Wednesday, 14 June 2023 10:30

2. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

Paul Bernier, SSS. 
Richfield, OH, USA.


Belief in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist spans the 2000-year history of the church. How this was understood or explained over those years, however, has changed considerably. We can divide this into several phases. For the first millennium, people were content with the assurance they received from baptismal catechesis of the Fathers of the church: that at each Eucharist they were privileged to receive the body and blood of the risen Lord. Towards the turn of the millennium and into the early Middle Ages, people began to reflect more on how Christ was present: physically? spiritually? sacramentally? symbolically?

In the 13th century Thomas Aquinas took the term transubstantiation, used by the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), and used Aristotelian categories to define what took place in the Eucharist. We should add that Aquinas did not speak of some objective notion of real presence. He focused more on what Christ’s presence did and what it accomplishes in the Christian. The term transubstantiation was canonized, as it were, at the Council of Trent in the 16th century, and is still used today. Trent reaffirmed the basic understanding Middle Ages and, rather than develop a positive, integral treatise on the Eucharist, contented itself with opposing what was being denied by the Protestants. It took the Second Vatican Council to elaborate a positive and more complete theology of Eucharist, and help us navigate the post-modern age in which we now live.


The First Millennium

From the beginning, the church has believed that Christ was present in the celebration of the Eucharist, which they observed each Sunday as a holy day. There was no exclusive focus on the elements of bread and wine; rather, as we can see from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Eucharist embraced the entire ritual of the community gathering at the Lord’s table to be nourished by Christ so that they could become his body here on earth. Hence Paul’s insistence that when there was no unity, no concern for the poor, it was not the Eucharist they were celebrating.

As regards the presence of Christ in the celebration, the first Christians understood the Eucharist in a very literal way. Jesus said that the bread and wine were his body and blood, and they understood this to mean exactly what it said. At the end of the first century Ignatius of Antioch said simply that “the Eucharist is the flesh of our savior Jesus Christ, who suffered for our sins and who, by the Father in his goodness, was raised from the dead” (Smyrn. VII, 1). Some 50 years later, Justin Martyr was just as explicit:

We do not receive the Eucharist as ordinary bread or as an ordinary drink. But just as our Savior Jesus Christ was made flesh by the Word of God, taking flesh and blood for our salvation, in the same way we have learned that by the words of prayer received from him, the eucharistic food is the flesh and blood of Jesus incarnate (1 Apol. 66, 2).

This remained the faith of the church for the first millennium. Little time and effort were spent in trying to explain how this came about. It sufficed that they took Jesus’ words to mean just what they said. In the fifth century, for example, Theodore of Mopsuestia explained the eucharistic transformation very literally by writing:

The Lord did not say, “This is the symbol of my body; this is the symbol of my blood” but, “This is my body, this is my blood”, teaching us that we are not to consider the nature of what is offered, but that by the intervention of the Eucharistic Prayer, there is transformation into his body and blood (In Mat. Hom., PG 66, 714).

Many of the Eucharistic Prayers that are part of our liturgical heritage came from the fourth century and exhibit a rich appreciation of Christ’s presence and the meaning of our participation. The Fathers of the church exhorted the people to enter as fully as possible into the mysteries they were celebrating that they might experience Christ’s presence. They were told to immerse themselves as far as possible into Christ’s passion and resurrection so that they would be able to offer themselves in self-sacrifice to each other, and thus to God.

This conviction that the bread and wine were transformed into the body and blood of Christ expressed Catholic faith in this millennium. The Fathers of the church were agreed in asserting that the living Christ was present in the Eucharist. The Western Church tended to attribute this change to the words of Christ in the Eucharistic Prayer, while the Eastern Church thought that it was accomplished by the action of the Holy Spirit. In each case, however, the presence of Christ was linked to the celebration of the Eucharist. This remained church teaching until the 9th century. At that time there began to be an increasing focus on the presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements. The two men responsible for this were Paschasius Radbertus and his opponent Ratramnus.

Paschasius vigorously defended the teaching that Christ was really present in the Eucharist. His primary concern was to explicitate the teaching of the Fathers. However, he did so by emphasizing the identity of the eucharistic body of Christ with his natural (historical) body in such exaggerated terms that the difference between the two modes of existence was not sufficiently brought out. He held that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist was the very flesh of Mary, which had suffered on the Cross, was buried, and rose again (De Corp., 4.3 and 7.2). He held that by the omnipotence of God this presence is miraculously created or multiplied daily at each consecration (De Corp., 4.1 and 12.1).

