Skip to comments.Vatican Synod of Bishops - 11OCT05 - Presentations by Anglican and Lutheran Representatives
Posted on 10/12/2005 10:15:23 AM PDT by NYer
- H.G. John HIND, Bishop of Chichester (GREAT BRITAIN -ENGLAND AND WALES)
Greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury and request for prayers for Anglicans at a difficult time. Some points concerning the theme of this Synod:
Issues of inculturation highlight the need for further discussion about diversity and unity in the Church.
When is it appropriate to share holy communion? How should we interpret the public giving of communion to the Protestant Frère Roger Schutz?
The Eucharist is not primarily a matter or rite or ceremonial but a living of the new life Christ in Christ. If it is to be truly Christian, there must be criteria for mutual recognition. No less important is the extent to which we suffer with each other.
What is the God-given dynamic of the Eucharist? The culture flowing from the Incarnation affirms our God-given humanity, including cultural diversity, but also challenges every human culture. It is only in the dialogue between the Incarnation and particular cultures, that we can identify the truly catholic.
ARCIC said that in the Eucharist in we enter into the movement of Christs self-offering. Christs offering was both a sacrifice to the Father for us and a laying down of his life for his friends. The anamnesis of his sacrifice is therefore also oriented both towards God and humanity.
This establishes three fundamental points about the Eucharist.
(a) In the Eucharist it is not our fellowship that is being celebrated, but our reconciliation with God which creates our fellowship.
(b) Also it is Christ himself who is the Lord of the Eucharist. If his Incarnation, death, resurrection and coming in glory are mysteries, if the Eucharist is itself Mysterium fidei then it must follow that our fellowship or communion in the Church is also a mysterion, in other words, speaking something we cannot understand by reason alone. (c) Finally, being united with Christ in his self-offering orients us not only towards God but also towards every single one of our human brothers and sisters, for whom in their amazing diversity the Son of God gave his life. Ite, missa est is both a statement of the completeness of Christs work and a charge to us to carry it forward.
[00280-02.02] [DF007] [Original text: English]
- H.E. PER LØNNING, Bishop emeritus of the Luteran Churche of Norway (NORWAY)
Warm thanks from the Lutheran World Federation, from the Church of Norway - and from myself - for inviting me as fraternal delegate and for receiving me in so open-minded and brotherly a way!
To Lutherans the holy Eucharist was and is a vital concern. Our stress on the real presence of the Lord for centuries even led us to deny eucharistic fellowship with churches of the Reformed tradition.
In order to enter into the dialogue of this Assembly, let me report a few of my experiences of promises and pains with regard to eucharistic fellowship in relation to the Roman Catholic church!
In 1971 I was for the first time invited to preach in the setting of a Roman catholic mass, which happened to be in Antwerp in Belgium. In the sacristy the young and ecumenically dedicated celebrant asked: Of course, you will be ready to receive Holy Communion? I quickly turned to the bishop present, about 30 years my senior: Say, wouldnt that be contrary to the rules of the Catholic church? The bishop nodded, and I went on: As a guest, I will certainly do nothing in conflict with the rules of my host. Thank you for your understanding attitude, said the old bishop. And what happened? During the whole liturgy he sat next to me in the choir, and even refrained from receiving the sacrament himself. At the end he said: Come, brother, we go to the alter and we will give the benediction together! What a truly ecumenical experience!
1975, St.Johns Abbey, Minnesota. In a lecture on The present state of ecumenism, I had uttered fear that we might still have several years ahead of us before eucharistic fellowship could be formally established. It then turned out that on this place protestant students had already for some years approached the communion table, without being explicitly invited. We had to come to terms with this, said a Benedictine father, and this was the outcome: Who are we, to censor the work of the Holy Spirit? The following week I heard a similar remark from the catholic chaplain at Luther College, Iowa. His students had started to attend communion there: I am not authorized to dissuade them from that, but as I sit there observing them, I regret one thing: that as an official catholic ambassador I cannot join.
Ten years ago in a catholic cathedral in the southern hemisphere, I asked the officiating archbishop: I presume you follow the official rules here, so that I remain seated during holy communion? Brother, it is long since we heard anything like that here, he replied. You will come and receive the sacrament right after me .
I hurry to my point, which is the following. The paragraphs 86 and 87 in your Instrumentum Laboris make me rather sad. Especially because I know they will make many of my catholic friends sad: bishops, professors, monastic leaders. The fact that conclusions are presented and logically championed with no reference to what has been and is going on in your own church. No attention is paid to opinions not less biblically founded than the one triumphant. Will it forward the actual ecumenical progress in case this is published as the official voice of the Roman Catholic Church?
