Is there inter-communion for Episcopalians looking around and needing answers?

Recently I read where a Roman Catholic person was told that accepting Holy Eucharist from an Episcopal Priest at an Episcopal wedding was wrong. Two years ago I took my boy scouts to summer camp in NY east of Buffalo. My troop even though it is sponsored by my Episcopal Parish has fairly high number of Roman Catholic youths and their parents active in the troop. On Wednesday evening after dinner the camp all broke up to attend religous services. There was not an Episcopal Priest present that evening so I along with several other adults who as it turned out are also former military and also like me had regularly attended Roman Catholic Mass on base automatically attended the Roman Catholic Mass. Before Mass I found the Priest and identified our small group of mixed Episcopalians and Roman Catholics. I explained that when we were in the Air Force and Army those of us who were Episcopal usually attended Roman Catholic Mass and received Holy Eucharist. I asked him if it would cause him problems if given that we did not have a priest from our tradition for us to come up for communion. He said he personally did not have a problem with that but that officially the Church frowned on that practice that in the Roman Catholic Church Eucharist was for Roman Catholics. Was it improper for us to recive Eucharist on Base when we were in the service?

Most of us consider ourselves to be far closer to Roman Catholicism than we are to any protestant faith. Our theologies are in most cases identical our Mass is almost interchangeable with Roman Catholic Mass and in fact today we had an Eagle Court of Honor at Church between the holy peace and the Great Thanksgiving many though not all of the Roman Catholics in our troop received Holy Eucharist with the rest of us. Was that improper? The distinction between what is Roman Catholic and what was Anglican Catholic seems to be blurring to invisible. At least thats the case in our Parish. If the ECUSA continues down its road to heresy and apostacy many of us if not all of us may well find our new church home is in Rome.

Dear Z,

This will probably surprise you because on the surface there are many similarities, but the Catholic Church is far closer in doctrine to the Eastern Orthodox Churches than to any of the Anglican Churches, including the Episcopal. Even though recently there has been some agreement regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, more and more differences keep cropping up as the Episcopal Church continues to relax its understanding of morality and its various disciplines.

The Catholic Church has not recognized the validity of Anglican orders (ordintation) since King Edward VI (1537-53) when the Anglican understanding of the Eucharist changed dramatically by its denying the sacrifice of the Mass. Up until that point the Catholic Church did acknowledge the Anglican Eucharist as valid as it still recognizes such validity in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The Catholic Church allows its members to receive the sacraments from an Orthodox Church only when no Catholic Church is available. But it never allows a Catholic to receive the Eucharist from an Anglican Church. Nor does it allow (except for members of Eastern Orthodox Churches) non Catholics (including those from any of the Anglican Churches) to receive its sacraments. So you see the Catholic priest you mentioned was afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings. The Catholic Church does much more than simply frown on such inter-communion; it forbids it! This in no way means that Anglicans are loathsome to Catholics. We recognize you are our true brethren—though separated. The separation is painful on both sides. We continue to pray for union.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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