Dear friend in Christ what are

Please share with us your understanding of Transubstantiation as it relates to the Doctrine of the “Real Presence”

here is the Catholic understanding:

“TRANSUBSTANTIATION. The complete change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood by a validly ordained priest during the consecration at Mass, so that only the accidents of bread and wine remain. While the faith behind the term was already believed in apostolic times, the term itself was a later development. With the Eastern Fathers before the sixth century, the favored expression was meta-ousiosis “change of being”; the Latin tradition coined the word transubstantiatio, “change of substance,” which was incorporated into the creed of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. The Council of Trent, in defining the “wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and the whole substance of the wine into the blood” of Christ, added “which conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation” (Denzinger 1652). After transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine do not inhere in any subject or substance whatever. Yet they are not make-believe; they are sustained in existence by divine power. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change + substantia, substance: transubstantiatio, change of substance.)”** From Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary

God Bless you


Before I take it upon myself to answer this question ( speaking only for myself, of course), allow me please to offer my compliments to the CAF staff and posters. Whether one is a Catholic or a Protestant, one is certainly kept on one’s toes as to offer an explanation for the faith that has been given to him/ her. People aren’t allowed to just say, " Some authority says it, I believe it, there’s an end to it," but must render an accounting. I fully respect that and with that being said, let me offer my own Confession’s take on both Transubstantiation and the Real Presence ( with which I fully agree, both personally and Confessionally).

*20] Dr. Luther has also more amply expounded and confirmed this opinion from God’s Word in the Large Catechism, where it is written: What, then, is the Sacrament of the Altar? Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. 21] And shortly after: It is the ‘Word,’ I say, which makes and distinguishes this Sacrament, so that it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called. the body and blood of Christ. 22] Again: With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. Now, here stands the Word of Christ: “Take, eat; this is My body. Drink ye all of this; this is the new testament in My blood,” etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. 23] It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word, or regard it without the Word, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.

24] Hence it is easy to reply to all manner of questions about which at the present time men are disturbed, as, for instance, whether a wicked priest can administer and distribute the Sacrament, and such like other points. For here conclude and reply: Even though a knave take or distribute the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who receives or administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be abused.

25] For the Word, by which it became a sacrament and was instituted, does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy, you will receive My body and blood, but: “Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood”; 26] likewise: “Do this” (namely, what I now do, institute, give, and bid you take). That is as much as to say, No matter whether you be worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood, by virtue of these words which are added to the bread and wine. This mark and observe well; for upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all error and temptation that have ever come or may yet come.*

In my understanding, Transubstantiation is a human attempt to understand or explain the mystery of the Real Presence. In my opinion, it falls short.

I prefer to simply call the Real Presence a mysterious Sacramental Union that is beyond any human understanding. Christ’s Body and Blood are made totally and completely present in every possible way - in, with, under, around, over, spiritually, physically, backwards, frontwards.

But St. Paul also calls the Body and Blood, “Bread and Wine,” so we cannot pretend they disappear (that’s where Transubstantiation falls short). So without creating a third substance, without co-mingling, without impanation and without consubstantiatial eating, we mysteriously consume what is transformed into the true Body and Blood of Christ.

In short, it’s best to know What is present and What it does than to try to explain how it comes to be. Let the Word work.

(I’m taking this is an interfaith question)
In the Lord’s Supper, the bread is blessed, and thus becomes blessed bread. It does not become flesh. We take this bread in remembrance of Him and renew our covenants.

92] For that we neither will, nor can, nor should allow ourselves to be led away by thoughts of human wisdom, whatever outward appearance or authority they may have, from the simple, distinct, and clear sense of the Word and testament of Christ to a strange opinion, other than the words read, but that, in accordance with what is above stated, we understand and believe them simply, our reasons upon which we have rested in this matter ever since the controversy concerning 93] this article arose, are those which Dr. Luther himself, in the very beginning, presented against the Sacramentarians in the following words (Dr. Luther in his Large Confession concerning the Holy Supper): My reasons upon which I rest in this matter are the following:

94] 1. The first is this article of our faith: Jesus Christ is essential, natural, true, perfect God and man in one person, inseparable and undivided.

95] 2. The second, that God’s right hand is everywhere.

96] 3. The third, that God’s Word is not false, nor does it lie.

97] 4. The fourth, that God has and knows of many modes of being in any place, and not only the single one concerning which the fanatics talk flippantly, and which philosophers call localem, or local.

98] Also: The one body of Christ [says Luther] has a threefold mode or all three modes of being anywhere.

