What is the basis for transubstantiation?

Transubstantiation, also known as the doctrine of "The Real Presence" and formally adopted at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, is the Roman Catholic doctrine that during the Eucharist the bread and wine of Communion are literally transformed into the body and blood of Christ (total substantial conversion). Although they may seem to remain bread and wine in perceptible qualities (accidents), they are mysteriously changed and their respective substances no longer exist. During this moment, Christ is imperceptibly present in body and blood under the appearance of the bread and wine. It is believed that when Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper that the bread and wine were his body and blood, they actually partook of his body and blood and inherited the power to impart the same. According to John 6:53-66, Jesus taught that in order to inherit eternal life you have to eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, a teaching which turned away many of his followers. If taken literally, this would violate the Old Testament command to abstain from the consumption of blood, according to Leviticus 17:10-12, a passage which also reveals that it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. According to Matthew 26:26-28 and Mark 14:22-24, Jesus told his disciples at the Passover feast, before his crucifixion, to partake of the bread and wine, which were his body and "blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Hebrews 9:23-28 explains that this sacrifice was done once for all, his blood not to be shed again and again or else Christ would have had to suffer many times, but that he was sacrificed only once. The same account of the Last Supper Communion is given in Luke 22:19-20, where Jesus says to do these things in remembrance of him. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 reinforces this act as a reminder of Christ's broken body and shed blood, which represents a new covenant. Paul said, "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26), but he said nothing about the act of transubstantiation.

        "Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifcie of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people... The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming -- not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins... And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy... And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin." (Hebrews 9:25-28, 10:1-4, 10-14, 18)

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Reference sources: Catholic Answers (http://www.catholic.com); ReligiousTolerance.org - Early Christian History as Viewed by Roman Catholics (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_hirc.htm); Fast Facts on False Teachings - Roman Catholicism (chapter 14, pp 211-232), by Ron Carlson and Ed Decker, ©1994 by Harvest House Publishers; New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/); Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org/)