Eucharist and Doctrine of Concomitance

The Doctrine of Concomitance

By the words of consecration the bread is changed into the Body of Christ and the wine is changed into the Blood. But the doctrine of Concomitance (co-presence) says the whole Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity according to the Christological dogma (divinity with humanity), is really present in the species of bread alone, as it is in the species of wine. In each part the whole Christ is present. So theologically it is justified that the faithful receive only under the species of bread. By doing this it was thought that nothing was being denied to the laity when the cup was withheld from them. This became a rule in the middle ages.

Catholic Church: Official Teachings

In the profession of faith for the Waldenses, Pope Innocent III in 1208 stated as necessary for a valid Eucharistic celebration: the ordained priest (independently of his moral qualities), the words of Consecration, and proper intention of the priest (Christian Faith 1504). In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council declared against the Albegenses and the Cathari (Christian Faith 21). Again in 1271 at the Second Council of Lyons in the profession of faith drawn up for Michael Palaelogus, the emperor of the East was stated: “… The bread is truly transubstantiated into the body of our Lord  Jesus Christ,…” (Christian Faith 28). The Council of Constance in 1415 defended the doctrine of concomitance against John Wycliff and Jan Hus. The Council of Florence, in its Decree for the Armenians reaffirmed the teaching of the Church on Eucharist. The Decree speaks about the matter and form of the Sacrament, change of substance, concomitance (cf. Christian Faith 1509….1510….1511).  “…This has always been the belief of the Church of God, that immediately after the consecration the true body and the true blood of our Lord, together with His soul and divinity exist under the form of bread and wine, the body under the form of bread and the blood under the form of wine ex vi verborum;  but the same body also under the form of wine and the same blood under the form of bread and the soul under both, in virtue of that natural connection and concomitance whereby the parts of Christ the Lord, who hath now risen from the dead, to die no more, are mutually united; also the divinity on account of its admirable hypostatic union with His body and soul. Wherefore, it is very true that as much is contained under either form as under both” (COT- Christian Faith 1517).  Today the CCC says (1390) “Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace.”

Recommended Articles and Books


A)    Eucharist and Controversies

B)    First Eucharistic Controversy: RADBERTUS AND RATRAMNUS

C)    Second Eucharistic Controversy: BERENGAR AND LANFRANC

D)    Eucharist and Scholastic Theology

E)     Eucharist and Doctrine of Concomitance

F)     Eucharist and St. Thomas Aquinas

G)    Eucharist and Protestant Reformers

H)    Eucharist and Council of Trent

I)       Eucharist and Post-Council of Trent 


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