Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union?

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Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union?

Postby pheonixduprese » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:22 am UTC

Help me understand this religious issue about communion. From Wikipedia-

Transubstantiation
Spoiler:
Transubstantiation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Roman Catholic theology, "transubstantiation" (in Latin, transsubstantiatio, in Greek μετουσίωσις (metousiosis)) means the change of the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood (respectively) of Christ in the Eucharist, while all that is accessible to the senses (accidents) remains as before.[1][2]

Some Greek confessions use the term "transubstantiation" (in Greek, metousiosis), but most Orthodox Christian traditions play down the term itself, and the notions of "substance" and "accidents", while adhering to the holy mystery that bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ during Divine Liturgy. Other terms such as "trans-elementation" ("metastoicheiosis") and "re-ordination" ("metarrhythmisis") are more common among the Orthodox.

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.[3] In 1215, the Fourth Council of the Lateran 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."[4]

During the Protestant Reformation, the doctrine of transubstantiation was heavily criticised as an import into Christian teaching of Aristotelian "pseudo-philosophy,"[5] in favour of the doctrine of consubstantiation, Martin Luther's sacramental union, or in favour, per Huldrych Zwingli, of the Eucharist as memorial.[6]

The Council of Trent 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 only of the bread and wine remaining – which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation".[7]

This council thus 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,[8] 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.[9] But it did not impose the Aristotelian theory of substance and accidents: it spoke only of the "species" (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,[10] as shown for instance by its use in the Nicene Creed which speaks of Christ having the same "οὐσία" (Greek) or "substantia" (Latin) as the Father.


Consubstantiation
Spoiler:
Consubstantiation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that (like transubstantiation) 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, which remain present. The doctrine of consubstantiation is often held in contrast to the doctrine of transubstantiation.

The doctrine of consubstantiation, advocated by the medieval scholastic theologian Duns Scotus,[1] is erroneously identified as the eucharistic doctrine of Martin Luther[2], who defined his doctrine as the sacramental union.[3] While some Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, others reject the concept because it substitutes what they believe to be the biblical doctrine with a philosophical construct and implies, in their view, a natural, local inclusion of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine of the eucharist.[4]


And those of you who understand Sacramental Union- Hehe. Please, Help me understand this. It's very confusing.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Levelheaded » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:24 pm UTC

I'm not Catholic, but going to a Catholic High School we went over this a bit...


The Catholic Church teaching is that the bread & wine literally become the body and blood of Christ during mass and are no longer bread and wine. Thus, when taking communion, Catholics are literally eating and drinking Christ's flesh and blood. The senses interpret this as as bread and wine (but Catholics believe is really flesh and blood). There is a bunch of pseudo-scientific / pseudo-logical mythology made up through the centuries explaining how this actually happens.

I'm not as clear on the Orthodox postion, but it seems pretty similar. The big difference seems to be the Orthodox churches don't provide the pseudo-mythological-scientific backing the Catholic Church does and treats it as 'this is what it is, and God works in mysterious ways'.

Most Protestants don't believe they are eating Christ's flesh and blood. There is a range of beliefs, but they basically are either 'this just represents Jesus's body and blood' or 'God makes this bread and wine 'special' when we bless it, but it's still bread and wine', or even 'can we get this over with - this isn't breakfast'.


Yes, the official Catholic teachings are, by definition, cannibalistic.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby EmptySet » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:57 pm UTC

The way I understand it...

Transubstantiation is the doctrine that the bread/wafers and wine used in Communion are wholly transformed into the literal Body and Blood of Christ during the Eucharist, while still appearing to be bread and wine in every empirical respect, and is endorsed by the Catholic Church. To clarify, after transubstantiation occurs, it is not just holy wine, or indeed any kind of wine - it is the actual Blood of Christ. Or to put it another way, there is some absolute reality beyond that which is perceived by the senses, and in that absolute sense the "wine" is in fact the Blood of Christ even though it remains wine-shaped. See also Plato's Allegory of the Cave and discussion of ideal chairs and whatnot.

