Thursday, March 11, 2010

Apostolic Succession (Part 12): Irenaeus And Roman Catholicism

Before I move on from Irenaeus, I want to address his beliefs in general, not just his view of apostolic succession. Roman Catholics claim him as one of their predecessors, and they often cite his alleged agreements with them. How likely is it that Irenaeus would agree with Catholic claims that doctrines like the sinlessness of Mary and Purgatory are apostolic traditions always held by the church and passed down in unbroken succession?

Not everything I'm going to mention below is meant to be a contradiction of Roman Catholic teaching. But it is worth noting if Irenaeus rejected a particular Catholic argument for a doctrine or didn't discuss the doctrine in contexts in which he might have mentioned it, for example.

In previous posts in this series, I discussed some of Irenaeus' beliefs that are problematic for Catholicism, such as his apparent ignorance of a papacy and the non-papal reasons he gave for believing in a form of Roman primacy. What I want to do in this post is address some examples not discussed earlier in this series.

Unlike many Roman Catholic clergymen, including many bishops and even some Popes, Irenaeus held a high view of the historicity of the Bible and its traditional authorship attributions. David wrote some of the psalms (Against Heresies, 1:14:8), John wrote 2 John (Against Heresies, 1:16:3), Isaiah wrote Isaiah 43 (Against Heresies, 3:6:2), Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Against Heresies, 4:2:3), etc. Irenaeus viewed scripture as perfect and harmonious (Against Heresies, 2:28:2-3), often referring to some of the most doubted passages of scripture as historical, a view of scripture widely rejected among modern Catholic clergymen and in Catholic scholarly circles. What would Irenaeus think of such Catholic leadership and the failure to correct and discipline the people involved in such errors?

He interpreted scripture as referring to a young earth (Against Heresies, 5:28:2-3, 5:29:2; Demonstration Of The Apostolic Preaching, 19).

He was a premillennialist (Against Heresies, 5:30:4). The historian Eric Osborn notes that premillennialism, which Catholicism has traditionally rejected, had a high place in Irenaeus' theology: "Millenarianism is for many a foreign body in the thought of Irenaeus, and only at the end of the fifth book [of Against Heresies] does this teaching emerge; but it is needed to fulfil the hope which springs from the recapitulation of all things....Irenaeus' eschatology is not an embarrassing postscript but a necessary consequence [of other theological concepts in Irenaeus' thinking]...chiliasm [premillennialism] is a prelude to incorruptibility" (Irenaeus Of Lyons [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005], pp. 99-100, 139, 251).

Irenaeus refers to public confession of some sins (Against Heresies, 1:13:5, 1:13:7), but says nothing of the Catholic practice of private confession to a priest.

While some Catholics cite Luke 16:19-31 as evidence of Purgatory, Irenaeus thought the rich man in that passage was in Hell (Against Heresies, 2:24:4, 4:2:4-5). We know that Jesus went to Paradise on the day of His crucifixion (Luke 23:43), and Irenaeus refers to all believers going to the same place until the time of resurrection. He also identifies this place as the place where Paul went in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Irenaeus refers to all believers going to Paradise until the time of the resurrection (Against Heresies, 5:5:1, 5:31:2). Purgatory isn't just absent from his view of the afterlife. It's contradicted.

Roman Catholicism refers to the "urgency" of baptizing infants in order to be sure of their salvation, even though they might be saved apart from baptism (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, 1261). Irenaeus, however, seems to have believed in universal infant salvation, and not on the basis of baptism (Against Heresies, 4:28:3). (Concerning arguments for infant baptism in Irenaeus, see here.)

Jesus is referred to as Mary's "first-begotten" more than once (Against Heresies, 3:16:4; Demonstration Of The Apostolic Preaching, 39), a phrase that could refer to an only child, but is more naturally taken as a reference to the first of more than one. Eric Svendsen discusses some other passages in Irenaeus that likewise carry the implication that Mary ceased to be a virgin sometime after Jesus' birth (Who Is My Mother? [Amityville, New York: Calvary Press, 2001], pp. 101-102).

