An object lesson in fearlessness when defending Church teaching…

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When it comes to controversy, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield (Illinois) is no stranger. This prelate is fearless when defending Church teaching.

According to, Bishop Paprocki will perform the Rite of Exorcism on Wednesday, November 20, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located in the state capital. The rite is officially being called “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage.” Bishop Paprocki believes that so-called “homosexual marriage” is the work of the devil and, in this instance, Satan not only can inhabit people but also can invade the Church and the government. He said:

We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our Church.

On the same day as the Rite of Exorcism, Illinois’ Governor–himself a Roman Catholic, Pat Quinn, is scheduled to sign Illinois’ homosexual marriage bill into law.


Bishop Thomas Paprocki
Diocese of Springfield (Illinois)

Bishop Paprocki’s rationale for leading this particular Rite of Exorcism is to follow in the footsteps of Pope Francis who, as an archbishop in Argentina, called the country’s legalization of homosexual marriage “a move of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.” The Bishop said:

The Pope’s reference to “father of lies” comes from the Gospel of John, where Jesus refers to the devil as “a liar and father of lies,” so Pope Francis is saying that same-sex marriage comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.

As The Motley Monk reported in a previous post, it was Bishop Paprocki who used the “b” word to describe praying for so-called homosexual marriage (praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous“) .

The Motley Monk is now wondering how long it will take before  the Rainbow Sash Coalition denounces Bishop Paprocki for following in the Holy Father’s footsteps? 



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  1. Agree with what’s been said here, with one caveat. A short prayer service that contains “prayers of supplication and exorcism” is NOT necessarily the same as the Rite of Exorcism.

    When lay people and non-Catholics hear the word “exorcism” they immediately think of the individual rite featured in movies like “The Exorcist,” complete with spinning heads, shouted commands for the demon to leave, etc. However, not all prayers of exorcism are like this. The pre-Vatican II Rite of Baptism, for instance, contained an “exorcism” that was simply a brief prayer asking God to drive away any evil or evil prescence from the person being baptized. For that matter, the phrase “deliver us from evil” in the Our Father is an “exorcism” in this sense.

    I’m guessing the prayer service is more along these lines; I don’t know that it’s even possible to perform a formal exorcism on anything other than an individual possessed by a demon or perhaps on a specific location like a house that is haunted or possessed. Performing a bona fide exorcism on an entire STATE seems like a bit of a stretch… though given the history of Illinois politics, maybe not much of a stretch 🙂

    The prayer service has been timed to directly coincide with the 4 p.m. Tuesday signing ceremony being held in Chicago for the legislation allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples. This ceremony is expected to draw about 2,000 people and has been widely publicized, and of course, was scheduled with maximum evening news coverage in mind (IIRC at least one Chicago TV station starts its evening newscast at 4 p.m.) The prayer service also dovetails nicely with the Cathedral’s regularly scheduled 5:15 p.m. daily Mass.

  2. Also, given the events of yesterday (a violent tornado outbreak causing at least 6 fatalities statewide and major destruction in Washington IL, a suburb of Peoria) I would hope that the prayer service would also include some appeal for assistance to the storm victims and maybe even a prayer to avert such storms in the future.

  3. Elaine Krewer: The city of Red Bank, New Jersey, having fallen on hard times, then decided that prayer was not working, hired and paid $5,000.00 to a witch to cast charms and good spells from one end of the city to another. But that was a long time ago.
    Bishop Thomas Paprocki might inspire all bishops to the rite of exorcism in their diocese to drive the devil and his works: murder, lies and vice from our midst while restoring to us: life and virtue, Truth and Justice, protecting our innocents and virgins and clearing the path for the state to do its duty in protecting and securing “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” from the Preamble to our constitution.

    Prayer and fasting for Bishop Thomas Paprocki to be delivered from evil.

  4. I agree with the article, the comments, but especially the two comments of Elaine. To be honest all our bishops are united on this fundamental issue concerning the true nature and dignity of marriage: be.tween one man and one woman for life. They have issued teaching documents, issued joint and individual statements, attempted at least to work through state legislatures and frequnently been lied to in those legislatures frequently by those who would make a claim such as I myself actually heard with my own ears, ” I was born a (here fill in the name of a political party) I was only baptized a Catholics when I was two weeks old”

    I believe that the bishops ultimately are looking for something very similar to what has happened on the life issues, a broad ecumenical/interfaith response now on marriage issues. While not yet defeated, see how the Pro-life movement has turned America’s head around. The same needs to happen with a new cultural movement protecting and promoting marriage between one man and one woman for life.

