Skip to comments.Greek island without a Catholic church on Sunday (Fr. Z responds)
Posted on 05/23/2013 10:59:17 AM PDT by NYer
From a reader:
we will be on a Greek island without a Catholic church on a Sunday:
can we attend the Greek mass and/or receive the Sacrament?
You can, and I think should, attend the Greek Divine Liturgy if attending a Catholic Mass is not possible. The impossibility of attending a Catholic Mass in a Catholic church or chapel that day absolves you of your obligation (no one is bound by law to do what is impossible).
Even though you can’t fulfill your canonical Sunday obligation, and therefore you are absolved of that obligation, you still have an obligation in natural law to worship God.
Since the Liturgy of the Greek Church is valid and reverent, you can surely fulfill your natural law obligation than to worship with the Greek Orthodox Church.
As to the reception of Holy Communion, can. 844 §2 states,
“whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.”
Therefore, it is possible, from the Catholic perspective, to receive. However, the Greek Orthodox Church may differ!
As I understand it, the Orthodox do not entirely agree with us on this principle. They will not, as I understand it, administer the Eucharist to non-Orthodox congregants. In other words, we say we may receive from them, but they say they will not give to us.
Out of respect for their law and practices, it would probably be best not to approach to receive Communion.
You have, instead, the opportunity to make a Spiritual Communion.
Use Communion time to pray, not only for the unity of our Church, as Christ Himself willed, but also for all those who should not receive the Eucharist, perhaps because of irregular marriage situations or even the lack of a priest for their parish.
And I’ll just say it again:
Benedict XVI was the Pope of Christian Unity.
As usual, interesting comments at the link.
Hanks for this. Very interesting.
I would add that the best bet would be to politely approach the Greek Orthodox priest a day or two prior to the service, and ask for their advice and consent.
In effect, it is diplomacy, that will likely be well received and appreciated, as is a polite guest to your home. Clergy prefer not to turn away those seeking spiritual comfort, as this is against their purpose. As well, he may want to consult his library and peers to avoid error.
Such small efforts can often lead to considerable good feeling, acceptance and appreciation. The priest may also feel a need to calm and teach his regular congregants as to the courtesies of the faithful. The Roman church is not an enemy to the Greek church, they are sisters in the faith.
I would add that this would be an opportunity to appreciate the Eastern Orthodox liturgy. Perhaps, such a visit might kindle the interest in a Eastern-Rite Catholic Church, such as for example a Melkite Church, which is in full communion with Rome.