Monday, September 26, 2016

The Early Church Understanding of Eucharist as a Sacred Meal - Recommended Reading of New Book by Theologian Joseph Martos

"The Lord’s supper described in 1 Corinthians is best understood as a communal meal to which many people brought food. There is no indication that the so-called words of institution were spoken during the meal; rather, those words of Jesus are given as the rationale for the meal. The body of the Lord to which the text refers is more likely the local community than what was later called consecrated bread. • Jesus’ words over the bread and wine, as recounted in the synoptic gospels, cannot be used as proof texts for later Christian eucharistic beliefs because the copula “is” would not have been used in Aramaic. Likewise, the bread of life discourse in the fourth gospel can be interpreted symbolically, as Protestants have done since the Reformation. In other words, there is no reason to take these passages literally except in the interest of supporting later Catholic doctrines." (Joseph Martos, Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and  Reconstructing Catholic Ritual)

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Eucharist in Sarasota, Florida

This new scholarly book by theologian Joseph Martos presents a comprehensive study of the sacraments from the early church up to modern times. His recommendations for a more meaningful celebration of the sacraments by the people of God is both inspiring and geared to meet the needs of Catholics today who hunger for deep, spiritual , communal celebrations of the Christ Presence in our midst.
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

"Now comes Joseph Martos, a retired professor of philosophy and theology, with a new book that argues this: Nearly the whole of Catholic sacramental theology “is intellectually bankrupt.”
Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual says that in creating its sacramental theology over the centuries (especially through the work of the Scholastics), the church has misinterpreted scripture and patristic writing and wound up with doctrines in bad need of being pulled apart and put back together in ways that would be much more meaningful to the church today.
Martos told me the following: “The question I try to ask, and which most scholars do not ask is: What in the author’s experience is the author trying to talk about when language is being used metaphorically? For example, I believe that ‘new life’ probably refers to a visibly new lifestyle rather than to an invisible injection of divine grace. … I think justification by faith refers to getting one's life straightened out by trusting in the teachings of Christ rather than to being seen as just in the eyes of God even though one is still a sinner, as Luther proposed. If ideas do not come from nowhere, what in Paul’s experience could he have been talking about when he spoke of being justified by faith?”
In the book, Martos adds this: “Although the Second Vatican Council opened a door to change, real change has not occurred because of the hierarchy’s belief that the way things looked in the thirteenth century is the way they still look -- or at least ought to look.”
Well, I’m not a Catholic theologian, nor am I meant to be one. So I’m not the right person to do a critical analysis of the author’s many arguments in this 300-page volume.
The reason I bring it to your attention is that I think all faith communities need challengers.
People who raise difficult questions, who question foundational assumptions -- especially if they do it in a constructive spirit and not out of anger or bitterness -- help faith communities remain vibrant and worth taking seriously..."
[Bill Tammeus, a Presbyterian elder and former award-winning Faith columnist for The Kansas City Star, writes the daily “Faith Matters” blog for The Star’s website and a column for The Presbyterian Outlook. His latest book is Jesus, Pope Francis and a Protestant Walk into a Bar: Lessons for the Christian ChurchE-mail him at]

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