What are some of the scientific explanations for the Eucharist?

I have heard some of the arguments but have forgotten. Dr Garindi I think that is his name had a scientific approach but can’t remember. I’m sure there are more please share

Science is completely unsuited to deal with anything outside of the domain of material existence. No orthodox scientist would ever dare to comment as a scientist on mystical and supernatural phenomena since he would be declaring himself a heretic to his own discipline and be outside of his domain of study.

Theology is the domain of the supernatural and only the Catholic Church and those in the apostolic succession have any authority to speak in this domain. That said, science, since it pursues the truth of material things and phenomena serves the Church in giving us insights into our physical world so that the Church may give ever greater practical specificity on its teachings and moral guidance as ever more complex topics that science uncovers or carelessly ventures into (e.g. genetic engineering, cloning etc.).

Theology also serves science by giving intellectual insight illumined by faith to guide the moral principals of discovery and the responsible use of knowledge so that knowledge is not used to exploit or damage the faith of individuals.

BF

You may be thinking of Romano Guardini. He was a very influential German priest-theologian. He influenced Pope Benedict XVI, among others. He has a book called "The Spirit of the Liturgy. EWTN actually has the full text of the book on their website: http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/SPRLIT.txt. Perhaps it is something in that book you are remembering.

I have to agree with Bona fides, though. I can’t imagine trying to explain the Eucharist in terms of science.

there aren’t any, nor are any required. The Eucharist is completely outside the realm of science, no science could prove it, and no faith that requires scientific proof is true faith. The miracle of transubstantiation is just that, the substance changes, while the accidents, those qualities measured by science, remain the same.

Just a quick follow-up to the other posts. What happens at the Eucharist, is a meta-physical change, not one that can be measured by physical means. By any physical measure, the Eucharist remains bread and wine, but what it is has changed profoundly. Thats what the terms transubstantiation, substance and accidents cover.


Bill

Thanks so far. I do think science can give some insight. I have heard them. I wish someone can help

Exactly let’s try this we know from science that we are human and in a cycle of seven years we replace ever one of our cells that make us up. All the cells die and replaced by new cells. We have changed but we remain human. I have heard this before on the forum all I’m asking for is more. This does not prove anything but is very interesting insight. And the doctor had more. Something to do with cells and atoms aren’t what they appear to be they are not even really a solid just molecules or whatever moving really fast. Don’t know where he was going with this but he had a point. This is what I’m after. Don’t need proof just want some interesting facts!

I once heard a Catholic theologian quip that, if scientists tested the consecrated species of the Eucharist and proved that they still retained all the same properties of bread and wine, he would simply say, “Then Aquinas was right! The accidents remain the same, even though the substance has changed!” :slight_smile:

Ok, lets get some slightly wonky science cleared up.

  1. Actually, not every cell of your body is replaced over time. Certain cells, like blood cells are replaced frequently. Other cells, like neurons are never replaced. Muscle cells are (IIRC correctly) replaced infrequently.

Now over time, it is true, that statistically, every atom in our body will be replaced many times over the course of our life.

  1. What your doctor was trying to get at with the atoms was this. If you were to blow up an atom to the scale where the nucleus (protons and neutrons) was the size of a baseball, the electrons would approximately be where the outside wall of a Major League ball park would be (i.e., 100-200 yards away). In other words the vast majority of the volume of an atom is empty space, and its quantum effects (The bit about electrons flying about very quickly) that make us think that atoms are solid.

Now, I think I understand the analogy that is attempting to be made. Its not science used to explain the Eucharist, but rather using a scientific analogy to explain the Eucharist.

The first analogy essentially is based on understanding this. Regardless of how many atoms changes in your body over time, you somehow manage to remain you. There is something essential about you that is independent of the atoms in your body. Likewise, even though the atoms in the bread and wine remain the same during the mass, their essential quality has changed.

The second analogy is basically arguing that the appearance of something does not give us an accurate understanding of what it actually is. Thus, though the Eucharist appears to be bread and wine, it really is the Body and Blood of Christ.


Bill

Isn’t that amazing! I do believe I was going about the question wrong and I totally understand where everyone was coming from. The Doctor isn’t mine he is Dr ray gerindi. He is a psychiatrist and has a show on ewtn radio. He also did an apologetic series with his priest. Anway this is great have you got anything els by chance?

I am not sure what you mean? What else?


