Help with the doctrine of Transubstantiation


I’m in the process of explaining to a Protestant brother the idea of transubstantiation and the importance of the Eucharist as it pertains to salvation. I was wondering if some of my Catholic brothers and sisters would be so kind to direct me to video or essays that explain the biblical evidence for it, as well as any writings or teachings by the early Church Fathers in this regard.

I realize this website has a couple of writings on it, but I was hoping for maybe a video/audio lecture on the subject as well.

Thanks in advance.


Biblical evidence for transubstantiation is found in the Book of Wisdom.

*Instead of these things thou didst give thy
people food of angels,
and without their toil thou didst supply them
from heaven with bread ready to eat,
providing every pleasure and suited to every taste.
For thy sustenance manifested thy sweetness
toward thy children;
and the bread, ministering to the desire of
the one who took it,
was changed to suit every one’s liking
(Wisdom 16:20-21)

For the elements changed places with one another,
as on a harp the notes vary the nature of the rhythm,
while each note remains the same.
This may be clearly inferred from the sight of what took place.
For land animals were transformed into water creatures,
and creatures that swim moved over to the land.
Fire even in water retained its normal power,
and water forgot its fire-quenching nature.
Flames, on the contrary, failed to consume
the flesh of perishable creatures that walked among them,
nor did they melt the crystalline, easily melted
kind of heavenly food.
(Wisdom 19:18-21)*

It is right there in black and white for anyone to read, though the Protestant will likely not accept it.



What we really need is witness as to how the Eucharist changed our life, not an explanation of it. We need less apologetic and more witness.

You can explain something till you are blue in the face but opening up about how your life has changed because you meet Jesus in the Sacraments is going to get more attention than a bullet list of bible verses and technical explanations.



Fr. Barron has a DVD on the Eucharist you can find by googling.


This link is not to a video, but it has a lot of Scripture and Early Church fathers’ quotes. (The quotes from the fathers follows the Scripture section.)




Here is an explanation of “transubstantiation” that is very good. It begins with a question from a Protestant pastor. Bonocore’s response follows (black print).


Right on! Bingo! Amen!

Seriously, I would agree. Our tradition is such that questions and intelligent pondering are always welcome (Aquinas anyone?) However, it does come down to faith and witness of lives changed is more powerful than argument alone (Aquinas anyone?) :wink:

While he wrote volumes on doctrines, including the understanding of the blessed sacrament, St. Thomas’ witness was amazing. He would spend hours in prayer and meditation near the tabernacle. He would rest his head on the tabernacle when he needed inspiration! He wept with joy when he pondered the Eucharist!

I’ve heard so many stories of converts who wound up learning about the church, because they felt “something” in a catholic church they had not felt anywhere else. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton comes to mind. Many other saints have had deep devotions to Christ in the blessed sacrament- how can we not when we really think about it?

I myself, and many I know personally, have been blessed with a grace to be touched by Jesus in a special way when receiving communion. As an extraordinary minister of holy communion, I have become even more convinced of the reality of what we call the Real Presence.

The info, links, etc. others have provided are excellent, I would certainly check them out. And you could tell your friend, the church fathers in 150 AD were already writing about how the blessed sacrament is “the flesh of our savior.” This belief is nothing new but was around from day one.

But don’t forget to pray- ask the Lord to give you a greater understanding and awareness of his presence and pray for your friend!

God bless you.


Roll Tide, the Roman Catechism (the Catechism of the Council of Trent) has a good explanation of some of the details of the doctrine of transubstantiation in its chapter on the Eucharist. Check it out.


Quite possibly, you have done this already, but it might be useful to ask him why he doesn’t believe in it. My reason for suggesting this is that there is still quite a lot of anti-Catholic rhetoric which circulates in Protestant churches, and so he might have quite a few misconceptions about Catholic doctrine generally and also about particular Catholic beliefs (“Catholics worship Mary !!1!!”, etc). If you can find out what those are early in the conversation, it will probably go better for both of you.


[quote=RollTide1987]I’m in the process of explaining to a Protestant brother the idea of transubstantiation and the importance of the Eucharist as it pertains to salvation.

It also helps to get some perspective. Protestants DO believe in the Eucharist and the Real Presence. It is only SOME (mainly Baptists and non-denominational Evangelicals) that do not. What SORT of Protestant are you dealing with?


Great point!

Since the essence of protestantism is a lack of authority and a break from tradition, it is a gross generalization to say “protestants” believe x, y and z. One exception might be in saying “protestants believe the Catholic Church is in error and is not the true church…”

I’ve known Lutherans who say the Lord’s supper is symbolic and I’ve met non-denominational evangelicals who believe the little square communion wafers they pass around once a month actually become the Lord’s body, at least for a time.

Sadly, the same can be said for other central doctrines, such as “how are we saved?” or “can we lose our salvation?”

Pray for our protestant friends. I’ve met many sincere people who see that their (protestant) church is not the place to be but have been so poisoned toward the Catholic Church they cannot consider the truth. :frowning:


My experience tells me you are correct. However, it is easier to believe consubstantiation than transubstantiation IMO, even for Catholics. Especially for those who keep dwelling on the physical aspects of communion.


Since the essence of protestantism is a lack of authority and a break from tradition, it is a gross generalization to say “protestants” believe x, y and z. One exception might be in saying “protestants believe the Catholic Church is in error and is not the true church…”

Even that can not be said of all Protestants. Anglicans believe in the branch theory of Christianity, so that Anglicanism is a branch just like Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Therefore they would not say the Catholic Church is not the true Church, just that it is not the ONLY Church. Furthermore they would probably argue with your statement about breaking from tradition, as the founding principle of the Reformation was that Catholicism was the one that broke from tradition. IOW, NOTHING can be generalized about Protestants! :stuck_out_tongue:


Very few Catholics, IMHO, really understand Transubstantiation that well. What they DO understand is the Real Presence. Yes, you are correct, philosophically speaking consubstantiation is more reasonable than Transubstantiation. However, since the Church has authoritatively defined Transubstantiation as De Fide, that ship has sailed. :wink:


It is not “a lack of authority”, but “a difference of authority”, since almost every Protestant church has its own authority structures (exceptions including the Quakers and some of the Emergent Church groups).

As for believing the Catholic Church to be in error, it is fairly safe to say that we believe you to be in error about believing that we are necessarily in error :juggle:, but there can be a lot of agreement apart from that.


At least some of the Anglophones say they do. :slight_smile:

FWIW, Latin reference:


since almost* every Protestant church** has its own authority structures*

Exactly right; 30,000 authority structures does not a central authority make.

But this is getting a bit off-topic, no? Forgive me.


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