Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fatal Flaws of Sola Scriptura

This post comes from the Catholic Debate Forum... a lively discussion/debate forum hosted on Yahoogroups.... Here is a link to that post there if you are interested in following the thread and/or joining in the discussions there:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/catholicdebateforum/message/67646

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:40 PM, Barry H. wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: Scott Windsor
To: catholicdebateforum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: [CDF] The Fatal Flaws of Sola Scriptura

>sw: All you have done is further confirm this fatal flaw of sola scriptura,
>thank you. I have never, not once, stated that the Word of God was not
>indeed the Word of God - the problem is upon which authority to we accept
>given books of Scripture AS Scripture and the Word of God? God did NOT
>leave His People rudderless! He built a visible Church with structure and
>hierarchy - and outside of THAT Church you are not part of HIS Church but
>one made by men within the last 500 years. It was that One Church which
>determined, through the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Canon of Sacred
>Scripture - and you even accept the decision regarding the New Testament
>(casting off several books declared "canonical" by earlier bishops and
>including others they left out). You really have no leg to stand on here,
>Barry, well you do - it's the leg which is called the Catholic Church!

Nice rehash of what you believe. Of course, God did not leave his church
rudderless -- he gave us his word as the objective referent by which all
doctrine and practice must be measured.

sw: I apologize for taking so long to get back to this one... but Barry, you missed the point entirely. You RELY upon the Church for God's guidance to what even constitutes Scripture. And actually, while Scripture was there - what God left as an AUTHORITY was the Church. The REAL POINT in this discussion is AUTHORITY. Again, I do not challenge that Scripture IS the Word of God - it IS! That is not and has NEVER been the point of this discussion - although you and Jammy have, several times, attempted to make that the topic - but I am not dissuaded. THE authority which God left in place was and IS the Catholic Church! As I said before (and you're never really dealt with) there were MANY "canons" of Sacred Scripture prior to and into the 4th century - and it was THE Catholic Church, in several councils, which narrowed down THE Canon to what we have today... and YOU ACCEPT THIS AUTHORITY when it comes to the New Testament! They threw out several books which were previously declared canonical and included others which were not part of earlier canons - and WITHOUT QUESTION you ACCEPT the Canon of the New Testament which the Catholic Church put forth in the mid to late 4th century! The irony comes in when you REJECT that SAME AUTHORITY when it comes to the Old Testament Canon - and you side with the Jews who, at the time of the Christ and the Apostles, had a least TWO canons (Alexandrian/Greek and Palestinian/Hebrew). It would be some time AFTER the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus that the Jews (who deny Jesus was the Christ) rejected the Alexandrian Canon (which helps PROVE Jesus is the Christ). So you've taken the side of those who REJECTED THE MESSIAH!

sw: Now, if you TRULY believe that all God did was leave us a book - then why did it take over 300 years to compile this book into one volume/canon? While this canon was in flux - what was THE authority for Christians? Keep in mind as well, the ONLY copies of Scripture at the time were HAND-WRITTEN and VERY SCARCE! Every Christian home did not have a "Bible" - in whole or in part - but every Christian community DID have THE CHURCH! They had their bishop and priests and deacons, etc., but the ONLY place they would have SEEN a "Bible" or HEARD it READ - would have been IN CHURCH. And again, for 300 years that "canon" fluctuated and different churches had different canons - until the mid to late 4th century! THE Church stuck to THAT canon and then, over 1000 years later, as Protestants were editing the Canon - THE Church dogmatically, with all the scriptural authority of God, declared St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate canon of the late 4th century to be THE Christian Canon so that faithful Christians could no longer dispute it.

sw: So, the Protestant position would indeed be that God left the Church rudderless. To continue the sailing analogy, He did not leave them without sails (Scripture being the sails), but without a rudder (the Church) there would be little guidance - and thus casting adrift into differing interpretations of Scripture creates schism and heresy... like the Arians, etc. who indeed based their heresy on a false interpretation of Scripture. While a ship may have many sails (books of the Bible) it will only have one rudder.

sw: It is my hope and prayer that one day you will stop resisting this authority which God indeed put in place as the rudder.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Addendum, November 2, 2011:
Last Sunday Barry responded, I have included his response with my current response:

On Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Barry H. wrote:
BH: Let me see if I can respond to your claims serially here:

BH: 1) I did not miss the point -- I simply disagreed with your point.

sw: I disagree that you simply disagreed... THE topic is AUTHORITY. You either missed it or just didn't deal with it. You're beginning to deal with it a bit in this posting, so let us continue...

