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Defending the Non-inherence of Accidents in Transubstantiation

As I study issues surrounding the Development of Doctrine, I have stumbled upon an interesting distinction between the process of reasoning in Physics (in the philosophical sense) and Metaphysics.

This leads to a more profound reflection on why the Protestant argument against transubstantiation by an appeal to the "necessary inherence of accidents" is problematic.

First, one must understand the difference between an "essential note" and a "property." An essential note is that which constitutes something in its species, i.e., that which makes something what it is. For men, our "essential notes" are "rationality" and "animality." A property, on the other hand, is that which flows form the essence. For men, our ability to laugh, our ability to laugh (risibility), and many other attributes are "properties."

Looping back to essence, we can distinguish between "essence" in its most plain sense (that which is "minimal" to constitute something in its species) from "essence" in its *connatural* sense (also called integral/perfect). This is the essence of some thing working with all the physical properties that it has. For example, a fire that burns has the essence of fire in its *connatural* sense.

Further, we can make a distinction within our consideration of the "properties" of a certain essence. First, a property might be "aptitudinal," i.e., the property is virtually/potentially there and the essence has some sort of aptitude or ordering towards the actualization of that property. Second, a property might be "actual," i.e., the subject has the property.

How do the distinctions within properties/essences relate to each other? Let's use the example of man and his risibility (something we experience).

First, if we consider a man as having an essence with its connatural perfections, we can conclude that he has all of his properties in the actual sense. So, the connatural man has actual risibility.

Second, *a fortiori* we can conclude that he also has the aptitude towards the properties.

Thus, we can say that it is "physically" necessary that the man have risibility (since we interact with men with their connatural perfections). The physicist can easily make the judgment that "men are actually risible"

Third, if we consider man as having an essence in the simple or plain sense, we can conclude that he has the aptitude towards the properties (for, the properties flow from the essence).

Thus, we can say that it is "metaphysically" necessary that the man have the aptitude to acqurie actual risibility (since this is something implied in the essence of man). The metaphysician can easily make the judgment that "all men have an aptitude towards risibility."

Yet, there is one more option. Can we deduce the *actual* property from the simple essence. NO! We absolutely can not. For, the actual exercise of the property implies the connatural state, something we cannot assume, for, it has not been told us.

While, physically speaking, these properties are connected to essences in this world, it is not metaphysically necessary that they are so.

In order to illustrate why, I will give a few physical arguments (borrowed from Fr. Marin-Sola) and you can reflect on whether they follow with physcial necessity (a necessity that can be overcome by Divine power) or with metaphysical necessity (a necessity that is absolute and cannot be overcome by Divine power, for, it would result in contradiction).

First, the fire of the furnace of Babylon was true fire applied in the proper and due conditions; but, any true fire properly and duly applied actually burns; therefore, the fire of the furnace of Babylon actually burned.
Second, Elijah was a true man; but all true men actually die; therefore, Elijah actually died.
Third, Jesus Christ is true man; but every true man is both a human person and conceived of a human male; therefore, Jesus Christ is a human person and was conceived of a human male.
Fourth, Jesus Christ truly and really died; but no dead human rises again or comes back to life; therefore Jesus Christ has neither risen, nor come back to life.

As you can see, none of these arguments follow. For, there is an equivocation with the middle term in each (and thus four terms). For example, take the third argument. "True man" in the major premise is taken in its simple sense, merely designating the metaphysical essence of "rational animal." In the minor premise, it is taken with in the connatural sense, with the physical laws that God has imposed on the ordinary origin of a man. These are two completely different terms, thus, no conclusion follows.

Now, what does any of this have to do with the inherence of accidents in the Eucharist?

It has everything to do with it. For, "accident" is a term that designates those of the highest genera that are outside of the realm of substance. "Accident" itself is a merely extrinsic denomination that groups these genera together.

We must consider each of these general, determine their essences, and ask the question of whether ACTUAL INHERENCE is something that is of the essence or flows from the essence.

In this consideration, we will see that actual inherence is NOT of the essence of any except the *modal* accidents, which include the shape of a figure and vital acts (such as willing).

Yet, this is not even the Catholic claim, i.e., that none of the accidents of the Eucharist actually inhere. Rather, the claim is that the other accidents inhere in quantity. Quantity is the only accident that does not actually inhere in the eucharist. Thus, the only question we must ask is whether inherence is one of the essential notes of quantity, or a property that flows from it.

The first issue with even answering this question is that an essence is deduced (epistemologically) from a genus and specific difference. Now, quantity is one of the categories (highest genera) and thus cannot be defined in this way. At this point, all I have to say is "good luck." You will only be able to derrive an improper definition (which you will not be able to derrive your objection from).

Thus, we can safely give the traditional answer to this objection. First, we concede that, physically speaking, it is necessary (according to the ordinary laws of this world) that quantity ACTUALLY inhere. Yet, metaphysically speaking, we offer a distinction (in line with what was deduced above). First, we concede that it is metaphysically necessary that quantity HAVE THE APTITUDE to inhere. Second, we deny that it is metaphysically necessary that it ACTUALLY inhere.

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