Eucharist at Ecumenical worship

How is Eucharist consecrated and/or distributed at joint Ecumenical worship services celebrated by Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy. Is there one line for the "Protestant Jesus" and another for the "Catholic Jesus"?
«1

Comments

  • I assumed they would not celebrate the Eucharist, at least if the rules are being adhered to.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I certainly can't imagine an official celebration at which these two families were present. Basically the line is butt-out, Anglicans. Privately all sorts of things happen.

    Anglicans will tend to offer a more open invitation (either to "all" or "all the baptised") but RCs are meant to decline under their official understanding. Privately all sorts of things happen.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    (Sorry - failed to indicate that the above applies to other non-Rome-based faith communities, too. There are of course Anglicans who won't receive at a non-episcopal (not only non-Episcopalian/Anglican) eucharist).
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    My cathedral has a relationship with the Roman Catholic Cathedral. We have in the past offered joint services, whereby the RCs line up to receive communion from their priest, and we receive communion from ours. I don’t recall how the consecration actually happens, but nothing strange, liturgically speaking.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    I have been at services with a joint service of the Word but split Catholic and Protestant table, I have also been at a service where the RC priest consecrated at the service but the Protestants were served from the pre-sanctified. A Methodist minister, who was not present, had consecrated the hosts at the previous week's Protestant communion service and a URC elder acted as a eucharistic minister during the service. We were supposed to reverse the pattern the following year but for practical reasons that did not happen.
  • I have heard rumors of joint-Anglican-Roman Catholic masses with the congregations splitting at the offertory into different chapels. I have even heard that they timed the consecrations to occur at the same time. But I stress that these are rumors, and I have certainly not witnessed anything of the kind myself.

  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Well it’s not a rumor at my Anglo-Catholic cathedral. It’s a rather mundane fact. There’s a covenant between us and the Roman Catholic cathedral where we agree to do one joint service a year. The Roman Catholic bishop also gives the sermon once a year during evensong.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    the RCs line up to receive communion from their priest, and we receive communion from ours.
    This all goes to prove that ecumenism doesn't work … if we can't share communion then we don't share Christ

  • ECraigR wrote: »
    the RCs line up to receive communion from their priest, and we receive communion from ours.
    This all goes to prove that ecumenism doesn't work … if we can't share communion then we don't share Christ

    No, it just proves that ecumenism is an unfinished task. Much like every other aspect of building the Kingdom. If I may paraphrase Chesterton, ecumenism hasn't so much been tried and found wanting as found hard and not tried.

    That said, my own experience of joint services has been mixed. While at university the "Anglican and free church" chapel was home to one worshipping community and the Roman Catholic chapel (metres away in the same building) hosted another. We met together in the central concourse to begin worship each Sunday and had frequent joint services. If the RCs were leading then the service was the Mass and at the distribution the Anglican chaplain (I think having consecrated quietly, but I never enquired too closely) would head one distribution station and the RC chaplain another, with each of us encouraged to visit the other station for a blessing once we had received. If the Anglicans or Methodists were leading then the RCs would distribute from the reserved sacrament. In the vacations, when the RC chaplain was often the only one on campus, Eucharistic hospitality was explicitly extended to all. This has also been my experience on other occasions when I've been present at Mass and the Priest has known no Anglican priest is available.

    The Anglican chaplain also bent the rules somewhat by using grape juice as well as wine in deference to Methodist sensibilities.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host
    edited August 9
    A new Pew Center research survey has found that most Roman Catholics don't believe in transubstantiation – the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. A growing number, including clergy, hold that the bread and wine used in the Eucharist are merely symbols of the Body and Blood of Christ. If that is the case, many more joint Anglican/RC services should take on an ecumenical character.
  • Boothinfl wrote: »
    How is Eucharist consecrated and/or distributed at joint Ecumenical worship services celebrated by Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy. Is there one line for the "Protestant Jesus" and another for the "Catholic Jesus"?
    Flat answer is it isn't, for the simple reason that RCs don't recognise the validity of a CofE communion service, nor do they allow non-RCs to receive communion at a Mass.

