The Faithful Scribbler

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Transubstantiation vs. Consubstantiation

on June 11, 2010

By request,  a discussion on Transubstantiation!  I cant take credit for one single word  you are about to read– Pat did the research and Pat sent me the info, and I copied and pasted what he sent.  Why reinvent the wheel!?  Many thanks Pat– enjoy everybody!

“We were Created by Truth for Truth”

 Some find it, some don’t, some don’t even try What Part of “it’s a Miracle” don’t they understand? The Eucharist is the “heart and summit of the Catholic Faith” therefore we ought not be surprised to find from time to time that it’s meaning is under attack What we see when this happens it is evidence of human fragility; humanity trying to apply human logic to Divine Undertakings. Simply impossible, but that has not prevented some from trying. In describing the transformation of ordinary bread [unleavened] into the REAL Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Glorified Jesus Christ only one term; “Transubstanuation” is the correct term, and provides the TRUE definition of the miracle of the Catholic Eucharist. Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1374 “The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” From time to time other terms, applying human logic have gotten some attention and gained some believers. [Quite a few actually.] To be clear these terms and there errant understanding are heresies. In addition to the term “Transubstanuation,” which is the only correct term, there are three other terms that tend to resurface every so often. Our goal today is to share these terms; provide a definition for them, and then discuss them briefly, so that should you ever encounter them; you will not be caught unaware. The terms used by some for explaining what Catholic Holy Communion “actually is” are “Transubstanuation,” which remains the only correct term, CONSUBSTANTIATION, TRANSFINALIZATION, and TRANSIGNIFICATION.

These last three are heresies. Can. 747 §1 It is the obligation and inherent right of the Church, independent of any human authority, to preach the Gospel to all peoples, using for this purpose even its own means of social communication, for it is to the Church that Christ the Lord entrusted the deposit of faith, so that by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, it might conscientiously guard revealed truth, more intimately penetrate it, and faithfully proclaim and expound it. §2 The Church has the right always and everywhere to proclaim moral principles, even in respect of the social order, and to make judgments about any human matter in so far as this is required by fundamental human rights or the salvation of souls. Can. 748 §1 All are bound to seek the truth in the matters which concern God and his Church; when they have found it, then by divine law they are bound, and they have the right, to embrace and keep it. Can. 749 §1 In virtue of his office the Supreme Pontiff is infallible in his teaching when, as chief Shepherd and Teacher of all Christ’s faithful, with the duty of strengthening his brethren in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals. Can. 750 Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal magisterium, which is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred magisterium. All are therefore bound to shun any contrary doctrines. The Catholic Churches Teaching is supported Biblically in Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-21, John Chapter 6, Paul 1 Sit. Cor. 11: 23-29. Can. 751

Heresy is the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith. Apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith.

Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him. Can. 752

While the assent of faith is not required, a religious submission of intellect and will is to be given to any doctrine which either the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising their authentic magisterium, declare upon a matter of faith or morals, even though they do not intend to proclaim that doctrine by definitive act. Christ’s faithful are therefore to ensure that they avoid whatever does not accord with that doctrine From Father John A. Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary.

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 itself 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 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: transubstantio, change of substance.)” CONSUBSTANTIATION “The belief, contrary to Catholic doctrine, that in the Eucharist the body and blood of Christ coexist with the bread and wine after the Consecration of the Mass. John Wyclif (1324-84) and Martin Luther (1483-1546) professed consubstantiation because they denied transubstantiation.”