His opponents tended to find his doctrinal presentation as too crude and materialistic. His chief opponent in this discussion was another monk, Ratramnus. He was shocked at Paschasius’ realism. Asserting that the body of the risen Christ was in heaven, and not spread out over the world. The Eucharist was a sacrament, he asserted, a figure of Christ’s body, one that we receive by faith. Two results of this theology were to make such a hard distinction between sacrament and reality that it continues to plague us to this day. A second result is that his distinction between the eucharistic body of Christ and its exterior sensible (sacramental) appearances paved the way for the subsequent notion of transubstantiation.


The Early Middle Ages

Two centuries later, Paschasius’ position was taken up by another monk and theologian, Berengarius of Tours. The ensuing controversy would have lasting repercussions for all later centuries. Berengarius was forced to sign a repudiation of his teaching at the Council of Rome of 1059. His oath found its way into Gratian’s Decretum and remained in canon law documents until a new code was issued in 1917. It reads, in part:

I profess... that the bread and wine which are placed on the altar after the consecration are not only signs (non solum sacramentum) but also the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that sensually, not only in sign, but in truth (non solum sacramento, sed in veritate) they are handled and broken by the hands of the priest and crushed by the teeth of the faithful. ...[1]

Most subsequent theologians found ways to water down the meaning of this oath. Nevertheless, one of the major consequences of this debate was to shift the focus of the Eucharist from the celebration of the liturgy to the presence of Christ in the eucharistic bread and wine. For the laity, the major emphasis effectively began to be placed on the eucharistic bread (soon to become the host), inasmuch as they began to be denied reception from the cup. The major reasons given for this change was the danger of spillage. It gave rise, however, to the theology of concomitance and eliminated the symbolism of the Eucharist being a meal where we share bread and wine with our brothers and sisters together with the risen Lord.

Because of the emphasis given the presence of the historical Jesus in the bread, there was a reluctance by the faithful to receive communion at all. Alarmed at this trend, the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) felt it important to legislate that the faithful should receive communion at least once a year. Nevertheless, in popular piety, (aided and abetted by Jansenism), in many areas one needed permission from one’s confessor to receive frequently at all. This custom remained with us until the reforms of Vatican II.

Another consequence was a subtle shift of emphasis in how one regarded the bread that was reserved after the liturgy for the communion of the sick. It soon because the object of eucharistic devotion. At Mass, people contented themselves to gaze at the bread after the consecration; this became more important than receiving communion. The sacred meal with the risen Lord became a sacrifice offered by the priest, and it sufficed that he alone receives communion. Communion by the faithful was not essential for the meaning of the rite. From this attitude arose shifting Christian piety from the presence of Christ in the liturgy to popular devotions such as exposition of the sacrament, the Forty Hours devotion, seemingly begun in 1537. Shortly after, Pope Paul III was asked to grant indulgences for the practice. This was granted by the pope.[2]

The feast of Corpus Christi was proposed by Juliana of Liège and Saint Thomas Aquinas to Pope Urban IV, in order to create a feast focused solely on the Holy Eucharist, emphasizing the joy of the Eucharist being the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. Having recognized in 1264 the authenticity of the eucharistic miracle of Bolsena, the pontiff, then living in Orvieto, established the feast of Corpus Christi as a solemnity and extended it to the whole Roman Catholic Church. The hymn Tantum Ergo (the last two verses of Pange Lingua), written by Aquinas himself, pays homage to our Lord both in the Eucharist and in his glory in the Trinity. This hymn plays an important part even today in eucharistic exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

From a theological point of view, emphasis also shifted even more to the eucharistic bread--not so much as an integral part of the liturgy, but to speculate about the mode of Christ’s presence and to find an explanation of how Jesus became present there. The term transubstantiation stemmed from Lanfranc’s answer to Berengarius that used the terms substance and substantial to speak of the eucharistic change. These terms were picked up by the Fourth Lateran Council when it asked the Albigensians to profess that the substance of bread and wine were changed into the substance of Christ’s body and blood. Thomas Aquinas put this sacramental explanation on a more scientific footing, using the Aristotelian notions of substance and accidents. When later theologians adopted Aristotelian metaphysics in Western Europe, they explained the change that was already part of Catholic teaching in terms of Aristotelian substance and accidents.


