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Year of Faith!

US Catholic promotes reception of Protestant “communion”? Fr Z really rants.

Father battling cancer sees his 14 children as ‘incredible gift’

The 5 most pathetic words: "I am a pro-choice Catholic" --->

St. Luke, Pray for Us!

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    I understand the position of the Church on intercommunion between Protestant and Catholic services. On the other hand, most Protestants and all Catholics have received valid Baptism, and, as such, are members of the priesthood of the faithful.

    Is it the fault of any sincere Protestant that he/she does not know or accept the tradition of the Catholic Church as regards this matter? I wonder how cognizant the Apostles were at the Last Supper of the mystery of the Eucharist, or how aware a child of seven is of what the Eucharist means. They have barely become self-aware, much less able to comprehend what a mystery is. I've had children who received their First Communion ask how Jesus could fit inside of a host. Growth in understanding what the Eucharist really is may take a lifetime.

    Yes, many Protestants believe only in the symbolic presence of Christ in their communion service and some denominations reserve their memorial service to rare occasions.

    Christ prayed at the Last Supper that all be one. How is His prayer to be answered if we "protect" the Sacrament from Protestants? Christ must ache to be united fully with Protestants in the Eucharist. As a Catholic, I am embarrassed to read the missalette's exclusion of Protestants from receiving Christ.

    Perhaps a better approach to intercommunion would be left to the conscience of the individual, on either side of the denominational aisle...and codified in the canon law of the Church whose mandate it is to assist the fulfillment of Christ's prayer for unity.

    As to Father Z's comments, I cannot see Christ using his language.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    I find it of interest that while Trent proclaimed that defined that the seven sacraments of the New Law were instituted by Christ (Sess. VII, can.i), the council did not define explicitly and formally that all the sacraments were instituted immediately by Christ.

    For example, there is no scriptural reference that Peter or any of the Apostles were baptized before the reception of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. There is no scriptural reference that Christ used any ritual to forgive Peter's betrayal before receiving the Eucharist again after the Resurrection. There was no widespread use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the early Church, although the Council of Trent declared that Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance after His Resurrection. An interesting timeline of the use of the sacrament can be found at

    The reason I bring all of this up is that if Protestants were allowed to receive the Eucharist by reason of their conscience and belief in the Real Presence, what about baptized Protestants who had committed serious sin. Would they need to utilize the Sacrament of Penance before reception of the Eucharist as Catholics are required? Or would a simple act of contrition suffice?

    Developed as the Catholic Church's canon law is today, how inhibitive is it for Protestants who crave union with Christ?

    I realize that allowing Protestants to receive the Eucharist with a simple act of sorrow for past sins would tend to break down Church discipline. However, would it not allow Protestants to feel welcome at the renewal of the Last Supper, instead of being told in effect, that they are not allowed intimate union with Christ in the Eucharist?

    Again, as to Fr. Z's rants, why would anyone want to be Catholic after reading his diatribal explanations of canon law?

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    I would like it understood that in my two above replies that I am not interested in challenging current canon law regarding intercommunion. What I am interested in is furthering discussion about the issue.

    In 1967, the Ecumenical Directory was issued by the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. You can view the entire document at

    What interests me is the following:

    56. Ecumenism calls for renewal of attitudes and for flexibility of methods in the search for unity. Account must also be taken of the variety of persons, functions, situations and even of the specific character of the particular Churches, and the communities engaged with them, in the search for unity. Consequently, ecumenical formation requires a pedagogy that is adapted to the concrete situation of the life of persons and groups, and which respects the need for gradualness in an effort of continual renewal and of change in attitudes.

