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  #1  
Old Apr 29, '12, 7:50 pm
Sixpence Sixpence is offline
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Default Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

I have a very specific question, and I want to ask it as precisely as possible. But this is my first thread, so please bear with me.
Bread and wine are made up of various molecules, and at a more basic level, atoms and sub-atomic particles. I am wondering if Catholics believe that such particles are changed or replaced once consecrated.
So I'm clear (hopefully), I'm not asking what these particles appear to be upon closer inspection. That's super obvious. I am asking, point blank, whether the molecules/atoms of the bread and wine change or get replaced.
Also, I am not asking about substance. If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here.
Once again, I'm not asking about substance and I'm not asking about appearance. I'm asking whether particles (ie., atoms and molecules) are changed or replaced by different particles under the guise of the originals.
Thanks very much!
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  #2  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:01 pm
surritter surritter is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpence View Post
I have a very specific question, and I want to ask it as precisely as possible. But this is my first thread, so please bear with me.
Bread and wine are made up of various molecules, and at a more basic level, atoms and sub-atomic particles. I am wondering if Catholics believe that such particles are changed or replaced once consecrated...
As a Catholic, I'm glad that you are interested it this. But the way the question is posed is conflicting.
You write, "If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here."
A physical particle is not synonymous with substance. Rather, it has a substance.
Molecular/atomic particles would be explained in the same way we explain the larger, more commonly discussed "host": Those particles would simply have the physical appearances of bread. But their substance is not bread. I think that is the hurdle you are trying to get over.
So the molecules still look like bread molecules (OK, I know there are no bread molecules since it's a mixture, but you get the idea.) My point is that those molecules themselves are not really bread. Similarly, the molecules and atoms would appear to be the ingredients of bread in every physical test you can think of, but they are not bread. Sound confusing?

Realize that substance is the actual "is-ness" of something. Usually that is described by something's physical appearances. (If it quacks like a duck...) But there are things that have "is-ness" but no appearances. Sot the two are not necessarily always intertwined.
At the same time, we don't say that the molecules in the host are now the actual, physical molecules of Jesus' physical body. Some Catholics jump to that conclusion, insisting that the host contains His actual hair, toes, etc. But his physical, glorified body is in Heaven. (Remember that using the term physical means that it will pass the test of physics to say that it is a human body.) But it is a sacramental presence of His body and blood, and that sacramental presence has the same substance as His physical body, so they are the same in that "is-ness" sense.
Whew! You're asking for a whole library of Catholic thought and teaching!
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  #3  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:03 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpence View Post
I have a very specific question, and I want to ask it as precisely as possible. But this is my first thread, so please bear with me.
Bread and wine are made up of various molecules, and at a more basic level, atoms and sub-atomic particles. I am wondering if Catholics believe that such particles are changed or replaced once consecrated.
So I'm clear (hopefully), I'm not asking what these particles appear to be upon closer inspection. That's super obvious. I am asking, point blank, whether the molecules/atoms of the bread and wine change or get replaced.
Also, I am not asking about substance. If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here.
Once again, I'm not asking about substance and I'm not asking about appearance. I'm asking whether particles (ie., atoms and molecules) are changed or replaced by different particles under the guise of the originals.
Thanks very much!
You might get different opinions depending on who you ask. The fact is that formal Catholic teaching on this issue does not address modern ideas of atoms and molecules. It deals with these sorts of issues on an Aristotelian level, addressing questions of the identities and appearances of objects. At the consecration, the host and the contents of the chalice cease to be bread and wine and instead are henceforth the "body, blood, soul, and divinity" of Christ- in other words, the whole of the incarnate and resurrected Son of God. But the appearances to the senses of bread and wine remain.

Edit: I realize you are not asking about substance and accidents. Yet this level of consideration that you are not interested in is precisely the one that the Church is interested in and has beliefs concerning.
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  #4  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:12 pm
GEddie GEddie is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Atoms and particles are somewhat interchangeable. After all, the "stuff" of bread and wine was meant to go into our human bodies, with the same atoms forming new molecules.

So there is no need for the particles and atoms to change. Even in Eucharistic Miracles where the Host (containing as it does His life, soul, etc) converts to human flesh and blood, flesh and blood contain roughly the same "stuff " as the Host. The molecules might rearrange, but not necessarily change.

