Skip to comments.Shared communion ban with non-Catholics reaffirmed
Posted on 03/15/2007 1:48:10 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
Pope Benedict XVI has reaffirmed a strict ruling forbidding eucharistic concelebration with ministries of non-Roman Catholic churches, while at the same time giving priests the go-ahead to revive Latin as the main language used during the church service known as the Mass.
"The celebration and worship of the Eucharist enable us to draw near to God's love and to persevere in that love," Benedict said in an apostolic exhortation entitled "Sacramentum Caritatis" ("The Sacrament of Charity"). The 131-page document, released by the Vatican on 13 March, is a summary of papal reflections on discussions at the 2005 World Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.
In his summary, the Pope restates his strong opposition to Catholics remarrying, and also asks priests to refrain from celebrating the Mass during weddings or funerals attended by non-practising Catholics.
"The Eucharist," Pope Benedict wrote, "implies full communion with the Church. This is the reason why, sadly, albeit not without hope, we ask Christians who are not Catholic to understand and respect our conviction, which is grounded in the Bible and tradition. We hold that eucharistic communion and ecclesial communion are so linked as to make it generally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive the former without enjoying the latter.
"Only in exceptional situations, for the sake of their eternal salvation, can individual non-Catholic Christians be admitted to the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation and the anointing of the sick," said the 79-year-old pontiff.
Quoting from "Sacramentum Caritatis", the Pope confirmed "the Church's practice, based on sacred scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church, signified and made present in the Eucharist."
The Pope also reaffirmed, "the beauty and the importance of a priestly life in celibacy as a sign expressing total and exclusive devotion to Christ and to the Church. Therefore I confirm that it remains obligatory in the Latin tradition." He added, "'I ask that future priests ... be trained to understand and celebrate Holy Mass in Latin, use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chants."
Church rules adopted after the Second Vatican Council of 1965 said that congregations wishing to celebrate Mass in Latin had to seek permission from Rome or their local bishops.
The Second Vatican Council and the abandonment of the traditional Latin rite led to a schism within the church led by Marcel Lefebvre, a French archbishop who was later excommunicated by the late Pope John Paul II for consecrating four bishops in violation of canon law.
What do you think? Is this statement issued in place of the Motu Proprio everybody's been talking about or is it an attempt to lay a little groundwork for said Motu Proprio?
Mass in Latin Doesn't bother me. With all the different Mass schedules offered on a given Sunday, it would be simple for a parish to just designate one of them as a latin Mass.
What bugs me is this whole thing about not celebrating the Eucharist during a Wedding if there are non-Catholics in attendance. My wife and I met in the Ctholic church and we had many non-Catholics at our wedding. And we celebrated the Eucharist. What the Pope is implying is that you deny the couple getting married (and their Catholic family in attendance) the Eucharist for the sake of a few friends who may not be Catholic but are there as well.
What's involved is understanding what you believe and why you believe it. Then act according to those beliefs and accept the positive and the negatives that come with it.
You've done more educating the world in Catholicism lately than most frequent Catholic posters.
If you have any questions, just ask.
This article serves as an excellent springboard for a discussion of infused vs imputed righteousness, and the Eucharist's role in that infusion. In fact, that was the main reason I posted it - it's difficult to understand the ban without understanding how the Eucharist works (in the Catholic view, anyway).
Would you do the honors, and kick off the discussion by providing the Catholic understanding on the matter?
We infuse, don't impute, food.
However, the closed communion is a function of the commonality of belief, not a statement on righteousness of the communicants. The Doctor comes to the sick.
Good. People who don't agree on essential points of doctrine, including the nature of the Eucharist, shouldn't share Communion, because they are not "in union."
When my children visit their grandparents, I tell them to go to the Presbyterian church, say the prayers, sing the hymns, and say, "Nice to meet you!" to all the people. I tell them not to take communion, if it's Communion Sunday, because we are not members of their church.
I think this is simple good manners for anyone attending a service in a church where he is not a member.
