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 Issues | Five Fundamentals | Holy Communion

Five Fundamentals of the Faith

by the Rev J.W.Hayes.

The Church Book Room 1924

Holy Communion - Roman Teaching

(Note : Hayes here engages with the practice and doctrine of Roman Catholicism prior to the Second Vatican Council. The doctrine has never been revoked and though the practice in many Roman churches has been affected by Vatican II the old ways are gradually being re-established in the early 21st century.)

Now the Decrees of Trent are, as I observed, very voluminous, so it is better to give the reader a synopsis of them, such as is found in the creed of Pius IV., and which admits of no error, all such utterances being, of course, infallible, viz.:-

Cardinal Bellarmine says: “It is probable that the Pope, not only as a Pope, cannot err, but as a private man, cannot fall into heresy, nor hold any obstinate opinion contrary to the faith.” (Bellarmine de Rom. Pont., lib. iv. c. 6, sect. 1. Prag. 1721.)

The creed is supported by a long syllabus, issued later than the teed, (viz., 1864), containing further dogmatic assertions:-

Articles of the Creed of Pope Pius IV.

1st. “I most stedfastly admit and embrace apostolical and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other observances and constitutions of the same Church.”

2nd. “I also admit the Holy Scriptures, according to that sense which our holy mother the Church has held, and does hold, to which it belongs, to judge of the true sense and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.'”

3rd. “I also profess that there are truly and properly seven sacraments of the new law, instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all for every one: To wit, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Orders, and Matrimony, and that they confer grace ; and that of these Baptism, Confirmation, and Orders, cannot be reiterated without sacrilege. And I also receive and admit the received and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church, used in the solemn administration of all the aforesaid sacraments.”

4th. “I embrace and receive all and every one of the things which have been defined and declared in the Holy Council of Trent, concerning Original sin and Justification.”

5th. “I profess likewise, that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. And that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, there are truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is made a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood ; which conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation. I also confess, that under either kind alone, Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.”

6th. “I constantly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls detained therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful.”

7th. “Likewise, that the Saints, reigning together with Christ, are to be honoured and invocated ; and that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be held in veneration.”

8th. “I most firmly assert, that the Images of Christ, of the Mother of God, ever Virgin, and also of other Saints, may be had and retained ; and that due honour and veneration are to be given them.”

9th. “I also affirm that the power of Indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.”

10th. “I acknowledge the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, for the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.”

11th. “I likewise undoubtedly receive and profess all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the Sacred Canons and General Councils, and particularly by the Holy Council of Trent; and I condemn, reject and anathematise all things contrary thereto, and all heresies, which the Church condemned, rejected, and anathematised.”

12th. “I, N. N., do at this present freely profess and sincerely hold this true Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved ; and I promise most constantly to retain and confess the same entire and inviolate, with God's assistance, to the end of my life.”

(See “Ordo Administrandi Sacramenti” P. 65 Lond. 1831.)

To give one an idea of the Canons of Trent, we annex some extracts, viz.:-

The doctrine of the Mass is founded upon that of Transubstantiation. The Council of Trent says:-

“And since in this divine sacrifice, which is performed in the Mass, the same Christ is contained, and is bloodlessly immolated, who once offered himself bloodily upon the cross; the holy council teaches that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory, and that by its means, if we approach God, contrite and penitent, with a true heart, and a right faith, and with fear and reverence, we may obtain mercy, and obtain grace in seasonable succour. For the Lord, appeased by the oblation of this sacrifice, granting grace and the gift of repentance, remits even great crimes and sins. There is one and the same victim, and the same person, who now offers by the ministry of the priests, who then offered himself upon the Cross ; the mode of offering only being different. And the fruits of that bloody offering are truly most abundantly received through this offering, so far is it from derogating in any way from the former. Wherefore it is properly offered according to the apostolical tradition, not only for the sins, pains, satisfactions, and other wants of the faithful, who are alive, but also for the dead in Christ, who are not yet fully purged.”   Canons of Trent, c. 2. Sess. 22.