    Neither Gay marriage nor abortion are not particularly Catholic “issues”, such as the Petrine ministry of the pope or Transubstantiation of the Eucharist are. They are profound anthropological issues effecting every man, woman and child, and must be seen in this light. Being such deep anthropological issues, Catholics cannot back away from them, or water their teaching on such issues as life and marriage down to make them more palatable to society. However our stance can never be “merely” anti-abortion or anti-gay marriage. We proclaim Christ, the New Adam, in Whom all the mysteries and questions concerning “the Humanum” find their answers and fulfillment. We are not anti but for: for life,before marriage and family.

    In the meantime I am both intrigued and encouraged by this ” service of exorcism”. Liturgy, even if not a full Eucharist, is the heart of our Catholic Church and culture. This is a deep, spiritual, “sacramental” response to the zeitgeist: the “spirit of this age”.

  5. Oops. The first sentence in my third paragraph should read: Neither gay marriage or abortion are particularly Catholic issues….. Sorry for the confusion in that sentence

  6. Botolph, you raise a couple of interesting points. Human structures can be demonically inspired. And then there is the ‘spirit of the age’ or zeitgeist as you said, a governing outlook. Christ, the new Adam, is the answer to all that’s wrong with the human condition and our times, in particular, and Roman Catholic thought is often quite articulate in its response to society. I agree that Christian liturgy answers the self-worship we find around us and to which we can succumb at times. On a different note, a point of disagreement exists between the evangelical and sacramental views, which I began to think about from an earlier post. The evangelical approach, anxious to safeguard a view of the Spirit’s operation, seeks to rescue soteriology and worship from clericalism and sacramental rite. The sacramental view, on the other hand, sees soteriology and worship as embedded in this ecclesiology. The irony of augustinianism is that it is a hybrid of these two views.

  7. Jon,

    You are apparently an Evangelical Christian. Since you have begun posting you have revealed a Christian and reasonable approach in your posts, although you obviously differ on many levels from Catholics posting on this site. That you differ is not surprising, at least not to me. I also want to say that on those points in which Catholics and Evangelicals differ you speak of them calmly and not with diatribes proof texting and attempting to prove where you see Catholics as wrong. That is refreshing and appreciated

    However I would like to raise this question to you: what are you really seeking here, what is it that you want?

  8. Thank you, Botolph. In answer to your question, I seek open and honest dialogue. Why? Because something arises out of that. We each learn more about hte other’s side, receive corrective — and I don’t think anyone has everything right (I know I don’t) — and we reach a broader understanding. While I am evangelical, it is int he tradition of Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I’ve learned some things from Catholics. I learn more about my own views and sometimes acquire a corrective to them through this dialogue. So my hope is that I might share my thoughts too, and I hope that makes no one uneasy. Dialogue with other chruches has been promoted by Rome for some time now, and its stance toward Protestants has been rather conciliatory. John Milton, in Areopagiticus, suggested Christian differnces should be available in the marketplace. I do not think any one denomination ahs it all or can have it all. My thesis is that the Spirit demonstrates itself — its diversity — throughout what I consider the church (the defintion of which is somewhat different from official Roman Catholic theology). I think that in Roman Catholic theology it is viewed more interms of visible structure nad continuity. I think that that means something. We can’t entirely write that off. But as I think about how St. paul spoke concerning the body of Christ or the church, I try to imagine what he meant. That takes me in a little bit of a different direction. It’s more complexc and nuanced for me.

  9. Jon,

    Ok, you gave a good answer. You note C.S.Lewis as the form of evangelical Christianity to which you belong. While not an expert on Lewis in any stretch of the imagination, I have read many of his works, especially Mere Christianity. I also woul like to note that we are approaching the fiftieth anniv of his death on November 22. His death and it’s anniv have been eclipsed by Pres Kennedy’s assassination on the very same day that Lewis died.

