CUM MARTHAE CIRCA
LETTER OF INNOCENT III
TO A CERTAIN JOHN, ARCHBISHOP OF LYONS
NOVEMBER 29, 1202
[excerpt]

Quaesivisti (siquidem), quis formae (al.: quae sit forma) verborum, quam ipse Christus expressit, cum in corpus et sanguinem suum panem transsubstantiavit et vinum, (cum) illud in canone Missae, quo Ecclesia utitur generalis, adiecerit, quod nullus Evangelistarum legitur expressisse. . . . In canone Missae sermo iste videlicet << mysterium fidei >> verbis ipsi(u)s interpositus invenitur. . . .
You have asked (indeed) who has added to the form of the words which Christ Himself expressed when He changed the bread and wine into the body and blood, that in the Canon of the Mass which the general Church uses, which none of the Evangelists is read to have expressed. . . . In the Canon of the Mass that expression, "mysterium fidei," is found interposed among His words. . . .
Sane multa tam de verbis quam de factis dominicis invenimus ab Evangelistis omissa, quae Apostoli vel supplevisse verbo vel facto expressisse leguntur. ... Ex eo autem verbo, de quo movit tua fraternitas quaestionem, videlicet << mysterium fidei >>, munimentum erroris quidam trahere putaverunt, dicentes in sacramento altaris non esse corporis Christi et sanguinis veritatem, sed imaginem tantum, et speciem et figuram, pro eo, quod Scriptura interdum commemorat, id, quod in altari suscipitur, esse sacramentum et mysterium et exemplum. Sed tales ex eo laqueum erroris incurrunt, quod nec auctoritates Scripturae convenienter intelligunt, nec sacramenta Dei suscipiunt reverenter, Scripturas et virtutem Dei pariter nescientes [Mt 22, 29]. . . . Dicitur tamen << mysterium fidei >>, quoniam et aliud ibi creditur, quam cernatur, et aliud cernitur, quam credatur. Cernitur enim species panis et vini, et creditur veritas carnis et sanguinis Christi, ac virtus unitatis et caritatis. . . .
Surely we find many such things omitted from the words as well as from the deeds of the Lord by the Evangelists, which the Apostles are read to have supplied by word or to have expressed by deed. . . . From the expression, moreover, concerning which your brotherhood raised the question, namely "mysterium fidei," certain people have thought to draw a protection against error, saying that in the sacrament of the altar the truth of the body and blood of Christ does not exist, but only the image and species and figure, inasmuch as Scripture sometimes mentions that what is received at the altar is sacrament and mystery and example. But such run into a snare of error, by reason of the fact that they neither properly understand the authority of Scripture, nor do they reverently receive the sacraments of God, equally "ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God" [Matt. 22:29]. . . . Yet "mysterium fidei" is mentioned, since something is believed there other than what is perceived; and something is perceived other than is believed. For the species of bread and wine is perceived there, and the truth of the body and blood of Christ is believed and the power of unity and of love. . . .
Distinguendum est tamen subtiliter inter tria, quae sunt in hoc sacramento discreta, videlicet formam visibilem, veritatem corporis et virtutem spiritualem. Forma est panis et vini, veritas carnis et sanguinis, virtus unitatis et caritatis. Primum est 'sacramentum et non res'. Secundum est 'sacramentum et res'. Tertium est 'res et non sacramentum'. Sed primum est sacramentum geminae rei. Secundum autem est sacramentum unius, et alterius res exsistit. Tertium vero est res gemini sacramenti. Credimus igitur, quod formam verborum, sicut in canone reperitur, et a Christo Apostoli, et ab ipsis eorum acceperint successores. . . .
We must, however, distinguish accurately between three things which are different in this sacrament, namely, the visible form, the truth of the body, and the spiritual power. The form is of the bread and wine; the truth, of the flesh and blood; the power, of unity and of charity. The first is the "sacrament and not reality." The second is "the sacrament and reality." The third is "the reality and not the sacrament." But the first is the sacrament of a twofold reality. The second, however, is a sacrament of one and the reality (is) of the other. But the third is the reality of a twofold sacrament. Therefore, we believe that the form of words, as is found in the Canon, the Apostles received from Christ, and their successors from them. . . .
Quaesivisti etiam, utrum aqua cum vino in sanguinem convertatur. Super hoc autem opiniones apud scholasticos variantur. Aliquibus enim videtur, quod, cum de latere Christi duo praecipua fluxerint sacramenta, redemptionis in sanguine ac regenerationis in aqua, in illa duc vinum et aqua, quae commiscentur in calice, divina virtute mutantur. . . . Alii vero tenent, quod aqua cum vino transsubstantiatur in sanguinem, cum in vinum transeat mixta vino. . . . Praeterea potest dici, quod aqua non transit in sanguinem, sed remanet prioris vini accidentibus circumfusa. . . . Illud autem est nefarium opinari, quod quidam dicere praesumpserunt, aquam videlicet in phlegma converti. . . . Verum inter opiniones praedictas illa probabilior iudicatur, quae asserit, aquam cum vino in sanguinem transmutari.
You have asked (also) whether the water with the wine is changed into the blood. Regarding this, however, opinions among the scholastics vary. For it seems to some that, since from the side of Christ two special sacraments flowed--of the redemption in the blood and of regeneration in the water--into those two the wine and water, which are mixed in the chalice, are changed by divine power. . . . But others hold that the water with the wine is transubstantiated into the blood; when mixed with the wine, it passes over into the wine. . . . Besides it can be said that water does not pass over into blood but remains surrounded by the accidents of the original wine. . . . This, however, is wrong to think, which some have presumed to say, namely, that water is changed into phlegm. . . . But among the opinions mentioned that is judged the more probable which asserts that the water with the wine is changed into blood.

INNOCENT III




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