Eucharist and Scholastic Theology

During the 11th century the works of Boethius (+524) were spread throughout Europe. His work was the principal source for the knowledge of Aristotle. The Aristotelian philosophy became the frame work for the scholastic theology. Precisely in Boethius works we find the concepts of Substance and Accidents. Next to these concepts we also find the idea “materia and forma” (matter and form) in theology of sacraments. Accordingly it was taught that each sacrament has an essential matter and form. Hence bread and wine were considered to be the matter of Eucharist. The Words of institution were the form. The moment when these words were said over the bread and wine was seen as the moment when the sacrament came into existence. The Theology of the Eastern Church was less interested in defining the exact moment of consecration, but when it did ask the question it looked in rather to the epiclesis for an answer. The Western theology made the moment of consecration is the climax of the entire celebration. This made that the attention was drawn to the priest, his power and the right intention. The role of the faithful was at most to receive Holy Communion. What originally was a community event became more and more a sacramental acting of the priest while the faithful were only silent and inactive spectators. (no wonder the Scholastic theology was a theology of monks and priests) The Eucharistic celebration was no longer experienced as the anticipative celebration of the eschatological banquet of the new covenant by the people of God, as the manifestation, experience and strengthening of the Church as the earthily Body of Christ to praise and to worship the father, but as the wonderful coming of Christ under the kinds of bread and wine in order to adore him (Christ).

Recommended Articles and Books

EUCHARISTIC THEOLOGY DURING MIDDLE AGES

A)    Eucharist and Controversies

B)    First Eucharistic Controversy: RADBERTUS AND RATRAMNUS

C)    Second Eucharistic Controversy: BERENGAR AND LANFRANC

D)    Eucharist and Scholastic Theology

E)     Eucharist and Doctrine of Concomitance

F)     Eucharist and St. Thomas Aquinas

G)    Eucharist and Protestant Reformers

H)    Eucharist and Council of Trent

I)       Eucharist and Post-Council of Trent

 

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