Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is

As a second grader in a parochial school in the US in the 1960’s, transubstantiation was something I just couldn’t buy into. To my seven year old mind, it was just a bland tasting wafer despite what the nuns were saying.

@Patrick, I’d be curious as to what a similar poll might reveal about how the average Lutheran views consubstantiation. Long ago when I was a young student I had to grasp the differences between transubstantiation and consubstantiation—and I learned just enough to get by in this part of the course but neither ever made much sense to me.

Years later a colleague with much more background in medieval European philosophy explained to me how that historical context was the only way to truly comprehend both doctrines. (And that explanation was quite metaphysical.) But that doesn’t mean that today I could do a very good job of adequately explaining why these doctrines are still so important to the most committed Roman Catholics and traditional Lutherans.

I never heard the term consubstantiation. What does it mean and how did it come about? How is consubstantiation different from transubstantiation?

Well I think that the gist of the article was that these doctrines were not so important to most Roman Catholics especially in light of the continuing hemorrhaging of the priest child abuse matter.

Good question. If I recall, we can thank Luther for the distinction. I’d have to review Lutheran theology to give you an intelligent answer—but as I recall, the Lutheran version is less “semi-literal” and more “metaphysical.” It was based on the idea that materials have not only physical properties but some kind of intangible but real “essence” that can also be present, and that is the part which makes Christ present, in their view. (I’m certain that a knowledgeable Lutheran could do a much better job on this.)

I’ve got a bad tooth and am leaving for the dentist so I’ll have to take this up at another time.

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This is true for both transubstantiation (non-Lutheran) and consubstantiation. The difference is that in transubstantiation, the “essence” of bread and wine is wholly replaced by the “essence” of the body+blood of Christ. In consubstantiation, the “essence” of the body+blood of Christ co-mingle with the “essence” of bread and wine.


That is a very clear, understandable, and detailed “essence” of an explanation of the differences between of non-Lutheran transubstantiation and non-Catholic consubstantiation. :grinning: I am surprised that I couldn’t have reasoned it out myself back then or now. :grinning: Sure now I get it. I was right when I reasoned it out as a seven year old: totally made up fiction. :grinning: But I want to thank you and @AllenWitmerMiller for giving it a good attempt.

That seems fine to me.

As an anti-essentialist, I don’t believe that these essences actually exist. But I can see that both of those statements are true. That is to say, they are vacuously true (as we mathematicians like to say) because they are about nothing at all.

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I’m just explaining their differences. I’m not arguing for any of their truthiness.

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