    Of course there are going to be occasions when a lay person flouts the rules, but it is all unofficial.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I think it's more subtle than you "flat answer". If your beliefs concerning the Mass are those of a Catholic* and there is no service of communion reasonably available in your own church, you may receive. We have frequently done that when travelling in areas of Europe where Anglican services are few and far between. We have a chat with the local priest the day before and have always been welcomed.

    * Forthview says that you need to accept the entire teaching of the Catholic church. If that were so, surely in good conscience you'd have to join that Church and not remain a member of any other. That's not been our experience.
  • I've been a guest at a couple of RC masses where the ecumenical guests were rather explicitly boxed in a specific seating area with a couple of minders, apparently to ensure none of us made a bolt for the altar rail.

    My local Lutheran colleague, who doesn't shrink from digs at RCs, says "only Catholics could invite you to a meal in which you're not allowed to take part".

    Meanwhile I'm involved in the planning of an international conference run by an ecumenical organisation (with 'hospitality' for those of other faiths). We are planning to have an "agape breaking of bread".
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    ECraigR wrote: »
    the RCs line up to receive communion from their priest, and we receive communion from ours.
    This all goes to prove that ecumenism doesn't work … if we can't share communion then we don't share Christ

    That’s a big simplistic. RC communion is only open to those in communion with the RC. The Anglican church isn’t. They were all working on it at one point, but I’m not sure if that’s still the case.

    I recall one participant in these joint services telling me that invariably everyone got all mixed up, and ended up going in the wrong line, but of course they still received communion.

  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    By the 'entire teaching' of the Catholic Church I mean its teaching with regard to the eucharist. Few Catholics actually get bogged down in theological terminology and many would never have heard of the term 'transsubstantiation'. Nevertheless the Church still teaches that the term 'transsubstantiation' is a good way of describing the mystery of the eucharist.

    The 'entire teaching' of the Catholic Church can be summed up in the historic creeds.

    I believe in one,holy,catholic and apostolic church.

    After that it depends how one understands the 'one,holy,catholic and apostolic church.

    (I am equally sure that many members of the CofE have little idea of what is contained in the 39 Articles)
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    'Only Catholics would invite you to a meal in which you are not allowed to take part'

    But what if you don't like the food which is on offer - what if, as a non-Catholic, you do not believe that the food is what it claims to be ? what,if, as a non-Catholic, you could not see yourself accepting that food, as it implies accepting other things which you may even violently disagree with. (accepting Communion in a Catholic church implies accepting that the Catholic Church is what it claims to be).

    What about the common celebration of the Word ? Is that not, also for non-Catholics, an important part of the eucharistic meal and a part which can be fully shared amongst all the participants ?
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited August 9
    @Forthview There are several answers to that.

    The simplest is not to invite guests to something from which one is going to exclude other participants. The last time this happened to me was a mass held to commemorate the Notre Dame fire. I was seated on the front row in our local cathedral with representatives of other faiths plus representatives of secular local government. After a few words from the archbishop (some of which IIRC were rather pointed) and an organ recital, we were all given the opportunity to leave and were all but escorted off the premises before the "mass" part began.

    It strikes me it would have been better to invite us to something we could have taken part in all the way through, as we do at various interfaith events.

    When pretty much the same people are invited every year to an Iftar meal by the local Muslims,it's the latter who apologetically and briefly step out for prayers immediately prior to the actual meal, which is rather different. For the sung prayers at the meal itself, I'll happily be in prayer and say "amin" at the end. At the ecumenical week of prayer for Christian unity event, the ministers taking part traditionally enjoy a meal together immediately beforehand. Which is perhaps just as meaningful in terms of "breaking bread" as a formal mass, in many ways.

