I keep having these conversations with ByzCat where we preach to each other – the choir, as it were. Most recently I was ranting about non-Catholics and their attitude toward the Eucharist. I guess I should go backwards a bit and explain MY PERSONAL REASONS for believing that I’m in the right place, faith-wise.
Scripture has it that Jesus said to Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thereby establishing Peter as the visible head of the Church on earth, and the method by which our sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession all in one fell swoop. He didn’t give this authority to all of the Twelve, but they received it from Christ through Peter. Thus we have the hierarchy of the Church on earth, from deacons to priests to bishops and archbishops all the way to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. Since the Pope is head of the Catholic Church, then in order to follow Jesus as a member of His Church I must be a Catholic.
I can’t be Orthodox because I acknowledge the primacy of the Pope. I can’t be any denomination of Protestant because I believe Jesus taught all the things that Protestants deny or gloss over – the obligation to render regular worship to God; necessity of individual auricular confession; efficacy of anointing of the sick and/or dying; the value of works as a complement to faith; the reality of the Communion of Saints; necessity of penance/repentance; etc. etc. ad infinitum et nauseam.
OK. Based on Jesus’ words as recorded in Scripture, what we as Catholics receive in the Eucharist is truly Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – whether unleavened as in the Latin Rite or leavened as in the Eastern Rites. Since Jesus instituted the sacred priesthood, and also established Peter as the first Pope, then it naturally (to me) follows that ONLY A VALIDLY ORDAINED CATHOLIC PRIEST (or a validly ordained Orthodox priest) CAN EFFECT TRANSUBSTANTIATION, or the change from bread and wine to the Most Precious Body and Life-Giving Blood of Jesus.
I can’t. A Baptist preacher can’t. A Presbyterian minister can’t. And, so sorry, neither can an Episcopalian minister. No amount of wishing or deciding is going to cause any bread or any wine (or grape juice) to be mysteriously and miraculously changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, by anyone other than a validly ordained priest of the Catholic Church.
I mentioned this before, but I will repeat it now: if anyone reads this and sees ANY ERROR, please comment. Hold me accountable. Please.
I see that I shall have to continue this later…..