Saturday, May 16, 2015


The 1970's pseudo-theology about the consecration of the Bread and Wine developed in the context of downplaying the sacrificial aspect of the Mass and focusing primarily on the "meal" aspect of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic Prayer came to be seen as the means by which this "happy Meal" would be provided for the congregation horizontally holding hands in prayer in anticipation of the morsel of real looking Bread they would receive and the drop of real looking blood red Wine they would drink and in community signifying their great mission to be Bread and Wine for the world. (Are you barfing yet?) So called real looking bread (compared to the traditional disc) was important because so many couldn't believe the disc was bread thus believing in the bread that looked like bread was of higher urgency than believing the bread and wine become the Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity of Christ!

Well then is the entire Eucharistic Prayer consecratory or is the entire Eucharistic Prayer the unbloody offering of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Risen Christ to God the Father just as Jesus on the actual cross prior to His glorious resurrection offered His actual Body and Blood to the Father who graciously accepted this eternal love offering for the salvation of souls?

It seems to me that not only is the Eucharistic Prayer in its entirety  the sacrificial offering of Christ but the entire Mass is, with the ordain male Catholic priest as the sacramental image of this exchange between God the Risen Son and God the Father. However, a portion of this Eucharistic Sacrificial offering necessitates the "Real Presence" of the Risen Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, to be on the altar for the sacramental, unbloody offering of Himself to His Father.

Thus the first part of the Eucharistic Prayer beginning with the Epiclesis (calling down of the Holy Spirit on the unconsecrated Bread and Wine) and then the actual words of consecration over the bread and wine enact the consecration part of the unbloody Holy Sacrifice. After the consecration the Eucharistic prayer, especially the immediate words after "The Mystery of Faith" enact the actual offering of the Risen Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Eucharistic Banquet occurs at the "Rite of Holy Communion" with the Pater Noster and the priest-celebrant completing the Sacrifice by His consumption of the Holocaust. So even the Eucharistic Banquet, the Sacrificial Meal of the Mass, is a sharing in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. It isn't a fellowship meal of hand holding Christians hell-bent on being do-gooders in the institutional Church or in the world. It is about salvation of souls and the antidote to what leads to Hell and damnation, sin.

Do the "nones" who have abandoned the Church and the Holy Sacrifice have any clue about this? Do progressive Catholics have any clue about this? Do good, practicing Catholics have any clue about this? I ask; you answer!

Here is a good apologetic on exactly when transubstantiation takes place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

Exactly when during the Mass does transubstantiation occur?

It occurs when a priest, in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), says the Words of Institution. Even though the complete words of institution are necessary, the common view of theologians is that the eight words, "this is my body" and "this is my blood", are on their own the necessary and sufficient "sacramental form" of the Eucharist. Saint John Chrysostom (D.O.C.) says:
Saying, 'This is my body', once uttered, from that time to the present day, and even until Christ's coming, makes the sacrifice complete at every table in the churches."
So, the Catholic Church believes that transubstantiation occurs by the Words of Institution, exactly when the priest, in the person of Christ, utters the words "this is my body/blood". (It is also to be noted that the Catholic Church has explicitly recognized the validity of the Mass Liturgy of Addai and Mari in its original form, without explicit mention of the Words of Institution, saying that the words of Eucharistic Institution are implicitly present.)

Would this change if a priest were to consecrate outside of the Eucharistic Prayer?
According to Canon Law 927, it is explicitly forbidden for a priest to consecrate outside of the Eucharistic celebration. This means that it is possible that transubstantiation would occur, but it would be a grave sin.
Why does the Church teach that it occurs at that moment?
Simply because it is known through tradition. That's what the apostles taught and that's what the Catholic Church believes.
Points to note:
  1. The change of transubstantiation is instantaneous. It is not gradual. That is, the presence of Christ do not come to being from 0% and slowly through 100% during the words of institution. more on this here in The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.
  2. In transubstantiation, each alone is changed into body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. That is, the bread alone is changed fully into both body and blood. Similarly the wine alone is changed into the body and blood of Christ. The bread is not changed into body alone and wine into blood alone. (See: Trent, Sess. 13 c. 3, Summa Theologica Q76.2, and the articles The Real Presence and Communion under Both Kinds)
  3. What happens if the priest faints after consecration of bread? Summa Theologica Q.78.6 answers the question saying, at that point the species of bread alone is Christ and wine remains wine. Moreover, this opinion is assured in the rite of the Church, which adores the body of Christ after the words are uttered and before the wine is consecrated.