    Younger versions of myself might have baulked at going up to mass on reasons of theological principle. Public versions of myself might not do so in order not to cause offence either to principled catholics or members of my own faith community. But at heart, I'm a pragmatist. If there's an invitation to partake that is clearly not defined in terms of "by doing so you sign up to our beliefs / return to the fold", I'd probably do so.
  • Eutychus wrote: »

    My local Lutheran colleague, who doesn't shrink from digs at RCs, says "only Catholics could invite you to a meal in which you're not allowed to take part".

    Of course, the traditional reply to that would be that the mass is less a meal and more of a sacrifice. I stress that would be the traditional reply, because these days I think it would be rare outside of self-consciously traditionalist Catholic groups.

    But it certainly the case that there is a very long tradition in Catholic Christianity of treating the attendance at mass as something quite separate from receiving communion. The obligation remains to attend mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, not necessarily to receive communion then.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Of course 'breaking bread together' at a fellowship meal is a good way for Christians of differing confessions to be together and I am glad to do this with fellow Christians and indeed with those of other faiths , as ultimately we are all children of the one God. Our differences are due to our limited understandings but these differences are nevertheless real and they have to be respected ( and understood,as far as possible).

    I was not present at the Mass to commemorate the Notre Dame fire so cannot make any informed comment on it. However given the state of relations, as you often describe them, between Church and State in France ,it would seem to me eminently sensible to give the state representatives the opportunity to leave before the specifically Catholic rite began, as they might otherwise be construed to be unfaithful to their role as representatives of a secular state. It would also seem to me only common courtesy to accompany these people leaving to the door and I see no reason to describe it in terms which would indicate that they are being pushed out.

    The' problems' of non Catholics wishing to accept Catholic communion which they do not believe in is a fairly modern problem, as 50 years ago few non-Catholics would have wished to attend a Catholic Mass and receive Communion.

    Yes .that official refusal to give Communion to non-Catholics can be hurtful to those who are not Catholics, but there are many other difficulties in interconfessional relationships between Christians of differing confessions and understandings, some of which can be hurtful to believing Catholics.

    The important thing, at least in my estimation, is that we, if Christians, recognise the presence of Christ in our neighbours, whoever they are and show them respect whoever they are. That real presence of Christ has to be recognised in our neighbour as well as in the Sacred Host.

    Again I can make no informed comment on the 'rather pointed remarks' of the archbishop, but I do hope that he did not show any disrespect to the representatives of the state present nor indeed to the non-Catholic people of faith who attended the event.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 9
    Forthview wrote: »
    Of course 'breaking bread together' at a fellowship meal is a good way for Christians of differing confessions to be together and I am glad to do this with fellow Christians and indeed with those of other faiths , as ultimately we are all children of the one God. ... The important thing, at least in my estimation, is that we, if Christians, recognise the presence of Christ in our neighbours, whoever they are and show them respect whoever they are. That real presence of Christ has to be recognised in our neighbour as well as in the Sacred Host.
    This. And to realise that, in any Eucharistic context (even, I suggest, a Catholic one) there will be differences of belief among those who receive as to what exactly is "happening".

    It seems to me so sad (and a denial of the essential unity of the Church as a community of faith in Jesus) that some traditions exclude "non-members" from the Eucharist; or exclude their own members from the Eucharists of others on the grounds that they aren't the "real thing". I know that centuries of church history have passed, even with bloodshed ... but I just wish that any Christian could be offered and receive Communion in any church, without let or hindrance. If there is any excluding to be done, let it be the decision of the individual person present.
  • Amen.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Why celebrate joint eucharist in those circumstances?
    Very many other ways of praying together are available.
    Its like picking at a scar in the hope that it makes it better.
    Funerals and weddings provide overwhelming pastoral exceptions, I think.
    As a RC I would feel that I was profoundly disrespecting another church and its own sense of communion and understanding of the eucharist if I were to communicate at their table. I wouldnt dream of doing it.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    My son married a RC girl in the church she and her family attended regularly. For reasons I fail to understand, it was a nuptial mass.

