Sunday, July 4, 2021

Dealing With Made-up Words


Gamora: Then we have to go to Knowhere now.

Thor: Wrong! Where we have to go is Nidavellir.

Drax: That's a made-up word.

Thor: All words are made-up.

Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity, Brett Salkeld

Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin all genuinely believed and sought to teach Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist and came much closer than it may first appear.

I have finally finished this book.  As I mentioned early on, I concluded that the language and theology was well above my understanding – I probably got about 30% of it.  What I did take away, and, I hope, some of you take away, is that the differences between Catholics and Protestants on this topic is not nearly as wide as the emotional reaction to the word suggests.

Why do I find that important?  It is only going to be through some subset of Christians – across all traditions and denominations – where some hope for a foundation of liberty and a wall against totalitarianism will be found.  Divisions among this group, this subset, will only hinder the ability of such a stand to form.

No, I am not after one church under a single formal, institutional hierarchy (other than under Christ, of course).  I am not looking for one statement of confession or faith.  There will remain divisions on many matters.  But there need not be division where there is no need for division; where there is division, let it only matter where it matters.  On this, call me a C.S Lewis “Mere Christianity” Christian.  There certainly are ways in which such Christians can stand as a bulwark against tyranny.

So, now we come to the conclusion of Salkeld’s work.  He cites a passage by Margaret O’Gara, where she examines just what it was that Aquinas was after:

Aquinas developed this earlier idea in response to popular practices and views of his day that misunderstood the change in the Eucharist as a material change.  To counter this, Aquinas emphasized its mysterious, even miraculous, nature; this change was not visible, not material, and yet it was real.

Yes, it is bread and wine.  But is it only bread and wine?  All I can say to that is…Heaven forbid.

The original context of the discussion, the issues that were dealt with by Aquinas, were lost.  Aquinas did not argue that there was a materialistic change in the elements; he argued precisely against this.  Transubstantiation was not meant to fully explicate the Eucharist; it was meant to rule out false or inadequate conceptions of it.

The transubstantiation rejected at the time of the Reformation was not the transubstantiation of Aquinas, nor is it the teaching of the Catholic Church today – despite, as Salkeld has noted, many Catholics retain a false understanding of the term. 

Through this book, Salkeld has extensively documented and footnoted the work of Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin on this topic.  He has demonstrated that the differences, if any, are minor; that what Luther and Calvin were writing against was teaching that was contrary to Aquinas and contrary to the Church’s teaching, emphasized again at the Council of Trent.

Consensus about transubstantiation is necessary only to demonstrate that what we hold about real presence is truly the same faith.

Salkeld offers: first, the faith of the Catholic Church does not require that Protestants accept this precise language or terminology; second, that transubstantiation suffers a huge liability, in that it is too easily misunderstood – the Aristotelian language and concepts used by Thomas were significantly altered by the time of the Reformation (transformed to nominalist language); finally, that different articulations are complimentary, not contradictory.

If other articulations are understood to complement, explain, or balance transubstantiation, rather than contradict, debunk, or correct it, there should be no reason why they cannot coexist in an ecumenical Church.


Transubstantiation, properly understood, highlights and reinforces our agreements about God, creation, Christ, the Church, and the destiny of the world – a world Christ is drawing to himself, bread first.

I want to hope that any reaction is not based on the made-up word: transubstantiation.  Salkeld may be wrong in his conclusions, but his work is well-documented and footnoted.  In other words, don’t argue against the made-up word; argue against the detailed work done by Salkeld.

We know that it is bread and wine, but it isn’t only bread and wine.  Given this, how would you describe what happens when it passes through a priest’s or pastor’s hands to differentiate it from what happens when the clerk at your grocery store puts it on the shelf?

What word would you make up as a label?


  1. I agree with Rothbardian coalition building around specific issues. I see large overlap with Catholics on issues of cultural morality and liberty. I will work with Catholics on those issues and I don't care what they think about transubstantiation. Believe what you want as long as you are against abortion. I will work with atheists if they agree with me on government spending. I will work with Muslims on bringing troops home from the Middle East.

    I still don't agree with Salkeld on the Lord's Supper. But that doesn't affect my willingness to work together with those who agree with him on other issues.

    1. RMB, your comments bring focus to where I think the real progress can and must be made among and between various Christian denominations and traditions.

      Christians should be able to get on the right side of issues such as abortion, war, marriage, central banking, covid, etc.

      The nuances of some of the doctrinal issues (e.g. transubstantiation / communion / Lord's Supper) are why, perhaps having multiple possibilities for Christians (the various doors in Lewis's Mere Christianity) are of value.

