Re: Conflicts, contrasts or differences between Catholics and Protestants in Great Britain

In message <e80fh3-gah.ln1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Adam Funk <a24061@xxxxxxxxx> writes
On 2006-04-18, Michael J Davis <?.?> wrote:

We (Anglicans) usually seem to manage with the altar rails. Normally
the celebrant distributes the wafers and two ministers follow with the
chalice, each covering alternate communicants. (If the altar rails
are wide, there may be two and four people, respectively,

Yes, I know. (I confuse them by asking for a blessing, which I receive
from the wafer distributor, and then have to dodge the chalice bearers!)

Some but not all Anglican churches (possibly the bigger ones, or the
ones that attract more visitors) have a note in the service book or
leaflet telling you to bring it with you to the chancel to indicate
that you want a blessing rather than Communion.

I understant that RC priests aren't supposed to give Communion to
non-RC Christians (assuming that they can identify them). Are RC
Christians not allowed by the RCC to receive Communion in other
Christian churches either?

Er, the priest is not expected to police the Eucharist, but should give it freely to those who come in good faith. (Occasionally someone may come forward 'to make a point', which to my mind would not be in good faith.)

The official line (well documented in one of John Paul 2's last encyclical's "Ecclesia de Eucharistia"[1]) is that our coming together for the Eucharist is the final celebration of our unity. Meanwhile there is so much we could be doing together. Consequently, the answer is 'no' - we shouldn't partake in what we do not share in common (and that means a common understanding of what the Eucharist is).

As an Ecumenical Catholic - I am saddened - even though I understand the teaching, but I go forward for a blessing at, say, an Anglican Eucharist. - It reminds me of what we ask others to do.

I'd make two further points, (i) I remember being with the late Cardinal Basil Hume and Archbishop George Carey at a mass and an Anglican Eucharist (different days) when each went to the other for a blessing. It was most moving. I don't think the Lord lets us go short of grace when we show such humility.

(ii) We need to remember that many RC's are not able to receive communion in their own church. I think mainly of those who are in irregular marriages (eg married to someone who is divorced but whose previous spouse is still living), but there are other reasons. These people also suffer the pain of separation from the Eucharist. In such circumstances, I could imagine the situation where someone from another church who is divorced and remarried (etc.) receiving in an RC church (because they are able to in their own denomination), while the 'innocent' RC is not able to.


[1] If you really want to get a feeling for the power of the Eucharist as seen by Catholics - then I really do recommend this document. It's not that difficult to read and includes such statements as St Ephrem's "he who eats it with faith, eats Fire and Spirit"! Naturally I was hoping that we might see a crack regarding sharing with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it comes down quite firmly against that.

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Michael J Davis
For this is what the Lord has said to me,
"Go and post a Watchman and let
him report what he sees." Isa 21:6