    Nothing was said from the front, but nobody from my family took communion. One of my relatives is an Anglican priest,
    ( he was invited to preach) and another is a Methodist minister. All my family present were committed Christians of various persuasions but not RC. To be honest, we felt insulted, although nothing was said on either side.
    What a way to unite two families.

    In a similar way, to hold an ecumenical service in which not all are permitted to participate is offensive.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    it would seem to me eminently sensible to give the state representatives the opportunity to leave before the specifically Catholic rite began, as they might otherwise be construed to be unfaithful to their role as representatives of a secular state.

    As others have said, that's part of my point: it would be better to invite them (and the rest of us) to something that didn't include a specifically Catholic rite, as happens on other occasions.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    As a RC I would feel that I was profoundly disrespecting another church and its own sense of communion and understanding of the eucharist if I were to communicate at their table. I wouldnt dream of doing it.
    I am a Baptist minister; and I can assure you that my church (and most other Baptist churches, except those with a "closed communion" policy) would be delighted to welcome you to our table. Indeed, in our church we explicitly invite "those from this church, those from other churches, and those who do not have a church" to partake if they so wish.

  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I try not to think that others are excluded because what they do is not the 'real thing'
    However it is difficult to say that non-Catholic services are Catholic ones.The Catholic church concerns itself, as far as the sacraments are concerned ,with those who claim to be or who are of the household of the faith. The Catholic church can make no judgement on the sacraments as celebrated by others who do not consider themselves to be members of the Catholic Church. There should be no judgement on their validity for others ,nor no judgement on how well others follow what they understand as the message of Christ.

    As far as the family of puzzler is concerned I would like to think that the couple who married are happy. They obviously found a way to overcome religious differences.
    I am sorry if the family of puzzler felt offended, even although an Anglican priest was invited to preach at the wedding service. Could the other relatives, including the Methodist minister and the committed Christians not have been glad that the young couple were happy in their love and left the religious differences at that ?

    Simply pretending that there are no differences in the understanding of different Christian confessions doesn't make all difficulties go away.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Simply pretending that there are no differences in the understanding of different Christian confessions doesn't make all difficulties go away.
    Of course not!

  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I agree with much of what Baptist Trainfan has said. However even he puts a condition when he says that he wishes that any Christian should receive Communion without let or hindrance in any Christian church. He indicates that the person should share the Christian faith. Different Christian confessions have differing ideas as to what constitutes the Christian faith.

    What we have to be able to do is to live together, respecting but not necessarily yet sharing completely the views of others.

    In many ways the views of the Catholic Church are that only those of the household of faith should come forward (Yes there are a variety of interpretations amongst individual Catholics, BUT there is only one accepted version of what the eucharist signifies within the Catholic church).Although this is the teaching of the Church, my understanding is that those who come forward should not be turned away.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 9
    Forthview wrote: »
    I agree with much of what Baptist Trainfan has said. However even he puts a condition when he says that he wishes that any Christian should receive Communion without let or hindrance in any Christian church. He indicates that the person should share the Christian faith. Different Christian confessions have differing ideas as to what constitutes the Christian faith.
    You've slightly misunderstood me. Our Table is open to anyone although one would presume that the folk who would wish to partake (or, indeed, who would be present at the service) would profess some kind of Christian faith. It's up to them to decide whether to receive or not. We do say that people who have doubts or who are not sure about their faith are especially welcome.

    Perhaps thinking more of the Notre Dame context, I couldn't see us putting on a basically secular event and including Communion. Thinking too of the Catholic context, I think we'd have to have a long discussion if a couple requested Communion as part of their wedding service, unless it was specifically for the couple themselves with everyone else observing (and even that would be considered odd).

