Interfaith Communion

For those who are not familiar with Fr. Bryce Sibley’s blog, he has been publishing a series of eucharistic reflections in this Year of the Eucharist. This one I thought particularly interesting as it puts forth in simple and straightforward terms why Catholics and non-Catholics are prohibited from mutual reception of the Eucharist at their respective churches.

Eucharistic Reflection no. 15 (By Fr. Bryce Sibley)

“Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike often do not understand the Catholic Church’s position that non-Catholics should not be permitted to receive Holy Communion. The key term from understanding this position is the very word “communion.” When we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, but our action has deeper significances. First, as the priest says, “the Body of Christ” the communicant responds, “Amen” which means “I believe.” I believe that what appears to the senses as bread is truly the body of Christ. But many non-Catholics do not believe in the True Presence and therefore their “Amen” would at best make no sense and at worst be a lie. In addition to this, when receive the Body of Christ in Communion we are saying that we are in full communion with the Body of Christ - which is the Catholic Church. And non-Catholics are not in full communion with the Catholic Church and thus cannot receive the Eucharist which proclaims their full ecclesial communion. So the prohibitions are founded not in prejudice but a profound understanding not only in the Eucharist as sacrament but in the meaning of the bodily reception of the Eucharist.”

Along similar lines, I wrote a reflection On the Eucharist many years ago (1997). Some might find it interesting reading.

Deacon Ed

[quote=Deacon Ed]Along similar lines, I wrote a reflection On the Eucharist many years ago (1997). Some might find it interesting reading.

Deacon Ed
[/quote]

Thannk you for the link–I particularly liked:

“Thus, at the end of Mass, the deacon dismisses us, not just to leave because the Mass is ended, but to go and do what we have become. If we are the Body of Christ, if we are the Church, then we go to bring Christ to the world. We have been, in some way, incorporated into his death and resurrection and into his Body. We cannot go and ignore the world. We cannot go and do nothing. We must go and bring the light we have to the world. We must be the light to the world and the salt of the earth if we are to be faithful to what we have done in the Mass. If we do not do that, we make a lie of the Mass and of our participation.”

I read something by Schmemann last night which expressed this thinking also. You obviously keep very good company!

Could someone please advise me on how to approach the following problem:

A friend of mine (also a Catholic) doesn’t fully understand the differences in beliefs about “Holy Communion” between ourselves and various other Protestant religions that have “Communion” services. So, she says to me that her husband (a Protestant) believes that Jesus is present in the Holy Communion, so why can’t he receive in the Catholic church too? She says that he is far more reverant and respectful than many of the Catholics who go charging up to receive Communion (and I have seen him doing it, so I know this is completely true).

What is the best way to explain to her that Catholics who don’t have a clue what they are doing are allowed to receive, while her husband who is a good Christian and behaves appropriately is not allowed to receive? I would appreciate advice/comments on this.

Thanks!

[quote=HagiaSophia]…when receive the Body of Christ in Communion we are saying that we are in full communion with the Body of Christ - which is the Catholic Church. And non-Catholics are not in full communion with the Catholic Church and thus cannot receive the Eucharist which proclaims their full ecclesial communion. So the prohibitions are founded not in prejudice but a profound understanding not only in the Eucharist as sacrament but in the meaning of the bodily reception of the Eucharist."
[/quote]

Fio–I think the above quote sums up quite well why belief in the Eucharist is not in itself sufficient for someone outside the Church to recieve Communion. When we recieve the Eucharist we implicity affirm our belief in all that the Church is and teaches; we are one with Christ and His Church. For someone outside the Church to receive the Eucharist, however reverently, would entail a lie.

[quote=FionnualaOC]Could someone please advise me on how to approach the following problem:

A friend of mine (also a Catholic) doesn’t fully understand the differences in beliefs about “Holy Communion” between ourselves and various other Protestant religions that have “Communion” services. So, she says to me that her husband (a Protestant) believes that Jesus is present in the Holy Communion, so why can’t he receive in the Catholic church too? She says that he is far more reverant and respectful than many of the Catholics who go charging up to receive Communion (and I have seen him doing it, so I know this is completely true).