  2. This is true humility: "I concluded that the language and theology was well above my understanding – I probably got about 30% of it." Unlike the MVP of a sports league saying "I am humbled" (by being the named the best of the best). Thank you.

    1. I quickly discovered, when I began this book, that it would take significant effort to keep the nuanced meaning of Aristotelian language at my forefront. And, further, the theological and doctrinal language was equally challenging. These, on a topic that I know if very meaningful and sensitive for many who read here.

      So, I put the book on the backburner - at one point even writing that I wouldn't write on it any further (a statement that I obviously did not stick to).

      Given the difficulties with the terms used, I decided, ultimately, to stick to conclusions made by Salkeld - conclusions that seemed well supported to the extent I understood his tremendously well footnoted arguments.

    2. We Christians are now a beleaguered if not endangered species (although we do have the Lord's word to be with us even to the end of the world). I suspect Lewis's emphasis upon mere Christianity, as our host says, may be vital to our survival in an increasingly Satanic culture. As to part of what keeps us divided, the Greek Liturgy and its various linguistic offspring all affirm that a change has occurred in the elements of bread and wine. But how this occurs and when it occurs are still a matter of mystery: for the East, the invocation of the Spirit over the Gifts is key, for the West, even the reformed as instanced by Luther, the Words of Institution are what effects the change (although these words seem to be Our Lord's formula of distribution in administering the Mystery, not His words of consecration/blessing). Thomas's view seem sensible. Yet, as a Jesuit friend of mine (!) noted, if you read the Sequence Hymn Aquinas wrote for the feast of Corpus Christi, Lauda Sion, the appropriate response to the various miracles Aquinas attributes to the Elements would not be "alleluia", but rather "Wow". You can find this hymn on many places on line. The Russian Orthodox Bishops who composed a criticism of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer objected, regarding the Communion service, to both the lack of clarity of that book on the Real Presence and the absence of sacrificial language. That, I again suggest, is the real point of dispute between Catholics and Orthodox, on one hand, and the classical Reformers on the other. For instance, Orthodox Presbyterians (if I may, as an outsider, use the term), among others still "fence in the table": excluding, that is, the heterodox or the immoral, from communing at the Lord's Supper. My question is, is this in deference to the Presence in the Sacrament, or it is rooted in ecclesiology? Maybe, on the other hand, ecclesiology cannot be really separated from the understanding of the Eucharist.

  3. Are we straining at gnats and swallowing camels here?
    What happened to building the Kingdom of God?

    1. Crush, I do not understand your point. This blog is not dedicated to building the Kingdom of God, certainly not in the full meaning of that term.

      I write on matters of Christianity, the church, divisions within the church to the extent that these impact human liberty. While I consider this contributing to building the Kingdom of God, it certainly is not the entire task, nor have I ever claimed to be doing that here (although I have had several people tell me that because of this work, they have begun attending or have returned to church).

      What am I missing?

    2. You're not missing anything - I simply forgot the nature of your forum - so I apologize for that lapse. In addition, even though I have referred to you as my favorite philosopher, I surely ain't one.
      I'm DaBurr under DaSaddle!
      However, in response to you awakening me to reality, my research led to this very edifying read - - just one reason I have always found Paul to be my favorite philosopher/apostle.
      Keep writing!

    3. Thanks, Crush. And no problem. Sometimes even I forget the nature of my forum!

  4. Have you ever been to traffic school? At the front of the class there is a chalkboard or whiteboard with lines on it indicating streets, and someone will stand up there with an eraser in each hand, representing their car and another car.

    They will then say something like, "This is my car and I was going north on Main Street. And then the other guy ran this Stop sign and t-boned me," using the erasers to illustrate the accident.

    That is what the Lord's Supper is about - symbolism. The bread is no more Christ's body than those erasers are cars.

    When Christ held up the bread in front of the disciples and said "this is my body," do you think they thought it really was? No, it was symbolic.

    Symbolic of what? Two thousand years ago, if you wanted to see the body of Christ, you had to go to Jerusalem. Where is the body of Christ today? He is in us (if you are a believer.) That was the point of eating the bread - to show the loaf was now in the disciples in the same way that He was going to be in them.

    The Catholics get it wrong when they say the bread is the literal body of Christ, and the Protestants get it wrong when they sit around confessing their sins and deciding if they are worthy to participate.

