This was certainly an interesting article although I suspect it was a little injudicious of the priest to call after the pastor and ask for the host to be returned during the service. It’s difficult to pronounce on these situations without knowing the full story and there may have been more to this one than meets the eye. However I’m inclined towards the view that a quiet word with the pastor after the service would have been a better approach.
I occasionally attend Mass in RC churches and to date I’ve always obeyed the rules, not least of all because I’ve got friends at my local RC church and I don’t want to embarrass them, but also because rules are rules and they’re meant to be obeyed whether we believe they’re right or not. For what it’s worth I’ve never felt in any way excluded by having to settle for a blessing instead of receiving Communion.
That said I went on a visit to Rome back in 1986 and, whilst there, attended Sunday Mass at St Peter’s. At Communion time I went up for a blessing as usual but the priest - who wasn’t English - didn’t understand the posture I adopted and tried several times - without success - to communicate me. Needless to say it caused a bit of a problem as a queue was building behind me and I went back to my place rather frustrated without receiving either the sacrament or a blessing. On my return home I recounted this story to my mother and she counselled that it would have been less hassle if I’d simply taken Communion as the priest wouldn’t have known who I was.
I find it surprising and hard to imagine but until comparatively recently my own church didn’t normally allow members of other religious bodies which weren’t in communion with it, to receive sacramental Communion. There is good ‘case history’ of exceptions being made on rare occasions but it certainly wasn’t usual. Until well after World War II the rule that “there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be Confirmed or ready and desirous to be Confirmed” which effectively excluded Nonconformists from Anglican altars was enforced. However during the late 1950s and 1960s the will to enforce it effectively evaporated. This was partly down to the changing ecumenical climate, the fact that increasingly the Church of England was the only organised Christian presence in many rural areas and, a growing practice of the main service (often the only service) being Eucharistic. All of this led eventually to the promulgation of Canon B15 (A) in 1972 which directed that “members of other churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and are in good standing with their own church” were to be admitted to Holy Communion. To the best of my knowledge nobody’s ever tested the meaning of “in good standing” at law and usually, for the avoidance of doubt, the welcome listed in pew sheets is to those who are “used to receiving Communion in their own church.”