  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    At Taize (though it must be nearly 30 years since I went) they had a Catholic queue and a Protestant queue, though they weren’t very good at explaining which was which and I suspect a lot of people got the wrong one by mistake.

    I will admit to having received communion at a Catholic mass in the little cathedral in Brittany which we visit most summers. I’m not aware of an Anglican Eucharist anywhere near where we stay, and I’d consider myself far more in communion with the Catholic Church in Brittany than the local Protestant church (which I have also visited). Should we ever move to Brittany, which is sometimes tempting, I would probably convert, though I’ve no intention of doing so in the UK.
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Shipmate
    edited August 9
    Forthview wrote: »
    1. What we have to be able to do is to live together, respecting but not necessarily yet sharing completely the views of others.

    2. I try not to think that others are excluded because what they do is not the 'real thing' The Catholic church can make no judgement on the sacraments as celebrated by others who do not consider themselves to be members of the Catholic Church. There should be no judgement on their validity for others ,nor no judgement on how well others follow what they understand as the message of Christ.

    1. We cannot live together unless we share together that which is sacred to us all.

    2. The RCC does this all the time both privately and publicly. The other denominations have gone a long way towards accepting the RCC in ecumenical terms IME, whilst the RCC is frantically running further away.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    One day in Heaven when our limited understanding is replaced by the immediate presence of God then we will fully share all that is sacred to us.
    Meantime Exclamation Mark is more than welcome to share the fullness of the Catholic Faith here on earth.
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    A few years ago an ecumenical Choral Evensong was held here in honor of a very longtime bishop of our Episcopal diocese. It was in the largest Roman Catholic church in the neighborhood of the honored bishop's home parish. The officiant was one of the RC archdiocese's auxiliary bishops, the lectors were Episcopal priests, and the choir was a mixture of Roman Catholic and Episcopal parish members. A unique event, and it did honor the bishop as intended, although I think the reception afterward was more focused on that than the Evensong was (which is proper). Liturgically, it was somewhat lumpy, with the organ (prelude, especially), the Mag & Nunc, and the anthem being odd choices, grating on the ears, and too long and ornate, as though the choirmaster was not too familiar with the proportions of Evensong. One of our parish priests, who had come from the Church of England, said hello to me afterward and "That was the weirdest Evensong I've ever taken part in!" :) I agreed...not bad, and a good ecumenical event, but weird in ways hard to describe. I'm sure if joint RC/Episcopal Evensongs were held more regularly, they'd ease into a more natural pattern liturgically. Worth a try.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    By the 'entire teaching' of the Catholic Church I mean its teaching with regard to the eucharist.

    Thanks for the clarification, that's certainly as we have understood the position and honoured it. For example, we went recently to the local Catholic Church for Mass on Madame's father's anniversary. No Anglican service around here on that day, but we did not take as there would be at the bracketing Sundays. No need to put the parish priest at any risk when he has been so hospitable.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Sorry Gee D .I don't understand what you mean when you say 'we did not take as there would be at the bracketing Sundays' Can you explain for me ?
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Meantime Exclamation Mark is more than welcome to share the fullness of the Catholic Faith here on earth.
    Is this what you mean by "ecumenism"?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    The "at" should not have been there. What I meant was that we had been at the Eucharist at our regular church on the Sunday before and would be again at the following Sunday. We could scarcely say that there was no Anglican service available even it were not on the anniversary itself.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Was at Taize for the Sunday eucharist. It was celebrated by a visiting cardinal using the Taize liturgy. All communicated and all the brothers (presumable from may churches) acted as eucharistic ministers. It was deeply moving - 4000+ communicants from across the spectrum.
    But then Pope Bendydick gave Fere Roger communion at the funeral of the Polish pope didn't he?
    Probably Taize is the exception that proves the rule or something.
    Rumour is that Rowan Williams used to go to a French monastery on retreat and concelebrated. Rumours, though.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Eutychus - our colleague Exclamation Mark says that we cannot live together unless we share all that is sacred to us. If that is the case then I invite him to share fully all which I hold sacred. That is, however, not my idea of ecumenism.