Unless it's a Catholic church, attended by a Catholic who's a member in another Catholic church.
In this regard, I would like to call attention to a pastoral problem frequently encountered nowadays. I am referring to the fact that on certain occasions for example, wedding Masses, funerals and the like in addition to practising Catholics there may be others present who have long since ceased to attend Mass or are living in a situation which does not permit them to receive the sacraments. At other times members of other Christian confessions and even other religions may be present. Similar situations can occur in churches that are frequently visited, especially in tourist areas. In these cases, there is a need to find a brief and clear way to remind those present of the meaning of sacramental communion and the conditions required for its reception. Wherever circumstances make it impossible to ensure that the meaning of the Eucharist is duly appreciated, the appropriateness of replacing the celebration of the Mass with a celebration of the word of God should be considered.The "brief and clear way to remind those present" is something like a word from the priest (or a note in the program) that those who are not practicing Catholics should not receive communion - or that they may, as most parishes say, come forward for a blessing.
Vatican II never forbad the use of Latin in the Mass. It allowed for the use of the vernacular with the approval of the local bishop. The Novus Ordo may be celebrated in Latin without permission. Permission must be granted to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. The language is not the issue.
We reject attempts to interpret John 6, and the references to the body and blood of Christ in Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22 Luke 22:19 in any less than literal sense (e.g. as symbolic representation of Christ or a reference to the teaching of Christ), as we don't see such interpretations agreeing with the plain scripture.
Further, from the analogy to the manna of heaven, we derive that the Eucharist is something to sustain us along our journey of this life and toward everlasting life ("the children of Israel ate manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land", Exodus 16:35). We are also mindful of the words of Christ "that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill" (Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31). For this reason we see the role of the Church similar to that of a hospital, where the sinner comes to become whole, -- rather than a courthouse where he is declared guilty or innocent.
Finally, we look at 1 Corinthians 11:20-30 where we discover that the Eucharist is to be taken in full and clean conscience: "he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord". It is therefore to the benefit of the follower of Luther that he, his belief in the Real Presence absent or deficient, not present himself to the communion. For the somewhat similar reason the Eucharist is not to be received by Catholics who have consciousness of mortal sin, as again, their act of communion would betray the fact of objective separation from Christ.
The Orthodox communion would be possible on the above grounds as their eucharistic theology does not differ from ours; in their case we simply ask them to follow the instruction of their bishops, and as soon as their bishops allow intercommunion, we would extend it to them automatically.
The remarriage is, of course, a totally different and much simpler issue. The Church allows divorce for prudential reasons, primarily for habitually adulterous or abusive marital situations. However, once a marriage is validly consummated, one cannot remarry, as Christ said "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her" (Mark 10:11-12, similar in Luke 16:18). Some read the exception in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:19, "except it be for fornication", as allowing for remarriage after a divirce resulted from adultery. This is not the Catholic reading, as more naturally the text makes the exception for the divorce only, but not for remarriage, and our reading is consistent with the other two gospels where it is mentioned. Therefore, unless the failed marriage can be annuled on the grounds of a defect at its inception, the remarried couple is in adulterous relationship. They cannot receive the Eucharist unless they separate and lead chaste lives, just like any serious sinner who displays no purpose of amending his sinful ways.
One misconception is that annulment is "Catholic divorce". It is not, -- as unfortunate as it may be for many distressed marriages, it is only a defect at the inception of the marriage that can be grounds for annulment. Such defects are in all cases the absence of ability or intent to consummate a sexual union open to procreation. Examples are prior obligations such as monastic vows, mental incapacity, or lack of understanding of the lifelong and procreative character of marriage. It is, sadly, true that the serial-marriage contraceptive mentality of the secular world tends to produce invalidly conceived marriages in great number, and the number of annulments granted in the West is very high for that reason.
Calgary -> Calvary
Thank you so much for these two threads about Pope Benedict!! It proves that the Pope is doing the right things!! Nice to read!!
I don't think that was what was met at all!!
He's talking about marrying NON-PRACTICING Catholics that want to be married and buried in the Church and that's the only times they go!!