 “Consubstantiation is a philosophical theory that, like the competing theory of transubstantiation, attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament the fundamental substance of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present. Transubstantiation differs from consubstantiation in that it postulates that, through consecration by the priest, one set of substances (bread and wine) is exchanged for another (the Body and Blood of Christ) or that, according to some, the reality of the bread and wine become the reality of the body and blood of Christ. The substance of the bread and wine do not remain, but their accidents (superficial properties like appearance and taste) remain.” “Consubstantiation is commonly—though erroneously—associated with the teachings of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. Lutheran teachings reject any attempt to explain philosophically the means by which Christ is present in the Eucharist. Luther did teach that the body and blood of Christ are present “in, with, and under the forms” of bread and wine, and present-day Lutherans hold to this statement while disagreeing about its exact meaning. Some Lutherans do use the term “consubstantiation” to refer to this belief, but the theology intended is not the same as the philosophical theory described above. Luther illustrated his belief about the Eucharist “by the analogy of the iron put into the fire whereby both fire and iron are united in the red-hot iron and yet each continues unchanged,” 1 a concept which he called sacramental union.” The first one to impute the conception of impanation and consubstantiation to Luther was Carlstadt, who therefore in a blasphemous way referred to the God of the Lutherans as a “God made of bread” (St. Louis Edition, XX, 577). Zwingli, Oecolampadius, and even Bucer of Strasbourg followed Carlstadt in this matter. Bucer, however, revoked his accusation after he had read Luther’s “Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper” and had talked with Luther. He wrote: When Luther in the process of this disputation went into greater detail on this entire matter of’ the Sacrament, I perceived that he did not combine the body and blood of the Lord with bread and wine by a natural bond, nor enclose body and blood spatially in bread and wine, nor attribute to the sacraments the peculiar power through which these achieve the salvation of the communicants, but that he merely affirmed a sacramental union between the bread and the Lord’s body, between His blood and the wine.” NOTE: The Catholic position discounts the term “union” in any form or understanding. It is the Position of the CC based on the words: “This is My Body, This is My Blood,” taken from Matt. 26: 26-28, Mark 14: 22-24, Luke 22: 19-21 and Paul 1 Cor. 11: 23-29, and John’s quote of Jesus Ch. 6 verses. 53-56 “ So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” It is a physical change that takes place. What was only bread, now is the entire Christ, and what was only wine is also now the entire Christ. Not in co-existence but in PLACE OF. [Pjm] CONTINUED: “Furthermore, he [Luther] teaches that the strengthening of faith attributed to the sacraments does not rest on a power which inheres in the external elements as such, but a power which belongs to Christ and is imparted by His Spirit through the words and sacred signs. When I understood this, I was at pains to show and commend this also to others.”

TRANSFINALIZATION “the view of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist that the purpose or finality of the bread and wine is changed by the words of consecration. they are said to serve a new function, as sacred elements that arouse the faith of the people in the mystery of Christ’s redemptive love. Like transignification, this theory was condemned by Pope Paul VI in the encyclical Mysterium Fedei (1965) if transfinalization is taken to deny the substantial change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change + finis, end; purpose.) “ Transfinalization Karl Rahner, SJ (March 5, 1904 — March 30, 1984) was a German Jesuit and theologian who, alongside Bernard Lonergan and Hans Urs von Balthasar, is considered one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century. He was born in Freiburg, Germany, and died in Innsbruck, Austria. “Before the Second Vatican Council, Rahner had worked alongside Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac and Marie-Dominique Chenu, theologians associated with an emerging school of thought called the Nouvelle Théologie, elements of which had been criticized in the encyclical Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII” “Rahner was a critic of substance theory and was concerned about the finality of liturgy. He proposed instead to re-name transubstantiation into transfinalization. However, this theory was rejected by Pope Paul VI in the encyclical Mysterium Fidei.” Awareness of God “The basis for Rahner’s theology is that all human beings have a latent (“unthematic”) awareness of God in any experiences of limitation in knowledge or freedom as finite subjects. Because such experience is the “condition of possibility” for knowledge and freedom as such, Rahner borrows the language of Kant to describe this experience as “categorical.”