    My idea of ecumenism as such is to respect the views which have been developed over the centuries by different groups, hoping that others will respect mine.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    My idea of ecumenism as such is to respect the views which have been developed over the centuries by different groups, hoping that others will respect mine.
    Then maybe you'll agree that putting something as non-negotiable (especially from a Catholic point of view) as the Eucharist at the focal point of an event to which non-Catholic guests are specifically invited is not a very good idea?

  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I agree that it is not a good idea to put people in an uncomfortable position.
    For Catholics the Mass is the source and summit of Christian worship. It is an integral part of the Christian Faith. It is, in my opinion, not wrong to invite others to participate in that worship if they feel comfortable doing so. Those who do not feel that they can participate should simply not participate. Are you ,in turn, advocating that Catholics should not celebrate Mass, for fear of offending those who are not Catholics ? Or are you advocating that Mass should be celebrated ,as it was centuries ago, only behind closed doors,with no-one admitted by paid up members ?

    Many of us will have been present at events, which can be secular or religious or even family events at which we cannot participate as fully as those who are intimately involved in the event. Hopefully we will, on those occasions, feel that we have been made as welcome as possible.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Sorry 'by' should be 'but'.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Are you ,in turn, advocating that Catholics should not celebrate Mass, for fear of offending those who are not Catholics ?

    I'm sure that isn't what EM is saying. But: it seems wrong to make Mass the focus of an event at which you know many people of other faiths and none will be attending.

    More to the point, if Mass is being celebrated at an ecumenical event, then it should be open for non-Catholics to partake, should they so wish. Equally Catholics should be able to partake if the celebrant is from another Christian tradition.
  • If the event is, as it were, a specifically, all-Catholic event, then I would be happy to be there as a spectator/guest, in much the same way as I would at, say, a buddhist act of worship.

    If, however, it's an event designed to underscore unity and inclusiveness, then I don't expect it to focus on something exclusive, but to accommodate those with different convictions.

    Otherwise, what @Baptist Trainfan said.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I attend a Catholic retreat house which many non Catholics visit. They celebrate a daily mass in their chapel which is included in the programme. And according to a Papal Encyclical non Catholics are not supposed to receive communion. But because they are very ecumenical they just don't ask you to state your denomination.

    In the service I noticed that the homily was followed by the scripture reading. Which I thought was odd and asked my spiritual director about. He explained that lay people were not allowed to preach sermons but they were allowed to give a Exhortation before the reading. So that is what they did so that visiting retreat leaders could address the retreatants.
  • That all sounds very accommodating and sensible!
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Catholics are not the only people guilty of this. I recall an ecumenical event back in the 1980s hosted by a Methodist church. Because they were Methodists, there were a lot of hymns, but ALL the ones they had chosen were Wesley ones that were almost wholly unknown outside specifically Methodist circles.
  • I've come across that (much more recently) in a very similar context .... which is why, on our Good Friday Walk of Witness, we stuck to the same few well-known hymns.

    But, if they'd had Communion, I presume it would have been made open to everyone.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Catholics are not the only people guilty of this. I recall an ecumenical event back in the 1980s hosted by a Methodist church. Because they were Methodists, there were a lot of hymns, but ALL the ones they had chosen were Wesley ones that were almost wholly unknown outside specifically Methodist circles.

    For many years, the hymns for our ecumenical Week of Prayer for Unity were unilaterally chosen from a section of the Catholic hymnal (I don't know which one) apparently dedicated to "Ecumenical hymns", on the assumption that since the Catholics had decreed them to be ecumenical, the rest of us must know them (matched only by the complete surprise when none of us did...). This has improved a lot lately, though.
  • Perhaps they weren't Ecumenical in the sense that "everyone knows them" but, rather, "about ecumenism and unity"?
Sign In or Register to comment.