Catholic Eucharist / Catholic-Lutheran fellowship


#1

As a Lutheran I have a few questions concerning the Eucharist from a Catholic perspective. I don't want to be perceived as argumentative, but all the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship I see appears to be very one sided.

As a Christian the Eucharist is the single most important event at a service regardless of denomination. I'm frustrated the Catholic church does not allow good willed non-Catholic Christians to receive the Eucharist. I feel extremely alienated when going to the Catholic service.

The Lutheran and most Protestant churches publicly encourage anyone who wants can receive communion. The difference being the confession of sins is done to start the service. It appears to me the Catholic confession is a different event with a one to one conversation. I personally know many Catholics who admit they take communion without ever going to confession...my wife's whole family.

Why is my baptism accepted by the Catholic church? It just does not make any sense why Baptism and the Eucharist are treated completely different?

On a good note I was very happy to see "A Mighty Fortress" and "Amazing Grace" in the Catholic Hymnal. That really was a surprise. Finally is there anymore to the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship besides making news clips?


#2

[quote="Luth123, post:1, topic:325395"]
As a Christian the Eucharist is the single most important event at a service regardless of denomination.

[/quote]

Is it? There are lots of denominations that rarely have communion.

I'm frustrated the Catholic church does not allow good willed non-atholic Christians to receive the Eucharist. I feel extremely alienated when going to the Catholic service.

Fortunately for you, there is a very simple solution! Just convert to Catholicism. Similarly, if I really wanted to be able to enter Mormon temples instead of being alienated from them, I guess I would wind up having to convert to Mormonism.

If that sounds somewhat facetious, I don't mean it that way. I just don't understand why anybody would think they have a right to receive anything at the hands of a religion they don't belong to and whose doctrines they deny.

Why is my baptism accepted by the Catholic church? It just does not make any sense why Baptism and the Eucharist are treated completely different?

As St. Paul said, "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. ... For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." (1 Cor 11: 27, 29). So you can see why it is that we cannot allow people who fail to discern the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, but only consider it symbolic, to approach the table.

However, it is a mistake to attempt to draw too close a parallel between the cases of baptism and the Eucharist. The Church has always understood that baptism could be performed by a layman, while the Eucharist can be confected only by a priest. That's just part of the divine ordering of the sacraments. I suppose the true parallel would lie in the fact that non-Catholics cannot licitly receive the Eucharist at a Catholic church, and equivalently they cannot licitly be baptized in the Catholic church (without manifesting an intention to become Catholic). We do not give non-Catholics the Eucharist, and we do not do baptisms for non-Catholics (except to bring them into the Catholic Church, of course).

On a good note I was very happy and surprised to see "A Mighty Fortress" and "Amazing Grace" in the Catholic Hymnal. That really was a surprise. Finally is there anymore to the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship besides making news clips?

There are very interesting things being done in theology between Catholics and Lutherans. I suspect you may be intrigued to read the Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. It was also approved by the Methodists in 2006.

Incidentally -- and I'm not sure it's what you meant to imply -- John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, wasn't Lutheran, but Anglican.


#3

On rereading, that whole post sounds snarkier than intended. Luth123, I'm (1) glad you're accompanying your wife to Mass, (2) sorry our teachings make you feel alienated -- but just think how you'd feel if you were gay!, and (3) happy to welcome you to the Forum! :)


#4

[quote="Luth123, post:1, topic:325395"]
As a Lutheran I have a few questions concerning the Eucharist from a Catholic perspective. I don't want to be perceived as argumentative, but all the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship I see appears to be very one sided.

As a Christian the Eucharist is the single most important event at a service regardless of denomination. I'm frustrated the Catholic church does not allow good willed non-Catholic Christians to receive the Eucharist. I feel extremely alienated when going to the Catholic service.

[/quote]

Sorry about that, but you aren't in communion with the Catholic Church. We would love for you to be in communion with the Catholic Church, and if you become so then you can obviously receive the Eucharist. But we should not say that what isn't is, and we should certainly not do so with the body and blood of Christ.

The Lutheran and most Protestant churches publicly encourage anyone who wants can receive communion. The difference being the confession of sins is done to start the service.

Different theology.

It appears to me the Catholic confession is a different event with a one to one conversation. I personally know many Catholics who admit they take communion without ever going to confession...my wife's whole family.

Very common, but very bad. 1 Corinthians 11:27. The ordinary way a mortal sin is forgiven is through the sacrament of reconciliation, and person who has such mortal sins that have not been forgiven yet receives is guilty of receiving the sacrament unworthily.

