1. OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION, THAT IS, THE CONVERSION OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE BREAD AND OF THE WINE INTO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.

 

  1. Luther at first left it as a matter of choice to each person, either to believe in Transubstantiation or not, but he changed his opinion afterwards, and in 1522, in the book which he wrote against Henry VIII. , he says : ” I now wish to transubstantiate my own opinion. I thought it better before to say nothing about the belief in Transubstantiation, but now I declare, that if any one holds this doctrine, he is an impious blasphemer” (1), and he concludes by saying, that in the Eucharist, along with the body and blood of Christ, remains the substance of the bread and wine : ” that the body of Christ is in the bread, with the bread, and under the bread, just as fire is in a red-hot iron.” He, therefore, called the Real Presence “Impanation,” or ” Consubstantiation,” that is, the association of the substance of bread and wine with the substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
  2. The Council of Trent, however, teaches, that the whole substance of the bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ. It issued a Decree to that effect (Cap. 4, Sess. xiii), and says, that the Church most aptly calls this change Transubstantiation.

(I) Luther, lib. con. Reg. Angliac.

Here are the words of the Second Can. : ” Si quis dixerit in sacrosancto Eucaristiæ Sacramento remanere substantiam panis et vini una cum corpore et sanguine D. N. J. C., negaveritque mirabilem illam, et singularem conversionem totius substantiæ panis in corpus, et totius substantiao vini in sanguinem, manentibus dumtaxat speciebus panis et vini, quam quidem conversionem Catholica Ecclesia aptissime Transubstantiationem appellat, anathema sit.” Remark the words, mirabi lem ilium, et singularem conversionem totius substantiæ, the won derful and singular conversion of the whole substance. It is called wonderful, for it is a mystery hidden from us, and which we never can comprehend. It is singular, because in all nature there is not another case of a similar change; and it is called a conversion, because it is not a simple union with the body of Christ, such as was the hypostatic union by which the Divine and human Natures were united in the sole person of Christ. Such is not the case, then, in the Eucharist, for the substance of the bread and wine is not united with, but is totally changed and converted into, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We say a conversion of the whole substance, to distinguish it from other conversions or changes, such as the change of food into the body of the person who partakes of it, or the change of water into wine by our Redeemer at Cana, and the change of the rod of Moses into a serpent, for in all these changes the substance remained, and it was the form alone that was changed; but in the Eucharist the matter and form of the bread and wine is changed, and the species alone remain, that is, the appearance alone, as the council explains it, ” remanentibus dumtaxat speciebus panis et vini.”

  1. The general opinion is, that this conversion is not performed by the creation of the body of Christ, for creation is the production of a thing out of nothing; but this is the conversion of the substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ. It does not take place either by the annihilation of the matter of the bread and wine, because annihilation means the total destruction of a thing, and the body of Christ, then, would be changed, we may say, from nothing; but in the Eucharist the substance of the bread passes into the substance of Christ, so that it is not from nothing. Neither does it take place by the transmutation of the form alone (as a certain author endeavours to prove), the same matter still remaining, as happened when the water was changed into wine, and the rod into a serpent. Scotus says that Transubstantiation is an act adducing the body of Christ into the Eucharist (actio adductiva); but this opinion is not followed by others, for adduction does not mean conversion by the passage of one substance into the other. It cannot be called, either, a unitivc action, for that supposes two extremes in the point of union. Hence, we say, with St. Thomas, that the consecration operates in such a manner, that if the body of Christ was not in heaven, it would commence to exist in the Eucharist. The consecration really, and in instanti, as the same Doctor says (2), reproduces the body of Christ under the present species of bread, for as this is a sacramental action, it is requisite that there should be an external sign, in which the rationale of a Sacrament consists.
  2. The Council of Trent has declared (Sess. xiii, cap. 3), that vi verborum the body of Christ alone is under the appearance of bread, and the blood alone under the appearance of wine; that by natural and proximate concomitance the soul of our Saviour is under both species, with his body and his blood; by supernatural and remote concomitance the Divinity of the Word is present, by the hypostatic union of the Word with the body and soul of Christ; and that the Father and the Holy Ghost are present, by the identity of the essence of the Father and the Holy Ghost with the Word. Here are the words of the Council: ” Semper hæc fides in Ecclesia Dei fuit, statim post consecrationom verum Domini nostri corpus, vetumque ejus sanguinem sub panis, et vini specie, una cum ipsius anima, et Divinitate existere; sed corpus quidem sub specie panis, et sanguinem sub vini specie ex vi verborum; ipsum autem corpus sub specie vini, et sanguinem sub specie panis, animamque sub utraque vi naturalis illius connexionis, et concemitantiæ, qua partes Christi Domini, qui jam ex mortuis resurrexit, non araplius moriturus, inter se copulantur : Divinitatem porro propter admirabilem illam ejus cum corpore, et anima hypostaticam unionem.”

