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Corpus Christi

festival and council

CORPUS CHRISTI, Festival of, a holiday instituted by the Roman Catholic Church in honor of the mystery of the Eucharist, ob served on the first Thursday after Trinity Sun day. Its observance began in the diocese Liege while the archdeacon of that diocese was James Pantaleon, who afterward became Pope Urban IV. In 1264 Urban composed a bull ordering throughout the Church the celebration. of •the festival on the Thursday following the first Sunday after Pentecost: the bull seems not to have been promulgated save, perhaps in the city of Rome, for though the festival was duly observed by the Pope and his court, no proof ex ists of its celebration on that year or after for a long time in other parts. The proximate occa sion of Urban's act was the reported occur rence of a miracle at Bolsena in the Papal do minion, when a priest in saying the mass acci dentally spilled out of the chalice some drops of the sacramental species of wine and tried to cover it up with a linen cloth: forthwith the cloth was covered with red spots in the form of the sacred host. The bull of Urban was

revived at the Council of Vienne, 1311, by Clement V. The procession of the Host in con nection with the festival was instituted by Pope John XXII and succeeding pontiffs down to the Council of Trent were zealous for the observance of the holiday. The Council of Trent declared the institution to be triumph over heresy regarding the doctrine of the Eucharist. At the Reformation it was one of the first holidays abolished by Luther. procession is eliminated even by Catholic com munities in places where there is strong of religious sentiment.