Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brand new reality

Forty two years ago today, on June 30th 1968, Pope Paul IV would proclaim the “Credo of the people of God”. It contains a bunch of good stuff, like the re-affirmation of Mary’s virginity on the Christ child’s conception (and birth), but I found the following element of particular interest:

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

I think this is saying that the bread consecrated by a priest for mass may:

   1) “Look like bread”
   2) “feel like bread”
   3) “ Smell like bread”
   4) “Taste like bread”
   5) Even “sound like bread” when broken

But that it is, in “reality", the body of Christ. This is interesting because it uses a definition for the term “realty” that I am not too familiar with. The statement goes further in that something is real just because someone says it is so. That the effect of the properties of this reality upon other entities are equally unobservable. There is an entire nature that interacts, presumably through understandable laws since they exist through an understanding of them, and co-exists with what is observable.

This is so cool on so many different levels.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away"Philip K. Dick


Anonymous said...

Good thing we didn't step in it...

adult onset atheist said...

I suppose the priest could specify which part of the body a particular part of the bread became. That way you could be mischievous to some parishioners: “I know what you just ate!” . You could also specify the host as becoming Christ’s foot so he could “step in you”. I can hear the tortured metaphors screaming in pain.