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Church and SocietyThe Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007$
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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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How Real Is the Real Presence?

How Real Is the Real Presence?

February 15, 2005

(p.455) 33 How Real Is the Real Presence?
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the real presence of Christ. It notes that the Church believes the real presence as a matter of faith, simply because it is taught by Christ, as attested by Scripture and tradition. In teaching that the species are unchanged, the Church indicates that the physical and chemical properties remain those of bread and wine. However, it would be futile to try to prove or disprove the real presence by physical experiments, because the presence of Christ is spiritual or sacramental, not physical in the sense of measurable. It also notes that naïve realism should be avoided in clarifying the Church's teaching on the real presence. The discussion holds that the many-layered symbolism of the Eucharist is not separable from the real presence. The symbolism has singular power to recapture the past, transform the present, and anticipate the future.

Keywords:   naïve realism, Christ, real presence, symbolism, Eucharist

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