Invalidity of Non-Catholic Communion


#1

What is the basis for some sacraments transcending the Church's authority and others not? The Catholic Church teaches that only a Catholic priest can validly consecrate the Eucharist. The Church does not teach that only a Catholic priest can baptize.

One need not be Catholic or Orthodox to believe in the Real Presence or transubstantiation. Why is this sacrament only valid when done under the authority of the Catholic Church?

Someone please provide a *better answer *than that found here: catholic.com/quickquestions/why-can-only-priests-consecrate-the-eucharist


#2

Well, if you'd like a minimalist approach one could reduce the matter to the fact that different sacraments simply have different requirements. Each has its own form and matter established by Christ, and the differences in details has led to differences in which sacraments have become invalid in many non-Catholic communities and which have not. It’s not a matter of faith or of being in or out of full communion, it is a matter of whether all the requirements for sacramental validity are present in a particular community or not.


#3

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:1, topic:313839"]
One need not be Catholic or Orthodox to believe in the Real Presence or transubstantiation. Why is this sacrament only valid when done under the authority of the Catholic Church?

[/quote]

The Church does not, in fact, teach that the Eucharist is can only be consecrated "under the authority" of the Catholic Church. As examples, the Orthodox are not under the authority of the Catholic Church, nor are (for instance) defrocked priests who defect to some Protestant church. Yet they are both capable of consecrating the Eucharist.

The real reason why, in general, ministers in non-Catholic groups are incapable of consecrating the Eucharist is that they are not priests. And, in general, this is because these groups lack valid bishops and do not have apostolic succession. (As touches the Anglican communion specifically, see the bull Apostolicae Curae of Leo XIII (1896)). When bishops "go rogue," they are capable of ordaining new priests and starting schismatic churches. When priests go rogue, or are created by rogue bishops, they are capable of confecting the Eucharist. Both of these situations, it should not be necessary to say, are great wounds in the body of Christ and greatly to be deplored.


#4

Thank you both for the responses. I wish I could recall where I read the explanation that only Catholic priests could consecrate the Eucharist, though I did know that the Orthodox Eucharist is recognized.

My question does come from the perspective of Anglicanism. There was a convert from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism who was told by a Catholic priest that the communion she received was "just a snack." He, at least, seemed to be implying that no matter what, she could not truly receive the Eucharist in an Episcopal Church. I could have assumed that, but it did seem to be about form rather than belief.


#5

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:4, topic:313839"]
Thank you both for the responses. I wish I could recall where I read the explanation that only Catholic priests could consecrate the Eucharist, though I did know that the Orthodox Eucharist is recognized.

My question does come from the perspective of Anglicanism. There was a convert from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism who was told by a Catholic priest that the communion she received was "just a snack." He, at least, seemed to be implying that no matter what, she could not truly receive the Eucharist in an Episcopal Church. I could have assumed that, but it did seem to be about form rather than belief.

[/quote]

There are some Episcopal/Anglican priests who were actually ordained as Catholic priests and subsequently switched Churches. In those cases presumably the Eucharist they consecrate really is valid.

The problem with Anglican Eucharist in general is the break in the validity of their ordinations which the Church has ruled occurred during the later stages of the English Reformation.


#6

The particular power of the Holy Spirit for consecrating the Eucharist only comes with the ordination of a man to the presbyterate. Likewise, the power to ordain is only given to those men validly ordained as bishops.

Valid orders only still exist in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Protestants gave up valid orders by changing their intent in ordination. Thus, they no longer have valid Eucharist.

The link you reference does not discuss valid orders at all. Perhaps a search on "Protestant Communion" or similar will yield the answer you are looking for,


#7

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:4, topic:313839"]
Thank you both for the responses. I wish I could recall where I read the explanation that only Catholic priests could consecrate the Eucharist, though I did know that the Orthodox Eucharist is recognized.

