The Episcapol Church and the Eucharist


#1

Does the Episcapol Church believe in the Eucharist the same way Catholics do? The reason for my question is this: There is an Episcapol “parish” in my neighborhood. It is named after a saint and the sign which posts the Sunday services reads, “Holy Eucharist 8:30 and 10:30 Sundays.” The word parish also appears on the sign, as well. I have heard the Episcapol Church referred to as “Catholic light.” I am most intrigued because by all outside appearances, this looks like a Catholic church, especially with the words Holy Eucharist being used to describe the Sunday services.


#2

There is an Episcopal Church in SF that is giving communion to pets in order to boost attendance (New Oxford Review has a great take on that). If that is true, I don’t think they could possibly have the same take as Catholics. I believe the distinction also lies in transubstantiation. They believe in the Real Presence, but not Transubstantiation.


#3

The liturgy of the Episcopal church is similar to the Catholic liturgy, and they do believe in the real presence, but they do not have it; because they do not have valid holy orders.


#4

[quote=arnulf]The liturgy of the Episcopal church is similar to the Catholic liturgy, and they do believe in the real presence, but they do not have it; because they do not have valid holy orders.
[/quote]

What are holy orders, and what makes them valid or invalid?


#5

A Sacrament is a sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace. There are seven of these signs. Sacraments give a special kind of grace, called Sanctifying Grace – it is the Divine Life of God Himself. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was instituted by Jesus Christ to provide the Church with bishops, priests, and deacons. It is the Sacrament by which they are ordained and receive the authority, power and the grace to perform their sacred duties – to act in persona Christi – in the person of Christ, to do what He did.

The power and grace of Holy Orders was given to the Apostles, who in turn ordained bishops, priests, and deacons to succeed them by the laying on of hands. Those bishops also ordained other bishops and priests and deacons. The authority, power and the grace of ordination comes from God through the Apostles. Only those who are ordained in succession to an Apostle have this authority, this power, and this grace. Catholic bishops and priests can trace their lineage back in an unbroken 2,000 year continuum to an Apostle. (Deacons have limited powers and cannot ordain others. They are “helpers” to bishops and priests.)

If I appoint myself to ordain someone, it would be meaningless. This is the situation Protestants are in. A person with no authority, power, and grace ordains another person with no authority, and so on. They go through the motions, but nothing happens. It’s kinda like me naming you President of the U.S.without going through the election process required by law :D.

The Church of England or Anglican priests – and Episcopal priests in the U.S. from whom they are derived – had apostolic succession despite the break with Henry VIII until 1552 under Edward VI, who denied that the Mass is a sacrifice and revised the rite of ordination. Since the ordaining bishop no longer intended to do what the Church does, i.e., to ordain others to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, their Holy Orders became invalid.

That’s a brief and simple explanation of a complex situation.

Bottom line: Episcopal priests offer “Mass” but they are just going through the motions; their Holy Orders are invalid. They lack the authority, power, and grace to confect the Eucharist because they haven’t been in Apostolic Succession since 1552.

Eastern Orthodox priests have valid Holy Orders. Orthodox and Catholic priests are only clergy with valid Holy Orders. (There is another category called valid but not licit, which is another story.)

Peace be with you, Jay


#6

Thank you for the comprehensive answer, Katholikos. :slight_smile:

Blessed be.


#7

The Church of England or Anglican priests – and Episcopal priests in the U.S. from whom they are derived – had apostolic succession despite the break with Henry VIII until 1552 under Edward VI, who denied that the Mass is a sacrifice and revised the rite of ordination. Since the ordaining bishop no longer intended to do what the Church does, i.e., to ordain others to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, their Holy Orders became invalid.

That’s a brief and simple explanation of a complex situation.

Bottom line: Episcopal priests offer “Mass” but they are just going through the motions; their Holy Orders are invalid. They lack the authority, power, and grace to confect the Eucharist because they haven’t been in Apostolic Succession since 1552.

