Transubstantiation

Transubstantiation

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In Roman Catholic theology
Roman Catholic theology
Roman Catholic theology comprises the "Roman Catholic teachings" of the Catholic Church which bases its conclusions on Scripture and Sacred Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium. The Church teaches that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, keeping of the Ten commandments and...

, transubstantiation (in Latin, transsubstantiatio, in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 μετουσίωσις metousiosis
Metousiosis
Metousiosis is a Greek term that means, literally, a change of . Cyril Lucaris , the Patriarch of Alexandria and later of Constantinople, used this Greek term to express the idea for which the Latin term is transsubstantiatio , which likewise literally means a change of substantia ,...

) means the change, in the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, of the substance
Substance theory
Substance theory, or substance attribute theory, is an ontological theory about objecthood, positing that a substance is distinct from its properties. A thing-in-itself is a property-bearer that must be distinguished from the properties it bears....

 of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body
Body of Christ
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two separate connotations: it may refer to Jesus's statement about the Eucharist at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in , or the explicit usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in to refer to the Christian Church.Although in general usage the...

 and Blood
Blood of Christ
The Blood of Christ in Christian theology refers to the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ on the Cross, and the salvation which Christianity teaches was accomplished thereby; and the sacramental blood present in the Eucharist, which is considered by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and...

, respectively, of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, while all that is accessible to the senses (the appearances - species in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

) remains as before.

The Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Oriental Orthodox Church also use the term "transubstantiation" (metousiosis). Other terms such as "trans-elementation" (μεταστοιχείωσις metastoicheiosis) and "re-ordination" (μεταρρύθμισις metarrhythmisis) are more common among the Orthodox.

History


The earliest known use of the term "transubstantiation" to describe the change from bread and wine to body and blood of Christ was by Hildebert de Lavardin, Archbishop of Tours (died 1133), in the eleventh century and by the end of the twelfth century the term was in widespread use. The Fourth Council of the Lateran
Fourth Council of the Lateran
The Fourth Council of the Lateran was convoked by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull of April 19, 1213, and the Council gathered at Rome's Lateran Palace beginning November 11, 1215. Due to the great length of time between the Council's convocation and meeting, many bishops had the opportunity...

, which convened beginning November 11, 1215, spoke of the bread and wine as "transubstantiated" into the body and blood of Christ: "His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the forms of bread and wine, the bread and wine having been transubstantiated, by God's power, into his body and blood".

During the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, the doctrine of transubstantiation was heavily criticised as an import into Christian teaching of Aristotelian
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 "pseudo-philosophy", in favor of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's doctrine of sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

, or in favor, per Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

, of the Eucharist as memorial.

The Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 in its thirteenth session ending October 11, 1551, defined transubstantiation as "that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood – the species
Species (Christianity)
Species is an older English word meaning 'external form or appearance'. In Christianity, when the wine is turned into blood, it is believed to literally become blood, retaining only the species of wine....

 only of the bread and wine remaining – which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation". This council officially approved use of the term "transubstantiation" to express the Catholic Church's teaching on the subject of the conversion of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, with the aim of safeguarding Christ's presence as a literal truth, while emphasizing the fact that there is no change in the empirical appearances of the bread and wine. It did not however impose the Aristotelian theory of substance and accidents: it spoke only of the species
Species (Christianity)
Species is an older English word meaning 'external form or appearance'. In Christianity, when the wine is turned into blood, it is believed to literally become blood, retaining only the species of wine....

 (the appearances), not the philosophical term "accidents", and the word "substance" was in ecclesiastical use for many centuries before Aristotelian philosophy was adopted in the West, as shown for instance by its use in the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 which speaks of Christ having the same "οὐσία" (Greek) or "substantia" (Latin) as the Father
God the Father
God the Father is a gendered title given to God in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector...

.

