Since the Archdiocese of Port of Spain has determined there will be no distribution of the Blood of Christ with the threat of COVID-19, there have been many comments via social media questioning the level of faith and the transubstantiation which occurs during the Eucharist. Fr Robert Christo, Vicar for Communications, clarifies the Church teaching on transubstantiation.
The Roman Catholic theologian, St Thomas Aquinas, may have used existing philosophical terms as ‘accidents’ and ‘substance’ to describe fairly complex concepts regarding the outer appearances of the Eucharist and its physical characteristics but its relevance regarding the serious threat of the COVID-19 is applicable today.
Simply put, Aquinas describes ‘substance’ as that which makes a thing what it is. For example, a chair might be yellow or red or any other colour—yet it is still a chair. That’s because the substance of a chair is independent of its external accidents.