Eastern Orthodox priests have valid Holy Orders. Orthodox and Catholic priests are only clergy with valid Holy Orders. (There is another category called valid but not licit, which is another story.)

Peace be with you, Jay

This of course is the opinion of the RCC. As far as Anglicans are concerned they can trace the apostolic sucession back to the Apostles and consider their Holy Orders are just as valid! In addition Anglicans have been in Communion with Old Catholics whose Holy Orders have been considered “valid” by Rome and whose bishops have participated in many Anglican consecrations to the episcopate. Not to mention RC converts to Anglicanism, presumably with “valid orders”.

I wonder if God really lets sincere people who have been called by him and ordained as priests “go through the motions”, and if the words of Christ himself and the invocation to the Holy Spirit pronounced at Anglican Eucharists have less power than the approval of the RCC to make the sacrament “valid”.

As far as intention goes I wonder if it was the intent of the Borgia popes to do what the church intended, and if that affected the “validity” of the orders they confered to the myriad of priests and bishops they layed their “holy hands” on .

Blessings

Serafin


#8

[quote=Serafin]This of course is the opinion of the RCC. As far as Anglicans are concerned they can trace the apostolic sucession back to the Apostles and consider their Holy Orders are just as valid! In addition Anglicans have been in Communion with Old Catholics whose Holy Orders have been considered “valid” by Rome and whose bishops have participated in many Anglican consecrations to the episcopate. Not to mention RC converts to Anglicanism, presumably with “valid orders”.
[/quote]

There certainly may possibly be Anglican priests who have valid but illicit Orders. Each case would have to be examined individually. If illicit, however, the problems with validity remain.

I’m sorry, but Anglicans thinking their Holy Orders are valid doesn’t make it so. Rome carefully looked at the question and says they’re not valid. Anglican or Episcopal priests who become Catholic are ordained “de novo” (for the first time) unless it can be demonstrated that they were validly but illicitly ordained in Apostolic Succession.

I wonder if God really lets sincere people who have been called by him and ordained as priests “go through the motions”, and if the words of Christ himself and the invocation to the Holy Spirit pronounced at Anglican Eucharists have less power than the approval of the RCC to make the sacrament “valid”.

Even validly ordained Catholic priests cannot confect the Eucharist except in jurisdictions where they have the “faculties” granted by the local Ordinary (Bishop). And that power and authority can be withdrawn or suspended in a nanosecond.

As far as intention goes I wonder if it was the intent of the Borgia popes to do what the church intended, and if that affected the “validity” of the orders they confered to the myriad of priests and bishops they layed their “holy hands” on .

Fortunately, the validity of the Sacraments does not depend upon the sanctity of those who dispense them. Yeah, those Borgia Popes were something, weren’t they? But the Church, having been created by her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ, survives every adversity. Just as she survived the persecution of the English. The ‘powers of death’ (RSV) or ‘the gates of hell’ KJV have not prevailed against her, despite enemies from within and without.

Peace and all good, Jay


#9

from the Articles of Religion of the Episcopal Church
Book of Common Prayer 1979 p. 867
Book of Common Prayer 1928 p. 608

"The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only
after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance
reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

**
Granted, most Episcopal clergy pick and choose which articles they will or will not follow, but this is an historical official teaching of the Episcopal church, to which all clergy for about a century were required to subscribe upon “ordination”. hmmm…


#10

[quote=Khoria Anna]from the Articles of Religion of the Episcopal Church
Book of Common Prayer 1979 p. 867
Book of Common Prayer 1928 p. 608



"The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.


Amen !

Serafin
[/quote]


#11

[quote=Lttlflower24]Does the Episcapol Church believe in the Eucharist the same way Catholics do?
[/quote]

Some Episcopals believe in transubstantiation, others do not. The following website might be of help to you: [[/font]anglicansonline.org/](“http://www.anglicansonline.org/”).

Becky
:bounce:


#12

Hi:

Rome carefully looked at the question and says they’re not valid.

