You are not signed in as a Premium user; you are viewing the free version of this program. Premium users have access to full-length programs with limited commercials and receive a 10% discount in the store! Sign up for only one day for the low cost of $1.99. Click the button below.
In the ninth century, the Church's first-ever Eucharistic controversy arose between two French monks in the same monastery. It wasn't as controversial as it has later been painted, because it was really a "word war," each of them using the same words but assigning the words different meanings.
They had each written a book on the subject, with the Emperor Charles the Bald being the impetus because he wanted to better understand the Church's teaching. When the men had each died, the controversy died with them. Ah, but their books remained, and when we fast-forward to the 11th century, now the fun begins.
Another French monk/priest, Berengarius of Tours, who was well respected for his intellect as well as his simple piety, essentially held the position that Our Lord is really present in the Eucharist, just not fully. It was the theory that the Protestant reformers, especially John Calvin, would seize on 500 years later to deny transubstantiation.
After a series of councils and appearances and inquiries in Rome and France over more than 20 years, where he stood his ground, then confessed he was wrong, then went back and insisted he was right and recanted his confessions, Berengerius signed an admission of faith in 1079 (composed for him):
I, Berengarius, believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed on the altar are through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of our Redeemer substantially changed into the true and proper life-giving Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord; and that after the consecration is the true Body of Christ, which was born of the Virgin, as an offering for the salvation of the world hung on the Cross, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and [is] the true Blood of Christ which flowed from His side; not only through the sign and power of the sacrament but in His proper nature and true substance; as it is set down in this summary and as I read it and you understand it. Thus I believe, and I will not teach any more against this faith. So help me God and this holy gospel of God.
Of course, he went right back home and recanted that as well, just as he had recanted this one, 20 years earlier, confessing in part
The bread and wine which are placed on the altar are after consecration not only a sacrament but also the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the senses not only sacramentally but in truth are taken and broken by the hands of the priests and crushed by the teeth of the faithful.
Berengarius' stubbornness is not so much the important part here, but rather, that in seeking to have him admit his error, various councils and ecclesiastical gatherings were forced to clearly lay out, in short form, what the Church had actually believed for the first 1,000 years.
In fact, so clear had these various compositions been regarding what the Church holds and teaches about the Eucharist and the Real Presence (body, blood, soul and divinity), that a thousand years later, Pope Paul VI referred back to them and used them as sources in his own Eucharistic encyclical.
The Church has always believed in the Real Presence, even if it took some controversies and historical clashes to ink it down in precise theological language.
Around a century or so after the Berengarius uproar, the Church, at the insistence of French King Louis VII, established Eucharistic Adoration on this date, Sept. 11, 1226, as a military victory over the heretical group the Albigensians who, among many things, denied the Real Presence.
So 9/11 and the Eucharist have a very close association stretching back almost 800 years, a historical note we thought we'd point out for your edification.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Faith. That's why we here at Church Militant have devoted more of our theological resources to this one single teaching than any other one.
We have produced literally dozens and dozens of hours of programming content on the Eucharist, which, frankly, if some bishops had done, there wouldn't be the need for their multimillion-dollar Eucharistic Revival.
They have let faith in the Real Presence be destroyed on their watch. Many didn't care. And let's be honest, an alarming number of them don't even believe. But their lack of faith does not remove the obligation of the faithful who do believe, to preach and teach the teachings that need to be taught and explained. And chief among them is the Eucharist.
So we are providing a link down below to what amounts to a virtual warehouse of our Church Militant Eucharist video resources, from which you can pick and choose anything you'd like to help you in this area or enhance what you already know.
While it's great for us to learn and have the Faith via the knowledge of the teachings, remember, ultimately, we need to do everything we can to help others understand the beauty of the Faith as well.
It may not be fair. (What in life is?) But it now falls to the properly formed faithful to step in and pick up where bishops let things be destroyed (and in some cases, actually worked intentionally to destroy them). We need to learn all of this so we can then teach others. That's how the Faith is passed in families, among friends, etc.
Saint Peter says to always be prepared to give a reason for your hope. That is not an appeal to an emotional response or explanation. It's an appeal to explain, logically and thoroughly, the Faith. Intellectually lay it out.
It can be explained with emotion (sort of should be, actually), but the explanation itself cannot be based on emotion. It must be based on knowledge, as in, "My people perish for lack of knowledge."
Lastly, the entirety of our individual salvation depends on the degree of effort we extend to help others come to the truth. We offered this quote many times here at Church Militant from Fr. John Hardon: "Any Catholic not about the business of evangelization, might never entertain a serious hope of the Beatific Vision."
As philosophers say, you cannot give what you do not have. So please click on the provided link to purchase our Eucharistic materials on DVD or CD, or get a Premium subscription so you can watch them online. And learn, learn, learn so you can teach, teach, teach.