Consubstantiation is the doctrine that the Body and Blood of Christ are present in addition to the actual bread and wine (rather than replacing them entirely), and is a belief held by foul heretics and schismatics. So the wine is infused with the spirit of Christ, if you will, but also remains an actual physical cup of wine.

Extra-strength heretics may just believe the whole thing is symbolic and there's no actual Blood of Christ involved.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

Simple explanation of transubstantiation

During communion the bread and wine are in fact the body and blood of Jesus, but anything you do to test them will show them as bread and wine, because they are only literally in the metaphorical sense blood and flesh. (the catholic church doctrine doesn't make sense)
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby DSenette » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:56 pm UTC

what are your actual questions here? the two definitions that you posted are pretty straight forward as to what they mean, and what is believed by the religions that believe them
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:59 am UTC

Levelheaded wrote:Most Protestants don't believe they are eating Christ's flesh and blood. There is a range of beliefs, but they basically are either 'this just represents Jesus's body and blood' or 'God makes this bread and wine 'special' when we bless it, but it's still bread and wine', or even 'can we get this over with - this isn't breakfast'.

Lutherans at least, some Anglicans, and probably others, believe that the body and blood of Christ are present with the bread and wine. "Consubstantiation" and "sacramental union" refer to two flavors of this theological position. It's probably more useful to generalize about specific denominations than about Protestantism as a whole; Wikipedia has a good breakdown.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby pheonixduprese » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:05 am UTC

I just don't understand what the deal is. I kinda do now, so correct me if I'm wrong-

Transubstantiation- The Bread and Wine is blessed so it actually turns INTO Jesus's body and blood. So people are consuming jesus's blood and body.

Consubstantiation- The bread and wine simply represents the blood and body.

Sacramental union- ???

From what I understand, Consubstantiation is different from sacramental union. Just, I don't know how.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby duckshirt » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:07 am UTC

The disagreements between denominations, I think, come from interpretations of Luke 22:19-20 (and the parallel verses in Matthew and Mark). For some reason, the Catholics, Lutherans et al dissect the verse very carefully and interpret it pretty literally; most protestant churches just assume Jesus was speaking in parables, as he usually did, as if it really makes a big difference.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby folkhero » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:09 am UTC

I was taught (as a Catholic) that the bread was bread, while simultaneously being the body of Jesus; similar to how Jesus was entirely man and entirely God simultaneously, and also similar to how Bender from Futurama is 40% zinc, 40% titanium, 30% Iron, 40% chromium and lots of other stuff. The fact that it adds up to more than 100% and doesn't make sense in any logical framework only goes to show how great God and Bender are, respectively.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Azrael » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:18 am UTC

folkhero wrote:I was taught (as a Catholic) that the bread was bread, while simultaneously being the body of Jesus.
Which, by official Catholic doctrine, is incorrect. This confusion is the crux of the difference between the two doctrines. You were taught consubstantiation -- the idea that the bread is two things.

With transubstantiation (what Catholics should be taught), the bread is Jesus' body. It just happens to retain the physical interactions (appearance, taste, etc) of the original bread.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby EmptySet » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:46 pm UTC

pheonixduprese wrote:Consubstantiation- The bread and wine simply represents the blood and body.


No, it doesn't just represent it. In consubstantiation, the wine is simultaneously wine and the Blood of Christ. In other words, in both consubstantiation and transubstantiation, the wine is the literal Blood of Christ. The difference is whether it's wine + blood (consubstantiation) or only blood (transubstantiation). Believing it is merely a representation is something else entirely.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:59 pm UTC

I've always thought the more interesting question with respect to this is how it came about that the Catholic church decided to believe that this ought to be taken literally rather than symbolically. The number of logical backflips required to justify transubstantiation.

Then again, the whole idea of Biblical literalism has always been a little weird to me, but maybe that's a topic for another thread.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby snapshot182 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:32 pm UTC

This post had objectionable content.

And you're done. If you don't want to participate maturely, feel free to refrain.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I've always thought the more interesting question with respect to this is how it came about that the Catholic church decided to believe that this ought to be taken literally rather than symbolically. The number of logical backflips required to justify transubstantiation.

