[quote="dcarollo, post:1, topic:325833"]
A complaint from a Protestant friend:
So, if a non-Catholic pastor can validly baptize -- which even the Catholic church recognizes. Why can't a non-Catholic pastor validly consecrate the Eucharist? (for example, let's say in the Lutheran or Anglican tradition). That seems inconsistent
Thanks for your help!
My lengthy reply below may seem to ramble. This is because the Protestant friend mentioned above might still be confused by a "too short" answer that leads to a next question - which I try to anticipate and answer all at once (same page).
All info below is not so much authoritive - just a sharing about things I've seen, and a few examples that may clarify things for the questioner rather than further confuse them. :)
It's not inconsistent - the two sacraments are different, hence have different rules.
The Catholic Church (which was issued the keys by Jesus) decided somewhere along the line that "less than priests" could validly baptize. Not so with CONSECRATING the Eucharist.
Even a non-Catholic lay person could baptize validly in an emergency using the right form, words, water and having the intent to baptize a person into the Catholic Church - plus the intent of the baptized if they are past the age of reason (I believe). Since it is an emergency - even that last bit about*** intent*** would not prevent one from baptizing a living but unconscious person (say on a battlefield). I'm thinking of the baptism scene from "Black Robe" (after an Indian ambush) here I must admit.
Lutherans do not have valid orders because Luther was not a Bishop and able to pass apostolic succession on in the laying on of hands.
Anglicans had valid Bishops and Order despite their break from Rome at the time of Henry VIII -- and during the reign of his daughter Mary (when Catholicism was returned as the faith of the realm) probably some of the same churchmen continued on with mass unhindered. However (I'd heard) that Henry appointed some Bishops without their having had the hands of other Bishops laid upon them (i.e. they were invalid Bishops per apostolic succession) and then the priests such Bishops ordained would be ordained apart from legitimate apostolic succession.
Catholic Deacons, Acolytes, Lectors, Laymen, Sisters Superior, Nuns, College Theologians and others who are not priests cannot consecrate the Eucharist either -- until or unless they ever are ordained priests. But they can distribute the consecrated Eucharist or transport it if deputized (even a bit informally) to do so.
We had a non-Catholic (but baptized Christian) leader in our Diocese wide Catholic Young Adult Ministry (a board member). Once, during a retreat, a visiting priest said a mass and at Communion time, he gestured that leader to come forward (which he did). Thinking the man to be Catholic, the priest had him help distribute the Eucharist, administer a chalice.
I don't think (or remember if) that guy received communion, but he dutifully distributed the hosts saying "Body of Christ" and as we answered "Amen" he correctly administered the hosts.
WAS that Eucharist invalidated by a seemingly unqualified and spontaneously deputized "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist"? No. It was the Eucharist. I don't think the priest ever found out his presumption of Catholicism was wrong. That leader had given a talk (for SOME talks our rules allowed Christian non-Catholics to speak) -- and Father probably presumed him to be eligible.
Going back to JESUS. He gave the power to "do this" to the 11 faithful apostles on the night of the Last Supper. Not to everyone. And these apostles, the initial Bishops of the Church (and Bishop ordainers) passed the powers on to a next generation of Bishops in their succession.
Individually - Some Anglicans (priests too) have become Catholics. Even Catholic priests (I know of one personally - and a married one at that)! He was married as an Anglican priest then came over. He of course CAN consecrate the Eucharist and absolve sins in confession to boot! I THINK when an Anglican priest converts to Catholicism he is ordained by a Catholic Bishop (even if his initial Orders per apostolic succession MIGHT be valid since they "might not" be). Is such called a conditional ordination?
And though I personally don't know of one who is - it might be possible for a Lutheran who rejoined the Catholic Church to become a priest too - and receive those powers (to serve - and this may already** be **somewhere).
Among the "Eastern Churches," Eastern Catholic Churches are in union with Rome but operate under a different "rite" (valid Eucharist, priests, Patriarchs have power to consecrate); the Eastern Orthodox Churches that are not currently in union with Rome on some matters nevertheless have apostolic succession.
The Consecration of the Eucharist during the divine liturgy of both the Eastern Catholic churches and the Eastern Orthodox churches is valid. A Catholic of the Roman rite of the Church can attend an Eastern Catholic divine liturgy and receive Communion during that liturgy without problem, and the Eastern Catholic divine liturgy would fulfill the Sunday/holy day obligation. Although Catholics can occasionally attend Eastern Orthodox liturgies as a guest, those liturgies do not fulfill the Sunday/holy day obligation to attend Mass. Catholics ordinarily should not receive Communion at an Eastern Orthodox divine liturgy, though there are circumstances in which this is permitted.
-- excerpt from an answer on a related topic by CAF's Michelle Arnold