Unless I'm mistaken, I thought that there is an exception for the Orthodox.
It's confusing on the Orthodox. I can't remember if Catholics can receive communion in an Orthodox Church (if absolutely necessary), but not the other way around, or the other way around.
When Anoreth and I attended a Greek Orthodox devotion last year, there was no communion, so we didn't have to get it straight!
I know that Pope Benedict (and I believe JP2) has celebrated masses with the Orthodox and I know that we may receive Communion in an Orthodox church if a Catholic mass is unavailable, but the meaning of that is vague. I'm not sure whether the Church allows the Orthodox to take communion at a Catholic mass, but I would think the policy would go both ways.
**Pope Benedict XVI has reaffirmed a strict ruling forbidding eucharistic concelebration with ministries of non-Roman Catholic churches, while at the same time giving priests the go-ahead to revive Latin as the main language used during the church service known as the Mass. **
Wow! Two things in one sentence!
I read this the same way you did. Our daughter married in November. He was raised in the Methodist church, but converted prior to marrying our daughter. It was a matter of great import to them to have the Eucharist on that day, even when half of the church was filled with her husband's non-Catholic family (not to mention the friends on both sides).
I hope to learn that we have mis-read this.
Do either of you know the actual rules regarding the Orthodox?
Thank you for the post to this thread. You may find this informative.
Last year, I stumbled upon the following series of articles and posted them to the forum. In case you missed it, .....
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholilcs. I learned so much from that series.
wagglebee, the section of the missalette which denotes those who can partake in Holy Communion says something like "those belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East, Orthodox Churches, and Polish National Churches are urged to respect their own diciplines, however the magesterium does not object to members of these churches receiving Holy Communion". I think, but I'm not sure, that the Assyrian Church of the East and the Orthodox Churches don't allow their members to receive Communion in Latin Rite churches and I don't know about the Polish National Church. To my knowledge, the Orthodox Churches do not allow Latin Rite Catholics to receive Communion in their Church. I'm not sure what they, the Orthodox, think about Eastern Rite Catholics. I hope somebody corrects me if I got anything wrong!
Thanks, I know that there is something in the Catechism about it, but I never paid much attention to it.
I take it then one can't give one's self bread and wine in remembrance of Christ, personally, because it would be meaningless?
What I see is the requirement that caution be used at a gathering at which the priest knows that a large number of people should not be admitted to the Eucharist. The priest should warn folks not to receive -- and failing that (i.e. if the priest doesn't give a clear warning or if the bride or groom or their parents would be embarassed at same and don't want him to) consider not having a Mass.
This avoids the sort of scandal they had when then-President Clinton and the missus sashayed up to the altar and took Communion in a Catholic church (in Africa?). Had the priest cautioned the congregation, they couldn't claim they didn't know (or, worse, that they'd been invited!)
This is exactly the procedure in our parish anyway -- at a wedding or a funeral the priest steps forward before Mass begins and reminds the assembly that only Catholics in good standing should receive and that everyone else can be blessed if they like. And when a Catholic marries a Protestant, they don't have a Nuptial Mass . . . since the non-partner can't receive.
Sis married a Greek Orthodox in a Catholic wedding and they both received communion.
1. Catholics don't believe that it is merely "this symbolic ritual." The Eucharist is the eternal Sacrifice offered on Calvary, and the bread and wine are miraculously changed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Christ.
2. If one doesn't believe this, he should not participate in a Catholic Eucharist, because he is acting a lie.
3. Receiving is also a statement of solidarity and conformance to all the beliefs of the Church. If one doesn't believe this, he is not only acting a lie but causing a public scandal.
4. Christ indeed gave this power - as well as, even more explicitly, the power to forgive or retain sins - to His disciples. That power is transmitted by the laying on of hands and receiving of the Holy Spirit in the process of ordination. So you are correct on that point, it is a royal priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek.
5. Of course one can give himself communion . . . if one is a priest!
Receiving Communion from onself (autocommunion) is contrary to the Catholic faith.
