Non-Catholics, the Eucharist, and the "Universal" Church


#1

Why should Catholics exclude Protestants from receiving the Eucharist if the Eucharist is what is required for gaining eternal life? Who are we to deny anyone the Bread of Life? Why should we pray for unity among denominations if we're going to be so exclusive? Jesus didn't withhold Himself from anyone. There are plenty of Catholics who don't believe in the True Presence who are allowed to receive Him, so what about non-Catholics? Isn't Christ's body what unites the Catholic church? How can we expect unity among denominations if we deny to others what gives us unity? I feel like Jesus wouldn't discriminate. Plus, I've heard that receiving the Eucharist, regardless of whether one believes in it or not, benefits from it.

I know there is Scripture saying that we should be pure in receiving the Eucharist, but wouldn't that just entail that we've repented and genuinely want to do what Christ told us to do? People who love Jesus should be able to reach Him if they need Him.

I just think if Jesus told us we have to participate in the Eucharist to gain eternal life, we shouldn't make people jump through hoops to do it. He didn't.

We aren't acting very universal for a church that's named after universality.


#2

Reception of the Eucharist is a claim of fealty to the Church. Protestants usually don’t want to declare themselves obedient to the Catholic Church, because that’s a promise to become Catholic. Is this what you are proposing they do–become Catholics?


#3

I totally agree with the original poster. thank you for saying it like this.


#4

[quote="rebecca123, post:3, topic:307883"]
I totally agree with the original poster. thank you for saying it like this.

[/quote]

It really shouldn't matter much for a person who doesn't want to be a Catholic, though. I mean, it doesn't make sense for them to want part of what we have because it's so good, but not the rest which is also good. That's incoherent.

Either they don't agree with the Catholic Church or they do. Which is it?


#5

[quote="rebecca123, post:3, topic:307883"]
I totally agree with the original poster. thank you for saying it like this.

[/quote]

Perhaps I should ask you what you think you'd be receiving if you received Catholic Holy Communion?


#6

Catholics/Orthodox believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. Protestants do not. Any Protestant who believes in the Real Presence has no business being a Protestant, he should convert.


#7

[quote="PaulfromIowa, post:6, topic:307883"]
Catholics/Orthodox believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. Protestants do not. Any Protestant who believes in the Real Presence has no business being a Protestant, he should convert.

[/quote]

Lutherans profess that the True Body and True Blood of Christ is present and real. Feel free to disagree.

To the OP: I understand the desire to kneel at the same alter together, but there are many valid reasons to deny communion to others. For example, in the Lutheran church, we don't allow others to partake so that they don't eat and drink judgment upon themselves. Taking the body and blood of Christ without properly repenting and receiving forgiveness is very much to be avoided.


#8

[quote="sgcecilia, post:1, topic:307883"]

I've heard that receiving the Eucharist, regardless of whether one believes in it or not, benefits from it...

we shouldn't make people jump through hoops to do it...

[/quote]

On the contrary, even the King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.), says:

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

We are protecting Protestants from grave sin by warning them not to receive unworthily.


#9

Yes, but as I am sure you know, there are significant differences in sacramental belief between Catholics and Lutherans which rule out inter-communion.


#10

[quote="PaulfromIowa, post:9, topic:307883"]
Yes, but as I am sure you know, there are significant differences in sacramental belief between Catholics and Lutherans which rule out inter-communion.

[/quote]

That's true. And, when I spoke to my Pastor today, he said that There will be no re-unification with Rome, at least from the LCMS Point of view, since Rome denies the three fundamentals of the Lutheran Church: Faith alone, Grace alone, Scripture alone.


#11

People have already commented on the issue of unity. On top of this, there is another more important layer.

It is true that the Eucharist is essential, but receiving it is no light matter. Consider this passage from 1 Corinthians:

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. 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. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

The Church asks non-catholics and also Catholics who are not in a state of grace not to receive communion for the safety of their immortal souls, and has done so from the beginning as the passage above illustrates. Non-Catholic Christians (with the exception of the Orthodox Christians) have not been taught to understand what the Eucharist is. How can someone “discern the body” if she does not know what the Eucharist is?