The belief that the Eucharist is literally Christ's body may well predate the belief that it is symbolic, at least as far as organized theology is concerned. In terms of scriptural justification, Catholics often cite John 6, but there are other sources from about the same time period as John that are more explicit.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I've always thought the more interesting question with respect to this is how it came about that the Catholic church decided to believe that this ought to be taken literally rather than symbolically. The number of logical backflips required to justify transubstantiation.

The belief that the Eucharist is literally Christ's body may well predate the belief that it is symbolic, at least as far as organized theology is concerned. In terms of scriptural justification, Catholics often cite John 6, but there are other sources from about the same time period as John that are more explicit.


What do they think happened at the Last Supper? Were the disciples eating Christ's body and drinking his blood while he was physically present?
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:23 pm UTC

I didn't find any specific answers on a cursory search, but I've seen people defending Catholic doctrine argue that "This is my body" is meant literally, so I would assume that that is their belief.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Le1bn1z » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:
pheonixduprese wrote:Consubstantiation- The bread and wine simply represents the blood and body.


No, it doesn't just represent it. In consubstantiation, the wine is simultaneously wine and the Blood of Christ. In other words, in both consubstantiation and transubstantiation, the wine is the literal Blood of Christ. The difference is whether it's wine + blood (consubstantiation) or only blood (transubstantiation). Believing it is merely a representation is something else entirely.


Bingo. The Anglican doctrine is that of the "Real Presence" of God during the sacrement, which means that Christ is present at the sacrament. The bread and wine are not transformed; they are blessed.

The stricter Protestants hold that the entire ceremony is only symbolic and a memorial of the sacrifice, not a sacred magic of transformation.

The reason this became a big deal is that it is emblematic of the very different approach to Christianity between Protestants and Catholics. Roman Catholicism is a "Mystery Religion" which believes that its prayers and incantations have hidden powers with (only for lack of a better word) "magical" powers.

The old-school Protestants tried to develop a more interiorised religion, where the effect of prayer was interior and strictly spiritual, and stripped Christianity of much of its "Mystery."

Transubstantiation, as the Mystery explaination of what happens during Eucharist, the central Christian religious right, became an obvious and easily understandible battle that ordinary Christians could understand and latch onto in the larger batter of religious doctrine and faith during the Protestant and Catholic reformations.

Of course, mystery and hidden powers is a primal and indivisible part of religion, at least over time. There have always been Protestants who have returned to a very firm belief and practice based on miracle and efficacy of prayers for terrestrial problems. This has included the early Methodists, the radical Baptists and the New-school "Born-Agains." So the division shouldn't be seen as so cut and dry.
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transubstantiate(Bread b) {
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Krong » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:27 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:What do they think happened at the Last Supper? Were the disciples eating Christ's body and drinking his blood while he was physically present?

Yes, in the same manner that happens in the Eucharist at Masses today. If you're asking if Catholics believe that Jesus cut off his arm and put it on a plate for them, no.

Transubstantiation is a weird belief, and Catholics are aware of this. But I think it cannot be emphasized enough that the Eucharist is the core of Catholic religious practice. It is the main reason why people go to church, why priests are different from monks/nuns/laypersons, why churches are well-decorated and not spartan, and why the Catholic church remains separated from the Protestant churches.

Catholics really aren't the Biblical literalists that some Evangelicals are, but we take this part literally because, well, Jesus repeatedly says that that's what he literally means. Here's the relevant part of the passage of John 6 that TheGrammarBolshevik was referring to:

John 6:51-69 NRSV wrote:51 [Jesus said:] "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53 So 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. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father."

66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

Note that the cannibalism issue is alluded to in verses 60 and 61, and that Jesus' answer is not good enough for many of them (verse 66). Peter's response is essentially the same as the response of the church today: "This is very odd, but you are God, so we'll do it your way."