God sometimes holds opinions different from that of his servants!

Yeah, those Borgia Popes were something, weren’t they? But the Church, having been created by her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ, survives every adversity

By all accounts they were…and survive we all have, albeit divided and a little jaded by the claims of supreme , “divinely given” authority some of us still claim for themselves!

Even validly ordained Catholic priests cannot confect the Eucharist except in jurisdictions where they have the “faculties” granted by the local Ordinary (Bishop). And that power and authority can be withdrawn or suspended in a nanosecond

Authority and power in this context are not the same or else ilicit celebrations of the Eucharist would always be invalid. These however are your rules which the rest of Christendom does not have to any longer play by.

I still wonder how the words of Christ himself and the invocation to the Holy Spirit pronounced at Anglican Eucharists have less power than the approval of the RCC to make the sacrament "valid.It really is a little far fetched.

Blessings and all good things

Serafin


#13

Quote:
*The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

Serafin wrote*
Amen !

but what follows is
*Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
*The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only
after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance
reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

**
It would seem that they do not intend to do what the Church does in confecting the Sacrament.


#14

There have been several good, excellent answers to the questions posed in this thread. It is obvious that there are open and honest seekers of answers and there are honest and sincere replies. My purpose in replying is to give answers as directly as I know how, to raise some other issues, and to hopefully clarify some of what has been said. I do not provide my answer(s) or comments with a spirit of contradicting anything or anybody, and if my answers appear to do so, it is certainly not out of any malicious intent on my part. :slight_smile:

Firstly, the Episcopal Church - and Anglicans in general - does not, and has not generally engaged in defining their eucharistic beliefs and practices in the way that the Catholic Church has done so - i.e. by canon law, and legal definitions. In some ways the Orthodox Church is similar, although Orthodoxy can express itself more in canons on some issues than Anglicanism does. That being said, in order to get a better grip of Anglican or Episcopalian teachings and/or beliefs, one might do well to exercize the principle of “lex orandi, lex credendi” - i.e. the word that is prayed is the word that is believed. Looking to the “39 Articles” is not particularly useful in other trhan a historical context. It is MY UNDERSTANDING that it is included in current prayer books as a historical document rather than as a definitive standard of current Anglican faith or praxis. I don’t have a personal inside track on the thinking when the newest prayer book was produced, but that is what I’ve been told by some that I believe know.

So, to look at Episcopal Church beliefs about the Eucharist as evidenced by their own prayers, used at every celebration, let us just read what the prayers say. I will quote several sections, and place each within quotation marks, separating them by a double carriage return.

"On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took
bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and
gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body,
which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given
thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you:
This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you
and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink
it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore, according to his command, O Father,
(Celebrant and People)
We remember his death,
We proclaim his resurrection,
We await his coming in glory;

The Celebrant continues

And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you,
O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this
bread and this wine.

We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon
these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of
Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant. Unite us to your
Son in his sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through him,
being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In the fullness of time,
put all things in subjection under your Christ, and bring us to
that heavenly country where, with [_______ and] all your
saints, we may enter the everlasting heritage of your sons and
daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all
creation, the head of the Church, and the author of our
salvation."

"We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in
this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death,
resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the
Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new
and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully
receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy,
and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints
into the joy of your eternal kingdom."

"Lord, we pray that in your goodness and mercy your Holy
Spirit may descend upon us, and upon these gifts, sanctifying
them and showing them to be holy gifts for your holy people,
the bread of life and the cup of salvation, the Body and Blood
of your Son Jesus Christ.

Grant that all who share this bread and cup may become one
body and one spirit, a living sacrifice in Christ, to the praise
of your Name."

So - these words certainly indicate the Eucharist is looked on as 1) sacrifice, 2) sacrament, 3) Body and Blood of Christ, 4) becoming such after the invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiklesis) and the “words of institution.”

Now, that being said, these words indicate the nature of the Eucharistic beliefs of the church that uses the words, it does not address the issue of sacramental validity.

