1. The usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being.
Miriam-Webster defines cannibalism as:
2. The eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind.
Cannibalism implies here the actual chewing, swallowing, and metabolizing of flesh and blood either after or during the killing of a human being; at least, if we stick to definition #1.
Though Christ is substantially present—body, blood, soul and divinity—in the Eucharist, the accidents of bread and wine remain.
The word, transubstantiation, literally means “transformation of the substance.” “Substance” refers to that which makes a thing essentially what it is. Thus, “substance” and “essence” are synonyms.
In the Eucharist, after the priest consecrates the bread and wine and they are, in fact, transubstantiated into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord, our Lord is then entirely present. Neither bread nor wine remains. However, the accidents of bread and wine (size, weight, taste, texture) do remain. Hence, the essential reason why Catholics are not guilty of cannibalism is the fact that we do not receive our Lord in a cannibalistic form. We receive him in the form of bread and wine. The two are qualitatively different.
at least six reasons why the Eucharist and cannibalism are qualitatively, or essentially, different things.
1. In cannibalism, the person consumed is, generally speaking, killed. Jesus is not killed. We receive him in his resurrected body and we do not affect him in the least. In fact, he is not changed in the slightest. He changes us!
2. In cannibalism, only part of the victim is consumed. One does not eat the bones, sinews, etc. In the Eucharist, we consume every bit of the Lord, eyes, hair, blood, bones, etc. But again, I emphasize that we do so under the appearances of bread and wine. This is essentially different than cannibalism
3. In cannibalism, the accidents of blood and flesh are consumed. One must tear flesh, drink blood, etc. In the Eucharist, we only consume the accidents of bread and wine. This is not cannibalism.
4. In cannibalism, one only consumes a body, not a person. The person and the soul of the victim would have departed.
5. In cannibalism, one only receives temporal nourishment that is fleeting. In the Eucharist, we receive the divine life of God through faith and receiving our Lord well-disposed, i.e. we receive everlasting
6. In cannibalism, once one eats the flesh of the victim, it is gone forever. In the Eucharist, we can consume him every day and, as mentioned in #1, we do not change him one bit.
When it comes to the Trinity, some who deny this essential teaching will claim Christians are teaching God to be “three beings” because we say God is “three persons.” However, person, as it relates to God, does not mean there are three beings. There is an essential difference between “person” as it relates to God, and “person” as it relates to men and angels.