He says nothing of the sinlessness of Mary, but asks, "And who else is perfectly righteous, but the Son of God, who makes righteous and perfects them that believe on Him, who like unto Him are persecuted and put to death?" (Demonstration Of The Apostolic Preaching, 72) He interprets John 2:4 as a rebuke of Mary for her "untimely haste" (Against Heresies, 3:16:7).

Irenaeus writes about the power of God to deliver people from death, and he cites Enoch, Elijah, and Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2) as illustrations of people who were "assumed" and "translated", but he says nothing of an assumption of Mary (Against Heresies, 5:5).

While Catholics often argue that the ark of the covenant is a type of Mary, Irenaeus sees the ark as a type of Jesus and says nothing of applying the concept to Mary as well (Fragments, 48).

He suggests that some slaves of Christian catechumens were ignorant in "imagining that it was actually flesh and blood" that Christians consume in the eucharist (Fragments, 13). Irenaeus describes the eucharist as consisting of two realities, one that comes from Heaven and another that's from the earth, just after referring to the preconsecrated bread as earthly (Against Heresies, 4:18:5). He refers to the eucharist as an example of drinking wine, the same substance that people will drink in Christ's future kingdom (Against Heresies, 5:33:1), after the eucharist has served its purpose (1 Corinthians 11:26). He does describe the eucharist in a manner that could be interpreted as referring to a physical presence of Christ, and all of the passages I've cited above would be consistent with a spiritual presence, but transubstantiation isn't the best explanation for his view. As Eric Osborn notes, Irenaeus has been interpreted in many different ways on this issue over the centuries (Irenaeus Of Lyons [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005], p. 134).

Revelation 5:8 is often cited in support of prayers to the dead, but Irenaeus sees the prayers in that passage as directed to God (Against Heresies, 4:17:6-4:18:1). He says nothing of praying to the dead or angels, but instead speaks of prayer as if it's something directed to God: "Nor does she [the church] perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure, sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has been accustomed to work miracles for the advantage of mankind, and not to lead them into did the Word give to the people that very precept as to the making of oblations, although He stood in no need of them, that they might learn to serve God: thus is it, therefore, also His will that we, too, should offer a gift at the altar, frequently and without intermission. The altar, then, is in heaven (for towards that place are our prayers and oblations directed)" (Against Heresies, 2:32:5, 4:18:6).

In the context of describing the erroneous beliefs and practices of heretics, Irenaeus disapprovingly mentions that they venerate images "after the same manner of the Gentiles". The way in which they venerate images is no different than what Roman Catholics do. No Roman Catholic would disapprove of venerating an image of Jesus this way, but Irenaeus does disapprove of it: "They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles." (Against Heresies, 1:25:6) It seems likely that Irenaeus was part of the ante-Nicene consensus against the veneration of images.


  1. . St Ignatius had this to say about the Eucharist around the year 115 A.D. about 85 years after the Last Supper:

    They [the heretics] have no concern for love, none for the widow, the orphan, the afflicted, the prisoner, the hungry, the thirsty. They stay away from Eucharist and prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior, Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins, which the Father raised up by His goodness. Shun divisions, as the beginning of evils. All of you follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; respect the deacons as the ordinance of God. Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; just as wherever Christ Jesus may be, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted to hold an agape [Eucharist] independently of the bishop. (Letter to the Smynaeans)

    I suggest you read

    Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyon

    This is a wonderful book written by a Protestant who became Catholic and answers many of your questions regarding the Catholic Church.

  2. Fr. Larry: Ignatius is writing about Docetists, who denied that Christ even had flesh. To apply this as some kind of proof text for the current Catholic view of "the Eucharist" is pretty far off the mark. See this brief video series by James White:

    And at this point, the bishop was more or less a senior pastor among several -- again, a very significant anachronism on your part.