I think I’m about to run out of allowed amount of words per post, so I’ll continue in the next message :slight_smile:

Pax Christi


#15

but what follows is
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
**The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only
after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance
reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

It would seem that they do not intend to do what the Church does in confecting the Sacrament.

  1. Anglicans believe int the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, He is really there; his Body and His Blood! Transubstantiation, the Roman Catholic speculation which attempts to explain this mystery is to many Christians including the Orthodox not acceptable. We do not know how it happens, we know Christ is present and that is enough!

  2. Catholics do have it hard pressed to prove that even though it tastes and feel like bread and wine and has the molecular composition such… it has been COMPLETELY replaced by the Body and Blood of Christ. Not even St. Paul made such assertions and in the letter to the Corinthians he refers in the same paragraph to both, bread and the body of Christ.

QUOTE]
27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself

  1. Anglicans intend to do what Christ intended, what his Apostles taught us…that is not necesarily the same thing your Church now teaches.

Blessings

[size=2]Serafin [/size]


#16

… So - continuing from my previous post…

I did not and do not post my replies to this thread to argue against those who have quite clearly stated the position of the Holy Father and the Holy See on the validity of Anglican orders, and hence the validity of sacraments they may perform. I cannot improve, I think, on the clarity of what has already been said.

I can add, however, some comments about the concepts of valid and invalid sacraments.

I think many of us will recognize a common definition of a sacrament, in fairly non-thelogical words, that says “a sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” We probably agree that a sacrament must have appropriate “matter” (e.g. bread, wine), it must have the proper words or form, and it must have the intent - the intent to do what the Church does. It must also have a valid minister of the sacrament. All these things, when they come together, constitute validity for a sacrament, be it absolution, matrimony, Holy Orders, or the Eucharist.

I think we can all probably also agree that when a valid sacrament is performed, the intended “recipient” (language is so weak sometimes) is guaranteed to be objectively imparted a spiritual grace, so long as they are willing to receive it in good faith. I don’t think I’m TOO far afield in that statement. :slight_smile:

So a valid sacrament imparts grace. The essential effect of validity is to provide the person receiving the sacrament a guarantee, backed by the Church and all that she is and does and intends, i.e. that grace will be imparted. Guaranteed imparting of grace is provided by validity. Without validity, it isn’t the same, is it?

However, at least from what I have learned of sacramental theology, we are now at a point where we COULD get into trouble. :eek:

While the validity of a sacrament is a guarantee that the grace is there and is imparted, the invalidity of a sacrament is NOT a guarantee that there can be no grace. It is simply the removal of the surety, or the guarantee. To say it is a guarantee of the absolute absence of any grace is to limit the Holy Spirit, who, as we are taught, is not limited by our canons and can “blow where he wills.” The Church has never been in the business of saying where the Holy Spirit can operate and where he cannot. If God the Holy Spirit wishes to give grace to an individual for reasons and by processes unknown or not understood by the Church, God the Holy Spirit certainly can do that.

So - I do not advocate in favor of invalid sacraments. I merely advocate a better understanding of what valid and invalid means.

VALIDITY provides a guarantee of grace present and imparted by the sacrament.

INVALIDITY does not provide a guaratee of absence of grace, it means there is an absence of a GUARANTEE of grace. And there is a difference/ :slight_smile:

I hope this has helped those who have inquired about what the Episcopal Church believes regarding the Eucharist. Again, I’m not arguing validity. I’m only using quotes of their own Eucharistic prayers to hopefully provide an understand that is better than merely quoting frmo the “39 Articles” which, as well as being religious statements, were ALSO very much political statements designed to prevent a few more heads from rolling… but that’s another story :smiley:

I simply think that reading their own prayers that they pray in their Eucharistic celebrations provides a clearer indication of what they believe, whether we agree with validity of their orders and sacraments or not. From the wording of the Eucharistic prayers, it seems that if valid orders were possessed, there would be a valid Eucharist. But, as I said, I’m not arguing that - just hopefully presenting some insights to answer the original question about their beliefs.

