Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents
(12-07-2012, 08:14 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: It's not a physical change, because by physical we mean "accidents."

However it's not spiritual, if we define spiritual as not related to matter. Bread is matter, it has no spirit.

So it's a metaphysical change.  We need to be careful about terms here. Physical vs spiritual is one distinction. Bread is physical, not spiritual. Physical vs metaphysical is a different distinction -- transubstantiation is a metaphysical change because it doesn't affect accidents.

Physical objects have both accident and substance. However a physical approach to physical objects considers only accidents. A metaphysical approach to physical objects considers accidents and substance.

Transubstantiation is a change in substance but not in accidents.

It has nothing to do with molecular theory, which is physicall. Physically, chemically, molecularly, atomically, in terms of extension, density, weight, color ... nothing has changed. However the substance has changed as we know.

In fact, the traditional pre-Christian understanding of accidents as properties which inhere of their nature in a substance is not correct. A Christian would have to see accidents differently: **in the normal course of things**, they inhere in a substance, but there is a exception. After transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine remain but without the substance, and the substance of Our Lord is there, but without related accidents.

The Real Presence is described as really, truly and substantially present. However, Our Lord is not physically present ("locally") in the Host.

I understand what you are saying, but I still wonder if in some sense our Lord can be said to be physically present in the Eucharist (and so in this sense the change is physical).  This sense would need to be explained to exclude physical accidents and being tied to locality and bounds of a physical body; and so it would certainly mean physical in a different way than scientists see it (they always see only accidents).

Here are a couple of quotes that make me wonder:
"Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei" Wrote:As a result of transubstantiation, the species of bread and wine undoubtedly take on a new signification and a new finality, for they are no longer ordinary bread and wine but instead a sign of something sacred and a sign of spiritual food; but they take on this new signification, this new finality, precisely because they contain a new "reality" which we can rightly call ontological. For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical "reality," corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.

And something less authoritative, but also interesting:
"The Reality of the Real Presence" Wrote:

It follows that, insofar as "physical" is understood to mean "empirical", the Real Presence is not "physical". [b]However, the denial that the Real Presence is physical can easily be misunderstood to mean that the Real Presence is not historically objective because not corporeal -- for our ordinary language associates "physical" reality with corporeal reality. Anyone accustomed to that interpretation of the "physical" would understand a denial of the "physical" presence of Christ in the Eucharist to be a denial of his substantial or concretely actual Real Presence. It must be insisted that the Real Presence is precisely corporeal, objective, and historical: it is a concrete Event -- presence, whether the Event be termed transubstantiation, or the offering of the One Sacrifice. It is in this specifically Catholic understanding -- that the Eucharist is concretely an Event, identically the Event of the Cross, that the Catholic Church parts company with those Protestants who affirm, with Luther, a Real Presence, but who, with Luther, deny the Sacrifice of the Mass, and deny transubstantiation.

It is also hard to see how drinking Christ's blood and eating His flesh would be simply a metaphysical reality.  Body and blood seem physical, even if their accidents aren't there.

Of course "sacramental" is probably a better word than physical or metaphysical.  But all these words will be misinterpreted by some people - they are human words trying to describe a divine mystery.

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Re: Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents - by Doce Me - 12-09-2012, 01:53 AM

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