The Theology of the Holy Eucharist and the Doctrine of Transubstantiation

Francis Appiah-Kubi

Issue: Vol.7  No.6  June 2021 Issue  Article 1 pp. 78-86
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021761  |   Published online 8th June 2021.
© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

59 Downloads

Holy Communion is one of the seven sacraments in the Catholic Church. With Baptism and Confirmation, they constitute the sacraments of Initiation. Similarly, with the Word of God, they constitute the two indispensable pillars upon which the Church is built. It is the “fount and apex of the whole Christian life” (LG 11). It is named Holy Eucharist because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. It recalls God’s work of creation, redemption, and sanctification. The Eucharistic elements, bread and wine become, by the prayer of consecration and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s Body and Blood through an act appropriately known as transubstantiation. The term emphasizes the conversion of the total substance of bread and wine into the entire substance of the Body and Blood of Christ. When the bread and wine are consecrated at Mass, they are no longer bread and wine; they have become instead the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the words of Christ. The empirical appearances and attributes remain the same, but the underlying reality changes. Therefore, the doctrine of transubstantiation teaches without ambiguity that in the Holy Communion, the Body and Blood, together with the soul and divinity, of the Lord Jesus Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained. How is this understood and what is its implication theologically? In an attempt to elucidate this problem, this work seeks first to highlight the theology of the Holy Eucharist within the context of the ecclesiology of Communion, and second, through some theological themes: sacred memorial and sacrificial banquet; eschatological meal. The third and final part treats the theme of real presence under the rubrics of Transubstantiation.

Keywords: Transubstantiation, Eschatological Meal, Memorial, Real Presence, Communion, Eucharistic conversion.

Aquinas T. Summa Theologica, New York: Christian Classics, 1948.


Barron R. Eucharist, (New York: Orbis Books, 2008).


Bradshaw, P.F. (Ed.), Eucharist, The New SCM Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, (London: SCM Press, 2002).


Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC), 1337 & 1341.


Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Roma, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2005), 271-294.


Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Some aspects of the church understood as communion, (Boston, Pauline Books and media), 1992.


Council of Trent, Session 13 (Oct. 11, 1551), chapter 4, DS 1636.


Fink, P.E. “Perceiving the presence of Christ,” Worship. 58 (1):17-28.


Garrigou-Lagrange R. “The Structure of Humani Generis”, (La Sintesi tomistica), (Brescia, Queriniana, 1953).


Gratsch E. J. et al. (Eds.) Principles of Catholic Theology, (New York, Society of St. Paul, 1981).


John Paul II, Encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, (Boston, Pauline Books and Media, 2003).


Kilmaritin, E.J. (S.J), The Eucharist in the West: History and Theology, (New York, Pueblo Publishing Co.,1998).


Ludwig O. Fundamental of Catholic Dogma, Illinois, (Tan Books and Publishers, (4th Edition), 1960).


Mantzaridis,G.I. The Deification of Man, (New York, St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1984).


Mane-Joseph, N. What is the Eucharist? (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1960), 92.


Mathew,T. “Significance of Sacraments of Initiation,” (PhD dissertation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2008).


McBrien R.P. Catholicism (San Francisco/New York, Harper/Collins Publishers, 1994).


Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis, (Roma, Libreria Editrice vaticana, 1950).


Pope Paul VI. Encyclical letter on the Eucharist, Mysterium Fidei, (Rome, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1965).


Rahner, K. “On the Duration of the Presence of Christ after Communion.” In Theological Investigations IV: More Recent Writings. (Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1966).


Ratzinger J. God is Near Us, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003).


Ratzinger J. The Spirit of The Liturgy, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000).


Roman Missal, Institutio Generalis.


Scott H. Catholic Bible Dictionary, (New York, Doubleday, 2009).


Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.


Second Vatican Council Constitution on Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.


Sloyan,G.S. The Eucharist as a covenantal and an Eschatological Meal, 14.


Stravinskas P.M. (Ed.), Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor Inc., 1991).


William, D.V. “Karl Rahner’s Theology of the Eucharist,” Philosophy & Theology 11, 1 (1998): 125-146.

Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Appiah-Kubi is a Senior Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. He was the former Head of the Department of the Religious Studies Department at the Faculty of Social Science, KNUST. He is currently the Chairman of Tender Evaluation Panel (Goods and Services–Procurement), KNUST. He is a Ghanaian Theologian specialized in Ecclesiology and studies in African Traditional Religions.

Appiah-Kubi F.,  “The Theology of the Holy Eucharist and the Doctrine of Transubstantiation ” E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies, 7 no.6 (2021): 78-86  https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021761

© 2021 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).