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Last edited by GEddie; Apr 29, '12 at 9:23 pm.
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  #5  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:14 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by surritter View Post
As a Catholic, I'm glad that you are interested it this. But the way the question is posed is conflicting.
You write, "If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here."
A physical particle is not synonymous with substance. Rather, it has a substance.
Molecular/atomic particles would be explained in the same way we explain the larger, more commonly discussed "host": Those particles would simply have the physical appearances of bread. But their substance is not bread. I think that is the hurdle you are trying to get over.
So the molecules still look like bread molecules (OK, I know there are no bread molecules since it's a mixture, but you get the idea.) My point is that those molecules themselves are not really bread. Similarly, the molecules and atoms would appear to be the ingredients of bread in every physical test you can think of, but they are not bread. Sound confusing?

Realize that substance is the actual "is-ness" of something. Usually that is described by something's physical appearances. (If it quacks like a duck...) But there are things that have "is-ness" but no appearances. Sot the two are not necessarily always intertwined.
At the same time, we don't say that the molecules in the host are now the actual, physical molecules of Jesus' physical body. Some Catholics jump to that conclusion, insisting that the host contains His actual hair, toes, etc. But his physical, glorified body is in Heaven. (Remember that using the term physical means that it will pass the test of physics to say that it is a human body.) But it is a sacramental presence of His body and blood, and that sacramental presence has the same substance as His physical body, so they are the same in that "is-ness" sense.
Whew! You're asking for a whole library of Catholic thought and teaching!
This seems like a decent exploration of the subject from a Catholic perspective, but remember not to separate the physical reality of the body of Christ that exists in heaven from the body of Christ that is present in the Eucharist. They are the same body. I imagine you know this, but the part of your post making a distinction between physical presence and sacramental presence could be interpreted in an either/or manner which would cause a person to conclude that Jesus is not physically present in the Eucharist or that the physical body present in the Eucharist is a different one than that which exists in heaven. This would be an error.
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  #6  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:27 pm
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

There are spiritual realities that are beyond the physical world.
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  #7  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:33 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

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Originally Posted by ConstantineTG View Post
There are spiritual realities that are beyond the physical world.
Though in the case of the the Eucharist we are talking about a reality that is both spiritual and physical. That kind of incarnational reality is the heart of Christianity.

As in the case of my response to surritter, I'm not implying that you meant to deny this. I'm just looking out for ways Sixpence or another reader might misinterpret statements.
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  #8  
Old Apr 29, '12, 9:45 pm
FMLJoliecouer FMLJoliecouer is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Oh my God....I am so confused. I think Id better read this thread when Im not tired and its my bed time. But what an interesting discussion.
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  #9  
Old Apr 30, '12, 12:32 am
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

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Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
Though in the case of the the Eucharist we are talking about a reality that is both spiritual and physical. That kind of incarnational reality is the heart of Christianity.

As in the case of my response to surritter, I'm not implying that you meant to deny this. I'm just looking out for ways Sixpence or another reader might misinterpret statements.
But here is the thing, those with Celiac Disease still cannot consume the Precious Body because their body will still react to the molecular structure of wheat (or however you want to phrase that in a scientific sense). Even though the bread itself has changed and is no longer there, there are certain physical realities that still cannot comprehend the deeper, spiritual reality.
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Old Apr 30, '12, 1:42 am
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Cool Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpence View Post
I have a very specific question, and I want to ask it as precisely as possible. But this is my first thread, so please bear with me.
Bread and wine are made up of various molecules, and at a more basic level, atoms and sub-atomic particles. I am wondering if Catholics believe that such particles are changed or replaced once consecrated.
So I'm clear (hopefully), I'm not asking what these particles appear to be upon closer inspection. That's super obvious. I am asking, point blank, whether the molecules/atoms of the bread and wine change or get replaced.
Also, I am not asking about substance. If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here.
Once again, I'm not asking about substance and I'm not asking about appearance. I'm asking whether particles (ie., atoms and molecules) are changed or replaced by different particles under the guise of the originals.
Thanks very much!
The Church teaches:
Quote:
1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.


