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January 03, 2008

Comments

whitestonenameseeker

There has been a push in the UK for a long long time to have a recognised translation of the Mass into British Sign Language. So far nothing has come of it and I think the main block is - as you point out-the lack of spoken words. I know a couple of deaf priests but both have some voice. I have not heard either say Mass but I suspect that when they do they do so not in Signed Supported English which could have spoken elements, but in BSL-and so I wonder if their Masses are valid.

The other problem those of us who have been interpreters face is the lack of recognised liturgical signs. It is really up to the individual interpreter to try and be as correct in mediation of meaning as possible-and that can be a risky thing.

The other problem here in the UK and I suspect the USA may have the same problem is that BSL is not uniform. Signs vary all over the country and Deaf people's ability to use the language can vary considerably too.
I worked with d/Deaf people for many years and had to adjust my use of language to all sorts of situations inlcuding one client with language problems who then went blind!
If this was just a few d/Deaf people then a Mass for the average Deaf person using ASL or BSL might be easy enough-but the community is made up a lot of 'special needs' (for want of a better term) and so the subject is very complicated indeed.

God knows the Deaf community needs pastoral care with people who are fluent and flexible with the language. I hope something comes of all this.
God bless

Ed Peters

Thanks for your kind words, as always, Jimmy. About your question on sacramental form and orality, I have (what I think is) an exhaustive analysis of that topic already finished. It is being juried for the professional journals now. In short, I think what we see is an example of, how to put it, Ecclesiae praxis aliquando docet doctrinam Ecclesiae. It really wasn't hard to work it all out; St. Thomas, Regatillo, and Cappello provided the necessary tools. Happy New Year! edp.

John Gerules

While there are efforts, like Signing Exact English, to exactly represent English in signed form, this is not the standard language in the deaf community in America. American Sign Language is.

The claim that ASL is "the standard language in the deaf community" is misleading. We're dealing with an area where estimates vary significantly, and some oft-cited figures represent research done a generation or more ago. But it does seem clear that there are deaf Americans who don't know American Sign Language at all and many others who identify themselves as “fair” or “poor” signers. In other words, you can't simply assume that the use of ASL in a Mass will effectively reach all or nearly all the people present who are deaf.

Kevin Jones

Here's another question: Considering face-to-face contact and facial expression is a key part of ASL, how could a deaf person preserve his or her right to an anonymous confession?

Ed Peters

John, I don't think anyone here "simply assumes that the use of ASL in a Mass will effectively reach all or nearly all the people present who are deaf", but that's not because ASL is not the standard language of most deaf community Americans, because it unquestionably is. Rather, your point rises from the fact that many Americans who are deaf are not culturally Deaf, this in turn, for many reasons, such as, some late-deafened adults who understandably can see deafness only as handicap and never learn to sign, as opposed to deaf born to deaf, who rightly regard Deafness as culture with a language, etc.

Stephen Korsman

2nd part:

I agree that there is an issue that remains unanswered (to my knowledge) by the Magisterium as to how vocal the words of various sacramental formulae have to be. To me, the vocal aspect is important, and connects with the concept of the Word of God being a spoken Word and not a Sign of God. The 2nd Person of the Trinity is not merely a sign (?symbol) of God, and that must translate somehow into the theology relating to sacraments.

I can't imagine the Magisterium [Vatican, someone, certainly Cardinal Levada since he encouraged Fr Coughlin] being unaware of the ordinations, and even the order for deaf priests. Their silence is telling - if they know, and they don't stop it, they probably don't consider it to be problematic in the way ordination of women or a female order of priests would be. It would probably remain a non-issue until some controversy arise.

In Ed Peter's opening paragraph, he says "I am still surprised when hearing people who know next to nothing about deafness presume to tell others what deaf people can and cannot do ..."

I will now try to do just that. I do not personally know many deaf people; elderly and deaf yes, and my mother complains that my father is deaf whenever it's convenient, but apart from playing chess against the school for deaf children when I was at school, I've never had much contact with people who were deaf from an early age. Including no deaf patients of that nature. And I have never been a speech expert or anything related. So I'm not an expert.

But ... sounds are made by pushing air over various organs in the mouth/nose/throat. These include the vocal cords, the tongue, palate, lips, and teeth. If a person's vocal cords won't work (severe laryngitis, larynx cancer) they may still whisper. If they can breath out, they can still perform a basic form of whispering, and it's still understandable.

Is whispering valid for the consecration? If so, someone who can speak English but can't use his vocal cords can still speak the necessary words, only in some sort of whisper.

To what extent can someone who has never been able to learn a spoken language do the same? They could still make sounds - they usually don't, especially when they learn that their sounds get mocked. But they can make them; they're audible; they're intended to mean something; and surely such a vocalisation, even as a whisper, is acceptable, if a vocalisation is eventually decreed to be necessary?

How necessary is an understanding of that vocalisation by others? Take the scenario of a rural, lower class community in the middle ages, with a priest from their community, able to speak the Latin out loud, but with poor comprehension. Even today, we're told that priests don't need to be able to fully comprehend each word of the Latin Mass in order to say Mass in Latin. And many serve communities in languages they don't understand. If the Mass is in Latin, the congregation might also not understand it word for word. But the priest knows what he's saying even if he can't transliterate it, and so does the congregation. Would that be any different from a deaf-mute priest saying something in the best way he can?

[Maybe my assessment of priests and the Latin they say is wrong ... that's my understanding based on what I've read about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, and what I've heard of the experiences of priests serving communities in foreign languages.]

Cory

Every year at the Diocese of Charlotte's Eucharistic Congress, there are a number of signers on hand for the Holy Hour, the various programs, and for the closing Mass. That seems to me to be the easiest way to deal with the deaf in the congregation, but this is an interesting question of deaf clergy.

The Masked Chicken

I have a question which concerns both marriage and deafness. Since Dr. Peters reads these pages, perhaps I can get a two-fer:

I assume that deaf people can get married, but one or both may be mute. If this is the case, do they exchange signs and if so, is the exchanging of signs enough to validate the marriage.

Since the two people themselves are the ministers of the sacrament, then if this situation does occur, it would seem that in this case a sacrament has been effected without using sounds or vocalizations. Is this true?

Is there a difference between this sacrament and that of, say, confession. If a deaf priest gives a deaf parishioner absolution by signs (let's say that he mouths the words as he signs -- a second hypothesis, which may be omitted if it adds extra conditions) is not the sacrament also valid? I thought the only necessity in terms of communication (all other aspects being present) for a valid confession was physical presence (no phone confessions).

