According to a commentary by Thomas Aquinas, [pita] bread (and I suppose those extremely leavened (aerated) wafers) become "the indestructible flesh of God, the Son":

...The food that sustains the body is perishable, since it is converted into the nature of the body; but the food that sustains the spirit is not perishable, because it is not converted into the spirit; rather, the spirit is converted into its food. Hence Augustine says in his Confessions: “I am the food of the great; grow and you will eat me. But you will not change me into yourself, as you do bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”...

But if the flesh is indigestible, won't it end up being flushed down the toilet?:

Mark 7:19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

Has this been considered and addressed?

  • 1
    In Mark 7:19 και εις τον αφεδρωνα Jesus uses the word aphedron (from apo+hedra). A kath-hedra (from which we get cathedral) is a superior seat (a 'chief' seat). So an apo-hedra - an aphedron, is another kind of seat. The KJV translates this (euphemistically) as 'draught'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


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.

  • So does it just stay in the body? Also, why is it chewable? I've certainly had wafers completely dissolve in my mouth. ?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:25
  • @Ruminator What do you mean by "it"? The sacramental species (i.e., what appear, even after consecration, to be bread and wine) or the substance (the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ)?
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:30
  • Whatever was "con" or "trans" substantiated and became "Christ's imperishable flesh". Actually, I think just "trans" for the Catholics, no?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:31
  • @Ruminator The sacramental species are what you sense with your bodily senses and digest ("dissolve in [your] mouth", etc.).
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:36
  • Well it appears to me that perhaps the bark of the terminology employed in defining "transubstantiation" is worse than the bite of the concept. Are you saying that the bread remains perishable bread while "spiritually" to the eater it is "utterance made flesh"?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:45

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