Something to remember with different interpretations of the Bible is that they're sometimes tied up with different translations of the Bible. See Note 19 on the page TheGrammarBolshevik linked to; essentially the point is that a word used in the original Greek that's been translated as "eat" had a much more physical meaning to it, closer to "gnaw" or "munch". If a translation contained the word "taste" there instead, it would be much easier to assume that the intent was for a metaphor.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:11 pm UTC

The reason that Catholic theologians would balk at Consubstantiation is that the physical bread and wine are a sacrifice to God. Just as it'd be rude for me to say "Here, I got you this cracker" and then munch it down whilst saying "nom nom nom," it wouldn't be very nice to sacrifice bread and wine to God, and then eat it in his house.

So the belief is that God accepts the sacrifice of bread and wine, while simultaneously giving back the body and blood of Jesus.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:44 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:.... that Jesus was fully human and fully divine.


Well, this is a whole other can of worms and is not something particularly exclusive to Catholics. There are several doctrines which preach that Jesus was fully human and fully divine, the real question (indeed people/whole groups were killed/banished/ over it) is in the interaction of these two natures. Are the two natures, divine and human, distinct and separate? Or are they a unified whole (while still being two natures...)?

The Church spent vast amounts of the first few centuries agonising over the exact nature of this. The motivation for doing so was only partly theological, but was also political in nature (who was interfering with someone else's remit/checking the power of certain groups/regions ect.) and would have an impact on the much broader philosophy of the Church depending on the nature of Christ.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby folkhero » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:09 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
folkhero wrote:I was taught (as a Catholic) that the bread was bread, while simultaneously being the body of Jesus.
Which, by official Catholic doctrine, is incorrect. This confusion is the crux of the difference between the two doctrines. You were taught consubstantiation -- the idea that the bread is two things.

With transubstantiation (what Catholics should be taught), the bread is Jesus' body. It just happens to retain the physical interactions (appearance, taste, etc) of the original bread.

Come to think of it, I was actually taught both at various times, I don't remember who told me what, it may have been a Sunday School teacher who taught me the consubstantiation one, and that's the one that I remember better, especially when I'm trying to tie in Futurama jokes. I'm sure this would all be much more confusing if I still believed any of it.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby GoC » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:44 am UTC

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:Are the two natures, divine and human, distinct and separate? Or are they a unified whole (while still being two natures...)?

Or even: "What does it mean for them to be distinct and separate or a unified whole?" :mrgreen:
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby elasto » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:45 pm UTC

Jesus being fully human and fully divine is easier to conceptualise:

Just like if you test a photon to see if it's a particle it seems that it is, but if you test it to see if it's a wave, it's seems it's that too - in the same way if you were to 'test' Jesus for humanity (submit him to an MRI etc) it would seem that he is, but if you 'tested' his Godhood (miracles, meeting him in heaven at the right hand of the Father etc) it would seem that he was that too.

Ok, whether you accept any of that, it seems possible - but the transubstantiation/consubstantiation just seems too weird. Flesh and blood - but not testably so? Hard to see how it could be anything other than a metaphor at best, doesn't it.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby pheonixduprese » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:07 am UTC

I, being of scientific nature, am subject to believe that what Catholics believe- [personal belief]Transubstantiation, is not really possible.[/personal belief]

Bread being flesh, but still having the properties of bread? Wine being blood, but still having the properties of blood? How can this be possible? And- how can a person, a sinful human being, be able to make this miracle possible? <===== Not sarcasm, actual questions.

What is slightly more believable, to me, is the idea that the bread and wine are simply representatives of Jesus's body and blood. That people are simply consuming what the desciples were consuming 2000 years ago- symbolic representations of the sacrifice Jesus made for man.

While on this topic, What did y'all have to do to be able to receive Communion? For me, I started Religious Ed in fifth grade and had first communion at the end of eighth grade. We went through Luther's Small Catechism, and learnt the things in that book. Also, reading out of the bible, prayer & meditation, and devotions were also included. Personally, I don't think anyone is responsible enough to engage in Communion until being a devout Christian until at least adulthood. Thoughts?

