Ask An Apologist Answer: Wrong? (Because I'm confused now...)


#1

*Jesus is present in the Eucharist sacramentally and not physically. We don’t eat a part of His body. He is present under the appearances of bread and wine. So we are not eating meat when we sacramentally receive His body and blood.

At the Last Supper Jesus was present to Apostles both physically and sacramentally. They saw His physical body before them and then received His body and blood sacramentally. He is present to us only sacramentally.*

Link To The Question/Answer That Was Posted Yesterday

I understand this is a difficult question to answer, and I’m honestly not trying to Fr. Vincent Serpa of anything here…but while I understand what he was trying to say, I’m just not sure his answer was technically correct. Can someone back me up here, or am I confused? :rolleyes:


#2

The Catholic Church teaches that Christ is indeed physically present in the Eucharist: including flesh, blood, bones, hair, etc…

Catechism of the Council of Trent:

(in this sacrament are contained) “. . . all the constituents of a true body, such as bones and sinews. . . .”

catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/catechism/Holy7Sacraments-Eucharist.shtml

I am often amazed when I hear well catechised Catholic claim otherwise. But it is true that most Catholics do indeed believe otherwise.


#3

I think this might be a difference in how the term physical is used here. Physical was never used in the past because physicality relates to the accidents of something, not the substance. Even today, if you say that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist you would expect that Christ’s physical DNA is there, but it’s not. If you were to test the Eucharist you would find the DNA of wheat and grapes.

So I don’t think the distinction that Fr. Serpa is trying to make has to do with denying that the fullness of Christ’s body is the substance of the Eucharist, but rather to point out that the physicality of the bread and wine doesn’t go away, but rather the substance, the “whatness” of it. We are not physically eating flesh and blood because there is no flesh and blood there physically, just substantially.

There ARE Eucharistic miracles in which the physicality of flesh and blood came with the substance, but they are rare exceptions.

Peace and God bless!


#4

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.”

1381 “That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood is something that ‘cannot be apprehended by the senses,’ says St. Thomas, ‘but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.’ For this reason, in a commentary on *Luke *22:19 (‘This is my body which is given for you.’), St. Cyril says: ‘Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for since he is the truth, he cannot lie.’”

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art. Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived;
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.

1406 Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; . . . he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and . . . abides in me, and I in him” (*Jn *6:51, 54, 56).

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).

What a great mystery this all is.


#5

I was thinking about it some more and I looked up in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a clearer answer.

  1. How is Christ present in the Eucharist? Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, this is, the the Eucharistic species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man.
  1. What is the meaning of transubstantiation? Transubstantiation means the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his Blood. This change is brought about in the eucharistic prayer through the efficacy of the word of Christ and by the action of the Holy Spirit. However, the outward characteristics of bread and wine, that is the “eucharistic species,” remain unaltered.

Also father Serpa is correct that you aren’t eating one piece of Christ, it all of him. It’s not like a fingernail or a piece of hair.

  1. Does the breaking of the bread divide Christ? The breaking of the bread does not divide Christ. He is present whole and entire in each of the eucharistic species and in each of their parts.

I agree with you that his post is really confusing. I also agree with the poster that I doubt that he is intentionally meaning that Christ isn’t truly present.


#6

No, you are equating “physically” with “all the constituents of a true body”, and thus coming to a false conclusion. All the constituents of a true body are present, but not in the manner we would understand by the term “physically”. That is why the more accurate terms “sacramentally”, “really”, or “substantially” present are used by the Church.


#7

I am fond of this mystery, as expressed by Pope Paul VI of Blessed Memory in Mysterium Fidei:

Non enim sub praedictis speciebus iam latet quod prius erat, sed aliud omnino; et quidem non tantum ob fidei Ecclesiae aestimationem, sed ipsa re, cum conversa substantia seu natura partis et vini in corpus et sanguinem Christi, nihil panis et vini maneat eisi solae species; sub quibus totus et integer Christus adest in sua physica «realitate» etiam corporaliter praesens, licet non comodo quo corpora adsunt in loco.

For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical “reality,” corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.

tee


#8

That much at least is correct. We’re not eating Jesus’s finger or Jesus’s tibia or Jesus’s calf muscle. The Eucharist is the whole Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.


#9

A whole and true body is present in the Eucharist.

If you want to define “physically” present in some other fashion using twisting semantic arguments, that is your business. The word means something outside of our own personal definitions.

