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06 Nov 2015 News Vatican No comments

A World without Poverty - Pope Francis

In his quest towards ensuring the Catholic Church supports the poor and the needy, Pope Francis invited a homeless street vendor for an intimate meeting at the …

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25 Mar 2015 Q&A Comments (19)

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30 Mar 2015 Q&A No comments

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08 Apr 2016 Articles No comments

Pope Francis's New Document on Marriage: 12 Things to Know and Share

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15 Apr 2016 Articles No comments

The Ultimate Apologist’s Reading List

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07 Sep 2016 Articles Comments (7)

Why young Catholics love the Extraordinary Form

But don't expect them to disparage the Novus Ordo As a young Catholic growing up in an increasingly secular (or even post-secular) Britain, I am lucky to be ab…

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02 Nov 2014 Articles Comments (3)

Can Lying Ever be Right?

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21 Dec 2015 Q&A Comments (3)

The priest refused to administer the Sacrament of anointing the sick to my sick baby. Why?

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07 Sep 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Pope opens the Vatican to refugees, calls on Europe’s churches to follow suit

In light of the massive refugee crisis in Europe, Pope Francis announced Sunday that he will give temporary housing in the Vatican to at least two refugee famil…

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Isn’t consubstantiation more incarnational than transubstantiation?

Full Question

What’s wrong with consubstantiation—the view that the Eucharist is both the body and blood of Christ and bread and wine? Isn’t that more consistent with the Incarnation, and isn’t transubstantiation almost Gnostic, even Docetist?


Superficially, consubstantiation might seem more “incarnational” than transubstantiation, but there’s a catch. For the Eucharist to be both Jesus Christ and bread and wine, as Jesus is both God and man, Jesus would have to unite the nature of bread to himself as he united human nature to himself. It would amount to a new incarnation, a new hypostatic union. We would confess a Lord who is truly God, truly man, and truly pastry. This would demean and trivialize the significance of our Lord’s assuming our human nature.

Furthermore, such a reprise of the Incarnation would not accomplish what the Eucharist is all about: It would not make present the human body and blood of Christ. If the Second Person of the Trinity were to acquire a new, confectionery nature, this new nature would have no direct relationship to Jesus’ human nature. He would be present in the Eucharist in his divinity and his breadness, but not his humanity. His human body, born of Mary, crucified on the cross, raised from the dead, and ascended into glory, would be uninvolved.

This is not, of course, what consubstantiationists believe. They picture Christ in his divinity and his humanity juxtaposed with bread and wine, not becoming them. But this is not the incarnational principle. It is more like Nestorianism. It makes the Eucharist an amalgam of Jesus and bread, just as Nestorius made Jesus an amalgam of God and man without truly uniting the two natures in one person.

The authentic Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, by contrast, is not a repetition of the Incarnation but an extension of it. Christ is not hypostatically united to bread, but the one hypostatic union of divinity and humanity is presented to us under the appearances of bread and wine. It is not a new, independent redemptive act, but the making present of the one redemption accomplished by Christ in his Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension.



  1. Anayo Njoku Reply

    How I wish questions here are answered with simple grammar in english, so that we all can understand our Catholic faith and beliefs very well.

  2. Jessica Reply

    Sometimes the question doesn’t allow for the answer to be broken down into simpler terms.

  3. catstclair12000 Reply

    I have to laugh at the idea of Christ becoming pastry and people being comfortable with that image. This is what happens when one leaves the Church and embarks on alternate paths.

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