Achilles' heel

Achilles' heel

Fr John George

Dr Frank Mobbs (July AD2000) displays some Achilles' heels in his poor mouthing of transubstantiation as a post-Scripture, post-early Christian accretion:

• Not all Catholic teaching is explicitly stated by Christ, though detectable by a  sensus plenior (fuller sense) magisterial hermeneutic of Scripture.

• The magisterium most authoritatively exegetes Scripture to obtain a fuller meaning of the sacred texts, thus avoiding myopic literalism. Wherefore the exegesis by Trent re transubstantiation is of singular importance as a dogma (in Chapter 4 of session 13 of that Council).

• That nonCatholic churches don't uphold Catholic dogma on the Eucharist is surely not Dr Mobbs' best argument against transubstantiation.

• The "1971 Agreed Statement" is not "all that we need". It has not the fuller context or status of an ecumenical decree and itself cannot stand in isolated understanding but, in continuity with earlier Councils e.g., Trent on the Eucharist, including transubstantiation.

• As for appeals to "Gallup Polls" on transubstantiation knowledge, such is the lowest rung of theological method.

• While transubstantiation was not always explicitly mentioned over time, it was nonetheless implicitly there in the heart of the Church, given that Trent and other magisterial statements of faith have made explicit what was implicitly present perennially.

FR JOHN GEORGE
Randwick North, NSW

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