    Although there are many avenues we could go down, a continued difference which you point out, is the difference of the Catholic fundamental sacramental perspective from the Evangelical freedom of the Spirit. You speak of Paul’s theology of the Church as the Body of Christ. Before getting specifically into that perhaps a brief and thus necessarily cursory overview of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

    Paul has evangelized in Corinth after his relatively speaking failure in Athens. In Athens he had attempted to connect with the intelligentsia by speaking of their own religious search for the Unknown God, even quoting one of their poets. In Corinth, sort of the Las Vegas-Hollywood of Roman Greece, as he writes, he came proclaiming nothing but Christ crucified, the wisdom of the Cross which overthrows the wisdom of the world. To get to the point, while the Corinthians were not the elite of Athens, they shared the same view of the humanum which separated soul and body, spirit and material, that was so counter to the Hebrew Old Testament anthropology and now the Gospel message of the Incarnate Son of God.

    Paul was responding to both questions and also pastoral issues sent to him by Chloe. Paul reiterated his teachings on Christ, on the truth and meaning of His resurrection ( and the resurrection of the dead- something Greeks found almost impossible to grasp) He reiterated his teaching on the truth and meaning of the Eucharist and on the truth and meaning of the Church as the Body of Christ, in connection with the charisms of the Holy Spirit. In proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, Paul maintained the significance of the revelation he had on the road to Damascus: The God of Israel has now revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ ( the Mystery of Christ’s identity:the Incarnation). In turn, as we see in chapter 15, the Jesus of history is now the Risen Lord, the Christ of faith. Just as there is continuity between God and the man Jesus in the Incarnation, so there is a continuity between Jesus and the Risen Christ. He is truly Risen. His Body has been raised from the dead and totally transformed-but it is the same Body of Christ. That gives the foundation on his teaching on the Church: the Church really and truly is the Body of Christ, an extension of the Incarnation in time and space- the world today. It also gives him the foundation of the truth and meaning of the Eucharist which really and truly is the Bodyband Blood of Christ in sacramental form

    Hopefully you can see from this where and how we Catholics envision Church, sacraments etc. we envision the cosmos through the Incarnational-Sacramental Gospel received from and continued even to this moment through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  10. Yes, it is true his death was eclipsed by the Kennedy assassination. He was so original and profound a Christian thinker that he is more read and better liked years after his death. I’ve read mnay contemporary Christian authors, but I know of no others that possess his depth and breadth. He’s uniquely fresh yet orthodox. He was a genius with a grasp of the classic traditions of thought. He also learned from some more immediate predecessors like Chesterton, Chrsals Williams, Tolkien, etc. Even Lewis’ literary ideas are still respected by secualr acedemia. And I find him balanced in a way that is often lacking among intellectuals and writers, especially when they are confined to theology or some othe particular field. I think I see the Catholic sense of the church, though I’m not suere I grasp the relationship you cite: you seem to say Catholic ecclesiolosy emerges out of their broader sense of the world. Perhaps you can clarify that. When I think of the Pauline worldview — and that means the Jewish and Greco-Roman outlook in light of his revelation– he held to a cosmic understanding, of course, where Christ was supreme — and the church as the body of Christ was the manifestation of this, which Ephesians highlights. The Roman wing developed traditions with time, but we don’t see the full sacramental worldview until Medieval times. It was a long development as far as that goes. Earlier on, parousia-delay led to a more institutionalized understanding, also. I don’t see the Roman Catholic version of the Eucharist and the sacramentalism as being the concrete expression of all this. I think it is a development, and one that other Christian traditions have not always arrived at.

  11. Jon,

    I was a bit surprised that in your response you actually did not respond ( at least in any substantial way) to my overview of precisely the Incarnational-sacramental principle as enunciated in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. Instead you repeated your now familiar comments concerning what you ( or more likely your source) claim is the relatively late development of both the hierarchy and sacramental order. I reject this claim, not surprisingly, but so does anyone reading the primary sources such as the Church Fathers.

    Just as an example, Saint Ignatius of Antioch writing seven letters to seven churches and their bishops, gave us the witness in 107 AD, of a Catholic Church that exists where the full Gospel is proclaimed, the Eucharist is celebrated with his presbyters and deacons. In the letters we see a substantial understanding of the Eucharist as truly the Body and Blood of Christ ( by no means merely a symbol) and where the Church in Rome presides in charity.