Is there a separate condition for the confecting of the Eucharist beyond presence and communicating the intent of the priest by whatever means of communication to do what the Church intends? In the pre-Vatican II days (correct me if I am wrong), was not an audible or spoken consecration necessary? Is audibility a necessary condition or communication in a broader sense?

Interesting questions and I know I will learn a lot by reading this thread.

The Chicken

David B.

Great post, Tim J!

Catholic Bibliophagist

It seems to me that language is language whether it's vocalized or not. Someone like Stephen Hawkings speaks even though he hasn't got the use of vocal cords. I'm no expert,but I don't see a problem with ordaining a deaf priest who speaks in a sign language. On the other hand, I don't think it's required that there be signed Masses for the deaf. As long as we know what's going on at Mass, it's not required that we understand the language in which the Mass is offered.

Ed Peters

Must resist temptation to discuss all sorts of things that are in my article (yet to appear) but, Masked Chicken asks "...in this case a sacrament has been effected without using sounds or vocalizations. Is this true?"

Answer, Yes.

Pseudomodo

This reminds me of an interesting situation I experienced not long ago.

A visiting priest said mass at our parish a few years ago. He was not deaf but he was blind. He said the Roman Canon which he could easily memorize and read from braille Gospels. He was a wonderful preacher.

As is our custom, we go to confession after mass, but the blind priest was led out the door by his assistant. His assistant knew I was waiting for confession and he came upt to me and said that the priest would not be hearing confessions. I asked why and he said, "Well.. the priest, HE'S BLIND!

I though that a blind priest would make an excellent confessor! Oh well!!

Timothy James

Another point to consider concerning the Sacrament of Reconciliation is that a Priest must be able to detect true contrition for sins before he may absolve the penitent. If the penitent can't sign and the priest speak or hear, I don't know how this would be possible.

Mary Kay

If the penitent can't sign and the priest speak or hear, I don't know how this would be possible.

Because assessment of sincerity does not rely soley on verbal communication.

The Masked Chicken

A few more points struck me in what Jimmy wrote:

1. He said,

"The problem is: Giving deaf people captions written in English is not giving them captioning in their own language...Deaf people may have different levels of skill in reading English, just as English speakers may have different levels of skill in reading Latin, but giving them captioned English is not the same as giving them translation into the vernacular sign language."

Why is is required that deaf people have captioning in their own vernacular when they attend a Mass composed of, primarily, hearing people? When I was at a conference in Luxembourg a few years ago, I did not expect to hear the Mass in English just because I happened to be attending it (the languages of Luxembourg are German, French, and a weird mix called, Luxembourgese). I read French and German (French, better) and the priest provided me with a French missal.

Having closed captioning is, in itself, an accommodation. It would seem fair that both sides should have to accommodate: provide closed captioning, but require that the deaf attenders learn to read English. If there is not mutual accommodation, one runs the risk of developing isolated groups of pure sign or pure speech. This is surely contrary to the unity of worship.

Obviously, there will be some difficulties, but charity on both sides is a sign of genuine Christian maturity.

That having been said, I do not think that closed captioning is the best means of communication. To begin with, what parts of the Mass would anyone have to really listen to the Priest for? In information theory, this is called the surprisal coefficient: a measure of what is not predictable in a communication. Giving the page numbers in a missal will allow anyone to follow every part of the Mass except the Homily. This, it seems to me, is where the real problem lies, since one cannot predict what a priest will say during the homily to any great degree of certainty (no jokes, please).

In information theory, what we are dealing with is called transinformation or mutual information: how much can one determine the information content of one sign by looking at another. What is the best way to maximize the transinformation? That is the question. Closed captioning? Signlanguage?

There is a lot of really interesting mathematics here.

Sorry, I just got to thinking...

The Chicken

Nancy E.

I have been a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children in an elementary school for 32 years. It always amuses me when people remark about how quiet my classroom must be. Hah! Every student I have ever taught has had a voice, and often a loud one. Some choose to stop speaking when they get older, but if words were required of a deaf priest, I am sure words could be spoken (although I know some deaf people who would be offended that their sign language wasn't "good enough"). A hearing person might not be able to understand his speech, but since I assume a deaf priest would be assigned to a deaf parish, that shouldn't be a problem.

In my opinion the most important issue is finding a way, ANY way, to provide worship, sacraments, and instruction to deaf children and adults. The nearest deaf parish is over an hour away from my town. I have tried to interpret for my students' confirmations or first communions when asked, or at weddings or funerals, but I have no training in liturgical interpreting. The vocabulary is challenging (both for me and my students) and the responses come before I've even finished signing what the priest has said. It's HARD!

(By the way, one of my 5th graders last year informed me that the mass WAS captioned. She followed along in the missalette.)

Deacon DW

In my diocese we have a deaf deacon--Deacon Pat--who was ordained long, long before I was. He may have, in fact, been one of the first deacons in Austin. In addition to being over the deaf ministry at his parish, he carries out the typical litugical ministries of a deacon, i.e., marriages, baptisms, assisting at Mass, etc.

When Pat "presides" there is an interpreter present. I read of one occasion when a couple were married at Pat's parish. Natually, the priest presided for the couple, who were both Catholic, but Pat received their consent in ASL seeing that they were both deaf. In this case there was also an interpreter present.

One other thing about Deacon Pat--he imitates speech. I believe it was something he was taught to do early on.

The more important question to me in all this has to do with what degree disability prevents participation in general--in any thing. I do not believe that it needs to be a factor. The truth is that disabled people are fully human being and as such they have God-given rights. In the disabled transcending their limitations we can see the power of the human spirit, provided that we're willing to look. Perhaps our setting up the world to accomodate for disability might show an even greater power at work.

Olaf

Jimmy? I thought you were dead.

Deaf Guy

I know at least two deaf priests in America can sign at the Signed Masses and they are able to read lips and can talk vocally very good. Why nitpick on them if they can do good service for God and deaf community.

I was surprised that hearing people who visited Gallaudet University and met with one of hearing folks who works at Gallaudet University. Their question was "Can deaf people read?" It was obiviously stupid question, why are there such a university for deaf? I am reading your post as well as I wrote this comment, does it make us illiterate?

There are some deaf who are illiterate so does hearing people! I guess that stereotyping is people's favorite thing to do when they just want to reject deaf people because they can't do it.

Majority of deaf population goes to protestant churches. Why? Because there are many deaf pastors in protestant churches than Catholic parishes have. I would say about 200-300 deaf pastors or hearing pastors who can sign served with the deaf people. How many Catholic deaf priests and hearing priests who can sign out there? Very few. That's why many deaf people turn away from the Catholic Church because protestant churches met their needs in communication and interaction.

