Jesus said that he was the Bread which came down from heaven, and that he would give his flesh as food and his blood as drink, thereby clearly alluding to the sacrifice of his life. We need Jesus, to be with him, to be nourished at his table, on his words of eternal life!

Last August, Francis commented on the famous ‘Bread of Life’ discourse narrated in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John.

The rich theological substance of this passage has always nourished the faith of Eucharistic adorers and inspired a greater understanding of the immense gift that Christ left us in the Sacrament of the Altar. Moreover, the profundity of these words of Christ was the point of departure for essential doctrinal considerations regarding the Eucharist. The unanimous consideration of this pronouncement as a prefigure of the Sacrament of the Altar, generated a treasury of commentaries made by popes, saints and doctors of the Church, founded on the clear and captivating words of Jesus: ‘I am the bread of life come down from heaven.’

The Protestants, on the other hand, make all kinds of efforts to interpret the words proclaimed by our Redeemer in the synagogue of Capharnaum as a ‘metaphor’ that alludes to his imminent death. Could it be because they do not wish to nourish themselves and adore Jesus truly present in this great Sacrament? Within the scope of the study at hand, we will not specifically examine this problem, though there is much that could be said about the unhappiness of those who close their eyes so as not to recognize that Christ is really present in the consecrated host.

However, here we shall deal with an even more worrisome question. Why does Francis, the man who should instruct the flock of the Lord, omit any reference to the Eucharist when he comments on this discourse? Could there possibly be a more necessary topic for the good of the faithful, than the Real Presence in the Sacred Species, especially in the context of the Gospel of Saint John?

Why does Francis depart from the tradition of the Catholic Church when, as we shall see, he makes Protestant interpretations his own? Could it be that in his opinion the writings of the innumerable Catholic authors who explain the true doctrine contained in these verses lack solid arguments? Be that as it may, such writings do exist, are very clear, and our readers may peruse them here in order to better judge this important matter.

Francis

Francisco-luteranos

Today the Sixth Chapter of the Gospel of John concludes with the discourse on the Bread of Life, which Jesus gave the day after the multiplication of the loaves and fish. At the end of that discourse, the great enthusiasm of previous day had dissipated, for Jesus said that he was the Bread which came down from heaven, and that he would give his flesh as food and his blood as drink, thereby clearly alluding to the sacrifice of his life. Those words gave rise to dismay in the people, who deemed such words unworthy of the Messiah, not ‘winning’ words. Thus, several regarded Jesus as a messiah who should have spoken and acted in such a way as to bring success to his mission, straight away. But they were mistaken precisely in this: in the way of understanding the mission of the Messiah! Not even the disciples managed to accept the unsettling words of the Teacher. And today’s passage refers to their discomfort: ‘This is a hard saying’, they commented, ‘who can listen to it?’ (Jn 6:60). In reality, they had certainly understood Jesus’ discourse. So well that they did not want to heed it, because it was a discourse which threw their mind-set into crisis. Jesus’ words always throw us into crisis, for example, the worldly spirit, worldliness. But Jesus offers the key for overcoming this difficulty; a key consisting of three elements. First, his divine origin: he came down from heaven and will ascend again to ‘where he was before’ (v. 62). Second: his words can be understood only through the action of the Holy Spirit. The One who ‘gives life’ (v. 63) is precisely the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand Jesus properly. Third: the true cause of incomprehension of his words is the lack of faith: ‘there are some of you that do not believe’ (v. 64), Jesus says. In fact from that time, the Gospel says, ‘many of his disciples drew back’ (v. 66). In the face of these desertions, Jesus does not compromise and does not mince words, indeed he demands that a precise choice be made: either to stay with him or leave him, and he says to the Twelve: ‘Will you also go away?’ (v. 67). At this point Peter makes his confession of faith on behalf of the other Apostles: ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ (v. 68). He does not say ‘where shall we go?’, but ‘to whom shall we go?’. The underlying problem is not about leaving and abandoning the work undertaken, but to whom to go. From Peter’s question we understand that fidelity to God is a question of fidelity to a person, to whom we bind ourselves to walk together on the same road. And this person is Jesus. All that we have in the world does not satisfy our infinite hunger. We need Jesus, to be with him, to be nourished at his table, on his words of eternal life! Believing in Jesus means making him the centre, the meaning of our life. Christ is not an optional element: he is the ‘Living Bread’, the essential nourishment. Binding oneself to him, in a true relationship of faith and love, does not mean being tied down, but being profoundly free, always on the journey. Each one of us can ask him- or herself: who is Jesus for me? Is he a name, an idea, simply an historical figure? Or is he truly that person who loves me and gave his life for me and walks with me? Who is Jesus for you? Are you with Jesus? Do you try to comprehend him in his word? Do you read the Gospel, each day a passage from the Gospel to learn to know Jesus? Do you carry a small Gospel in your pocket, handbag, to read it, in whatever place? Because the more we are with him the more the desire to be with him grows. (Angelus, August 23, 2015)

