EWTN Catholic Q&A
Continue without a subject in which to inhere
Question from Thomas Zabiega on 06-02-2013:

Dear Dr. Geraghty,

I am not quite sure this is a philosophy question, but it sure sounds like it would be. In reading of a book on Catholic dogma, there is a statement about sacramental accidents in regards to the Eucharist retaining their physical reality after the change of the substance, which I understand. I don't understand the next statement that is made:

"The Sacramental Accidents continue without a subject in which to inhere." What does that mean?

Thank you,

Thomas Zabiega

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 10-06-2013:

Dear Thomas,

In the natural order the accidents or qualities of unleavened bread are whiteness, crispiness, and the rest. The accidents or qualities of wine are to be liquid, red, alcoholic, sweet and the rest. When the bread and wine are consecrated they are no longer the substances of bread and wine. They are the supernatural substances of Christ's Body and Blood. Soul and Divinity. Yet appearances or accidents of bread and wine remain. The host and the wine in the chalice still look like bread and wine. But they aren't. That is why the process of consecration is called TRANSUBSTANTIATION.