"Deaf people can do anything but hear."

I was a Protestant, converted into Catholicism, and now back to Protestantism. Why? Because Catholic parishes put deaf people down and it is low priority for them to serve deaf people. I often get frustrated at my local parish for an interpreter, they do not think it is high priority for deaf to have an interpreter. We can't just attend Mass pretending to understand what is going on in the Mass. It is very hypocritical and I prefer not to continue like that and decided to go back to Protestantism but I shared with deaf people in Catholic perspective of issues and doctrines as well as Church history. Only deaf people who are the most outcasted out of Catholic community. Blinds are not outcasts because they can hear and participate at Masses, what about deaf people?

Think about it, pretty please.

bill912

You gave up the Church Jesus founded for a Chruch that only has part of the Truth because few priests know sign language? I'm not buying it.

Inocencio

Deaf Guy,

I will not pretend to understand what it is like for you. What I would ask you to >i>think,/i> about is the fact that Christ is truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist and that He speaks to the heart.

Here is a link to a new order of priests called the Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate

Merry Christmas.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf Guy

Bill912,

Have you seen or met any deaf and be courteous to them and more welcoming message to the parish? Have you encouraged deaf to become Catholics and offer any interpreted services if priest are non-signing.

Communication is a method how people recieve the message, deaf people recieve the message from priest or interpreter through sign language. Hearing people receieve the message through voice. But they are both recieving the same message no matter what method of communication are.

It is easy for you to say because you can hear and attend your Mass without any communication obstruction or barrier.

It's pity that you are not buying it.

Deaf Guy

Inocencio,

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately I don't live in Texas to go to parish there. I do know Tom Coughlin who is a deaf priest that can speak and sign at the same time. I have bumped into him numerous times, and also met Mike Depcik who is part of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He is also deaf priest and he does not voice very well but been involved much actively with deaf communities such as in Michigan and often guest priest to different parishes that have deaf congregation. (http://www.desales.org/)

I do understand that "speech" is important but does sign language make Mass obsolete? I don't think so. You can talk with priests who involves with deaf community about it and they will disagree with people who thinks voice is only thing to make Mass unique.

Inocencio

Deaf Guy,

My point is that what makes the Holy Mass unique is that it was instituted by Christ to communicate His grace to us. No other community, no matter how welcoming or accomodating, could ever replace the True Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

I am sure you have this information but in case you dont:
National Catholic Office for the Deaf. ( NCOD)

My power keeps going out because of the storm so have a great day.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Sky

In my childhood parish we had a deaf woman and she did fine without signing or translation. That why we have missalettes.
I have no problem with accomodating anybody that has special needs, but it's interesting that I've only come across this kind of problem here in the US. If somebody leaves the Church because they don't like the fact that they are being catered, then they obviously missing the point about what being a Christian and carrying one's cross means. After all that is as sad as that family that left the Church because their daughter was unable to process the gluten in the host.

I'll pray for you deaf guy and I wish you the best!

Mary Kay

Sky, I can't speak for Deaf Guy, but your comment about being catered and implying someone is shirking in carrying their cross is something you might want to reconsider.

Theo

Deaf Guy wrote:
"I was a Protestant, converted into Catholicism, and now back to Protestantism. Why? Because Catholic parishes put deaf people down and it is low priority for them to serve deaf people.'

My dear brother in Christ,

I am saddened and surprised that you found "Catholic parishes put deaf people down." In what ways do they put deaf people down? What can we do to correct it?

Did your parish priest(s) know you are deaf? For many parishes, deafness might be something that slips by without notice because the liturgy of the Mass does not necessarily require a lot of personal interaction among congregants. Especially in a large parish, unless the deaf parishioner identifies himself or unless he's seen signing, he could attend for many months before being noticed as being deaf. If that parish does not usually have deaf members attending Mass it might not offer an interpreter.

Finally, please consider returning to Mass, where you can receive the fullness of Christian faith. The benefit of sacramental grace is there.

Sky

Why is that Mary Kay? What did I say was wrong? I know many deaf people and none of them ever complained about the lack of signing at Mass, though I would agree that more ministries are needed. The bottom line is that it's sad when somebody leaves because of such reasons.
Lastly I was speaking in general terms and I do not know Deaf Guy's situation thus I didn't accuse him directly of anything, but at the same time I'm sad that he has left the Church for the reason he has and I can't just blame the Church for that.

I didn't mean to offend anybody though and I apologize if I did. I didn't mean to belittle anybody's disability.

Mary Kay

Sky, it is indeed sad when someone leaves the Church. I just wondered why - in a thread about deaf people and Mass and only Deaf Guy said he left the Church - your phrasing was, If somebody leaves the Church because they don't like the fact that they are being catered, then they obviously missing the point about what being a Christian and carrying one's cross means.

Again, in a thread about deaf people and Mass, in which a deaf poster said he left the Church, who else were you referring to?

JoAnna

Deaf Guy,

The parish my husband and I were confirmed in, the Basilica of St. Mary, has a sign-language interpreted Mass every Sunday at 9:30am. I'm sorry you had a bad experience at your parish, but is it really fair to accuse the Church as a whole of being discriminatory to the deaf based on your experience with that parish?

I'd also echo Bill's comment:

You gave up the Church Jesus founded for a Church that only has part of the Truth because few priests know sign language?
Sky

Mary Kay, I obviously don't know what I'm talking about, so I'll refrain from posting. I apologize for any harm caused, I did't mean to offend anyone, I just sometimes forget that people are thin skinned in this country.

Sky

Ok... That still came out wrong. Let's just say I didn't mean to be a jerk but I was so please forgive me everybody, especially Deaf Guy.

Deaf Guy

Thank you for your feedback everyone.

Theo,

Yes my priest does know that me and my wife are deaf. I tried to educate him about deafness and interpreting needs. Only time that he is willing to provide interpreting was at my daughter's baptism. Not more than that.

I was little disappointed about that and that's how me and my wife felt that they are putting deaf as low priority. Maybe I am wrong.

I did tell priest that we need an interpreter for every Sunday Masses because I know there are several deaf people in the area are Catholics but doesn't attend for that same reason.

I am not kind of person to slip in and slip out of parish without anyone knowing. I am not ashamed of my disablity. It is true that some parishes are ignorant of deaf's needs and they need to be educated.

