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The Blessed Sacrament is Truly Emmanuel | Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap.
Paul VI stated in his encyclical, Mysterium Fidei, that, after the
consecration of the Mass, "Christ is present whole and entire in His
physical 'reality,' corporeally present, although not in the manner
in which bodies are in a place (totus et integer Christus adest in
sua physica 'realitate' etiam corporaliter praesens, licet non eo modo
quo corpora adsunt in loco)." 
How a "physical 'reality"' can be "corporeally" present
and not be limited or restricted to one place, like all miracles, will be
an apparent contradiction to our modern scientific mentality. Paul VI recognized
this when he said "how can something like this exist when it seems
to contradict the known laws of physics and biology?"  The solution
for Paul VI was quite simple: "And so we must approach this mystery
in particular with humility and reverence, not relying on human reasoning,
which ought to hold its peace, but rather adhering firmly to divine Revelation."
Some theologians are scandalized by Paul VI's statement in Mysterium
Fidei. They cannot accept that this physical Thing (the Blessed
Sacrament) is the "physical 'reality'" of Christ "corporeally
present." Perhaps they cannot accept miracles. There may also be another
reason. They know that the Church teaches that the act of "latria (act
of adoration)" is to be given to the Blessed Sacrament. They also know
that "true latria according to our faith ... is proper to divine nature
alone."  So, they ask: How can something divine be physical? How
can we say that something "physical" can be adored? Is not this
adoring something created? Is not this adoring created being?
Most likely, it was for the above reasons that Tad W. Guzie, S. J. of Marquette
University inferred that the physical thing that is present after the consecration
of the Mass is just physical bread, not the physical body of Jesus Christ.
He described the change that takes place in the bread and wine at the consecration
in the following manner:
The "change" in the bread and wine can
be understood as a change at the second level of looking at reality (Symbol):
as a very real change, but not one that has to do with
the physical order ... 
In recent years theologians have brought into play concepts
like "transignification" which strive to emphasize that the
change is not a physical one. 
This is also probably why Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., stated in his
book, The Eucharist, that "I kneel, not before a Christ
who is, as it were, condensed in the host, but before the Lord himself
who is offering his reality, his body, to me through the host." 
And, it is probably why Anthony J. Wilhelm, the author of Christ Among
Us (which boasts of "2 million copies sold"), stated about
the change in the bread and wine after the consecration:
When we say that the bread and wine "become
Christ" we are not saying that bread and wine are Christ,
nor are we practicing some form of cannibalism when we take this in
communion. What we mean is that the bread and wine are a sign of
Christ present, here and now, in a special way -not in a mere physical
way, as if condensed into a wafer. Somehow his presence has "taken
over" the bread and wine, so that, for us who believe, it is no longer
merely bread that is present, but Christ himself. 
But the question about the possible idolatry involved
in adoring the "physical" reality of Jesus Christ primarily arises
when one considers the Incarnation of the Son of God in Jesus Christ. Did
St. Peter, St. Thomas, and the other apostles commit idolatry by adoring
something created when they adored Jesus Christ who was certainly "physical"
(Mt 16:16; Jn 20:28)? Were the Apostles adoring a human person and created
being when they adored Jesus Christ? Perhaps others will say all of this
is just semantics. If we adore Jesus Christ, that is all that is important.
But, during the early centuries of Christianity some churchmen and theologians
made apparently slight and irrelevant changes in the concepts and terms
used to describe the nature of Jesus Christ and these gradually developed
into noxious heresies (e.g, the Arian and Nestorian heresies). 
Thus, a clear and correct grasp of the Church's understanding of being,
and the difference between nature and person in Jesus
Christ, can have an effect upon people's belief in the mystery of the Incarnation
and the Eucharist. The Church's understanding of these subjects is best
obtained by examining the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The teachings of St. Thomas have been tested for hundreds of years and have
been found most reliable for grasping the truths of the Catholic Faith.
In fact, the Second Vatican Council states that the Church uses a "method"
in education in which "the convergence of faith and reason in the one
truth may be seen more clearly."  And the Council says, "This
method follows the tradition of the doctors of the Church and especially
St. Thomas Aquinas." 
St. Thomas's theology and philosophy, is quite different from the fluffy
pop-theology which is so prevalent today. While many avoid the writings
of St. Thomas because of his abstract concepts, taxing terms, demanding
distinctions, and rigorous logic, there is no more precise and safer way
to come to the truth. Sometimes learning is challenging work. There are
passages in St. Thomas's writings which require re-reading to grasp them.
Let us use the writings of St. Thomas to examine the Church's teachings
on the being, nature, and Person of Jesus Christ.
St. Thomas's Principles of Being
The Church teaches that Jesus Christ has a full human nature and a full
divine nature, which are united in the "Person"  or "hypostasis"
 of Jesus Christ. This union, therefore, is called a "hypostatic"
union.  The Church also teaches that our Lord Jesus Christ is "consubstantial
with the Father according to divine nature, consubstantial with us according
to the human nature."  Two good questions to help guide our thoughts
in the task of understanding the being, nature, and Person of Jesus Christ
would be: "Can Christ be called a human person?" and "Can
Christ be called a human being?" But first, one must understand
the meaning of substance and how substance differs from accident
according to St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Thomas teaches that a "substance" is something which has "being
through itself (per se) because it is not in another." 
He says that "A substance is a thing to which it belongs to
be not in a subject."  In other words, a substance stands
on its own. But, an "accident" is a "being in another (in
alio)."  For St. Thomas, "accidents" "do not
have being in themselves, independent of a subject." 