Teachings of the Magisterium

Table of contents

I – The sixth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John was always interpreted by the Popes as a clear doctrine referring to the Eucharist
II – The Church has always understood and preached that the Eucharist is a true spiritual nourishment
III – He who has the duty to instruct the faithful may not omit the truths of the faith


I – The sixth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John was always interpreted by the Popes as a clear doctrine referring to the Eucharist


Benedict XVI
– In the Eucharist Jesus offers his own body and pours out his own blood
– By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in a more conscious way
– With the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus announces the Eucharistic Bread

John Paul II
– The Eucharist is no metaphorical food: ‘My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed’ (Jn 6:55)
– Christ gives himself as our food: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever’

Paul VI
– Welcoming with faith the gift of the Eucharist is to welcome Christ
– The Eucharist is our source of hope as Jesus said in the Gospel of John

Catechism of the Catholic Church
– The first announcement of the Eucharist in the Gospel is found in John Chapter 6
– The words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum prepare for the institution of the Eucharist
– Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)
– With firmness of faith we believe in the Eucharist: Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us His ‘own flesh to eat’ (Jn 6:48)

Leo I
– You ought to be partakers at the Holy Table with no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ’s Body and Blood

Saint John Damascene
– The Lord said ‘This is My body’; and not ‘this is a figure of My body’

Saint Thomas Aquinas
– Jesus unites us with Himself in this sacrament through the truth of His Body and Blood
-The entire body of Christ is in the Eucharist


II – The Church has always understood and preached that the Eucharist is a true spiritual nourishment


Benedict XVI
– The Eucharist is nourishment for the soul

John Paul II
– The Church draws her nourishment from this ‘living bread’, the Eucharist

Paul VI
– Christ is the spiritual food of the faithful under the appearances of bread and wine

John XXIII
– Jesus nourishes our souls with his body and blood

Pius XII
-The Church feeds us at Mass with the Bread of angels

Pius X
– Christ often pointed out the necessity of frequently eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)
– Jesus wished that this sacrament be received as the spiritual food of souls

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
– The Eucharist: Bread of heaven, and Cup of salvation


III – He who has the duty to instruct the faithful may not omit the truths of the faith


Pius VI
– Omission about the dogma of transubstantiation is favorable to heretics and dangerous

Gregory XVI
– In Church teachings nothing should be changed: they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning

Leo XIII
– One cannot omit certain points of Church teaching in order to ‘bring in those who differ’ – they must come back in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ
– No one may interpret the Holy Scripture against the sense of the Church or even against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers
– Putting aside the doctrine of the Fathers of the Church and of the Councils give rise to dangerous interpretations

Pius X
– Those who go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church fall into very serious errors
– The Pope must guard with vigilance the deposit of the faith rejecting profane novelties
– For the Modernist there is to be nothing immutable

