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  #1  
Old Nov 16, '10, 11:31 pm
mattscottm mattscottm is offline
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Join Date: November 16, 2010
Posts: 2
Religion: Catholic
Default How can science help us to understand transubstantiation?

Greetings,
I am currently enrolled in RCIA at St. Francis Solano in Sonoma, Ca. (Diocese of Santa Rosa). My question is regarding the Church's teaching of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
I'm clear about what St. John writes, reporting what Jesus said about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. I am also clear that with the exception of a few heresies that the Real Presense has been taught from the early church fathers to the Counsel of Trent and on until today. This information was provided to me by the two priests at St. Francis and through the RCIA classes.
However none of this changes the fact that when properly consecrated bread and wine is examined in a modern laboratory at a chemical and or a subatomic level, precisely nothing has changed ... it is just bread and wine.
Thus my question. How can this be reconciled? How does an intelligent person approach this? Obviously St. Thomas Aquinas and others did not have modern scientific equipment or methods to discover what we know today. How might their opinions differ, if at all, in the light of today's scientific evidence against the doctrine of transubstantiation.
Your assistance with this would be most appreciated. This is the single block that I have remaining on my path to conversion. I simply must find a way through it. Any recommendations for recent (specifically not historical) apologetics that take into account modern science would be a God-send.
Thank you so very much for your time and attention,
May God richly bless you,

Last edited by Fr. Vincent Serpa; Nov 17, '10 at 11:24 am.
  #2  
Old Nov 17, '10, 11:11 am
Fr. Vincent Serpa Fr. Vincent Serpa is offline
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Join Date: May 4, 2004
Posts: 4,489
Default

Hi,

Saint Thomas would not have been helped by modern science if it had been present in his time. The question is a theological one and science doesn’t have the tools to determine theological matters. He used Aristotelian philosophy as a tool which works quite well. The substance or essence (that which makes a thing what it is) of the bread and wine changes, while the accidents or non-essentials (the appearance and all that is physically measurable) remain the same. There is no physical way of determining the change. There never was. It remains a matter of faith for us—no less than it was for the apostles.

When so many of His disciples left because they couldn’t accept the idea of consuming His flesh and blood (Jews were not allowed to consume ANY kind of blood), Jesus turned to the twelve and said: “Will you also go away? Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” Jn 6: 68. The apostles didn’t understand any more than those who left understood. But they trusted Him because they loved Him. They couldn’t prove that a change would take place that couldn’t be verified by physical examination. Nor can we. The question remains, do we love Him enough to trust Him in this. For over two thousand years millions of Catholics have.

I do pray that, after considering the fact that God would allow Himself to be tortured and put to death by people He created from nothing-because of a love so beyond our minds to fathom, you will be one of them.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Last edited by Fr. Vincent Serpa; Nov 17, '10 at 9:03 pm.
 

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