The Protestant Reformation

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg, launching what is still today called the Protestant Reformation. This movement soon fractured into a number of different branches, and Catholic teaching on the Eucharist was attacked in varied ways. The Council of Trent was eventually called to counter Protestant claims. Its checkered launching and its three sessions spanning some 20 years limited itself to countering what they considered false claims from the various Protestant churches. No effort was made to elaborate a coherent, positive theology of the eucharistic mystery.

The Council of Trent insisted on a substantial change taking place in the Eucharist. It did not impose the Aristotelian theory of substance and accidents; it did affirm the term transubstantiation, though simply stating that the term is a fitting and proper name (aptissime) for the change that takes place by consecration of the bread and wine.

In regard to the notion of transubstantiation, in its 13th session, the Council of Trent reaffirmed and 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. This conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation. Its first canon stated:

If any one denies 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 says that he is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema (Thirteenth Session, canon 1).

In regard to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the council stated:

First of all, the holy council teaches and openly and plainly professes that after the consecration of bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly, really and substantially contained in the august sacrament of the holy Eucharist under the appearance of those sensible things.[3]

Tridentine theology dominated the seminaries that were started after Trent. Up till now the term transubstantiation is still used in the Catholic Church to affirm the fact of Christ’s presence and the mysterious and radical change which takes place, but almost impossible to explain to people today how the change takes place, since this occurs “in a way surpassing understanding”.[4]


The Second Vatican Council

The first major official treatment we have received in regard to sacramental theology and, of course, of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist comes from Vatican II. As a result of numerous liturgical studies in the previous century, better scriptural and historical knowledge, the council was well prepared, and the first dogmatic statement it issued was the Constitution on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum concilium), on December 9, 1962.

One important concept the council introduced is that there are various modes or ways that Christ is really present in the Eucharist and in the church. In the council’s own words:

He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, in the person of the minister (it is the same Christ who formerly offered himself on the cross who now offers by the ministry of priests) and most of all under the eucharistic species. He is present in the sacraments by his power, in such a way that when someone baptizes, Christ himself baptizes. He is present in his word, for it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the church. Finally, he is present when the church prays and sings, for he himself promised: Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst. Indeed, in this great work which gives perfect glory to God and brings holiness to men, Christ is always joining in partnership with himself his beloved bride, the church, which calls upon its Lord and through him gives worship to the eternal Father.[5]

While acknowledging that there is something special about the eucharistic presence, the council, as well as subsequent church documents, wants us to situate this in other ways in which Jesus is really present to us. After all, there is no such thing as unreal presence! It is important to stress that this is always an interpersonal, not static presence. Eucharistic presence, and in particular presence in the bread, is not a thing, a sacred object. It embodies a relationship of person to person. It is Jesus offering himself to us and awaiting a response of faith on our part.

Note that many of the modes of presence mentioned here are embodied in our eucharistic celebrations. He is present in the community that gathers as his family (not simply as individuals), in the priest who presides, and in the word that is proclaimed. It is perhaps especially necessary to stress the varied modes of presence in the Liturgy of the Word. The conciliar teaching about our being fed at two tables: the Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist, both forming one single act of worship is very important in this regard, inasmuch as previous teaching did not even consider the Liturgy of the Word as an important part of the Mass. Emphasis was given mainly to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, consisting of the offertory, consecration, and communion. No one doubted that Christ was present in the Eucharistic Prayer which transforms the gifts of bread and wine into Christ’s very body and blood. He becomes present within us when we receive him in communion. Finally, he is also present when we are commissioned in his name to go forth and glorify God by our lives, recognizing him in our neighbor, especially in the poor and needy. All of these real forms of interpersonal presence and require our accepting them in faith.

