Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The only difference between Christ's body in heaven and Christ's body in the Eucharist

"The Disputation over the Holy Sacrament" by Raphael
“In the first place, the holy Synod teaches, and openly and simply professes, that, in the august sacrament of the holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things. For neither are these things mutually repugnant, that our Saviour Himself always sitteth at the right hand of the Father in heaven, according to the natural mode of existing, and that, nevertheless, He be, in many other places, sacramentally present to us in his own substance, by a manner of existing, which, though we can scarcely express it in words, yet can we, by the understanding illuminated by faith, conceive, and we ought most firmly to believe, to be possible unto God.” (Council of Trent, Session 13, “Decree concerning the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist”, chapter 1)
This alone is the one difference between Christ’s body in heaven and Christ’s body in the Eucharist is a difference of the mode of existence – not a difference of substance or reality, nor less a difference of identity (for there is only one Christ and he has only one body). The Church teaches that our Savior is present in heaven “according to the natural mode of existing”, while he is present in the Eucharist by another “manner of existing”, that is “under the species of those visible things” of bread and wine. As we consider this teaching from the Council of Trent, we will recognize why it may not be helpful to speak of our Savior as being “physically present” in the Eucharist.
I offer this reflection as the first part of a four part series on the Eucharist, in preparation for the solemn Feast of Corpus Christi.