  3. Fr. Larry,

    Quoting what Ignatius said about the eucharist isn't much of a response to what I wrote about Irenaeus. And your unsupported assumption about what Ignatius meant in his comments on the eucharist isn't persuasive. I've written about that passage elsewhere, such as here. As I explain in that article, Ignatius makes the following comment in the same letter you quoted:

    "Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to a true belief in Christ's passion, which is our resurrection." (Letter To The Smyrnaeans, 5)

    Are we to conclude that Ignatius believed that Jesus' passion (or faith in His passion) is transubstantiated into our resurrection under the appearance of remaining Jesus' passion (or faith in His passion)? Tell us how you arrive at your interpretation of the passage you cited from Ignatius, then apply the same reasoning to the passage I've cited.

    You may also want to see my comments on other aspects of Ignatius' theology, such as my comments earlier in this series about the absence of apostolic succession and a papacy in his writings.

  4. I don't think you can make it any clearer that Ignatius states it "The Eucharist IS the flesh of our Savior" The words speak for themselves. Any other interpretation has to mangle and manipulate the words to fit your agenda.
    as for your second point. By George, I think you’ve got it! Jesus said “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39) and “I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23) And in St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy 4:6, St Paul writes, “For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.” A libation was a sacred drink offering which St. Paul is comparing the sacrifice he made for the Gospel. St. Paul is modeling his life on Christ. As he says to the Galatians (2:20-21), “For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; but yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” Or again in Romans 6:5 “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.” We are called to lay down our life like Christ did for us. Just as we consume Christ, who is the head of the Body, the Church, (Colossians 1:18) and so become like him, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:56). Just as we receive Jesus in Holy Communion and he gave His life for us, so too we must become like Christ and give our lives for (i.e. be consumed by) one another. This is truly to become “one with Christ” when we have loved like He has loved us. “Jesus said “You call Me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” ( John 13:13-17).

  5. Fr. Larry,

    You still haven't explained how a citation of Ignatius on the eucharist addresses what I wrote about Irenaeus. And none of the Biblical passages you've cited suggest that we should see transubstantiation in the passage I quoted from Ignatius. How are you getting from Irenaeus to Ignatius to passages from the Bible? You aren't explaining the alleged relationship among the sources you're citing, and sometimes you just cite a source and expect us to agree with your reading without any explanation. When you do add some comments of your own, it's something like the following after you quoted 2 Timothy 4:6:

    "A libation was a sacred drink offering which St. Paul is comparing the sacrifice he made for the Gospel. St. Paul is modeling his life on Christ."

    How does the fact that a Christian's sacrifice is comparable to a sacred drink offering lead us to your reading of Ignatius? And how would modeling one's life on Christ suggest transubstantiation in the contexts we were discussing? We can model Christ's life, including His suffering, without His suffering or faith in His suffering having been transubstantiated into our resurrection (in the passage I cited from Ignatius). Do you believe that Jesus' passion (or faith in His passion) was transubstantiated into our resurrection under the appearance of remaining Jesus' passion? Was our resurrection physically present at Calvary, under the appearance of Jesus' suffering? Does Jesus' suffering (or faith in His suffering) only have an appearance of existence, while the substance is our resurrection?

    You write:

    "I don't think you can make it any clearer that Ignatius states it 'The Eucharist IS the flesh of our Savior' The words speak for themselves. Any other interpretation has to mangle and manipulate the words to fit your agenda."

    Let's say I'm giving you directions from your house to a conference we're going to attend. There's a map on the table. I draw a dot on the map and say "This is your house." Do you conclude that I'm telling you that your house is physically present under the appearance of the dot? Any other interpretation "has to mangle and manipulate the words to fit your agenda"?

    Say you were watching television several years ago. A commercial comes on showing an egg in a frying pan. You're told "This is your brain on drugs." How do you interpret that?