    I have attempted to really respond to your overall comments since you began joining us, Jon, however I do not see this aspect of conversation with you-attempting to ” give reason for my hope” ( 1 Peter 3), really helping If I might I would suggest you begin delving into the Church Fathers and really allow them to speak ( not what you want them to say). I will turn you over to them as your teachers

  12. Botolph,

    Indeed they do speak like that early on. Perhaps it was to battle gnosticism and other strange ideas, and if that was the intent, one would expect them to stress apostolic succession, visible unity, and a headquarters. Christianity has a subjective and an objective side. To speak honestly, I know the core of modern Catholilc thought existed in patristic writing, though I don’t think all of the fathers were unanimous on the topics of which we speka. As far as the more sacramental view of baptism and the Eucharist go, I really don’t know. I must confess a measure of humility regarding the Lord’s Supper: I think it is a spiritual phenomenon. The SPirit is present in teh Body and that is key for me. This is the evangelical idea. He is never confined. I think it was with this understanding in mind that Paul could say popel grew sick when they wrongly approached it.

    I know that varoius and conflicting teachings circulated even in the time of St. Paul. Some of these ideas were more correct than others and some were heterodox as he explains in his letters. So I would say the Patristics are helpful but I do not consider them binding.

    It is the realization of nuance and complexity that led to my quest for truth — truth is not confined to one location or structure. For me, it is a matter of degree with these matters. There are things Catholics believe that I sense are true to a point. I guess that pertains to some of these issues. I would not want to assume a dogmatic stance about certain otherwise legitamite points.

    Your thoughts?

  13. I see, Botolph, that you cite an incarnational-sacramental theology based on Paul’s understanding of Christ and the churhc. I did not mean to fail in addressing that. I just don’t understand it. I don’t see the sacramental connection you seem to make. Can you explain that further?


  14. The Catholic Church is not a denomination among denominations. It is the Church from which denominations descend. The Catholic Church is not comparable to denominations. The Catholic Church is evangelical.

    Sacramentality is obvious to us in the OT. The development of doctrine is ongoing, the understanding of sacramentality continues apace.

  15. Jon,

    Well this most recent response is a big leap forward. I am sure it was not easy for you to come to realize that ” the Core of modern Catholic thought existed in Patristics writing”. That is an important truth which you ultimately never be able to forget or throw away. Catholics and Evangelicals agree that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God. We also agree that they thus are authoritative for us ( true.Catholics do not hold in the Reformation principle Scripture alone). We both hold them authoritative, nonetheless. Now I would ask you this: doesn’t it make sense to take extremely seriously the interpretation of Scriptures found in and taught by those who, in some early cases, actually knew the Apostles, and as a whole are much closer to the source of our Christian faith than we are today?

    You mention, rightly, that many of the earlier Fathers were fighting Gnosticism. While certainly that is a context, I believe it would false to presume that such teachings as apostolic succession, visible unity, and as you put it, ” headquarters”. In reading the ( First) Letter of Clement you will find the third successor of Peter speaking of apostolic succession, while writing to those troublesome Corinthians ( as Paul had) in the year 97 AD, telling the free wheeling Corinthians of the order Christ Himself gave to the Church in commanding His apostles to choose solid men from their first converts to succeed theme when they moved in, we’re martyred or died naturally. Do we trust his testimony or keep him under suspicion because it doesn’t match my ideas or opinions. If true, where do you find this apostolic succession of the Twelve with Peter as their head?