Patristic period


The belief that the Eucharist conveyed to the believer the body and blood of Christ appears to have been widespread from an early date, and the elements were commonly referred to as the body and the blood by early Christian writers. The early Christians who use these terms also speak of it as the flesh and blood of Christ, the same flesh and blood which suffered and died on the cross.

The short document known as the Teaching of the Apostles or Didache
Didache
The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

, which may be the earliest Christian document outside of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 to speak of the Eucharist, says, "Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you except those who have been baptized in the Name of the Lord," for it was in reference to this that the Lord said, "Do not give that which is holy to dogs." Matthew 7:6

A letter by Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 to the Romans, written in AD 106 says: "I desire the bread of GOD, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ."

Writing to the Christians of Smyrna, in about AD 106, Saint Ignatius
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 warned them to "stand aloof from such heretics", because, among other reasons, "they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again."

In about 150, Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

 wrote of the Eucharist: "Not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh."

Justin Martyr wrote, in Dialogue with Trypho, ch 70: "Now it is evident, that in this prophecy to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks."

In about 200 AD, Tertullian wrote (Against Marcion IV. 40): "Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples he made it his own body by saying, 'This is my body,' that is a 'figure of my body.' On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body."

The Apostolic Constitutions
Apostolic Constitutions
The Apostolic Constitutions is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenience is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch...

 (compiled c. 380) says: "Let the bishop give the oblation, saying, The body of Christ; and let him that receiveth say, Amen. And let the deacon take the cup; and when he gives it, say, The blood of Christ, the cup of life; and let him that drinketh say, Amen."

Saint Ambrose
Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

 of Milan (d. 397) wrote:
Perhaps you will say, "I see something else, how is it that you assert that I receive the Body of Christ?" ... Let us prove that this is not what nature made, but what the blessing consecrated, and the power of blessing is greater than that of nature, because by blessing nature itself is changed. ... For that sacrament which you receive is made what it is by the word of Christ. But if the word of Elijah had such power as to bring down fire from heaven, shall not the word of Christ have power to change the nature of the elements? ... Why do you seek the order of nature in the Body of Christ, seeing that the Lord Jesus Himself was born of a Virgin, not according to nature? It is the true Flesh of Christ which was crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body. The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: "This is My Body." Before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the consecration the Body is signified. He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood. And you say, Amen, that is, It is true. Let the heart within confess what the mouth utters, let the soul feel what the voice speaks."


Other fourth-century Christian writers say that in the Eucharist there occurs a "change", "transelementation", "transformation", "transposing", "alteration" of the bread into the body of Christ.

In AD 400, Augustine quotes Cyprian (AD 200): "For as Christ says 'I am the true vine,' it follows that the blood of Christ is wine, not water; and the cup cannot appear to contain His blood by which we are redeemed and quickened, if the wine be absent; for by the wine is the blood of Christ typified, ..."

Middle Ages


In the eleventh century, Berengar of Tours
Berengar of Tours
Berengar of Tours was a French 11th century Christian theologian and Archdeacon of Angers, a scholar whose leadership of the cathedral school at Chartres set an example of intellectual inquiry through the revived tools of dialectic that was soon followed at cathedral schools of Laon and Paris, ...

 denied that any material change in the elements was needed to explain the Eucharistic Presence, thereby provoking a considerable stir. Berengar's position was never diametrically opposed to that of his critics, and he was probably never excommunicated. But the controversy that he aroused forced people to clarify the doctrine of the Eucharist.

The earliest known use of the term "transubstantiation" to describe the change from bread and wine to body and blood of Christ was by Hildebert de Lavardin, Archbishop of Tours (died 1133), in about 1079, long before the Latin West, under the influence especially of Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 (c. 1227-1274), accepted Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

.

Although it was only in the West that Aristotelian philosophy prevailed, the objective reality of the Eucharistic change is also believed in by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the other ancient Churches of the East (see metousiosis
Metousiosis
Metousiosis is a Greek term that means, literally, a change of . Cyril Lucaris , the Patriarch of Alexandria and later of Constantinople, used this Greek term to express the idea for which the Latin term is transsubstantiatio , which likewise literally means a change of substantia ,...