If I live in Maryland, it's heaven because Archdiocese of Washington have Center for Deaf Ministries and they do the work of coordinate interpreters and spread it over Maryland except Baltimore. About 10 parishes in Maryland alone have interpreted services because of large deaf communities in Maryland.

Mary Kay

Sky, refraining from posting doesn't sound like the best idea either. There's a wide range of people posting on Jimmy's blog and not knowing anything about you (if you posted previously, I've missed it), I wanted to be clearer where you're coming from.

What to you seemed "thin skinned" was to me a reminder of people making comments of definite certitude, when in fact, they were unaware of facts or circumstances that put a situation in an entirely different light.

So if you have things to say about Church events and issues, stick around. I'd like to hear them. (Besides, isn't "I'm not going to post anymore" a version of thin skinned?)

Deaf Guy, your comment about education is spot on. I looked at the suggestion of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf and noticed they have regional reps (via the link to Board of Directors). Why not contact a regional rep and ask for suggestions or maybe how others got interpreters for Mass.

For the most part, parish priests are good guys, but they're expected to be everything to everyone all the time and I imagine that gets a little wearing. My guess is that if you do some of the legwork, the priest might be more willing to listen.

The first step would be to show the need, a basic needs assessment. You say there are several deaf people not attending Mass for the same reason. Write it up and present it as an area for ministry. Maybe it’s more of a diocesan need, larger than one particular parish.

And of course, pray about it. Maybe God wants to use you to do something for deaf Catholics in your area. I’m sure people here will be praying for you.

Mary Kay

Sky, refraining from posting doesn't sound like the best idea either. There's a wide range of people posting on Jimmy's blog and not knowing anything about you (if you posted previously, I've missed it), I wanted to be clearer where you're coming from.

What to you seemed "thin skinned" was to me a reminder of people making comments of definite certitude, when in fact, they were unaware of facts or circumstances that put a situation in an entirely different light.

So if you have things to say about Church events and issues, stick around. I'd like to hear them. (Besides, isn't "I'm not going to post anymore" a version of thin skinned?)

Deaf Guy, your comment about education is spot on. I looked at the suggestion of the National Catholic Office for the Deaf and noticed they have regional reps (via the link to Board of Directors). Why not contact a regional rep and ask for suggestions or maybe how others got interpreters for Mass.

For the most part, parish priests are good guys, but they're expected to be everything to everyone all the time and I imagine that gets a little wearing. My guess is that if you do some of the legwork, the priest might be more willing to listen.

The first step would be to show the need, a basic needs assessment. You say there are several deaf people not attending Mass for the same reason. Write it up and present it as an area for ministry. Maybe it’s more of a diocesan need, larger than one particular parish.

And of course, pray about it. Maybe God wants to use you to do something for deaf Catholics in your area. I’m sure people here will be praying for you.

Mary Kay

ooops. My computer has the hiccups.

Michael

This reminds me of an earlier experience of mine. I was attending my local parish. The Director of Liturgy and Music had a strong hand in how the Mass was celebrated and the priest was of a mind that little things like the Introit, Profession of Faith, and the Gloria were not very important so they were usually not included. Adding to that condition the parish had started placing an ASL interpreter up in the Sanctuary for one of the Sunday morning masses who stood there with a smile on her face signing the various prayers, songs, readings, and whatnot. It was quite a production. One of those Sunday mornings, some Episcopalian children showed up to see what the experience of a Catholic Mass was like. I found myself feeling ashamed for the circus-like atmosphere and shortly thereafter began attending, only some Sundays at first, the diocesan Indult Mass. There I rediscovered the wonders of the printed missal. I had no knowledge of Latin at all and could not follow any of it without study. Seems to me that a deaf person could also follow from a missal if given the opportunity.

Laura

I don't apreciate the attitude that you have the monopoly on hardships with your disability. I'm blind, and though the mass is easier for me to follow along with because I can hear, I'd certainly love to watch what the priest is doing. So saying that blind people have it easy at mass is not accurate. Also, in response to the story about the blind priest's assistant saying he couldn't hear confession because he was blind is terrible and so ignorant it makes me sad. I go to my priest for confession all of the time and I'm blind... sigh. some people still don't get that we're not all Hellen Keller.

Laura

sorry, that first part of the ppost was meant for Deaf Guy

Deaf & Blind

"I am just as deaf as I am blind. The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus -- the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir, and keeps us in the intellectual company of man."
-- Helen Keller

"I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God."
-- Helen Keller

Dumb & Dumber

Harry: Where did you get 25 extra becks?
Lloyd: I sold some stuff, to Billy in 4-C.
Harry: The blind kid?
Lloyd: Yeah, ha ha! Yeah.
Harry: What did you sell him Lloyd?
Lloyd: Stuff.
Harry: What kinda stuff?
Lloyd: I don't know, a few baseball cards, a sack of marbles,
[cough]
Lloyd: Petey.
Harry: Petey? You sold my dead bird to a blind kid? Lloyd! Petey didn't even have a head!
Lloyd: Harry, I took care of it...
Billy: Pretty bird, yeah, can you say pretty bird? Pretty bird, yeah pretty bird... Polly want a cracker?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maureen

I'm sure that, if a nearby Protestant church has an interpreter and the Catholic parish doesn't, that makes the Protestant church very attractive. It's a real shame that deaf Catholics are put under this kind of pressure.

If the parish can't afford an interpreter or find one who can work for free, maybe there should be some kind of diocesan or national network, so that parishes can say, "Hey, we need some help!"

Liturgical signing for Mass must be kinda different from other forms of interpreter work, though. I'd think the solemn nature of the material would make the signer have to be very transparent, instead of being as personally expressive as interpreters tend to be. Very humbling, I bet.

Deaf Guy

Laura,

It is not hardship I am talking about. It is just the language barrier that we can't get along with the Mass. But you can hear, no matter what you see. Still you can hear the beautiful words of the Mass and get in the flow with it.

Honestly, I do not feel like receiving the bread and wine at Mass because I am not getting the message through on what priest said and throughout the Eucharist. People making responses to the priest and sing etc... We are unable to comphrend the message at all and felt like unworthy to recieve bread and wine at the Mass.

Just my point is that, all who have hearing capability have an easy access to hearing out all the messages that are conveyed at the Mass.

Plus, who posted about Helen Keller, what's the point in here? She was Christian Socialist and was founding member of ACLU.

bill912

"...I do not feel like receiving the bread and wine at Mass..."

I wouldn't want to receive bread and wine at Mass, either. But, at Catholic Churches, we don't receive bread and wine. We receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine, at Mass.