Language about God: Univocity and equivocation “Like others of his generation, Rahner was much concerned with refuting the propositional approach to theology typical of the Counter Reformation. The alternative he proposes is one where statements about God are always referring back to the original experience of God in mystery. In this sense, language regarding being is analogically predicated of the mystery, inasmuch as the mystery is always present but not in the same way as any determinate possible object of consciousness. Rahner would claim St. Thomas Aquinas as the most important influence on his thought, but also spoke highly of Heidegger as “my teacher,” and in his elder years Heidegger used to visit Rahner regularly in Friburg. At issue here is a debate of a Catholic Theologian, that claims no “Real Christ” is present in the Eucharist of Catholic Holy Communion. Rahner holds to the position that the change is a spiritual awaking in us. This understanding has been condemned by the CC. [Pjm] TRANSIGNIFICATION “The view of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist which holds that the meaning or significance of the bread and wine is changed by the words of consecration. the consecrated elements are said to signify all that christians associate with the Last Supper; they have a higher value than merely food for the body. The theory of transignification was condemned by Pope Paul VI in the encyclical Mysterium Fedei (1965), if it is understood as denying transubstantiation. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change + significatio, meaning, sense: transignificatio.) “ “Transignification is an idea originating from the attempts of modernist Roman Catholic theologians, especially Edward Schillebeeckx, to better understand the mystery of the Real Presence of Christ at Mass in light of a new philosophy of the nature of reality that is more in line with contemporary physics. The concept of transignification was ultimately rejected by the Catholic hierarchy, and is now more prominent in some Anglican and Protestant circles. Transignification suggests that although Christ’s body and blood are not physically present in the Eucharist, they are really and objectively so, as the elements take on, at the consecration, the real significance of Christ’s body and blood which thus become sacramentally present. It is thus contrasted not only to belief in a physical or chemical change in the elements, but also to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that there is a change only of the underlying reality, but not of anything that concerns physics or chemistry (see Transubstantiation). The concept of transignification is based on the thought that there are two kinds of presence, local and personal. Jesus is personally, but not locally, present at the Mass. One can be locally present, as when riding on a bus, but one’s thoughts can be far away, making one personally not present.” The theory has been rejected by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, in particular in Pope Paul VI’s 1965 encyclical Mysterium Fidei . However, it is considered to be similar to the Anglican position set forth by Thomas Cranmer in the Book of Common Prayer, Article Of Religion, Number 28.” “Heretics are seldom identified as such in our modern times. Instead they, and their fellow heretics call themselves dissenters. A heresy starts out as an idea. Erroneous ideas have played havoc with the truth about the Eucharist. 70% of Catholics in America today are deeply infected with these errors. Our eternal destiny depends on understanding what the Church teaches on the Eucharist, believing with our whole mind and soul, and teaching these truths to others. Vatican Council II makes it clear that we as Catholics have a grave responsibility to spread our faith or not only will we not be saved, we will be judged more severely.” Father John A. Hardon S.J. [My mentor, may he rest in peace. Amen!] My opening remarks spoke about the futility of the human mind trying to put into terms of human logic what are Devine Matters. Miracles that simply defy human understanding from a objective logical perspective simply cannot be molded into what they are not. By definition a “miracle” is something that we, with our limited human minds, and intellects cannot explain. The fact that some; especially those who God has called to the Catholic Priesthood, choose to do so gives clear evidence that each and everyone of us; when we permit our PRIDE, [Satan’s favorite tool] to allow us to think that we know more, know better than Christ Himself, The Apostles, and nearly 2, 000 years of Catholic theology and teaching can lose our Faith; and quite possibly our Eternal salvation, which such actions put at exceedingly great risk, and this ought to be carefully and prayerfully considered by all of us. Father Edward Schillebeeckx, yet another fallen away Catholic priest holds to the understanding that what happens at Mass in only a symbol, a sign for us of future glory. It too denies Christ real Presence.” “In Him, With Him, Through Him; in the Unity of the Holy Spirit”…. “This is My Body; This is My Blood.”…. “Do this in memory of Me.” These are words of Consecration at every Catholic Mass. How can Christ be more specific? How can Christ be more clear if HIS intent?

 John 20: 24-29Now “Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Ask yourself; “am I a doubting Thomas?” WWJD! Love and prayers, Pat


One response to “Transubstantiation vs. Consubstantiation

  1. Daniel says:

    I find it interesting that you feel the need to capitalize the words REAL and TRUE. I think this highlights the problematic around the signifier “substance”, which after all is just another sign in the endless signifying chain. If you accept that in terms of science, epistemology, accident and appearance; nothing at all can be discerned as being changed in the bread and wine at Mass, then what is ‘really’ left? Something on a wholly spiritual level which is ascertained only by the ‘episteme’ that is validated by faith.
    There is the miracle. But also the trace of doubt. What is this substance that is forever totally and wholly insensible, in every respect absent yet really present? And does it make any sense, or is it forever relegated to the category of the mind-numbingly spiritual, supernatural and mysterious? But of what value is it then ultimately to us as a sacrament – considering that the sacrament is actually the theological origin of the whole linguistic discipline of structuralism which gave rise to transignification in any case? The sacrament as outward sign of inward referent: grace? Why does it sometimes seem that no one ‘really’ healed by this magical Eucharist? That the sign – transubstantiation – seems to have cunningly supplanted its rightful referent: grace? Have we supplanted a simple signifying chain with an impossible and infinite mystery which constantly needs to be capitalized and shouted out in order to remain in any capacity meaningful?
    We certainly can’t define substance in any meaningful sense – it seems to refuse the signifying chain – yet there it is – right at the heart of it. Substance is lacking – there’s the real mystery I think: not the Divine Presence in the Eucharist, but the Divine Presence qua Absence in the Catholic Eucharist.
    I still think it was a fatal mistake to take on the specific signifier “transubstantiation” – one which the Orthodox Church wisely avoided.

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