Testing the Eucharist for DNA


#1

Hi everyone. DH & I just finished up a series of discussions with some people from our former protestant church who are trying to convince us not to become Catholic. (They think we’re a lost cause, and won’t come over to discuss it anymore, which is a shame. We can keep up the debate over email, however.)

When we brought up the Real Presence, they said, “Oh, that’s easy to verify! Just test some for DNA. There should be human DNA in it. Otherwise, the doctrine is false.”

Has anyone heard of such a test being done, or is it simply forbidden? What is a good response to this assertion?

Thanks!

Janelle


#2

Testing for DNA in the Eucharistic species would mean a complete misunderstanding of the meaning of transubstantiation!

You see, if human DNA were found in the Eucharist, it would mean that transubstantiation is false. Because it would mean that the appearances of bread and wine do NOT remain!

But they do. Christ is present *under the appearances * of bread and wine. Any testing whatsoever of the Eucharist should perceive nothing but evidence of bread and wine.

That is what we mean by the appearances of bread and wine. The appearances are whatever is perceptible to the senses (and by extension–perceptible to any scientific instrument.)

UNDER the appearances, unseen and not perceptible to us or any scientific instrument, is the reality of Jesus Christ, whole and entire, body and blood, soul and divinity.

[Incidentally, this is why I do not like to use the Eucharistic miracles as evidence to support the Eucharist. Because they represent the isolated instances in which the appearances DO change. And that doesn’t happen in transubstantiation.]


#3

DNA would fall under “accidents”, and Catholics don’t believe that the accidents usually change. DNA isn’t part of the “is” of something, it’s a trait that’s subordinate to the “is”. The substance is the “is”, and hence “transubstantiation”.

Here’s a little illustration that might help you out, or might confuse you more, but it’s worth a shot :smiley: It’s not a perfect example, and it has some definate flaws, but it might get you going in the right direction.

Imagine your mother. Imagine all her features, her personality, her personhood. Now, we would all agree that you are indeed imagining your mother, in that the woman in your head is most definately your mother and not anything else, but the “mother in your head” is made up of electrical signals in your brain, whereas your mother is usually made up of atoms and walks and talks on her own. Both people, the person in your memory, and the person walking around, are your mother, but they have distinctly different “accidents”, or ways in which they present themselves; one is memory made up of electro-chemical impulses, and the other is a carbon-based lifeform with a human soul. You know that you are remembering your mother, however, because the “is” is the same, the underlying fact of the person is the same. You aren’t imagining anyone else, and you certainly aren’t thinking of electro-chemical impulses.

Remember, this isn’t an exact depiction of what’s happening with the Eucharist, but it helps to illustrate that the non-essential features of something aren’t the basis by which we identify it. A more direct correlation might be hearing a person’s voice over a speaker, and hearing it directly. The accidents are different, as one is in the form of an electrical impulse through a machine, and the other is in the form of the vibrations of their throat, but both are absolutely the voice of the person. The substance is the same.

In the Eucharist, the substance of the person that is Jesus, the Son of God, comes to us through the accidents of bread and wine. Your Protestant friends are mistaking the accidents for the substance, which is completely absurd when put in the context of everyday things like memories and recorded speech.

That being said, there have been times in history when the accidents did indeed change, and they are recorded and preserved. You can begin reading about them here. In particular the Miracle of Lanciano is well studied and documented, and continues to be evaluated by scientists. By the way, if you’re curious, Jesus apparently had AB blood (the rarest blood type), as the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oveido (the actual cloth that covered the face of the dead Jesus), and the Eucharist of Lanciano all have AB blood, and they were around long before blood type was known about.

God bless!


#4

Your friends assume that Jesus’ presence is always recognized by his appearance. However, this is a false assumption. On the road to Emmaus on the day Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus met two disciples and, Scripture says, “[size=2]But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:15)

In support of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist I offer the following Scripture passages:

16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)

[size=2][/size]27Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

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#5

Ruin their day and tell them about Lanciano!


#6

[quote=janelle]Hi everyone. DH & I just finished up a series of discussions with some people from our former protestant church who are trying to convince us not to become Catholic. (They think we’re a lost cause, and won’t come over to discuss it anymore, which is a shame. We can keep up the debate over email, however.)

When we brought up the Real Presence, they said, “Oh, that’s easy to verify! Just test some for DNA. There should be human DNA in it. Otherwise, the doctrine is false.”

Has anyone heard of such a test being done, or is it simply forbidden? What is a good response to this assertion?

Thanks!

Janelle
[/quote]

Tell her that by her standards it should also be easy to test whether Christ was God, just test the blood of the shroud of Turin, if it turns up as Gods then it is God if it doesn’t then Christ was not God. This is obviously assuming that she believes the shroud to be real.

It has been done. There have been several miracles in the past. I think one was called Lanciano in the 800’s in which the Eucharist actually turned into human tissue, in appearance as well. I think tests have been done on it and it turns out that it is heart tissue.


#7

Yep,
therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html.

That is over 1200 years old. It happened to a priest who was in Lanciano, Italy who was doubting that the bread & wine were really being consecrated into the Body & the Blood of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. The relics still exist today, unchanged and without decay.

Tell your protestant friends that the earliest protestants (Anglicans and Martin Luther) both believed in the real presence (although since they lack valid Holy Orders today, there is unfortunately no real presence at their services). John Calvin even believed in the real presence. We simply trust in Christ and believe Him when He said “my flesh is true meat and my blood is true drink”. Also, ask them why any true Messiah would let his followers leave Him when He told them that He would turn bread & wine into His Body & Blood. Do you really think that a Savior would let His people leave Him if it was over just a simple misunderstanding and then gather His apostles and tell them that it’s really His Body & Blood? A lot of His followers left Him after He said “you must eat of the flesh of the son of man or you will have no life in you.”