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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Soralin » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:05 am UTC

It makes a lot more sense when you realize that the people who made this stuff up didn't understand reality and physics and chemistry and so on, well enough to know those things weren't possible. For example, with "substance" and "accidents" they didn't know, that at the smallest levels, form and substance are one and the same, inseparable. That an object's properties are solely because of the arrangement of materials that it's made of. I mean, think of alcohol for example, numerous places it's been called water of life, or fire water, or spirits, or so on, because, without examining it too closely, it seems to look and act like water, other than the obvious differences. So people might think that it was water, that just had some other properties to it, without knowing how that was, without knowing that all properties of substances comes from their form, their composition and it's arrangement.

Of course, now that we do know that, and can examine the object in question to an extreme level of detail, down to individual atoms even, we can conclusively determine that it's not the case, and that there's nowhere else where extra hidden detail could be found that would match the structure we define as flesh, for example (which would be on a much much larger scale anyway than that). And that, since form and substance are the same, that it can't have that substance without having that form.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:11 am UTC

Soralin wrote:It makes a lot more sense when you realize that the people who made this stuff up didn't understand freality and physics and chemistry and so on, well enough to know those things weren't possible. For example, with "substance" and "accidents" they didn't know, that at the smallest levels, form and substance are one and the same, inseparable. That an object's properties are solely because of the arrangement of materials that it's made of.


I don't think this is a major factor. Transubstantiation was always brought as a miracle, as something impossible that happened anyway. Keep in mind that the miracle isn't just that bread turns into flesh, something good alchemy (and pigs) might conceivably manage. The miracle is that it turns into the flesh of Christ, which is a miracle no matter what you know about its molecular structure.
I, being of scientific nature, am subject to believe that what Catholics believe- [personal belief]Transubstantiation, is not really possible.[/personal belief]

Bread being flesh, but still having the properties of bread? Wine being blood, but still having the properties of blood? How can this be possible? And- how can a person, a sinful human being, be able to make this miracle possible? <===== Not sarcasm, actual questions.


On the other hand, being a Christian means at the very least that one accepts that Jesus was the son of God, in a hard to understand but definitely non-symbolic way, and that there is a possible life after death, again in some literal, non-symbolic sense. Compared to those, transsubstantiation is pretty small beer.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Soralin » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:34 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Soralin wrote:It makes a lot more sense when you realize that the people who made this stuff up didn't understand freality and physics and chemistry and so on, well enough to know those things weren't possible. For example, with "substance" and "accidents" they didn't know, that at the smallest levels, form and substance are one and the same, inseparable. That an object's properties are solely because of the arrangement of materials that it's made of.


I don't think this is a major factor. Transubstantiation was always brought as a miracle, as something impossible that happened anyway. Keep in mind that the miracle isn't just that bread turns into flesh, something good alchemy (and pigs) might conceivably manage. The miracle is that it turns into the flesh of Christ, which is a miracle no matter what you know about its molecular structure.

I don't see how that's a difference. I mean "flesh of Christ" is a subset of "flesh", yes? So therefore, if it isn't flesh, then it isn't "flesh of Christ", and why exactly would it be that much more miraculous that the flesh it's supposed to be turning into is of a specific individual? Although I suppose, like you mentioned with the pigs, by eating it, they're making it into their own flesh, so are they just calling themselves christ prematurely? :)

And what exactly is the whole point of this supposed to be anyway? Why would you want to turn it into the flesh of someone, and then why would you want to eat that? I mean, if they actually could turn it into a flabby, bloody, sort of rubbery patch of skin with some hairs still attached, would you really eat it? Why would you eat the wafer if that's what you truly thought that it was? Imagine if they found some ancient piece of DNA from him, and started manufacturing and mass producing actual flesh and blood of christ to eat. :) I imagine there would be fewer people who would eat that, even though they would tell you that that's what they had been eating the whole time.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby EmptySet » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:19 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Flesh and blood - but not testably so? Hard to see how it could be anything other than a metaphor at best, doesn't it.


Most instances of religious faith are not physically testable. Belief in Christian doctrine inevitably involves a belief in a truth which transcends mere physical reality.

pheonixduprese wrote:And- how can a person, a sinful human being, be able to make this miracle possible?


A sinful human being does not make it possible. They merely ask God nicely.

phoenixduprese wrote:While on this topic, What did y'all have to do to be able to receive Communion?


