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Who’s right about when the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood?

Full Question

Both the Director of Religious Education and the pastor at my parish believe that the bread and wine do not become the body and blood of Christ at the words of institution, but over the whole Eucharistic Prayer. I disagree. Who’s right?


You are. How could transubstantiation occur over the whole Eucharistic Prayer, when, after the words of consecration of the host and chalice, the priest shows the sacred species to the people for adoration?

The answer is also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 1105:The Epiclesis (“invocation upon”) is the intercession in which the priest begs the Father to send the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, so that the offerings may become the body and blood of Christ and that the faithful by receiving them, may themselves become a living offering to God.
CCC 1353: In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ’s body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all.
CCC 1375: It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares: “It is not man that causes the things offered to become the body and blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.”


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