I am a Confirmed Catholic and am currently learning about and doing casual research on Christian doctrinal differences regarding the nature of the Eucharist. I know that Catholic doctrine states that the bread and wine change ("trans") into the different material ("substance") of the Body and Blood of Christ. I've heard this called the "real presence." Wouldn't that term align more with the doctrine held by some other sects of Christianity that the substance is not changed, but Jesus is simply present in the Eucharist, though? And, if it in fact does align well with the Catholic standpoint, then what is the major difference between the doctrines? Is it perhaps believed in Catholicism that the presence is truly physical, in that the bread is truly human flesh and not unleavened food? I hope someone can enlighten me on this topic so that I can more clearly attest to my faith. Thank you and God bless!

To those who have marked this a duplicate, I've replied to the first comment on the page with a clarification-related question that is sort of geared at the problem I'm having personally with understanding the doctrine that perhaps other conversations would not have been able to duplicate for me. Maybe I should have searched before I posted, but I hadn't thought about it because this is my first time here. Sorry about that.


Basically, the difference between the Thomistic notion of transubstantiation and the interpretation of Lutherans and Anglicans is that those who hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation believe that after the consecration, the "substance" of what was the bread is replaced by the substance of Jesus, while the "accidents" of the bread remain,so the host looks tastes, feels, smells, and reacts like bread, but is not.

By contrast, those who hold to consubstantiation, say that Jesus is present, just as those who subscribe to transubstantiation believe, but that this occurs by Jesus becoming really present in substance at the same time the substance of the bread is.

Some of those who believe in consubstantiation note that there is a problem reconciling yransubstantiation with John 6:48, wherein it is recorded that Jesus states:

I am the bread of life

and John 6:51a, wherein it is recorded that Jesus states:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven ...

Now, if Jesus is living bread, how can it be that after transubstantiation, that there is no substance of bread present, as Jesus is bread.

  • Wow. So is, then, the difference between them that Catholicism asserts the Eucharist to be Jesus Himself, manifested in the earthly form of bread, while consubstantiation believes the bread is still bread, but with Jesus present in it? Oct 1 '16 at 15:52
  • Close, but not quite. The Catholic teaching on Transubstantiation is that the Eucharist is Jesus himself, and he is not "manifested" in the earthly form of bread, but after the consecration his substance replaces the substance of the bread, so that what looks like and tastes like bread is not, in fact what it appears to be, since there is no longer bread there. Consubstantiation, on the other hand, holds that the species of the Eucharist are Jesus himself, but rather than Jesus mystically changing the substance, he is really present, "in, with, and under" the Eucharistic species.
    – brasshat
    Oct 1 '16 at 22:34
  • Ah, I understand. Does the real source of the confusion come from different interpretations of Jesus' speech at the Last Supper? Reading it over myself, it seems that he was speaking in metaphor about the bread being his Body, but Catholic doctrine seems to teach otherwise. Oct 2 '16 at 3:16
  • @D.Caturello The Catechism of the Catholic Church is on line, and reasonably easy to use. Articles 1322-1419 are detailed teaching on The Eucharist. There's a CD by Scott Hahn called The Fourth Cup" that provides an easy to understand treatment of the sacrament. Oct 6 '16 at 20:08

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