    If you want to hear what The Lord's Supper is all about, the late Bob George has a great explanation. Go to

    Click the Play button where it says The Lord's Supper is for The Body of Christ and follow along with the scriptures below that.

    1. It doesn't matter what they "thought" it was; all that matters is what Christ TOLD them it was.

    2. Mister Spock,

      Catholics believe that the Lord is present in a supernatural way in the Eucharist. I don't see anything wrong with believing this. It's also the most straight forward reading of scripture. But I'm no expert and I'm not even sure what I believe about it, other than that it is a sacred thing not to be taken lightly and certainly of a different nature than eating bread and drinking wine with friends and family. I also don't see it as a re-sacrifice of Jesus, and I don't believe the Roman Catechism sees it that way either. I see it more as an acceptance of Jesus and a giving up of self - a request of Christ to possess me more fully so that I may become a better man.

      I listened to your link (some of it) and read through the posted verses. I can find nothing much to disagree with. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Just the other day, I heard a simple, yet - to me - profound statement: maybe if God didn't make it (whatever "it" you want to insert) perfectly clear to us through the Word, then perhaps it is because we are not to perfectly understand it.

      Perhaps it is just a different way to say what Lewis said in Mere Christianity. But it awakened a different sense in me.

      In any case, there is nothing to prevent people from working to fill in the missing pieces. Which brings me back most cases, the differences in how different denominations fill in those missing pieces are not often reason enough for division in the Church (Christ's Church).

    4. Dr. Weezil: "It doesn't matter what they "thought" it was; all that matters is what Christ TOLD them it was."

      So when He told them He was a door, they were supposed to take that literally? Wood and hinges? Or a gate? How about "Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty?" When was the last time you had a meal? He's a vine and we are the branches? Use your head.

    5. ATL: "Catholics believe that the Lord is present in a supernatural way in the Eucharist. I don't see anything wrong with believing this."

      If you are a believer, He lives in you - "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27) How much more present can He be?

    6. Mister Spock, please stay civil, not derogatory. As to Christ...He can be in many places.

    7. Mister Spock,

      We are also made of water and yet are in constant need of quenching our thirst by it. To me the Eucharist is similar except that instead of satisfying a physical thirst we feel out of a desire to prolong our earthly lives, it satisfies the spiritual thirst we feel out of a desire for eternal life with our Lord.


      "it is because we are not to perfectly understand it."

      What would be the fun in giving us all a manual of life with no poetry or symbolism or mystery? Just step by step instructions on how to live and perceive each coming age, idea, and circumstance. God could have given us such a text that no honest person could misinterpret, but He gave us what we have, and like you said, probably for a good reason.

  5. Deified vs Indeified

    What would I call it? (your question after discussing the bread and wine): Deified.
    BUT, see these words from a site that makes up a LOT of words:
    Indeification - Indeify - Indeified

  6. I have been reading, and enjoying, your texts about the wonderful journey you are in, whenever they are republished by Lew Rockwell.

    In this specific question, though, I am sorry but I have to clarify a few things. I am a (Thomist) philosophy professor, as well as a Catholic lay theologian, and I know a bit about the Catholic side of that dispute. It seems to me that you haven't understood well the Thomist (and therefore Catholic) position. If you need or want to talk some more about that, you can reach me at profcarlos [at]

    Please excuse my inevitable errors; English is not my first language, and I haven't read much theology in that language either.

    Anyway, let's go to the heart of the matter: after Consecration, there is absolutely no bread and no wine anywhere in the church, unless someone on a pew has brought some in a bag. Moreover, what used to be bread and wine (we call them "the 'species' of wine and of bread") will never revert to bread or wine.

    That is why Catholic churches have the Most Holy Sacrament reserved for the *adoration* of faithful: "it" is Our Lord; He is actually present there, under the (mere) appearance of bread. His feet that trod Judea, Samaria, and Galilea, His hands that healed so many and were pierced by our sins, His mouth that gave us His mother for ours when He was crucified... He is all there, the whole of His Flesh, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And, of course, no bread at all. Nobody would worship bread! That´s the whole point of the word transubstantiation.

    I'll try to simplify things here, but in Thomist metaphysics, "substance" means "the answer to the question 'what is that?'"; the "WHAT-ness" of something. Notice it does not mean the same as in the regular use of the same word. "Alcohol" or "water" is not a substance, in the Thomist sense, but "this glass of water", "this bottle of alcohol", "my dog", "prof. Carlos Ramalhete", "Pope Francis", "my computer keyboard", and so on, are substances in the Thomist sense.