Transubstantiation occurs during the consecratory thanksgiving during the single act of worship (worship = sacrifice) called the liturgy of the Eucharist.
1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist.
During Mass the liturgy of the Eucharist begins a particular time and follows this structure:
1346 The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity: - the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions; - the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.
The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form "one single act of worship" (worship = sacrifice);170 The Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord.
The consecratory thanksgiving is the moment when the priest holds up the bread and repeats the words of Christ: "This is my body ..." and so on. Likewise, he says the same for the wine "This is the cup ... " and so on.
1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: "This is my body which will be given up for you.... This is the cup of my blood...."
1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about.
Now one might ask what if the priest does not finish the consecration for some reason? Say he faints. The wording of the Catechism does not address this directly except it does simply say this in the canon law:
Can. 927 It is absolutely wrong, even in urgent and extreme necessity, to consecrate one element without the other, or even to consecrate both outside the eucharistic celebration.
Seemingly, then, the consecration must be finished despite any circumstances. This bit of cannon law also implies that it is possible to consecrate the bread but not the wine, however serious a sin it might be.

This further leads to another question: suppose communion, the last part of the liturgy, is not achieved. Is the bread and wine still Body and Blood? It seems yes because of what is stated in 1376. The "presence of Christ ... endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist." Once transubstantiated the Body and Blood are Body and Blood so long as they exist. I assume then their destruction by eating or rot or other leaves them as not Body and Blood. However, not finishing the eucharistic celebration may be 'absolutely wrong' as well in light of the Canon Law quote above (I really cannot speak authoritatively on that).

Why does it occur at that moment and not some other? 1376 (below) states that it is "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread" at the last supper. So this statement argues both why transubstantiation occurs and when, and, subsequently, why it occurs at that time.
The definition of transubstantiation:
1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."


Dialogue said...

One of these days, I'm going to visit this "Praytell" blog you keep refuting.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

They've blocked me from commenting, so much for academic open-mindedness!

Julian Barkin said...

Really? FACEPALM!!!!

Anonymous said...

Honey locust? I think it should be holocaust.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You must have seen this (I think auto correct did it) as I was fixing it!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

JB? FACEPALM? Non capisco!

Julian Barkin said...

Lol Father! Derived from a combination of Internet memes and real life, FACEPALM = have you ever smacked your head with your hand at something you feel like an idiot for, or something so idiotic that a fool does, you smack your head in your palm at such an act from said idiot? That my dear Father, is "face-palm"

Anonymous said...

I probably missed something....but, the Council of Trent says that the bread becomes the body of Christ, the wine becomes His blood. The priest holds up the bread and says "This is my body.". He holds up the wine and says "This is My blood".

What's the story about both of then being the body AND the blood?

Dialogue said...


"If anyone denies that in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist the whole Christ is contained under each form and under every part of each form when separated, let him be anathema." (Trent, Session XIII, Canon no. 3)

Also from the same session of Trent: "The same under the form of wine and the blood under the form of bread, and the soul under either form, by virtue of the natural link and concomitance by which the parts of Christ the Lord, who has now risen from the dead and will die no more, are mutually united."

This really is very basic Catholic stuff. I suggest that you promptly renounce your heresy.

Dialogue said...

In the USA, the "Norms for Distribution of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds" require that before the faithful may receive Holy Communion under both kinds, they must be taught "the real presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements, whole and entire, in each element of consecrated bread and wine (the doctrine of concomitance)".

George said...

"The change of transubstantiation is instantaneous. It is not gradual. That is, the presence of Christ do not come to being from 0% and slowly through 100% during the words of institution."

It was instantaneous when Christ incarnated into our humanity.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

At the Blessed Virgins's assent, God, in the Person of the Son, came into His creation, Body, Blood,,Soul and Divinity at that instant. The Word became flesh. He did not "come to being from 0% (or less than 1%) at conception and slowly through 100%" (to full actualization) at birth".

Anonymous said...

Fr. McD says: "Do the "nones" who have abandoned the Church and the Holy Sacrifice have any clue about this (It isn't a fellowship meal of hand holding Christians hell-bent on being do-gooders in the institutional Church or in the world. It is about salvation of souls and the antidote to what leads to Hell and damnation, sin.)? Do progressive Catholics have any clue about this? Do good, practicing Catholics have any clue about this?"

Well, I do, Father, and I think where I go to Mass most of the people do because there is true reverence. But I go to a TLMass -- not because I have such a great love for the olden days or olden ways, but because the NO Mass at my parish is largely attended by families and even though the behavior is better than at many parishes I've attended, still, the kids are leaving and returning to pews all during Mass, and climbing all up and down and back and forth (and not just the little ones) and goofing around, there's a lot of "whispered" conversations before, during and after Mass, so I just gave up and go to the earlier TLM. (Lots of kids there too, but behavior MUCH better, even for the littlest ones!)

