Claims against the Real Presence through Transubstantiation


#1

Hi all,

I am in the process of converting to the Roman Catholic Church. I have believed in the idea of transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist for some time now. Today, I came across this article and I am not sure how to refute these claims. Though I believe the Church’s teachings, I have been struggling with doubts recently as to whether or not I should enter the Church this Easter. One of the claims that particularly caught my attention is #5. This article has only further confused me and I really need to clear these issues up so that I can have no doubt in my mind that I belong in the Catholic Church and I do believe that is where God wants me to be. Unfortunately, I just am not sure I am getting much out of the RCIA process–not that it is not great at the parish I attend, but there is so much material that it is more than necessary that I research many of these things on my own if I really want to learn. Thank you for all your help. God bless you all.

carm.org/transubstantiation


#2

You should do some research about eucharistic miracles. Just google “eucharistic miracles catholic church”.


#3

Yes, with wisdom, get understanding. As far as the Real Presence, I hope this tract helps:

catholic.com/magazine/articles/eucharistic-miracles-evidence-of-the-real-presence

Best,
Ed


#4

The Catholic Church is so deep, so beautiful and so inspiring that you will be spending the rest of your life getting to know and love the Faith more and more. I am nearly 80 years old, a life long Catholic, taught CCD for 20 years and I am still in awe at what I keep learning. And I hope that continues until the day I meet my Maker. Then I am sure HE will have many more awesome surprises in store for me. Will take an Eternity to enjoy. God Bless, Memaw


#5

I don’t think a Catholic should be getting info from the carm website. I believe that is run by Matt Slick and is for Lutherans and protestants.

If you are sincere about becoming Catholic you should have your RCIA director give you the names of good Catholic websites.


#6

You would do much better visiting other web sites to find your information.
Here is a response to a similar question from ‘Unabridged Christianity’ by Fr. Mario Romero:

‘Jesus was certainly really, truly, and entirely present to his Apostles at the
last Supper Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. As a matter of fact, at the Last Supper, his Body,Blood, Soul, and Divinity (his complete person) was able to interact with all who gathered for the meal. In Jesus’ words in all of the narrative accounts of the last Supper, he takes the bread and the cup and tells his followers: “This is my body, this is my blood.” He does not say that the bread and wine that he was to give them was to “represent” or “symbolize” his Body and Blood. Jesus’ Body and Blood were in glorified and risen form only after his Resurrection at Easter. What the Apostles ate and drank at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday was Jesus’ Body and Blood in the state that it was in at the moment, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. How did Jesus give his Body and Blood to his Apostles to eat on Holy Thursday before his Body and Blood were in glorified and risen form? Scripture doesn’t give us the mechanics of how Jesus did it, it only tells us that Jesus did it. The New Testament recounts scores of Jesus’ supernatural miracles without giving readers the details of how Jesus accomplished them, the reader is only informed that Jesus accomplished them. Remember the words of the angel Gabriel to the puzzled Virgin Mary: “For nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). In his commentary on the Last Supper St. Augustine (d. 430 A.D.) declared that, in a mystical way, Christ held himself in his hands at the Last Supper.
Jesus still had to die on the cross for our sins the next day in order to redeem the human race: “In Jesus} we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace…” (Eph 1:7, cf. also Heb 9:22). Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, thus, reconciled us to God and re-opened the gates of heaven that were closed by the sin of Adam and Eve (cf. Eph 2:13; Gen 3:1-24).’


#7

If any of you have any good website recommendations that can help explain any of these topics, please lead me to them. I came across this posting while trying to find the answer to a similar question and I was having difficulty finding a good Catholic website that answered my questions. I did not go solely looking for a Protestant website, it was just what came up. Thank you for your replies!!


#8

The above mentioned book that I quoted is a good one. It takes each core Catholic teaching and poses the multiple different questions that Protestants ask in regards to them.


#9

So, he accuses us of cannibalism, so were the early Christians. Also, wouldn’t Jesus have told His disciples they didn’t understand His words, if they had, instead of just letting them walk away.