).

In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council used the word transubstantiated in its profession of faith, when speaking of the change that takes place in the Eucharist. It was only later in the thirteenth century that Aristotelian metaphysics was accepted and a philosophical elaboration in line with that metaphysics was developed, which found classic formulation in the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas."

In 1551 the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 officially defined, with a minimum of technical philosophical language, that "by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."

Protestant criticisms



In the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, the doctrine of transubstantiation became a matter of much controversy. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 held that "It is not the doctrine of transubstantiation which is to be believed, but simply that Christ really is present at the Eucharist". In his "On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church
On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church
thumb||FrontspiecePrelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church was the second of the three major treatises published by Martin Luther in 1520, coming after the Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation and before On the Freedom of a Christian...

" (published on 6 October 1520) Luther wrote:
Therefore it is an absurd and unheard-of juggling with words, to understand "bread" to mean "the form, or accidents of bread," and "wine" to mean "the form, or accidents of wine." Why do they not also understand all other things to mean their forms, or accidents? Even if this might be done with all other things, it would yet not be right thus to emasculate the words of God and arbitrarily to empty them of their meaning.

Moreover, the Church had the true faith for more than twelve hundred years, during which time the holy Fathers never once mentioned this transubstantiation — certainly, a monstrous word for a monstrous idea — until the pseudo-philosophy of Aristotle became rampant in the Church these last three hundred years. During these centuries many other things have been wrongly defined, for example, that the Divine essence neither is begotten nor begets, that the soul is the substantial form of the human body, and the like assertions, which are made without reason or sense, as the Cardinal of Cambray himself admits.


In his 1528 Confession Concerning Christ's Supper
Confession Concerning Christ's Supper
Confession Concerning Christ's Supper is a theological treatise written by Martin Luther affirming the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, defining Luther's position as the Sacramental union. Notable among its respondents were Huldrych Zwingli and Johannes...

 he wrote:
Why then should we not much more say in the Supper, "This is my body", even though bread and body are two distinct substances, and the word "this" indicates the bread? Here, too, out of two kinds of objects a union has taken place, which I shall call a "sacramental union", because Christ's body and the bread are given to us as a sacrament. This is not a natural or personal union, as is the case with God and Christ. It is also perhaps a different union from that which the dove has with the Holy Spirit, and the flame with the angel, but it is also assuredly a sacramental union.


What Luther thus called a "sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

" is often called consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that 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,...

 by non-Lutherans.

In "On the Babylonian Captivity" Luther upheld belief in the Real Presence of Jesus and in his 1523 treatise The Adoration of the Sacrament
The Adoration of the Sacrament
The Adoration of the Sacrament is Martin Luther's treatise, written to Bohemian Brethren to defend the adoration of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.-Original German text:...

 defended adoration of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

 taught that the sacrament is purely symbolic and memorial in character, arguing that this was the meaning of Jesus' instruction: "Do this in remembrance of me".

The Thirty-nine articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 of religion in the Church of England declare: "Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions"; and made Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 illegal.

In Roman Catholic theology



"Substance" here means what something is in itself. A hat's shape is not the hat itself, nor is its colour, size, softness to the touch, nor anything else about it perceptible to the senses. The hat itself (the "substance") has the shape, the color, the size, the softness and the other appearances, but is distinct from them. While the appearances, which are referred to by the philosophical term accidents
Accident (philosophy)
Accident, as used in philosophy, is an attribute which may or may not belong to a subject, without affecting its essence. The word "accident" has been employed throughout the history of philosophy with several distinct meanings....

, are perceptible to the senses, the substance is not.

Consider the classic example
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 of the human body
Human nature
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally....