In general, and according to the Catholic Church, you must be a Catholic in good standing (ie. understand and accept the Catholic faith, authority of the Church, etc.), believe in the official Catholic version of the Eucharist, and have confessed and repented of any grave sins if at all possible. Also Communion must be received from a Catholic minister, and you're not supposed to fast a bit beforehand. The rules can occasionally be bent a little if someone can't reach a proper minister or something like that.

Soralin wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Transubstantiation was always brought as a miracle, as something impossible that happened anyway. Keep in mind that the miracle isn't just that bread turns into flesh, something good alchemy (and pigs) might conceivably manage. The miracle is that it turns into the flesh of Christ, which is a miracle no matter what you know about its molecular structure.

I don't see how that's a difference. I mean "flesh of Christ" is a subset of "flesh", yes? So therefore, if it isn't flesh, then it isn't "flesh of Christ", and why exactly would it be that much more miraculous that the flesh it's supposed to be turning into is of a specific individual?


For Christians, Christ is the Son of God, the divine made flesh, not merely "a specific individual". It's not the same as turning the bread into the Flesh of Joe From Accounting. That's like saying "Well, talking directly to God isn't very special, 'cos I can talk directly to a specific individual by calling their mobile phone." Or comparing finding the Holy Grail to finding a coffee cup on your desk. The Flesh of Christ is more than simply a lump of meat.

Soralin wrote:And what exactly is the whole point of this supposed to be anyway? Why would you want to turn it into the flesh of someone, and then why would you want to eat that?


It is commonly held to be necessary for salvation. It is also perceived as an act of unification, the faithful taking part of the divine into themselves. C.f. "My own flesh and blood" to describe a relative; in receiving Communion, all the faithful share one flesh, one blood; all the Church is of one body, joined through Christ. It may also be considered that eating the transfigured bread and wine grants succor to the soul, as regular food grants succor to the body. Something along those lines, anyway.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

Most instances of religious faith are not physically testable. Belief in Christian doctrine inevitably involves a belief in a truth which transcends mere physical reality.


This is what I actually like about the rite of the eucharist. It is an open demand of belief. It asks: if you do not believe this,do you believe the other things? About Jesus as son of god, about god as creator of everything, about life after death? Those also require you to believe in a deeper, unknowable truth behind the world of the senses.

It is a weekly reminder that you have to accept such beliefs to be part of the faith.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:50 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:The rules can occasionally be bent a little if someone can't reach a proper minister or something like that.

While some of those rules may be bendable, this one is not — not so much because there is a rule against it as because transubstantiation only happens if the priest is validly ordained.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:20 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
EmptySet wrote:The rules can occasionally be bent a little if someone can't reach a proper minister or something like that.

While some of those rules may be bendable, this one is not — not so much because there is a rule against it as because transubstantiation only happens if the priest is validly ordained.

This a big problem for the Dutch catholic church. No one goes to seminary anymore, so priests are dying out. The church imports ordained priests from low-wage countries, Mexico in particular, but they are impopular and there are not enough of them. So most parishes can only have an official eucharist every few weeks or so, with lay masses in between. Sometimes these lay masses have pre-Transubstantiated bread and wine, but that is of dubious theological standing. To make matters worse, the lay speakers tend to be women, which gives the current conservative bishops an extra headache, and much complaints from Rome.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby pheonixduprese » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:14 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:
pheonixduprese wrote:And- how can a person, a sinful human being, be able to make this miracle possible?


A sinful human being does not make it possible. They merely ask God nicely.



And God listens? As omnipresent as He is, He listens to each and every priest in every Catholic church every Sunday (and Saturday night, occasionally)?

(sorry if this is going a little agnostic... not intended.)
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

pheonixduprese wrote:
EmptySet wrote:
pheonixduprese wrote:And- how can a person, a sinful human being, be able to make this miracle possible?


A sinful human being does not make it possible. They merely ask God nicely.



And God listens? As omnipresent as He is, He listens to each and every priest in every Catholic church every Sunday (and Saturday night, occasionally)?