God bless,


#8

[quote=janelle]Hi everyone. DH & I just finished up a series of discussions with some people from our former protestant church who are trying to convince us not to become Catholic. (They think we’re a lost cause, and won’t come over to discuss it anymore, which is a shame. We can keep up the debate over email, however.)

When we brought up the Real Presence, they said, “Oh, that’s easy to verify! Just test some for DNA. There should be human DNA in it. Otherwise, the doctrine is false.”

Has anyone heard of such a test being done, or is it simply forbidden? What is a good response to this assertion?

Thanks!

Janelle
[/quote]

First the Blessed Sacrament has the “Accidents” of bread and wine. It tastes, looks, feels, and would test like bread and wine even though it’s the Body, Blood , Soul, and Divinity of Christ Himself.

However there have been tests done on Eucharistic miracles Hosts that have bled or changed appearances to that of human flesh. They have been tested and found to be human heart muscle and human blood I believe type O. I believe the universal donor type.


#9

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]…blood type O. I believe the universal donor type.

[/quote]

Br.,

While that would be fitting, the Shroud of Turin and Luciano (and all other Eucharistic miracles, for that matter) exhibit blood type AB.

God Bless,
RyanL


#10

[quote=RyanL]Br.,

While that would be fitting, the Shroud of Turin and Luciano (and all other Eucharistic miracles, for that matter) exhibit blood type AB.

God Bless,
RyanL
[/quote]

I don’t have the book here. I started to say the same type as on the Shroud. I actually edited my original post to reflect that I was not sure of the exact type since I could not find the book. There was also mentioned something about the “universality” of the blood type? Is it that AB has all the “factors” and O has none?


#11

Thanks, everyone. I had no idea about the eucharistic miracles. Very interesting. I’ll explain about accidents vs. substance and see if they can grasp that.


#12

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]I don’t have the book here. I started to say the same type as on the Shroud. I actually edited my original post to reflect that I was not sure of the exact type since I could not find the book. There was also mentioned something about the “universality” of the blood type? Is it that AB has all the “factors” and O has none?
[/quote]

Yup! More specifically, Eucharistic miracles/shroud of Turin are all AB+, meaning he could recieve a blood donation from any human on earth. (But coudl only donate to other AB+s.)


#13

Steve Ray had an interesting tale about that particular ‘test’.

A Baptist friend challenged him to go to Mass, recieve the Eucharist and come immediatly to the friends house.

There, he challegened, Steve should throw up the contents of his stomach. If there was protien dectedted, the Eucharist would be proven valid, if there was carbohydrates, the Eucharist would be proven false.

Steve challenged back that he would do so if the friend could answer this question.

Suppose you were able to encounter Jesus in Nazareth and got a drop of his blood. What test could you perform to find the "Divinity’ of Christ?

If you relied on scientific methods, Steve asked his Baptist friend, would you not have to find, after every test, that Jesus could not be proven Divine, and you would have to therefore deny the core of your faith. There is no ‘gene’ for Divinity, the Blood that Redeemed the world would appear like any other blood under a microscope…

If the Baptist could not put the Core of his faith to scientific test, why should a Catholic but the “source and summit” of ours to the test?


#14

[quote=janelle]Hi everyone. DH & I just finished up a series of discussions with some people from our former protestant church who are trying to convince us not to become Catholic. (They think we’re a lost cause, and won’t come over to discuss it anymore, which is a shame. We can keep up the debate over email, however.)

When we brought up the Real Presence, they said, “Oh, that’s easy to verify! Just test some for DNA. There should be human DNA in it. Otherwise, the doctrine is false.”

Has anyone heard of such a test being done, or is it simply forbidden? What is a good response to this assertion?

Thanks!

Janelle
[/quote]

OK, here is the deal:

In the theology of matter, we distinguish between the “accidental” properties and the “substantial” properties of matter. Accidentals are what we can perceive of something using our natural senses. Accidentals are incidentals! They don’t define the essence of the matter. The essence is contained in the substantial properties and is not readily apparent to the senses. But the essense or substance of matter is what defines something as being uniquely what it is - and different from other things. For example, think of a house. It could be big or small; green,red black orange brown; wooden or brick or plaster; flat roof or pointed ; etc - these are all accidentals. It is only when you see people inside using the structure as their protection from the environment that it becomes a house.
In the case of the Eucharist, all the scientifically observable elements of bread are there - but they are accidentals. The essence, however is Jesus Christ. This is a supernatural reality which escapes scientific observation. Science is the study of the natural world through physical observation. Any scientific observation is irrelevent to a supernatural reality. The absence of a scientific observation (DNA) is also irrelevent.

According to an ancient chinese proverb there are 4 types of men:

  1. He who knows not and knows not that he knows not
    He is a fool - shun him!
  2. He who knows not and knows that he knows not
    He is a child - teach him!
  3. He who know and knows not that he knows
    He is asleep - awaken him!
  4. He who knows and knows that he knows
    He is a king - follow him!

Your buddies are the first class - they are not up to this discussion and are ignorant of their inadequacies. No progress can be made until they progress to level two. Perhaps you could stir them into realizing their ignorance by asking them to contrast and compare the Catholic and Lutheran understandings of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist… that might get them to realize they don’t know as much as they thought.

Phil


#15

Okay I know this is ten years a bit to late but here has been DNA testing done and it quite interesting and really cool I suggest reading this if you have time!
www.catholicjournal.us/2013/06/05/truly-the-body-and-blood-of-christ/


#16

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