    (continued below)

  6. (continued from above)

    As Craig Keener notes regarding the original context of the Last Supper:

    "That the bread 'is' his body means that it 'represents' it; we should interpret his words here no more literally than the disciples would have taken the normal words of the Passover liturgy, related to Deuteronomy 16:3 (cf. Stauffer 1960:117): ‘This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate when they came from the land of Egypt.’ (By no stretch of the imagination did anyone suppose that they were re-eating the very bread the Israelites had eaten in the wilderness.) Those who ate of this bread participated by commemoration in Jesus’ affliction in the same manner that those who ate the Passover commemorated in the deliverance of their ancestors....M. Pesah. 10:6 uses the Passover wine as a metaphor for the blood of the covenant in Ex. 24:8" (A Commentary On The Gospel Of Matthew [Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999], p. 631, n. 27 on p. 631)

    Given that the eucharistic elements look, smell, and taste like bread and wine, and given that there's no physical indication of a physical transformation that's occurred (in contrast to every other physical Biblical miracle, which involves physical evidence), why should we think that the doubter of physical transformation has "an agenda"?

    As far as John 6 is concerned, see my thread on Ignatius linked above, since that thread also discusses John 6. Jesus was speaking before the institution of the eucharist, yet He held His audience responsible for eating and drinking in the present, before they had any opportunity to participate in the eucharist. He says that coming to Him and believing in Him satisfies our hunger and thirst (John 6:35, 6:40, etc.), which means that a believer has consumed His flesh and blood before he participates in his first post-conversion eucharist. Jesus says that nobody has life unless he eats and drinks His flesh and blood, yet Roman Catholicism teaches that people can be justified before participation in the eucharist or without participating in it. Etc. There are a lot of problems with the popular Catholic reading of John 6. You should produce a better argument for your interpretation if you want us to accept it.

  7. "I don't think you can make it any clearer that Ignatius states it "The Eucharist IS the flesh of our Savior" The words speak for themselves. Any other interpretation has to mangle and manipulate the words to fit your agenda."

    The emphasis on the word "is" seems to suggest that Ignatius only uses the word "is" to mean literal* identity. If that were true, we'd be faced by a curious puzzle:

    "I take no pleasure in corruptible food or the pleasures of this life. I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ who is of the seed of David; and for drink I want his blood, which IS incorruptible love." (Ignatius to the Romans, 7)

    "You, therefore, must arm yourselves with gentleness and regain your strength in faith (which IS the flesh of the Lord) and in love (which IS the blood of Jesus Christ)." (Ignatius to the Trallians, 8)

    To paraphrase Larry, "The words speak for themselves. Any other interpretation has to mangle and manipulate the words to fit your agenda."

    Of course, another option is that Larry is just taking an isolated statement from Ignatius and reading his church's theology into it.

    - TurretinFan

    * Above, I wrote "literal identity." Had Ignatius understood his own words literally (and we can be practically certain he did not), he would still not hold the position that Rome teaches - for Rome teaches that each species contains the whole substance of Christ while preserving the accidents of bread and wine respectively. One will be at loss to find the "whole Christ under each species" view in the early church, as it was invented much later.

  8. I want to expand on a good point Turretinfan made above. Roman Catholics don't believe that the bread is Jesus' flesh or that the wine is Jesus' blood without any qualifications. Rather, they would add qualifiers like the ones Turretinfan mentions above ("each species contains the whole substance of Christ while preserving the accidents of bread and wine respectively"). But the more qualifiers they add, the less literal and simple their interpretation becomes. Catholics seem to be trying to get people to focus on the most literal and simple elements of their interpretation without noticing the qualifications they also include, which detract from their view's literalness and simplicity.

  9. I must apologize for the confusion because when I first read your post about St. Irenaeus of Lyon, I momentarily confused him in my head with St. Ignatius of Antioch. To answer your question regarding Irenaeus and his defense of the Papacy, why would Irenaeus travel from Lyons to Rome to get the opinion of Pope Clement if he did not believe in Apostolic succession from St. Peter according to Matthew 16:18.

    I suggest you read

    Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyon (particularly page 234)
    Also included is a much more precise explanation of the Eucharist given by St. Justin Martyr (c. 165 A.D.) “And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the one who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ, our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. 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 ye in remembrance of Me, 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.”
    You may also want to consider that the Greek word which St. John uses in is Gospel for “eat.”
    John 6:52-56
    The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "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. Whoever eats 19 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

    [19 [54-58] Eats: the verb used in these verses is not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: "munch," "gnaw." This may be part of John's emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus, but the same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning "eat."]