BH: 2) I do not rely on your Catholic church for guidance on what constitutes
Scripture. I rely upon the Holy Spirit, both in terms of giving the
Scripture, and in terms of recognizing the Scriptures.

sw: Well, whether you admit it or not, you do rely upon the authority of the Catholic Church for it was and IS through THAT authority that you have the Canon of Sacred Scripture, at least for the New Testament, which you use today. God used THE authority which HE put in place!

BH: a) In terms of the giving of the Scriptures, 2 Tim 3:16-17, the
Scriptures are θεόπνευστος, "God-breathed," or given by the Spirit (πνεῦμα,
also "breath"), and as such bear the unique stamp of God's authority. It is
the job of the church to recognize and accept.

sw: 1) I have never denied the nature of Scripture! You keep throwing that red herring out there as if it means something in this debate! That is not and has NEVER been the subject of this debate. 2) Yes, it IS "the job of the Church to recognize and accept" AND to proclaim the Scriptures and what constitutes the Scriptures for His People. Yes, when "God breathed" and did so upon His first bishops - He began the building blocks of His Church - which continues to this day in valid succession from those first bishops.

BH: b) In terms of recognizing the Scriptures, the witness of the Spirit so
that the church, and individual members thereof, can recognize that
authority.

sw: And therein lies the folly of Protestantism and sola scriptura. It is NOT left to "individual members" - it was left to the overseers, our bishops, to be that authority which recognizes the Scriptures for what they ARE.

BH: 3) Speaking of authority, you are right, it has been about proper authority
since the Reformation.

sw: Well, thank you... it IS about proper authority, but it predates the so-called "Reformation" by some 1500 years!

BH: Is the locus of authority the Scriptures, the
God-given canon of the church, or is the church itself? The Reformation
answer is the Scriptures.

sw: And back to the point you continue to avoid... you can't even KNOW what IS Scripture - at least not in whole (some parts are rather obvious) without the authority of the Church. Scripture ALONE is a fallacy. No book, or set of books, interprets itself or is validly self-proclaiming. As we have discussed before, NO WHERE does Scripture claim it is or is to be the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church.

BH: 4) The Reformers did not "throw out several books," but properly recognized
that those several books did not accord with the analogia fidei. They also
had historical precedent in figures no less weighty than Jerome and
Athanasius, and also found internal biblical support for the canon they
accepted.

sw: A lot of assertions here, with absolutely no substance. Would you care to try to document your assertions? Luther, among others, did indeed "throw out" books which were previously accepted in the Christian canon - and REMAIN accepted by those faithful to THE Church which Jesus Christ Himself built. Luther, Calvin, etc. came around and built NEW churches which answered to a different, previously unheard of authority and began preaching a "different gospel" - just as Scripture itself warns us that men one day would do!

BH: 5) That the ancient church properly recognized the NT Scriptures as
Scriptures is truly something to be thankful for, but passive recognition is
not the same thing as authoritative determination. The Scriptures have
objective existence and authority even when people fail to recognize them.
sw: It was far more than passive recognition! The Early Church had several differing canons... if this were a mere passive recognition, how does one explain the variations? The fact is the Church was ACTIVELY exercising authority in establishing the Christian Canon of Sacred Scripture throughout the first 400 years of Christendom and then for then next 1000 years there were NO authorized translations of Scripture which did not include the Deuterocanonicals, then when Protestants were actively attempting to limit the Christian canon the Church ACTIVELY and dogmatically stated THE Canon for faithful Christians REMAINED the same canon used in St. Jerome's Old Latin Vulgate. These are FACTS, Barry which, frankly, I do not see how you can possibly deny!

>sw: Now, if you TRULY believe that all God did was leave us a book - then
>why did it take over 300 years to compile this book into one volume/canon?

BH: Why has it taken 2,000+ years for the Lord to return?

sw: Let's not play the subject changing game, please.