What is the best way to explain to her that Catholics who don’t have a clue what they are doing are allowed to receive, while her husband who is a good Christian and behaves appropriately is not allowed to receive? I would appreciate advice/comments on this.

Thanks!
[/quote]

If it were just about being reverent then this would be a non-issue. If it were just about belief that Jesus is present in the Eucharist it would be a non-issue. The problem is that he has not been made a part of the Chruch, he has not professed the one faith, he has not committed himself to a Catholic lifestyle.

One of my rather earthy priest-friends once put it this way. Catholics are “married” to the Church and so are free to share in her gifts just as a husband and wife are married and free to share in each other’s gifts. They do not licitly invite others to share in those intimate gifts, and so too the Church does not invite others to share in Her intimate gifts.

Deacon Ed

[quote=HagiaSophia]Thannk you for the link–I particularly liked:

“Thus, at the end of Mass, the deacon dismisses us, not just to leave because the Mass is ended, but to go and do what we have become. If we are the Body of Christ, if we are the Church, then we go to bring Christ to the world. We have been, in some way, incorporated into his death and resurrection and into his Body. We cannot go and ignore the world. We cannot go and do nothing. We must go and bring the light we have to the world. We must be the light to the world and the salt of the earth if we are to be faithful to what we have done in the Mass. If we do not do that, we make a lie of the Mass and of our participation.”

I read something by Schmemann last night which expressed this thinking also. You obviously keep very good company!
[/quote]

Why, thank you! It’s an honor to be likened to Fr. Alexander Schmemann! He is forever missed. He was a great priest, a great teacher, and a thinker who was 100 years ahead of his time.

Deacon Ed

Are you joking, does your Ecumenism have any boundaries? There is such a thing as liberal heresy, I know that most here only seem to apply to the St Pius X group, but this falls into this catergory, and if it is coming from the Vatican, I have no problem telling any Priest or Deacon to their face they are a disgrace to the faith.

[quote=HagiaSophia]For those who are not familiar with Fr. Bryce Sibley’s blog, he has been publishing a series of eucharistic reflections in this Year of the Eucharist. This one I thought particularly interesting as it puts forth in simple and straightforward terms why Catholics and non-Catholics are prohibited from mutual reception of the Eucharist at their respective churches.

Eucharistic Reflection no. 15 (By Fr. Bryce Sibley)

“Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike often do not understand the Catholic Church’s position that non-Catholics should not be permitted to receive Holy Communion. The key term from understanding this position is the very word “communion.” When we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, but our action has deeper significances. First, as the priest says, “the Body of Christ” the communicant responds, “Amen” which means “I believe.” I believe that what appears to the senses as bread is truly the body of Christ. But many non-Catholics do not believe in the True Presence and therefore their “Amen” would at best make no sense and at worst be a lie. In addition to this, when receive the Body of Christ in Communion we are saying that we are in full communion with the Body of Christ - which is the Catholic Church. And non-Catholics are not in full communion with the Catholic Church and thus cannot receive the Eucharist which proclaims their full ecclesial communion. So the prohibitions are founded not in prejudice but a profound understanding not only in the Eucharist as sacrament but in the meaning of the bodily reception of the Eucharist.”
[/quote]

[quote=CrusaderNY]Are you joking, does your Ecumenism have any boundaries? There is such a thing as liberal heresy,
[/quote]

In all candor, I have no idea what you are talking about, and I suspect you may not either. The Deacon, maendem and myself are discussing the reasons why inter-communion between faiths is not permitted.

[quote=CrusaderNY]and if it is coming from the Vatican, I have no problem telling any Priest or Deacon to their face they are a disgrace to the faith.
[/quote]

That would not surprise me one bit.

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