|An Introductory Extract from
THE MYSTERY OF FAITH
Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Paul VI
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, the third day of September, the Feast of Pope St. Pius
X, in the year 1965, the third year of our pontificate.
Venerable brothers, in this very matter which we are discussing, there are not lacking
reasons for serious pastoral concern and anxiety. The awareness of our apostolic duty does
not allow us to be silent in the face of these problems. Indeed, we are aware of the fact
that, among those who deal with this Most Holy Mystery in written or spoken word, there
are some who with reference either to Masses which are celebrated in private, or to the
dogma of transubstantiation, or to devotion to the Eucharist, spread abroad opinions which
disturb the faithful and fill their minds with no little confusion about matters of faith.
It is as if everyone were permitted to consign to oblivion doctrine already defined by the
Church, or else to interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the
words or the recognized force of the concepts involved.
To confirm what we have said by examples, it is not allowable to emphasize what is
called the "communal" Mass to the disparagement of Masses celebrated in private,
or to exaggerate the element of sacramental sign as if the symbolism, which all certainly
admit in the Eucharist, expresses fully and exhausts completely the mode of Christ's
presence in this sacrament. Nor is it allowable to discuss the mystery of
transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent stated about the marvelous
conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and of the whole substance of
the wine into the Blood of Christ, speaking rather only of what is called
"transignification" and "transfiguration," or finally to propose and
act upon the opinion according to which, in the Consecrated Hosts which remain after the
celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass, Christ Our Lord is no longer present.
Everyone can see that the spread of these and similar opinions does great harm to the
faith and devotion to the Divine Eucharist.
And therefore, so that the hope aroused by the council, that a flourishing of
eucharistic piety which is now pervading the whole Church, be not frustrated by this
spread of false opinions, we have with apostolic authority decided to address you,
venerable brothers, and to express our mind on this subject.
View the complete
text of Mysterium Fidei from EWTN Online Services ftp site.