(sorry if this is going a little agnostic... not intended.)


Well, the concept is that Jesus still shares his body with his followers, just like he did during the last supper. As a supreme sign of his love for people. Is that really less believable than that he personally selects the deserving ones from among the death? Based on knowing every detail of their lives? Or that he listens to all prayers?

If you start thinking "if I were god, I would chill on sundays and don't answer the phone at all", sure, but that is hardly christianity in any form.

Within Christianity, transubstantiation is one of the weirder concepts, and indeed a lot of people seem to do well without it. But it actually fits pretty well with the ideas that Jesus was man and god at the same time, and that this world of the senses is not the world that matters.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby poprocks and coke » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:26 am UTC

pheonixduprese wrote:Bread being flesh, but still having the properties of bread? Wine being blood, but still having the properties of blood? How can this be possible?
I think that the way the Church describes it is in terms of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Basically Aristotle said that every object has substance and every object has accidents. The accidents are the physical attributes; for example, bread is made up of flour, water, yeast, and whatnot. The substance of an object is not quantifiable in any way; it's what makes an object what it is. Bread is bread because, in addition to accidents, it is, from a philosophical perspective, bread. It's purpose in existence is to be bread. In transubstantiation, the bread and wine keep their accidents, but the substances of the bread and wine become, respectively, the body and blood of Christ.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby pheonixduprese » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:38 am UTC

poprocks and coke wrote:
pheonixduprese wrote:Bread being flesh, but still having the properties of bread? Wine being blood, but still having the properties of blood? How can this be possible?
I think that the way the Church describes it is in terms of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Basically Aristotle said that every object has substance and every object has accidents. The accidents are the physical attributes; for example, bread is made up of flour, water, yeast, and whatnot. The substance of an object is not quantifiable in any way; it's what makes an object what it is. Bread is bread because, in addition to accidents, it is, from a philosophical perspective, bread. It's purpose in existence is to be bread. In transubstantiation, the bread and wine keep their accidents, but the substances of the bread and wine become, respectively, the body and blood of Christ.


OH MY GOD. I LOVE YOU.

You explain this beautifully. Transubstantiation actually makes sense now! I should probably read Metaphysics. (Are titles italicized or underlined? Meh. Doesn't matter)

Now, what do you know on consubstantiation?

P.S. In case I didn't make it clear, I'm very grateful. Thank you. Again. I love you
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Soralin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:57 am UTC

poprocks and coke wrote:I think that the way the Church describes it is in terms of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Basically Aristotle said that every object has substance and every object has accidents. The accidents are the physical attributes; for example, bread is made up of flour, water, yeast, and whatnot. The substance of an object is not quantifiable in any way; it's what makes an object what it is. Bread is bread because, in addition to accidents, it is, from a philosophical perspective, bread. It's purpose in existence is to be bread. In transubstantiation, the bread and wine keep their accidents, but the substances of the bread and wine become, respectively, the body and blood of Christ.

Yeah, this. That's what I was trying to vaguely remember and explain.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby EmptySet » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:01 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
EmptySet wrote:The rules can occasionally be bent a little if someone can't reach a proper minister or something like that.

While some of those rules may be bendable, this one is not — not so much because there is a rule against it as because transubstantiation only happens if the priest is validly ordained.


It must be from a properly ordained minister but it doesn't necessarily have to be a minster of the Catholic Church, which is the bending I was referring to. There's a rule saying you're allowed to receive communion from a priest of a different denomination provided there is some dire circumstance which prevents you finding a Catholic minister, and that the replacement minister is from a suitable church (ie. their beliefs about the Eucharist are pretty much the same as the Catholic ones, and they ordain their priests properly, and possibly some other requirements I don't remember offhand). There is also a rule for the converse, allowing Catholic ministers to provide communion to a member of another church provided they hold the appropriate beliefs and cannot find a minister of their own church.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby poprocks and coke » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:43 pm UTC

pheonixduprese wrote:Now, what do you know on consubstantiation?
Consubstantiation is almost exactly the same, except that the substance of the bread and wine doesn't not become replaced. Instead the bread and wine are imbued with an additional substance (the body and blood respectively). So after consecration, the bread has the substance of bread and the substance of the body, and the wine has the substance of wine and the substance of the blood.
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby GoC » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:53 pm UTC