    A substance is a nature that received from God "the act of being". Anything there is exists because God wished it to exist, and exists by participation in God's Being (notice how He told Moses He is "I Am" - He alone IS by Himself; all other things, all crestures, exist in Him and by Him).

    "Participation" can be understood better with examples: "iced tea" is not ice, but "participates" in ice-ness; a red-hot piece of iron is not fire, but participates in its fieryness, and so on. We are not God (or "parts of God" - that would be Pantheism), but our being (our existence) is our participation in His Being.

    So a nature - let's say human nature -, when actualized into being by God, becomes an individual human being, that is, a substance. Likewise, an actualized canine nature is a particular dog, an actualized watery nature becames a water drop, and so on.

    All substances (that is, individual beings) have a principle of coherence, called "form" (again, nothing to do with the regular sense of the word), which coheres its matter. The form of the human being is the soul; when the soul departs matter (in death), human matter immediately loses its coherence. What has been a human being is *trans-formed* into a cadaver; microbial intestinal fauna and flora start eating the body's own flesh, blood stagnates and clots, cells die, and we basically rot. The various parts of matter receive other forms (worms, decomposition fluid, whatever), as there is no formless matter, and is basically recycled into nature. That's why I use to say that before Sagan St. Thomas Aquinas had already said "we are stardust." Our matter is stardust, or rather the same as stardust's, but "in-formed", that is, cohered into a substance, by our souls.
    [to be continued]

  7. [continuation:]
    So, first, "transubstantiation" is not the same as "transformation". The latter is a common phenomenon: whatever we eat is *trans-formed* into needed body parts and excrement. Wood is "trans-formed" into ash and smoke when burned, and so on.

    The substance, however, is only changed into another thing (as opposed to being destroyed: the substance "this apple" that I eat is destroyed, and its matter transformed into more of me and excrement, and so on) in this very particular recorrent miracle: transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Flesh, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our very Lord.

    But there is yet another technical term that needs to be understood: "accident". An accident, in the Thomist sense, is something that only exists *in* something else. Weight, color, etc., forinstance, are accidents. There is no "pound", "kilogram", "blue", or "white" by itself, although there are plenty of things that weight a pound or a kilo or are colored white or blue.

    So another aspect of the miracle of transubstantiation, that is, of the "WHAT-ness" ("quidditas", in Latin)of bread and wine changing, ceasing to be bread or wine and becoming Our Lord, really present in Flesh, Blood, Sould, and Divinity, is that the accidents of bread and wine are kept unchanged. In other words, scientific examination - which is by definition the examination of accidents - cannot discern transubstantiation. As we also depend on recognizing accidents (even as they change - someone we saw as a baby 20 years ago is still the same substance now, but we would not recognise him, as almost all aciddents have changed!) to recognise a substance, we cannot "recognise" Our Lord in the Eucharistic species by our senses, only by Faith (as in the Tantum Ergo prayer: "praestet fides supplementum sensum defectui", "let Faith supplement the defect of the senses").

    Now, finally, how can His Body be present in the species of bread and wine (which, I repeat are no longer bread or wine at all, although they retain the accidents of their former substances)? Is a host His thumb and another His nose? Of course not. So, St. Thomas explains that the whole of Him is in every particle, even His accidents, but they are there in the manner of His substance, not as accidents qua accidents.

    Well, that's basically it; I hope I've been able to help a bit here.

    Now for the heresies:
    Luther - who did not like Eucharistic adoration - said Our Lord is really present in a "co-substantiation", together with the bread and wine - that is the position you seem to have been attributing to St. Thomas. Some Modernists propose a "transignification", which basicaly would make the Sacred Species - which Our Lord said were Real Food and Drink, leading to the desertion of many disciples in the sole "666" chapter/versicle of the Holy Bible (John 6.66) - a mere symbol, bread and wine that would "signify" Our Lord for the partaker. Yuck.

    Thanks for your patience, and please pray for me.

    1. Carlos, thank you for your comments. You have succinctly summarized the Thomistic position. You must understand that many Catholics, at least according to Salkeld, completely misunderstand the meaning of transubstantiation - as the Thomistic language does not conform to modern definitions.

      This also seemed to be the case at the time of the Reformation, where nominalist Scholastics modified what it was that Thomas developed.

      In any case, I have said enough. You are for more qualified on this topic than I am - as I noted in this post. I suggest that, if you are interested, you read through Salkeld's book directly. He is Catholic, he holds a Ph.D., and he is a theologian. This doesn't mean he is right, but it does suggest that he is to be taken seriously.