    As for the questin of viable unity, I will again refer t o Saint Ignatius of Antioch who wroteh this in 107 AD: “Where the bishop is, let the people gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”. You mention ” headquarters”. Of all the churches Ignatius writes to and speaks of, it is the Church in Rome which he described as ” Presiding in charity”. In other words the Church in Rome had a unique mission, distinct from all others: to preside in charity. But why Rome? Was it because it was the capital city of the Roman Empire? No. From the very beginning it was understood to be the Church where both Peter and Paul ministerd, preached, taught and died. Their words still live in The Church in Rome (1 and 2 Peter, Gospel of Mark-Peter’s disciple- Paul’ Letter to the Romans),, their blood became the seed of future generations of the Church in Rome, and their bones, sacred relics, still lie there ( in fact this Sunday, at the closing Mass of the Year of faith the relics of Saint Peter’s bones will be in view, brought out from their resting place in the catacombs roughly forty feet under the main altar of Saint Peter’s

  16. Well, to address Sola Scriptura, as I said earlier it is, for me, teh belief that Scirptuer is our final authority. We are subject to its ultimatte authority. Theologians have recognized over the centuries that we draw on other things. I’m reminded of Richard Hooker’s ‘three-legged stool’ of Scripture, reason and tradition. John Wesley included experience and people later spoke of the Wesleyen quadrilateral. (Wesley did not mean for experience to get the upper hand as has happened int he case of liberal Protestantism and some varieties of Pentecostalism). Regardless of what we draw on, Scripture is the final authority and all else must be viewed in light of it. That’s vital. I think for Roman Catholicism, Scripture and Tradition are on an equal footing. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that. From the Evangelical Protestant perspective, the early church passed along certain traditions orally and in writing, and some people in the next generation took them further and built on them so that some new ideas began to become establihsed. Eventually we have an organic sense of tradition with a capital T, and I beleive it would be anachronistic to assume it was supposed to work out that way. In retrospect it would seem that traces of those things existed early on and that poeple hinted at it when it wasn’t qite the same thing. It’s sort of like when Calvinists say Augustine taught their ideas. Well no, he really didn’t, but we might say Augustine hinted at it–even then he didn’t mean to, though, as he had no idea he would become part of a Christian historiography by Calvinists. So I think it’s the same dynamic with the early church and the patristics. I am aware as I openly admitted, that Roman Catholic theology is already to some degree present in patristic thought. But I would not maintain the patristics were in perfect accord with the first generation of apostles. I think some change occurred very early on. To say the ancient chruch was static into the second century or so would be mistaken.

  17. Anzlyne,

    I have to accept the fact that many Christian traditions exist. I cannot ignore that. Roman Catholicism probably sees them all as renegades, but Eastern Orthodoxy and the Oriental chruches have their own narratives — and I would imagine they are pretty deep. Early on, traditions differed due to political and geographic reasons and reasons of identity. Since 1500 AD, European differences arose out of a quest for reform. More recently, groups emerge in an effort to meet contemporary situations and respond flexibly. One way or another, the church grows and accomplishes its mission.

  18. Various churches may “have their own narratives.” This once was a free country.

    There is one Gospel. There is one Cross. There is one Resurrection. There is objective, immutable truth, which does not evolve based on people’s inconstant mores, or lack thereof.

    Ergo, (see Plato on opinion) narrative is not truth.

  19. Jon,

    In this post I am responding to your request for further explanation on the Incarnational-Sacramental principle as found in 1 Corinthians

    We cannot understand Saint Paul without really understanding his conversion on the road to Damascus. We tend to think this experience changed Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle. While this did occur, this event means much much more.

    As Saul was journeying to Damascus to extirpate all cells of the new movement holding to the memory of the rejected, condemned and crucified false messiah, a brilliant light shone around Saul and he fell to the ground in fear and awe. Saul, the rabbinical student, knew that he was somehow encountering the Living God of Israel. It was then that he heard the Voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul responded, “Who are You, Lord?” (some translations use ‘sir’ however this belies the fact that Saul certainly believed he was in the presence of the guy down the street) It was at this point that the Voice identified Himself, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting”

    At one and the same moment, in this one event, several things were revealed. It takes a moment to unpack them. First and foremost, Saul whom I will now refer to as Paul, Paul recognized that the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was revealing Himself in Jesus. God revealed Himself through the prophets, but Paul realized He was in the Presence of Jesus (obviously not dead). Paul instantly was given the gift of faith which enabled Him to ‘see’ that God was in Jesus: the Mystery of the Incarnation.