Why is my baptism accepted by the Catholic church? It just does not make any sense why Baptism and the Eucharist are treated completely different?

Because baptism can be done by anyone who does it in the right way, whereas only a priest can consecrate the Eucharist.


#5

Much thanks for your input.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:2, topic:325395"]
Is it? There are lots of denominations that rarely have communion..

[/quote]

None I have attended... you may be right though.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:2, topic:325395"]

Fortunately for you, there is a very simple solution! Just convert to Catholicism. Similarly, if I really wanted to be able to enter Mormon temples instead of being alienated from them, I guess I would wind up having to convert to Mormonism.

If that sounds somewhat facetious, I don't mean it that way. I just don't understand why anybody would think they have a right to receive anything at the hands of a religion they don't belong to and whose doctrines they deny.

[/quote]

I view all well intentioned Christians as a single religion. The Church is ONE Holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I certainly don't agree with many of the Catholic and some of the Lutheran doctrines. That does not mean I feel I should not identify as a Lutheran as I was raised such, but have a few doctrine issues. So do you ALWAYS agree with everything the Catholic Church and the Pope states? The point is I identify with the denomination closest to my views. Any physical church is man-made and man administrated but hopefully is inspired by the ONE Holy, catholic, and apostolic Church

It's a real shame the real message gets lost in all the doctrine and dogma bickering between denominations.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:2, topic:325395"]

As St. Paul said, "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. ... For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." (1 Cor 11: 27, 29). So you can see why it is that we cannot allow people who fail to discern the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, but only consider it symbolic, to approach the table.

[/quote]

So it's the Catholic mass/confession structure that alienates and inhibits ecumenical relations. Protestants don't have this issue since a confession of sins is stated by everyone in the service before the Eucharist. I don't see Catholics adopting such a structure since it would seen as lowering the importance of confession.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:2, topic:325395"]

However, it is a mistake to attempt to draw too close a parallel between the cases of baptism and the Eucharist. The Church has always understood that baptism could be performed by a layman, while the Eucharist can be confected only by a priest. That's just part of the divine ordering of the sacraments. I suppose the true parallel would lie in the fact that non-Catholics cannot licitly receive the Eucharist at a Catholic church, and equivalently they cannot licitly be baptized in the Catholic church (without manifesting an intention to become Catholic). We do not give non-Catholics the Eucharist, and we do not do baptisms for non-Catholics (except to bring them into the Catholic Church, of course).

[/quote]

So it's just church tradition that any Christian can baptize, that is plausible is supported by history.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:2, topic:325395"]

There are very interesting things being done in theology between Catholics and Lutherans. I suspect you may be intrigued to read the Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. It was also approved by the Methodists in 2006.

[/quote]

Thanks for the link. I would be interested in any differences presented by the Vatican or the Lutheran, Methodist Churches. Also ecumenical-institute.org is a good resource.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:2, topic:325395"]

Incidentally -- and I'm not sure it's what you meant to imply -- John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, wasn't Lutheran, but Anglican.

[/quote]

I did not imply Amazing Grace was written by a Lutheran. Technically Martin Luther was never a Lutheran either and he never intended to make a separate denomination.

Anyway the lyrics of Amazing Grace are incomplete (saved by grace) by Catholic standards. The song has always represented the Protestant view of saved by grace only. What most Catholics and Protestants fail to realize is it is really the same criteria. If one truly believes and not just saying one believes one will have plenty of good works. The difference really is only the relevance of church tradition.


#6

[quote="Iron_Donkey, post:4, topic:325395"]

Very common, but very bad. 1 Corinthians 11:27. The ordinary way a mortal sin is forgiven is through the sacrament of reconciliation, and person who has such mortal sins that have not been forgiven yet receives is guilty of receiving the sacrament unworthily.

[/quote]

To me this is very troubling... the very common part. Why do so many Catholics willingly violate the church's position and even worse condemn themselves with a mortal sin as defined by the Catholic Church?

As a Christian I really should not be throwing stones since I'm far from prefect also, but at least I do respect a church's traditions, though I may desire for changes in them.


#7

I read an article once that said receiving communion identifies you with that church. We stop other religions from receiving our communion to avoid scandal.


#8

[quote="MarkThompson, post:3, topic:325395"]
On rereading, that whole post sounds snarkier than intended. Luth123, I'm (1) glad you're accompanying your wife to Mass, (2) sorry our teachings make you feel alienated -- but just think how you'd feel if you were gay!, and (3) happy to welcome you to the Forum! :)

[/quote]

Thanks. That's fine. I was concerned I was sounding snarky also. It's a very touchy subject. By the way my wife and her family were shocked to hear the Catholic Church does not acknowledged our marriage. We were married at a resort by a former Catholic priest who is married!