Deaf Guy

I talked to a friend who is also Catholic. He told me that Vatican already recognized deaf priests as valid ministry for the deaf people as well as hearing people as long as they have good voice. They are required to do the proper procedure in the Liturgy with sign language, then it is fine.

He said that some hearing people really disapprove of it, just because they need to be educated.

As issue with interpreters, my friend said that some parishes have their own set of rules for interpreters. Like, they can't stand on the platform where deacons and priests are standing, they have to stand on the same level with the pews. Some parish allow interpreter to stand up with them. Again it is not interfering with the liturgy, hearing people just need to ignore and focus on the speaker.

Vatican does not have such issues with this as long as the proper procedure are being followed. That's good thing out of Vatican.

Deaf Guy

bill912,

please don't be a jerk. debate on issues, not just nitpick on my wordings.

thank you.

disinformation

Deaf Guy,

bill912 is not being a jerk. If you believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist show some reverence and respect when speaking of the Sacred Species.

You don't strike me as a Catholic who know his faith so don't be uspet when someone points out your error.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf & Blind

Looks to me like Deaf Guy was sharing how he feels. If you don't want to respect that, that's your disrespect.

Dumb & Dumber

Looks to me like Deaf Guy was sharing how he feels. If you don't want to respect that, that's your disrespect.

Yeah, it's not like it's disrespecting Christ, the Son of God, I might add, by saying that what we receive at Mass, His Body & Blood, shed for the many, is nothing more than bread & wine.

Also, Deaf Guy might be dumb as well as deaf, for all you know!

Deaf & Blind

Who said it's "nothing more" than bread & wine? Who added that to his story?

Memphis Aggie

Deaf Guy,

Pray earnestly for understanding of the Eucharist and the mass. I'll bet Christ will make it more clear to you than to those of us who only hear it. Ask Him to be your interpreter.

Mary Kay

Deaf Guy,

Yes, you have a difficulty that most of us don't have to deal with.

No, your implication that you can not "get in the flow with it" simply won't hold water.

On language, two examples, well maybe three. One was attending Mass that was celebrated in a language I didn't know. But the order of the Mass is the same, so between the missalette and watching the priest and those around me, I had a general idea. And no, I had no idea what the homily was about.

You must be very new to Jimmy's blog if you haven't come across one of the 9,937 comments (in context of the Traditional Latin Mass) that active participation does not mean hearing what the priest says.

Third example was the first time I attended a Byzantine liturgy. I was absolutely totally clueless about what was going on. I felt like I hadn't attended Mass that day (no matter what my intellect told me), so I can understand the feeling.

perhaps I should avoid the word count police and go to part 2

Mary Kay

Bottom line - don't confuse content with form. The sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence of the Eucharist, and Christ speaking though the Scripture readings is the same in every valid Mass. It doesn't matter if it's celebrated in the Alexandrian rite and the language is Arabic or Coptic (neither of which I have a clue about). That's basically what Bill and Inocencio and Memphis are saying. Whether or not you think they understand your experience with Mass, they've given (as they usually do) comments worth pondering.

I can understand your feeling. The rules of our faith is that the feelings in themselves are okay - the psalms run the full range of human emotion. What's not okay is basing your faith on the feelings of discouragement or alienation or injustice. Don't get stuck on how you feel left out. Every single saint and/or Old Testament prophet had times like that. But as psalm 23 says (loose paraphrase), God brings us through the valleys to bring us to the mountain tops. Okay, end of soapbox.

God always provides a solution. One possibility is an interpreter, but the important thing is to ask God what He wants you to learn from this. It may be more than getting an interpreter.

Esquire

Deaf & Blind,

Who said it's "nothing more" than bread & wine? Who added that to his story?

If you are implying that the Eucharist is "bread and wine" and "the Body and Blood of Christ," that too is mistaken. (Technically, that would be consubstantiation, which is consistent with some Protestant beliefs, as opposed to transubstantiation, which is the Catholic belief.)

If you are implying something else, I'm not sure what it would be.

As an aside which some may consider helpful (even if most don't), I carry a Magnificat with me whenever I travel, particularly to countries where I don't speak the language. I love attending Mass there even though I can't understand a word of what is being said; I follow along in my Magnificat as best I can, and during the homily I reflect on the meditation for the day.

I realize, nonetheless, that hearing Mass in a foreign language is substantively different than not hearing it at all, and I don't mean to imply that the ability to read along is a good substitute for some of the better suggestions offered above.

Deaf & Blind

The accidents of bread and wine don't disappear.

bill912

Esquire, I think he knows that his comment is irrelevant and is just being trollish. I suggest we starve him.

Deaf & Blind

I asked who said it's "nothing more" than bread & wine? Who added that to Deaf Guy's story? I don't see those words in his posts. But maybe you hear & see things I don't.

Esquire

The accidents of bread and wine don't disappear, but the bread and wine themselves do.

To say that the Eucharist is "nothing more than bread and wine" is no more or less wrong than to refer to the Eucharist simply as "bread and wine." They're both wrong.

Accordingly, "who said it?" is an irrelevant (and obviously rhetorical) question.

Deaf & Blind

He didn't say it was "nothing more" than bread and wine, and he didn't he say it was "simply" bread and wine. He spoke of "receiving the bread and wine." And Jesus said, "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." It is bread. The Catechism itself teaches that "the faithful receive 'the bread of heaven'", and "those whom we call deacons give to those present the 'eucharisted' bread, wine". And there is no change in the appearance of bread and wine, and as such, the bread and wine do not disappear.

Esquire

Deaf & Blind,

And there is no change in the appearance of bread and wine, and as such, the bread and wine do not disappear.

See the following entry from
Catholic.org
:

Does the bread cease to be bread and the wine cease to be wine?
Yes. In order for the whole Christ to be present—body, blood, soul, and divinity—the bread and wine cannot remain, but must give way so that his glorified Body and Blood may be present. Thus in the Eucharist the bread ceases to be bread in substance, and becomes the Body of Christ, while the wine ceases to be wine in substance, and becomes the Blood of Christ. As St. Thomas Aquinas observed, Christ is not quoted as saying, "This bread is my body," but "This is my body" (Summa Theologiae, III q. 78, a. 5).

See also St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III q. 75, a. 2:

Some have held that the substance of the bread and wine remains in this sacrament after the consecration. But this opinion cannot stand first of all, because by such an opinion the truth of this sacrament is destroyed, to which it belongs that Christ's true body exists in this sacrament; .... Hence the conclusion is that, saving the truth of this sacrament, the substance of the bread cannot remain after the consecration..... Hence this opinion is to be avoided as heretical.