BTW - “Episcopal” is the adjective - as in “Episcopal Church” or “Episcopal Prayer Book.” “Episcopalian” is the noun by which the person who is a member of that church is described.

Pax Christi!


#17

Servant1:

NiIce post , Thanks.

Serafin


#18

[quote=Katholikos]Even validly ordained Catholic priests cannot confect the Eucharist except in jurisdictions where they have the “faculties” granted by the local Ordinary (Bishop). And that power and authority can be withdrawn or suspended in a nanosecond.

[/quote]

Jay,
This is not correct, at least this is not what the Catholic Church teaches… A priest can confect the Eucharist at anytime anywhere… It is illict, but valid, when the priest does so publicly but has not been granted faculties by the local Bishop.

A priest of a religious order does not need faculties granted to him to celebrate the sacraments within his religious order inside of that bishops diocese, provided that they are not publicly celebrated but just for the religious order.

A priest also does not require faculties granted to celebrate privately.

As for what Anglicans (which Episcaplians are) believe about the Eucharist… It covers the whole range… High Church Anglicans believe in the real presence while the evangelical ones believe it is merely symbolic.


#19

[quote=ByzCath]As for what Anglicans (which Episcaplians are) believe about the Eucharist… It covers the whole range… High Church Anglicans believe in the real presence while the evangelical ones believe it is merely symbolic.
[/quote]

As a convert to Catholicism from the Episcopal Church, I have very much enjoyed the sophisticated discussion of the theological issues by Servant1 and others.

However, here is a practical example of how some Episcopalians view Real Presence: While assisting in the sacristy in the last Episcopal church I attended, I was instructed to pour the leftover consecrated wine back into the wine bottle, and to put the leftover consecrated hosts back into the container with unconsecrated hosts. This experience was pivotal and I was soon on a path that led into the Catholic church.


#20

[quote=arnulf]As a convert to Catholicism from the Episcopal Church, I have very much enjoyed the sophisticated discussion of the theological issues by Servant1 and others.

However, here is a practical example of how some Episcopalians view Real Presence: While assisting in the sacristy in the last Episcopal church I attended, I was instructed to pour the leftover consecrated wine back into the wine bottle, and to put the leftover consecrated hosts back into the container with unconsecrated hosts. This experience was pivotal and I was soon on a path that led into the Catholic church.
[/quote]

But as Byzcath suggests, the key word here is “some”. In my relatively Anglo-Catholic, moderately high parish, the Sacrament is reserved, the sacristy has a piscina, just as yours does (I presume), the Sacrament is reverenced in the Tabernacle, on the altar, and, as yesterday, in Benediction (Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Body). And no one save those validly ordained may touch or distribute the consecrated elements (i.e., no extraordinary ministers).

It is certainly true that the RCC has made a pronouncement on the validity of Anglican Orders (a subject that has a complicated history involving more than liturgical considerations), and any RC who fails to recognise that should be reminded of it. Which pronouncement affects most Anglicans no more than the pronouncement of Papal infallibility at VI.

The issue is long, complicated and, in my experience, a fruitless one to debate. The end remains the same; the RCC does not recognise the validity of Anglican Orders. For the history of the controversy, and for an exposition of the Anglican positions, there are many books available. The 2 authors I recommended in a previous thread are the best, IMO: Clark’s ANGLICAN ORDERS AND DEFECT OF INTENTION, for the RCC position, and Hughes’s ABSOLUTELY NULL AND UTTERLY VOID and STEWARDS OF THE LORD for the Anglican case (though Hughes is, in fact, an RCC priest, the first known to have been ordained sub conditione when he left the Anglican priesthood.

It is a sad subject. But Anglicans do not much concern themselves with it when at the altar rail (we still use that); only when we consider how one might proceed to a corporate union.

GKC

posteris traditus Anglicanus, Anglicanus Catholicus


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