Canon 2. “If any one shall say that the substance of the bread and wine remains in the Sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall deny that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the outward forms of the bread and wine still remaining, which conversion the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation, - let him be accursed.”

Canon 4. “If any one shall say that, after consecration, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is only in the wonderful sacrament of the Eucharist in use whilst it is taken, and not either before or after, and that the true body of the Lord does not remain in the hosts or particles which have been consecrated, and which are reserved, or remain after the Communion, - let him be accursed.”

The Doctrine of Intention. The doctrine of intention, in reference to the Sacrament, is of great importance. The Council of Trent decrees:-

“If any one shall say, that in ministers, while they form and give the Sacraments, intention is not required, at least of doing what the Church does, let him be anathema.” - Canons of Trent. p. 62. Paris, 1832.

Furthermore: The Decrees of Trent, and the Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566), demand, besides the Holy Scripture, a belief in “the traditions relating as well to faith as to morals”; that not only the flesh and blood, but the bone and nerves, is contained in the consecrated wafer.

Again, Canon 6 says:

“If any one shall say that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, even with the open worship of latria, and therefore not to be venerated with any peculiar festal celebrity, nor to be solemnly carried about in processions according to the praiseworthy and universal rites and customs of the holy church, and that His adorers are idolaters,-let him be accursed.”

There are about 69 possible defects pointed out in the Roman Missal, any one of which nullifies the sacrament, or is the cause of sin to the priest, via:. :-

“Of Defects occurring in the Celebration of the Mass.”

“The priest about to celebrate Mass, must take the utmost care that there be no defect in any of the things that are requisite for the making the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Now a defect may occur on the part of the matter to be consecrated; on that of the form to be applied; and on that of the minister celebrating. If there is a defect in any of these : namely, the due matter, the form with intention, and the sacerdotal order of the celebrant, it nullifies the Sacrament.”

Some of these so-called “defects” border on profanity, some are puerile and absurd, viz. : (1) If not taken fasting; (2) if celebrated in a private house; (3) “if there be not present waxen lights”; (4) if “sacerdotal vestments” be omitted or unblessed; (5) if the chalice be of brass or glass; (6) if a fly or a spider, or any other thing have fallen into the chalice; (7) if through negligence, any of the blood of Christ have fallen on the ground. In such case it must be “licked up with the tongue, and let the spot be sufficiently scraped and the scrapings burnt, and the ashes laid up in the sacrarium.”  Of course, the Priest, at his ordination, had these words addressed to him: “Receive thou power to offer sacrifice to God, and to celebrate Masses, both for the living and for the dead, Amen.” He also says Mass in a foreign tongue (Vtz., Latin).

Without going into further minute details in connection with the doctrine of Transubstantiation, let us recollect that in the modem syllabus of 1864, aforesaid, and in entire agreement with the Decrees of Trent, we read these words of professed authority, which concern the Church of England, as well as Non-conformists very closely :-

Set. 17. “The eternal salvation of any out of the true Church of Christ is not even to be hoped for.”

Sec. 21. “The Church has power to define dogmatically the religion of the Catholic Church (meaning, of course, the Roman Catholic) to be the only true religion.”

Sec. 24. “The Church hath the power of employing force and of exercising direct and indirect temporal power.”

Sec. 34. “The Roman Pontiff is an absolute ‘Prince.’ ”

Sec. 37. “No National Church can be instituted in a state of division and separation from the authority of the Roman Pontiff.”

Then follow statements to the effect that (a) no religious orders can be suppressed by a government; (b) no Prince is exempt from the jurisdiction of the Church; (c) no marriage is valid unless performed by a priest; (d) all other forms of worship are prohibited; and finally, (e):-

Set. 80. “The Roman Pontiff cannot, and ought not to reconcile himself to, or agree with, Progress, Liberalism and Modem Civilisation.

These important extracts are given to show that Rome never reforms or changes in doctrine, except to add on fresh ones as the ages roll on. Transubstantiation remains just as it was in the 16th Century, as far removed as ever from Apostolic simplicity and belief.


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