Parish Priest, Fr. Caesar D’Mello answers parishioners’ question.
Many well-educated Catholics never believe in the “Real Presence”. As this was only introduced by the Lateran Council of 1267 after the Church broke away from the Greeks in 1054 AD. Presently, no miracles happen when we pray to the Blessed Sacrament, it has become a cultish practice.
The teaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is emphatically affirmed in the sixth chapter of St. John, which is referred to as the Eucharistic discourse. See John 6:53, “If you do not eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.”
The great Eastern Schism, which took place in 1054 AD had nothing to do with the doctrine on the real presence. However, towards the latter part of the 11th century, Berengarius began to teach that there was only an intellectual or spiritual presence after the consecration in the bread and wine. Later in the Lateran Councils of 1078 and 1079, he agreed that Christ was substantially present under the species of bread and wine.
In one of the decrees of the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563), and against the teaching of some of the Protestants, the Church declared that Christ is present really, truly and substantially. To clarify further, the nature of the Real Presence, the Church taught that Christ is present in the Eucharist “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity”.
Since the term, “transubstantiation” is couched in scholastic terminology, which was current in the middle ages, today theologians have now begun to speak of a different way of understanding the Eucharist as “transfinalization” and “transignification”.