ARNE: Your opinion on how the compilation of the canon came about seems rather simple to me, as if it is the merit of the RCC in itself. But even if this be true, what gives them the, even slightest, right to claim that their understanding of this writings is the only correct one! It is downright false that the Catholic church( at least in the meaning RCC) wrote this books( you say: ” the very people who wrote it and approved it ” ) They were written early/mid 1.st century before the RCC even existed! So to claim that the RCC for that reason has any exclusive right to their understanding, is not acceptable.
BFHU: There is no “merit” of the Catholic Church due for the canon. The point is that the Catholic Church and the teachings of the Catholic Church have existed from the beginning. We know that it was called the CATHOLIC Church in the early 2nd century.
110 A.D. St. Ignatius: …even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.“
The authors of the New Testament were taught by Jesus Christ Himself or one of His apostles. So very unlikely for error to have crept in already. So, we have:
John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
I Cor 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Then 1500 -2012 years later, we have Protestants insisting that this was all symbolic and did not mean a literal eating and drinking of the Lord’s body and blood but eating and drinking the Scriptures. And Protestant pastors make a good case for this by emphasizing certain verses in John 6 and reinterpreting and translating I Cor 11. Thus they reject the idea the communion is anything but a symbolic ordinance. The problem is that if one scratches the surface of this argument it bleeds to death.
First of all Martin Luther believed in the real presence of Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist. And Lutherans do to this day but their doctrine is a bit different than the Catholic transubstantiation. Still they do not believe it is mere symbolism.
Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present.
Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.” —Luther’s Collected Works, Wittenburg Edition, no. 7 p, 391
Secondly, we have very early preserved writings that attest to the fact that the earliest Christians believed that the Eucharist was the literal Body and Blood of Jesus.
The writings of the early Church Fathers tell us what these first century Christians believed about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 110 A.D. St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was taught the Christian faith by the apostle John, wrote about the heretics of his day:
“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ. Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness raised up again.” Letter to the Smyrneans 6,2
150 AD–St Justin Martyr wrote to the Emperor of Rome around :
“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66,20 )
180 AD—St. Irenaeus, was the bishop of Lyons, France and a student of St. Polycarp who sat at the feet of the Apostle John. St. Irenaeus wrote around :
“He (Jesus) has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies, 5,2,2 )
350 AD— St Cyril of Jerusalem, in a teaching to those coming into the Church wrote in :
“Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures:(Mystagogic 4) 22,6 )
Thus we see that the Christian Church, at the very beginning of its history taught and believed that the bread and wine of communion was transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Jesus’ discourse on the Bread From Heaven in John 6 and the plain sense of His words at the institution of Communion at the Last Supper. “This is My Body” This is My Blood”
This is the same Church that Jesus founded on Peter and the Apostles.
This is the same church that Jesus promised the Gates of Hell would never overcome.
This is the same Church that chose the books of the Bible out of all the other books floating around the ancient world, at the end of the fourth century.
This is the same Church that was called Catholic at least as early as 110 AD.
This is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Ancient, but ever young.
So, Arne, the new testament documents were written in the first century AD. We have documentary historical evidence that what Catholics believe about the Eucharist was believed at the dawn of Christianity and is still believed to this day. It is reasonable to determine that these beliefs have always been and it was the Protestants who later came along and rejected these beliefs and reinterpreted scripture to fit their paradigm,
If you think that the Protestant understanding of the Eucharist (And this could be done for all the Catholic doctrines more or less) is correct 2,012 years after the birth of our Lord but the Catholic understanding just has to be wrong despite what scripture clearly says and what the earliest Christians believed then there is nothing more to be said.