Benedict XV
– Be careful with eager searchers after novelties especially in the way they carry out religious functions
– Those who undermine Catholic doctrine are detractors of the Scripture

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)
– The Magisterium serves the word of God
– Hold fast to the traditions learned by word of mouth or by letter

Paul VI
– The grave responsibility of preserving unaltered the content of the Catholic faith which the Lord entrusted to the apostles
-The Church rigorously conserves authentic revelation

Pontifical Bible Commission
– Those who instruct should never depart from the common doctrine and tradition of the Church even in the slightest degree


A curious similarity with Luther’s commentaries regarding this Gospel passage…


Francis:

francisco‘Jesus said that he was the Bread which came down from heaven, and that he would give his flesh as food and his blood as drink, thereby clearly alluding to the sacrifice of his life.’

 

 

Luther:

lutero

That this is the correct understanding of the Gospel [the text on which he was preaching], namely, that it must be understood of the spiritual eating and drinking, the words show which the Lord speaks at the end of the chapter: ‘It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life’ (v. 63). With these words Christ means to say that the bodily eating of the flesh does not profit, but to believe that this flesh is God’s Son, who came from heaven for my sake and has shed His blood for me, that is profitable, and that is life. For this reason to eat the flesh of the Son of God and to drink His blood means, as already said, nothing else than that I believe that His flesh was given for me and His blood was shed for me and that He overcame sin, death, the devil, hell and all (other) evil for me. (Sermon on John 6 proffered on the Feast of Corpus Christi perhaps in the year 1523, Die HauptBchriften Luthers in Chronologischer Reihenfolge. Von. P. E. Kretzmann, Saint Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House. Cf. Saint Louis Ed., XI:2253; Erl. 15, 371-373; Walch XI, 2998-3001, ef. Weunar XII, 580-584)


I – The sixth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John was always interpreted by the Popes as clear doctrine regarding the Eucharist


Benedict XVI

  • In the Eucharist Jesus offers his own body and pours out his own blood

In the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a ‘thing,’ but himself; he offers his own body and pours out his own blood. He thus gives us the totality of his life and reveals the ultimate origin of this love. He is the eternal Son, given to us by the Father. In the Gospel we hear how Jesus, after feeding the crowds by multiplying the loaves and fishes, says to those who had followed him to the synagogue of Capernaum: ‘My Father gives you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world’ (Jn 6:32-33), and even identifies himself, his own flesh and blood, with that bread: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’ (Jn 6:51). Jesus thus shows that he is the bread of life which the eternal Father gives to mankind. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 7, February 22, 2007)

  • By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in a more conscious way

The Lord Jesus, who became for us the food of truth and love, speaks of the gift of his life and assures us that ‘if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever’ (Jn 6:51). This ‘eternal life’ begins in us even now, thanks to the transformation effected in us by the gift of the Eucharist: ‘He who eats me will live because of me’ (Jn 6:57). These words of Jesus make us realize how the mystery ‘believed’ and ‘celebrated’ contains an innate power making it the principle of new life within us and the form of our Christian existence. By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in an ever more adult and conscious way. Here too, we can apply Saint Augustine’s words, in his Confessions, about the eternal Logos as the food of our souls. Stressing the mysterious nature of this food, Augustine imagines the Lord saying to him: ‘I am the food of grown men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh, into yourself, but you shall be changed into me’ (VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). It is not the eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself; ‘he draws us into himself’. (Benedict XVI, Homily at Marienfeld Esplanade, 21 August 2005 (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 70, February 22, 2007)

  • With the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus announces the Eucharistic Bread

Afterwards, the people, seeing this miracle [the multiplication of the loaves], that seemed to be the much-awaited renewal of a new ‘manna’, of the gift of bread from heaven, wanted to make him king. But Jesus does not accept and withdraws into the hills by himself to pray. The following day, on the other side of the lake in the Synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus explained the miracle – not in the sense of a kingship over Israel with a worldly power in the way the crowds hoped, but in the sense of the gift of self: ‘The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’ (Jn 6: 51). Jesus announces the Cross and with the Cross the true multiplication of the loaves, the Eucharistic bread his absolutely new way of kingship, a way completely contrary to the expectations of the people. (Benedict XVI. General audience, May 24, 2006)