BH: Why does it take a
lifetime (and according to Catholics, a lifetime+), for full sanctification
to take place in the life of a believer?

sw: The process of sanctification is not in question here - rather - we're talking about what YOU claim to be the "sole infallible rule of faith for Christians." That concept is not only NOT what was in practice by the Early Church - it's CONTRARY to Scripture wherein we are told of ANOTHER infallible authority! Of course I speak of Matthew 16:18-19 and 18:18 wherein a specific group of MEN were granted authority to bind or loose WHATSOEVER THEY CHOSE! There's NO LIMIT to what they COULD bind or loose in the terminology of "WHATSOEVER!" And if WHATSOEVER they bound or loosed was also bound or loosed in Heaven - then that binding/loosing HAS to be INFALLIBLE, unless you subscribe to a theology wherein error could be bound/loosed in Heaven! This is SCRIPTURE telling you of ANOTHER INFALLIBLE AUTHORITY!
Again, I'm not going to play the subject changing game with you - the economy of sanctification is NOT the subject of THIS debate. I have no problem discussing that process with you, but not in THIS thread.
BH: The Lord has always chosen to work
through historical processes to accomplish his purposes.

sw: Always? He chose 12 men, one of whom turned out to be "a devil" (His word), and built His Church, just as He promised He would. He didn't wait 1500 years to build that Church! Those twelve were selected and they have valid successors in their office (bishops) TO THIS DAY! If you want to talk about "history" - you lose this debate 6 ways from Saturday!

>sw: While this canon was in flux - what was THE authority for Christians? Keep
>in mind as well, the ONLY copies of Scripture at the time were HAND-WRITTEN
>and VERY SCARCE! Every Christian home did not have a "Bible" - in whole or
>in part - but every Christian community DID have THE CHURCH! They had their
>bishop and priests and deacons, etc., but the ONLY place they would have
>SEEN a "Bible" or HEARD it READ - would have been IN CHURCH. And again, for
>300 years that "canon" fluctuated and different churches had different
>canons - until the mid to late 4th century! THE Church stuck to THAT canon
>and then, over 1000 years later, as Protestants were editing the
Canon - THE Church dogmatically, with all the scriptural authority of God,
declared St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate canon of the late 4th century to be THE
Christian Canon so that faithful Christians could no longer dispute it.

BH: Again, the Lord works through historical processes and circumstances. One
does not have to own a Bible or even be able to read in order to come under
the authority of the Scriptures. The Scriptures nevertheless existed, and
those who read the word and heard the word read and proclaimed were expected
to bow to the authority of the Spirit speaking through the Scriptures just
as the reader today who downloads his various translations and has several
hard copies in his house. In fact, the authority of the word preached is an
important part of the Reformed understanding of how Scripture is to be
applied in the church.

sw: You didn't answer my question! What was THE authority for Christians during the time in which the canon was in flux? Are you saying that at one point in the "historical process" that St. Clement's epistles were just as authoritative as St. Paul's? St. Clement's epistles are part of several of the early canons!

>sw: So, the Protestant position would indeed be that God left the Church
>rudderless. To continue the sailing analogy, He did not leave them without
>sails (Scripture being the sails), but without a rudder (the Church) there
>would be little guidance - and thus casting adrift into differing
>interpretations of Scripture creates schism and heresy... like the Arians,
>etc. who indeed based their heresy on a false interpretation of Scripture.
>While a ship may have many sails (books of the Bible) it will only have one
>rudder.

The ancient Arians, if what we have reported of them is valid, based their
heresy more on philosophical and theological grounds than what anyone today
would consider a proper exegesis of Scripture. Modern Arians, such as the
JW's, have to go to extraordinary lengths to promote their heresy, even to
the point of producing a fallacious version of the Bible twisted solely to
support their several errors.

sw: Upon WHAT authority do you claim the Arians, ancient or modern, are the ones who are off-based? Why is YOUR claim any more valid than theirs? They would claim you (and me too) have "gone to extraordinary lengths to promote your/our heresy!" They claim it is OUR translations which are falsely produced and "twisted" to support our errors (namely the Trinity).

>sw: It is my hope and prayer that one day you will stop resisting this
>authority which God indeed put in place as the rudder.

BH: Pray all you want. Sometimes God's answer is to change the one praying, not
the one prayed for... :)

sw: Thank you, I will continue my prayers for you (and others) who have lost the "rudder" which Jesus Christ Himself put in place for His People.

In the spirit of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, (in JMJ),
Scott<<<


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Doomsday Passes - Again

Well, Harold Camping had predicted the world would end - again - on October 21, which was yesterday.  I guess since you're reading this today you can be assured he was wrong - again.  Not that I have taken any of his predictions seriously - I'm just pointing out an extreme example of sola scriptura gone too far. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why Was Luther Wrong? (Part 1)




Why Was Luther Wrong?

The primary reason Luther was wrong is due to his rejection of due authority which God Himself put in place.  I can hear the Protestants, especially the Lutherans now, stating how Luther was right because he stood up to corrupted authority.  To a point, I have to agree!  There WERE some problems in the Catholic hierarchy at the time and there was definitely some need for "reform."   Now we can banter all around about how "wrong" each side was - but ultimately you do not "reform" a church when you're no longer part of it and WANT no part of it! 