Later in Art. 8 responding to the same question, St. Thomas explains why, and in what sense, it is still proper to refer to the Eucharist as "bread" after the substance of bread no longer remains:

Nevertheless, since in this sacrament, after the change, something remains the same, namely, the accidents of the bread, as stated above (5), some of these expressions may be admitted by way of similitude, namely, that "bread is the body of Christ," or, "bread will be the body of Christ," or "the body of Christ is made of bread"; provided that by the word "bread" is not understood the substance of bread, but in general "that which is contained under the species of bread," under which species there is first contained the substance of bread, and afterwards the body of Christ.
Deaf & Blind

You posted nothing new, and nothing in that post supports your false claim that the bread and wine disappear. They do not disappear. Disappearance is about appearance, the accidents, and the accidents remain the same. So can the name remain the same. Jesus called it bread. Paul called it bread. The Church calls it bread. Scientists call it bread. Even your post calls it bread. You've lost your case Esquire.

Esquire

Deaf & Blind,

Nice try. Your original question was, and I quote:

Who said it's "nothing more" than bread & wine?

The discussion was about what it is, not about what it appears to be be. The Eucharist is not bread, as much as it appears to be so. The fact that the Church speaks of the Eucharist as bread only "by way of similtude" proves as much -- something cannot logically be "similar to" that which it is.

Esquire

If you are sincerely interested in the distinctions the Church makes when speaking of the "species" or "accidents" of bread and wine that remain after consecration, and the "substance" (or basic reality of the thing itself) which does not, you might check out this very good article by Cardinal Dulles.

bill912

Esquire, you are, of course, right. If someone unsure of Catholic teaching regarding the Eucharist should chance by here, your explanations should be helpful to him. But you're not going to convince this guy, whose only goal seems to be contrariness.

Esquire

Let me try that again, since the link does not appear to work. The article by Cardinal Dulles may be found here ( http://www.30giorni.it/us/articolo.asp?id=9352).

Dumb & Dumber

You've lost your case Esquire.

Somebody lost their case.
(hint: it's not Esquire)

Esquire

bill912,

Thanks -- just trying to put some distance between ignorance and invincibility.

Deaf & Blind

Your original question was, and I quote: Who said it's "nothing more" than bread & wine?
The discussion was about what it is, not about what it appears to be be.

"What it is" is that you've not answered the question, despite all your posturing. Who said it's "nothing more" than bread & wine? Did Deaf Guy, who said he felt "unworthy to receive", say it's "nothing more" than bread & wine?

Jesus called it bread. Paul called it bread. The Church calls it bread. Deaf Guy called it bread. They did not say it's "nothing more" than bread. Who did?

You've lost your case and your appeal.

Deaf & Blind

Somebody lost their case. (hint: it's not Esquire)

I know who you are.

Esquire

Deaf & Blind,

You have amply demonstrated the power of a name.

Good luck and God bless.

Dumb & Dumber

I know who you are...but what am I?

Deaf & Blind

You have amply demonstrated the power of a name.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Deaf and Blind,

You wrote:

The Catechism itself teaches that "the faithful receive 'the bread of heaven'", and "those whom we call deacons give to those present the 'eucharisted' bread, wine"

I can accept that the faithful receive the bread of Heaven. The problem, here, is what sort of Bread is found in Heaven? It cannot have mass or material substance. Hence, speaking of the Eucharist without the qualifier of source (i.e., of Heaven), can be confusing. The substance of the Eucharist is is Bread of Heaven; the accident is bread of earth. Using the word bread to refer to the Eucharist runs the risk of becoming equivocal.

That being said, this issue, while important, runs the risk of becoming a side issue. I suspect that Deaf Guy would not have a problem learning about things like accidents and substance. His main point was:

"It is just the language barrier that we can't get along with the Mass. But you can hear, no matter what you see. Still you can hear the beautiful words of the Mass and get in the flow with it.

Honestly, I do not feel like receiving the bread and wine at Mass because I am not getting the message through on what priest said and throughout the Eucharist. People making responses to the priest and sing etc... We are unable to comphrend the message at all and felt like unworthy to recieve bread and wine at the Mass."

The immediate issue here, in my opinion, is helping Deaf Guy to understand that the active participation in the Mass called for by Vatican II is not a matter of exterior hearing and responding, but a deep stirring of the heart in the presence of the Master.

It would do us all, hearing and non-hearing to ponder the last few stanzas of the hymn, Pange Lingua ( -- a good English translation):

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
newer rites of grace prevail;
faith for all defects supplying,
where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
and the Son who reigns on high,
with the Holy Ghost proceeding
forth from Each eternally,
be salvation, honor, blessing,
might and endless majesty.

Amen. Alleluia.

The Chicken

Mary Kay

the active participation in the Mass called for by Vatican II is not a matter of exterior hearing and responding, but a deep stirring of the heart in the presence of the Master.

Amen, indeed. Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

Deaf & Blind

The substance of the Eucharist is is Bread of Heaven; the accident is bread of earth.

Either way, it's bread.

Using the word bread to refer to the Eucharist runs the risk of becoming equivocal.

That's not special to the word "bread." Difficulties can exist with "Eucharist", "bread of heaven", "this is my body," etc.

The immediate issue here, in my opinion, is helping Deaf Guy to understand that the active participation in the Mass called for by Vatican II is not a matter of exterior hearing and responding, but a deep stirring of the heart in the presence of the Master.

Everything points to that, including the "exterior hearing and responding." "Bread" as a sign points to it, as do the words and sounds of the Mass.

a good English translation

In the same way there is value in a good translation, there is also value in signing at Mass, otherwise it's not a matter of a good English translation vs. a poor translation "but a deep stirring of the heart in the presence of the Master".

Dumb & DUMBer

Either way, it's bread.


The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Cor 10:16

Deaf & Blind

The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

That's bread for you.

Esquire

Deaf & Blind,

Do you have a problem understanding the concept of "similitude"?

From your continued insistence that the Eucharist "is" bread, when in substance it "is not" bread (though it appears to be), that would seem to be the case.

California Star

This is part of that age old question - is it more important for Mass to be said in Latin or in the Vernacular of the congregation?

If the congregation cannot understand what is transpiring than how can they appreciate it?

The Masked Chicken

Dear Deaf and Blind,

Let us look more in detail at that passage of Sacred Scripture that you cite: 1 Cor: 10 et. seq.

