Was Constantine XI justified in taking communion?


#1

Legend is that before his final battle defending Constantinople from the Ottoman empire, he took communion and then ran out to die in battle.

Was he right in taking communion, with the full intent of then going out to kill? Maybe you can justify that by saying he was defending his people, but what about if a Catholic king were to take communion before assaulting an enemy’s city or something?


#2

I would think that he was literally making his peace with God , knowing that he might fall in battle.

Certainly if all people were devout Christians (in a perfect world), then there would be no wars and killing like that, but isn’t that a naive and oversimplified ideal?


#3

From what I have heard it is not uncommon for soldiers and police officers to receive the Sacraments (esp Communion and Penance) before they go on duty, especially when danger is expected.


#4

It is not at all uncommon for chaplains to give communion to troops about to go into battle – I myself have received communion on the battlefield.


#5

That’s a separate question. If the war was unjust, then it would be right in my opinion for the Church to refuse communion. In fact, one of the things I admire about the Catholic Church is that it’s almost the only Christian church I can imagine actually doing something like that . . . .

But a purely defensive war against a ruthless enemy both of your nation and of your religion is pretty clearly justified, in my opinion, and I’m confident that this is also the teaching of the Catholic Church.

It is actually very common for soldiers to receive communion before battle, and Catholic chaplains give communion before battle all the time.

Edwin


#6

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