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Form, Matter, And The Eucharist


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#1 truthfinder

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 09:24 PM

My history lecture today included the prof saying that at transubstantiation, the matter of the bread changed. I believe the form changes, correct? Posted Image But does the matter change? I know that the accidents are what the senses have left (taste of bread, texture of bread, etc.)

Thanks, I'm really ignorant when it comes to this, and I get confused easily. And please don't fault the prof, she's really opened minded for being a secular prof at a Canadian university, and was only trying to explain the implications of Aristotle's philosophy.

#2 Hassan

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:17 AM

My history lecture today included the prof saying that at transubstantiation, the matter of the bread changed. I believe the form changes, correct? Posted Image But does the matter change? I know that the accidents are what the senses have left (taste of bread, texture of bread, etc.)

Thanks, I'm really ignorant when it comes to this, and I get confused easily. And please don't fault the prof, she's really opened minded for being a secular prof at a Canadian university, and was only trying to explain the implications of Aristotle's philosophy.



That sounds wrong. Isn't the form the common abstraction of the various physical existants of a thing? Kind of like the Platonic forms? I would think that matter would correlate with accidents and form correlates, roughly, with substance. So since the accidents of the break remain unchanged the matter would have to remain unchanged. Since I thought they were the same thing. The substance of the bread is what consecration turns into the substance of Christ. Right? :idontknow:

#3 truthfinder

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 03:24 PM

The substance of the bread is what consecration turns into the substance of Christ. Right? :idontknow:


That's what I was thinking, Hassan. Does anyone know for sure?

#4 Raphael

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:53 PM

You should message Fiat Voluntas Tua. He probably won't be on soon because he's in his PhD Philosophy program and teaches as well, but if you write him, he might answer.

I don't have the philosophical background to answer the question.

#5 Laetitia Crucis

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 04:44 PM

The substance of the bread is what consecration turns into the substance of Christ. Right? :idontknow:


That's what I was thinking, Hassan. Does anyone know for sure?


Based on what I was taught (Thomistic philosophy), I agree completely with Hassan's statement.

The substance (or "essence"/"what-ness") of the bread changes into the substance ("essense"/"what-ness") of Christ -- hence trans-substantiation -- whereas the form (accidents/"species") of the bread remain the same.

When I read the original post a few days ago, I think I was really thrown off by your professor's terminology. Perhaps I still am. :blush:

:idontknow:

Hmmm.... perhaps this will be helpful:

Nothing is more marvelous, for there it comes to pass that the substance of bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Here there is perfect God and perfect man, under the show of a morsel of bread and a sup of wine. He is eaten by His faithful, but not mangled. Nay, when this Sacrament is broken, in each piece He remains entire. THE APPEARANCE (physical nature) OF BREAD AND WINE REMAINS, but THE THING (substance) IS NOT BREAD AND WINE. Here is faith's opportunity, faith which takes what is unseen and disguised and keeps THE SENSES from misjudging about the wonted APPEARANCES. (Thomas Aquinas, Breviary Lessons, Corpus Christi, in Disputations, XXVII de Veritate 4, 336 )



#6 truthfinder

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 08:23 PM

You should message Fiat Voluntas Tua. He probably won't be on soon because he's in his PhD Philosophy program and teaches as well, but if you write him, he might answer.

I don't have the philosophical background to answer the question.



I took your advice and this is the message that he wrote (he said it was a very quick response, but it helps.)

Transubstantiation is usually phrased in terms of substance and accidents, not matter and form. To ask whether the matter of the bread remains the same immediately raises same hard philosophical questions regarding the nature of matter. We do say that WHAT THE THING IS after consecration is the body of Christ. WHAT SOMETHING IS is substance; however the body of Christ is not pure form (e.g., like an angel), but rather a 'composite' of form and matter. So the matter of bread does change into the matter of the body of Christ, although the accidents of the matter of the bread remain after consecration. So the Eucharist is the matter and form of the body of Christ (i.e., it REALLY is his body, hair, fingernails, etc.) but the accidents of the matter of the body of Christ are not present. This is VERY hard to explain, so what is typically said is that the substance changes while the accidents remain the same. Usually people don't talk about the whether the matter (understood as something different from the accidents) remains the same. Does that help?

See Aquinas Summa Theologiae, Tertia Pars, Q. 75., especially articles 2 and 7...this explains the fact that the matter of Christ body is present after consecration as well as his form. So the form AND matter of bread do not remain, although the accidents do. To explain the difference between accidents and matter is rather philosophically difficult. But if you are interested I could recommend some places to look for further help.


Maybe this will clear the subject up for everybody, including myself.

#7 Laetitia Crucis

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 10:30 AM

I took your advice and this is the message that he wrote (he said it was a very quick response, but it helps.)


Maybe this will clear the subject up for everybody, including myself.


:clap:

Thank you for posting the Fiat Voluntas Tua's response!

#8 Formosus

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 07:14 PM

The substance of the bread is transformed but the accidents (appearance, texture, taste) remain. Saying that the matter transforms seems to be equivalent to substance.




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