My Question: Does the real presence of the Eucharist persist even after digestion to the point of being taken out of the body by defecation?

Yes this is a serious question. In case the answer is no, where does the real presence go then? Is it integrated into our bodies like vitamins? I realize that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. I understand that there are spiritual advantages to taking the Eucharist, but what I would like to now understand is also how those advantages are communicated to us when we eat Christ. The process.


3 Answers 3


When the host is digested and it no longer has the appearance of bread, it is no longer the body of Christ. The Lord is only present as long as the appearance of bread is present.

The sacramental body of Jesus remains with us for about 15 minutes, until the external species are digested. But that does not mean Jesus leaves us when the species are digested. He remains with us but not sacramentally. Fr. Bob levis EWTN

Another quote:

They are only there in order to point out "Here is Christ!" So, when we see what would commonly be called bread or bread crumbs, the visible signs tells us "Here is Christ". When we can no longer say this is bread or this is bread crumbs, then, that is no longer true. Source

From Fr. Ripperger:

it teaches man that things of the senses are there for us to come to knowledge of spiritual realities when we see the accidents of the bread by the supernatural virtue of faith we know that God is present. This helps man to direct his life of the senses to God by looking beyond the life of the senses to something deeper. On another level God knows that man has a natural desire for physical closeness to things which he loves and this is due to the nature of his body soul composite. This is why it is not enough for someone to merely hear the beloved's voice but he actually wants to see and to touch the beloved. - source

  • That's okay, but then how exactly does it benefit us to eat the Eucharist? At what point can we say "the Eucharist has done its job" and what exactly does that mean? I'm sorry if I'm not clear enough, but the core of the issue is really the technicality of it all. Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 20:08
  • @DestynationY, We need to realize who we hold in our heart and who we have received. And that's what transforms us. It can even damn us if we receive him unworthy. The Eucharist is a spiritual food so you can't apply the physical effects to it like you would to a normal food. So don't expect some energy or power in your body. But instead have a relationship with who you receive and that'll transform you in seeing things more clearly and bringing peace into your life. I added more source to explain the technicality
    – Grasper
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 12:33

My Question: Does the real presence of the Eucharist persist even after digestion to the point of being taken out of the body by defecation?

The simple answer to defecation is no? The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not view the Holy Eucharist as a simple material bread once it is consecrated. The physical appearance remain bread but prayer of consecration turn it into a real presence body, blood, soul & divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The change of the entire substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is called Transubstantiation.

The Catholic Church teaches that the faithful believe the Real Presence thru faith.

The Holy Eucharist, Vatican II tells us, is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (Lumen gentium, no. 11; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). Since the Christian life is essentially a spiritual life, we might say as well that the Eucharist is the "source and summit of Christian spirituality" too.

At what point can we say "the Eucharist has done its job"

St.Athansius said "God became man, so that man shall become god." The Church Father called this divinization or theosis.

The Eucharist has done its job when you reach theosis, As St.Paul exclaims it is no longer I who lives but Jesus.

CCC1331 Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.

The Holy Eucharist in Gospel of John in Chapter6 separates the true followers of Jesus Christ from the body of believers who left Jesus because of this hard teaching (John6:66)

Now, since Jesus Christ is the Logos/Incarnate Word, the question is? what is the surest biblical way of achieving theosis/divinization?

  1. As Christian, they receives the Word/Jesus thru reading & meditation of scriptures.

  2. We Catholics receives the Word/Jesus in His real presence in the Holy Eucharist body,blood,soul & divinity as food to nourish directly our body & soul to form a Union/Oneness with the Life promised by Jesus. "Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."(John6:53)

Now, I will leave this to all readers which way would surely arrives a believers to experience and exclaims what St.Paul said in Galatians2:20

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."



Unlike perishable food that sustains the body, Christ's body in the Eucharist cannot be broken down and assimilated because His glorified body is incapable of harm.

As St. Thomas Aquinas writes (Summa Theologica III q. 77 a. 7 co.):

it cannot be said that Christ's true body is broken because it is

  1. incorruptible and impassible

  2. entire under every part, as was shown above (q. 76 a. 3), which is contrary to the nature of a thing broken.

cf. this article on Guitmund of Aversa vs. Thomas Aquinas on the question of whether Christ's body in the Eucharist can be chewed (atteri), from The Thomist

After digestion has corrupted the sacramental species, Christ's body and blood cease to be under this sacrament.

Summa Theologica III q. 77 a. 4 co.:

if the change [of the sacramental species] be so great that the substance of the bread or wine would have been corrupted*, then Christ's body and blood do not remain under this sacrament; and this either on the part of the qualities, as when the color, savor, and other qualities of the bread and wine are so altered as to be incompatible with the nature of bread or of wine; or else on the part of the quantity, as, for instance, if the bread be reduced to fine particles, or the wine divided into such tiny drops that the species of bread or wine no longer remain.
*[had such a change been done to the bread and wine before consecration]

cf. this answer, which addresses whether the sacramental species can nourish.

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