. All of the separate chemical compounds, minerals and water—which when piled together constitute the sum total of the actual physical matter of the human body—are not of themselves a human body, however much they may be physically compounded and mixed and rearranged in the laboratory, since they are still only a pile of organic chemicals, minerals and water in a particular complex configuration. If this has never been alive it is not a human body. If they are participant in the integral physical expression of a living human being who has absorbed and metabolized them, or if they are now the physical remains of a once-living human being, the substance of what they actually are is human, hence, a human body. The substantial reality of what is before us is human. The substance (substantial reality) of what is seen is not solely that of a complex organization of organic chemical compounds, but is (or has been) someone. The chemical elements of the food a person eats become in a few hours part of that person's human body and are no longer food but have been turned into the human flesh and blood and bone of that person, yet the physical chemical elements of what was once food remain the same (calcium, copper, salt, protein, sugars, fats, water, etc.). The substance of any matter that has become an integral part of any human being has ceased to be the substance or reality of food and has become incorporated as an integral part of the physical manifestation or expression of that human person. To touch that matter now is not to touch a batch of chemical compounds or food but to touch that person.

When at his Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 said: "This is my body", what he held in his hands still had all the appearances of bread: these "accidents" remained unchanged. However, the Roman Catholic Church believes that, when Jesus made that declaration, the underlying reality (the "substance") of the bread was converted to that of his body. In other words, it actually was his body, while all the appearances open to the senses or to scientific investigation were still those of bread, exactly as before. The Catholic Church holds that the same change of the substance of the bread and of the wine occurs at the consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 of the Eucharist when the words
Words of Institution
The Words of Institution are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event...

 are spoken "This is my body ... this is my blood." In Orthodox confessions, the change is said to take place during the Epiklesis.

Believing that Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 is risen from the dead and is alive, the Catholic Church holds that when the bread is changed into his body, not only his body is present, but Christ as a whole is present (i.e. body and blood, soul and divinity.) The same holds for the wine changed into his blood. This belief goes beyond the doctrine of transubstantiation, which directly concerns only the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

In accordance with this belief that Christ is really, truly and substantially present under the remaining appearances of bread and wine, and continues to be present as long as those appearances remain, the Catholic Church preserves the consecrated elements, generally in a church tabernacle
Church tabernacle
A tabernacle is the fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is "reserved" . A less obvious container, set into the wall, is called an aumbry....

, for administering Holy Communion to the sick and dying, and also for the secondary, but still highly prized, purpose of adoring Christ present in the Eucharist
Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic Church, and in a few Anglican and Lutheran churches, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to and adored by the faithful....

.

The Roman Catholic Church considers the doctrine of transubstantiation to be concerned with what is changed, and not how the change occurs; it teaches that the accidents
Accident (philosophy)
Accident, as used in philosophy, is an attribute which may or may not belong to a subject, without affecting its essence. The word "accident" has been employed throughout the history of philosophy with several distinct meanings....

 that remain are real, not an illusion, and that Christ is "really, truly, and substantially present" in the Eucharist. To touch the smallest particle of the host
Sacramental bread
Sacramental bread, sometimes called the lamb, altar bread, host or simply Communion bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.-Eastern Catholic and Orthodox:...

 or the smallest droplet from the chalice
Chalice
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. This can also refer to;* Holy Chalice, the vessel which Jesus used at the Last Supper to serve the wine* Chalice , a type of smoking pipe...

 is to touch Jesus Christ himself, as when one person touches another on the back of the hand with only a fingertip and in so doing touches not merely a few skin cells but touches the whole person: "Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ."

In the arguments which characterised the relationship between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in the 16th century, the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 declared subject to the ecclesiastical penalty of anathema anyone who:
"denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue" and anyone who "saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood - the species only of the bread and wine remaining - which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation, let him be anathema."


Protestant denominations have not generally subscribed to belief in transubstantiation or consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that 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,...

.