      And on his conclusions (including the similarities in Luther and Calvin to Thomas), these I believe I have presented fairly.

    2. Thanks for weighing in Prof. Ramalhete. You mentioned that you found this blog from, but I wonder what drew you to that site? Were you apart of the "Mas Mises, Menos Marx" movement in Brazil? Perhaps you saw Prof. Hoppe give a talk for a Mises Institute Brasil years ago?

      We need more people fluent in liberty and the faith, so it is wonderful to see you here taking on us liberty nerds on points of theology.

      You may have missed it, but this is not the first post Bionic has committed to the topic of the Eucharist. A prior post, entitled "Signs, Symbols, History, Science" (Wednesday June 9th 2021) goes into more detail of Bionic's impression of Aquinas' transubstantiation as read through the words of Brett Salkheld:

      "Thomas, of course, will deny that Christ is present only symbolically; he also denies that Christ is present physically – meaning not in the same way that Christ was present physically in Mary’s womb, etc. There is no chemical change in the bread, nothing like this."

      To meld the terms you've outlined above, I would say that the above paragraph states that Aquinas believed that the Lord's substance was and is present in the Eucharist though the accidents of the bread and wine remain.

      So I think your's and Bionic's representation of the theology of Aquinas is consonant or at least non-contradictory. Bionic may believe personally that it is bread and wine 'as well as' something greater, whereas Thomas believed the substance of it is 'only' something greater and only the accidents (i.e. physical attributes) of bread and wine remain. Are the physical characteristics part of the bread and wine, or are they merely accidental? To me this is a distinction without much of a difference, especially in regards to the nature of the battle before us. Let us not get lost in the measure of words and lose sight of the Word's Measure.

      It is clear that the forces of evil are aligning behind the power and aegis of the modern state (and the unholy organizations spawned from it), even if they use tactical and limited withdrawals of it to promote chaos (defund the police, open borders, abortion is a woman's choice, etc.), and that their end is tyranny and the eradication of Christ's body and blood here on earth.

      It is equally clear to me now that the forces of good (of which liberty is an important component) should be aligning behind the Cross, and if we have to do that from behind different pews then so be it.

    3. ATL: "Let us not get lost in the measure of words and lose sight of the Word's Measure."

      OK, ATL, which tremendous wordsmith did you plagiarize?! Really, very well said.

      Also, I must state (or restate): please, no one allow my summary of and reflections on Salkeld's thorough work lead to a false understanding of his presentation. Truly, if this subject as a doctrinal matter is important to any reader here, I will highly recommend reading Salkeld's words directly.

    4. Dear gentlemen, thanks for the warm reception and the kind words. All I wrote could be somehow summarize in a much simpler sentence: "there is no bread nor wine upon the altar after Consecration."; my only issue with BM's text was the sentence "it is bread and wine".

      About the the errors of each time, indeed, nominalism had an awful effect on philosophy and theology. I wrote an article (in Portuguese, but you could always try to Google-mistranslate it) about its long-term effects, that can be read at

      Basically, having us creatures being the same way God IS implies in that He IS as we are (duh), and that's what opened the door to the presently common error of seeing Him as a bearded old man on a cloud (as well as absurdities such saying "if I don't believe in [the Christian] God and you don't believe in Thor we're both atheists"). At the same time - and that, IMHO, is what's at the origin of Protestantism and all other Gnostic matter-averse anti-sacramentalism in general - it reduces, decimates, destroys the wonder of the Encarnation. What is the entrance of the Eternal into the transitory, the Infinite into the finite, and so on, becomes something closer to Jupiter taking a swan's appearance to seduce Leda. No big deal, see.

      Consequently, in what would otherwise be a praiseworthy attempt at "putting God higher", [nominalist] Protestantism attacked both the Sacraments (diminished by Luther, flatly denied by Calvin, and a legion of other points of view in the many Protestant sects that - unlike these - didn't have armies to impose their "orthodoxies") and all material symbols of the Divine (such as statues; unlike Sacraments, they *are* mere symbols. A Sacrament, on the other hand, is a visible and eficacious sign of a supernatural and inivisible reality. In other words, they *perform* otherwordly stuff, unlike mere symbols). And so on, and on, until we reach Carl Sagan. ;)

      There's a very nice History book, BTW, in English, that touches on it:

    5. About accidents: they are not a part of what a thing is, of its being, its WHAT-ness or substance. The closest they get to that is performing the function St. Thomas calls a "note", that is, a "transponder-like" trick we commonly use to identify stuff. Thus, if it's colorless and liquid it can be water, and if's odorless we already have three notes; precise enough for gov't work, and if we are somewhere civilized we can probably drink it. But aniline-painted water is still water.