What is special in Christ’s presence in the bread and wine is the fact it perdures even after the celebration of the Mass is finished. The eucharistic bread does not revert to being just ordinary bread once the Mass has been celebrated. Christ’s presence therein does not depend on our faith - though faith is required for us to profit from it. This does not embody only recent thinking. In the first millennium already, the eucharistic bread was reserved for communion of the sick. In the Middle Ages it began to be reverenced by prayer even outside (or unconnected to) the liturgy. Even in the Eucharist, as people began to receive communion less and less frequently, they hastened to church to view the sacred host when it was elevated after the words of institution. Today we are aware that reverence to and prayer before the reserved bread does not substitute for communion. Rather, it flows from the entire liturgy and enables us to appreciate more fully what we have recently celebrated. It enables us to interiorize and prolong the presence of Christ in our lives. Commenting on the dialogical way we respond to Christ’s presence, especially in the word, is more than our listening to God speaking. We need to listen and reflect, in order to respond properly.[6] Prayer in the presence of the tabernacle or the Eucharist, whether reserved or exposed, enables us to do this systematically and lovingly as an extension of our liturgies.

There were several differences after the council in regard to the notion of Christ’s various modes of presence. The schema originally dealing with these differs from what the council itself finally decided, as well as what Pope Paul VI wrote in Mysterium fidei, and in what we have in the Catholic Catechism; these documents order these modes differently. This may simply be a difference of emphasis. Raymond Moloney deals with this in his book The Eucharist, concluding by saying that there is complementarity among the varied modes of presence. They point us to different ways we respond to Christ’s presence, whether it be service, active participation at Mass, or praise and adoration in the tabernacle.[7]

The theological approach of the council differed from the manualist tradition that was common until then. It relied basically on two major approaches. Its conciliar teaching is scripturally based as well as aware on the development of practice over the long history of the church. In that sense it is inductive, rather than deductive, beginning from prior church teaching. Starting with Scripture, for example, if we turn to the first account of the Eucharist found in the New Testament, a number of modes of Christ’s presence alluded to. Written only some 20 years after the resurrection, Paul refers to his past teaching in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:17-34. In the 10th chapter, he speaks of our communion making us sharers in the body and blood of the Lord. He goes on to make the affirmation that this serves to make us one body in Christ. Two modes of presence are highlighted here, Our relationship with Christ is not individualistic, but as members of that one community he has made us by the shedding of his blood.

Paul continues with this idea in chapter 11. We can almost be grateful to the Corinthians for this passage which was written not to tell us anything about the institution of the Eucharist, but to correct a woeful lack of understanding of this central act of our faith. Paul begins by criticizing their “gatherings”. Other translations make it clear that he is speaking here of the eucharistic assembly. From the beginning, the ideal was that the entire community - the one body of Christ - be gathered for the one Eucharist. Christ is present in the community gathered in his name. Paul reinforces this in two frightening statements: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (v.27); “anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (v.29). This implies recognizing the eucharistic body of Christ, of course; but the more direct reference is the point of the entire passage: the discrimination of the rich against the poor that stirred Paul’s anger at their behavior. Paul is horrified about their failure to recognize the presence of Christ in his body, the church. He also tells them that all who do so and even treat others differently based on social status are not celebrating the Eucharist; they are celebrating only their own sin (v.20-21). This community dimension of Christ’s presence is what can get lost if we privatize Christ’s presence in a personal spirituality.


How, then, describe Christ’s presence?

What complicates any discussion or effort to explain our efforts to define the eucharistic presence of Christ is that the metaphysical bases on which our theology has rested since the Middle Ages makes little or no sense to people today. Complicating matters is the fact that we have gone, in general, through two major shifts in thinking. With the Enlightenment came a period called Modernism. Enlightenment assumptions elevated the role that reason, or rationality, or scientific reasoning, play in guiding our understanding of the human condition. Only reason and science provide accurate, objective, reliable foundations of knowledge. If something cannot be proven scientifically, it is rejected, or at least marginalized. Reason transcends and exists independently of our existential, historical, cultural contexts; it is universal and “true”.

More recently, we have entered a new phase (or phases), called post-modernism. Modernism thought that reason would lead to universal truths that all cultures would or should embrace. Post-modernism feels that there are no eternal truths, no universal human experience, no universal human rights, no overriding narrative of human progress. That is because existentialism, phenomenology, process philosophy (and other movements) today faces Catholic philosophy and theology with the idea that there are no universal, objective means of judging any given concept as “true”, since all judgments of truth exist within a cultural context (cultural relativism). Hence, if something makes no sense to one’s way of thinking, explanations of eucharistic presence based on the old metaphysics are seen as useless relics of a bygone age.