It starts with St. Paul talking about supernatural food and drink which comes from Christ:

I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
1Cr 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
1Cr 10:3 and all ate the same supernatural food
1Cr 10:4 and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

He then makes a connection between two different wrong associations with "spiritual" food: 1) receiving the correct spiritual food unworthily and 2) eating the food sacrificed to idols.

In case one, he says:

1 Cr 10:4 For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
1Cr 10:5 Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1Cr 10:8 We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

In case two, he says:

1Cr 10:7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance."

and

1 Cr 10:20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.
1Cr 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Clearly, the cup of the Lord has a special significance and must be eaten worthily.

That is the context of your quote. When St. Paul says:

1 Cr 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
1Cr 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

it is a reference back to the initial part of the chapter. He is clearly talking about supernatural food, its affects, and what sort of participation the Christian has in it. If the new supernatural bread of the new Exodus is a participation in the body of Christ and since Christ has only one body, then the Bread must be the Body of Christ.

More than that, when we eat earthly bread, we are not said to participate in the bread -- we consume the bread and it becomes part of us. We do not become part of it. Yet, St. Paul makes the assertion that with this supernatural bread, we actually become a part of it:

1Cr 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

We participate in Christ, who is one, therefore, we are one. People who eat earthly bread do not become one. Nor do they become bread.

There is, therefore, a singular difference between the Bread from Heaven and bread from the earth: Bread from Heaven is alive; earthly bread is not. The nature of the Bread from Heaven is to unite those who eat it in a participation in the body, blood, soul, and divinity -- the very life -- of Christ. Eating earthly bread do not make us participate in the body and soul of wheat. For one thing, we have rational souls and wheat has a vegetable soul. The two souls are incommensurate and cannot become united. With the Bread from Heaven, this is not the case.

I know of no piece of bread that is made on this earth which is either alive or has a soul. There is only one Bread from Heaven. Every piece of earthly bread is different from every other piece. After the consecration, even if one started with a thousand pieces of bread, there is now only one object, one piece. If two Masses go on at the same time in two different parts of the world, at the moment of the consecration, they share the same object at the same time in two different parts of the world.

That the bread no longer exists after the consecration is a de fide dogma that must be believed by every Catholic. This belief is not optional and it is not a matter of opinion. To be Catholic, you must believe this.

I hope this explains what St. Paul was talking about when he used the word, bread.

The Chicken

Vesa

This is part of that age old question - is it more important for Mass to be said in Latin or in the Vernacular of the congregation?

If the congregation cannot understand what is transpiring than how can they appreciate it?


And I suppose that those who attend such things (e.g., Latin Mass) do not understand what is transpiring and, therefore, such masses should not be celebrated at all in the first place?

How about the Orthodox?

Should they, too, terminate all such masses that are celebrated in the traditional language?

Further, how about all those Catholics throughout history who have attended the Traditional Latin Mass since the time it had been established back in the 4th century?

You seem to neglect the fact that all the Catholic missionaries that travelled all those distant lands celebrated the Mass utilizing the same traditional rite -- and, yet, this did not hinder the conversion of those who came to embrace the True Faith and inspire future generations to that end!

Where is this absense of appreciation there?

The Masked Chicken

Dear Deaf and Blind,

I think I was too harsh to you in my last post. I apologize.

The Chicken

Deaf & Blind

From your continued insistence that the Eucharist "is" bread, when in substance it "is not" bread (though it appears to be), that would seem to be the case.

The "continued insistence" is but your own hangup over words. Words are not substance in as much as they are signs, pointers to substance.

Jesus said, "If anyone eats of this BREAD he will live forever." It is bread. What is bread? The word "bread" is a symbol, a sign, a pointer. Indeed, the accident serves a like purpose. As a symbol/sign/pointer, it remains and does not disappear, even if the substance to which it points/signifies is transubstantiated.

That the bread no longer exists after the consecration is a de fide dogma that must be believed by every Catholic. This belief is not optional and it is not a matter of opinion. To be Catholic, you must believe this.

Perhaps what you're attempting to signify by your personal choice of words is dogma, but your personal choice of words is not dogma. The word "bread" can refer either to bread of earth or bread of life. Both are bread, and as such, bread exists both before and after consecration. In that sense, what you've asserted as dogma is only half-truth.

I think I was too harsh to you in my last post. I apologize.

You were dogmatic in expressing your personal choice of words as dogma. You are pope over your own choice of words, but that is all. The harshness was thus only upon yourself.

Inocencio

Deaf & Blind

Jesus said, "If anyone eats of this BREAD he will live forever." It is bread.

Christ clearly explains in the second half of that verse that the bread is His Flesh.

We do not receive bread when we receive Holy Communion at Mass nor do we say we do. Yes, we can say Bread of Angels or Bread of Heaven (please note the capital "B") because it makes the distinction between bread for a sandwich and Our Blessed Lord.

Because it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the Most Holy Eucharist deserves more reverence than you apparently are willing to give.

Now feel free to return to your "I am rubber and you are glue" argument.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Inocencio

I meant to blockquote Deaf & Blind comment like this:

Jesus said, "If anyone eats of this BREAD he will live forever." It is bread.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf & Blind

We do not receive bread when we receive Holy Communion at Mass

You simply have limited yourself to a specific notion of "bread."

Yes, we can say Bread of Angels or Bread of Heaven (please note the capital "B") because it makes the distinction between bread for a sandwich and Our Blessed Lord. Because it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the Most Holy Eucharist deserves more reverence than you apparently are willing to give.

"Apparently" is key. Jesus said, "Stop judging by mere appearances." My copy of John 6 does not capitalize the word "bread" when Jesus spoke the word. How about yours? If it's your habit or custom to do so, you're welcome to follow it. But in my custom, reverence is expressed with all words, whether capitalized or not.

Inocencio

Deaf & Blind,

WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?

I don't see "bread" without qualifications as one of the titles.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf & Blind

I don't see "bread" without qualifications as one of the titles.

Who said anything about bread without qualifications? Have your eyes ever seen bread without qualifications? Bread without accidents? Do tell us all about your invention. Do you suppose anyone has written the word "bread" without any qualifications or context, whether outwardly or inwardly expressed? Please produce the bread without qualifications.

As to your page of titles, do you see "one of the titles" as one of the titles on the linked page? Do you see where it claims to be an exhaustive list of every possible sign or title? I see where it says "bread and wine" are signs for "the Body and Blood of Christ." And, "The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine." They are signs. Words are signs. If you don't understand the signs, you can ask for help.

Inocencio

Deaf & Blind,

I will make it simple. The Holy Eucharist is not bread. And the word bread without qualifications does not describe the Holy Eucharist.