      So it *is* indeed important to deny any presence of bread and wine. It's not a matter of splitting hairs, but exactly the same situation as when a man undergoes surgeries to acquire the accidents of a woman and demands we treat him as such (unfortunately a very presenty nightmare). BTW, another common metaphysical problem of our "woke" times is precisely taking the accident (skin color, sexual desire, self-image, whatever) for substance, for WHAT-ness. In a way, I guess it can also add to the temptation of refusing to believe there is no more bread or wine upon the altar. As much as we fight issues in a cultural war, when we don't examine our own thoughts it is very common to adopt, unwillingly, all kinds of philosophical errors and - for instance - commit the mistake of attributing WHAT-ness to mere accidents.

      However, when we follow Him Who is the Way, the *Truth* and the Life, we must be very strict about this Truth business. And truth is the adequation of the intellect to the thing. If the intellect says "it is bread", and it is in fact not bread, we don't have Truth. Sorry for being so strict; I guess it comes with the territory. As BM observed, plenty of Catolics misunderstand this, and it's been my job for a few decades to guide them into precise understanding. Please, forgive me my professional deformations.

      About Lew Rockwell's page, I read it even though I am not at all a libertarian. I wrote a book on Catholic Social Doctrine, after all; I couldn't be a Libertarian! :D

      But I do like many of his interests, and I find his page a nice place to find unobvious writings by smart and interesting people - such as BM, of course. I like keeping tabs on the best presentations of the most extreme positions in many matters (and you can't get much more extreme in Capitalism than an Anarcho-Capitalist, or in Liberalism than a Libertarian), so I can recognize its watered-down versions down the road.
      (who, me prolix?!..) ;)

    6. Prof. Ramalhete,

      You've made a very good point, which I've perceived (rightly or wrongly) as saying more or less that sometimes it is seemingly small errors in esoteric matters of philosophy or theology that lead to very big ones that affect everybody. If this is indeed at least in the territory of your point, it is the same one which drew me down the 'rabbit hole' of research into history, economics, politics, and religion some years ago in the quest to find the roots of liberty in the West and where we started to go wrong as a cultural group. Ultimately I found it was Jesus of course that was the primary origin of liberty, and the most libertarian society we've experienced is the one which venerated Him most: Latin Christendom.

      Still, I hold to my point, that it is not a big enough difference to fight about at the moment. We can have scholarly and respectful debates on these issues once we've won the West over to Christ again.

      "I wrote a book on Catholic Social Doctrine, after all; I couldn't be a Libertarian! :D"

      I'm not so sure that is the case. Libertarians do not advocate social anarchy or degeneracy as a rule, but I admit libertarianism does draw a lot of these folks to the ranks. Libertarianism is only the theory of the just use of force in society. It says nothing against governance, authority, moral and/or religious regulation, and law enforcement so long as the individuals or groups involved with these tasks do not commit aggression (meaning 'first' or unprovoked acts of force) in the process. You can be against and condemn prostitution, pornography, scandalous drug use, gay relations, and on and on... and still recognize the injustice of punishing these acts with the use of cages and lethal force. But I'll stop here because I fear this will lead us down a long discussion, and it is one Bionic has written a lot on elsewhere. Suffice it to say, many of the best and brightest libertarians are very socially conservative.

      If you're interested in a friendly discussion on this you can email me at

    7. Bionic,

      Thanks! All mine as far as I know.

  8. Tolkien wrote in a letter to his son Michael in March 1941 the following:

    "Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires."

    (These are actually the last lines of a great letter that could be published on its own as a sort of guide to relations with women for young men.)

    However we view the Eucharist (or whatever we call it) as Christians if we give it the weight that Tolkien does above in our lives, I think we are on the right track.

  9. I got back from 2 weeks of vacation and visiting family. I will try to catch up from where I left.
    The prof explained very well transubstantiation. I learned the term axidents, axis-dents, rather than accidents, like a sunburst, where the center is the essence and the radiating rays is what is perceived by the senses.
    Also, explains why all the crumbs must be collected and consumed and any remaining hosts consumed or put in the tabernacle for consumption at another time.
    It is also why I do not take communion in a Catholic Mass. There is another word to debate over, Mass.
    Was it communion when a stranger broke bread in the road to Emmaus? Where there two or more gathered in Jesus name there Jesus will be in their midst.