Dissatisfaction with the term “transubstantiation” in our post-modern culture led to a search for better substitutes. There have been a number of efforts to remedy its deficiencies. If the eucharistic change is not explained satisfactorily as a change of substance, in what does it consist? Two of the more prominent explanations were transignification and transfinalization. Edward Schillebeeckx was perhaps the most prominent theologian to advocate the idea of transignification.[8] Transignification suggests that although Christ's body and blood are not physically present in the Eucharist, they are really and objectively so, as the elements take on during the Eucharist the real significance of Christ's body and blood which thus become sacramentally present. Note that what is asserted here is as explanation of what we understand by our use of the term sacrament. Sacraments are symbolic; they are not only symbolic, however.

The theory, however, was rejected by Pope Paul VI’s 1965 encyclical Mysterium fidei:

... it is not permissible to ... discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance [...] as if they involve nothing more than "transignification," or "transfinalization" as they call it. ...[9]

Schillebeeckx, however, interpreted transignification not as replacing transubstantiation, but as complementing it. He insisted that the Eucharist is objectively the real presence of Christ, appearing to us as sacramental nourishment, but that the action of the Holy Spirit during Mass gives an entirely new meaning to the eucharistic action and to the bread and wine used therein.

Likewise found wanting by Mysterium fidei was the idea of transfinalization. This attempts to explain Christ's presence in the Eucharist by asserting that the purpose or finality of the bread and wine is changed by the consecration. They serve a new purpose, as sacred elements that arouse the faith of the people in the mystery of Christ's redemptive love. Like transignification, this theory was also condemned by Mysterium fidei, if transfinalization is taken to deny the substantial change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

There are a number of conclusions we can draw from the foregoing. The most important seem to be the following:

To say that Christ is substantially present in the Eucharist means that a real transformation takes place in the bread and wine and, indeed, in the entire eucharistic celebration. It is not simply bread and wine after the celebration. The bread and wine are symbols of an underlying reality; the living and actual Jesus Christ. Perhaps the best analogy would be that of the human person of Jesus himself when he walked this earth. Most people who saw him saw only a man. Yet, he was far more than that; he was the was the very word of God, the human manifestation of God’s love incarnate. His human body was a symbol, a sacrament of God’s own Son among us. In the eucharistic presence, people may think all they see is bread and wine; however, that bread and wine are symbols of the heavenly food Jesus shares with us at the table where he is both Host and nourishment. As when he was on earth, Jesus continues to feed us with word and flesh and nourish us with God’s love. His presence is not static or merely a local presence, but one of continuing and loving relationship.

The various modes of presence highlighted by Vatican II make us realize that all are important, and that we cannot afford to neglect any of them. There is no competition among them, but rather different ways in which Christ and his body on earth become one. Each mode is different, but meant to draw the disciple into the living communion of the church, and demand a response on our part. How they are interrelated is especially apparent in the Mass. From the beginning, the most important thing is Christ’s presence in the community, a presence that requires our acceptance of one another as sister and brother. Being a Christian is not a question of individual religiousness, it is about being a member of the body of Christ. We are then invited to respond to the presence of Christ in the Scriptures that are proclaimed by active listening.

Entering into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are called to respond to Christ’s presence with full, conscious, active participation. And we ask the Holy Spirit for two blessings: to transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and also to transform those of us who will share in these gifts into the true body of Christ. This is the ultimate purpose of the Mass, not to make Christ present on the altar, but to make Christ present in us. This was said so well by Saint Augustine in his 272nd sermon: “The priest says, ‘body of Christ’, and you answer, ‘Amen!’ It is your own mystery that you place on the altar; you say ‘Amen’ to what you are. Be, therefore, the body of Christ, so that your ‘Amen’ may be true.”

It is important to appreciate the symbolism of the meal embodied in the bread and wine. Not a fast-food type of meal, but one where we are gathered with friends, just as Jesus was with his closest friends at the Last Supper. Meals like these are characterized by caring, sharing, forgiveness (if necessary), and the joy of being together. The most important thing is not the food, but the people eating together in peace and harmony. We cannot appreciate the Eucharist if we do not appreciate meals have just shared, to recognize again the presence of Christ in the poor and the needy, and to proclaim the good news of Christ to all in need.

