The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a term used in Christian theology to express the doctrine that Jesus is really or substantially present in the Eucharist, not merely symbolically or metaphorically.
There are a number of different views in the understanding of the meaning of the term "reality" in this context among contemporary Christian confessions which accept it, including the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, Lutheranism, Anglicanism and Methodism. These differences correspond to literal or figurative interpretations of Christ's Words of Institution, as well as questions related to the concept of realism in the context of the Platonic substance and accident. Efforts at mutual understanding of the range of beliefs by these Churches led in the 1980s to consultations on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry through the World Council of Churches.
By contrast, the doctrine is rejected by Anabaptists.
Eucharistic theology as a branch of Christian theology developed during the medieval period; before that, during the early medieval period theological disputes had focussed mostly on questions of Christology.
An early debate on the question took place in the 9th century, after Charles the Bald had posed the question if the body and blood of Christ were to be a mystery of faith, or if they were truly present (in mysterio fiat an in veritate). Contrary positions were taken by Paschasius Radbertus and Ratramnus. Ratramnus held that the body of Christ was present spiritually (spiritualiter) but not physically (corporaliter), while Paschasius emphasized the true presence of the body of Christ. The dispute was resolved by Paschasius in a letter to Frudiger, in which he clarified his position to the effect that the true nature of the sacramental body of Christ is spiritual, so that the true presence of Christ's body is necessarily spiritual and not physical in nature, so that its presence in the Eucharist is real and symbolic at the same time.
The question of the nature of the Eucharist became virulent for the second time in the Western Church in the 11th century, when Berengar of Tours denied that any material change in the elements was needed to explain the Eucharistic presence. This caused a controversy which led to the explicit clarification of the doctrine of the Eucharist. In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council used the word transubstantiated in its profession of faith, when speaking of the change that takes place in the Eucharist.
It was only later in the 13th century that Aristotelian metaphysics was accepted and a philosophical elaboration in line with that metaphysics was developed, which found classic formulation in the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas.Scholasticism cast Christian theology in the terms of Aristotelianism. It is important to understand that the terms real and substance in real presence and transubstantiation are to be understood within the framework of Aristotelian substance theory, and not in the now-current meaning of referring to the physical or material. Medieval philosophers who used Aristotelian concepts frequently distinguished between substantial forms and accidental forms. For Aristotle, a "substance" (ousia) is an individual thing, which may possess accidental forms as non-essential properties.
During the later medieval period, the question was debated within the Western Church. Following the Protestant Reformation, it became a central topic of division between the various emerging confessions. The Lutheran doctrine of the real presence, known as "the Sacramental Union", was formulated in the Augsburg Confession of 1530. Luther decidedly supported the doctrine, publishing The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ--Against the Fanatics in 1526. Thus, the main theological division in this question, turned out to be not between Catholicism and Protestantism, but within Protestantism, especially between Luther and Zwingli, who discussed the question at the Marburg Colloquy of 1529 but who failed to come to an agreement. Zwingli's view became associated with the term Memorialism, suggesting an understanding of the Eucharist held purely "in memory of" Christ. While this accurately describes the position of the Anabaptists and derived traditions, it is not the position held by Zwingli himself, who affirmed that Christ is truly (in substance), though not naturally (physically) present in the sacrament.
The Council of Trent, held 1545–1563 in reaction to the Protestant Reformation and initiating the Catholic Counter-Reformation, promulgated the view of the real presence in which the "change of the whole substance of the bread into the body, of the whole substance (substantia) of the wine into the blood [of Christ], only the appearances (species) remaining; which change the Catholic Church most fitly calls Transubstantiation."
Eastern Orthodoxy did not become involved in the dispute prior to the 17th century. It became virulent in 1629, when Cyril Lucaris denied the doctrine of transubstantiation, using the Greek translation metousiosis for the concept. To counter the teaching of Lucaris, Metropolitan Petro Mohyla of Kiev drew up in Latin an Orthodox Confession in defense of transubstantiation. This Confession was approved by all the Greek-speaking Patriarchs (those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) in 1643, and again by the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem (also referred to as the Council of Bethlehem).