It is also extremely unlikely that a Non-Catholic/Orthodox Christian would have been to confession to be absolved of any mortal sins that would impede him or her from receiving the Eucharist worthily. This is very serious, because a person who receives the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin or without belief receives no grace from the sacrament. In addition, by receiving unworthily, he commits the sin of sacrilege (source: ewtn.com/faith/teachings/euchb2a.htm)

Asking people to refrain from the Eucharist is not a reflection of an exclusionary attitude, but rather an appropriate result of the Church’s priorities and love and concern for people. It’s really quite logical. We don’t invite people we care about to do things that might harm them. Where we go in the next world is the top consideration here. Temporary feelings of inclusion are not worth risking someone’s eternity.

Those who desire the Eucharist but cannot receive it, either because of personal sin or because they are not in full unity with the Church should consider that desire to be a gentle invitation from God to break down whatever barriers prevent them, such as receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation or by entering into full communion with the Church.


#12

Excellent point. It is not only Catholics who recognize the importance of this issue.


#13

It is for their own good. Communion means becoming one with Christ. As St. Mark of Ephesus taught, hell is actually one person who rejects God coming into communion with Him. When one experiences the divine fire of God's love but does not accept God's love, they will experience this love as pain and suffering. So we do not give the Eucharist to those who do not fully accept all the teachings of Christ, this will only cause them pain and suffering to come into Communion one whom they reject even partially.


#14

My question to you is this:

Do you participate of the Eucharist if you are in a state of mortal sin without confessing first?

Do you recognize that the consacrated host IS the Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ?
Not represent, Not a commemoration His actual flesh and blood?

When you receive Holy Communion, you’re intimately united with Jesus Christ — he literally becomes part of you. Also, by taking Holy Communion, you express your union with all Catholics who believe the same doctrines, obey the same laws, and follow the same leaders. This sense of participation in a larger community is why Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) have a strict law that only people who are in communion with the Church can receive Holy Communion. In other words, only those who are united in the same beliefs are allowed to receive Holy Communion.

Do you know what are the Doctrines of Faith that we HAVE to assent to in order to be able to participate of the Eucharist?

Participating in the Eucharist with uncofessed mortal sin is a sacrilege and also a mortal sin.


#15

[quote="batman1973, post:10, topic:307883"]
That's true. And, when I spoke to my Pastor today, he said that There will be no re-unification with Rome, at least from the LCMS Point of view, since Rome denies the three fundamentals of the Lutheran Church: Faith alone, Grace alone, Scripture alone.

[/quote]

that's confusing... if you have Faith alone it isn't alone if you have Grace and Scripture too.


#16

When Jesus proclaimed that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we have no life, many people left Him because they did not believe. Jesus let them go. Those who stayed with Him became his disciples. If you want to receive Him in the eucharist, you have to follow Him to His church. The Catholic church.

Why do you want to receive communion in the Catholic Church if you don’t want to be Catholic? It’s pretty simple. You want to receive Him in the eucharist, become Catholic.


#17

[quote="batman1973, post:10, topic:307883"]
That's true. And, when I spoke to my Pastor today, he said that There will be no re-unification with Rome, at least from the LCMS Point of view, since Rome denies the three fundamentals of the Lutheran Church: Faith alone, Grace alone, Scripture alone.

[/quote]

:confused: How are these three alone if you include all three? :eek:

Are you sure he didn't mean Faith+Grace+Scripture? In which case we are not that different, just add Sacred Tradition and voila. :D


#18

Actually, they don’t. It’s different. Look it up.


#19

[quote="iloveangels, post:18, topic:307883"]
Actually, they don't. It's different. Look it up.

[/quote]

We do view it differently - we reject explinations for the mystery.

We Lutherans are quite simple - we say it is the "True body and true blood of Christ". We doesn't say is "becomes", or "is mixed with", or "is under the forms." It simply, is. We are content to leave the process, if there is one, a mystery.


#20

The “Solas” are were Luther’s rather bombastic catch phrases. They can be much more than what they appear. For example, with Bible Alone, Lutherans don’t deny Tradition. Except only if it is in contraction to Scripture as understood by the Chruch.

Grace Alone was a rather pointed barb against Catholic church practice at the time that seemed to requie lots of money to be spent on indulgences if you wanted to avoid spending time in purgatory.

Faith Alone was a other reaction to the Catholic churches seeming instance on good works for salivation - those ‘good works’ including giving money to the church.

Again, they are quite bombastic, and I personally think they need to be understood in the context of their time.


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