    57. Not only teachers, but all those who are involved in pastoral work will be progressively formed in accordance with the following principal orientations:

    a) Knowledge of Scripture and doctrinal formation are necessary from the outset, together with knowledge of the history and of the ecumenical situation in the country where one lives.

    b) Knowledge of the history of divisions and of efforts at reconciliation, as well as the doctrinal positions of other Churches and ecclesial Communities will make it possible to analyse problems in their socio-cultural context and to discern in expressions of faith what is legitimate diver- sity and what constitutes divergence that is incompatible with Catholic faith.

    c) This perspective will take account of the results and clarifications coming from theological dialogues and scientific studies. It is even desirable that Christians should write together the history of their divisions and of their efforts in the search for unity.

    d) In this way the danger of subjective interpretations can be avoided, both in the presentation of the Catholic faith and also in Catholic understanding of the faith and of the life of other Churches and ecclesial Communities.

    e) In so far as it progresses well, ecumenical formation makes concern for the unity of the Catholic Church and concern for communion with other Churches and ecclesial Communities inseparable.

    f) It is implicit in the concern for this unity and this communion that Catholics should be concerned to deepen relations both with Eastern Christians and Christians in communities issuing from the Reformation.

    g) The method of teaching should allow for the necessity of progressing gradually. Such a method makes it possible to distinguish and distribute the questions to be studied and their respective contents in the various phases of doctrinal formation, taking account also of the ecumenical experience of the person concerned.

    I made my observations in the two replies above based not only Christ's call for unity at the Last Supper, but on our need as Church to deepen relations both with Eastern Christians and Christians in communities issuing from the Reformation, as stated above in subsection "f".

    Granted that this will take's approaching fifty years since Vatican II, which attempted, more than any other ecumenical council, to further ecumenical progress toward unity.

    At the end of Vatican II's Decree on Ecumenism, there is an as-of-yet unfulfilled hope expressed in par. 24:

    "It is the urgent wish of this Holy Council that the measures undertaken by the sons of the Catholic Church should develop in conjunction with those of our separated brethren so that no obstacle be put in the ways of divine Providence and no preconceived judgments impair the future inspirations of the Holy Spirit."

  • Thanks for sharing Mr. Hahnenberg.

    As a convert to the Catholic Faith I read the back of the missalette on quite a few occasions. In many ways I think reading it helped me want to learn the differences between Lutheran and Catholicism. If I would have just gone to communion, I'd be nervous to see where I'd be today. Would I have converted? Or would I have been content getting communion and being a good person sorry for my sins?

    I read through the document you linked to above and to me it seems like we're supposed to learn our Catholic Faith and use the Sacraments to promote unity, but never forgetting along the way our Catholic Tradition and Teachings.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    Jeremy...As you can tell, intercommunion is one of my hopes for the Church. It won't happen in my lifetime for sure. I think as a former Lutheran you might have become interested sooner in the Catholic belief in the Real Presence if you had been welcomed to receive. You might want to do some reading in the development of the sacraments in early Church history. We've temporarily put ourselves in a box as Church, excluding the one sacrament for Protestants that Christ at the Last Supper heralded as the unifying occasion for grace.

    I respect and obey current canon law, but as a theologian with qualifications to speak on this subject (Par 57, sec. a, of the above 1967 document), I am free to voice my opinion.

  • I can tell, but I still don't understand why you would hope that. These two articles talk about the reasoning behind not offering intercommunion.

    It seems to be both articles answer why being in Communion with the Catholic Church should be the only way to receive Holy Communion.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    Jeremy...I AM TOTALLY AWARE OF WHAT IS IN YOUR LINKS. You didn't have to reiterate what I already know. My point is that the Holy Spirit can move the Church toward unity through the Eucharist. Remember, Christ's prayer for unity will not go unanswered. Just as the Fourth Lateran Council (1215)required in the absurd Canons 78, 79 that Jews and Moslems wear a special dress to enable them to be distinguished from Christians, so too I trust the Holy Spirit will eventually guide the Church to allow ALL validly baptized Christians to receive the Eucharist.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    One more thought...since Fr Z, who is just plain mean, pulled up the canon laws regarding intercommunion, I offer this: Canon 1752, the last in the book, observes..."the salvation of souls, which is always the supreme law of the Church." How depriving believing, baptized Christians from the Eucharist if they are properly disposed works toward the salvation of souls makes much sense escapes me.