As already stated, the Roman Catholic Church insists that the "accidents" that remain are real. In the sacrament these are the signs of the reality that they efficaciously signify. And by definition sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

s are "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Catholic Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us."

Interpretations of Biblical evidence



Those who believe that in the Eucharist the bread and wine become instead the body and blood of Christ see this as plainly indicated in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, both in the Eucharistic discourse given by Christ in John 6, and in 1st Corinthians 11, where St. Paul several times equates the body and blood of Jesus with the "bread" and "cup of benediction" used in the Eucharist. Christians who deny that there is such a change (transubstantiation) deny that the New Testament teaches it. Some of them even see the New Testament as contradicting it.

Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholics, who together constitute the majority of Christians, hold that the consecrated elements in a valid celebration of the Eucharist indeed become the body and blood of Christ. This belief is held also by some Reform and Protestant Christian churches, Lutherans and Anglicans, though they generally deny transubstantiation.

While there is a large body of theology noting the many Scriptural supports for transubstantiation, in general, Orthodox and Catholics consider it unnecessary to "prove" from texts of Scripture a belief that they see as held by Christians without interruption from the earliest, apostolic times. They point out that the Church and its teaching existed before it assembled and canonized the New Testament, and even before any individual part of the New Testament was written. They also point out that early Christians
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 such as Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

, Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

, and Clement of Rome (who were much closer to the event than those who have later proposed a figurative interpretation of the Eucharist), described the Eucharist as truly the body and blood of Christ.
They see nothing in Scripture that in any way contradicts this age-old Christian belief that the reality beneath the visible signs in the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ and no longer bread and wine. Instead, they see this teaching as the same teaching in the Bible's reports of what Christ himself and Paul the Apostle taught.

As the scriptural support required by their sola scriptura
Sola scriptura
Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid...

 position, Protestants who believe that in the Eucharist the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ turn to the words of Jesus himself at his Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

, as reported in the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 and Saint Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

. In that context, Jesus said of what to all appearances were bread and wine: "This is my body … this is my blood" or, in the case of what appeared to be wine, "… this cup is the new covenant in my blood".

Many Protestants reject a literal interpretation of these words. They compare them to non-literal expressions by Jesus such as "I am the door", "I am the vine", "You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world" ,"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees" . In this last example, the disciples thought that the reason Jesus said it was because they had brought no bread; but Jesus explained that he was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

These Protestants add that "eating and drinking" is sometimes used metaphorically, as of Jeremiah "eating" God's words , or David speaking of water as blood, since it was obtained at the risk of the lives of his men .

Those who hold that Jesus' words, "This is my body", "This is my blood", were not metaphorical claim that there is a marked contrast between metaphorical figurative expressions, which of their nature have a symbolic meaning, and what Jesus said about concrete things such as the bread and wine.

In the phrase "This is my body"as expressed in the original Greek (Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου), the word "τοῦτο" ("this" or "this thing") is a grammatically neuter pronoun, and so of the same grammatical gender as the noun "σῶμα" (body), but of a different grammatical gender from that of the word "ἄρτος" (bread), which is a masculine noun. Some claim that this is an indication of the change of the reality from bread (ἄρτος) to body (σῶμα).

As indications that the bread and wine are indeed changed to the body and blood of Christ, appeal is made to expressions used by Saint Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

, in particular his rhetorical question, "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" , and his statement, "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord." . Protestant commentators, such as Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry was an English commentator on the Bible and Presbyterian minister.-Life:He was born at Broad Oak, a farmhouse on the borders of Flintshire and Shropshire. His father, Philip Henry, had just been ejected under the Act of Uniformity 1662...

 (1662 – 1714) say that use of the word "bread" shows there has been no change.

Paul's subsequent recommendation, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself" , has likewise been interpreted either as indicating the reality of the disputed change or as implying no such change. Marvin R. Vincent, in particular, objected to what he called the mistaken King James Version translation of κρῖμα in verse 29 as "damnation", rather more literally as "judgment".

