Thursday, May 19, 2011
IS IT RIGHT FOR PROTESTANTS TO FEEL SLIGHTED BECAUSE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOESN'T ALLOW THEM HOLY COMMUNION WHEN THEY VISIT?
Our bishop was in town last night to celebrate Confirmation with about 48 of our 9th graders and four adults who had missed it over the years.
It was a lovely OF "Solemn Mass." Our full choir was there, the men's schola sang the "Vidi Aquam" at the Rite of Sprinkling, we had organ, trumpet and timpani.
We used the Mass of Creation except for "Took's, Mass of the Holy Trinity" Lamb of God.
It was lovely and I had kids, young adults and old people come up to me and say how moving the Mass was especially the singing. And yes the congregational singing was outstanding, led by our fine choirs under the direction of Ms. Nelda Chapman.
I love the OF Mass when it is celebrated well, with dignity and without gimmicks or theatrics.
Then this morning I find this in my email:
Dear St. Josephs church this night of May 18, 2011 when I was attending the conformation mass I was highly pleased when I felt welcomed when the Bishop said that once baptized all religions Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, ect. are all equal in the eyes of God. This made me feel like I was as equal as the rest of the people in the church since I am Methodist. He was highly hilarious with the questions of what their favorite salad dressing was. Then when it came time for communion I went forward since I have been confirmed already at my church. How sad it made me when I was asked if I was catholic then told that I did not have the same religious rights to take communion because I was not. I was denied bread and shown that I was not equal as the Bishop had said. I just wanted to tell you that as a 15 year old boy who praises Jesus just as well as any catholic person does I felt that my religious rights had been infringed upon and I don’t agree with the fact that any child of god should be denied communion especially if they have gone through conformation. I just wanted to say that I don’t agree with the Bishop being religionist to me after he says that we are all equal he made me feel like he was hypocritical to all that he said and why should I believe another word of it. I might have understood if he would have asked everyone that went to communion if they were Catholic but no my 12 year old sister and my dad all who are not catholic got to have communion as well this made me want to leave in the middle of church and it is extremely disappointing when a religious leader can be religionist to one person in a church just because he is not catholic. My beliefs and what the Bishop said tonight we are all one under God and I just don’t understand how you can go against God and you own word and have your actions show different.
A disappointed child of God
In some ways this email made me want to cry because this young 15 year old boy loves the Lord and is a practicing Christian and takes our Christian faith seriously. I am impressed that he emailed me! How many Catholic teenage boys would do that?
But therein lies the rub in our ecumenical days of dialogue. We haven't yet reached full communion with other Christians even for special occasions.
Also his point that he felt singled out in being asked if he was a Catholic (I presume he appeared to the bishop as not knowing how to receive in a Catholic Church) would have made any Protestant a bit angry when his other family members who are not Catholic were not asked and did receive Holy Communion.
At funerals and weddings, I usually say we can only invite those practicing Roman Catholics who are properly disposed to come forward and receive Holy Communion.
We did have a program for the Mass last night and I suspect I should have included a disclaimer about who can receive Holy Communion in it similar to what is found in many missalettes from the USCCB although our missalette does not contain it.
What do you think. I am impressed though with this young man's religious desire for Holy Communion and willingness to state his displeasure at what he perceived to be a slight.