EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE IN THE MIDDLE AGES

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CHAPTER 2 EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Introduction

Alasdair (1983 :80) observes that ‘the broad lines of what is still today the official Catholic understanding of the Eucharist were laid down in the middle ages’, and as it will be seen, this is especially true of the Eucharistic sacrifice. A comprehensive understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice, therefore, must include a considerable investigation and analysis of the medieval theology on this topic. This task becomes even more important when one considers that there are some expressed doubts and even convictions that there was no coherent or clear theology of Eucharistic sacrifice in the middle ages. Our position is that there was a coherent theology of Eucharistic sacrifice in the middle ages, by that, meaning a variety of theological positions that were consistent in their exposition.
The opinion that there was no clear theology of Eucharistic sacrifice in the middle ages is largely due to the abusesI that were widespread during this period, which eventually led to the reformers’ revolt. As we hope to show, however, the fact that there were abuses at the level of popular practice of the Eucharist does not mean that there was no clarity about it at the level of the official teaching and among theologians. While it is true that some of the medieval theologians offered a shallow or even superstitious explanation of Eucharistic sacrifice, one still found theologians of good calibre like Peter Lombard, Biel and Thomas Aquinas who, gave a lasting framework of thinking about the Eucharist. Given that there is doubt about whether there was any coherent theology of the Eucharistic sacrifice in the middle age, this chapter will start off by offering a brief overview of medieval Eucharistic theology. The abuses, which are cited as contributing to this doubt, will also be looked at briefly; it is really the mentality behind these abuses that we shall focus on. Having cleared this d.oubt, we shall proceed to analyse the development of medieval Eucharistic theology in some detail. We will begin by looking at the period before the Reformation and proceed to the Reformation itself up to the Council of Trent.

Medieval Eucharistic theology

Clark (1960:78) reports of authors and theologians who allege that by the time of the Reformation, the doctrine of Eucharistic sacrifice had degenerated ‘so that at length all was confusion and error and no solid and stable doctrine remained recognisable’. Some of these authors that Clark refers to attribute the cause of Reformation disputes to abuses, and not to doctrine, since there was no clear doctrine (see Clark, 1960:63-72). As Clark tries to show however, the disputes were largely on a doctrinal level because there was a clear doctrine, and the abuses at most served to confirm the doctrinal objections of the reformers.
Abuses on their own do not provide an adequate explanation of the reformers’ revolt. After all, it was not only the Protestant reformers who objected to abuses, but also Catholic theologians and bis~ops of the time. The Council of Trent itself dedicated a number of canons to the condemnation of abuses (see White 1995: 17). Thus while the abuses contributed to the revolt, the target of the revolt was the theology itself from which the abuses were presumed by the reformers to have originated. It is true that by the time of the Reformation, Eucharistic sacrifice had not been accorded enough reflection by theologians, at least not as much as the theme of Eucharistic real presence was accorded. Crockett tells us that ‘Thomas Aquinas devotes only one article in the Summa to an explicit consideration of the Eucharist as sacrifice, whereas he devotes twenty-four to the doctrine of transubstantiation’ (1989:120). This however, does not mean that there was no clear position among theologians and the Magisterium about the nature of Eucharistic sacrifice. Perhaps there was not as much creative theological thinking and speculation about the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist as one would have wanted, but for the little that was done there was clarity about its reality.Power (1987), in his work The sacrifice we offer, provides a twofold structure for the analysis of the background to Trent’s teaching on the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, namely the medieval practice of the Mass and the medieval theology of the Mass. This is a helpful distinction because it clarifies the issues involved in the discussion, i.e. the practice and the doctrine.Stated briefly, the doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice was generally understood by medieval theologians as a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice. This, however, is not just a commemoration that only brings the memory of the event to mind but one that renders the reality of the event present. The Eucharist, therefore, is a sacrifice in this sense of being a commemoration, i.e. as sacramentally representing the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. St. Augustine’s understanding of symbols as participating in the reality they represent provided a language for explaining how the sacrifice of the Mass under the symbol of bread and wine could be ‘one reality with the sacrifice of the Cross’ (Nichols 1991 :88). According to this explanation, the Eucharist is a real sacrifice because of its sacramental link to the sacrifice of Christ; ‘sacramental’, meaning that it is a sign that renders present what it signifies. The victim offered and the offerer are the same in both sacrifices, even though different in modes. The purpose of the Eucharistic sacrifice is to apply the fruits of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, for sins and for other needs of the individuals who participate in the Mass or for those whose intentions or well-being the Mass is being offered. Application of the fruits of the Mass presupposed a good disposition towards God on the part of the beneficiary. Thus in answer to the question of the nature, the purpose and the offerer of the Eucharistic sacrifice, it is a sacramental sacrifice, offered by Christ through  the priest, applied for the forgiveness of sins and the good of the beneficiary who is welldisposed towards God. This then, in brief, was the medieval und~rstanding of the sacrifice of the Mass. A similar summary can be viewed in Clark (1960:93-95) and Power (1987:92-93).Stated briefly, the practice of the Eucharistic sacrifice in the Middle Ages was characterised by piety, the substance of which was to elicit God’s favour and benefits.The benefits looked for included securing personal communion with God both in this life and after death. The Mass served this purpose by making satisfaction for sins committed, which would otherwise prevent this communion. For this reason Masses were celebrated’for the dead as well as for the living to offer satisfaction for their sins and to plead for their eternal rest’ (Power 1987:37). The benefits of the Mass were believed to extend to material or physical well-being as well. Such material well-being included security from natural disasters and wars, and guarantee of good health and long life.
EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE IN CATHOLIC TRADITION