    Also, reread Christ's teaching in last Sunday's Gospel: When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
    they gathered together, and one of them,
    a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
    "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
    He said to him,
    "You shall love the Lord, your God,
    with all your heart,
    with all your soul,
    and with all your mind.
    This is the greatest and the first commandment.
    The second is like it:
    You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

    Thankfully, inroads have already been made "If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or the conference of bishops, Catholic ministers may licitly administer these sacraments to other Christians who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed" (Canon 844 § 4).

    1 Cor. 11:29–30 has no application for Protestants who believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist.

  • lovethetmass

    Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary's definition of heresy-1.a.adherence to a religious OPINION contrary to church dogma b.denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church c. an OPINION or doctrine contrary to church dogma 2.a. dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice b. an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.......

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    LTM...You've got to be nuts to think theological discussion is heresy. It's inferences like yours that stifle growth in Tradition, and put blinders on those who share your narrow view of Catholicism.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    LTM...Further point...using Webster's to define heresy is using a secular reference work, not a theological one. Here's a better definition, written before the 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law:

    Heresy...Both matter and form of heresy admit of degrees which find expression in the following technical formula of theology and canon law. Pertinacious adhesion to a doctrine contradictory to a point of faith clearly defined by the Church is heresy pure and simple, heresy in the first degree. But if the doctrine in question has not been expressly "defined" or is not clearly proposed as an article of faith in the ordinary, authorized teaching of the Church, an opinion opposed to it is styled sententia haeresi proxima, that is, an opinion approaching heresy. Next, a doctrinal proposition, without directly contradicting a received dogma, may yet involve logical consequences at variance with revealed truth. Such a proposition is not heretical, it is a propositio theologice erronea, that is, erroneous in theology.

    Furthermore, canon law deals primarily with church law, not dogma. Heresy deals with dogma, not ecclesiastical law. Canon law is not infallible and has been changed many times.

    Finally, you apparently did not read above that I respect and obey canon law. That I am free to discuss the possibility of change is incontestable and ridiculous for you to challenge me in that regard.

  • rscb

    Of course, Our Lord longs for all of his people to receive Him, that is why He gave Himself to us but to allow those that are not Catholic sounds a bit like living together before marriage.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    rscb...A proposed change in canon law does not equate with your silly analogy.

  • OrganVirtuoso

    If protestants could come and receive Communion without need of anything but wanting to, I'd have no more reason to be Catholic, would I? For instance, why do Catholics have to make use of the sacrament of Penance, but protestants could just come an receive when they want? Also, why does a child have to go through all his instruction before being permitted to receive Communion? Isn't the desire enough? And why must confession always come before First Communion? Also, I think you're forgetting about conditional Baptism. Often when a protestant comes into the Church, he will be given a conditional Baptism to ensure that he is PROPERLY baptized - something that we can't be sure was done beforehand.

    You are encouraging people to sin mortally. But perhaps you don't believe in confession or hell for that matter. We're all one big happy family and we're all going to heaven, right? I think you'd do better to remember that it was the protestants who broke off the union with the Catholic Church in the first place - they threw away what they had and instead they opted for bread. This was THEIR choice! If they truly want the Body and Blood of Christ, then they need to believe what the Catholic Church teaches and the Church will welcome them into Her fold.

    That degree in theology you have, Mr. Hahnenberg, seems entirely useless right now if all the inanity you have posted is what you got out of it. So far you're putting a lot of stock into your own wisdom and pitting it against that of the Catholic Church. You say you don't want to challenge the Church's teaching, but you turn around and continue to do it. Have the courage to admit what you are doing. At least I could respect (but still disagree with) someone who is being honest.

    Since Canon Law is not infallible, as I'm sure you know since you want it changed, let's skip that and go to the dogmas of the Catholic Church which are not changeable. How's this one:

    Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra:

    “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

    And that will never be changed. So argue all you want, but Canon Law can't contradict that, and in the event that it somehow would, Dogma would trump it. Again, this is DOGMA.

  • I'm closing comments on this post. Thanks for sharing opinions and links, I hope everyone learns something from it.