The other thing we must consider is that Luther was not really this "Lone Ranger" standing up for a cause.  In reality the German princes did not like the amount of power the Catholic Church had in Germany so they used Luther as a pawn in their battle with Rome.  The found a very willing accomplice in Luther.  The chaos which ensued before, during and after the Peasants War was successful in disrupting the unity of those who may have remained loyal to the Catholic Church - this played right into the hands of the quite willing German princes.  The point being, there were some quite political reasons for Germany's revolt against the Catholic Church - and NOT solely Luther's 95 Theses. 

The Errors of Luther (condemned by Pope Leo X on June 15, 1520 via papal bull Exsurge Domini).
1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle.
The sacraments of the New Law, especially the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation) does indeed provide pardoning grace for those who do not set up an obstacle!  If ones confession is contrite and not withholding sin - then the confessee indeed receives pardoning grace (Sanctifying Grace) and his soul is made pure again through the absolution given by one validly empowered to grant absolution.  (John 20:23)
2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.
While a child may be released from Original Sin by the Sacrament of Baptism (another sacrament which bestows pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle, which an infant could not do) this does not change the fact that the child has a corrupt/fallen nature - however, all sin IS gone.  Original Sin is washed away and before the "age of reason" the child has no ability to commit Actual Sin.  
3. The inflammable sources of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delay a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.
It is possible, but maybe improbable, that one may be in such a state of grace at the time of their death that there is no impediment for entering Heaven.  We know of at least two such souls, from the Old Testament, who did not even die - and were bodily assumed into Heaven (Enoch and Elijah).
4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.
Luther seemed to have a great struggle with his own fears and sins and it is definitely an error to impute his fears upon others.
5. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.
The first two are obvious - there can be no forgiveness if one is not contrite and does not confess his sins to one empowered to forgive sins (John 20:23).  As for "satisfaction" - I must assume Luther refers to "doing the penance" - which is really part of contrition for in doing the penance one demonstrates beyond the mere words that they are contrite.
6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.
For a "General Confession" one would go back throughout their life to reflect upon all sins, but this would only be done ONCE - not repeatedly.  Once absolution is given, sins are forgiven.  It is my perception that Luther had a real problem with sin and just how forgiveness was imparted to those who follow Christ.
7. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contritions given thus far is the more remarkable: "Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life."
One could use that as a self-imposed penance - but the "highest penance" is that which comes from your confessor!  It is THAT penance which demonstrates true contrition and ultimately forgiveness of sins through the Sacrament of Penance - how could any penance be "higher" than that which is part of a Sacrament instituted by Christ to dispense grace?
8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.
It is the responsibility of the faithful Christian to not willfully withhold any mortal sin from the confessional!  If one willfully does so then this person is not truly contrite for their sins - and thus rather than enjoying the graces bestowed by the Sacrament of Penance - they would actually be heaping coals of judgment upon themselves in not making a worthy or valid confession.  Now, if a mortal sin happened to slip ones mind and was not confessed - it is STILL FORGIVEN in the absolution, for Christ through His priest declares ALL your sins are forgiven!  If such a sin were later remembered and it concerned the person, then they should meet with their confessor to discuss it - and not necessarily in a formal confession (but it may turn into that, depending upon how the confessor feels).
9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God's mercy for pardon.
This is an error because the desire to confess all sins without exception is PRECISELY throwing ourselves at the Mercy Seat of God and begging forgiveness!  
10. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness.
This is not true because the priest need not believe sins are forgiven!  If the priest, speaking alter christus (as Christ) declares the sins forgiven - ultimately it is not the priest who forgives the sin - but Christ Himself THROUGH the priest.

(End of Part 1)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can Romney Win?

With Romney being a Mormon, do you think he could gain enough votes to actually win?  It's fairly common knowledge that one cannot win the presidency without winning the South.  With the South being so heavy with Southern Baptists and other Fundamentalists, does a Mormon really stand a chance of winning? 

Objectively, and secularly, I think Romney would make a very good president, I just think he has a huge gorilla on his back.

That being said, similar things were said about John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, and many didn't think he'd stand a chance of winning, especially in the South.  That is likely why Lyndon B. Johnson, a Southerner, was selected as Kennedy's running mate. 

Your thoughts?  Feel free to add a comment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Did Mary Die?