(2) St. Thom, p. 3, qn. 75, iirt. 1.

  1. Transubstantiation is proved by the very words of Christ himself : ” This is my body.” The word this, according to the Lutherans themselves, proves that Christ’s body was really present. If the body of Christ was there, therefore the substance of the bread was not there; for if the bread was there, and if by the word this our Lord meant the bread, the proposition would be false, taking it in this sense, This is my body, that is, this bread is my body, for it is not true that the bread was the body of Christ. But perhaps they will then say, before our Lord expressed the word body, what did the word this refer to ? We answer, as we have done already, that it does not refer either o the bread or to the body, but has its own natural meaning, which is this : This which is contained under the appearance of bread is not bread, but is my body. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says (3) : ” Aquam aliquando ( Christus) mutavit in vinum in Cana Galilææ sola voluntate, et non erit dignus cui credamus, quod vinum in sanguinem transmutasset.” St. Gregory of Nyssa (4) says : ” Panis statim per verbum transmutatur, sicut dictum est a Verbo : Hoc est corpus meum.” St. Ambrose writes thus (5) : “Quantis utimur exemplis, ut probemus non hoc esse quod natura formavit, sed quod benedictio consecravit; majoremque vim esse benedictionis, quam naturæ, quia benedictione etiam natura ipsa mutatur.” St. John of Damascus (6) : ” Panis, ac vinum et aqua per Sancti Spiritus invocationem, et adventum mirabili modo in Christi corpus et sanguinem vertuntur.” Tertullian, St. Chrysostom, and St. Hilary use the same language (7).
  2. Transubstantiation is also proved by the authority of Councils, and especially, first, by the Roman Council, under Gregory VII., in which Berengarius made his profession of Faith, and said : ” Panem et vinum, quæ ponuntur in Altari, in veram et propriam ac vivificatricem carnem et sanguinem Jesu Christi substantialiter convert! per verba consecratoria.”

(3) St. Cyril, Hieros. Cath. Mystagog. -(4) St. Greg. Nyssa. Orat. Cath. c. 37. (5) St. Ambrose de Initland. c. 9 (6) St. Jo. Damas. l. 4, Orthod. Fidei. c. 14. (7) Tertul. contra Marcion. l. 4, c. 4; Chrysos. Hom. 4, in una cor. St. Hil. l. 8, de Trinit.

Secondly, By the Fourth Council of Lateran (cap. 1), which says : ” Idem ipse Sacerdos et Sacrificium Jesus Christus, cumcorpus et sanguis in Sacramento Altar is sub speciebus panis et vini veraciter continetur, transubstantiatis pane in corpus, et vino in sanguinem potestate Divina,” &c. Thirdly By the Council of Trent (Sess. xiii, can. 2), which condemns all who deny this doctrine : “Mirabilem illam conversionem totius substantive panis in corpus, et vini in sanguinem quam conversionem Catholica Ecclesia aptissime Transubstantionem appellat.”