It has been noted that Paul wrote: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord" (emphases added). This has been interpreted as stating that unworthy participation of either the bread or the cup of the Lord involves guilt concerning both the body and blood of the Lord, an indication of the presence of Christ in each of the two cases.

Another Scripture text that Catholics generally understand as related to the Eucharist is the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

's account of Jesus as saying: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man
Son of man
The phrase son of man is a primarily Semitic idiom that originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, used to denote humanity or self. The phrase is also used in Judaism and Christianity. The phrase used in the Greek, translated as Son of man is ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου...

 and drink his blood you have no life in you … he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him" , a statement that he did not tone down when, as a result, many of his disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 then abandoned him , shocked at the idea. Protestants tend to interpret this passage in connection with , where Jesus says "the flesh profits nothing, the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life", which they say means that the redeemed live by faith. Some also invoke , "Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me", describing how one "lives".

Eastern Christianity


The Eastern Catholic
Eastern Rite Catholic Churches
The Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous, self-governing particular churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. Together with the Latin Church, they compose the worldwide Catholic Church...

, Oriental Orthodox
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

 and Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

es, along with the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, agree that in a valid Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 bread and wine truly and actually become the body and blood of Christ. They have in general refrained from philosophical speculation, and usually rely on the status of the doctrine as a "Mystery," something known by divine revelation that could not have been arrived at by reason without revelation. Accordingly, they prefer not to elaborate upon the details and remain firmly within Holy Tradition, than to say too much and possibly deviate from the truth. However, there are official church documents that speak of a "change" (in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ) or "metousiosis
Metousiosis
Metousiosis is a Greek term that means, literally, a change of . Cyril Lucaris , the Patriarch of Alexandria and later of Constantinople, used this Greek term to express the idea for which the Latin term is transsubstantiatio , which likewise literally means a change of substantia ,...

" of the bread and wine. "Μετ-ουσί-ωσις" (met-ousi-osis) is the Greek word used to represent the Latin word "trans-substanti-atio", as Greek "μετα-μόρφ-ωσις" (meta-morph-osis) corresponds to Latin "trans-figur-atio". Examples of official documents of the Eastern Orthodox Church that use the term "μετουσίωσις" or "transubstantiation" are the Longer Catechism of The Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church (question 340) and the declaration by the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem
Synod of Jerusalem
The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March, 1672. Because the occasion was the consecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, it is also called the Synod of Bethlehem....

 of 1672:
"In the celebration of [the Eucharist] we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present. He is not present typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation
Impanation
Impanation is a view of the real presence of the body of Jesus Christ in the bread of the Eucharist that does not imply a change in the substance of either the bread or the body...

, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose. But [he is present] truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world.

Anglicanism


During the reign of King Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, the official teaching was identical with the Roman Catholic Church's doctrine before and after Henry's break with Rome by declaring that the Pope had no jurisdiction in England. A decade before the break the king wrote a book in defence of Catholic doctrine for which the Pope rewarded him with the title of Defender of the Faith
Fidei defensor
Fidei defensor is a Latin title which translates to Defender of the Faith in English and Défenseur de la Foi in French...

, a title revoked by the Pope following Henry's break with Rome but still claimed and held by English and, after 1707, British monarchs after being bestowed on the monarch by Parliament. Under Henry's son, Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 began to accept some aspects of Protestant theology and rejected transubstantiation. Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, as part of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement
Elizabethan Religious Settlement
The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was Elizabeth I’s response to the religious divisions created over the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. This response, described as "The Revolution of 1559", was set out in two Acts of the Parliament of England...

, gave royal assent to the Thirty-Nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 of Religion, which sought to distinguish Anglican from Roman Church doctrine. The Articles declared that "Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."