The natural and the sacramental modes of existing
When the Council of Trent speaks of Christ present in heaven “according to the natural mode of existing”, the Latin wording is quite clear: iuxta modum existendi naturalem. Slightly less clear is the other “manner of existing” which “we can scarcely express in words” – though we do recognize that, by this other mode, Christ is “sacramentally present to us in his own substance”. Hence, we may call this manner, by which Christ is substantially present in the Eucharistic species, a “sacramental” mode of existing.
The key point here is that Christ is not present in the Eucharist according to the same mode by which he is present in heaven. The difference does not lie in what is present – for the very same body is present in the Eucharist as is present in heaven as was born of the Virgin: Ave verum corpus, natum ex Maria Virgine (Hail, true body; born from the Virgin Mary). The difference can only lie in the way or manner in which the true body of Christ is present – in heaven, our Savior is present “in his proper species”, while in the Eucharist he is present “as in a sacrament”.
At this point, it is good to note that the Church has never stated (nor, I am sure, will she ever state) that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist. He is really, truly, substantially, and sacramentally present. He is even “corporally present” in his “physical reality”. But we do not say that our Savior is physically present, as he is not present “in the manner in which bodies are in a place” (Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei 46). As we consider these two modes or manners of presence, we will recognize that there is good reason why the Church has refrained from adopting a notion of “physical presence”.
The truth between (and above) two heresies
Paschasius Radbertus (d. ca. 860) fell into heresy by maintaining the complete identity of the sacramental body with the historical body of Christ. Now, of course, it is true that the Eucharist is the body of our Lord and, since he has only one body, the sacramental body must indeed be the very same body which he assumed from Mary and which he offered on the Cross; however, Radbertus went too far in his assertion and failed to recognize that this one self-same body may be present in different modes. Thus, if we were to follow Radbertus’ theory to its logical conclusion, we would be forced to believe that each portion of the Eucharist was only a piece of Christ’s body – since, if the Eucharist were to be understood entirely in physical terms, it is clear that the size of the Host is not equal to the size of our Savior’s body. Moreover, we would end up concluding that our Savior’s presence in the Eucharist is a daily occurrence of the miracle of bi-location. Finally, it would seem that those who consumed the body of Christ would do violence to his members by chewing and swallowing a physical body. For these and other reasons, Radbertus’ opinion cannot be accepted by a Catholic.
On the other hand, Berengarius of Tours (d. 1088) went to the other extreme and denied the substantial nature of the Real Presence of Christ. He understood the Eucharist to be merely a symbol or figure of the body and blood of our Savior.
In between these two extremes, the truth comes forth as a summit which rises over and above the heresies. Ratramnus of Corbie (d. after 868) established the foundations of what would come to be the accepted doctrine. While not denying the Real Presence, Ratramnus emphasized the different manner in which the body of Christ is present in the Eucharist from that by which he is present in heaven. Indeed, he went so far as to apply to the Eucharist words such as similitudo, imago, and pignus (“likeness”, “image”, and “symbol”).
St. Thomas Aquinas follows very much in the line of Ratramnus (adding, however, a far more robust understanding of substance). The Angelic Doctor does not fear to refer to the Eucharist as a figure and symbol, yet he always maintains that the change effected by the words of consecration is a substantial one. Hence, locating the difference (between Christ’s proper or natural presence in heaven and the Lord’s sacramental presence in the Eucharist) not in substance or reality, but rather in mode of existence; the Catholic Church affirms the sacramental nature of the Eucharist, while likewise maintaining its existence as a substantial reality.
Dimensive quantity (quantitas dimensiva) and the Eucharist
All that has been said above can be explained most concisely by making a distinction in regards to what the theologians call “dimensive quantity”. Dimensive quantity is an accidental property (as opposed to a substantial one) and refers to the extension of a material being in a place. By dimensive quantity, material bodies are in a place and take up space – “dimensive” is related to the idea of “dimensions”, the physical locality and size of a body. However, as we shall see (by a helpful distinction), it is not necessarily the case that all bodies which possess dimensive quantity need necessarily be physically located in a place or take up space.
We will quote from Ludwig Ott (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, TAN Edition page 386): “Consequently, the quantitas dimensiva of the body and blood of Christ is not present in the manner peculiar to it (secundum modum proprium), that is, not in three dimensional filling of space, but in a manner of substance (per modum substantiae), that is, without actual extension. Cf. S. th. III 76,4. In order to make this mode of being present in the Blessed Sacrament more acceptable to human imagination, theologians distinguish between two formal operations of quantity, the inner extension, that is, the ability of the Body to spread out in three dimensions, and the outer extension, that is, the filling of space in point of fact. The relationship between them is as of cause and effect. While the former belongs to the nature of the body, and for this reason is inseparable from the body, the latter can be abrogated by a miraculous intervention of God. In the Sacrament Christ’s Body is present with the inner, but without the outer extension.”
In other words, the Real Presence in the Eucharist does include the accidental property of Christ’s body which is dimensive quantity. The body of Christ, present in the Eucharist, is substantially the same body which took up space while he was on earth and which now is physically and dimensionally extended in heaven. However, the body of Christ is present in the Eucharist according to a substantial mode which is sacramental – therefore, the physical extension of the Lord’s body is only an “inner extension” and is not expressed in “outer extension”. Thus, the Lords’ Real Presence does not take up space, nor is our Lord moved in the Sacrament, nor does his body suffer violence when the Sacrament is consumed – hence, while we must admit that the body of Christ is present in its “physical reality” (i.e. the inner dimensive extension), we ought not claim that this body is “physically present”.
Does transubstantiation effect a physical change?
In reaction to the Protestant heresy, many Catholics have lost the important distinction given by the Council of Trent according to which we are able to distinguish the difference between Christ’s presence in heaven and his presence in the Sacrament. Some Catholics will even start to speak of the Eucharist in highly physical terms, as though the presence of Christ were physical. Here, the real problem lies in the hidden presumption is that, unless a thing is physical, it is not real – hence, following this errant reasoning, it would seem that a sacrament is not really real, if there is no physical change.
A citation from Cardinal Ratzinger will suffice to correct this error: “But [the doctrine of transubstantiation] is not a statement of physics. It has never been asserted that, so to say, nature in a physical sense is being changed. The transformation reaches down to a more profound level. Tradition has it that this is a metaphysical process. Christ lays hold upon what is, from a purely physical viewpoint, bread and wine, in its inmost being, so that it is changed from within and Christ truly gives himself in them. […] [The Eucharist] is not a thing. I don’t receive a piece of Christ. That would indeed be an absurdity.” (God and the World, 408)
The future Pope speaks with extreme clarity: “From a purely physical viewpoint” the Eucharistic species is “bread and wine” because the change is not to be understood “in a physical sense”. However, on a more profound level (on the level of being and of essence, indeed the level of substance), transubstantiation is a radical change by which what was once bread and wine now has become the body and blood of our Savior.

[For more on this topic and how it relates to the sacrificial nature of the Mass, see an earlier article: How the Mass is a Sacrifice, and why so many deny this doctrine]


Anonymous said...