A molecule or atom is not recognizable as bread or wine. It is recognized only as a molecule (glutelin, starch, alcohol, et cetera) or atom (carbon, oxygen, or what have you). It may be constituent in something that (metaphysically) maintains the Real Presence, but does not do so itself, any more than they might individually maintain the metaphysical reality of bread or wine apart from their constituency. Similarly, a molecule or atom of Christ's body or blood when he dwelt upon the earth would not be recognizable as Christ, apart from its constituency in the whole.

tee
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  #11  
Old Apr 30, '12, 2:00 am
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Marybeloved Marybeloved is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpence View Post
I have a very specific question, and I want to ask it as precisely as possible. But this is my first thread, so please bear with me.
Bread and wine are made up of various molecules, and at a more basic level, atoms and sub-atomic particles. I am wondering if Catholics believe that such particles are changed or replaced once consecrated.
So I'm clear (hopefully), I'm not asking what these particles appear to be upon closer inspection. That's super obvious. I am asking, point blank, whether the molecules/atoms of the bread and wine change or get replaced.
Also, I am not asking about substance. If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here.
Once again, I'm not asking about substance and I'm not asking about appearance. I'm asking whether particles (ie., atoms and molecules) are changed or replaced by different particles under the guise of the originals.
Thanks very much!
This question seems scientific. I'm not a scientist, I don't know that atoms and molecules are not "substance" (Are they not extant? Realities? Beings?). The Church actually does not teach specifics like you might think. All we know is that the reality of the Eucharist is Jesus Christ in his full hypo-static union, under the appearance of bread and wine. I don't know where the actual substance of bread and wine go, we say they are "changed" into Christ. How the Substance/reality of our Lord relates to the physical realities is a mystery, but at least we know it replaces the substance/reality of the bread and wine.
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  #12  
Old Apr 30, '12, 7:05 am
gcnuss gcnuss is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

I am following this discussion as one (a Lutheran) who, I think, understands the doctrine of transubstantiation even if it is not part of my beliefs.

It seems to me that one cannot insist on a scientific explanation of a metaphysical doctrine. There are different definitions of "substance." On the scientific side, substance is usually used to describe something that can be seen, touched, smelled, etc. From a metaphysical point of view, substance is (or can be) unrelated to the physical properties of an object but is attached to that object in a manner that is outside the understanding of science.

That's a brief look from outside the discussion.
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  #13  
Old Apr 30, '12, 2:02 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConstantineTG View Post
But here is the thing, those with Celiac Disease still cannot consume the Precious Body because their body will still react to the molecular structure of wheat (or however you want to phrase that in a scientific sense). Even though the bread itself has changed and is no longer there, there are certain physical realities that still cannot comprehend the deeper, spiritual reality.
I'm not sure what the relevance of Celiac Disease would be, since in any case a the person will end up with gluten in their blood stream just as someone receiving from the chalice will end up with alcohol in their bloodstream, even if there is no alcohol or gluten in the Eucharist itself. The Real Presence is no longer there when the accidents of bread and wine are gone. What you have instead is whatever you would have had if there had been no consecration.

Again, I'm not necessarily saying that there are no gluten or ethanol molecules in the Eucharist. I'm staying neutral on that question. But whether there is or not, if you received both species you will end up with both in your bloodstream, unless a gluten-free host or mustum is used.
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  #14  
Old Apr 30, '12, 2:09 pm
Cristiano Cristiano is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

The host is the glorified body of Christ. If the body physically present in the host? I would say yes, completely. However, we must be very clear that the glorified body is subject to the will and the will is not bound by the physical laws that are binding our mortal bodies and what surrounds us. This is one of the reasons why it is much more important to understand the concept of sacramental presence, because that it is what really matter to us when we receive communion.
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Old Apr 30, '12, 8:02 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: Do the atoms/molecules of the Host change/get replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpence View Post
I have a very specific question, and I want to ask it as precisely as possible. But this is my first thread, so please bear with me.
Bread and wine are made up of various molecules, and at a more basic level, atoms and sub-atomic particles. I am wondering if Catholics believe that such particles are changed or replaced once consecrated.
So I'm clear (hopefully), I'm not asking what these particles appear to be upon closer inspection. That's super obvious. I am asking, point blank, whether the molecules/atoms of the bread and wine change or get replaced.
Also, I am not asking about substance. If you believe molecular and atomic particles are synonymous with substance, that's the only way substance would be relevant here.
Once again, I'm not asking about substance and I'm not asking about appearance. I'm asking whether particles (ie., atoms and molecules) are changed or replaced by different particles under the guise of the originals.
Thanks very much!
Six,

Your question should be directed not at the formation of the bread and wine and the body and blood as atoms but rather their composition. So how should you look at this. I suggest that you consider that life is made up of biochemicals in particular Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and such.

In that regard you are looking at Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Phosphorous and Calcium. This is the composition of the body. Bread is Carbohydrate and wine is an alcohol. Bread has Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Calcium. Wine has Phosphorous and Calcium as well as Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. So all the elements are there. In God all things are possible.

Recall that Jesus turned water into wine and wine is called the blood of the grape.
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