A Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Corbie, in the present Department of Somme, one of the most important ecclesiastical authors of the ninth century, d. after 868. Scarcely anything is known of his life. His best known work is a treatise on the Holy Eucharist, entitled "De corpore et sanguine Domini". It was written at the instance of the Emperor Charles the Bald, against a work of the same title by Paschasius Radbertus. The basis of Ratramnus's work is an attempt to solve the two questions:
In the solution of the first question Ratramnus distinguishes correctly between the invisible substance, "invisibilis substantia", which, he says, is truly the body and blood of Christ, "vere corpus et sanguis Christi" (xlix), and the external appearances which after the consecration by the priest remain the same as they were before (ix-x). The second question he answers in the negative, stating that the Eucharistic Christ is not in everything identical with the historic Christ "who was born of Mary, suffered, died, was buried, ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father" (cap. lxxxix). The work had almost been forgotten during the Middle Ages. Attention was again called to it by Blessed John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, who cited it in defence of the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist in the preface to his work: "De veritate corporis et sanguinis Christi in Eucharistia adversus Joh. Œcolampadium" (Cologne, 1527). It was first printed with the wrong title: "Bertrami presbyteri ad Carolum Magnum Imperatorem" (Cologne, 1532). A wrong interpretation of the words "figura" and "veritas", and a few ambiguous passages have given rise to the opinion among a few Catholics and most Protestants that Ratramnus taught a merely symbolic presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Various German, French, and English translations made by the Sacramentarians only served to corroborate this opinion. For this reason it was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1559, but was removed in 1900. His best work, from a literary as well as a dogmatic standpoint, is "Contra Græcorum opposita Romanam ecclesiam infamantium, libri quattuor". It was written in 868 at the request of the bishops of the province of Reims, as a refutation of Photius who, in a letter to the King of Bulgaria, had fiercely assailed the "Filioque", the papal primacy, and various customs of the Latin Church. His earliest work, "De eo quod Christus ex virgine natus est liber", defends the Catholic doctrine that the birth of Christ occurred in a natural manner. In his work: "De prædestinatione, libri duo", he upholds the double predestination for salvation and damnation but not for sin. A treatise in defence of the expression "trina Deitas", against Hincmar, has been lost, and two dissertations "De anima" are still unprinted. His works are in "P. L.", CXXI, 1-346 and 1153- 6, his extant letters in "Mon. Germ. Epist.", VI, 149 sq.
St Roque Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online