I agree with your article except for your rejection of the phrase 'physically present'. There is no reason why we cannot define that phrase, theologically, so that it is in keeping with the understanding that you describe. The presence of the glorified body of Christ in the Eucharist is a type of physical presence. The human nature of Christ has a physical part and a spiritual part; both are present.

What would you say about the Eucharist at the Last Supper, before Christ rose and before His body was glorified?


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. I am loving this series and you are doing a fantastic job summarising, and making understandable, the truths that can be known about these profound mysteries.

And all of the substantive changes you are describing come about through the actions of The Holy Ghost, The Third Person of The Holy Trinity.

What a great Blessing it was for me to have been born into this Faith and how difficult it must be for converts to come to an understanding of these truths.

But, Faith precedes knowledge when it comes to these mysteries and so the man considering conversion, also the work of The Holy Ghost, must first make the leap of Faith if he is ever to grow in spiritual truths about these mysteries.

Trust the Church Jesus established. It alone can teach you.

Chatto said...

Good stuff, Father. I'll have to re-read that other article again.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

If we were to claim that Christ were "physically" present in the Eucharist, what then would be the difference between his presence in heaven and his presence in the Eucharist?
The Council of Trent clearly states that his mode of presence in heaven is different than that by which he is present in the Eucharist ... what would the difference be?
In heaven, Christ's body is physically present in his proper species.
In the Eucharist, Christ's body sacramentally present in the sacramental species.

In every other regard, the presence is identical -- it is substantial, real, and true. It is the very same body which is present.

I just wonder what you think the difference would be ... if not the word "physically"?

Regarding the Eucharist at the Last Supper ... the body present in the Host was the same body which Christ possessed in his proper species ... hence, I do not think the body was glorified at the Last Supper [though some theologians disagree, I think that Trent's direction to look to the proper species is key in this regard].

A Sinner said...

I totally agree with you about "physical." I wrote this post last June on the matter:


Merriam-Webster defines "physical" as: "having material existence: perceptible especially through the senses and subject to the laws of nature."

As you can see, there are two very clear problems with calling Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament "physical" in this sense.

The first is that this Presence is NOT perceptible through the senses. And He is not merely imperceptible through an accident of circumstances (too small, blocked by something else, etc), but by the very manner of the Presence, which is by definition meta-physical.

The other caveat is "subject to the laws of nature," which of course the Presence is not. It is miraculous, really, a suspension of the normal metaphysical order by God.

I think an important term to bring up here is that of "inherent" accidents, of accidents inhering in a substance.

Christ's own inherent accidents include the location "heaven" and being 5-6 feet tall, etc.

The accidents of bread and wine, however, are defined to remain INHERING IN NO SUBJECT.

In what sense can Christ be said to be "under" them then if not in the manner of inherence?

This has been debated, but I'd argue that it is Christ's body (for the bread) and blood (for the wine) which have been made the instrumental cause (by God) which miraculously sustains the accidents from collapse. (Of course, the rest of Him, blood or body, soul, and divinity are also present by concomitance.)

In this manner, Christ's substance is associated with a variety of sets of accidents all over the world, yet they do not inhere in Him. He is associated with them in the sense of His body and blood sustaining them (which inhere in no longer in any substance) from collapse miraculously...but they are not His inherently. He is not on the altar in the manner that a body is in a place because the accident of place associated with the bread does not inhere in Him like "heaven" does.

Michelangelo said...

Abba Reginaldus,
Happy Ss. Paulinus, John Fisher and Thomas More Day! You are doing these Saints well with your excellent demonstration of the Holy Eucharist. I especially like the discussion of the dimensive qualities of the Sacramental Presence of Our Lord, I have never heard that before (or at least to be more honest to my Jesuit teachers) I don't remember ever having learned it. And also the aspect of Our Lord's sacramental presence in the First Holy Eucharist in the upper room. Now you are probably planning on adressing this in one of the 4 parts, but what of the reserved Eucharistic miracles, how do we describe them in philosophical terms?

And to ask again the almost sacrilegious question about testing the species for DNA, thus scientifically demonstrating that the reserved miraculous Eucharistic miracles, spread over 1000 years and various continents, could only come from one Body (and thus "scientifically" proving the uh, well, Divinity of Christ? Sorry, I never got beyond sophmore year... God bless, Father.

Dick Landkamer said...

Reginaldus, another fine article. I especially appreciate your treatment of “dimensive quantity”, and the importance of considering the “mode” by which Jesus is present in this sacrament.

