Understanding the Eucharist

The Council of Trent taught that those who receive the Eucharist receive the whole Christ, “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.”  The same Council taught that the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ through “transubstantiation,” meaning that the substance is changed while the outward appearances remain. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reinforces these teachings.  The first task of this evening’ presentation will be answering questions like:

  • How do we make any logical sense of something “being” one thing, but “appearing to be” another?
  • What is the basis of this teaching in Scripture?


At Vatican II, the bishops described the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the Christian life.”  It is true to call the Eucharist the “body of Christ,” and yet we also consider the Church herself to be His body.  The second task of the evening will be to clarify issues including:

  • Are there, in that case, two different “bodies” of Christ?
  • How are we to understand the intimate connection between the Eucharist and the Church?