Jimmy Akin’s new heresy on transubstantiation

On the “Catholic Answers Live” radio show of 26 January 2012, Jimmy Akin discusses the Protestant idea of consubstantiation. After correctly refuting consubstantiation, Akin adds his own heretical claim:

“because what Jesus says is not ‘this contains my body’ or ‘this is with my body’ or something like that, but ‘this is my body’, and so that implies that the substance has changed. And so the substance of bread and wine, the reality of bread and wine, are no longer present. They have been transformed into the reality of the body and the blood and the soul and the Divinity of Jesus Christ. And so that’s how the Church has understood it. There, that in fact is the infallible teaching of the Church.” (See the Catholic Answers Live audio file (.mp3) in this post, time code 28:50 to 30:45)

In an old post (on Good Friday of 2011), Jimmy Akin taught two heretical claims on transubstantiation. First, he taught that the “substances (i.e., the ultimate, underlying realities) of bread and wine cease to exist”, in other words, they “return to nothing”; he also used the term “annihilate”. Second, he taught that the body, blood, soul, and Divinity of Christ become present (each and all in the same manner) by “multi-location”. Here is my post refuting those heresies.

These two previous claims by Akin contradict the dogma of transubstantiation. The infallible teaching of the Magisterium is that the bread changes into the body of Christ, and the wine changes into the blood of Christ, and that the rest of Christ becomes present in a different manner, not by a change of substance, but by concomitancy. This concomitancy is due to the natural union of the body, blood, and soul of Christ in one whole human nature, and the supernatural union of the Divinity of Christ with His whole human nature.

We could narrow the term concomitancy, and use it to refer only to the union of Christ’s body, blood, and soul as one human nature, and then use the term hypostatic union to refer to the supernatural union of His Divine Nature with His human nature as one Person. Or we could use the term concomitancy more broadly, so as to refer to both types of union. But we must never claim, under any terminology or explanation whatsoever, that the bread is transformed into the blood or the soul or the Divinity of Christ, nor that the wine is transformed into the body or the soul or the Divinity of Christ.

In his new assertion on Catholic Answers Live, Jimmy Akin beings by correctly stating that the substance of bread and wine are transformed — but before he finishes the very same sentence, he asserts another heresy on transubstantiation. He claims that the bread and wine are transformed, not only into the body and blood, but also into the soul and Divinity of Christ.

This claim is a heresy because the Council of Trent infallibly taught the following:
1. The substance of bread changes into the substance of the body of Christ, and
2. the blood, soul, and Divinity of Christ become present with the body, under the accidents of bread, by concomitancy — NOT by a change of substance.
3. The substance of wine changes into the substance of the blood of Christ, and
4. the body, soul, and Divinity of Christ become present with the blood, under the accidents of wine, by concomitancy — NOT by a change of substance.

Akin’s claim that the substance of the bread changes, not solely into the body, but also into the blood, soul, and Divinity of Christ is heretical. Akin’s claim that the substance of the wine changes, not solely into the blood, but also into the body, soul, and Divinity of Christ is heretical. He fails to understand the teaching of the Council of Trent on concomitancy. Jimmy Akin also fails to understand that the substance of the bread changes only into the substance of the body, so that even the blood becomes present by concomitancy along with the soul and Divinity. He fails to understand that the substance of the wine changes only into the substance of the blood, so that even the body becomes present by concomitancy along with the soul and Divinity:

” ‘a change 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. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.’ ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1376, quoting Trent)

Notice that the Catechism plainly teaches, what Akin denies, that the substance of bread changes only into the body, and the substance of wine changes only into the blood. Jimmy Akin teaches the heretical claim that the bread changes into the whole of Christ (body, blood, soul, Divinity) and that the wine changes into the whole of Christ (body, blood, soul, Divinity). And yet the Council of Trent infallibly taught a distinction between the way that the substances of body and blood become present, by conversion of the substances of bread and wine, respectively, and the way that the soul and Divinity become present:

“And this faith has ever been in the Church of God, that, immediately after the consecration, the veritable Body of our Lord, and His veritable Blood, together with His soul and divinity, are under the species of bread and wine; but the Body indeed under the species of bread, and the Blood under the species of wine, by the force of the words; but the body itself under the species of wine, and the blood under the species of bread, and the soul under both, by the force of that natural connection and concomitancy whereby the parts of Christ our Lord, who hath now risen from the dead, to die no more, are united together; and the divinity, furthermore, on account of the admirable hypostatical union thereof with His body and soul. Wherefore it is most true, that as much is contained under either species as under both; for Christ whole and entire is under the species of bread, and under any part whatsoever of that species; likewise the whole (Christ) is under the species of wine, and under the parts thereof.” (Trent, 13th Session, chapter 3).

Jimmy Akin’s multiple heresies on transubstantiation contradict the infallible teaching of the Magisterium. Akin also contradicts himself. His prior assertion — in a post that is still online and still harming souls — denies the change of substance, claiming annihilation of substance instead. That post also denies the distinction, infallibly taught by the Council of Trent, between a change of substance and concomitancy — two different modes by which Christ becomes present. Akin’s latest assertion affirms a change of substance, but still denies concomitancy; he still fails to distinguish between the two modes by which Christ becomes present: change of substance and concomitancy.

Has Akin repented of his previous error, the heretical claim that the substance of bread and wine are annihilated, rather than changed? If he were repentant, he would take down or correct his previous post. What does Akin believe on this point, since he has asserted two contradictory positions? I don’t know what he believes. But I know that he has taught and continues to teach abject heresy on transubstantiation. The fact that his teaching changes from one heresy into another heresy only does more harm to the faithful, by suggesting to them one grave doctrinal error after another.

It is particularly absurd (as well as heretical) to claim that the substance of bread and wine change into the Divinity of Christ. For the Divine Nature is eternal and unchanging; the Divine Nature is the only uncreated thing. No created thing can be changed into the uncreated Divine Nature. No finite thing can be changed into the Divine Nature. The claim that a created thing, the substance of bread and the substance of wine, can be changed into the Divine Nature of God is false, heretical, and absurd. And it is contrary to the definitive and infallible teaching of the Council of Trent.

Now someone might say, “God can do anything; therefore, God can change a finite thing into His own Divine Nature.” But then I would say, in reply, that it is not possible for God to do anything that contradicts His own Nature, His own Goodness, or His own Perfection. Changing a finite thing into the infinite Divine Nature contradicts God’s Nature, His Goodness, and His Perfection.

Jimmy Akin continues to harm many souls by teaching multiple heresies and serious doctrinal errors. He continues to present himself as if he were a faithful Catholic, when — as shown by his repeated public assertions — he is a teacher of heresy. He continues to make the false claim that what he presents is the teaching, even the infallible teaching, of the Church, when instead he is presenting abject heresy. He takes the pure and holy teaching of the Church, and he distorts it into set of gravely harmful falsehoods, and then he presents it to the faithful as if it were the teaching of Christ. He presents figurative poison to the faithful, telling them that it is wholesome food; and many consume that poison, to the harm of their souls.

Truly, Jimmy Akin has fallen under the anathema of the Council of Trent:

“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.”

Akin denies that the whole substance of bread changes into the Body, instead claiming that the whole substance of the bread changes into the whole of Christ (body, blood, soul, Divinity). Akin denies that the whole substance of wine changes into the Blood, instead claiming that the whole substance of the wine changes into the whole of Christ (body, blood, soul, Divinity). Therefore, he has fallen under the anathema of the Council of Trent and is excommunicated.

Akin’s teachings on a number of different subjects in dogmatic and moral theology constitute formal heresy. Therefore, Akin also falls under the penalty of automatic excommunication for heresy found in Canon Law:

Canon 1364 §1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

May God correct him and bring him back to the true Faith, from which he has departed. May God heal all the souls harmed by the many false teachings of heretics.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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