The Catholic Church understands the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as real, that is to say, objective and not dependent on faith.
The Catholic Church understands the real, objective presence of Christ as coming about by the transformation of the substance of the bread and wine into the substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, with no change in the appearances (in Latin, species) of the bread and wine (their taste, color, weight, fragility, nutritional or intoxicating effects, etc.); the change in substance is known as transubstantiation.
Use of the term "transubstantiation" to describe the "way surpassing understanding" by which the signs of bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is not generally adopted by other churches, although it is sometimes by the Orthodox, who likewise hold that the bread and wine undergo a real change.
One hymn of the Church, "Ave Verum Corpus", greets Christ in the Eucharist as follows (in translation from the original Latin): "Hail, true body, born of Mary Virgin, and which truly suffered and was immolated on the cross for mankind!"
The Catholic Church also holds that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is entire: it does not see what is really in the Eucharist as a lifeless corpse and mere blood, but as the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity; nor does it see the persisting outward appearances of bread and wine and their properties (such as weight and nutritional value) as a mere illusion, but objectively existing as before and unchanged.
In the view of the Catholic Church, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is of an order different from the presence of Christ in the other sacraments: in the other sacraments he is present by his power rather than by the reality of his body and blood, the basis of the expression "real presence".
The Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, as well as the Church of the East, believe that in the Eucharist the bread and wine are objectively changed and become in a real sense the Body and Blood of Christ. The theologians Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger state that:
While the Orthodox Church has often employed the term transubstantiation, Kallistos Ware claims the term "enjoys no unique or decisive authority" in the Orthodox Church. Nor does its use in the Orthodox Church "commit theologians to the acceptance of Aristotelian philosophical concepts" (as it has in the Roman Catholic Church). Ware also notes that while the Orthodox have always "insisted on the reality of the change" from bread and wine into the body and the blood of Christ at the consecration of the elements, the Orthodox have "never attempted to explain the manner of the change."
The Greek term metousiosis () is sometimes used by Eastern Orthodox Christians to describe the change since this term "is not bound up with the scholastic theory of substance and accidents", but it does not have official status as "a dogma of the Orthodox Communion. Similarly, Coptic Orthodox Christians "are fearful of using philosophical terms concerning the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, preferring uncritical appeals to biblical passages like 1 Cor. 10.16; 11.23-29 or the discourse in John 6.26-58."
While the Roman Catholic Church believes that the change "takes place at the words of institution or consecration", the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that the "change takes place anywhere between the Proskomedia (the Liturgy of Preparation)" and "the Epiklesis ('calling down'), or invocation of the Holy Spirit 'upon us and upon these gifts here set forth'". Therefore, it teaches that "the gifts should be treated with reverence throughout the entirety of the service. We don't know the exact time in which the change takes place, and this is left to mystery."
The words of the Ethiopic liturgy are representative of the faith of Oriental Orthodoxy: "I believe, I believe, I believe and profess to the last breath that this is the body and the blood of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, which he took from our Lady, the holy and immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God."
The Eastern Orthodox Church Synod of Jerusalem declared: "We believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, ... but truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin Mary, was baptised in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sitteth at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which, as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world."
Lutherans believe in the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, that the body and blood of Christ are "truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms" of the consecrated bread and wine (the elements), so that communicants orally eat and drink the holy body and blood of Christ Himself as well as the bread and wine (cf. Augsburg Confession, Article 10) in this Sacrament. The Lutheran doctrine of the real presence is more accurately and formally known as "the Sacramental Union."  It has been inaccurately called "consubstantiation", a term which is specifically rejected by most Lutheran churches and theologians  since it creates confusion about the actual doctrine, and it subjects the doctrine to the control of an abiblical philosophical concept in the same manner as, in their view, does the term "transubstantiation." 
