Now this is the argument a Lutheran may potentially use against the Catholic teaching of the complete transformation of substance.
Or by any protestant not affirming the Holy Eucharist (as Catholics do).
"If the substance of bread is completely removed, then a man who is allergic to whatever is in the bread used to make the wafers should have no problem with taking Catholic Communion. But, as I know from a Catholic friend of mine, who actually is allergic to the elements found in bread (i. e. the wafer), he must be given a specially made wafer which does not contain whatever he is allergic to, when taking Communion.
It would seem that the substance of bread is not gone. It would seem either:
a) that no change has been made
b) that the change is not a complete change of substance - rather the substance of bread and the substance of Christ co-exist.
A reply that springs to my mind would be that substance is something divided from the chemical properties of the host.
How could a Man be God and still be completely a Man. This is the key to understanding the Eucharist. The “accidents” remain (did I say that correctly?), although it becomes the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.
This argument is based on a total lack of understanding of the difference between “substance” (or reality) and “accidents” (or appearance, or form). That which can be sensed, measured, detected, does not change. That’s why it still appears to be bread, even to the cells that generate the allergic reaction. But what it is, its substance, has changed from bread to Jesus Christ.
The word “substance” denotes what is really there as opposed to what may appear to our senses (or to the instruments of science) to be there.
In the Bible, usually men are just men but sometimes men are really angels. In Hebrews 13:2, it says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Genesis 18:3; 19:2; Judges 6:11-22; Tobit 5:4)
How could they have entertained angels without knowing it? Because their five senses were, by a miracle of God, “tricked” so that they perceived a kind of vision men when in fact those before them were really angels. In those cases, they perceived men but the “substance” was angels.
The situation with the Eucharist is similar but with the added twist that at the consecration at Mass there is a change of what is really there, a change of “substance.” Before the consecration bread and wine are really present; the “substance” is bread and wine. At the consecration, the bread and wine are really changed into Jesus Christ, the “substance” of bread and wine is changed into the “substance” of Jesus Christ. After the consecration, real bread and wine are no longer present; only Jesus Christ is really present, but, like with the angels mentioned above, our five senses and our bodies are, by an ongoing miracle of God, “tricked” so that we perceive a kind of vision of bread and wine so convincing that we can become drunk by drinking too much of the Precious Blood and those of us who are allergic to wheat glutten can experience an allergic reaction from eating the Precious Body. In the case of the Eucharist, we perceive bread and wine but the “substance” is Jesus Christ.
I have had this argument presented to me myself. I spoke to a priest about it. This is the best way he described it to me and I have never forgotten it. When we talk about the Real Presence, we can refer to transubstantiation (which is what is in question in this arguement). Trans, meaning changing and substantiation, meaning substance, combine to mean changing substance. The priest then went on to make this analogy. With today’s technology, a person can change the way they look from hair color to a sex change operation. However, who they are on the inside, their substance, never changes. Who they are is who they always will be…what God made them. Now, he continues by saying the Eucharist is the exact opposite. The outer appearance to the naked eye is bread and wine. The senses cannot be fooled. However, the substance, what it truly is, has changed dramatically into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope this helps clarify things. I know that in talking to my friend, it made them step back and re-evaluate what I had just said compared to what they were raised to believe.
In normal life, we can know a thing only by its accidents–those things which are perceptible to the senses. A change in substance could normally only be known by a corresponding change in the accidents (appearances.)
In transubstantiation, the appearances do not change. They remain. But the substance is gone, replaced by Jesus in his totality. All of our bodily reactions are to the accidents, not to the substance.
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