If we really believe the presence of Christ the Saviour to be linked with the wonder of Holy Communion, how can we remain with our divided altars, and not hear the harsh question of the apostle as directed to us: Has Christ been divided?
[00279-02.04] [DF006] [Original text: English]
VATICAN CITY – A Lutheran observer at a synod of Roman Catholic bishops told his hosts they were out of touch with trends in their own Church, where he said priests ignored a Vatican ban on sharing communion with Protestants.
An Anglican observer touched on the same issue, asking why Pope Benedict – who upholds the ban – made a surprise exception by giving communion to the Protestant founder of the ecumenical Taize community at Pope John Paul's funeral in April.
The two observers spoke on Tuesday and their remarks were distributed by the official Vatican press office on Wednesday.
Initially encouraged by his stated commitment to fostering Christian unity, Protestant leaders have recently been asking why Benedict blocks one of their most urgent requests – that Catholics be allowed to share communion with Protestants.
Norwegian Bishop Per Lonning, the World Lutheran Federation observer at the synod, said he was saddened to see that discussion documents for the meeting ruled out joint communion.
'Conclusions are presented and logically championed with no reference to what has been and is going on in your own Church,' he told the meeting.
Lonning said he had seen Catholics sharing communion with Protestants in the United States three decades ago and at a cathedral 'in the Southern Hemisphere' – with the explicit approval of the local archbishop – in the mid-1990s.
The Catholic Church bars sharing communion with Protestants, arguing they do not agree about its nature and significance, but most Protestant churches invite all Christians to take part.
The issue causes tensions among believers in countries with large Catholic and Protestant populations – such as the United States, Britain and Germany – and many mixed-faith marriages.
John Hind, the Anglican bishop of Chichester in England, echoed a persistent question among Protestants when he asked why Benedict, while he was still the top Vatican doctrinal authority, made an exception for Taize's Protestant founder.
'How should we interpret the public giving of communion to Brother Roger Schutz?' he said, according to the official summary of his speech released by the Vatican.
Vatican aides have said Benedict knew that Schutz – who was murdered by a deranged woman in August – shared the Catholic view of communion.
According to a Vatican briefer at least one Catholic participant in open discussions at the synod on Tuesday night said there should be more ecumenical dialogue among Christians of various denominations at the local level.
On Wednesday, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney defended the tradition of priestly celibacy, rejecting suggestions that allowing priests to marry would help ease a shortage in many parts of the world.
'To loosen this tradition now would be a serious error,' he said, adding that it would cause confusion and 'practical disadvantages' to the work of the Church.
Pell said he believed the recent sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Church did not invalidate what he said were enormous gains made for the Church
I am a bit confused about this.
Is the article for or against joint Anglican/Lutheran and RCC communion?
I don't think it has to be for or against Anglican/Lutheran and Roman Catholic communion. The Norwegian Lutheran observer noted that there were inconsistencies in applying doctrine. Catholics and A/L do not agree on the nature of the Eucharist. I am sure the Catholic apologists can explain their position more clearly, but we Lutherans believe that the elements (the bread and wine) are BOTH the Body and Blood of Christ and also bread and wine at the same time--consubstantiation. Catholics believe the elements are transubstantiated to one nature alone.
Because of that issue more than any other issue, there should be no communion between the two churches, for how can you agree if there is no common notion of what you are doing? (This does not mean the churches don't share points of doctrine or liturgy, however).
It is neutral. The subject of inter-communion is being discussed at the Synod. The theme of the Synod is Year of the Eucharist (actually, the synod will wrap up that year). Representatives from major religions were invited as guests. They have been accorded an opportunity to deliver a presentation in which to voice their feelings. Next week, the bishops will be voting on recommendations. The guests have no voting privileges.
My point is -- all these people, including the Protestant minister from Norway, and the Catholic bishops/priests who advocate this type of stuff are relativizing the Church. The message behind this intercommunion (and there is a lot of that going on in the Middle East, which is another story) is that what our individual Churches teach is trivial and relative. Doesn't say much about the opinion these people have about their Churches, does it?
For, if the Church is only relative, and any other church is as the other, it is a statement of doubt that one's own Church teaches the truth. It is possible that they all teach the truth, but we don't agree on it and until such time that we find an agreement intercommunion is simply wrong. Shame on those believers who relativize their own Church, and even a greater shame on those bishops who allow such relativization because the Eucharist does not mean one and the same thing to all Churches.
How can a Catholic bishop allow a Protestant minister to sit next to him when the Protestant minister is not an Aposotlic minister?!!!? Where does he get his "authority" to participate in the liturgy as an ordained person? This is the kind of thing that makes the hair on my back stand up! If an Orthodox priest allowed such a charade, he should be and would be defrocked.