For Lutherans, there is no Sacrament unless the elements are used according to Christ's institution (consecration, distribution, and reception). This was first articulated in the Wittenberg Concord of 1536 in the formula: Nihil habet rationem sacramenti extra usum a Christo institutum ("Nothing has the character of a sacrament apart from the use instituted by Christ"). Some Lutherans use this formula as their rationale for opposing in the church the reservation of the consecrated elements, private masses, the practice of Corpus Christi, and the belief that the reliquæ (what remains of the consecrated elements after all have communed in the worship service) are still sacramentally united to the Body and Blood of Christ. This interpretation is not universal among Lutherans. The consecrated elements are treated with reverence; and, in some Lutheran churches, are reserved as in Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican practice. The external Eucharistic adoration is usually not practiced by most Lutherans except for bowing, genuflecting, and kneeling to receive the Eucharist from the Words of Institution and elevation to reception of the holy meal. The reliquæ traditionally are consumed by the celebrant after the people have communed, except that a small amount may be reserved for delivery to those too ill or infirm to attend the service. In this case, the consecrated elements are to be delivered quickly, preserving the connection between the communion of the ill person and that of the congregation gathered in public Divine Service.
Lutherans use the terms "in, with and under the forms of consecrated bread and wine" and "Sacramental Union" to distinguish their understanding of the Eucharist from those of the Reformed and other traditions.
Anglicans prefer a view of objective presence that maintains a definitive change, but allows how that change occurs to remain a mystery. Likewise, Methodists postulate a par excellence presence as being a "Holy Mystery". Anglicans generally and officially believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but the specific form of that belief range from a corporeal presence (real objective presence), sometimes even with Eucharistic adoration (mainly high church Anglo-Catholics), to belief in a pneumatic presence (mainly low church Reformed Anglicans).
In Anglican theology, a sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. In the Eucharist, the outward and visible sign is that of bread and wine, while the inward and spiritual grace is that of the Body and Blood of Christ. The classic Anglican aphorism with regard to the debate on the Eucharist is the poem by John Donne (1572-1631): "He was the Word that spake it; He took the bread and brake it; And what that Word did make it; I do believe and take it" (Divine Poems. On the Sacrament).
During the English Reformation the doctrine of the Church of England was strongly influenced by Continental Reformed theologians whom Cranmer had invited to England to aid with the reforms. Among these were Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Bernardino Ochino, Paul Fagius, and Jan ?aski. John Calvin was also urged to come to England by Cranmer, but declined, saying that he was too involved in the Swiss reforms. Consequently, early on, the Church of England has a strong Reformed, if not particularly Calvinistic influence. The view of the Real Presence, as described in the Thirty-Nine Articles therefore bears much resemblance to the pneumatic views of Bucer, Martyr, and Calvin.
The Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion contends that:
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith" (Article XXVIII).
For many Anglicans, whose mysticism is intensely incarnational, it is extremely important that God has used the mundane and temporal as a means of giving people the transcendent and eternal. Some have extended this view to include the idea of a presence that is in the realm of spirit and eternity, and not to be about corporeal-fleshiness.
During the Oxford Movement of the 19th century, Tractarians advanced a belief in the real objective presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but maintained that the details of how He is present remain mystery of faith, a view also held by the Orthodox Church and Methodist Church. Indeed, one of the oldest Anglo-Catholic devotional societies, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, was founded largely to promote belief in the real objective presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
From some Anglican perspectives, the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist does not imply that Jesus Christ is present materially or locally. This is in accord with some interpretations of Roman Catholic doctrine, as expressed, for instance by St. Thomas Aquinas, who, while saying that the whole Christ is present in the sacrament, also said that this presence was not "as in a place".Real does not mean material: the lack of the latter does not imply the absence of the former. The Eucharist is not intrinsic to Christ as a body part is to a body, but extrinsic as his instrument to convey Divine Grace. Some Anglicans see this understanding as compatible with different theories of Christ's presence--transubstantiation, consubstantation, or virtualism--without getting involved in the mechanics of "change" or trying to explain a mystery of God's own doing.
Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians participating in the first Anglican--Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC I) declared that they had "reached substantial agreement on the doctrine of the Eucharist". This claim was accepted by the 1988 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops (Resolution 8), but firmly questioned in the Official Roman Catholic Response to the Final Report of ARCIC I of 1991.