My question does come from the perspective of Anglicanism. There was a convert from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism who was told by a Catholic priest that the communion she received was "just a snack." He, at least, seemed to be implying that no matter what, she could not truly receive the Eucharist in an Episcopal Church. I could have assumed that, but it did seem to be about form rather than belief.

[/quote]

The power to confect the Eucharist was given to the apostles at the Last Supper. This power was, in turn, handed down to their successors, whom they recruited and ordained by the same power by which Christ ordained them. In other words, the power to confect the Eucharist derives from apostolic succession. Since the Orthodox have apostolic succession, they have valid Eucharist.

The Anglicans lost apostolic succession during the Reformation. The reason for this is that the Edwardine Ordinal lacked sacramental form, meaning those "ordained" under it were not validly ordained. The deficiency was not corrected for over a century, by which time the apostolic succession in England had become extinct and there was no one left in the Anglican Church with the power to ordain, anyway. For more on this, see "Apostolicae Curae," the Pope's declaration on the absolute nullity of Anglican holy orders.


#8

[quote="Aelred_Minor, post:5, topic:313839"]
There are some Episcopal/Anglican priests who were actually ordained as Catholic priests and subsequently switched Churches. In those cases presumably the Eucharist they consecrate really is valid.

The problem with Anglican Eucharist in general is the break in the validity of their ordinations which the Church has ruled occurred during the later stages of the English Reformation.

[/quote]

But I suppose that's my question. The validity or invalidity of their ordinations pertains to their relationship to the Catholic Church rather than to their belief about the nature of the Eucharist. What does the priest's submission to the Catholic Church have to do with the consecration of the Eucharist?


#9

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:8, topic:313839"]
But I suppose that's my question. The validity or invalidity of their ordinations pertains to their relationship to the Catholic Church rather than to their belief about the nature of the Eucharist. What does the priest's submission to the Catholic Church have to do with the consecration of the Eucharist?

[/quote]

It doesn't have to do with the priest's relationship with the Catholic Church. It has to do with the actual ordinations as they occurred in the 16th century and beyond. One of the requirements for the validity of priestly ordination is that the minister of the sacrament intend to ordain the man to a sacrificial priesthood. The idea of a sacrificial Christian priesthood was rejected in early Anglicanism, and so the required intention can be presumed to have been absent. There were some other problems with the ordinations as well. Check out Apostolicae Curae for the details. The point is the problem was not schism but a defect in the attempted administration of the sacrament.

Finally, since it takes a validly ordained (or consecrated, to use more old-fashioned language) bishop to validly ordain anyone else, once the validity of Holy Orders was lost it was impossible to recover even when some Anglicans revived belief in a sacrificial priesthood.


#10

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:8, topic:313839"]
But I suppose that's my question. The validity or invalidity of their ordinations pertains to their relationship to the Catholic Church rather than to their belief about the nature of the Eucharist. What does the priest's submission to the Catholic Church have to do with the consecration of the Eucharist?

[/quote]

That only affects licitness (whether the celebration of the Eucharist is legal per Canon Law).


#11

[quote="sw85, post:7, topic:313839"]

The deficiency was not corrected for over a century, by which time the apostolic succession in England had become extinct and there was no one left in the Anglican Church with the power to ordain, anyway. For more on this, see "Apostolicae Curae," the Pope's declaration on the absolute nullity of Anglican holy orders.

[/quote]

Actually one would need to research the Anglican Communion since Apostolicae Curae to be informed on the validity of Anglican Orders. The Anglican Church corrected any perceived deficiency with lines of succession from the Old Catholic/Union of Ultrecht churches from the 1930's on so that by the late 1960's it was fully restored to the Bishops. It was just that time the Episcopal Church stepped off the edge with attempting to ordain women which opens a whole new mess the Latin Rite probably thought it best not to get involved with.

Therefore, valid Eucharist, and other Sacraments, though not acknowledged by Rome. Thought you'd want to know.


