More on Jimmy Akin’s heresy against the dogma of Transubstantiation

Jimmy Akin openly rejects the teaching of the Magisterium on transubstantiation, and in its place teaches his own heretical invention.

The correct understanding of the infallible dogma of the Magisterium is that the substance of bread and wine are changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ. The soul and Divinity of Christ also become present (Trent, 13th Session, chapter 3), at the same instant, since the Eucharist is the whole person of Christ, with both His natures. The substance of bread and wine do not change into His soul or His Divinity, but they do change into the substance of His body and blood.

“by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is, by the holy Catholic Church, suitably and properly called Transubstantiation.”

“CANON II. If any one says that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood — the species only of the bread and wine remaining — which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation; let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, 13th Session)

So according to the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent, in transubstantiation two things happen: (1) The substance of the bread and wine are converted into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, and (2) Christ’s soul and Divinity also become present.

Unfortunately, Akin’s explanation of transubstantiation is entirely incompatible with the dogma taught by the Council of Trent, under pain of anathema. In the post in question, Akin answers a question from a reader. The question: “How does one explain transubstantiation at the Last Supper?” His answer is abject heresy.

In transubstantiation, two things happen: (1) The substances (i.e., the ultimate, underlying realities) of bread and wine cease to exist, leaving only the properties detectable by our senses and (2) the substance of Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity become present.

For neither of these things to happen does Christ have to have offered himself on the Cross. God created all matter out of nothing (Latin, ex nihilo), and he can similarly cause it to return to nothing (ad nihilo = where we get “annihiliate”).

Similarly, God can make any object he wants present at any location he wants, including multiple locations simultaneously. This phenomenon, known as multilocation, is possible for Christ and for anything else God chooses.

Not only does Akin entirely omit, from his explanation of the two things that happen in transubstantiation, the change of one substance into another, but his subsequent comments positively rule out that possibility. Can we charitably interpret his claim that the substance of bread and wine ‘cease to exist’ in the sense that, having been changed into something else, they now no longer exist in their former state? Not if we take him at his word. For he further explains that God can cause matter to ‘return to nothing’ and he even uses the term ‘annihilate’. It is manifest that Akin is teaching his readers that in transubstantiation the substances of bread and wine are annihilated; they return to nothing.

His use of the Latin term ‘ad nihilo’ makes it seem as if his position is scholarly, even as if he were citing a term used by the Church. But the Magisterium has never used terms such as ‘ad nihilo’ or ‘annihilate’ or ‘return to nothing’ to refer to transubstantiation. Akin explains the meaning of a Latin term that is never used to explain this doctrine.

As a commenter on Akin’s post also points out, Saint Thomas Aquinas explicitly rejected the idea that the consecration of the Eucharist causes the substances of the bread and wine to be annihilated: Whether the substance of the bread or wine is annihilated after the consecration of this sacrament….?

And as if to make his denial of the change of one substance into another absolutely clear, Akin continues by explaining how he thinks the body and blood of Christ become present: by ‘multilocation’. Again, Akin makes his explanation seem scholarly by using and explaining terminology to his readers. But this terminology is his own invention. The Magisterium has never used the terms ‘multi-location’ or ‘ad nihilo’ to explain transubstantiation.

Can we charitably interpret his explanation so that the body and blood ‘become present’ by means of the conversion of the substances of bread and wine into the substance of the body and blood of Christ? Not if we take him at his word. For he does not merely say that the substance of Christ’s body and blood become present, but specifically that “the substance of Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity become present.” In other words, he holds and teaches that the body and blood become present just as the soul and Divinity become present. In his two things that happen in transubstantiation, this is one and the same point.

To the contrary, the Council of Trent distinguishes between the way that the body and blood become present, by conversion of the substances of bread and wine, and the way that the soul and Divinity become present: His soul, by “natural connection and concomitancy whereby the parts of Christ our Lord, who has now risen from the dead, to die no more, are united together,” and His Divinity, by “the admirable hypostatical union thereof with His body and soul.” (Trent, 13th Session, chapter 3)

Akin makes no such distinction. He teaches that the body and the blood and the soul and the Divinity merely become present. For he does not say that the substance of the bread and wine are changed into the substance of the body and blood, but that they cease to exist, that God returns them to nothing, that they are annihilated.

Akin’s heresy on transubstantiation is twofold: 1. his explicit claim that the substances of bread and wine cease to exist, instead of being changed, and, 2. his implicit claim that the body, blood, soul, and Divinity all become present in the same way.

After correction on this point of dogma by myself and by some of the commentators to his post, Akin remains obstinate in teaching this same heretical claim.

More recently, Akin has asserted a new version of his heresy on transubstantiation:
Jimmy Akin’s new heresy on transubstantiation

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator

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