The followers of John Wesley have typically affirmed that the sacrament of Holy Communion is an instrumental Means of Grace through which the real presence of Christ is communicated to the believer, but have otherwise allowed the details to remain a mystery. In particular, Methodists reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (see "Article XVIII" of the Articles of Religion); the Primitive Methodist Church, in its Discipline also rejects the Lollardist doctrine of consubstantiation. In 2004, the United Methodist Church affirmed its view of the sacrament and its belief in the real presence in an official document entitled This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion. Of particular note here is the church's unequivocal recognition of the anamnesis as more than just a memorial but, rather, a re-presentation of Christ Jesus and His Love.
This affirmation of real presence can be seen clearly illustrated in the language of the United Methodist Eucharistic Liturgy where, in the epiclesis of the Great Thanksgiving, the celebrating minister prays over the elements:
Methodists assert that Jesus is truly present, and that the means of His presence is a "Holy Mystery". A celebrating minister will pray for the Holy Spirit to make the elements "be for us the body and blood of Christ", and the congregation can even sing, as in the third stanza of Charles Wesley's hymn Come Sinners to the Gospel Feast:
The distinctive feature of the Methodist doctrine of the real presence is that the way Christ manifests His presence in the Eucharist is a sacred mystery--the focus is that Christ is truly present in the sacrament. The Discipline of the Free Methodist Church thus teaches:
The Lord's Supper is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death. To those who rightly, worthily, and with faith receive it, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ. The supper is also a sign of the love and unity that Christians have among themselves. Christ, according to his promise, is really present in the sacrament. -Discipline, Free Methodist Church
Many within the Holiness Pentecostal tradition, which is largely Wesleyan-Arminian in theology as are the Methodist Churches, also affirm this understanding of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Many Reformed, particularly those following John Calvin, hold that the reality of Christ's body and blood do not come corporally (physically) to the elements, but that "the Spirit truly unites things separated in space" (Calvin).
Following a phrase of Augustine, the Calvinist view is that "no one bears away from this Sacrament more than is gathered with the vessel of faith". "The flesh and blood of Christ are no less truly given to the unworthy than to God's elect believers", Calvin said; but those who partake by faith receive benefit from Christ, and the unbelieving are condemned by partaking. By faith (not a mere mental apprehension), and in the Holy Spirit, the partaker beholds God incarnate, and in the same sense touches him with hands, so that by eating and drinking of bread and wine Christ's presence penetrates to the heart of the believer more nearly than food swallowed with the mouth can enter in.
This view holds that the elements may be disposed of without ceremony, as they are not changed in an objective physical sense and, as such, the meal directs attention toward Christ's "bodily" resurrection and return. Actual practices of disposing of leftover elements vary widely.
Reformed theology has traditionally taught that Jesus' body is seated in heaven at the right hand of God; therefore his body is not physically present in the elements, nor do the elements turn into his body in a physical or any objective sense. However, Reformed theology has also historically taught that when the Holy Communion is received, not only the Spirit, but also the true body and blood of Jesus Christ (hence "real") are received through the Spirit, but these are only received by those partakers who eat worthily (i.e., repentantly) with faith. The Holy Spirit unites the Christian with Jesus though they are separated by a great distance. See, e.g., Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. 29; Belgic Confession, Article 35.
The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and showing to all the world the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.