99] First, the comprehensible, bodily mode, as He went about bodily upon earth, when, according to His size, He vacated and occupied space [was circumscribed by a fixed place]. This mode He can still use whenever He will, as He did after the resurrection, and will use at the last day, as Paul says, 1 Tim. 6:15: “Which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed God [and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords].” And to the Colossians, 3:4: “When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear.” In this manner He is not in God or with the Father, neither in heaven, as the mad spirits dream; for God is not a bodily space or place. And this is what the passages how Christ leaves the world and goes to the Father refer to which the false spirits cite.

100] Secondly, the incomprehensible, spiritual mode, according to which He neither occupies nor vacates space, but penetrates all creatures wherever He pleases [according to His most free will]; as, to make an imperfect comparison, my sight penetrates and is in air, light, or water, and does not occupy or vacate space; as a sound or tone penetrates and is in air or water or board and wall, and also does not occupy or vacate space; likewise, as light and heat penetrate and are in air, water, glass, crystal, and the like, and also do not vacate or occupy space; and much more of the like [many comparisons of this matter could be adduced]. This mode He used when He rose from the closed [and sealed] sepulcher, and passed through the closed door [to His disciples], and in the bread and wine in the Holy Supper, and, as it is believed, when He was born of His mother [the most holy Virgin Mary].

101] Thirdly, the divine, heavenly mode, since He is one person with God, according to which, of course, all creatures must be far more penetrable and present to Him than they are according to the second mode. For if, according to that second mode, He can be in and with creatures in such a manner that they do not feel, touch, circumscribe, or comprehend Him, how much more wonderfully will He be in all creatures according to this sublime third mode, so that they do not circumscribe nor comprehend Him, but rather that He has them present before Himself, circumscribes and comprehends them! For you must place this being of Christ, who is one person with God [for you must place this mode of presence of Christ which He has by His personal union with God], very far, far outside of the creatures, as far as God is outside of them; and again as deep and near within all creatures as God is within them. For He is one inseparable person with God; where God is, there must He also be, 102] or our faith is false. But who will say or think how this occurs? We know indeed that it is so, that He is in God outside of all creatures, and one person with God, but how it occurs we do not know; it [this mystery] is above nature and reason, even above the reason of all the angels in heaven; it is understood and known only by God. Now, since it is unknown to us, and yet true, we should not deny His words before we know how to prove to a certainty that the body of Christ can by no means be where God is, and that this mode of being [presence] is false. This the fanatics must prove; but they will forego it.

103] Now, whether God has and knows still more modes in which Christ’s body is anywhere, I did not intend to deny herewith, but to indicate what awkward dolts our fanatics are, that they concede to the body of Christ no more than the first, comprehensible mode; although they cannot even prove that to be conflicting with our meaning. For in no way will I deny that the power of God may accomplish this much that a body might be in many places at the same time, even in a bodily, comprehensible way. For who will prove that this is impossible with God? Who has seen an end to His power? The fanatics indeed think thus: God cannot do it. But who will believe their thinking? With what do they make such thinking sure? Thus far Luther.

104] From these words of Dr. Luther this, too, is clear in what sense the word spiritual is employed in our churches with reference to this matter. For to the Sacramentarians this word spiritual means nothing else than the spiritual communion, when through faith true believers are in the Spirit incorporated into Christ, the Lord, and become true spiritual members of His body.*

Now, I come reluctantly to where we Confessional Lutherans and the Catholics part ways in our understanding of Holy Communion and why, without direct and true reconciliation between our Churches, we can never truly share the same Table:
108] 1. The papistic transubstantiation, when it is taught that the consecrated or blessed bread and wine in the Holy Supper lose entirely their substance and essence, and are changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ in such a way that only the mere form of bread and wine is left, or accidentia sine subiecto (the accidents without the object); under which form of the bread, which nevertheless is bread no longer, but according to their assertion has lost its natural essence, the body of Christ is present even apart from the administration of the Holy Supper, when the bread is enclosed in the pyx or is carried about for display and adoration. For nothing can be a sacrament without God’s command and the appointed use for which it is instituted in God’s Word, as was shown above.

112] Accordingly, with heart and mouth we reject and condemn as false, erroneous, and misleading all Sacramentarian opiniones (opinions) and doctrines which are not in accordance with, but contrary and opposed to, the doctrine above presented and founded upon God’s Word:

113] 1. As when they assert that the words of institution are not to be understood simply in their proper signification, as they read, of the true, essential presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, but are to be wrested, by means of tropi (tropes) or figurative interpretations, to another new, strange sense. We hereby reject all such Sacramentarian opiniones (opinions) and self-contradictory notions [of which some even conflict with each other], however manifold and various they may be.

114] 2. Also, that the oral participation of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper is denied [by the Sacramentarians], and it is taught, on the contrary, that the body of Christ in the Supper is partaken of only spiritually by faith, so that in the Supper our mouth receives only bread and wine.