    When Jesus says my flesh is TRUE food and my blood TRUE drink, was He crazy, was He lying, if so then He was not God because God is not crazy and God cannot lie. Jesus was not speaking symbolically. When Nicodemus talked with Jesus in John Chapter 3:4-5, “Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?" Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” Nicodemus was taking Jesus’ words about being born again, literally, and Jesus corrected his misunderstanding. When the Jews were taking Jesus literally about the Eucharist, he did not correct them but confirmed the truth about what they thought.

  10. The Jewish Passover ritual was not just a representation but an anamnesis.
    “Theologically, the Christian concept of anamnesis coincides with the Jewish understanding of zikkaron (memorial reenactment). Applied to the Passover celebration, zikkaron refers to the fact that God's saving deed is not only recalled but actually relived through the ritual meal. The synoptic gospels present Jesus as instituting the Eucharist during a Passover seder celebrated with his followers, giving to it a new and distinctly Christian "memory."

  11. Fr. Larry,

    You're ignoring most of what we've written, and you keep changing the subject. You apologize for confusing Irenaeus and Ignatius, but then go on to only briefly discuss Irenaeus on one subject, followed by another change of subject by citing Justin Martyr (without telling us what passage in Justin you're quoting, without explaining how the quote allegedly supports your position, and without addressing the other relevant evidence in Justin).

    You ask "why would Irenaeus travel from Lyons to Rome to get the opinion of Pope Clement if he did not believe in Apostolic succession from St. Peter according to Matthew 16:18", but Clement died before Irenaeus was born. What are you referring to? And why would interest in a Roman bishop's opinion imply belief in "Apostolic succession from St. Peter according to Matthew 16:18"? When a church father seeks the opinion of the bishop of Alexandria, for example, do you conclude that he must have believed in the universal jurisdiction of that bishop?

    You seem to have misread your source. Irenaeus was in contact with Rome, on multiple occasions, but not with Clement. Eusebius does refer to a visit of Irenaeus to Rome during the episcopate of the Roman bishop Eleutherus (Church History, 5:4), but he explains that the church leaders who sent Irenaeus as a representative to Rome were also in contact with "the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia" (5:3). The fact that the Roman church was involved in the Montanist controversy, along with other churches, explains why church leaders in other locations would be in contact with Rome. Even if Rome hadn't been involved in the controversy, the fact would remain that the Roman church was significant for a variety of reasons, like the reasons Irenaeus outlines in his treatise Against Heresies, which I discussed earlier in this series on apostolic succession. A church and its bishops can be significant for non-papal reasons. Nations in the modern world frequently send ambassadors to other nations without any implication of a belief in the universal jurisdiction of the nation they're in contact with. If Irenaeus had believed in a papacy, he probably would have referred to it explicitly and often, as he does with other sources of authority. You probably wouldn't have to read between the lines, dubiously speculating about how a visit to Rome during the Montanist controversy might imply belief in a papacy.

    You cite a Greek term in John 6 for "eat" without explaining how the term allegedly leads to your conclusion. Using disturbing language to make a point was common in discourse at that time, and references to consuming a person (or blood in particular) were sometimes used, including among ancient Jews (see Craig Keener, The Gospel Of John: A Commentary, Vol. 1 [Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003], pp. 687-689). Jewish tradition even specifically refers to the eating of the Messiah. Thus, a metaphorical reading of John 6 is consistent with the ancient Jewish context.

    (continued below)

  12. (continued from above)

    You write:

    "When the Jews were taking Jesus literally about the Eucharist, he did not correct them but confirmed the truth about what they thought."

    As I explained earlier, and you've ignored what I said, there was no eucharist at the time when Jesus spoke. If Jesus was agreeing with His Jewish opponents by not correcting them, then He was agreeing with their non-eucharistic understanding. That fact would undermine your position rather than supporting it.