Anglicans generally consider no teaching binding that, according to the Articles, "cannot be found in Holy Scripture or proved thereby". Consequently, some Anglicans (especially Anglo-Catholics and some other High Church
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

 Anglicans) accept transubstantiation while most Anglicans do not. In any case, nowadays even Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 clergy are only required to assent that the Thirty-nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 have borne witness to the Christian faith.

In some Anglican churches other than the Church of England even this is not required. Archbishop John Tillotson
John Tillotson
John Tillotson was an Archbishop of Canterbury .-Curate and rector:Tillotson was the son of a Puritan clothier at Haughend, Sowerby, Yorkshire. He entered as a pensioner of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1647, graduated in 1650 and was made fellow of his college in 1651...

 decried the "real barbarousness of this Sacrament and Rite of our Religion", considering it a great impiety
Impiety
Impiety is classically a lack of proper concern for the obligations owed to public religious observation or cult. Impiety was a main Pagan objection to Christianity, for unlike other initiates into mystery religions, early Christians refused to cast a pinch of incense before the images of the gods,...

 to believe that people who attend Holy Communion
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 "verily eat and drink the natural flesh and blood of Christ. And what can any man do more unworthily towards a Friend? How can he possibly use him more barbarously, than to feast upon his living flesh and blood?" (Discourse against Transubstantiation, London 1684, 35).

Official writings of the churches of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 have consistently upheld belief in the Real Presence, a term that includes transubstantiation as well as several other eucharistic theologies such as consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that 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,...

 and the purely spiritual presence affirmed by the Thirty Nine Articles. Some recent Anglican writers explicitly accept the doctrine of transubstantiation or, while avoiding the term "transubstantiation", speak of an "objective presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. The term "objective presence" includes a belief in transubstantiation but does not limit belief to transubstantiation.

Theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church has produced common documents that speak of "substantial agreement" about the doctrine of the Eucharist: the ARCIC Windsor Statement of 1971, and its 1979 Elucidation. Remaining arguments can be found in the Church of England's pastoral letter: The Eucharist: Sacrament of Unity.

Lutheranism


Luther explicitly rejected transubstantiation, believing that the bread and wine remained fully bread and fully wine while also being fully the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Luther instead emphasized the sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

 (not exactly the consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that 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,...

, as it is often claimed). Lutherans believe that within the Eucharistic celebration the body and blood of Jesus Christ are objectively present "in, with, and under the forms" of bread and wine (cf. Book of Concord
Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...

). They place great stress on Jesus' instructions to "take and eat", and "take and drink", holding that this is the proper, divinely ordained use of the sacrament, and, while giving it due reverence, scrupulously avoid any actions that might indicate or lead to superstition or unworthy fear of the sacrament.

Other Protestants


Many Protestant denominations believe that the Lord's Supper is a merely symbolic act done in remembrance of what Christ has done for them on the cross. For example, according to the Official Creed of the Assemblies of God - an Evangelical Protestant church - Holy Communion, or "The Lord's Supper, consisting of the elements--bread and the fruit of the vine--is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ ; a memorial of His suffering and death, and a prophecy of His suffering and death ; and is enjoined on all believers "till He come!" He commanded the apostles: "This do in remembrance of me", after "he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you" . Therefore they see it as a symbolic act done in remembrance and as a declaration of faith in what they consider Christ's finished work on the cross. They see the historical Last Supper as being not a literal event as Catholics do where Jesus; that is, Jesus humanly present in flesh and blood simultaneously shared out his sacramental Body and Blood under the appearances of bread and wine to his disciples, but as a prophetic act: in stating "This is my body", "This is the cup of my blood", Jesus was giving a figure of the sacrifice he would make upon the Cross the following day. Other Protestants also reject the idea that a priest, acting, he believes, in the name of Christ, not in his own name, can transform bread and wine into the actual body and blood of God incarnate in Jesus Christ, and many of them see the doctrine as a problem because of its connection with practices such as Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic Church, and in a few Anglican and Lutheran churches, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to and adored by the faithful....