60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirite and life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Here is a link …catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/is-the-eucharist-truly-jesus-body-and-blood


#10

I think arguments #1, #3 and #4 are a little silly because they are arguments from silence. Arguments that begin, “There is no indication that…” don’t really lead anywhere: “There’s no indication that the disciples didn’t think the Eucharistic elements were actually Fruit Loops.”

#2 is more interesting to me. I once heard a priest on EWTN say that he absolutely refused to use the “When we eat this bread and drink this cup…” option for the Mystery of Faith because he thought such as statement denied Transubstantiation–not even realizing that it’s a biblical quote from Paul. But IMO the argument doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of Christ’s presence in the elements, just that in some sense it still remains “bread and cup”–a transformation in signification not discernible to the senses, at a minimum.

#5 seems weak to me, actually. So the body of Jesus at the last supper was somehow a different body than the one that died? Isn’t it the same body?

#6 doesn’t work at all because Christians aren’t held to any portion of the Levitical law. This is very clear in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

#7 This one is probably the most interesting philosophically. When Jesus promises that he will be with his disciples until the end of the age (Matt 28:20) that promise doesn’t indicate to me that it’s only Jesus’ divine nature that will be present, as this argument would imply–because (the argument states) Jesus’ human nature can only be in one place at a time. If the person making this argument were here, I would ask them “where then is Jesus’ human nature now?” If the person answered “in heaven” I would say that it’s not in the nature of humans to exist in the supernatural realm. We aren’t present as a nature (and what would that even mean?), when we speak of personal presence, we speak of people. Philosophically, things can’t have two natures anyway, so that’s more of a problem with the philosophical language of Christianity than something specifically related to the Eucharist.

Just my thoughts on these arguments as arguments–which is what I think you’re asking for.


#11

Everyone has doubts. Don’t delay coming into the Church. You have a lifetime to learn and resolve your doubts!.


#12

CalCatholic, I will definitely check it out. I have been looking for a good book like that for a while now. Thank you very much!

Dave, yes this argument seems very weak to me too. The reason I pointed it out was mainly because it is an argument I have never heard before and I was not sure where to even go with it. & yes, your response was exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!


#13

I’m glad you brought this up! This is exactly the scripture that has kept me pursuing Catholicism! I really should have looked at this site through that lens and I think it could’ve saved me a lot of worries. :slight_smile:


#14

Don’t waste your valuable time looking at anti-Catholic, anti-Christian websites. There is much good reading here on this Catholic.com website and in the Catechism, available online.


#15

From a post on an earlier thread.

In John 6:53 the word for eat is “phago”, which could be metaphorical. BUT, in the following verses, 54-58, Jesus ramps it up, and changes the word that is translated as eat to the Greek word “trogo”. Trogo’s meaning is not just eat, more specifically it is to gnaw on something, like a dog gnaws a bone. And in koine Greek, it is NEVER used metaphorically.

The following is a link to an interesting article on that passage.matt1618.freeyellow.com/trogo.html

*And here is a quote from St. Irenaeus. The interesting thing about Irenaeus is that he was a disciple of St. Polycarp. And Polycarp just happened to be a disciple of some guy named John, who wrote some Gospel."So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ’s Blood and Body and is His member? As the blessed apostle says in his letter to the Ephesians, ‘For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones’ (Eph. 5:30). He is not talking about some kind of ‘spiritual’ and ‘invisible’ man, ‘for a spirit does not have flesh an bones’ (Lk. 24:39). No, he is talking of the organism possessed by a real human being, composed of flesh and nerves and bones. It is this which is nourished by the cup which is His Blood, and is fortified by the bread which is His Body. The stem of the vine takes root in the earth and eventually bears fruit, and ‘the grain of wheat falls into the earth’ (Jn. 12:24), dissolves, rises again, multiplied by the all-containing Spirit of God, and finally after skilled processing, is put to human use. These two then receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ."-“Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the FalselyNamed Gnosis”. Book 5:2,


#16

If you hold to the postion that Jesus was being figurative in John 6, ask yourself why did Jesus let all those followers walk away when they took Him literally? He takes the time to explain baptism to Nicodemus, and the parable of the sewer to the Apostles, but He is willing to let all those disciples walk away because they don’t understand Him?

