validity of Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist, from the Gospels, from early Church Fathers, even from the original Reformers, here quoted by both cradle Catholics and converts from Protestantism. The best you can do, in the final analysis, is a James White-style deflection onto the peripheral musings of one Father in a weak ad hominem attempt at impugning and de-legitimizing the entirety of his writings, which have been amply shown, on the subject of the Eucharist, to be in consonance with the rest of Scripture and documented Church history.

            All things Protestant on the Eucharist since then, especially after the so-called Second Great Awakening, is a convenience re-invention sola contra Catholic doctrine.

            But if you learned something, it’s all worth it.

  12. However one thing from Justin Martyr is clear: he difn’t accept the Pauline epistles. He is good proof that only Marcionites accepted Paul at that time.

    1. Correction. Marcion accepted his edited versions of Paul’s epistles, not Paul’s epistles as we know them. Not the last time this was done. Also, Justin Martyr directly quotes or references Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians in his writings, all in support or evidence of points he was making.

  13. Even today theologians do the same, with every new scientific discovery we need to re-analyze the scriptures, because both science and Sacred Scripture are right, in their own way.

    Trent teaches the opposite about orthodox exegesis.

    Even absent that, what you aver is not true for ever since science successfully sued for divorce from Sacred Theology it has entered into fornication with the enlightenment and created innumerable bastards to which we Catholics are expected to adopt, protect, and nurture (and even worship) but I say let science – in all of its perversity – have the duty to care for its own monsters.

    1. I was using the example of Augustine, Origin and Gregory of Nyssa to make a point of how science can help improve theology. Back then there was speculation with these great saints that the Sun might be a living being of one type or another. We know better today with science. So too, around the time of the council of Trent we know that the Church hierarchy believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. But, again, we know better with actual science on the matter.

      Here’s something also, regarding the Church and science:

      “For its part, the Catholic Church teaches that the Christian faith and science are complementary, as can be seen from paragraph 159 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states in regards to faith and science “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.”37 “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”(wikipedia)

      That’s kind of what I was trying to say in my comment.

  14. awims. The most recent hysteria – fear employed to control men – from science has been proven to be an absolute fraud sustained by governmental lies for the benefit of collectivists. Other examples abound but this is fun to consider because it is so recent.

    http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomon-finally-its-safe-for-the-whistleblowers-of-corrupted-climate-science-to-speak-out

    What ABS loves if the decision to omit the sun as a source of the putative warming; that is priceless

  15. I was using the example of Augustine, Origin and Gregory of Nyssa to make a point of how science can help improve theology. Back then there was speculation with these great saints that the Sun might be a living being of one type or another. We know better today with science.So too, around the time of the council of Trent we know that the Church hierarchy believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. But, again, we know better with actual science on the matter.

    No, we don’t know better. As Einstein observed, it is all a matter of one’s perspective and both Heliocentrism and Geocentrism can be correct. So, don’t be so swift to genuflect before “science” because “science” is built upon a philosophical system that is itself questionable.

    https://iamtymaximus.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/the-geocentricity-vs-heliocentricity-arguments-side-by-side-then-you-decide-part-two/

    “science” also is dogmatic when it comes to macro evolution but it has yet be able to explain to me how it is two animals can copulate and produce an offspring which has one or more organs neither of its “parents” had.

    “Science” has been very good at death though.

    O, and this just popped into my head; Who would you say was more intelligent, Adam, or Einstein?

    1. To believe 2+2=4 is to believe in the science of mathematics. You are not idolatrously ‘bowing down’ to science by believing this truth. Likewise, relating to your link, atmospheric pressure causes contrary wind patterns, velocity and aerodynamics allows insects to fly contrary to gravitational forces, etc…

      Again, from the CCC: “…methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.”

      1. Awims. I guess we can avoid the rabbit hole of relativity if we just look at your initial claim the Fathers of Trent were wrong in considering geocentrism correct.

        Astronomer Fred Hoyle The relation of the two pictures [geocentricity and heliocentricity] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense

        That was what I was responding to and I think you understood that because you did not address that but, rather, went on trying to conflate cosmology and mathematics as if both are equivalent.

        1. There are a lot of sciences beyond ‘cosmology’ to consider. I just accept the CCC’s teaching regarding all of the sciences. I’ll stop digging into this ‘rabbit hole’ as you say.

  16. Fr. A. M. Henry typifies the orthodox Catholic doctrine: “With unshakeable firmness, the Church teaches us that there is no error in the Bible. This clear stand is of great importance: it implies and suggests a very high idea of Scrip-ture. The whole of it is a word of God, an appeal from God to our souls. What it was in the past for its first recipients, it remains. The believer cannot pick and choose from among its contents under the pretext of a progress in the human sciences which would oblige the rejection of certain parts of its message”

    Theology Library I: Introduction to Theology

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