Anyway I am fine with my son being raised Catholic, I just wished my wife and her family were a little more informed / serious about Catholicism.


#9

[quote="CelloPlayer, post:7, topic:325395"]
I read an article once that said receiving communion identifies you with that church. We stop other religions from receiving our communion to avoid scandal.

[/quote]

Yes, receiving Holy Communion (validly) in a Catholic church is not only a receiving of Christ, it is also a sign of visible unity amongst the people of the whole Church. In a way I have created a false dichotomy here since they are essentially the same thing and can't be separated.


#10

[quote="Luth123, post:6, topic:325395"]
To me this is very troubling... the very common part. Why do so many Catholics willingly violate the church's position and even worse condemn themselves with a mortal sin as defined by the Catholic Church?

As a Christian I really should not be throwing stones since I'm far from prefect also, but at least I do respect a church's traditions, though I may desire for changes in them.

[/quote]

There was a lot of cultural upheaval relatively recently, and catechesis suffered (my own religious education classes never said anything more complicated than "Jesus loves you" and a little history). Add to this that the "spirit of Vatican II" crowd (wrongly) say that Vatican II allows pretty much whatever beliefs anyone cares to have, and we've simply had mass (ahaha. ahem) confusion.

Things do seem to be slowly getting straightened out though.


#11

"Protestants don't have this issue since a confession of sins is stated by everyone in the service before the Eucharist."

Hello Luth123, I'm just curious - how do you do your confession in your church? Can you give me any details? Thanks!:)


#12

[quote="Luth123, post:5, topic:325395"]
The point is I identify with the denomination closest to my views.

[/quote]

“It is in those cases,that we get the real grapple of religion; and it is in those cases that we get the peculiar and solitary triumph of the Catholic faith. It is not in merely being right when we are right, as in being cheerful or hopeful or humane. It is in having been right when we were wrong, and in the fact coming back upon us afterwards like a boomerang.” G.K. Chesterton


#13

[quote="boomerang, post:11, topic:325395"]
"Protestants don't have this issue since a confession of sins is stated by everyone in the service before the Eucharist."

Hello Luth123, I'm just curious - how do you do your confession in your church? Can you give me any details? Thanks!:)

[/quote]

Pastor: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Congregation: Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

(from Lutheran Service Book, Divine Service, Setting One)

There are various versions of the above, but most Protestants have a similar declaration in their service.

It is based on "Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches, although in confession an enumeration of all sins is not necessary." —Augsburg Confession, Article 11


#14

Neither the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod nor the Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod allow intercommunion, even with other Lutheran Synods.

I am puzzled that the prohibition on intercommunion is problematic for someone in the Lutheran tradition where it is practiced. Orthodox also do not allow intercommunion with non-Orthodox.

The reason is fairly straightforward-- not in communion = no communion.


#15

[quote="Luth123, post:13, topic:325395"]
It is based on "Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches, although in confession an enumeration of all sins is not necessary." —Augsburg Confession, Article 11

[/quote]

In Mass there is also a similar "confession" of sorts. It ends with a small bit by the priest that goes, "May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life."

However, this is not confession in the Sacramental sense.


#16

[quote="1ke, post:14, topic:325395"]
Neither the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod nor the Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod allow intercommunion, even with other Lutheran Synods.

I am puzzled that the prohibition on intercommunion is problematic for someone in the Lutheran tradition where it is practiced. Orthodox also do not allow intercommunion with non-Orthodox.

The reason is fairly straightforward-- not in communion = no communion.

[/quote]

All very true. The LCMS is a very conservative separate denomination based on Martin Luther's teachings. The ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is a very liberal much larger denomination that tends to promote ecumenical efforts. So in the context of this post Lutheran implies the ELCA. I not familiar with the Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod.

Sorry but I did quote the LCMS's Lutheran Service Book above and should have probably taken the ELCA's version though for the context below they are about idential


#17

[quote="Luth123, post:6, topic:325395"]
To me this is very troubling... Why do so many Catholics willingly violate the church's position...?

[/quote]

I'm puzzled. First you said: "I certainly don't agree with ... some of the Lutheran doctrines. That does not mean I feel I should not identify as a Lutheran as I was raised such, but have a few doctrine issues." Then you are troubled to hear that a lot of Catholics have issues with the Catholic Church's position (i.e. doctrine) on confession and the Eucharist.