The eucharistic bread left after Mass remains intrinsically related to the Eucharist we have celebrated. It flows from the celebration and leads back to it. As with the other modes of presence, this also requires a response on our part, one that should parallel the Mass itself. There the Eucharist gives adoration and praise to God for his greatness and all he has granted us in Christ; we thank God for the blessings that are ours; we also ask pardon for the sinfulness which is ours and petition God for the blessings needed for our church and world. Those same four responses to the presence enable private eucharistic prayer to reinforce the grace of the Eucharist that is celebrated, and deepens appreciation of the various ways that Jesus continues to reveal himself to his people.





Bermejo, Luis. Body Broken and Blood Shed (Chicago: Loyola University Press), 1987.

Irwin, Kevin. Models of the Eucharist (New York: Paulist Press), 2005. 

Keretszty, Roch. Rediscovering the Eucharist (New York: Paulist Press), 2003.

_____________. Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications), 2004.

Moloney, Raymond. The Eucharist (Collegeville: Michael Glazier, Liturgical Press), 1995.

O’Loughlin, Frank. Christ Present in the Eucharist (NSW, Australia: St Paul Publications), 2000.

Schillebeeckx, Edward. The Eucharist (London: Burns & Oates), 2005.



Appleyard, J.A., “How Does a Sacrament ‘Cause by Signifying’?” Science et Esprit, Montreal, 2011.

Kurek, Dominica Alicia. “Some Recent Interpretations of Transubstantiation”, Quodlibet Liturgica 84, 2003, pp. 128-136.

McCue, James, “The Doctrine of Transubstantiation from Berengar through Trent”, Harvard Theological Review 61 (1968), pp. 385-430.

Macy, Gary, “The Paschasian Approach to the Eucharist”, Theologies of the Eucharist in the Early Scholastic Period. Oxford University Press, 1974, pp. 44-175.

Macy, Gary, “Berengar’s Legacy as Heresiarch”, Treasures from the Storeroom. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1999, pp. 59-119.

Osborne, Kenan, “Eucharistic Theology Today”, Worship 61 (1987), pp. 98-126.

Stebbins, J. Michael. “The Eucharistic Presence of Christ: Mystery and Meaning”, Worship 64 (1990), pp. 225-236.

Volleert, Cyril, “The Eucharist: Controversy in Transubstantiation”, Theological Studies 22 (1961), pp. 391-425.

Witczak, Michael, “The Manifold Presence of Christ in the Eucharist”, Theological Studies 59 (1998), pp. 680-702.


[1] Quotation taken from Gary Macy Treasures from the Storeroom, (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1999), 21.

[2] “Since our beloved son the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Milan at the prayer of the inhabitants of the said city, in order to appease the anger of God provoked by the offences of Christians, and in order to bring to naught the efforts and machinations of the Turks who are pressing forward to the destruction of Christendom, amongst other pious practices, has established a round of prayers and supplications to be offered both by day and night by all the faithful of Christ, before our Lord's most sacred body, in all the churches of the said city, in such a manner that these prayers and supplications are made by the faithful themselves relieving each other in relays for forty hours continuously in each church in succession, according to the order determined by the Vicar…We, approving in our Lord so pious an institution, and confirming the same by our authority, grant and remit” etc. (Sala, “Documenti”, IV, 9).

[3] Council of Trent, Session 13, Chapter 1. The council also stated: “But since Christ our redeemer declared that to be truly his own body which he offered under the form of bread, it has, therefore, always been a firm belief in the Church of God, and this holy council now declares it anew, that by the consecration of the bread and wine a change is brought about 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 properly and appropriately calls transubstantiation” (Session 13, Chapter 4).

[4] Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Sacrament of the Eucharist 1333.

[5] Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum concilium 7.

[6] Michael J. Witczak, “The Manifold Presence of Christ in the Liturgy”, Theological Studies 59 (1998), 701.

[7] Raymond Moloney, The Eucharist, Problems in Theology (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995), 234-235.

[8] Edward Schillebeeckx, The Eucharist (London: Burns & Oates, 2005), 150-151.


Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2023 10:38