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St. Augustine QUESTION from Mark Ford June 28, 2000 I appreciate your answer to my prior question. This same friend is also adamant about Augustine not believing in the transubstantiation of the Eucharist....What are your views on this topic? Wouldnt he be found to be a heretic if he didnt believe in the divinity of the Eucharist? And yes these questions come from a fundemental prot and my answers are never adequate, it seems. thanks for your help agian Mark
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on July 3, 2000 Dear Mr. Ford
St. Augustine emphasized the symbolic aspects of the Eucharist, and for this reason, Protestant writers conclude that he denied Transubstantion. In fact, St. Augustine held a very orthodox view. He once wrote in one of his sermons Christ bore Himself in His hands, when he offered His body saying 'This is my body.'
The doctrine of transubstantiation was defined at the Council of Trent in the 16th century. Though a man living in Augustine's age (5th century) might not have been a heretic for denying Transubstantiation (which involves a specific definition rooted in scholastic philosophy that even the Orthodox do not accept) he would most certainly have been in error if he had denied the Divinity of the Eucharist. The fact that someone is not specifically a heretic does not mean he is not wrong. Catholics should remember that the Magisterium is often the final arbiter of Truth, not the discoverer. Each one of us has the duty to believe what is Revealed, whether the Magisterium has formally taught it or not. At any rate, Augustine most certainly did believe in the Divinity of the Eucharist, and essentially believed in Transubstantiation.
A word of advice on how to deal with your friend: You should of course research as much as you can, but try to let your friend do most of the talking. That way, he will certainly say something erroneous. If you are prepared, you will be able to refute erroneous statements of fact without any argument.
Thank you for your question
God Bless Suzanne Fortin
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