True Presence 

Image may contain: 4 people

True Presence

In recent years one hears more and more frequently the expression the True Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The use of the term raises questions, no doubt unintentionally, about the nature of Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

As the doctrinal texts below show, the Church is very careful in her use of language with respect to the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist. Words can say something true, but still be an inadequate expression of the whole truth. That is the case here. True Presence says something accurate, but it is an inadequate term because it doesn’t distinguish the manner in which Christ is present. Christ has a true presence in the Holy Eucharist, but also in His mystical Body, in His Scriptures, in his minister the priest, in the can in the state of grace. However, only in the Blessed Sacrament does His presence pertain to the ontological or metaphysical order, the order of real being.

This is why the Church uses the term Real Presence to uniquely distinguish His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament from His presence in other contexts. Catholics should therefore use the expression canonized by ecclesiastical usage and which alone adequately expresses the truth about the unique manner of Christ’s Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Finally, the Church does speak of Christ’s true body and true blood (e.g. Council of Trent, Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist). In such cases, however, the use of the term body as the reality modified by true makes it clearly a metaphysical reference. True Presence lacks such clarity.

Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei (1947):

For by the “transubstantiation” of bread into the body of Christ and of wine into His blood, His body and blood are both really present …

Pope Pius XII, Humani generis (1950):

Some even say that the doctrine of transubstantiation, based on an antiquated philosophic notion of substance, should be so modified that the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist be reduced to a kind of symbolism, whereby the consecrated species would be merely efficacious signs of the spiritual presence of Christ and of His intimate union with the faithful members of His Mystical Body.

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Image may contain: 2 people

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

In the holy Gospel, the nativity of St. John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Christ, is described by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, not only for our instruction, but also that we may rejoice in the Lord our God. In the mountains of Judaea, at Hebron, eight miles from Jerusalem, lived Zachary and Elizabeth. They were just people, and lived in accordance with the commandments of God, but had no children, although they had prayed for them many years. The great age which they had attained, naturally gave them no longer any hope of issue. But still they continued their prayer. One day, when Zachary, who was a priest, offered incense in the Temple at Jerusalem, he saw at the right side of the altar, an angel, whose appearance filled the pious old man with fear and trembling. The angel, however, said to him: ” Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard. Elizabeth, thy wife, shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. He shall bring thee joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. He shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb. He shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God: and he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias: that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.”¬† Continue reading