    The immediate context of the departure from Jesus is His teaching about His own foreknowledge and predestination (John 6:64-65). Catholics often overlook the verses immediately before verse 66, and go back to what Jesus was saying earlier in the passage. Why should we do that? We don't know what was motivating the people in John 6:66. They may have left because what Jesus said in verses 64-65 convicted them of the fact that they didn't truly believe in Him. They remained while Jesus repeatedly mentioned consuming flesh and blood. They left when He made His comments in verses 64-65.

    It's also possible that they did think Jesus was referring to actual eating and drinking of flesh and blood. Does it follow, then, that Jesus would have tried to keep those people from leaving Him if He really wasn't referring to actual eating and drinking? No, it doesn't. He knew that these people had never really believed in Him (John 6:64). And contrary to what Catholics often suggest, Jesus didn't always clarify His teachings to those who rejected Him. In Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus explains that He purposely kept some people from understanding what He was teaching. In John 2:19-22, Jesus refers to His body as a "temple", which many people misunderstood as a reference to the actual temple in Jerusalem. He didn't explain to these people what He really meant. We read in Mark 14:56-59 that some people, long after Jesus had made the statement in John 2:19, were still thinking that He had referred to the actual temple in Jerusalem. And in John 21:22-23, we read of another instance of Jesus saying something that was misunderstood by some people, with the misunderstanding leading to the false conclusion that the apostle John wouldn't die. Yet, Jesus didn't clarify the statement. It was John who clarified it decades later in his gospel. (Any suggestion that John didn't clarify chapter 6 in his gospel only begs the question. How do you know that passages such as John 6:35 and 6:63 aren't clarifications of what Jesus meant?) Jesus could have been following the same pattern we see in Matthew 13:10-17, John 2:19-22, and John 21:22-23. To this day, people continue to disagree about what Jesus meant by some of the parables in Matthew's gospel, for example.

    Regarding Passover, you just quote a vague series of assertions from the United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops web site, without even telling us what page you're quoting. What does "actually relived through the ritual meal" mean? Are you claiming that transubstantiation occurred in the Passover meal?

  13. "The Jewish Passover ritual was not just a representation but an anamnesis."

    Jason already responded to this, and his question is the critical one. I'd just like to add a couple of additional points:

    1) The term "anamnesis" refers to something brings an object back to the memory of subject. It is, of course, the case that the Passover provided the Israelites (the subject) with a reminder of the deliverance from Egypt (the object). On the other hand, the Passover symbolically represented, and pointed forward to, the death of Christ, the Lamb of God.

    2) The Lord's Supper also has both aspects. It reminds the partaker's of the Lord's death and it symbolically represents the event that it at first foreshadowed.

    I would also share Jason's concern regarding the fact that Larry seems to abandon his points for new points without addressing the legitimate objections to the points he is raising.

    - TurretinFan

  14. Fr. Larry,

    You are only wasting your time with these sophists. They will twist the words of the fathers to make them sound like either Zwingly or John Calvin.


  15. "You are only wasting your time with these sophists. They will twist the words of the fathers to make them sound like either Zwingly or John Calvin."

    Insults, not arguments.

  16. Jnorm888 is careless, dishonest, or both. Not only have I not argued that the church fathers are "like either Zwingly or John Calvin", but I've repeatedly said otherwise. In this series on apostolic succession, I've repeatedly made the point that the beliefs of men like Irenaeus and Tertullian were partly shaped by the context in which they lived and wouldn't be applicable to other generations.

    Here's what we have:

    - Fr. Larry enters this thread and changes the subject and makes a series of misleading claims.

    - We correct him.

    - Jnorm888 then enters the thread and rebukes us, not Fr. Larry.

    - He doesn't offer any evidence to support the accusations he makes in his rebuke.

    - His accusation about "twisting the words of the fathers to make them sound like either Zwingly or John Calvin" is false, unless he adds qualifiers to it that he didn't initially suggest.

    Who, then, is actually behaving more like a "sophist"?

    Anybody who's interested can search the archives to see how poorly Jnorm888 has done in previous discussions with us. Apparently, that's what's motivating him to behave so irresponsibly. Instead of learning from his own mistakes, he gets upset at the people who correct him.