One way to look at the Eucharist is to imagine that a sort of "wormhole" in space and time opens up when the priest says "This is my Body" and "This is my Blood". Instantly, we are present at Golgotha in AD 33, witnesses (via the imaginary time warp) at the one and only Crucifixion of Christ, receiving (via the imaginary time warp) the one and only Body and Blood of the Lord. As we receive the Eucharist, we see, feel, and taste the physical and chemical accidents of "bread" and "wine" -- wheat, water, alcohol, etc. -- just as the Apostles did at the Last Supper, but what we are really and truly consuming is nothing else but the actual Flesh and Blood of Our Lord.
You misunderstand what the Pope has written.
This is very similar to the explanation I use with my 5th grade students. "Time is very complicated; if any of you ever earns a PhD in Physics, you're welcome to come back to my class and explain it more clearly to all of us!"
Of course, this is a judgment call, as a personal matter. We, as Catholics, have a different understanding of communion than Presbyterians do, so to me it makes sense not to receive communion in their church. I didn't receive communion in the Presbyterian church until I had been confirmed in that church. Since my children haven't been confirmed in the Presbyterian church, they shouldn't receive communion there.
In addition, a simple rule ("Don't receive communion when you go to church with Grandmama.") with a simple reason ("It's not good manners.") eliminates theological arguments :-).
A Christian cannot live without the Eucharist, Benedict XVI writes. In it, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom...
You know I am wondering on this funeral component. Here's why and for example. I have a 94 year old aunt that is too feeble to go to mass. She went every day as long as she was able. She watches every day on the tv and when not watching ewtn is praying the rosary so are we saying that she cannot have a funeral mass. That hardly seems correct does it?
I think yours is definitely misleading reading of the statement.
Also, if you wish, check with your parish about how they minister to house bound folks and the Eucharist..
I think you are misreading it. The Catholics attending who are in a state of Grace may receive, and the non-Catholics may not. The same way it has always been, or supposed to have been.
Non-Catholic are invited to come forward for a blessing from the priest.
The elderly who are feeble are exempt from many obligations. Your aunt is probably more pleasing to God than the rest of us.
Does anyone fully understand the Eucharist? It's a mystery that can't be understood by us mere mortals.
The proper procedure (yes, the Pope is incorrect) is to allow the priests to exercise discretion in distributing Eucharistic elements to non-Catholic Christians.
NOBODY HAS A RIGHT TO RECEIVE COMMUNION- this applies to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Unfortunately, a blanket policy such as the one discussed in this article gives the impression that those persons who are officially Roman Catholic have the right receive regardless of what they do the rest of the week (ahem Ted Kennedy) whereas those who are good and faithful Christians have no business at the Table.
Does Billy Graham espouse the same Eucharistic theology as the Pope? Not likely. Should it matter? Why? The Holy Spirit makes bread and wine into what He makes it- regardless of what we mortals think. The world is round regardless of those who once thought it to be flat. The body and blood or Christ is nourishing to all people who know and love Him, and It is spiritual poison to those who despise Him.
The clergy should be permitted to exercise caution when distributing to Roman Catholics and extreme caution when distributing to other Christians (remember, Pope John Paul II personally served Communion to PM Tony Blair).
Of COURSE your aunt will have a funeral MASS!! Are you a Catholic? If so, you don't know too much about your religion.
That is absolutely true. We can describe the great mysteries of our Faith, such as the Trinity, using the words we've been taught, but fully understanding them is beyond our capacity at this stage of our lives.
"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then, face to face. Now I understand in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood."
Please note that nowhere in the scriptures does Jesus indicate that the salvation of souls and eternal life is reached by eating the bread and drinking the wine. He said to do it in remembrance of Him.
Someone who has not sworn fealty to the Catholic church can't take communion in remembrance of Jesus and be recognized as doing so by Christ?
If one acknowledges that the written testimonies are true and divinely inspired, then anything else inserted that was not written must conform to that which is written.
Attributing bad motives to others falsely is a sin.