Vol I No. 7

jewel, hooker and a uniquely anglican dynamic understanding of the true presence in the eucharist

Torrance Kirby

Among objects of conversion associated with the religious controversies of the 16th century, the Sacrament of the Eucharist was perhaps the most contentious of all. This fact lends a special importance to the unique and subtle way in which according to Richard Hooker the sacrament becomes a dynamic event from which ontologicalchangeensues,namely “a kind of Transubstantiation” and “a true change” … “in us”.

The conflicting claims of traditional scholastic and reformed humanist sacramental hermeneutics are most evident in their respective assertions concerning the manner of the divine ‘presence’ and the mode of its participation on the part of the worshipper. In accordance with the doctrine of transubstantiation, traditionalists placed profound emphasis on the ontological immanence of the holy in the sacramental ‘object’, in the consecrated elements of bread and wine. So intimate was the bond between sacramental sign (signum) and mystical reality signified by it (res significata) that traditional Catholic orthodoxy had upheld an external, objectified ‘real presence’ of Christ’s body and blood in the physical elements of the sacrament. In a decree of the thirteenth session held in October 1551, the Council of Trent formally defined

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