CHAPTER1 THE IDEA OF EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT TO THE EARLY CHURCH
1.1 Introduction 
1.2 Sacrifice in the Old Testament 
1.2. l The nature of sacrifice in the Old Testament
1.2.2 The Purpose of sacrifice in the Old Testament
1.2.3 The agents of sacrifice in the Old Testament
1.2.4 The conditions for the acceptance of sacrifice
1.3 Sacrifice in the New Testament 
1.3 .1 The sacrificial character of the Passover as grounds for the sacrificial character of the Last Supper
1.3 .2 The sacrificial language of the Institution words
1.3.3 The nature of the sacrifice of the Last Supper
1.3.4 The agent of the Last Supper sacrifice
1.3.5 The condition for the acceptance of the Eucharistic sacrifice in the New Testament
1.3.6 Observations on Eucharistic sacrifice in the New Testament
1.4 The Patristic understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice 
1.4.1 Justin
1.4.2 St. Irenaeus
1.4.3 St. Hippolytus
1.4.4 St. Cyprian
1.4.5 Cyril of Jerusalem
1.4.6 St. John Chrysostom
1.4.7 St. Augustine
1.4.8 Observations on Eucharistic sacrifice in the Fathers
1.5 Conclusion 
CHAPTER 2 EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE IN THE MIDDLE AGES
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Medieval Eucharistic theology 
2.3 Factors contributing to abuses of Eucharistic sacrifice 
2.4 The pre-Reformation theology of Eucharistic sacrifice 
2.5 Eucharistic sacrifice during the Reformation 
2.5. l The reformers
2.5.2 The Council of Trent
2.5 .2. l Observations on Trent’s teaching on Eucharistic sacrifice
2.6 Conclusion 
CHAPTER3 EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE AFTER TRENT TO THE PRESENT
3.1 Introduction
3. 2 Eucharistic Sacrifice in the Post-Tridentine period 
3.3 Eucharistic sacrifice in the modern Period 
3.4 Eucharistic sacrifice in the contemporary period 
3.4.1 Eucharist as sacrifice of Christ and the Church
3.4.2 The ‘fruits’ of Eucharistic sacrifice
3.4.3 Eucharistic sacrifice and liberation
3.5 Conclusion and observations 
CHAPTER4 EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE IN THE RECENT MAGISTERIAL TEACHING AND IN THE EUCHARISTIC LITURGY.
4.1 Introduction
4. 2 Recent Magisterial teaching on Eucharistic sacrifice 
4.2.1 Pius XII (Mediator Dez)
4.2.2 Paul VI
4.2.3 Vatican II
4.2.4 John Paul II
4.2.5 Catechism of the Catholic Church
4.3 The theme of sacrifice in the current Eucharistic liturgy 
4.3.1 Preparation of the gifts
4.3.2 Eucharistic prayer
4.3.3 Communion Rite
4.3.4 Observations on the structure of Eucharistic sacrifice
4.4 Conclusion and observations 
PART2 SACRIFICE IN XHOSA TRADITION
CHAPTER 5 THE XHOSA PEOPLE
5.1 Introduction
5 .2 .1 Distinguishing the Xhosa people
5.2.2 A brief history of the Xhosa
5.2.3 The present composition of the Xhosa
5.3 The kinship and lineage system
5 .3. I Kinship principles relevant for sacrifice
5.4 The Xhosa cosmology 
5.4.1 The Supreme Being ·
5.4.2 The Ancestors
5.4.2.1 Categories of ancestors
5.4.2.2 Manifestation of ancestors
5.4.3 mysterious beings
5.4.4 The diviners
5.5 Conclusion and observations
CHAPTER6 SACRIFICE AMONG THE XHOSA IN THEIR TRADITIONAL SETTING
6.1. Introduction 
6.2 The fact of sacrifice in the Xhosa language
6.3 Sacrifice and ritual 
6.4 Categorisation and classification of sacrifice 
6.4.1 Birth sacrifices
6.4.1.l Ukufuthwa (To be steamed)
6.4.1.2 Imbeleko or umbingelelo (A thing with which to carry on the back or sacrifice)
6.4.1.3 Ingqithi (amputation of the first phalanx ofone finger of the left hand)
6.4.2 Initiation sacrifices
6.4.2.1 Ukwaluka
6.4.2.2 Intonjane or ukuthomba
6.4.2.3 Marriage
6.4.3 Contingent sacrifices
6.4.3.1 Propitiatory sacrifice
6.4.3.2 Diviner initiation sacrifice
6.4.3.3 Supplication sacrifices
6.4.3.4 Communion sacrifices
6.4.3.5 Thanksgiving sacrifices
6.4.3.6 Ostracism sacrifice
6.4.4 Death sacrifices