This is why the Orthodox Churches withdrew from these "ecumenical" charades in 2000 and this is why the Orthodox are compromising their own by being next to these clowns. Hopefully, the Orthodox will soon realize that a serious dialog is possible only with the other Apostolic Church, and limit the discussions only with Rome. The rest, well, they are not churches as far as I am concerned -- the Church was given to the Apostles. If there is no Apostolic succession, there is no Church. Last time I checked, not a single bishop joined Martin Luther in his rant, so the Lutheran church is not a valid church -- and Luther's authority, which was under a bishop, was made null and void when he was excommunicated.
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Lutheran ping, please.
I don't get this. Imagine Catholics lecturing Protestants how to celebrate the Eucharist. These Protestants seem incredibly arrogant. Ecumenism means unification based on truth, not compromise for the sake of compromise. To the extent that there is not shared doctrine, the ecumenical modus operandi should be mutual respect. These Protestants certainly are not respecting the Catholic Church's right to her own beliefs on the nature of the Eucharist here. Again, the arrogance is just rank.
While you are correct in your assessment, remember that these representatives are giving 'presentations'. They have NO voting privileges and are simply stating their case. Please don't allow yourself to get overly excited by their comments. They are simply just that ... comments.
Were I near death, or reasonably believed myself near death and no Orthodox priest were available, I would ask a Roman Catholic priest to hear my confession, anoint me and give me the Eucharist. I would not ask any other Christian minister for the same, but I would ask for their prayers.
I have never thought of it in these terms, other than to attach a crucifix to the visor of my car on which is stated: "I am a Catholic. In case of emergency, please contact a Catholic priest". Since arriving at the Maronite Catholic Church, I have pondered how I might alter that message to read: "I am a Catholic. In case of an emergency, please contact (and give the name and cell phone number of my pastor)." I have heard horror stories from those Maronites refused communion because they were not 'real' catholics.
Canon 844 (4) permits those outside the Catholic church to take communion IF they believe in the Catholic doctrines with respect to the Eucharist, IF they ask themselves (can't offer - they have to ask), IF no minister of their own faith is available, and IF there is danger of death or other grave circumstance. It has to be cleared with the archbishop.
We received under 844 (4) after General Convention 2003 in the Episcopal church, because the archbishop had allowed a family in North Georgia far from any "high" parish to receive at the local Catholic church. We had to ask permission from the rector and had a long discussion about our adherence to doctrine. Since the entire Episcopal diocese had fallen into heresy, it fell under the "other grave circumstance".
Actually, I think I said about as much on the thread concerning the comments of the Orthodox hierarchs. But you know, what did you expect us to say. Our hierarchs said about what one would expect as did the Eastern Rite hierarchs.
The comments of both the Anglican representative and most especially of the Lutheran representative smack of syncretism and the Lutheran's comments should send chills up the spines of any true hierarch within the Apostolic Succession.
Actually, Kolo, thank you for stating this. It goes without saying. There are no Orthodox churches where I am, but I watch EWTN Mass at least several times a week. I attended the Mass for the late Pope JPII in a Catholic Church but did not participate in the communion, of course. If I were on a death bed, and no Orthodox priest were available, I would do the same thing as you said you would -- and for the same reasons: confession, sacraments, prayers. But anyone other than a Orthodox/Catholic priest, I would only ask for his/her prayers.
That's because the only authority any bishop/minister may have is through direct succession leading back to an Apostle of our Lord. The Lord gave the Church and the power to bind and loosen only to the Apostles. No Apostolic succession, no Church. Period. There is only One Church, and anything other than Orthodox or Catholic version of it is not a church as far as I am concerned.
" Since the entire Episcopal diocese had fallen into heresy, it fell under the "other grave circumstance"."
Interesting. Is that what is used for giving communion to, say, Greek Orthodox? I mentioned a few days back that in this particular Roman diocese the "missalettes" used to have a little write up about who could present themselves for communion; the invitation included Orthodox. That little write up is now gone since the new bishop arrived. Apparently the new bishop took seriously Rome's admonition to the local ordinaries that they consult with their Orthodox brothers before allowing intercommunion save in case of imminent or impending death. I know the Orthodox Metropolitan had been very exercised about those missalettes. At any rate, they are gone now.
Our missalettes still contain the invitation, but add a caution that the visitor should check with his own bishop or metropolitan before receiving and should "be in accord with the rubrics" of his own faith.
That's disheartening. I can't imagine there are Catholic priests anywhere in the world who would not know that Maronites are Catholics.
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