Why can't my Protestant brothers and sisters receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church? Wouldn't that be a sign of Christian unity?
The reason we have the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and ecumenical dialogue is that Christians are not unified. The Great Schism began the first major division or "disunity" and the Protestant Reformation was the second. There have been smaller and larger divisions along the way to this day.
The reception of Holy Communion is the clearest sign and symbol that we are in unity with our Lord, the Church He founded and those He has placed to guide and lead His Church, namely the Pope and bishops who are the successors of St. Peter and the other apostles. Complete unity, which receiving Holy Communion implies, is that we believe the same things as well, not only about the Most Holy Trinity, but also about Sacred Scripture and Tradition, the seven sacraments and Christian morality. Orthodoxy in other words (right teaching) must always lead to ortho-praxis or (right practice) of the Faith.
We are far from the unity that being one in Christ implies. Being one in Christ implies being in Full Communion with Him, which receiving Holy Communion is the clearest sign. Therefore let us pray for the full, visible and corporate unity that our Lord desires. Let us not make Holy Communion a gimmick to make it look like we are unified. Your thoughts?
I am in complete agreement with you on this subject Father.
I'm kind of uncomfortable whenever I hear the explanation that Holy Communion is a "sign" or "symbol". Not because it isn't true, but because it is a deficient explanation that tends to reinforce the modernist perception that perhaps there is no Real Presence, but instead the Host is merely a symbol.
Catholics are not the ones who left the Church. There is no unity with Protestants until they become Catholics.
It is ridiculous for Protestants (or even some poorly formed Catholics) to insist that Protestants receive Holy Communion when there is so much that disqualifies them from receiving: They do not recognize the authority of the Pope. They do not recognize the authority of the Magisterium. They do not obey Church law (yes, I know, neither do many Catholics nowadays). Many of them believe that the Eucharist is just a "symbol" and that Mass is merely a "meal" and not a sacrifice (hat tip to Archbishop Bugnini).
Of course, none of us are worthy to receive Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, but Catholics are at least part of the family. The rest are the prodigals who only want to return home on their own terms.
extra ecclesiam nulla salus
It would be a tremendous mistake for the Church to make any further compromises with Protestantism. The Church recognizes the Baptisms of most of the Protestant denominations (except for the sects), and She fully accepts them as legitimately worshipping ecclesial communities. That is fair and right...it is also enough.
Protestantism is in moral, theological, and doctrinal free- fall. There is no Papal authority and no Magisterium to prevent this. Where is the bottom...is there one?
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