115] 3. Likewise, also, when it is taught that bread and wine in the Supper should be regarded as nothing more than tokens by which Christians are to recognize one another; or,
118] 7. Or that the body and blood of Christ cannot be received and partaken of otherwise than only spiritually, by faith.

119] 8. Likewise, when it is taught that because of His ascension into heaven Christ is so enclosed and circumscribed with His body in a definite place in heaven that with the same [His body] He cannot or will not be truly present with us in the Supper, which is celebrated according to the institution of Christ upon earth, but that He is as far and remote from it as heaven and earth are from one another, as some Sacramentarians have wilfully and wickedly falsified the text, Acts 3:21; oportet Christum coelum accipere, that is, Christ must occupy heaven, for the confirmation of their error, and instead thereof have rendered it: oportet Christum coelo capi, that is, Christ must be received or be circumscribed and enclosed by heaven or in heaven, in such a manner that in His human nature He can or will in no way be with us upon earth.

120] 9. Likewise, that Christ has not promised the true, essential presence of His body and blood in His Supper, and that He neither can nor will afford it, because the nature and property of His assumed human nature could not suffer or admit of it.

121] 10. Likewise, when it is taught that not only the Word and omnipotence of Christ, but faith, renders the body of Christ present in the Supper; on this account the words of institution in the administration of the Supper are omitted by some. For although the papistic consecration is justly rebuked and rejected, in which the power to produce a sacrament is ascribed to the speaking as the work of the priest, yet the words of institution can or should in no way be omitted in the administration of the Supper, as is shown in the preceding declaration.

122] 11. Likewise, that believers are not to seek, by reason of the words of Christ’s institution, the body of Christ with the bread and wine of the Supper, but are directed with their faith away from the bread of the Supper to heaven, to the place where the Lord Christ is with His body, that they should become partakers of it there.

123] 12. We reject also the teaching that unbelieving and impenitent, wicked Christians, who only bear the name of Christ, but do not have the right, true, living, and saving faith, receive in the Supper not the body and blood of Christ, but only bread and wine. And since there are only two kinds of guests found at this heavenly meal, the worthy and the unworthy, we reject also the distinction made among the unworthy [made by some who assert] that the godless Epicureans and scoffers at God’s Word, who are in the external fellowship of the Church, when using the Holy Supper, do not receive the body and blood of Christ for condemnation, but only bread and wine.

124] 13. So, too, the teaching that worthiness consists not only in true faith, but in man’s own preparation.

125] 14. Likewise, the teaching that even true believers, who have and keep a right, true, living faith, and yet lack the said sufficient preparation of their own, could, just as the unworthy guests, receive this Sacrament to condemnation.

126] 15. Likewise, when it is taught that the elements or the visible species or forms of the consecrated bread and wine must be adored. However, no one, unless he be an Arian heretic, can and will deny that Christ Himself, true God and man, who is truly and essentially present in the Supper, should be adored in spirit and in truth in the true use of the same, as also in all other places, especially where His congregation is assembled.


Even though doctrinaly i obviously do not agree, this is a VERY good explanation. Much like the explanation i heard from a Greek Orthodox priest. He gave the example of how manna(which means ‘what is it’?) fell from heaven and the Jews didn’t know what it was, they just gladly received it. Likewise, the Orthodox know they receive the Lord in communion, don’t really understand it because they cant possibly understand a mystery like this, yet gladly receive it in thanksgiving.

Our Blessed Lord has left us a wonderful Sacrament that strengthens faith, makes one conscious that his/ her sins have been forgiven and that they are truly incorporated into the Body of Christ. The Lord’s words are true and right and what he says, happens! How? Who cares? It happens because of His Word. We humans can try to understand those things that are not meant for us this side of Paradise, but we will fall short.

We eat and drink his Body and Blood in, with and under the Bread and Wine because we have been commanded to and again, because we are strengthened by it. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!


Can you explain what exactly is being said here?

I have heard that some Lutherans practice Eucharistic adoration.

And what is your practice in regards to the consecrated hosts that are not consumed during service?

Hopefully this is not off topic but it is all Eucharist so I think it’s permissible.


Sure. the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are truly and substantially present* in the Sacrament.* That’s it. When I worked with the Altar Guild in Florida, the extra wine was poured out onto the ground and the wafers were put away for future use.

I have no idea which Lutherans actually practice Eucharistic Adoration, but that is certainly a practice I’d never before heard being used by Lutherans.


Apparently it’s not widespread in Lutheranism but it does occur in some places. The feast of the Corpus Christi is something that was in practiced by your denomination for a while, then done away with post Luther as he apparently wasn’t a fan of it.

CofE did away with it, then reintroduced it later.

When you say the wafers are put away for future use, do you mean they are used in hospitals to commune the sick? Or are they used at the next service?

Thanks for your patience.