John Paul II

  • The Eucharist is no metaphorical food: ‘My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed’ (Jn 6:55)

The Eucharist is a true banquet, in which Christ offers himself as our nourishment. When for the first time Jesus spoke of this food, his listeners were astonished and bewildered, which forced the Master to emphasize the objective truth of his words: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life within you’ (Jn 6:53). This is no metaphorical food: ‘My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed’ (Jn 6:55). (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 16, April 17, 2003)

  • Christ gives himself as our food: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever’

To all of those present, to all Uraguayans, Jesus says this afternoon: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world’ (Jn 6: 51). After twenty centuries of history, the Church has always and will always guard the treasure of the Eucharist as its most precious gift, as the source from which springs its life and its projection in human history. With these words pronounced in Capharnaum, Jesus promised that those who eat his bread would live forever. (John Paul II. Homily in Montevideo, no. 2, May 7, 1988)

Paul VI

  • Welcoming with faith the gift of the Eucharist is to welcome Christ

Hence the Christian people often follow the lead of Saint Thomas and sing the words: ‘Sight, touch and taste in Thee are each deceived; The ear alone most safely is believed. I believe all the Son of God has spoken; Than truth’s own word, there is no truer token.’ And Saint Bonaventure declares: ‘There is no difficulty over Christ’s being present in the sacrament as in a sign; the great difficulty is in the fact that He is really in the sacrament, as He is in heaven. And so believing this is especially meritorious’ (In IV Sent., d. 10, p.1, a. 1, qu.1; Quar. IV, p. 217). Moreover, the Holy Gospel alludes to this when it tells of the many disciples of Christ who turned away and left Our Lord, after hearing Him speak of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. ‘This is strange talk,’ they said. ‘Who can be expected to listen to it’ Peter, on the contrary, replied to Jesus’ question as to whether the twelve wanted to go away too by promptly and firmly expressing his own faith and that of the other Apostles in these marvelous words: ‘Lord, to whom should we go? Thy words are the words of eternal life’ (Jn 6:61-69). (Paul VI. Encyclical Mysterium fidei, no. 3, September 3, 1965)

  • The Eucharist is our source of hope as Jesus said in the Gospel of John

Dear Brothers in Christ, with the full conviction of our being we believe that these truths will guide you and sustain you in your apostolic ministry, in the joyful hope of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is our source of hope because it is our pledge of life. Jesus himself has said: ‘I am the bread of life… If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever’ (Jn 6:48, 51). Amidst all the problems of the modern world let us remain constant in this hope. Our optimism is based, not on an unrealistic denial of the immense and manifest difficulties and opposition that beset the Kingdom of God, but in a realization that, in the Eucharist, the Paschal Mystery of the Lord Jesus is forever operative, and victorious over sin and death. (Paul VI. Address to Bishops from the USA on their ad limina visit, June 15, 1978)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

  • The first announcement of the Eucharist in the Gospel is found in John Chapter 6

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’(Jn 6:60) The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. ‘Will you also go away’(Jn 6:67)? The Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has ‘the words of eternal life’ (Jn 6:68) and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1336)

  • The words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum prepare for the institution of the Eucharist

The three synoptic Gospels and Saint Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist; Saint John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life, come down from heaven (Cf. Jn 6). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1338)

  • Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet

Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’ (Jn 6:56). Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: ‘As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me’ (Jn 6:57). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1391)

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

  • With firmness of faith we believe in the Eucharist: Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us His ‘own flesh to eat’ (Jn 6:48)

