Can Christ be fully present when one only believes in spiritual communion?

Hi–I have two questions for Catholic scholars–first, can you tell me when there first came to be a formal notion of “apostolic succession”? At what point in Christian history do writers begin referring to the concept or using the term?

Second, would Church doctrine deny the possibility that Christ may be fully present in the experience of Communion of Christian believers who do not believe in the Real Presence in the elements? In other words, if a Protestant believer believes that in the sacrament, Christ is actually entering into him, not because the wafer and wine have changed natures, but because his spirit is open to the Lord who really enters his soul, would Catholic doctrine dismiss such an idea? Thank you for your responses.

Dear bj,

The reality of apostolic succession is certainly more important than when people began using the term. For both, see:
*]Apostolic Succession[/LIST]Certainly, any Christian can enter into a spiritual communion with Jesus at any time. But such spiritual communion is not the same as receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. You could say that one can receive Him fully in both instances in the sense that a small and a large container can both be full. But the larger container is superior to the smaller one. With the Eucharist we have both the spiritual presence of Jesus AND the sacramental presence as well.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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