I hope you kept them separate from the unconsecrated hosts as our Altar Guild Manual requires. I have a post around here somewhere…

Well, we do it every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. That’s why we usually kneel and bow as we approach the rail. But some few Lutherans do practice it outside of the Divine Service.

Copying and pasting from previous posts of mine:

Lutherans typically do not reserve the Sacrament (some -perhaps many- do).

Lutherans who do not practice reservation of the Sacrament do not refrain from doing so because of any particular doctrine against it, but because they take very seriously Christ’s command to “Take, eat. Take, drink.” Christ doesn’t say anything about “Take, eat some now, and save some for later,” so in typical Lutheran fashion, they don’t put a comma where they understand God to have put a period. Instead, they simply avoid having any leftover altogether. Churches I’ve worshiped at have a simple practice - the elders count how many members are present so no more bread or wine than necessary is consecrated.

If a member is in the hospital or otherwise unable to make it to Divine Service, the pastor typically visits and consecrates the elements on-site, both so as not to subject His Body and Blood to being rather unceremoniously carted around all day as they visit shut-ins (and potentially spilled or dropped! ), and so that the consecration takes place in the presence of the communicant. This is thought to be more in line with Christ’s command, not to mention more pastoral (who doesn’t like a one-on-one visit from their pastor? ).

In short, the traditional Lutheran practice of not reserving the Sacrament is done totally out of reverence for His Body and Blood… If I ever met a person who did not hold such reverence for the Eucharist, yet claimed to be Lutheran, we would have words.

At churches where I’ve worshiped, any remaining Blood in the chalice is either consumed by the pastor or properly disposed, and anything remaining of His Body is either stored separately from the unconsecrated hosts or properly disposed. I know when my father’s congregation (he’s an LCMS pastor) was building a new church a few years ago, members made a particular point to add a piscina, which had been lacking from the original church (a terrible oversight of that hideous 1980’s bunker-church construction! ).

On proper disposal of the elements:
This is typically done via the traditional usage of a piscina and sacrarium. From The Altar Guild Manual: Lutheran Service Book Edition (wording unchanged, emphasis mine):
If any of the Lord’s body and blood remains, they can be disposed of in a number of ways. The best way is to consume the remaining elements, since the Lord said, “Take and eat … Take and drink,” and did not provide for anything that was left over. There is historic precedent for reserving the remaining elements against the next communion. The hosts can be stored in a pyx or ciborium (apart from unconsecrated hosts), the blood of the Lord in a suitable cruet or flagon (apart from unconsecrated wine). What remains in the chalice, however, should either be consumed or poured into the piscine or onto the ground, since there may be crumbs or other foreign matter in it. The reserved elements may then be kept in the sacristy or placed on the altar or credence and covered with a white veil. It is un-Lutheran and irreverent to place unused elements in the trash or to pour the remainder of what is in the chalice or flagon into the common drain.

And from the “Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper,” as prepared by the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations:

B.2.c. Post Communion Reverence
The consecrated elements which remain after all have communed should be treated with reverence. This reverence has been expressed by Lutherans in various ways. Some have followed the ancient practice of burning the bread and pouring the wine upon the earth. Others have established a basin and drain-piscina-specifically for disposal for the wine. The elders or altar guild may also return the consecrated bread and wine to specific containers [a pyx or ciborium, separate from unconsecrated elements] for future sacramental use, or the elders and pastor can consume the remaining elements. All of these practices should be understood properly.

The dogma of Transubstantiation is a Catholic response abuses and denials of the sacrament of the altar.

It’s a bit lacking as some aspects of our faith are true mysteries - but if understood as a bulwark against heresy, then it’s good for Catholics.

Lutherans tend to prefer to say that the mystery is indeed a mystery. Though we do teach various ways of understanding the eucharist, we don’t make the explanation itself a dogma.

Color me surprised that you even felt you had to point that out. Of course they were separated. I will say that the wine put in the little micro- shot glasses were poured back into a wine bottle, while the wine in the chalice was poured out on the ground.

I thought we bowed out of respect for the Lord’s presence at His Altar, but I guess Eucharistic Adoration works, too.

What is blessed bread? Is this blessing on the bread at the Lord’s Supper the same blessing that you ask for over your food at normal mealtimes?

Jesus said, “This is my body.” That is as literal as it can get. Anyone here who says it is symbolic and not His Body is not preaching truth.


Please explain then, what is blessed bread? How is it different than the blessing over regular everyday food? Is it symbolic bread, commemorating Jesus eternal sacrifice?

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

The is the Sacramental blessing on the bread. Partaking of the Sacrament (aka the Lord’s Supper) is a renewal of all the promises we have made with God, us taking upon His name. The bread is a symbol, but it is not a meaningless inert symbol.

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