Bill

Yes what else sorry. If any?

I don’t think this is quite accurate with respect to transubstantiation. It’s a difficult concept. The accidents are “real” to all sensory perception and are no mere illusion to the senses. The problem is all sensory means, natural or man made, can not discern the change in the underlying substance any more so than a scientific instrument or physician could discern the difference in substance between Christ’s transfigured divine flesh from human flesh. I don’t think we can even use terms like atoms and electrons since these too are mere accidents - real but not meaningful with respect to the substance. Atoms and electrons are all described by equations of motion that are dependent on time. These have no relevance to the substance of Eucharist since God is Eternal - outside of time and space. He steps into “time” viz Eucharist or rather we reach out beyond time to the Pascal Mystery and Eternity by embracing and enjoing ourselves to Eucharist through the signs of the accidents. Perhaps we should think of the accidents as the clothing that adorns or covers the divine substance for our own pragmatic benefit - it is not “the substance” but the sign that points to the substance.

I just accept it as a mystical mystery.

BF

I think this might be a question of an ambiguous use of the pronoun “their”. I was not referring to the atoms, I was referring to the bread and wine. I.e., the atoms remain the same, but the Eucharist now only has the appearance of bread and wine, its substance is now Christ’s.


Bill

Try a Google search using this spelling of his name: (Dr.) Ray Guarendi (and perhaps adding another search term like “Eucharist” if you get too many hits).

There are no scientific explanations for the Eucharist. To understand about the nature of a substantial change read up on substance and accident in Aristotle and Aquinas. Dom Anscar Vonier’s book on Understanding the Eucharist will help with the sacramental and metaphysical aspects.

Um… are you forgetting the scientific tests done on Hosts of Eucharistic miracles?
These scientific tests have shown that the Hosts of Eucharistic miracles are, in fact, skin and blood. While these tests wouldn’t be the same for the Host down in your local tabernacle (I can give a theological reason, if you want), they are scientific tests that give at least some explanations about the Eucharist.

Google “Lanciano miracle” and you can read about a miracle that occurred in 700 AD that led to a modern day scientific investigation of the Eucharist. The miraculous host was determined to be muscular tissue from a human heart, and blood from the host is type AB. The host and the dried pellets of blood are still on display in Lanciano, Italy.

Here is the one I think you were referring to:
Dr. Ray Guarendi
Why Be Catholic
What Catholics Believe
You can find here: ninevehscrossing.com/DrRayLib.php I hope I did that right.

and also you can take a look at
youshallbelieve.com/
Here you will find a few books/dvds that explore the Eucharist with DNA and scientific analysis.

I don’t usually post because I am usually busy with my kids, but I felt compelled to share this information.

Blessings,
R

I actually think de Broglie’s wave theory of matter is relevant here. You see, the equations of all particles are given by probabilistic wave equations in quantum mechanics, and these waves represent, in the words of Werner Heisenberg, “a tendency for something. It was a quantitative version of the old concept of ‘potentia’ in Aristotelian philosophy. It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality” (Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, page 15).

Catholic physicist Wolfgang Smith argues that these wave superpositions are essentially a discovery of prime matter, which must receive a form from God to become the particular substance we may observe through its accidents. This is because “whatever is in potentiality can be reduced into actuality only by some being in actuality” (Thomas Aquinas, STh I, q. 3, a. 1 ), and since “God is pure act, without any potentiality” (ibid I, q. 3 art 2), it follows that God can reduce the potentialities of nature to act according to his plan. The question of transubstantiation really is a larger question of God’s immanence in bringing the potencies of matter to act, as is observed in the collapse of the wavefunction. Thus, during transubstantiation, God gives substance (union of matter and form, or in modern terms, matter waves collapsed to the form of living cells) to the prime matter of the bread, and it thus becomes for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

However, were we to look at the Blessed Sacrament under an electron microscope, it would still only appear as bread, because the electrons used to probe the matter would return with the same accidents when recorded by the instrument. Similar principles would apply for any type of chemical reaction with the consecrated host.

When we receive the Body of Christ, it is every bit the same substance (matter waves collapsed to the form of living cells) as was observed at Lanciano, however, because all probes of the consecrated host return to report the accidents of bread, we can never detect that this change has taken place.

These are my ideas on the subject, at least. Hopefully this is helpful/interesting.

-Ryan Vilbig
ryan.vilbig@gmail.com

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