Surely you do not think you are the only person to "identify as a Lutheran" while having "a few doctrine issues"! So why should you be surprised that many people identify as Catholics while having doctrine issues? And if your disagreements with Lutheran doctrine don't disqualify you in any way from considering yourself Lutheran and participating in Lutheran liturgical actions (such as receiving Communion), which should Catholics' disagreements with the Catholic faith matter any more?

Could it possibly be because the Catholic Church actually considers herself to have authority in matters of doctrine, making it clear where many opinions can peacefully coexist within the Catholic faith, as well as where certain opinions are outside the reach of actual Catholic belief? (For example, the Catholic Church has entertained numerous explanations of the exact nature of the atonement, and you can hold one or more of several positions on it. But the Catholic Church does not permit variance in the belief of Christ's historical bodily resurrection: you can't "spiritualize" or "transcendentalize" it away and consider yourself to be holding to the authentic faith of the Church.)

Do the various Lutheran bodies -- if you could group them and call them "the Lutheran Church" for sake of argument -- believe themselves to have authority in matters of doctrine, or not?

In other words, is the fact that many Catholics don't believe everything the Catholic Church teaches more shocking to you than the fact that many Lutherans don't believe everything in the Lutheran body of doctrine, because the Catholic Church believes itself to be an actual authority on the true doctrine of Christ, and the Lutheran confession of faith is not quite so bold?

As for accepting the faith in its entirety or not, we all have struggles. Peter saw the Lord walking on water, and he believed, and he himself began to walk on the water. But when he grew fearful and doubtful, he began to sank, and he would have drowned had he not called out to Jesus to save him. Or, in another place, a man confesses to Jesus "I believe" and then immediately adds, "help my unbelief!" So yes, I do accept all that the Catholic Church definitively teaches (which does not include "everything the Pope says"); and when I fail to live up to it, rather than craft my own particular brand of Catholicism to account for my doubts and disagreements, I confess my transgression and try to believe despite the trouble.

The Lord Jesus desires us to be either hot or cold; the lukewarm he will spew out of his mouth. Jesus seems to have some choice words for the "cultural Christians" of the first century in some of those "letters to the churches" in the first three chapters of Revelation.

I apologize, if I offend you with this post, and while I might be tempted to excuse it as a side-effect of the late hour, need for sleep, and a particularly poor showing at the poker table this evening, there is no excuse, and these are my actual candid thoughts on the matter, occasioned by your post and subsequent remarks.

May God grant you a restful night. Me too, please...


#18

[quote="Luth123, post:1, topic:325395"]
As a Lutheran I have a few questions concerning the Eucharist from a Catholic perspective. I don't want to be perceived as argumentative, but all the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship I see appears to be very one sided.

As a Christian the Eucharist is the single most important event at a service regardless of denomination. I'm frustrated the Catholic church does not allow good willed non-Catholic Christians to receive the Eucharist. I feel extremely alienated when going to the Catholic service.

The Lutheran and most Protestant churches publicly encourage anyone who wants can receive communion. The difference being the confession of sins is done to start the service. It appears to me the Catholic confession is a different event with a one to one conversation. I personally know many Catholics who admit they take communion without ever going to confession...my wife's whole family.

Why is my baptism accepted by the Catholic church? It just does not make any sense why Baptism and the Eucharist are treated completely different?

On a good note I was very happy to see "A Mighty Fortress" and "Amazing Grace" in the Catholic Hymnal. That really was a surprise. Finally is there anymore to the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship besides making news clips?

[/quote]

First off Welcome to CAF and thank you for taking in interest in the Catholic Church and to let us answer your questions.

The Catholic Church believes that a baptism must be made in the proper from and matter. Meaning it must be said in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and also include three dunks of water. To my knowledge Lutherans do this; so what I think you mean is along the lines of participating in the Sacrament. Further info cf. CCC1278

[quote="Luth123, post:6, topic:325395"]
To me this is very troubling... the very common part. Why do so many Catholics willingly violate the church's position and even worse condemn themselves with a mortal sin as defined by the Catholic Church?

As a Christian I really should not be throwing stones since I'm far from prefect also, but at least I do respect a church's traditions, though I may desire for changes in them.

[/quote]

Yes it is true many 'catholics' claim to be that but do not follow the teachings of the Magisterium (Teaching Authority of the Church instituted by Christ) But it is not my place to judge them.

[quote="Luth123, post:8, topic:325395"]
Thanks. That's fine. I was concerned I was sounding snarky also. It's a very touchy subject. By the way my wife and her family were shocked to hear the Catholic Church does not acknowledged our marriage. We were married at a resort by a former Catholic priest who is married!

Anyway I am fine with my son being raised Catholic, I just wished my wife and her family were a little more informed / serious about Catholicism.