The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation.
ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA OF HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II

Now may I ask are you Catholic?

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf & Blind

I will make it simple. The Holy Eucharist is not bread.

You can sign it however it pleases you. Here's another sign: "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever."

Now may I ask are you Catholic?

You just did. For the answer, read the signs, but do not judge by the signs.

Inocencio

Deaf & Blind,

Do you believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ?

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

The Masked Chicken

Please, Deaf and Blind, I do not want to sound as if I am harsh or confrontational. If I have sounded so, I do not mean too. It is just that the idea of how to refer to the Eucharist is important.

You keep referring to the idea of "bread" as a sign. Technically, this is the area in linguistics known as semiotics: the academic study of signs and their communication value. A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, that confers grace. The problem with using the word, "bread," to refer to the Eucharist comes in with the words, "instituted by Christ". I'll get to that in a moment.

The idea that the Eucharist is bread after consecration was called the doctrine of Consubstantiation and was developed originally in about 1047 by Ratramus. Quoting the online Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Ratramnus, a monk of the same abbey, defended the opinion that in the Holy Eucharist there is no conversion of the bread; that the body of Christ is, nevertheless, present, but in a spiritual way; that it is not therefore the same as that born of Mary and crucified."

Luther re-proposed this idea in the 1520's (I think). There are many flaws with the idea. I mentioned a few in my post, above. The Church, who is the guardian of Faith, has condemned the idea.

Indeed, when interpreting Scripture, one must be careful to do so with the mind of the Church. This happens to be one of the few passages that the Church has definitively interpreted.

Let us look at the passage of Sacred Scripture that you cited in context:

Jhn 6:48 I am the bread of life.
Jhn 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
Jhn 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
Jhn 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Jhn 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jhn 6:53 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;
Jhn 6:54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jhn 6:55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Jhn 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Jhn 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
Jhn 6:58 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."

Jesus is very clear (Jhn 6:49) to maintain that the "bread" that he will give is not of the same nature as Manna, even though it was also supernaturally received. Manna was a purely natural bread which was received in a supernatural fashion. Everyone who ate it, eventually died. It sustained natural life, only.

He then says, in reference to himself:

hn 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
Jhn 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

Jesus, himself qualifies the "bread" by calling it "living bread". It therefore must be different than regular bread. When he says:

if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever;

he specifically refers to, "this bread". When he says, "this bread," he is referring back to, "living bread". This is the "bread" that was instituted by Christ and is a sacrament. He did not institute bread, but, "living bread".

Now, only those things that live have a soul. Therefore, "this bread," must have a soul. No earthly bread has a soul, therefore, "this bread," must not be earthly bread.

There is no other way the logic can work. The word bread is a sign, but as I tried to point out earlier, the same sign can denote different things. When Christ uses the word, "bread" in this context, he means, "bread" in an analogical sense. It has the aspects of bread, so one may refer to it as "bread," by analogy, but nevertheless, it is not bread.

What one receives in communion is Christ. I assume that we can agree on that. There may be, perhaps, many reasons why he has allowed the accident of bread to remain after the Consecration, one of which may be that in early Church history, Christians were accused of cannibalism because we claimed to eat the flesh of Christ and yet, the Christians were able to defend themselves against this charge, by pointing to the unbloody nature of the Eucharist. Had Christ allowed the bread to be converted to the accidents of flesh, it might have been confused with pagan sacrifices, where flesh was consumed in a bloody fashion. There may be many other reasons why the Eucharist was allowed to maintain the accidents of bread.

If you agree that the Eucharist is Christ, then you must agree that it has a soul. The "bread" is alive. Thus, to refer to the Eucharist by the word, "bread," while we may understand what this really means, as Catholics, nevertheless, it may be confusing to people outside of the Church who may be tempted to think that we regard the Eucharist as mere bread.

It is possible that the original poster, Deaf Guy, understands what the Church means by Transubstantiation, and was using the term, "bread" in a loose fashion. He has not explained what he meant and has not returned to this discussion. I am afraid that we have made him feel unwelcome by our extended discussion of how to refer to the Eucharist. Surely, this was not the purpose of this thread.

I think that I and perhaps others bear responsibility for letting the discussion of how to support our deaf brothers get sidetracked by a different, albeit, important, discussion. This may be the case where we have won the argument, but lost a soul. I am very concerned to hear from Deaf Guy again, to be sure that he knows that his concerns are important in these comboxes. I know the discussion of how to refer to the Eucharist may rage on, but I, at least, need to bear in mind that I may have contributed to making the original poster feel unwelcome. I hope not. I hope he returns.

The Chicken


Deaf & Blind

It is just that the idea of how to refer to the Eucharist is important.

Not apart from any self-importance to you in maintaining your ideas of "bread".

It therefore must be different than regular bread... He did not institute bread, but, "living bread".

"Regular" bread and "living" bread are both bread. As a moving car is a car, living bread is bread. The adjective "living" qualifies it from other bread such as "regular" bread (whatever that is). It doesn't make it such that it's not bread.

It has the aspects of bread, so one may refer to it as "bread," by analogy, but nevertheless, it is not bread.

"One may refer to it as bread" by saying "it is bread." And while you may choose to say it only has the "aspects" of "bread" by "analogy", that merely reflects your choice as to what you mean by "bread."

Thus, to refer to the Eucharist by the word, "bread," while we may understand what this really means, as Catholics, nevertheless, it may be confusing to people outside of the Church who may be tempted to think that we regard the Eucharist as mere bread.

When it's Church teaching that it "surpasses understanding," who inside or "outside of the Church" "understands what this really means"?

Surely, this was not the purpose of this thread.

It was a "hard teaching" even to disciples. "Many... turned back and no longer followed," even after Jesus said all that he said in John 6.

Inocencio

Deaf & Blind,

It is a hard teaching and I asked a simple question. I await your answer.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf & Blind

I await your answer.

It awaits you in communion.

Inocencio

Deaf & Blind,

Your Clintonesque answer is what I expected.

Here is another one to add to your repertoire:

"The sound of the meaning is not the meaning of my sound."

Lord, Have mercy on both our souls.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

bill912

Enjoying the jello-wrestling, Inocencio?

Inocencio

bill912,

No. You think I would learn, especially when you suggested not feeding the troll.

I wish you a happy and holy New Year!

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Deaf & Blind

It's a hard teaching for some.

Dumb & DUMBer

It's a hard teaching for some.

Apparently for you, it seems, judging by your risible comments all throughout this thread.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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