#12

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:1, topic:313839"]
What is the basis for some sacraments transcending the Church's authority and others not? The Catholic Church teaches that only a Catholic priest can validly consecrate the Eucharist. The Church does not teach that only a Catholic priest can baptize.

One need not be Catholic or Orthodox to believe in the Real Presence or transubstantiation. Why is this sacrament only valid when done under the authority of the Catholic Church?

Someone please provide a *better answer *than that found here: catholic.com/quickquestions/why-can-only-priests-consecrate-the-eucharist

[/quote]

Priests and bishops have Holy Orders, which allow them to celebrate the Eucharist, among other things. In order to get holy orders, one needs to be ordained by a previous bishop with Holy Orders. The first bishop was Jesus Christ himself.

One day, someone without Holy Orders decided to form his own denomination. His denomination does not have Holy Orders, thus there is no valid Eucharist. This happened with Protestants, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, etc.

...

Baptism is different. The first man to baptize was not Jesus Christ, but John the Baptist. When John baptized Jesus, grace flowed from Jesus into the water, giving water all over the world the ability to wash away sins.

John was not baptized with this newly blessed water at the time he baptized Jesus. Thus today, even those who are unbaptized can perform a Christian baptism!


#13

[quote="runningdude, post:12, topic:313839"]
Priests and bishops have Holy Orders, which allow them to celebrate the Eucharist, among other things. In order to get holy orders, one needs to be ordained by a previous bishop with Holy Orders. The first bishop was Jesus Christ himself.

One day, someone without Holy Orders decided to form his own denomination. His denomination does not have Holy Orders, thus there is no valid Eucharist. This happened with Protestants, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, etc.

...

Baptism is different. *The first man to baptize was not Jesus Christ, but John *the Baptist. When John baptized Jesus, grace flowed from Jesus into the water, giving water all over the world the ability to wash away sins.

John was not baptized with this newly blessed water at the time he baptized Jesus. Thus today, even those who are unbaptized can perform a Christian baptism!

[/quote]

Ah, so the consecration relates to priests being representatives of Christ? Anglican theology of the priesthood does differ somewhat from that of Catholicism in that regard.

I think in general I see that we are beholden to God, but He is not beholden to us. So who can say that because a priest didn't use the right words or didn't have the correct orders that the Lord did not bring His presence upon the bread and wine to make them the Body and Blood of our Lord? If people come to Him in sincere faith and obedience to keep His word, why would He not be there as He said He would be?

I understand that what I've stated is not Catholic teaching, which is why I'm trying to get to the root of why I'm not syncing with the Church on this one. With respect to sacramental theology in general, I struggle with the idea that individual clergymen have the graces of God at their disposal regardless of faith, righteousness, etc; and also with the idea that it can be judged that no where else can the Eucharist be found save in those places recognized by the Catholic Church.


#14

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:13, topic:313839"]
Ah, so the consecration relates to priests being representatives of Christ? Anglican theology of the priesthood does differ somewhat from that of Catholicism in that regard.

[/quote]

In the case of baptism, I believe John being male in the image of Christ is not relevant, unless you emphasized the wrong line in my post... :confused:

I think in general I see that we are beholden to God, but He is not beholden to us. So who can say that because a priest didn't use the right words or didn't have the correct orders that the Lord did not bring His presence upon the bread and wine to make them the Body and Blood of our Lord? If people come to Him in sincere faith and obedience to keep His word, why would He not be there as He said He would be?

Catholics understand that God is not beholden to us. However, we believe God made a covenant with us, during the death and resurrection of his son. He promised to always be with his church, the Catholic Church. He is limited by only his own promise of constancy.

I understand that what I've stated is not Catholic teaching, which is why I'm trying to get to the root of why I'm not syncing with the Church on this one. With respect to sacramental theology in general, I struggle with the idea that individual clergymen have the graces of God at their disposal regardless of faith, righteousness, etc; and also with the idea that it can be judged that no where else can the Eucharist be found save in those places recognized by the Catholic Church.