    The second thing revealed, which I already hinted at, was that Jesus was not dead. However He had been rejected and condemned as a false prophet/messiah. The Temple leadership had sought not simply to get the death penalty for Jesus, but death by crucifixion. Why? Because according to the Law, cursed is the man hung upon a tree; likewise, when the messiah would come, he would be acclaimed by Jerusalem, proclaimed king, conquer Israel’s enemies, especially Rome, but certainly not die such an ignominious death. What Paul “saw” was that all of this was overturned by God Himself. God raised Jesus from the dead, revealing Jesus to be Lord, Who now has been ” seated at the right Hand, receiving the Kingdom ( see Daniel 7 and Psalm 2) Paul realized that what most Jews expected on the Day of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead, had taken place in and through Jesus. He is the First Fruits. The Eschaton, salvation has arrived in and through Jesus Christ crucified and Risen. Paul explained this further in 1Corinthians 15. The Resurrecttion continues and eternalizes ( to use a phrase) the Incarnation.

    The second fundamental reality revealed on the road to Damascus is the identification of Jesus with the Church. “I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting” there is no mincing of words here. The Risen Lord doesn’t simply say, stop persecuting my people, or when you persecute my people it is like you are persecuting me. No, The Risen Lord revealed that He is identified ( no question mysteriously) with the Church. Paul spells this revelation in several of his Letters, however he really spells it out in 1 Corinthians 12, that the Church is the Body of Christ. Again Paul does not say the Church is like Christ’s Body, or that the Church can be likened to a body. Paul states categorically that the Church IS the Body of Christ, His ongoing presence in the world even to today. The Church continues the mystery of the Incarnatnoion
    Finally, Jon, in chapter 11 (and a bit of chapter 10) of Corinthiansna

  20. (my iPad started acting up- this is a continuation of the above)

    Finally, Jon, in 1Cor 11 and part of 10, Paul reminds the Corinthians what he had passed on to them when among them. He repeats Christ’s words of Institution. Again, as Paul identifies God in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ with His Body the Church, now Paul identifies the Eucharist with and as, the Body (and Blood) of Christ (see chapter 10 for further explanation: communion in the Body and Blood of Christ. For Paul, the Eucharist is not merely a symbol, nor simply a spiritual reality. For Paul, the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ.

    I need to stop here and get on with my day, however, John, if you give this some time and reflection, you will begin to see how the Resurrection, the Church and the Eucharist are all intricately connected, even identified with the Incarnation, giving Catholics the Incarnational-Sacramental principle

  21. concerning the Catholic sacramental and evangelical action taken by the fearless bishop Paprocki— A good pastor and priest I would say. engaging us in the spiritual ongoing warfare, at the same time reaching out with the Gospel through the actual news media of the world.
    I will pray for him and with him at the appointed time tomorrow afternoon and I encourage all who read this to do the same.

  22. Botolph,

    Your first post explains that very well. Christ and his church are inseparable and Paul is told he was persecuting Him. In chapter 10 we find that it is the communion of the body and blood of Christ. I think communion is a key word here. We share in Christ, or we participate in Him. I don’t think that’s the same as saying the bread and wine are literally his flesh and blood then and there. Your thoughts?

  23. “We share in Christ, or we participate in Him. I don’t think that’s the same as saying the bread and wine are literally his flesh and blood then and there.”

    John 6:52-59 – 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper′na-um.

  24. Paul,
    Jesus certainly couldn’t have meant it literally at the time since he hadn’t yet gone to the cross. The same holds true concerning the Passover. There, he used similar language, but once again it was intended to communicate all that we come to understand about ourselves as a result of our relationship to him. It would not make sense to say they were eating the actual flesh and blood of Jesus, since he hadn’t yet been crucified.
    Luther got hung up on the words and could not divorce his understanding from a literal sense. He usually approached the BIble in that way, and his sacramentalism is still found in Lutheran churches today. Certain segmants of the church took the sacramental road. I think that’s a mistake.

  25. It’s a miracle! Jesus pronounced those words and meant them as He said them, causing a miracle to happen, just as the Mass is a miracle/mystery. The preparation for Jesus’ very conception in the immaculate womb of his mother was a prevenient miracle/mystery
    We admit we can’t understand, and be wary of scientism regarding the mystery/ sacrament.