And finally this holy Synod with paternal affection admonishes, exhorts, entreats, and beseeches, ‘through the bowels of the mercy of our God’ (Lk 1:78), that each and all, who are classed under the Christian name, will now finally agree and be of the same opinion in this ‘sign of unity,’ in this ‘bond of charity,’ in this symbol of concord, and that mindful of so great a majesty and such boundless love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His own beloved soul as the price of our salvation, and gave us His ‘own flesh to eat’ (Jn 6:48 ff.), they may believe and venerate these sacred mysteries of His body and blood with that constancy and firmness of faith, with that devotion of soul, that piety and worship, as to be able to receive frequently that ‘supersubstantial bread’ (Mt 6:11), and that it may be to them truly the life of the soul and the perpetual health of mind, that being invigorated by the strength thereof, after the journey of this miserable pilgrimage, they may be able to arrive in their heavenly country to eat without any veil that same bread of angels (Ps 77:25) which they now eat under the sacred veils. (Denzinger-Hünermann 1649. Julius III, Council of Trent, Session XIII, October 2, 1551)

Leo I

  • You ought to be partakers at the Holy Table with no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ’s Body and Blood

Dearly-beloved, utter this confession with all your heart and reject the wicked lies of heretics, that your fasting and almsgiving may not be polluted by any contagion with error: for then is our offering of the sacrifice clean and our gifts of mercy holy, when those who perform them understand that which they do. For when the Lord says, ‘unless you have eaten the flesh of the Son of Man, and drunk His blood, you will not have life in you (Jn 6:53),’ you ought so to be partakers at the Holy Table, as to have no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ’s Body and Blood. (Saint Leo the Great. Sermon XCI: On the Fast of the Seventh Month, VI, III)

Saint John Damascene

  • The Lord said ‘This is My body’; and not ‘this is a figure of My body’

So the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same. […] but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God’s body and blood […] The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, ‘This is My body,’ not, this is a figure of My body: and ‘My blood,’ not, a figure of My blood. (Saint John Damascene. As Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Ch. XIII)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

  • Jesus unites us with Himself in this sacrament through the truth of His Body and Blood

Yet meanwhile in our pilgrimage He does not deprive us of His bodily presence; but unites us with Himself in this sacrament through the truth of His body and blood. Hence (Jn 6:57) he says: ‘He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.’ Hence this sacrament is the sign of supreme charity, and the uplifter of our hope, from such familiar union of Christ with us. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica III, q. 75 a. 1)

  • The entire body of Christ is in the Eucharist

By the power of the sacrament there is contained under it, as to the species of the bread, not only the flesh, but the entire body of Christ, that is, the bones the nerves, and the like. And this is apparent from the form of this sacrament, wherein it is not said: ‘This is My flesh,’ but ‘This is My body.’ Accordingly, when our Lord said (Jn 6:56): ‘My flesh is meat indeed,’ there the word flesh is put for the entire body, because according to human custom it seems to be more adapted for eating, as men commonly are fed on the flesh of animals, but not on the bones or the like. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica III, q.76 , a 1, sol. 2)


II – The Church has always understood and preached that the Eucharist is a true spiritual nourishment


Benedict XVI

  • The Eucharist is nourishment for the soul

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of bread; for the Eucharist, nourishment of the soul, as well as for our daily bread, nourishment for the body. May God bless the harvest of this year and all of those working for it. (Benedict XVI. General audience, greeting to the Polish pilgrims, August 19, 2009)

John Paul II

  • The Church draws her nourishment from this ‘living bread’, the Eucharist

I cannot let this Holy Thursday 2003 pass without halting before the ‘Eucharistic face’ of Christ and pointing out with new force to the Church the centrality of the Eucharist. From it the Church draws her life. From this ‘living bread’ she draws her nourishment. How could I not feel the need to urge everyone to experience it ever anew? (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 7, April 17, 2003)

Paul VI

  • Christ is the spiritual food of the faithful under the appearances of bread and wine