Secondly, St. Thomas says that the term substance has two meanings:
According to the Philosopher (Metaph. v), substance is twofold. In
one sense it means the quiddity (whatness) of a thing signified by its definition,
and thus we say that the definition means the substance of a thing; in which
sense substance is called by the Greeks ousia, which we may call
essence (or nature). In another sense substance means a subject or
suppositum, which subsists in the genus of substance. To this, taken
in a general sense, can be applied a name expressive of an intention; and
thus it is called the suppositum. It is also called by three names signifying
a reality - that is, a thing of nature, subsistence, and hypostasis,
according to a threefold consideration of the substance thus named.
For, as it exists in itself and not in another, it is called subsistence;
as we say that those things subsist which exist in themselves, and not
in another. As it underlies some common nature it is called a thing of
nature; as, for instance, this particular man is a human natural thing.
As it underlies the accidents, it is called hypostasis, or substance. What
these three names signify in common to the whole genus of substances, this
name person signifies in the genus of rational substances. 
So, for St. Thomas, the term "substance" can mean "essence"
(which also means nature) or it can mean "hypostasis" (which is
also called a "suppositum," "subject," "subsistence"
or "thing of nature"). In a rational or intelligent substance
this "hypostasis" is called a "person."
It is important to be able to distinguish the "nature" (or "essence")
from the "suppositum" ("hypostasis" or "person")
in things composed of matter and form like the human being. St. Thomas says:
Hence in such as these the nature and the suppositum
really differ; not indeed as if they were wholly separate, but because
the suppositum includes the nature, and in addition certain other
things outside the notion of the species. Hence the suppositum
is taken to be a whole which has the nature as its formal part to
perfect it; and consequently in such as are composed of matter
and form the nature is not predicated of the suppositum, for we do not
say that this man is his manhood. But, if there is a thing in which there
is nothing outside the species or its nature (as in God), the suppositum
and the nature are not really distinct in it, but only in our way
of thinking, inasmuch it is called nature as it is an essence
and a suppositium as it is subsisting. And, what is said of the
suppositum is to be applied to a person in rational or intellectual creatures;
for person is nothing else than an individual substance of rational
nature, according to Boethius. Therefore, whatever adheres to a person
is united to it in person, whether it belongs to its nature or not. 
Thus, while St. Thomas speaks of the undividedness of
the act of existence (the suppositium) from that which is (the nature
or essence) in a created substance, he says that we can make a logical or
theoretical distinction between them. And, when distinguishing them we must
remember that "the suppositum includes the nature," and "the
suppositum is taken to be a whole which has the nature as its formal part
to perfect it." So, the suppositum is the act of being of the
substance and the essence or nature is the formal expression of the
substance. Therefore, in a human being, human denotes a nature or
essence and a being denotes a "suppositum," but the composite
term, human being, denotes an individual created rational being.
Can We Call Christ a Human Person?
When the Church teaches that Jesus is "consubstantial with us according
to the human nature" she means substance in the sense of "essence"
or "nature," but not substance in the sense of "suppositum,"
"hypostasis," or "person." Jesus does not have a human
"suppositum," human "hypostasis" or human "person"
in common with us. The Council of Toledo XI officially taught that "God
the Word has not received the person of man, but the nature, and to the
eternal person of divinity He has united the temporal substance of flesh."
 And Church councils have defined that Jesus Christ is a divine Person.
 This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Christ's
humanity has no other subject than the divine person of
the son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from conception. 
John Paul II also states:
There is no Gospel text which indicates that Christ
spoke of himself as a human person, even when he frequently referred to
himself as "Son of Man." This term is rich with meaning. Under
the veil of the biblical and messianic expression, it seems to imply that
he who applies it to himself belongs to a different and higher order than
that of ordinary mortals as far as the reality of his "I" is
concerned. It is a term which bears witness to his intimate awareness
of his own divine identity. 
Furthermore, the Pope says that the new terminology
used by theologians, applying "human person" to Christ, is due
to the fact that "the divine personality has been reduced to Jesus'
self awareness of the 'divine' in himself, without truly understanding
the Incarnation as the assuming of human nature by a transcendent and
pre-existing divine 'I'."  Clearly, then, it is incorrect to
call Christ a human person!
Some have tried to say that Jesus Christ is a "human and divine Person."
This would imply either a dual hypostasis (a created person and
an uncreated person) or a blended hypostasis (a created/uncreated
person) in Jesus Christ. But, the teachings of Nestorius were condemned
during the 5th and 6th centuries because Nestorius taught that there were
"two persons" in Christ. 
According to St. Thomas, some have held that this Nestorian
"error" also included the notion that in Christ "there is
one person of the Word of God and that of man" such that "in Christ
the hypostasis and supposit of that man is one and that of the Word of God
another, but that there is one person of each of the two."  While
this idea ultimately collapses into the Nestorian "error" of "two
persons" in Christ," here this idea could be suggesting that the
Person of Christ was a blend or a mixture of a human hypostasis
and a divine hypostasis. However, to say that Jesus Christ is a "human
and divine Person" in the sense of a blended Person would be
to say that He is a hybrid of God and man, rather than fully God
and fully Man. But, the Church has already defined that in the hypostatic
union the divinity and humanity are in Christ "without mingling"
or "confusion" of natures and "not because the distinctions
of the natures was destroyed by the union." Thus, the Church also
defined that Jesus Christ is "whole God" and "whole man"
and not part God and part Man. So, one cannot call Christ a "human
and divine Person" for any reason whatsoever. The question then follows:
"Can we call Christ a human being?"
Read Part 2 of
"The Blessed Sacrament is Truly Emmanuel"
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