But my whole gripe all my days after VaticanII was implemented, has been that I WANT to PRAY at Mass! I love the NO because I can hear and understand the Eucharistic Prayer without reading it, and I can pray along. I can join in, praying along in my heart with the priest speaking this prayer (a split second after he says the words) and lift my heart up to God while doing it. So when a priest treats the Mass like a banquet where he's the MC, and is careless with the prayers and is without reverence for what he is doing, it drives me batty.

Progressives have made a pact with the world and, IMHO (in my humble opinion) the reverence and sacrificial aspect of the Mass galls them, because it IS Christ, in His real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and it is not about just eating together and saying, gee, we're good people, right? The sacrificial aspect makes the real Triune God present, and we reverence Him and declare our allegiance to Him by partaking in His slaughtered and offered up Body and Blood, the sacrifice. (I want to use other words here instead of "allegiance", like "His ownership of us", or "our son-ship", or "our belonging to Him", but these have become hackneyed words often used but whose depths of meaning are not understood.)

Progressives, IMHO, remind me of the guys in the 1970's who would protest getting married by saying, it's only a piece of paper. A smart lady would have said, well, since it's only a piece of paper (and therefore, irrelevant) and it would make me happy, why don't we do it? The answer was a balk. Why? Because it ISN'T just a piece of paper. It's a vow, a commitment, and at the very least, a legal document granting rights and compelling duties. Clever men.

In kind of the same way, the sacrifice of the Mass is also not "just a symbol," of a communal meal. It is real. And progressives, I think, know that at some level, and balk.

The nones, IMHO, just cave to cultural pressure and don't really even know what they are leaving, and probably don't care.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the guys at Trent may have kind of changed their minds as they went along. Reminds me a little of Jeb Bush trying to say whether he'd have gone to war in Iraq.

Dial....asking a question makes me a heretic?

Lefebvrian said...

Flesh normally has blood as one of its components, just as blood normally has flesh as one of its components. One could come to the conclusion that the Body of Christ contains his Blood and vice versa merely through common sense.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McD., did you excommunicate Gene or did he quit? Or is he here under an assumed name?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The problem of seperating Flesh and Blood is that it reduces our Lord to His dead body prior to the resurrection as though we are all receiving a portion of the flesh, with or without blood and blood as though it is from a cadaver. That is not Catholic teaching.

We are receiving our Risen Lord completely under the form of Bread and Wine so as not to offend our senses and to make our reception of His Glorious Risen Body platable to us.

Anonymous said...

This discussion got me to wondering about Jewish law and the sacrifice, offering and eating of animals to God. I found this on a Christian website:

"The law was, "The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting" (Leviticus 6:26). Eating of the sacrifice was an act of joy and thanksgiving. "And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you" (Deuteronomy 12:7)."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

We had a classmate in seminary who taught 2nd grade (First Communion prep)for 7 years before he came to seminary. He said that it was harder for 7 year olds to believe that that flat disc was real bread than to believe that it was really Jesus.

Jdj said...

Gotta love that comment from Fr. MJK @ 7:28!
Having raised kids, taught "CCD/PRE" (or whatever it's called now), and having a granddaughter about to receive first Holy Communion, I can only say "...and a little child will lead them." Is 11:6

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dear Father:

Thanks for this clear exposition.

You call to mind my seminary days, when some of the craziness lingered. The student sacristans were obliged to bake "substantial" bread for daily Mass. Thankfully, it was valid and licit, being naught but wheat flour and water; even so, it was chewy and gummy and made a mess. We would "forget" to bring a loaf for daily Mass -- necessitating the use of conventional hosts -- as often as we thought safe.

When my class was taught how to celebrate Mass, our instructor emphasized big gestures. I am not kidding: he told us not merely to kiss the altar, but really "smooch" it. (None of listened to that advice, other than to ridicule it later.) And I still recall how he wanted us to perform the fraction -- that is, the breaking of the host: as extravagantly as possible, high up, pulling the halves far apart.

Well, it was obvious this would propel particles of the Body of Christ all over the altar, if not further away. So, when I was doing my "practice Mass" (meaning, not Mass at all, since I wasn't yet a priest, I did as instructed. But never after. It seemed entirely backward to give priority to the "sign value" of the Holy Eucharist, over actual reverence for the Eucharist.

But this is exactly what "progressives" do. It explains quite a lot, don't you think? We move hide the tabernacle, because of the "sign value" of the altar -- otherwise, the "static presence" of the Eucharist will "distract" us from the "dynamic presence" of the Eucharist. And, no, that last bit is not made up. That's what we were taught.

I'm not surprised PrayTell can't abide you. You're an honest man.