The problem is that Protestants inherited, through no fault of their own, the incomplete understanding of the faith from their ancestors that broke away from the Church, the New Covenant. Just as Adam and Eve broke their covenant and we thus inherited sin in the world, the protestants thus lost the True Presence in the Eucharist.

However, just as God died on the cross to give us the Church to redeem us from sin through baptism, confession and his very body in the Eucharist, Protestants may come home to the Church and partake of these graces!


#15

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:13, topic:313839"]
Ah, so the consecration relates to priests being representatives of Christ? Anglican theology of the priesthood does differ somewhat from that of Catholicism in that regard.

I think in general I see that we are beholden to God, but He is not beholden to us. So who can say that because a priest didn't use the right words or didn't have the correct orders that the Lord did not bring His presence upon the bread and wine to make them the Body and Blood of our Lord? If people come to Him in sincere faith and obedience to keep His word, why would He not be there as He said He would be?

I understand that what I've stated is not Catholic teaching, which is why I'm trying to get to the root of why I'm not syncing with the Church on this one. With respect to sacramental theology in general, I struggle with the idea that individual clergymen have the graces of God at their disposal regardless of faith, righteousness, etc; and also with the idea that it can be judged that no where else can the Eucharist be found save in those places recognized by the Catholic Church.

[/quote]

This is one of the great questions of the Church. From where I see it, the question is that of sovereignty and authority. Is God sovereign (I think all would say yes), and did He through His sovereignty give all authority for His kingdom on earth on earth to the Latin Rite to caretake until His return, or does He remain able to act outside the structure of the Church He left behind?

One thing that particularly draws Anglicans who are moving over is not so much Apostolic authority as they want to remove the term "what are they going to do next?" from their vocabulary.


#16

[quote="ChurchSoldier, post:11, topic:313839"]
Actually one would need to research the Anglican Communion since Apostolicae Curae to be informed on the validity of Anglican Orders. The Anglican Church corrected any perceived deficiency with lines of succession from the Old Catholic/Union of Ultrecht churches from the 1930's on so that by the late 1960's it was fully restored to the Bishops. It was just that time the Episcopal Church stepped off the edge with attempting to ordain women which opens a whole new mess the Latin Rite probably thought it best not to get involved with.

Therefore, valid Eucharist, and other Sacraments, though not acknowledged by Rome. Thought you'd want to know.

[/quote]

In general, I agree. But as to the impact of the joint OC/Anglican consecrations which began after the Agreement of Bonn in 1931 (and with the PNCC, after 1946), logically could have such an effect, Rome has not, AFAIK, ever commented on it.

GKC


#17

[quote="ChurchSoldier, post:11, topic:313839"]
Actually one would need to research the Anglican Communion since Apostolicae Curae to be informed on the validity of Anglican Orders. The Anglican Church corrected any perceived deficiency with lines of succession from the Old Catholic/Union of Ultrecht churches from the 1930's on so that by the late 1960's it was fully restored to the Bishops. It was just that time the Episcopal Church stepped off the edge with attempting to ordain women which opens a whole new mess the Latin Rite probably thought it best not to get involved with.

Therefore, valid Eucharist, and other Sacraments, though not acknowledged by Rome. Thought you'd want to know.

[/quote]

What I've read, (unfortunately I can't remember the exact source, but likely from this site) was that defective Anglican rite of ordination was used, and thus even with a valid bishop co-consecrating, no Holy Orders were imparted.

It was a case of the Old Catholic bishops merely participating as an ecumenical gesture, with no intent to correct the deficiencies as perceived by Rome. Even so, in a similar time frame as the Episcopalians, many Old Catholic churches began attempting to ordain women, so is even more doubtful that either party understood the proper intent for celebrating Holy Orders.

