'Bread and Wine' or 'Body and Blood'?

A lady rang the Leader office recently to complain anonymously about my use of the term 'bread and wine' in a recent Liturgy Lines when I should have said 'the body and blood of Christ'. She claimed that at least 30 of her friends (who also remained anonymous) were also most upset by my lack of orthodoxy. The Leader staff were delighted that my column was being so widely read and discussed!

I checked to see where I had transgressed. In an article about the Mass as memorial, I stated that "The bread and wine we share at communion remind us of the meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his death".

I will defend my orthodoxy by quoting several reputable and authoritative sources where the words 'bread' and 'wine' / 'cup' / 'chalice' and not 'body' and 'blood' are used to refer to the sacred elements after the consecration. (I have added appropriate emphases).

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul states: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be answerable to the Lord." (1Cor 11:27)
In Memorial Acclamation C we sing:" When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory".
"Gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise." (Eucharistic Prayer IV)
"Holy communion is to be given under the species of bread alone or … under both species … or even under the species of wine alone." (Code of Canon Law #925)
"All who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1329)
"In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine".(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1378)
"While the priest breaks the bread and drops a piece of the host into the chalice, the 'Lamb of God' is sung….. This invocation accompanies the breaking of the bread…" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2000 # 83).
"The action of the breaking of the bread will more clearly bring out the force and importance of the sign of the unity of all in the one bread and of their charity, since the one bread is being distributed among the members of one family." (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2000 # 321).
A statement about communion under both kinds issued by the Australian catholic Bishops Conference in 1986 is entitled Communion under the Form of Bread and Wine.

I could go on, but hopefully the point has been made. Just two weeks prior to the offending column, I had used the terms 'sacred elements' and 'consecrated bread and wine' when referring to the celebration of the Eucharist. It is important to look at things in context and not to make judgements about someone's words or actions in isolation.


Elizabeth Harrington