6.4.5 Important or solemn sacrifices
6.5 Elements of Xhosa sacrifice
6 .5. l Material elements
6.5.2 Ritual elements
6.5.2.1 Dancing
6.5.2.2 Use ofUbulawu (Home medicine)
6.5.2.3. Explanation of the purpose of sacrifice and Ukunqula (invocations)
6.52.4 The prodding with the sacrificial spear
6.5.2.5 Cutting of the suet (Intlukuhla)
6.5.2.6 Ritual tasting of the sacrificial meat (Intsonyama) and beer
6.5.2.7 The burning of the bones
6.6 The nature of Xhosa sacrifice 
6.7 Conclusion and observations 
CHAPTER 7 SACRIFICE AMONG THE XHOSA IN THE MODERN SETTING
7.1 Introduction
7 .2 Recent incidents of sacrifice 
7.3 Modern Xhosa Sacrifice in the literature 
7.3.1 Birth sacrifices
7.3.2 Initiation sacrifices
7.3.3 Contingent sacrifices
7.3.4 Death sacrifices
7 .4. Observations on reports and research on modern Xhosa sacrifice 
7.5 Factors determining the modern practice and understanding of sacrifice 
7 .5 .1 Political factors
7.5.2 Economic factors
7.5.3 Social factors
7.5.4 Environmental factors
7.5.5 Ideological factors
7.5.6 Religious factors
7.5.6.1 Monotheism
7.5.6.2 Soteriology
7.6 Analysis of the modern Xhosa understanding and practice of sacrifice. 
7.6.1 Understanding of sacrifice as shaped by social factors
7.6.2 Understanding of sacrifice as shaped by Religious factors
7.6.2.1 Idinala (Dinner)
7 .6.2.2 Dichotomous understanding of sacrifice
7.7 Conclusion and observations
PART3 COMPARISON OF THE TWO TRADITIONS OF SACRIFICE FOR AN INCULTURATED UNDERSTANDING OF THE EUCHARIST
CHAPTER 8 COMPARISON OF EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE WITH XHOSA SACRIFICE
8.1 Introduction 
8.2 Last Supper and Xhosa sacrifice
8.2.1 Similarities between Last Supper and Xhosa sacrifice
8.2.2 Dissimilarities between the Last Supper and Xhosa sacrifice
8.3 Patristic Eucharistic sacrifice and Xhosa sacrifice 
8 .3 .1 Similarities between Patristic Eucharistic sacrifice and Xhosa sacrifice
8 .3 .2 Dissimilarities between patristic Eucharistic sacrifice and Xhosa sacrifice
8.4 Comparison between Medieval Eucharistic sacrifice and Xhosa sacrifice 
8.4.1 Similarities between Medieval Eucharistic sacrifice and Xhosa sacrifice
8.4.2 Dissimilarities between Medieval Eucharistic sacrifice and Xhosa sacrifice
8.5 Comparison between Eucharistic sacrifice after Trent with Xhosa sacrifice.
8.5.1 Dissimilarities between Eucharistic sacrifice after Trent and Xhosa sacrifice.
8.6 Conclusion and observations 
CHAPTER9
TOW ARDS AN INCUL TURA TED UNDERSTANDING OF THE EUCHARIST
9.1 Introduction
9.2 The concept of inculturation 
9.2.1 Inculturation as adaptation
9.2.2 Inculturation as incarnation
9.3 Points of consideration for an inculturated understanding of the Eucharist 
9.3.1 The place of ancestors in the Eucharist
9.3.1.1 Ancestors as with God
9.3.1.2 Reasons for including ancestors in Eucharistic sacrifice
9 .3 .1.3 Manner of including the ancestors in Eucharistic sacrifice
9.4 Food elements for inculturated Eucharistic sacrifice 250
9.5 Consideration for less frequent celebration of Eucharistic sacrifice 
9.6 Other considerations for an inculturated understanding of Eucharistic sacrifice.
9 .6.1 Eucharistic prayer to include concrete and relevant petitions
9.6.2 Camagu response after consecration
9.6.3 Communion as Ukushwama and not Ukwamkela (to receive)
9.6.4 Manner of performing sacrifice at home
9.6.5 Joyous and festive mood
9.7 Conclusion and observations 
CHAPTERlO
GENERAL CONCLUSION
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Eucharistic sacrifice in historical perspective 
10.3 Xhosa Cosmology 
10.4 Elements of Xhosa Sacrifice 
10.5 Inculturated Understanding of Eucharistic Sacrifice 
10.6 Conclusion 
11. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND THE CONCEPT OF SACRIFICE AMONG THE XHOSA: TOWARDS AN INCULTURATED UNDERSTANDING OF THE EUCHARIST.

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