As for the part on the link the OP provided where further on Jesus says the “flesh availeth nothing”, notice earlier he says My Flesh numerous times, but here he says “the flesh”. In this passage He is clearly not talking about His Flesh, but our flesh.


#17

Hi, Leigh, 2015 Edition.

Matt Slick is a slick talker, but not the best in apologetics, logic, or thinking.

Take the one that troubles you most, number 5. Slick conveniently forgets what happened at Passover. At Passover, a Lamb is sacrificed, the unblemished firstborn lamb, and that lamb is eaten. This lamb, of course, is a type and sign of the sacrifice Our Lord was to make. So, in a way, the Passover had been commemorating this for 2000 years already. It doesn’t prove it was literally Our Lord’s Body and Blood. But in that case, if this was already a symbol of His Death, why change it? Why change the words “this is the bread of affliction” to “this is my Body”?

Or take number one. Reading John 6 in context, “the words I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life” would seem to apply to the immediate context as well as anywhere. And in the immediate context, which Mr. Slick seems to ignore, he is asking us to “eat his flesh”. It’s unquestionable, given that He repeats it over and over, and each time makes it more explicit we are to eat, and then gnaw, His Flesh. Mr. Slick is right to say, as Our Lord said, " The Spirit gives life; the flesh is of no avail". However, it is “the flesh” - as St. Paul, St. John, and of course Our Lord uses the term - that refuses to eat the flesh of God. It is The Spirit, used in the same sense by the same people, that dines on the flesh of the Heavenly Jesus.

And that sixth one? Good Lord, Matt. If you’re going to cherry pick out of the Old Testament, don’t wear polyester or eat shellfish, either. Not that I think cannibalism is good, but if he’s going to base it on the fact that it’s in Leviticus, that just ain’t gonna fly, for the same reason Our Lord allowed His disciples to pick grain, or the same reason He healed chronic disease on the Sabbath. “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”.

Furthermore, even if what Mister Slick says is true, that the Sacrament violates the law, does he understand why it was the law? Blood is life. If you drink blood, you drink the life of a thing. At least, this was the mind of the Jews. That is why they never ate meat with blood in it, and slit the throats of their livestock rather than suffocating them. So, if blood is life, and Christ’s blood is God’s blood, do we not partake in the life of God? What could possibly be wrong with that?

And there’s a lot more so say regarding the Real Presence. Books have been written on the subject. The fine tracts here ought to be quite educational, and no doubt Ask An Apologist ought to be very enlightening on the subject. The Eucharist alone is an amazingly deep mystery.


#18

At the transfiguration, you read of Jesus with Peter, James, and John climbing the mountain, and suddenly Jesus is seen with a glory and radiance that equals who he really is. In other words, the disciples were seeing what is only seen in the full presence of God (as the Saints know things in heaven). The were seeing everything in the eternity of God, and not from their place on the earth. Then they saw Moses, then Elijah in this same presence there, seeing the way God sees in His eternity. They were not seeing resurrected or glorified Moses and Elijah. They were seeing the historical Moses and the historical Elijah, who had each climbed a mountain and were in the presence of God also, and also seeing as God sees. They were no longer “on the mountain” but in the presence of God as God knew the mountain and all the men standing there. It confirms what Jesus had also claimed, “Before Abraham was, I Am”.

The same happens in the Eucharist at the Mass. Jesus is “knowing” his body and blood sitting side by side on the altar, offered in sacrifice. And we all are knowing it there in union with his knowing. But it is not repeatedly his body and blood from Mass to Mass. It is the one body and blood that he knows, it is the night of his betrayal, and it is the cross, that Jesus is knowing at that moment, and we are knowing it with him. We are, like the disciples on the mountain, seeing reality like they did, from God’s vision. There is one sacrifice, and we are there. We are there each time we approach the altar. We are not eating and drinking it repeatedly at each Mass, but we are always there only once, with him. We are eating and drinking once, along with all Catholics from all time, even to the return of Christ. Each experience is not a new thing but a kind of re-living of the one experience for us, knowing in concert with Jesus’ knowing his own body and blood.