poprocks and coke wrote:
pheonixduprese wrote:Bread being flesh, but still having the properties of bread? Wine being blood, but still having the properties of blood? How can this be possible?
I think that the way the Church describes it is in terms of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Basically Aristotle said that every object has substance and every object has accidents. The accidents are the physical attributes; for example, bread is made up of flour, water, yeast, and whatnot. The substance of an object is not quantifiable in any way; it's what makes an object what it is. Bread is bread because, in addition to accidents, it is, from a philosophical perspective, bread. It's purpose in existence is to be bread. In transubstantiation, the bread and wine keep their accidents, but the substances of the bread and wine become, respectively, the body and blood of Christ.

"Bread" is a word. I know of it's meaning through all the examples that were been given to me during childhood. It is a category in thing-space, a subset of it. The examples are points I've been told are either inside or outside the subset that help me tell roughly where it's borders lie and these blurred borders themselves vary from person to person, place to place and time to time. Given this... I'm completely unable to parse your paragraph. Could you clarify?

pheonixduprese wrote:Bread being flesh, but still having the properties of bread?

Anyone care to take a stab at what it means to say "this bread is flesh"? Normally it means that the bread would now have properties of flesh... Which properties of flesh (and which flesh in particular: brain? Liver? Some muscle? With veins or arteries? Bone included? Does dead skin or hair count?) does it have according to Catholic doctrine? Is this flesh alive or dead after eating? In what stage is it (ie. 33 year old live flesh, very old live flesh (different amounts of toxin build up depending on age), recently dead flesh, partially decayed flesh)?

Also, what are the differences in atom arrangements between the flesh of christ and the flesh of another human being?
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Re: Transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Sacramental Union

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:10 pm UTC

These metaphyscial theologies are pre-atomic in providence.

poprocks and coke has explained this well.

According to Roman theology, there is more to the definition of a substance than its physical properites, or "accidents." There are properties which, although not subject to empirical, sensory verification, nonetheless define the substance.

In this case, where Christ is seen to be a vector of God, his physical body is besides the point to what He is, the Universal Creator, and the Sufficient Sacrifice for all our sins, who returns balance to the Force Justice in the relation of the divine to humanity.

This being the case, the transfiguration might leave the bread with the same physical manifestations, but its essential core, that which defines what it essentially is changes. It becomes that which brings salvation, and shares the same essential defining core as Jesus.

Think of it in terms of Deep Space Nince. Otto could turn himself into a Klingon, or a loaf of bread, but although he would appear to all human sensory means to be Klingon or bread, we would remain in essence Otto the shapeshifter.

In Catholic theology, a thing is not necessarily defined by its material properties. That's one of the reasons why, for example, the argument that a day-old embryo is only a microscopic collection of cells, with no sensation, no thought or anyhting else to define it as materially a full-formed human is unconvincing from the standpoint of Roman theology: the embryo remains, in essence, a human and it is that essence, not the physical manifestations of it in this world that define what it is.

You mention a liver, muscle and kidneys. The old Catholic theologians used to ask: OK, if you got a bucket of body parts, does that mean you have a dude in a bucket? Well, no. Its inanimate matter, even though materially identical to the living dude pushing said bucket of body parts.

Therefore, the essence of a human, or any other living thing, does not reside in its material. There is an animating spirit independent of the body parts which make it alive. (Again, this is before they figured out what cells are and how they work.)

So when the priest says of the bread "hoc est corpus" (from which we get hocus pocus), he is saying the bread now has that essential defining attribute which defines the body of the Christ which is not a liver or a brain. That defining spirit which animated and defined the collection of kidneys, a liver and spleen etc. that was Jesus in 22 AD now animates and defines the bread.

The bread then, is now part of the "body" of the spirit of Christ.
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transubstantiate(Bread b) {
Person p = getJesusPersonInstance();
p.RenderProperties = b.RenderProperties;
free(b);
}
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