Regarding the “physical presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist, there was a key point you made in an earlier article on this subject. The Church teaches that sacrifice of the Mass is the same sacrifice that historically took place on Calvary, except that the former is an unbloody sacrifice. If Jesus is physically present in the Holy Eucharist, in the way that we typically understand the word physical, then why is the sacrifice of the Mass unbloody? Or, better yet, how can it be unbloody?

I think part of the problem in understanding this is that we physical beings have a hard time considering something to be present if it is not physically present. I use a telephone analogy to help explain this. For example, if a group of people were in a meeting, and one person called into the meeting via phone, and participated in the discussion, would we say that person was present at the meeting? Surely, not in a physical sense. But if the person participated in the meeting, he had to be present in some sense. In this case, it was a true but “telephonic” presence.

Regarding Paschasius and Ratramnus, it seems like the names are reversed. It was my understanding (via James O’ Connor’s book, “The Hidden Manna”) that Paschasius, who is recognized by the Church as a saint, was correct in his theology, and Ratramnus, who is not recognized as a saint, was in error, or at least understood as being in error.

Anonymous said...

I think you are spot on that the Church (we the Church), might want to downplay the term physically present. I was reading a posting on Archbishop Dolan's website posted recently I believe for Pentecost. He used the term physically present...and the article was entirely positive and uplifting (he has a way with words) but I did cringe a bit, having previously read your article about the sacrifice of the Mass. There is some confusion around the edges of the terms and what they mean and how they are used in reference to the Real Presence. But further, I note many at Mass (having observed and attended in many cities in U.S. due to work travel) routinely chat and carry on while before the Presence as though with the Tabernacle doors closed (or the Tabernacle moved out of the proximity to the altar and to a side chapel, that God isn't really there just yet or maybe at all. For me, entering the church, seeing the flame reminding me of the Presence sparks comfort and a need for silence to let the Spirit fill me.


Anonymous said...

On the topic of The Body of Christ, I have a question. As far as I'm concerned, those who are baptized in Catholic only can receive the Holy Comunion. Is that correct? If it is, what if I know someone, who was a catholic before and then decided to convert to Protestant yet sometimes he still attends a mass service and still get in line to receive the Holy Comunion, can he do that? When I ask why does he still attend the mass, his answer was because he's doing it for his mom. What rule applies in this situation? Should I talk to him? Is it normal if I feel a bit offended by his act? Because I heard an answer of a priest saying that, as long as that person believe with his whole heart that what he receives is the body of Christ, as long as he admits and says 'amen', then it's okay. Even when that person is not even a Christian. What is your opinion father?

In Christ Our Lord,
Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

unfortunately, I will not be able to post very many comments over the next five days or so, due to lack of access to a computer.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Dick Landkamer,
In fact the whole debate and the development of the question is extremely complicated.
You are correct that Ratramnus is not a saint while Radpertus is ... but, in the end, Ratramnus' theology makes the key contribution to the later development of Eucharistic Theology in the Church.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I will refrain from commenting on the practical solution to the problem ... but I will say that, objectively, the individual should not be receiving communion (and this is a very serious sin).

Certainly, it is not enough simply to believe in the heart ... we must be united to the Church in order to receive the sacraments ... also regular confession ought to accompany regular communion.

I might recommend that you talk again to the individual and also alert the pastor to the situation (since he should know what is happening in his Church).
Take courage and be at peace!

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Reginaldus,

When we define our doctrines using terms like "substance" from Aristotelian / Platonic philosophy, don't we risk subjecting them to transient human philosophies that may be wrong?

As I understand, the Aristotelian idea of "substance" was based on an understanding of physical reality which is not really valid. For example, two sculptures that look exactly identical but are made of wood and marble, may be said to have some of the same accidental properties but different "substance". But as we know now, there is no metaphysical "substance" of woodness or marble-ness, they are just different molecular configurations. If we could somehow change the molecular structure, we could turn the wood into marble, we could turn the "substance" of wood into the "substance" of marble. So this idea of different fundamental "substances" came about from a lack of knowledge the underlying structure of physical things.