[/quote]

Key word Former. The Catholic Church believes that the Sacrament of Marriage is instituted by the husband and the wife. The Priest or deacon merely "witnesses" it. An active priest or deacon with the proper faculties are required for a licit "pertaining to the rubrics" sacrament. If there was no valid witness it would be an invalid marriage. Assuming the ski lodge didn't have a Catholic Church where there was an alter and the True Presence, it would also be illicit.


Back to your main point. The Catholic Church asks non-Catholics not to participate in the Eucharist because as Catholics we believe that the Eucharist is the True Presence of Christ. His *literal * Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. If you believe this and aren't in RCIA there is an issue. If you don't believe this, why would you want to receive anyways?

For further information on Transubstantiation read the Catechism of the Catholic Church numbers 1373-1381


#19

[quote="Luth123, post:1, topic:325395"]
As a Lutheran I have a few questions concerning the Eucharist from a Catholic perspective. I don't want to be perceived as argumentative, but all the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship I see appears to be very one sided.

As a Christian the Eucharist is the single most important event at a service regardless of denomination. I'm frustrated the Catholic church does not allow good willed non-Catholic Christians to receive the Eucharist. I feel extremely alienated when going to the Catholic service.

The Lutheran and most Protestant churches publicly encourage anyone who wants can receive communion. The difference being the confession of sins is done to start the service. It appears to me the Catholic confession is a different event with a one to one conversation. I personally know many Catholics who admit they take communion without ever going to confession...my wife's whole family.

Why is my baptism accepted by the Catholic church? It just does not make any sense why Baptism and the Eucharist are treated completely different?

On a good note I was very happy to see "A Mighty Fortress" and "Amazing Grace" in the Catholic Hymnal. That really was a surprise. Finally is there anymore to the Catholic-Lutheran fellowship besides making news clips?

[/quote]

To Luth123,

I enjoy reading what you write in the CF. Keep writing!
Me - Practicing Roman Catholic
My Wife - Practicing LCMS
Our Son - Practicing LCMS

Twenty Five years of marriage and still going strong!


#20

[quote="japhy, post:17, topic:325395"]
I'm puzzled. First you said: "I certainly don't agree with ... some of the Lutheran doctrines. That does not mean I feel I should not identify as a Lutheran as I was raised such, but have a few doctrine issues." Then you are troubled to hear that a lot of Catholics have issues with the Catholic Church's position (i.e. doctrine) on confession and the Eucharist.

Surely you do not think you are the only person to "identify as a Lutheran" while having "a few doctrine issues"! So why should you be surprised that many people identify as Catholics while having doctrine issues? And if your disagreements with Lutheran doctrine don't disqualify you in any way from considering yourself Lutheran and participating in Lutheran liturgical actions (such as receiving Communion), which should Catholics' disagreements with the Catholic faith matter any more?

Could it possibly be because the Catholic Church actually considers herself to have authority in matters of doctrine, making it clear where many opinions can peacefully coexist within the Catholic faith, as well as where certain opinions are outside the reach of actual Catholic belief? (For example, the Catholic Church has entertained numerous explanations of the exact nature of the atonement, and you can hold one or more of several positions on it. But the Catholic Church does not permit variance in the belief of Christ's historical bodily resurrection: you can't "spiritualize" or "transcendentalize" it away and consider yourself to be holding to the authentic faith of the Church.)

[/quote]

It's the perception. The Catholic church has always been very conservative on social issues and not flexiable with interperation. The ELCA (largest Lutheran Church) is very liberal. My hometown church even had a divorced female pastor in the early 80's! The ELCA even by today's standards takes a liberal stance on all social issues.

[quote="japhy, post:17, topic:325395"]

Do the various Lutheran bodies -- if you could group them and call them "the Lutheran Church" for sake of argument -- believe themselves to have authority in matters of doctrine, or not?

[/quote]

They have synods and hierarchical leaders who made decision on doctrine, though they generally not known to the average church member. The ELCA is very liberal on all issues and promotes ecumenical relations while the LMCS is very conservative and rejects any ecumenical relations even with other Lutherans. Both are based the same Protestant views of Luther.

[quote="japhy, post:17, topic:325395"]

I apologize, if I offend you with this post, and while I might be tempted to excuse it as a side-effect of the late hour, need for sleep, and a particularly poor showing at the poker table this evening, there is no excuse, and these are my actual candid thoughts on the matter, occasioned by your post and subsequent remarks.

May God grant you a restful night. Me too, please...

[/quote]

No need to apologize. I have thick skin and am interested in the differences in doctrine.


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