To say Christ is present bodily, but not physically right there, is only to seek to confuse and dodge. This thread is an example of the outcome.

All the constituents of a true body are present, but not in the manner we would understand by the term “physically”.

Is not Christ’s body a physical body? What did He say to Thomas?

This is all very silly word play.

As EWTN witnesses:

“We know that although Christ is spiritually present as God everywhere around us, He is also physically present nearby in His Body and Blood, God and man. In every tabernacle in every Catholic Church in the world, this same infinite, eternal, omnipotent and all-loving God/man is really physically present just as He was after the Resurrection. He is available to us. We can enter His physical presence and be as close to him as the Apostles were during His life. Whereas they saw Him with their eyes, we can see Him with the eyes of faith. We need only enter a Catholic Church and we enter the physical presence of the mighty king, Lord of the Universe who lived as a humble village carpenter, suffered, died and rose again for us.”

ewtn.com/faith/Teachings/incaa3.htm

I always wonder why so many devout Catholics really do not like their own church’s teachings.


#10

I agree that the response by Father Vincent seems very confusing.

I hope he will come by to clarify his meaning, and supply quotes from the Catechism and other documents to support a better understanding of his meaning.


#11

First of all, learn to discuss a point without being ill-mannered.

Secondly, physical bodies don’t pass through walls, but Christ’s risen body did. Physical objects don’t reside in heaven, but Christ’s body does. So Christ has a whole and true and real body, but that body is no longer bound to the physical laws. It is no longer subject to physical limitations or constraints. Thus it is not a “physical” body.

To say Christ is present bodily, but not physically right there, is only to seek to confuse and dodge. This thread is an example of the outcome.

See above note about your manners.


#12

Please do not falsely charge me with being “ill mannered.” That is silly, Mike.

I stated nothing but facts. I was not rude or insulting.

Secondly, physical bodies don’t pass through walls, but Christ’s risen body did.

Please cite the Scripture where it says Jesus passed through walls.

You are in error.

Also, can physical bodies walk on water, walk through fire, and teleport?

Physical objects don’t reside in heaven, but Christ’s body does.

We should not so easily forget Enoch and Elijah.

Plus, it is your own opinion that physical objects do not reside in Heaven. There is no need to resort to incredibly wild speculation.

So Christ has a whole and true and real body, but that body is no longer bound to the physical laws. It is no longer subject to physical limitations or constraints. Thus it is not a “physical” body.

This is only contradiction, Mike.

Please note that you are making the argument that Christ’s body of true flesh and bones is NOT physical. This is a gnostic heresy, yet you promote here on Catholic Answers.

See above note about your manners.

Please address my posts without climbing on such a high soap-box and claiming moral superiority. Come down from there before you get a nose bleed.

Please report my posts to the moderators if I have broken the rules.

If I have not broken the rules, why would you then charge me with vice?


#13

I’ll continue to discuss with you when you can behave yourself better. Assuming they let you stay around long enough.


#14

I’ll give you a dollar if you can find the word *physical *or *physically *next to the word *present *or *presence *(in either order) in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

tee


#15

I think Jesus showed quite well how physical his body was. He showed the Apostles he had flesh and bones, and that he could consume food. That he could pass through a closed door was a product of the glorification of his body (1 Cor 15). His body was not subject to the flesh, but subject to the spirit.

When Jesus walked on water, it was a manifestation of his control over nature and the laws of the universe (because he is outside them if he so chooses, being their Author). When Jesus was Transfigured before the three Apostles, that was a prophecy of his glorified body in Heaven (where the righteous shine like the sun). When Jesus walked through the door, when he disappeared from the sight of the disciples, when he ascended into heaven, this was his body doing these things because it had been glorified through the Resurrection.

Consider this: the bread and wine do not become the “normal” flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, they are the Glorified, Resurrected Body and Blood, and thus are supernatural (moreso than before the Resurrection).


#16

This is actually quite simple and has nothing to do with word play or otherwise. Much like the concept of the Trinity, transubstantiation is a mystery. I would encourage readers to be careful here and not cherry pick from councils, encyclicals or even the CCC (let alone EWTN). Likewise, I would further caution against assuming that by calling it a “mystery” a Catholic is “copping out” of a meaningful response. When it is a “mystery,” it is a humble, prayerful recognition of a lack of complete understanding, but at the same time a devout appreciation for the grace found through the sacrament.

