My mother (a Latin Catholic) attended a funeral for a friend who belonged to the Anglican community.
At the service the priest invited all to receive the “eucharist”. My mother did so…
I explicitly told her afterwards that she should not have received as the sacrifice was not done by a validly ordained priest and no possible transubstantiation could have taken place. I am unsure on whether the Anglican Community believes that the bread and wine actually become the Most Holy Body and Precious Blood of Our Lord.
When I was prepared for confirmation in the Anglican church in South Africa over 40 years ago transsubstantiation is what I was taught. I have always had a deep reverence for the consecrated elements which have become the body and blood of Jesus. In all my years working in the Anglican church as a server, a priest’s secretary, sacristan and adult server (very similar to EMHC in the Catholic churc) this was what we all believed. I converted nearly two years ago, so my information is a little out of date. I was recently told that Anglicans do not believe this, maybe it’s different in north America, I don’t know.
But the reason Catholics should not recieve the eucharist in any other church is that it implies that they are in communion (fellowship, like minded) with us. Clearly they are not, even in the Anglican church, which (before the liberalism in respect of female clergy and acceptance of homosexual relationships) was quite close to Catholic.
My understanding is that they do believe in consubstantiation and I know they reserve the ‘Blessed Sacrament’ in a tabernacle in their churches.
The last time I attended a communion service at the Anglican Church, I had to keep telling myself “It’s not Mass, it’s not Mass, that’s not a validly ordained bishop…” It seems like my pastor wasn’t having the same conversation with himself because HE went up to receive ‘communion’, followed by a few parishioners who hadn’t been going up until they saw him do so.
I can well understand your difficulty, Phemie. My daughter converted before me. Whenever I stayed with her I’d go to Mass with her and, certainly in South Africa, the words are so similar that I almost didn’t need a missal to join in. I’m surprised at your pastor, though. The town I lived in had many ecumenical services and the pastors of the many churches there used to meet every month for fellowship and to plan shared ministry to the retirement villages in the town. The Catholic pastor made it clear that he would only be able to offer a prayer service in these retirement villages and he certainly never received communion in the Anglican church (and I would then assume not in any of the other protestant churches)
Some Anglicans believe it is the Body of Christ, others do not.
The real issue is that it is NOT. Anglican clergy do not have valid Holy Orders. It is a piece of bread.
When your mother received Holy Communion, did she worship the piece of bread she received, as if it were the actual Body of Christ? I am asking myself, would that be idolatry? (Certainly not intentional on her part if she was unaware of the difference, but perhaps that thought might keep her from doing it in the future.)
Your mother, as a Catholic, is obligated to follow Catholic teaching on the matter. The Church teaches that Catholics may receive only from a Catholic priest-- or in an emergency from an Orthodox priest (because they have valid Orders and Eucharist). This is spelled out in Canon Law. Moreover it is reiterated in Ecclesia de Eucharistia.
If your mother didn’t know, she did not commit a sin. She could mention it in confession.
There are priests around here who have set the precedent of giving Communion to all the residents in nursing homes, Catholic or not. Now nobody (staff nor residents) knows the difference. Protestants receive Communion from Catholic priests and extraordinary ministers, and Catholics receive from Protestant ministers. Once I “filled in” as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at a nursing home I was not too familiar with, and I asked the staff member to identify for me those in the room who were Catholic and able to receive. Boy, did that open up an angry hornet’s nest! I later went to the priest responsible for that location, and he didn’t seem to care. I haven’t been back to that nursing home since. (I later found out that the priest himself regularly gave Communion to non-Catholics at that nursing home, including to a Protestant minister who happened to be present on one occasion!)
It’s no wonder that Catholics’ faith in the Eucharist is, on the whole, so weak.
My pastor made it very clear to me that he would never deny Communion to ANYONE who came up to receive, even if he knew they were not Catholic.
At a funeral, our bishop was asked if a non-Catholic politician could receive Communion. His reply, “Pretend you never asked me this question.” Politician received Communion. I thought the young transitional deacon who was present and came to me afterwards was going to have a stroke, he was that angry. He kept repeating “I’m telling you, in less than 50 years there’ll be no Catholic Church in Canada! They’re doing everything they can to erase any distinction between Catholics and all other religions!”
I am surprised to say that after 30 years, I finally saw it the other day.
My pastor (whom I will not name here) had the vigilance to ask a young teenage girl, who obviously didn’t know what she was doing, if she had received her first communion. To her credit, she told the truth. He explained that he could not extend it to her, gave her a blessing and sent her down the line. Her friend, who happened to be the person right in front of me, followed suit. I tried not to stare, but it was clear that he had enough awareness to know who his regulars are and who didn’t belong. We need more priests like him who could care less what people think of him and have no problem telling us the truth, even if it hurts.