Question from Mary Rogers on 3/27/2008:
This is a question that a Sister and I have been discussing at college and I need help understanding. She said that basically there is not a Catholic theologian anywhere who believes that transubstantiation happened at the Last Supper. She said that catechetically that is what is taught, but that theology is different from doctrine. How can this be? Do theologians live by a different truth than the rest of us? Could you please clarify this question on whether or not transubstantiation, from a theological perspective, did or did not occur at the Last Supper. Thank you so much and God Bless!
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 3/27/2008:
Mary Rogers, That religious actually is holding out for a heresy. With every Mass, Jesus' body and blood are really brought to the altar, both body and blood and together sacrificed for the sins of mankind and successfully accepted by the Father. The death of the Savior is made present by the separate presence of body and blood. How to explain this mystery? The best theological explanation is thru the Mystery of the Transubstantiation, i.e. the substance of bread is destroyed and replaced by the substance of Christ's body; and the substance of wine is removed and replaced by the substance of Christ's blood. Because this happens only to the substance, cannibalism is not a factor. Since only the substance of Christ is made present, not his corporeal b ody and blood, we call this mystery, the Real Presence. Tell Sister she is thinking like a good Calvinist. Fr. Bob Levis