Often I have seen Protestants try to "make hay" over the discussion of whether or not the Blessed Virgin Mary actually died or merely went to "sleep" and was taken in her sleep.  They like to point out various Catholics who disagree on this matter.  One such discussion I stumbled across on Beggars All.  On BA, Mr. Swan quotes a Catholic blogger named "Shelly" who quotes from MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS (MD):
"Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself."
But!  What Mr. Swan appears to be a bit ignorant of is the fact that the definition is NOT the entire document!  That which is protected by the charism of infallibility is NOT the entire document - rather it is ONE SENTENCE within that document!  This is THAT sentence:
by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: 

that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
The earlier commentary, even though it is from His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, and within the same document as the definition - is just that - Pope Pius' personal commentary on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  All the definition states is that she completed the course of her earthly life.  It does not state whether she died before being bodily assumed into Heaven - only that she was thusly assumed.

Another point worthy of note... the quote "Shelly" uses from MD is actually Pope Pius XII quoting from Sacramentarium Gregorianum - of Adrian I, which he sent to Emperor Charlemagne.  Clearly it can be assumed that Pope Pius XII believed, along with Adrian I, that the Blessed Virgin Mary suffered temporal death - as all humans have and will (saving those who may be "raptured" - but that's a whole 'nother discussion!).  The pope sharing his beliefs in MD does not equate to those beliefs being declared infallible.  Again, the ONLY part of MD which is to be considered infallible is THE DEFINITION - which is ONE SENTENCE from section 44 of that document.

Eastern Icon of the Dormition
Personally, I lean to the side that she indeed died - however - the Eastern Catholic (and Orthodox) tradition for this "feast day" is that the Blessed Virgin Mary "slept" - and in fact, the Eastern title of the feast day is "The Dormition of the Theokotos" (The Falling Asleep of the God Bearer).  That could be a bit misleading (it was for me for a while) for that "sleep" is in reality of their tradition the "sleep of death."  Part of this tradition is that the Blessed Virgin went into this "sleep of death" in the presence of the Apostles and was buried - but St. Thomas was missing.  He, wanting to see her one more time, convinced the others to open her grave and there it was found her grave was empty - she had been taken.

This conversation continues, nearly two years later, as you can see here:
http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2013/08/did-mary-die-part-2.html


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Who Is Drawn?



John 6:  "44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (NIV)


Calvinists like to use this verse to "prove" predestination, but in the context of St. John's Gospel, who exactly is it who is "drawn?"


John 12:  "32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (NIV)


Jesus Christ was "lifted up" upon the Cross - and thus "all people" are drawn to Him!  So much for "drawing" only "the Elect!" 


Let's look more at the context of John 6:


Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand - 1-15


Jesus does not discriminate who receives the blessing of the multiplied loaves and fishes - ALL are fed.  Jesus demonstrates His authority over matter in multiplying the fish and the loaves for the five thousand gathered.


Jesus Walks On Water - 16-24


Jesus again demonstrates his authority over physical matter.

Jesus declares Himself to be the Bread of Life and Commands Us To Eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood (repeatedly) - 25-59


Jesus' theme throughout this section is food and bread to eat comparing this to the Bread of Life, which is His flesh.  It is also within this context which Jesus refers to those who are drawn by the Father and that no one can come to the Him unless they are so drawn.  The drawing is through the Bread of Life - being raised up on the Cross, as John clearly tells us in his twelfth chapter.  Back to the sixth chapter, repeatedly Jesus demands that we partake in His Flesh and Blood or we have NO LIFE in us.  One must DETRACT from what is written to say this is symbolic language!  No, it would be too EASY for us to just accept this as symbolic, but rather this is a HARD TEACHING to accept!  What of those who say it is a "hard teaching?"

Many of His Disciples Turn and Walk With Him No More - 60-69

Jesus doesn't stop them as they're walking away and yell out, "Hey, wait, I was speaking figuratively!"  No, He lets them walk away - for they DID UNDERSTAND HIM RIGHTLY and though they understood what He was telling them - they refused to ACCEPT the teaching and walked away from Him.

Even Though Jesus Himself chose The Twelve Apostles - He Declares One of Them is a Devil - 70-71.


He speaks of Judas Iscariot here.  If even one whom God Himself has chosen can fail, so can others.  This does not negate the role of all those who were selected for the bishoprick, for the eleven remaining, remained faithful to Him and His Church.

Jesus Gives Himself in the Eucharist when He declares, "This IS My body" and "This IS My blood."  There is nothing symbolic in the way He states this and gives us the opportunity to fulfill what He commanded in John 6!