Regardless, the bottom line on this issue is simple, and is well put by Fr. Serpa: Jesus asks for our trust. John 6 illustrates the need for this trust in the Eucharist-- indeed, the command for it, and even a detailed discussion of what transubstantiation consists of. What we KNOW, and what Fr. Serpa said, is what Jesus promised. We are asked…ironically in the context of this discussion…to have faith in that promise.

Pray on the mystery. As a Catholic you are invited to receive the Body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians). And rejoice at having the living Christ within you.

G.


#17

Atemi, you have misinterpreted things. Christ is not physically present as in you are chewing on the flesh of a human. Christ is substantially present. What the council of Trent declares is that Christ is ‘really, truely, and substantially’ present in the Eucharist. That is not the same as saying Christ is physically present. To say that Christ is physically present would be to say that you hold Christ as He is in heaven. Christ is physically present in heaven. There is no such thing as accidents with a physical presence, you see what it is. A physical presence would also mean that Christ would loss Himself, He would be eaten. None of the councils teach that Christ is ‘physically’ present. To say that Christ is substantially present is to say that Christ in His very essence, ‘body, blood, soul, and divinity’ is present in the Eucharist. The council of Trent is infallible, the catechism is not. If its catechism contradicts the council then it is wrong.

Atemi, you should avoid arrogance. You sound arrogant. You should assume that the Catholics on this forum know their own faith far better than you, a non-Catholic, know Catholicism.


#18

Atemi, you misinterpreted the catechism of Trent text. The purpose of the text was to say that Christ is entirely present in the Eucharist without exception. There is no part of Christ that is not present in the Eucharist. But not only is Christs entire body and blood present, but also His soul and divinity are present according to concomitance as the Catechism of Trent goes on to say in the next section. Further, not only is Christ present in the Eucharist entirely, He is present in each part of the Eucharist entirely. He is entirely present in every single drop of the cup, and in every single crumb of the body. But it goes on to say that Christ is not present according to the mode of place nor is it a matter of quantity. One drop of the cup contains the whole Christ, yet by recieving two drops you do not recieve two Christs.

‘Nor should it be forgotten that Christ, whole and entire, is contained not only under either species, but also in each particle of either species. Each, says St. Augustine, receives Christ the Lord, and He is entire in each portion. He is not diminished by being given to many, but gives Himself whole and entire to each.’

Here is a good statement of what the Eucharist is from the catechism of Trent.

This conversion, then, is so effected that the whole substance of the bread is changed by the power of God into the whole substance of the body of Christ, and the whole substance of the wine into the whole substance of His blood, and this, without any change in our Lord Himself. He is neither begotten, nor changed, not increased, but remains entire in His substance.


#19

I think the answer has been rephrased to clear up your confusion.

Jesus is present in the Eucharist sacramentally and not physically in the sense thatwe eat a part of His body such as a finger or hair. He is present under the appearances of bread and wine. So we are not eating meat when we sacramentally receive His body and blood.

At the Last Supper Jesus was present to Apostles both physically and sacramentally. They saw His physical body before them and then received His body and blood sacramentally. He is present to us only sacramentally.


#20

Council of Trent

On the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.

In the first place, the holy Synod teaches, and openly and simply professes, that, in the august sacrament of the holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things. For neither are these things mutually repugnant,-that our Saviour Himself always sitteth at the right hand of the Father in heaven, according to the natural mode of existing, and that, nevertheless, He be, in many other places, **sacramentally present **to us in his own substance, by a manner of existing, which, though we can scarcely express it in words, yet can we, by the understanding illuminated by faith, conceive, and we ought most firmly to believe, to be possible unto God: for thus all our forefathers, as many as were in the true Church of Christ, who have treated of this most holy Sacrament, have most openly professed, that our Redeemer instituted this so admirable a sacrament at the last supper, when, after the blessing of the bread and wine, He testified, in express and clear words, that He gave them His own very Body, and His own Blood; words which,-recorded by the holy Evangelists, and afterwards repeated by Saint Paul, whereas they carry with them that proper and most manifest meaning in which they were understood by the Fathers,-it is indeed a crime the most unworthy that they should be wrested, by certain contentions and wicked men, to fictitious and imaginary tropes, whereby the verity of the flesh and blood of Christ is denied, contrary to the universal sense of the Church, which, as the pillar and ground of truth, has detested, as satanical, these inventions devised by impious men; she recognising, with a mind ever grateful and unforgetting, this most excellent benefit of Christ.


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