The few things that We have touched upon concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass encourage Us to say something about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, since both Sacrifice and Sacrament pertain to the same mystery and cannot be separated from each other. The Lord is immolated in an unbloody way in the Sacrifice of the Mass and He re-presents the sacrifice of the Cross and applies its salvific power at the moment when he becomes sacramentally present – through the words of consecration – as the spiritual food of the faithful, under the appearances of bread and wine. (Paul VI. Encyclical Mysterium fidei, no. 34, September 3, 1965)

John XXIII

  • Jesus nourishes our souls with his body and blood

According to the words of the Divine Master the Eucharist gives true life to men. ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you’ and ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life’ (Jn 6:53). These are very clear and solemn words. Jesus, with his body and blood nourishes our souls so that they live of his life. (John XXIII. Message to the National Eucharistic Congress of Brazil, April 2, 1960)

Pius XII

  • The Church feeds us at Mass with the Bread of angels

Here then is a better and more suitable way to raise the heart to God. Thenceforth the priesthood of Jesus Christ is a living and continuous reality through all the ages to the end of time, since the liturgy is nothing more nor less than the exercise of this priestly function. Like her divine Head, the Church is forever present in the midst of her children. She aids and exhorts them to holiness, so that they may one day return to the Father in heaven clothed in that beauteous raiment of the supernatural. To all who are born to life on earth she gives a second, supernatural kind of birth. She arms them with the Holy Spirit for the struggle against the implacable enemy. She gathers all Christians about her altars, inviting and urging them repeatedly to take part in the celebration of the Mass, feeding them with the Bread of angels to make them ever stronger. She purifies and consoles the hearts that sin has wounded and soiled. (Pius XII. Encyclical Mediator Dei, no. 32, November 20, 1947)

Pius X

  • Christ often pointed out the necessity of frequently eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood

This wish of the Council fully conforms to that desire wherewith Christ our Lord was inflamed when He instituted this Divine Sacrament. For He Himself, more than once, and in clarity of word, pointed out the necessity of frequently eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, especially in these words: ‘This is the bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever’ (Jn 6:59). From this comparison of the Food of angels with bread and with manna, it was easily to be understood by His disciples that, as the body is daily nourished with bread, and as the Hebrews were daily fed with manna in the desert, so the Christian soul might daily partake of this heavenly bread and be refreshed thereby. Moreover, we are bidden in the Lord’s Prayer to ask for ‘our daily bread’ by which words, the holy Fathers of the Church all but unanimously teach, must be understood not so much that material bread which is the support of the body as the Eucharistic bread which ought to be our daily food. (Pius X. Decree Sacra Tridentina, December 20, 1905)

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

  • Jesus wished that this sacrament be received as the spiritual food of souls

Our Savior, therefore, when about to depart from this world to the Father, instituted this sacrament in which He poured forth, as it were, the riches of His divine love for men, ‘making a remembrance of his wonderful works’ (Ps 110:4), and He commanded us in the consuming of it to cherish His ‘memory’ (1Cor 11:24), and ‘to show forth his death until He come’ to judge the world (1Cor 11:23). But He wished that this sacrament be received as the spiritual food of souls (Mt 26:26), by which they may be nourished and strengthened [can. 5], living by the life of Him who said: ‘He who eateth me, the same also shall live by me’ (Jn 6:58), and as an antidote, whereby we may be freed from daily faults and be preserved from mortal sins. He wished, furthermore, that this be a pledge of our future glory and of everlasting happiness, and thus be a symbol of that one ‘body’ of which He Himself is the ‘head’ (1Cor 11:23, Eph 5:23), and to which He wished us to be united, as members, by the closest bond of faith, hope, and charity, that we might ‘all speak the same thing and there might be no schisms among us’ (cf. 1Cor 1:10). (Denzinger-Hünermann 1638. Julius III, Council of Trent, Session XIII, October 2, 1551)

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

  • The Eucharist: Bread of heaven and Cup of salvation

In the Old Testament also there was shew-bread; but this, as it belonged to the Old Testament, has come to an end; but in the New Testament there is Bread of heaven, and a Cup of salvation, sanctifying soul and body; for as the Bread corresponds to our body, so is the Word appropriate to our soul. (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem. Catechism, Lecture XXII, On the Body and Blood of Christ, no. 5)


