What happens in Transsubstantiation

Council of Trent:
“And this faith has ever been in the Church of God, that, immediately after the consecration, the veritable Body of our Lord, and His veritable Blood, together with His Soul and Divinity, are under the species of bread and wine; but the Body indeed under the species of bread, and the Blood under the species of wine, by the force of the words; but the Body itself under the species of wine, and the Blood under the species of bread, and the Soul under both, by the force of that natural connection and concomitancy whereby the parts of Christ our Lord, who has now risen from the dead to die no more, are united together; and the Divinity, furthermore, on account of the admirable hypostatic union thereof with His Body and Soul. Therefore it is most true, that as much is contained under either species as under both; for Christ whole and entire is under the species of bread, and under any part whatsoever of that species; likewise the whole is under the species of wine, and under the parts thereof.”

My understanding of this dogma is that the substance of bread changes only into the substance of Christ’s body, then the rest of His human nature (blood, soul) becomes present by the connection and concomitancy of all the parts of His human nature, and His Divinity becomes present by the hypostatic union of the two natures. But all this occurs in one and the same instant, not successively.

The same applies to the wine, except that the substance of wine is changed into the substance of blood.

The substances of the bread and the wine do change into Christ’s soul. And no mere created thing can be changed into the Divine Nature. So the substances of bread and wine are not changed into all of Christ, though all of Christ is immediately present.


Christ is present “whole and entire” in the consecrated species. To say anything beyond that is to speculate on matters not revealed to Christ’s Church.

Having said that, Jesus’ divinity cannot be separated from his manhood. When we receive the consecrated bread and/or wine we are receiving the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ.

As Christ was completely himself in every aspect and fully present at the Last Supper, when he instituted the Eucharist, so he is completely himself in every aspect and fully present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist.

I hope that helps. :slight_smile:

The teaching of the Council of Trent does say something beyond His whole and entire presence. The Council taught on the manner that He becomes present: transubstantiation. So on this point, we are not speculating; it is revealed dogma.

I think most Catholics do not realize that the substances of bread and wine are not changed into anything other than the body and blood, respectively. The rest of Christ becomes present by concomitancy and the hypostatic union.

Yes, that is the case. It’s just that it can be a bit cumbersome to explain all that. Still, it’s an important point. Jesus is fully and completely present under the signs of bread and wine, is the simpler way to say it. :tiphat:

Remember that in Greek, “body” (soma) is not just the anatomical self but the whole living human being.

So by the Eucharistic “body,” we receive all of HIM.


Body,blood, soul, and divinity are present in both the consecrated bread and wine, so if you only take one, say the wafer, you still get ALL of Christ. See number twelve. It is especially fitting for us to received both the bread and the wine, though:


The Eucharist is deep. Don’t think of it as something you can quickly wrap your brain around and then move on. It is instead something that you can contemplate, and over a course of a lifetime come a bit closer to Christ.

Stay humble and enjoy the gift.

But for your question, it is all about the fact that Jesus returned bodily from the dead. That showed us that there is NO separation between body and soul. While we might think of them as separable, Jesus showed us that, at least for him, they are not.

I agree that the Eucharist is one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed on humankind. It is the way we can encounter the living Christ today.

You do know, however, that the soul separates from the body at death, don’t you? We will receive a new, glorified and incorruptible body at the general resurrection, however. So, I would say that yes, the soul and the body are separate, however during our earthly pilgrimage, we, ourselves cannot separate them, if that is what you mean.

Soul and body are normally inseparable. If someone is alive, they are embodied, and possess soul.


Yep. :thumbsup:

Yes, that’s what I said, however they ARE separable. If they weren’t, when the body died, the soul would die as well, and the soul is immortal, whereas the body is not.

You’re right, of course, however I have so many students who mistakenly think the bread is ONLY Christ’s body and the wine is ONLY his blood. I do not know where they got that idea, but they tell me “in school,” meaning in elementary school.:shrug:

Perhaps a few people get this idea from the sacred liturgy, in which the minister distributing Holy Communion is required to say either “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ” according to which species he offers. I feel this is most unfortunate.

I am sure that reinforces any mistaken beliefs my students hold. Most of them seem very surprised to learn in Christology class that both the bread and the wine contain ALL of Christ, and even if they only get a drop of wine, a drop is sufficient. It is unfortunate that so many people are laboring under a false impression. They could probably make better progress in their personal relationship with Christ if they knew they were receiving ALL of him.

Thanks for your clarity. We have to wait (after death) to become re-unified like Jesus.

For Jesus, he is already in the sin-less state of having a unified nature in both body and soul, which is why the Eucharist must contain all of him.

We know that he is unified as body and soul because he came back and showed us that he was.

The separation of body from soul that we face is only due to death, which is a consequence of sin.

You’re welcome. Anytime, providing I can answer.

Actually, we have to wait until the general resurrection of all the dead before our souls will be reunited with our glorified bodies. After death, we will exist, but we will exist as spirits only, souls only. When human history comes to an end and the resurrection takes place, then our souls will be reunited with our bodies once again.

And yes, death and all its consequences are the result of sin. But the good news is that Jesus is our promise of life everlasting.

God bless.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.