Now extended to the Eucharist, it is claimed that the "substance" of bread is changed into the "substance" of Body. But there is no such thing as the "substance" of bread, it is just a certain molecular configuration, which remains unchanged. So what exactly changed? Surely bread does not have some kind of transcendent metaphysical nature beyond its molecular structure - since bread is just a physical object. So the necessary and sufficient condition for something to be bread (or wood or whatever) is that it has a certain molecular structure and macroscopic organization, which is not changed, so by necessity, it's still bread.

Maybe I should have posted this in the "Ask Reginaldus" section, but I hope you can help me resolve this difficulty.


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I'm not sure that you really understand what Aristotle meant by "substance" and "accident", nor what modern science claims about molecular structures.

If a thing can be considered A thing, i.e. a unified reality which is itself an not another, then we must ask what makes it to be what it is and not another.

If I can look at two loaves of bread and say that they are both bread, but that they are also distinct (one being this loaf and another being that loaf), then I need to have some way of accounting for the unity and diversity.
What makes both loaves to be bread is the substantial form of "bread", what makes each loaf to be its own distinct loaf is the diversity of matter .

And it will not due to say - "They are both bread because they both have the same molecular configuration", because then I will ask, "What makes them to have the same molecular configuration and why does this sameness not make them identical (i.e. one loaf instead of two)?"
The answer must be that the substantial form makes them to be bread, while the matter distinguishes two loaves instead of one.

And, if you think that bread is "just a physical object" (in other words, if you are a materialist), then I ask -- "What makes this matter to be bread? What makes this matter to have this particular molecular structure?"
If there is no substantial form, then there is nothing to make the matter to be what it is.
[and if any say that the matter "just is" bread and "just has" this particular molecular configuration, then I ask "How is it able to change? How come it is able to cease being bread?" If it just has this structure, then it would always have that structure; but, of course, it does not have to remain, therefore there must be something which causes the matter to be what it is. And this is the substantial form of "bread".]

Perhaps you are thinking that, by "substantial form", Aristotle means the "soul" ... certainly, a soul is the substantial form of a living thing; but non-living things still have substantial forms, though they do not have souls.
All souls are substantial forms, but not all substantial forms are souls.

For an easy-to-read book on Aristotilian metaphysics, look at Fr. Norris Clarke's "The One and the Many" ... I don't agree with all Fr. Clarke has to say, but I do think it is a fun and easy read; and he does a good job of showing that the Aristotelian/Thomistic idea of substance is most certainly still valid.

[if you do not believe in substantial forms, you will end up a radical materialist ... either all things have forms or no things do ... if bread has no form, then God is a body (or there is no God)]

Anonymous said...

Can you prove that if platonic forms don't exist, then only matter does? It's not obvious to me. I'm certainly not a materialist, but I'm not convinced of the need for platonic forms. I can't think of a formal proof, but it's intuitively clear that if something has a form then everything has a form (but that could be very bad, do negations of things have forms? etc)

If two non-identical loaves of bread have identical molecular structure, we can still distinguish them by different locations in space and differing macroscopic organization (they may have tiny differences in their overall shape). Now you could ask, if I move one loaf, how do I know it is the 'same' loaf as before? There is no good reason, it is just a convenient way of thinking.

The only reason I can identify Reginaldus of Monday with Reginaldus of Tuesday as the 'same person' is because it is the same soul. There is no good argument from matter, because their bodies are not exactly identical in location and time or even composition. But I don't need to postulate souls or 'forms' for any other thing - when I moved the loaf of bread a few inches, it's the 'same loaf' only as a convenient approximation, there are millions of atoms and subatomic particles flying in and out of the loaf every second, so it's not really the 'same loaf' in any strict sense. So what?


Anonymous said...

Correction to my previous comment, I don't mean soul in the platonic sense when I wrote "Reginaldus has the same soul", I mean something more like 'spirit' in that terminology, because I'm just referring to the unphysical intelligence that is associated with the body, the physical properties of the body are irrelevant. I don't see why this rational intelligence, or 'spirit' associated with Reginaldus' body has to be a platonic form.


PS. That book you recommended seems hard to find, it would be very helpful if you could write an article about the theory of forms, their role in Catholic doctrine etc

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

We have to recognize that Aristotle's theory of forms is radically different from Plato's ... Plato thinks that there are forms existing apart, whereas Aristotle understands forms as existing solely in things.