In 1997, three denominations which historically held to a Reformed view of the supper: the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) signed A Formula of Agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a document which stressed that: "The theological diversity within our common confession provides both the complementarity needed for a full and adequate witness to the gospel (mutual affirmation) and the corrective reminder that every theological approach is a partial and incomplete witness to the Gospel (mutual admonition) (A Common Calling, page 66)." Hence, in seeking to come to consensus about the real presence (see open communion), the churches have written:
During the Reformation both Reformed and Lutheran Churches exhibited an evangelical intention when they understood the Lord's Supper in the light of the saving act of God in Christ. Despite this common intention, different terms and concepts were employed which. . . led to mutual misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Properly interpreted, the differing terms and concepts were often complementary rather than contradictory.-- Marburg Revisited, pp. 103-104
In the Lord's Supper the risen Christ imparts himself in body and blood, given up for all, through his word of promise with bread and wine ... we proclaim the death of Christ through which God has reconciled the world with himself. We proclaim the presence of the risen Lord in our midst. Rejoicing that the Lord has come to us, we await his future coming in glory ... Both of our communions, we maintain, need to grow in appreciation of our diverse eucharistic traditions, finding mutual enrichment in them. At the same time both need to grow toward a further deepening of our common experience and expression of the mystery of our Lord's Supper.-- A Formula for Agreement
Unlike Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Reformed and Orthodox Christians who all affirm a concept of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, other Christian groups such as nondenominational churches and those professing Liberal Christianity see Communion (also called the Lord's Supper or the Lord's Table) as a strictly symbolic meal, a memorial of the Last Supper and the Passion with symbolic and subjectively meaningful elements, which is done by the ordinance of Jesus. This view is known as Memoralism or the Zwinglian view, as it was taught by Huldrych Zwingli, a Swiss Reformer.
Many Christian churches holding to a doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (for example, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, and Methodist) require ordained clergy, to officiate at the Eucharist, consecrating and distributing the elements to communicants.
In the Roman Catholic Church the official explanation of how Christ is present is called transubstantiation. This is simply an explanation of how, not a statement that, he is present. Anglicans and Orthodox do not attempt to define how, but simply accept the mystery of his presence.
For Anglicans and Methodists the reality of the presence of Jesus as received through the sacramental elements is not in question. Real presence is simply accepted as being true, its mysterious nature being affirmed and even lauded in official statements like This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion.
The Greek term corresponding to transubstation is metousiosis, which, however is not bound up with the scholastic theory of substance and accidents. It was accepted by the Synod of Bethlehem, 1672, during the reaction against the Calvinizing movement of the Patriarch Cyril Lucaris, but it was never accepted formally by the Russian Church, and it is not a dogma of the Orthodox Communion.
But it does not care to dwell much on the scholastic theories of 'transubstantiation'.
At the same time, the Latins interpret the Sacraments in a legal and philosophical way. Hence, in the Eucharist, using the right material things (bread and wine) and pronouncing the correct formula, changes their substance (transubstantiation) into the Body and Blood of Christ. The visible elements or this and all Sacraments are merely "signs" of the presence of God.The Orthodox call the Eucharist "the mystical Supper." What the priest and the faithful consume is mysteriously the Body and Blood of Christ. We receive Him under the forms of bread and wine, because it would be wholly repugnant to eat "real" human flesh and drink "real" human blood.Missing or empty
The Copts are fearful of using philosophical terms concerning the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, preferring uncritical appeals to biblical passages like 1 Cor. 10.16; 11.23-29 or the discourse in John 6.26-58.
In other words, Roman Catholics believe that transubstantiation is the 'change' that occurs in the 'whole substance' of the bread and wine set apart for the Eucharistic mystery. This is a change that takes place at the words of institution or consecration (i.e. 'This is My Body,' etc.). There's some Scholastic language here, of course, but that's the basic gist. In the Orthodox tradition, you will find it taught variously that this change takes place anywhere between the Proskomedia (the Liturgy of Preparation)--which is now a separate service prior to both Orthros and the Divine Liturgy on a typical Sunday, though traditionally it is done during Orthros--and the Epiklesis ('calling down'), or invocation of the Holy Spirit 'upon us and upon these gifts here set forth' (as in Chrysostom's liturgy). As such, the gifts should be treated with reverence throughout the entirety of the service. We don't know the exact time in which the change takes place, and this is left to mystery. As Orthodox Christians, we must be careful to balance and nuance our claims, especially with regards to the Latins or 'the West.' The last thing we want to do is oversimplify matters to the extent of seeming deceptive or--perhaps worse--misinformed. After all, this is typically what gets thrown our way from those unfamiliar with Orthodoxy (beyond literature), often justly putting us on the 'defensive' (an important distinction from 'triumphalism') in response to such misrepresentations.
