HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

No question has given rise to more warm dispute than that which touches the use of leavened or unleavened bread in the preparation of the Holy Eucharist. Cardinal Bona tells us in his wonted modest way what a storm of indignation he brought down upon himself when he stated in his great work on the Mass and its ceremonies that the use of leavened and unleavened bread was common in the Latin Church until the beginning of the tenth century, when unleavened bread became obligatory on all. We shall not now go over the ground which the learned cardinal did to prove this assertion, but we shall simply say for the instruction of the reader that his opinion is embraced by almost all writers on sacred liturgy. That the use of unleavened bread, or azymes, was never intermitted in the Latin Church from the very institution of the Blessed Eucharist itself all are willing to admit; but it is very commonly held that when the Ebionite heretics taught that the precepts of the ancient law were binding upon Christian people, and that, in consequence, the Eucharist could not be celebrated at all unless the bread our Lord used—viz., unleavened—were employed, the Church also sanctioned the use of leavened bread to confound this teaching, and that this remained in force until all traces of the Ebionites had died away. This statement has for its supporters several eminent theologians, among whom are Alexander of Hales, Duns Scotus, St. Bonaventure, and St. Thomas Aquinas (see Cardinal Bona, Rer. Liturg., lib. i. cap. xxiii.; Kozma, 238; Neale, Holy Eastern Church, “On the Controversy concerning the Azymes,” vol. ii.)

In so far as the validity of the sacrament is concerned, both the Latin and Greek churches have always held that consecration takes place in either kind, and that the use of leavened or unleavened bread is altogether a matter of discipline and not of dogma. The latter Church, too, acknowledges (at least the ancient Greek Church did), equally with the former, that our Lord used unleavened bread at the Last Supper, but that for very wise reasons the early Church thought well to introduce leavened bread, and that when itself (i.e., the Greek Church) adopted this custom it held on to it without change (Neale, ii. 1059, and 1073–34). It must not be concealed that the turbulent Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople in 1043, in order to make the rupture between the two churches as great as possible, went so far as to assert that consecration in any other bread but leavened was invalid, and that hence the whole Latin Church was heretical because it used unleavened. But the Eastern theologians never adopted this teaching; nor is it held to-day, although, with the exception of the Armenians and Maronites, all the Oriental churches follow the Greek discipline in the use of leavened bread.

We have said that, according to the consent of both churches, consecration is valid in either kind; the discipline, however, of the Latin Church is so strict in the matter of unleavened bread that, were a priest of her communion to consecrate in any other kind without a special dispensation, he would sin mortally. He could not even do so were it to fulfil the precept of hearing Mass on Sunday or give the Holy Viaticum to the dying. The only case in which it is allowed is when, through some accident or other, the Sacred Host disappears immediately after consecration, and no other bread is at hand but leavened. The latter may then be used in order to the completion of the Sacrifice (De Herdt, ii. p. 167, No. 3).








Copyright ©1999-2016 e-Catholic2000.com