III – He who has the duty to instruct the faithful may not omit the truths of the faith


Pius VI

  • Omission about the dogma of transubstantiation is favorable to heretics and dangerous

[…] since by an indiscreet and suspicious omission of this sort knowledge is taken away both of an article pertaining to faith, and also of the word consecrated by the Church to protect the profession of it, as if it were a discussion of a merely scholastic question, dangerous, derogatory to the exposition of Catholic truth about the dogma of transubstantiation, favorable to heretics. (Denzinger-Hünermann 2629. Pius VI, Constitution Auctorem fidei, August 28, 1794)

Gregory XVI

  • In Church teachings nothing should be changed: they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning

Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: ‘the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty’ (Saint Celestine, Pope, epistle 21 to Bishop Galliar) and the admonition of Pope Agatho: ‘nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning’ (Saint Agatho, Pope, epistle to the emperor, apud Labb., ed. Mansi, vol. 2, p. 235). Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings (Saint Innocent, epistle 11 apud Constat). To check the audacity of those who attempt to infringe upon the rights of this Holy See or to sever the union of the churches with the See of Peter, instill in your people a zealous confidence in the papacy and sincere veneration for it. (Gregory XVI. Encyclical Mirari Vos, no. 7, August 15, 1832)

Leo XIII

  • One cannot omit certain points of Church teaching in order to ‘bring in those who differ’ – they must come back in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. […] Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ. (Leo XIII. Encyclical Testem benevolentiae to Cardinal James Gibbons, January 22, 1899)

  • No one may interpret the Holy Scripture against the sense of the Church or even against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers

The Synod of the Vatican adopted the teaching of the Fathers, when, as it renewed the decree of Trent on the interpretation of the divine Word, it declared this to be its mind, that in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true sense of Holy Scripture which Mother Church has held and holds, whose prerogative it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of Scripture; and, therefore, it is permitted to no one to interpret the Holy Scripture against this sense, or even against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers (Denzinger-Hünermann 3281. Leo XIII, Encyclical Providentissimus Deus, November 1893)

  • Putting aside the doctrine of the Fathers of the Church and of the Councils give rise to dangerous interpretations

The Bible is then, the principal and most accessible source of sacred eloquence. But those who constitute themselves as announcers of novelties, do not nourish the ensemble of their speeches from the font of living water, but rather foolishly and mistakenly approach the faulty cisterns of human wisdom; consequently, putting aside the doctrine inspired by God – or that of the Fathers of the Church and of the Councils – all they do is expose the names and ideas of profane and contemporary writers, still living: these ideas frequently give rise to ambiguous and very dangerous interpretations. (Leo XIII quoted by Pius X. Motu Proprio Sacrorum antitistum, The Oath against modernism, September 1, 1910)

Pius X

  • Those who go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church fall into very serious errors

With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas. (Pius X. Decree Lamentabili sane exitu, July 3, 1907)

  • The Pope must guard with vigilance the deposit of the faith rejecting profane novelties

The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking ‘men speaking perverse things’ (Acts 20:30), ‘vain talkers and seducers’ (Tit 1:10), ‘erring and driving into error’ (2Tim 3:13). (Pius X. Encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, no. 1, September 8, 1907)

  • For the Modernist there is to be nothing immutable

Thus then, Venerable Brethren, for the Modernists, both as authors and propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church. (Pius X. Encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, no. 28, September 8, 1907)

Benedict XV

  • Be careful with eager searchers after novelties especially in the way they carry out religious functions

Nor do We merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies or what is called the spirit of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savours of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety. Therefore it is Our will that the law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: ‘Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down’ In matters of faith that must be inviolably adhered to as the law; it may however also serve as a guide even in matters subject to change, but even in such cases the rule would hold: ‘Old things, but in a new way.’ (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad beatissimi apostolorum, no. 25, November 1, 1914)