    We love the image of the dove rising to the Heavens on the two wings of Faith and Reason. It makes the kids in class smile and “get it” to think of the dove trying to wing his way up with only only wing.
    Jon here is something worth reading:

  26. “Jesus certainly couldn’t have meant it literally at the time…”

    John 6:66 – “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”

    Like many of these disciples, Protestants simply cannot and will not accept the plain language that Jesus used. They pick and chose what they wish to believe and interpret away outside the authority of the Church what does not agree with their man-made traditions and theology. They interpret Scripture in the privacy of their own preconceptions contrary to 2nd Peter 1:20-21:

    “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

    To use a Protestant phrase, Jesus said it, I believe it and it is so.

  27. Anzlyne,
    I agree science cannot explain much that matters. Enlightenment thought often stripped Christianity of the supernatural. Deism, we know, left the world disenchanted, and Kant left us with a dichotomy that divorced spirituality from the factual world. We are still feeling the results of that.

    It is not that spirituality is divorced from other aspects of our existence. As Christians we know God created all that is seen and unseen. His creation is valid through and through, and the Incarnation is God’s affirmation of his world. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead because of the resurrection of Christ.

    I believe in two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the O. T. many rites existed. In these times the church practices two ordinances or what some traditions term sacraments. Baptism is our entry into the church, signifying our rebirth. As we are buried in Christ’s death, we rise again to new life through his resurrection. We become a part of his body, the church. At the Lord’s Supper we commemorate his death and resurrection and anticipate his return.

    I see no warrant for belief in Christ’s literal, bodily presence in the Eucharist, though I don’t doubt people have often believed this throughout church history. The church is Christ’s body and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is a crucial realization that centers attention upon the people who gather together in His name.

  28. Paul,
    Many turned away because they stumbled upon the stone that makes men fall. They could not accept what Jesus had to say about his role and their predicament. In their pride, they left him.
    I do not think I am interpreting anything privately in the sense that was condemned in that passage, which communicates that Scripture is God-breathed. The Bereans in Acts were commended for their private study and critique.

  29. “In the O. T. many rites existed. In these times the church practices two ordinances or what some traditions term sacraments. ”

    As I understand it, sacraments are not rites; rites are not sacraments. Sacraments originate in God. God enlivens the rites with Himself, the rites are a container or a vehicle of cooperation with His action. The rites bring about the mystery they signify by the grace of God.
    The pillar of cloud was sacramental, a physical manifestation of the mystery of God and His actions in HIs creation, within the framework of time and place/ Manna. Burning bush. God entered the ritual with Abraham, the ritual did not bring about God’s presence.

    Sacraments effect what they signify by the grace of God. Sometimes we don’t discern the grace filled sacramentality of our lives and our worship, the Real Presence, unlike the oxen and asses Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger talked about in the link I sent you.

    I wholeheartedly accept corrective input. Thank you

  30. Thanks, Anzlyne. I feel life and the world is sacramental. How can we separate the visible and invisible? As I said, the Incarnation is the ultimate expression of God’s love, devotion, and commitment to his creation. But I do not think this is the same thing as assuming Christ is literally and bodily present in the Eucharist.

    Sacramentality is a given for me. However, sacramentalism, or the sacramental approach to baptism and the Lord’s Supper strikes me as incorrect. I think it represents over-emphasis. I suspect the church gradually came to over-emphasize many things as it grew and further defined its beliefs against many foreign ideas.

  31. Returning to our original topic…. looks like the Bishop did perform the actual Rite of Exorcism, and in Latin to boot:

    “I wish to preface my reflections by saying that I am conducting this prayer service and am speaking to you now with great reluctance,” he told the gathering. “I did not seek to enter any controversy, and I don’t relish being part of one. But I have given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer, which has led me to the conviction that God is calling me to speak out and conduct these prayers.”

    Paprocki was also quick to condemn champions of same-sex marriage, including lawmakers and gay and lesbian couples.

    “Since the legal redefinition of marriage is contrary to God’s plan, those who contract civil same-sex marriage are culpable of serious sin,” he said. “Politicians responsible for enacting civil same-sex marriage legislation are morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.”

    After his homily, Paprocki read the rite of exorcism in Latin.

    “I exorcize you, every unclean spirit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy,” he began. “Every diabolical legion, cohort and faction, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Now if only some bishop or even the Pope himself would launch this kind of weapon against the forces promoting abortion….

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