Physically eating this body and drinking this blood really do nothing for your body, your life. “The flesh profits nothing”. But knowing what Jesus knows, his words of what he knows the sacrament to really be, this is Life to you. So when you eat this flesh and drink this blood, you are knowing yourself with Jesus and all the Church on earth and in heaven, just as God knows. His words are Spirit and Life. You see and live with the sight and life of God when you hear his words, “This is my body”.


#19

Below was written by John Salza:

Most Protestants believe that the bread and wine offered by the Catholic priest in the Holy Mass are only symbols of Christ’s body and blood. They do not believe that Christians have to actually eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ to have eternal life. They do not believe that Christ’s flesh is actual food, and His blood actual drink. Why, then, does Jesus repeatedly say in these verses that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us? Why does Christ say that His flesh is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed, if His flesh and blood really aren’t food and drink indeed? This teaching of Jesus on the Eucharist is the most profound in all of Scripture, and these verses are very problematic to the Protestant contention that the bread and wine of the Mass are just symbols.

When John 6 is prayerfully read, we see how Jesus gradually teaches the faithful about the life-giving bread from heaven that He will give to the world (through the multiplication of the loaves, the reference to the raining manna given to the Israelites, and finally to the bread that Jesus will give which is His flesh). When the Jews question Jesus about how he could possibly give them His flesh to eat, Jesus becomes more literal in His explanation. Jesus says several times that we must eat (in Greek, “phago”) His flesh to gain eternal life (which literally means “to chew”).

When the Jews further question the strangeness of His teaching, Jesus uses an even more literal verb (in Greek, “trogo”) to describe how we must eat His flesh to have eternal life (which literally means “to gnaw or crunch”). The word “trogo” is only used two other times in the New Testament (Matt. 24:38; John 13:18) and it is always used literally (physically eating). Protestants are unable to provide a single example of where “trogo” is ever used in a symbolic sense. To drive His point home, Jesus says that His flesh is real food indeed, and His blood is real drink indeed (Jesus says nothing about the bread being a symbol of His body and blood).

What is perhaps most compelling about the foregoing passages is what happens at the end of Jesus’ discourse. We know that the Jews understood Jesus as speaking literally. This is demonstrated by their question, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” They could not conceive of why consuming Jesus’ flesh was life-giving and how they could possibly do such a thing. We also know that Jesus responds to their question by being even more literal about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. But we learn at the end of Jesus’ discourse that many of His followers, because of the difficulty of His teaching, decided to no longer follow Him – and Jesus let them go. Then He turned to His apostles and asked them, “Will you also go away?”

Would Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God who became man to save humanity, allow his followers to leave Him if they misunderstood His teaching? Of course not, especially when the teaching regarded how they were to obtain eternal life which was at the heart of Jesus’ mission. Jesus always explained the meaning of His teachings to His disciples. Mark 4:34. Jesus did not say, “Hey, guys, come back here, you got it all wrong.” He didn’t do this because they did not have it all wrong. They understood correctly – we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood, or we have no life within us. The Protestant who contends that the Catholic offering of bread and wine in the Mass is just a symbol (and does not miraculously become the body and blood of Christ through the actions of the priest acting “in persona Christi”) must address John 6:53-58, 66-67 – why Jesus used the words He did, and why Jesus allowed His followers to leave Him if they understood Him correctly (which is the only time in Scripture where Christ allows His disciples to leave Him based upon a doctrinal teaching).

When we meditate upon this mystery with an open mind and heart, we come to believe and know that the Eucharist is the way the Father gives us His Son in the eternal covenant of love by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is an extension of the Incarnation. If we can believe in the Incarnation (that God become a little baby), than believing that God makes Himself substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine is easy. The Church has thus taught for 2,000 years that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian faith – the consummation of the sacrificed Paschal lamb, by which we are restored to God and share in His divine life. Thus, Saint Paul says, “our Paschal lamb has been sacrificed; therefore, let us celebrate the feast.” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.


#20

In his fifth point, I think the author of the CARM article may have misunderstood the Church’s teaching on the transubstantiation at the Last Supper and the at Mass. From Pope Paul VI’s 1968 Credo of the People of God:

We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence.


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