If you really think that a loaf of bread is called the "same loaf" merely by a "convenient way of thinking", we have long since left reality.
Let's be honest ... you know that it is the same loaf, that it really is the same loaf, not just as a convenient manner of thought, but as a statement about reality.
A rock is the same rock. A table is the same table (though, I admit, artifacts are a bit more complicated). A loaf of bread is the same loaf of bread.
It is a unified substance, a single reality, identical to itself and distinguished from all else.

While many things change (these are all accidentals), something remains ... it is the substance.

Moreover, it is not a mere matter of convenience that we call THIS and THAT two loaves of bread -- there is something in them which makes them to be the same kind of thing while remaining different objects.
This is the substantial form which actualizes the particular matter and makes it to have this particular molecular structure (certainly, matter doesn't just "have" the molecular structure of bread ... something immaterial makes it to be that way).

This is the great insight of Aristotle ... he deals with reality. He knows that it is really the same loaf ... and if anyone says otherwise, he is fooling only himself.

[ps. I know that this can be confusing, and I don't intend to attack you ... I only mean to point out the truth with clarity and in a concise manner ... so please do not take offense]

Peace! +

Disputationist said...

Dear Fr. Reginaldus,
Sorry about prolonging this discussion, but I find this topic very interesting and I hope you'll be interested in addressing my questions too.

As you say, if something has a form then everything has a form, so half a loaf, a billionth of a loaf, a billionth of a loaf 5 seconds later all have their own forms. Every conceivable division and combination of anything, at any time, has to have its own 'form' once identified. We could also say that all these things also have their own triglp, and znunp, wouldn't that be logically equivalent?

Matter exists, in whatever state it exists at, because God created it. We can assign names and continuity to arbitrary parts of it, such as a loaf, a billionth of a loaf, etc as a means of making sense of it. So are we confusing epistomology with metaphysics, in postulating metaphysical "forms" because of names and continuities we have assigned to arbitrary parts of matter?


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

You are leaving reality again ...

The distinctions you have begun to speak of are MENTAL or LOGICAL distinctions, not REAL distinctions.

So, no, I would not say that "every CONCEIVABLE division and combinations of anything ... has to have its own 'form' once IDENTIFIED." [notice, you are using words of mental abstraction, not reality]
Every really distinct individual thing has its own form .... it is not about "conceivability" or about it being "identified" by the mind.

What I found most interesting is this sentence:
"Matter exists, in whatever state it exists at, because God created it."

But there must be something that makes it to be what it is ... it doesn't have to be that way, and it could change ... something must make the matter to be what it is; and this cause can't be material, it has to be spiritual (else, we have a infinite regress) ...

Disputationist said...

"something must make the matter to be what it is; and this cause can't be material"

Yes, and I already named it, it's God. The specifics of how God makes certain parts of matter to be what they are, doesn't seem like a meaningful question, since what God wills, simply is. How can we fathom the details, even if there were any?

"The distinctions you have begun to speak of are MENTAL or LOGICAL distinctions, not REAL distinctions."

I completely agree, and that's what I think "forms" are: mental distinctions, not real ones. An epistemological device, not a metaphysical truth. Because half a loaf is no more or less real a distinct part of matter than one loaf.


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

If you really think that the mental distinction between one half and another half of a loaf of bread (when they are still united as one loaf) is no less real than the distinction between two really separate and distinct loaves of bread ... then our conversation is going nowhere (and has no hope of every going anywhere at all).
... Sorry.

I will say this (as my final comments):
A thing cannot "just be" because God wills it "to be that way" ... he wills things according to logic.
If a given piece of matter "just is" bread, then it would be bread necessarily so (always and without any possibility of change).
However, it is clear that it doesn't have to be bread, but that God wills it to be bread in this moment by informing it with the form of "bread", making this particular bit of matter to be this particular thing.
Now, because the matter is made to be what it is by the form, it is clear that the matter and form are not mere mental distinctions (because they make a difference in reality) ... rather, these are real distinctions within the metaphysics of being.

Good bye. +

DO said...

A simple distinction is needed. In so far as "physical" refers to substance, the Eucharist is indeed physically the literal Body of Christ.

In so far as "physical" refers to accidents, the Eucharist is not physically the literal Body of Christ.

But "physical" most properly refers to the substance of a thing, so indeed it is most fitting to refer to the Eucharist as Christ, physically.

I do not think it needs to get any more complicated than that.

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