Home / Videos & Events

Why Aren't All Christians Able to Receive the Eucharist?

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Comments

By Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC (Jul 9, 2012)
Why Aren't All Christians Able to Receive the Eucharist?

Answer: At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed to His Father that His followers would "be one" as He and the Father are one (see Jn 17:21-22). In fact, it is a scandal that all Christians cannot be united around the one table of the Lord because of the various divisions that have arisen in the Church in the last 2,000 years. However, we cannot simply gloss over these divisions as if they do not exist. When there is not a true unity of belief and practice, intercommunion would become a mockery of the unity we seek.

Various Churches and ecclesial communities are related to the Catholic Church in different ways. Intercommunion is permitted under certain circumstances with some Eastern Churches such as the Orthodox, who possess true Sacraments. These Churches are closely joined with us through apostolic succession, the priesthood, and the Eucharist (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1399).

However, the Church teaches that Protestant communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders" (Catechism, 1400). Eucharistic intercommunion is not possible with those communities. There are ongoing ecumenical dialogues with them that must always be based on truth.

Pope John Paul II taught, "The communion of the particular Churches with the Church of Rome, and of their Bishops with the Bishop of Rome, is — in God's plan — an essential requisite of full and visible communion ... of which the Eucharist is the highest sacramental manifestation" (Ut Unum Sint, 97).

Let us pray for the unity that Jesus so desires.

Father Joe Roesch, MIC, welcomes your questions. Send them to: Ask a Marian, Editorial, Eden Hill, Stockbridge, MA 01263, or email ask@marian.org.

Receive a free copy of Marian Helper magazine.

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Comments

Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

David - Aug 20, 2012

"When there is not a true unity of belief and practice, intercommunion would become a mockery of the unity we seek."

First, why must a firm belief of Transubstantiation be ultimately critical to the communion with one another in reverence of Christ?

Second, why would such a difference in interpretation (if a hard and fast opinion even need be had) as to whether the bread were Christ's body literally, figuratively or any other symbolic form be so offensive as to mock the unity of Christians?

Various beliefs of the Church were not always in agreement, and some have changed. And with that in mind, while we may have differences of opinions and beliefs, it should not get in our way of loving and honoring God/Christ, together.

It would seem to me, that all tables should be open not only to Christians but those who are open to learning about the Glory of Christ. Break bread together and honor Him as members of Christ's Church. Then we can discuss our differences and unresolved questions (be they those of individuals or those of divisions of the same overall Church) with mutual love and respect.

- David, a Christian.

ARG - Sep 6, 2012

I agree with Fr. Joseph Roesch.

To exlain why, let switch from Eucharist to a Car.

Most men I know like cars. So lets us assume that David created a special sports car with a new type of transmission that have never been invented before.

This car goes 0-60 in 2.7 seconds and 1/4 mile in 9 seconds.

We can both admit that David's car is special and only people trained by David should drive this car.

David will teach the new potential drivers how to drive this car as well as perform all the required maintenance etc.

In turn David's students will teach their students etc...sound famillar.

Now 3 years later someone not trained by David or his lineage got the car. DO you think that person will know how to drive it with that special transmission or know how to do the maintenance if not trained properly...ABSOLUTELY NOT.

The un-trained person will do an excellent job destroying that car of David and that will be disrespectful to David.

Hence that is the same with the Eucharist. Sure many Non-Catholic Churches have the Eucharist, but the training from the original source (Christ to the apostles and the apostles to the bishops etc -Apostolic Sucession) is missing.

Even though Protestant communities derived from the Reformation may have the bread and wine, that is NOT the Eucharist it is only bread and wine as the Spirit of Christ did NOT transform this into the body and blood due to the fact that the Protestant communities do know how to do the substance change since they were not trained. Remember that Christ said in Matt that "we must eat his body and drink his blood." So unless Transubstantiation exist and there is one unified belief then not all can share in the Eucharist as this is the highest honor we can recieve.

When we recieve the Eucharist, we must remember that we are in the presence of the kings or kings and he have accept us as friends and family. This is very serious stuff that one must speck in person to fully understand.

Nevertheless, these debates are healthy yet we must never forget that in all reality we must Love Jesus First and Believe with our Hearts and Confess with our mouths that Jesus the Christ is Yahweh and he will enlighten us to all the mysteries and questions that we would have such as the one about the Eucharist.

Michael - May 3, 2013

@ David: ""The communion of the particular Churches with the Church of Rome, and of their Bishops with the Bishop of Rome, is — in God's plan — an essential requisite of full and visible communion ... of which the Eucharist is the highest sacramental manifestation"
Pope John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, no. 97.

Communion with the Church of Rome in the person of the bishop of Rome is "critical to the communion with one another in reverence of Christ" or as Pope John Paul II put it, "an essential requisite of full and visible communion". The Eucharist "is the highest sacramental manifestation" of the communion with the Church of Rome in the person of the bishop of Rome. So it can't be reduced to some "difference in interpretation" regarding "Transubstantiation", although, no doubt, since the Eucharist is where we enter into communion with God, and in Him, with one another, to partake of communion with others when we are not in communion with them. Jesus prayed that we would all be one in Him, as He is one with the Father. Since we aren't one with them, as they are objectively not in communion with the Church of Rome in the person of the Bishop of Rome, then when we are not in communion with them, or rather, they are not in communion with us, to partake of the Eucharist together is to take the very source and summit of the Faith and tell a lie with it.