Stump the Seminarian, Holy Week Edition

Today’s question, from Ian, is a timely one. It gets to the heart of the Paschal Mystery, and the relationship between the Mass, the Last Supper, and Good Friday:

“The Mass is referred to as the “unbloody” re-presenting of the sacrifice on Calvary. But how do we square this description with the fact that the Most Precious Blood is present on the altar? The description seems to imply that we don’t REALLY think the Precious Blood is, in fact, blood. Please help!”

The answer to this question should enhance our understanding of just what it is that we’re celebrating this Holy Week. Read on.


  1. Hi Joe,

    When we receive the Host only, we receive the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of our Lord, not just His Body. When we receive the Precious Blood only, we receive the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of our Lord, not just His Precious Blood. In essence, we receive the whole Christ, whether we receive the Host or drink from the chalice. We receive Christ as He is in His glorified state in heaven, not as He was on the Cross. But the Sacrifice is the same. It is the same sacrifice or our Lord’s Will to His Father, as He has done from all eternity to the present, but in an unbloody manner.

    Do I have this correct, Joe?

    If so, then why is the Host referrred to only as the Body of our Lord, and the Precious Blood referred to only as the Blood of our Lord?

    I will take a guess: It points us to the sacrificial nature of what is taking place, even though it is unbloody. In the OT sacrifical system, the blood of the sacrificed animal was separated from its body.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


    1. After what we have said above (Article 1), it must be held most certainly that the whole Christ is under each sacramental species yet not alike in each. For the body of Christ is indeed present under the species of bread by the power of the sacrament, while the blood is there from real concomitance, as stated above (1, ad 1) in regard to the soul and Godhead of Christ; and under the species of wine the blood is present by the power of the sacrament, and His body by real concomitance, as is also His soul and Godhead: because now Christ’s blood is not separated from His body, as it was at the time of His Passion and death. Hence if this sacrament had been celebrated then, the body of Christ would have been under the species of the bread, but without the blood; and, under the species of the wine, the blood would have been present without the body, as it was then, in fact.

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