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Norma Diaz wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Would you please explain Transubstantiation?
  • How is Christ present in the Eucharist?

Thanks!

Norma
  { Would you please explain transubstantiation and how Christ is present in the Eucharist? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Norma —

Thanks for the question.

Here is a definition from the Catholic Encyclopedia and teachings from Catechism of the Catholic Church quoting the Council of Trent.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Transubstantiation

The change of substance of bread into the Body of Christ and wine into the Blood of Christ at the Consecration of the Mass. Although this fundamental doctrine of the Catholic Church was held by the faithful since apostolic days, the term “transubstantiation” was adopted by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, to describe the Eucharistic mystery. This was reinforced by the Council of Trent (1545-63), which spoke of “the wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance” of the Eucharistic elements.

Only a validly ordained priest can confect the Eucharist. Because of the reality of transubstantiation, reference to the Eucharistic Species as “bread and wine” is wrong. They are properly called the Body and Blood of Christ.

Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia. Copyright © 1994, Our Sunday Visitor.

Also from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 1376. "The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring:

"Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called:

Transubstantiation."

[Council of Trent (1551): DS 1642; cf. Matthew 26:26 ff.; Mark 14:22 ff.; Luke 22:19 ff.; 1 Corinthians 11:24 ff.]

CCC 1413. By the consecration, the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ Himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.

[cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651.]

After consecration, the Church teaches the:

  • substance of the unleavened bread becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus (John 6:51-70)
  • accidents of the unleavened bread remain the same, meaning the taste, touch, smell, or qualities of the unleavened bread.

The same is true for the consecrated wine:

  • substance of the grape wine becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus
    (John 6:51-70)
  • accidents of the grape wine remain the same, meaning the taste, touch, smell, or qualities of the grape wine.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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