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Explain how Luther's understanding of the Eucharist differed from that of the Catholic Church.

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Introduction

Explain how Luther's understanding of the Eucharist differed from that of the Catholic Church (10 marks) The dictionary definition of Eucharist is that it is "a sacrament and the central act of worship in many Christian churches, instituted at the Last Supper and in which bread & wine are consecrated and consumed in remembrance of Jesus' death." (www.dictionary.com) Luther believed that a person could be justified by faith and this led him to reject the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice. He thought that refusing to offer the chalice to the congregation denied them from what the wine signified as he stated that Christ's blood is given so that everyone's sins may be forgiven, Luther wanted the laity to receive both the bread and the wine. ...read more.

Middle

The only people who are allowed to have both the bread and the wine are the priests. Within the Church, the Eucharist has many different names including Mass, Holy Communion and Lord's Supper. Catholics believe in transubstantiation; this is the belief that the bread and wine remain unchanged while their substance changes to that of the body and blood of Jesus. It is thought that the breaking of the bread occurred regularly, making it part of life with Jesus. The Eucharist was no ordinary meal and therefore its significance should be remembered and we should behave accordingly; it is seen as a memorial. ...read more.

Conclusion

Luther continued to respect the doctrine of God's presence in the Eucharist. The Church celebrates the Eucharist very regularly, every Sunday, Luther believed that the Eucharist so important that it should be celebrated each day (on every Saints Day); although having said this he changed his mind a couple of years later and agreed that it should be celebrated each Sunday. Having looked at the differences between Luther and the Church it is possible to see that in some ways he was very similar in his attitudes to the Eucharist especially within the last point where he changed his back to that of the Church. ...read more.

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