  • Those who undermine Catholic doctrine are detractors of the Scripture

Nor is Sacred Scripture lacking other detractors; We recognize those who, if they are restrained within certain limits, so abuse right principles indeed that they cause the foundations of the truth of the Bible to totter, and undermine the Catholic doctrine handed down by the Fathers in common. (Denzinger-Hunermann 3654. Benedict XV Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, September 15, 1920)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

  • The Magisterium must serve the word of God

This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed. It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls. (Vatican Council II. Dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, no. 10, November 18, 1965)

  • Hold fast to the traditions learned by word of mouth or by letter

And so the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time. Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter (see 2Thess 2:15), and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all (see Jude 1:3). (Vatican Council II. Dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, no. 8, November 18, 1965)

Paul VI

  • The grave responsibility of preserving unaltered the content of the Catholic faith which the Lord entrusted to the apostles

We also insisted on the grave responsibility incumbent upon us, but which we share with our Brothers in the Episcopate, of preserving unaltered the content of the Catholic faith which the Lord entrusted to the apostles. While being translated into all expressions, this content must be neither impaired nor mutilated. While being clothed with the outward forms proper to each people, and made explicit by theological expression which takes account of differing cultural, social and even racial milieu, it must remain the content of the Catholic faith just exactly as the ecclesial magisterium has received it and transmits it. (Paul VI. Apostolic exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, no. 65, December 8, 1975)

  • The Church rigorously conserves authentic revelation

We may understand, then, why the Catholic Church, both yesterday and today, gives so much importance to the rigorous conservation of true Revelation, considering it an inviolable treasure, and why it bears such a rigorous sense of its fundamental duty in defending and transmitting the doctrine of the faith in unequivocal terms; orthodoxy is its first concern; the pastoral Magisterium its primary and providential function; the apostolic teaching affirms in fact the canons of its preaching; and the mandate of the Apostle Paul, Depositum custodi [Guard what has been entrusted to you] (1Tim 6:20; 2Tim 1:14), constitutes such a commitment for it, that its violation would be a betrayal. The teaching Church does not invent its doctrine; it is a witness, it is an interpreter, a mediator; and regarding the truths pertaining to the Christian message, it could be called conservative, intransigent; to those who request it to make the faith easier, more adapted to the caprice of the changing mentality of the times, it responds together with the Apostles: ‘Non possumus, we cannot’ (Acts 4:20). (Paul VI. General audience, January 19, 1972)

Pontifical Biblical Commission

  • Those who instruct should never depart from the common doctrine and tradition of the Church even in the slightest degree

Those who instruct the Christian people in sacred sermons have need of great prudence. Let them above all pass on doctrine, mindful of Saint Paul’s warning: ‘Look to yourself and your teaching; hold on to that. For by so doing you will save both yourself and those who listen to you’ (1Tim 4:16). […] This virtue of prudence should be cherished especially by those who publish for the faithful. Let them carefully bring forth the heavenly riches of the divine word ‘that the faithful may be moved and inflamed rightly to conform their lives (to them)’ (Divino afflante Spiritu 50). They should consider it a sacred duty never to depart in the slightest degree from the common doctrine and tradition of the Church. They should indeed exploit all the real advances of biblical science which the diligence of recent (students) has produced. But they are to avoid entirely the rash remarks of innovators (Apostolic Letter Quoniam in re biblica 13, EB 626). (Pontifical Bible Commission. Instruction concerning the historical truth of the Gospels, no. 4, April 21, 1964)


Discover another innovation:

giubileo-2015 papa francesco

Jesus is only mercy?

 

 

2 thoughts on “Jesus said that he was the Bread which came down from heaven, and that he would give his flesh as food and his blood as drink, thereby clearly alluding to the sacrifice of his life. We need Jesus, to be with him, to be nourished at his table, on his words of eternal life!

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