Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/552

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BERENGARIUS


488


BERENGARIUS


is the best guide. Reason, however, is dependent upon and is limited by sense-perception. Authority, therefore, is not conclusive; we must reason accord- ing to the data of our senses. There is no doubt that Berengarius denied transubstantiation (we mean the substantial conversion expressed by the word; the word itself was used for the first time by Hilde- liert of Lavardin); it is not absolutely certain that lie denied the Real Presence, though he certainly held false \-ie\vs regarding it. Is the body of Christ present in the Eucharist, and in what manner? On this question the authorities appealed to by Berengarius are, besides Scotus Erigena, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine. These fathers taught that the Sacrament of the Altar is the figure, the sign, the token of the body and blood of the Lord. These terms, in their mind, apply directly to what is ex- ternal and sensible in the Holy Eucharist and do not, in anyway, imply the negation of the real pres- ence of the true body of Christ. (St. Aug. Serm. 143, n. 3; Gerbert, Libellus De Corp. et Sang. Domini, n. 4, P. L., CXXXIX, 177.) For Berengarius the body and the blood of Christ are really present in the Holy Eucharist; but this presence is an intellectual or spiritual presence. The substance of the bread and the substance of the wine remain unchanged in their nature, but by consecration they become spiritually the very body and blood of Christ. This spiritual body and blood of Christ is the res sacra- menti: the bread and the wine are the figure, the sign, the token, sacramcntum.

Such is the doctrine of Berengarius in his various discussions, letters, and writings up to the Council of Rome in 1059. (Migne P. L., CXLII, 1327; CL, 66; Martene and Durand, Theasaurus Novus Anec- dotorum, Paris, 1717, IV.) At this council, Ber- engarius signed a profession of faith affirming that the bread and wine after consecration are not only a sign, but the true body and blood of Christ which can be perceived in a sensible and real manner. (Lanfranc, De Corp. et Sang. Domini, ii, in P. L., CL, 110.) As already said, Berengarius retracted this confession. He maintained that the bread and wine, mthout any change in their nature, become by consecration the sacrament of the body and blood of Clirist, a memorial of the body crucified and of the blood shed on the cross. It is not, however, the body of Christ as it is in heaven; for how could the body of Christ which is now in heaven, necessarily limited by space, be in another place, on several altars, and in numerous hosts? Yet the bread and mne are the sign of the actual and real presence of the body and blood of Christ. (De Sacra Coena; Lanfranc, op. cit.)

In the two councils of Lateran (107S and 1079) Berengarius accepts and signs this profession of faith that "after the consecration, the bread is the true body of Christ, the very body born of the Vir- gin"; — that "the bread and wine on the altar, by the mystery of the sacred prayer and words of our Redeemer, are substantially converted into the very flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, true and life-giving", etc. (Martene et Durand, op. cit., IV, 103; Denzinger, Encliiridion, Wiirzburg, 1900, n. 298.) In his explanation of this profession of faith, wTitten after the council, Berengarius again clearly denies transubstantiation. He declares that, at the Last Supper, by virtue of the Lord's blessing, the bread and wine, keeping their natural properties, received a power of sanctification and became the sacrament of His body and blood; that the bread and wine on the altar are the very body of Christ, His true and human body. (Martene et Durand, op. cit.. IV. 107.) From all of which we conclude that, during his life, and before his final profession of faith, Berenga- rius certainly denied transubstantiation. As to the real presence, his thought is rather obscure and his


attitude hesitating. There is much divergence of opinion among historians and theologians on the in- terpretation of Berengarius's doctrine about this point, if it does not appear clearly that he denies the Real Presence, if perhaps the difficulty for him is in the mode rather than in the fact of the real pres- ence; yet his exposition of it, together with his principles of philosophy, endanger the fact itself of the Real Presence and sounds very much like a nega- tive of it.

Influen-ces. — Outside of Eusebius Bruno who supported Berengarius, at least for a time, no theo- logian of importance systematically defended his doctrine. We know, however, from ecclesiastical writers of his own and the following period that the influence of his principles was widespread and caused serious disturbance. (Guitmund, op. cit. in P. L., CXLIX, 1429 sqq.; Durand of Troarn, Liber de Corp. et Sang. Cliristi, in P. L., CXLIX, 1421.) The wTiters of the following century continue their dissertations against the "New Berengarians " (cf. Gregorius Barbarigo in Hurler's Sanctorum Patrum opuscula selecta, XXXIX); they find traces of his influence in various current phrases and sometimes warn against expressions which might be understood in the Berengarian sen.se. The Council of Piacenza (1095) again condemned Berengarius' doctrine. His teacliings favoured, at least to some extent, the diverse heresies of the Middle Ages about the Holy Eucharist, as also the views of the Sacramen- tarians of the sixteenth century. The great theo- logians of the time were unanimous in protesting against his principles, attacking his opinion as con- trary to the teaching of tradition and the doctrine of the Church. Among them we may mention es- pecially Adelraan, Scholasticus of Liege; Hugues, Bishop of Langres; Lanfranc, then Abbot of Le Bee; Guitmund, a disciple of Lanfranc who became Bishop of Aversa; Durand, Abbot of St. Martin of Troarn; Bernold of Constance, and others, most of them Benedictines. (L. Biginelli, I benedittini e gli studi eucaristici nel medio evo, Turin, 1895.)

The error of Berengarius, as is the case with other lieresies was the occasion which favoured and even necessitated, a more explicit presentation, and a more precise formulation of Catholic doctrine about the Holy Eucharist. Some expressions, among those used even by the adversaries of the Berengarian doctrine, were corrected. It was Hildebert of La- vardin, a contemporary of Berengarius if not his pupil, who first used the word "transubstantiation". (Sermones xciii; P. L., CLXXI, 776.) The Council of Rome in 1079 in its condemnation of Berengarius, expresses more clearly than any document before it, the nature of this substantial change; and St. Thomas, in his definition of Transubstantiation uses almost the same terms as the (ouncil. (Sum. Theol., Ill, Q. Ixxv, a. 4.) Though the feast of Corpus Christi was officially established only in the thir- teenth centurj', its institution was probably occa- sioned by these eucharistic controversies. The .same may be said of the ceremony of the elevation of the Host after the consecration in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

There is no complete edition of the works of Ber- engarius. Only one volume has been published by Visher in Berlin (1834) containing the second part of his "De Sacra Ccena", under the title: " Beren- garii Turonensis opera qu;p Supersunt tarn inedita quam edita, I, De Sacra Ccena ad versus Lanfrancmn liber posterior". Others of his opinions and writings are to be found in the works quoted above and in P. L., CL, 63, 66; H. Sudendorf, "Berengarius Turonensis oder eine Sammhmg ihn betreffender Briefe" (Ham- burg, 1850).

De Roye. Vila, //<rr. et Pomil. Berengarii Andegavemia Archidiaconi (.Angers, 1656); Schwane, Dogmengesch. der