, which they believe may be idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

. They base their criticism of the doctrine of transubstantiation (and also of the Real Presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

) on a number of verses of the Bible, including , and on their interpretation of the central message of the Gospel. Scripture does not explicitly say "the bread was transformed" or "changed" in any way, and therefore they consider the doctrine of transubstantiation to be unbiblical from more than one approach. As already stated above, they also object to using early Christian writings to support belief that the bread of the Lord's Supper is more than a metaphor for Christ's body, because such writings are not Scripture nor writings that were able to be verified by any prophet or apostle, especially when they believe such doctrines contradict inspired Scripture.

Protestant denominations, such as Methodists and some Presbyterians, profess belief in the Real Presence, but offer explanations other than transubstantiation. Classical Presbyterianism held the Calvinist view of "pneumatic" presence or "spiritual feeding." However, when the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Presbyterian Church , or PC, is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. Part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S...

 signed "A Formula for Agreement" with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

, both affirmed belief in the Real Presence. John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 "can be regarded as occupying a position roughly midway between" (McGrath) the doctrines developed by Martin Luther on the one hand and Huldrych Zwingli, on the other: "Believers ought always to live by this rule: whenever they see symbols appointed by the Lord, to think and be convinced that the truth of the thing signified is surely present there. For why should the Lord put in your hand the symbol of his body, unless it was to assure you that you really participate in it? And if it is true that a visible sign is given to us to seal the gift of an invisible thing, when we have received the symbol of the body, let us rest assured that the body itself is also given to us." (Calvin); that is, "the thing that is signified is effected by its sign" (McGrath).

Conceptual art


An Oak Tree
An Oak Tree
An Oak Tree is a conceptual work of art created by Michael Craig-Martin RA in 1973. The piece consists of two units; an object, a glass of water on a glass shelf, and a text...

is a conceptual art
Conceptual art
Conceptual art is art in which the concept or idea involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions...

 installation in the Tate Modern
Tate Modern
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London, England. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group . It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year...

, consisting of a glass of water, which the artist, Michael Craig-Martin
Michael Craig-Martin
Michael Craig-Martin RA is a contemporary conceptual artist and painter. He is noted for his fostering of the Young British Artists, many of whom he taught, and for his conceptual artwork, An Oak Tree...

, declared he had turned into "a full-grown oak tree", "without altering the accidents of the glass of water". The text he included as part of his work states: "It's not a symbol. I have changed the physical substance of the glass of water into that of an oak tree. I didn't change its appearance. The actual oak tree is physically present, but in the form of a glass of water." In a Richard Dimbleby Lecture
Richard Dimbleby Lecture
The Richard Dimbleby Lecture was founded in the memory of Richard Dimbleby, the BBC broadcaster. It has been delivered by an influential business or political figure almost every year since 1972 ....

, on 23 November 2000, Sir Nicholas Serota said: "We may not 'like' Craig-Martin's work, but it certainly reminds us that the appreciation of all art involves an act of faith comparable to the belief that, through transubstantiation, the bread and wine of Holy Communion become the body and blood of Christ."

See also

  • Consubstantiation
    Consubstantiation
    Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that 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,...

  • Eucharistic Miracle
    Eucharistic miracle
    A Eucharistic miracle is any miracle involving the Eucharist. Eucharistic miracles typically involve the visible transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during the consecration portion of a Catholic Mass or Orthodox Liturgy...

  • Host desecration
    Host desecration
    Host desecration is a form of sacrilege in Christianity involving the mistreatment or malicious use of a consecrated host— the sacred bread used in the Eucharistic service or Mass...

  • New Covenant
    New Covenant
    The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

  • Nominalism
    Nominalism
    Nominalism is a metaphysical view in philosophy according to which general or abstract terms and predicates exist, while universals or abstract objects, which are sometimes thought to correspond to these terms, do not exist. Thus, there are at least two main versions of nominalism...

  • Transignification
    Transignification
    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...


External links