As Confessional Lutherans we believe in baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ's body and blood in the Lord's Supper, and infant baptism.Cite uses deprecated parameter
Lutherans have always emphasized that Christ's true body and blood are really present 'in, with, and under' the bread and wine and that Christ's true body and blood are received by all who receive the elements, either to their blessing or to their condemnation...Lutherans emphasize that although the presence of Christ in the Sacrament is a supernatural presence, which is beyond our understanding and explanations, it is a real, substantial presence. Jesus simply says, 'This is my body. This is my blood,' and Lutherans confess this when they say, 'The bread and wine we receive are Christ's body and blood.' They also combine the words 'in and under' from the Catechism and the word 'with' from the Formula of Concord into the expression 'Christ's body and blood are received in, with, and under the bread and wine.'Cite uses deprecated parameter
Although some Lutherans have used the term 'consbstantiation' [sic] and it might possibly be understood correctly (e.g., the bread & wine, body & blood coexist with each other in the Lord's Supper), most Lutherans reject the term because of the false connotation it contains...either that the body and blood, bread and wine come together to form one substance in the Lord's Supper or that the body and blood are present in a natural manner like the bread and the wine. Lutherans believe that the bread and the wine are present in a natural manner in the Lord's Supper and Christ's true body and blood are present in an illocal, supernatural manner.Cite uses deprecated parameter
We reject transubstantiation because the Bible teaches that the bread and the wine are still present in the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:27-28). We do not worship the elements because Jesus commands us to eat and to drink the bread and the wine. He does not command us to worship them.Cite uses deprecated parameter
Many folk tale enthusiasts remained vicarious participants in a vague supernaturalism; Anglo-Catholics wanted not Wonderland but heaven, and they sought it through their sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Though they stopped short of transubstantiation, Anglo-Catholics insisted that the consecrated bread and wine contained the "Real Objective Presence" of God.
How the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ after a special, sacramental and heavenly manner and still remain bread and wine, and how our Lord is really present (real as being the presence of a reality), is a mystery which no human mind can satisfactorily explain. It is a mystery of the same order as how the divine Logos could take upon himself human nature and become man without ceasing to be divine. It is a mystery of the Faith, and we were never promised that all the mysteries would be solved in this life. The plain man (and some not so plain) is wisest in sticking to the oft-quoted lines ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, but probably written by John Donne: "Christ was the Word that spake it; He took the bread and brake it; And what the Word did make it, That I believe and take it." The mysteries of the Eucharist are three: The mystery of identification, the mystery of conversion, the mystery of presence. The first and primary mystery is that of identification; the other two are inferences from it. The ancient Fathers were free from Eucharistic controversy because they took their stand on the first and primary mystery--that of identification--and accepted our Lord's words, " This is my Body," " This is my Blood," as the pledge of the blessings which this Sacrament conveys. We have since the early Middle Ages lost their peace because we have insisted on trying to explain unexplainable mysteries. But let it be repeated, Anglo-Catholics are not committed to the doctrine of Transubstantiation; they are committed to the doctrine of the Real Presence.
Advocates of the pneumatic presence might point to the efficacy of the Holy Spirit as somehow applying the virtues or power of the body of Christ to the faithful. Some within this camp might emphasize an instrumental manner by which the Holy Spirit uses the elements as a means of communicating the efficacy of the body of Christ. This view might be best associated with John Calvin. Others within this camp focus on a parallelism by which as the mouth feeds on the consecrated elements so does the heart feed on the body of Christ. This seems to be the emphasis of the Anglican divine Thomas Cranmer.
Instances of this service, and also of carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession, are brought up to arouse the prejudice of party spirit that is opposed to belief in the Real Objective Presence. It is, therefore, my judgment, poor as it may be, that it would be wise to cease these two forms of devotion. We cannot claim for Benediction that it was a pre-Reformation service, to which we have inherited a right, and there is no legal ground on which to stand in favor of its introduction.
We reject the doctrine of transubstantiation: that is, that the substance of bread and wine are changed into the very body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper. We likewise reject that doctrine which affirms the physical presence of Christ's body and blood to be by, with and under the elements of bread and wine (consubstantiation).