(For the record, the Polish National Catholic Church actually broke away from the Union of Utrect over this matter is now closely aligned with Rome on most subjects.)


#18

[quote="nicolakirwan, post:8, topic:313839"]
But I suppose that's my question. The validity or invalidity of their ordinations pertains to their relationship to the Catholic Church rather than to their belief about the nature of the Eucharist.

[/quote]

It isn't to do with what they believe. The wafer doesn't become the Body of Christ simply because a priest believes it to be so. The wafer doesn't become the Body of Christ because the person recieving it believes it to be so. It becomes the Body of Christ because all the conditions of the Sacrament have been fulfilled. If the conditions haven't been validly fulfilled then the wafer will not become the Body of Christ, regardless of what the priest believes, and regardless of what those in the congregation believe. The change is not simply symbolic, it's not about what someone believes, it is a real change regardless of belief.


#19

[quote="runningdude, post:17, topic:313839"]
What I've read, (unfortunately I can't remember the exact source, but likely from this site) was that defective Anglican rite of ordination was used, and thus even with a valid bishop co-consecrating, no Holy Orders were imparted.

It was a case of the Old Catholic bishops merely participating as an ecumenical gesture, with no intent to correct the deficiencies as perceived by Rome. Even so, in a similar time frame as the Episcopalians, many Old Catholic churches began attempting to ordain women, so is even more doubtful that either party understood the proper intent for celebrating Holy Orders.

(For the record, the Polish National Catholic Church actually broke away from the Union of Utrect over this matter is now closely aligned with Rome on most subjects.)

[/quote]

Apostolicae Curae (a hobby of mine) states the issue was a intertwined one of defective form, in the Edwardine ordinal, and defective intent, on the part of the those who used the form. The precise point is usually given as at the consecration of Archbishop Parker in 1559, though AC does not spell that out.

To the contrary, the intent of the participating OCs, beginning at the 1932 consecrations, was to confer fully the apostolic orders which they possessed. As stated. One can refer to Appendix II of Fr. J.J.Hughes STEWARDS OF THE LORD, note 3, pp. 340-341, for detail. The assumption that the nature of the intent issue was not understood is a mistaken one. What the OCs have become is not related to the infusion of Orders, in 1932 and after, until the issue of the proper subject became evident around 40 years later. As was certainly the case, by that time, with the Episcopalians

The PNCC began joint Anglican consecrations in 1946, under the same understanding.

GKC


#20

[quote="GKC, post:19, topic:313839"]
Apostolicae Curae (a hobby of mine) states the issue was a intertwined one of defective form, in the Edwardine ordinal, and defective intent, on the part of the those who used the form. The precise point is usually given as at the consecration of Archbishop Parker in 1559, though AC does not spell that out.

To the contrary, the intent of the participating OCs, beginning at the 1932 consecrations, was to confer fully the apostolic orders which they possessed. As stated. One can refer to Appendix II of Fr. J.J.Hughes STEWARDS OF THE LORD, note 3, pp. 340-341, for detail. The assumption that the nature of the intent issue was not understood is a mistaken one. What the OCs have become is not related to the infusion of Orders, in 1932 and after, until the issue of the proper subject became evident around 40 years later. As was certainly the case, by that time, with the Episcopalians

The PNCC began joint Anglican consecrations in 1946, under the same understanding.

GKC

[/quote]

Anglicans don't believe their orders were ever invalid. Thus there could be no intent to correct the deficit.

Any changes to the ritual to more closely reflect the Catholic ritual were superficial. In the Anglican Book of Prayer used in the ordination, it clearly states that no sacrament is conveyed by the ordination ceremony.

The Catholic Church has on rare occasions, conditionally ordained former Anglican clergy accepted to the Catholic priesthood. However this was done when it could be documented that a valid bishop may have participated in his ordination or re-ordination.

Supporting evidence: ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage_print.asp?number=347706&language=en


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