This is ironic, because it is Catholicism, not Orthodoxy, that refuses to enforce its own discipline at the chalice. And I'm not talking about the politician issue, I'm talking about the numerous Protestants who receive communion in Catholic Churches.
This is also absurd, and this is just another reason I attend a Traditional Latin Mass chapel where this would *never* happen. My priests would die before they'd allow Protestants to recieve communion in their church.
I have seen it with my own eyes.
So have I, many times, its truly unforunate and just shows the damage that the post-Vat II reforms have done.
I was at a Catholic funeral a few years ago and there were a lot of my Protestant colleagues in attendance and I watched them, one by one, go up and receive communion. No enforcement whatsoever by the priest.
This doesn't surprise me, but I am wondering did the Priest know they weren't Catholic. Every Catholic funeral and wedding I have been too, even the Novus Ordo ones, where there is a large number of non-Catholics in attendance, the priest will be sure to let them know they are not to receieve communion.
That simply does not happen in Orthodoxy.
I doubt an Orthodox priest would ever give communion to someone he knew was not Orthodox, but if you remember, RB claimed he's been recieving communion in Orthodox churches, and I know many Eastern Catholics who do.
As for the "fasting rules" not being enforced, that's because they are not rules, they are guidelines. If you do not fully fast, you commit no sin. One's own fasting regimen is a good topic for discussion with one's spiritual father, keeping in mind that the fasting guidelines proposed by the tradition of the Church are a good benchmark of where to aim with one's personal fastng regimen
I agree with you about fasting rules, but when we talk about kneeling on Sundays and/or during paschaltide and sitting in pews during Divine Litrugy, we are dealing with the canons of the Church!
Recieving ashes on Ash Wednesday, it is indeed scriptural and historical, and *not* almost a sacrament in Catholicism, if it was I am sure Ash Wednesday would be a Holy day of Obligation in the Catholic Church, but it isn't.
The origin of the custom of using ashes in religious ritual is lost in the mists of pre-history, but we find references to the practice in our own religious tradition, in the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: "O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes" (Jer 6:26).
The prophet Isaiah, on the other hand, critiques the use of sackcloth and ashes as inadequate to please God, but in the process he indicates that this practice was well-known in Israel: "Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: that a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?" (Is 58:5).
The prophet Daniel pleaded for God to rescue Israel with sackcloth and ashes as a sign of Israel's repentance: "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Dn 9:3).
Perhaps the best known example of repentance in the Old Testament also involves sackcloth and ashes. When the prophet Jonah finally obeyed God's command and preached in the great city of Nineveh, his preaching was amazingly effective. Word of his message was carried to the king of Nineveh. "When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes" (Jon 3:6).
In the book of Judith, we find acts of repentance that specify that the ashes were put on people's heads: "And all the Israelite men, women and children who lived in Jerusalem prostrated themselves in front of the temple building, with ashes strewn on their heads, displaying their sackcloth covering before the Lord" (Jdt 4:11; see also 4:15 and 9:1).
Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: "That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes" (1 Mc 3:47; see also 4:39).
In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the use of sackcloth and ashes as signs of repentance: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes" (Mt 11:21, Lk 10:13).
Despite all these references in Scripture, the use of ashes in the Church left only a few records in the first millennium of Church history. Thomas Talley, an expert on the history of the liturgical year, says that the first clearly datable liturgy for Ash Wednesday that provides for sprinkling ashes is in the Romano-Germanic pontifical of 960. Before that time, ashes had been used as a sign of admission to the Order of Penitents. As early as the sixth century, the Spanish Mozarabic rite calls for signing the forehead with ashes when admitting a gravely ill person to the Order of Penitents. At the beginning of the 11th century, Abbot Aelfric notes that it was customary for all the faithful to take part in a ceremony on the Wednesday before Lent that included the imposition of ashes. Near the end of that century, Pope Urban II called for the general use of ashes on that day. Only later did this day come to be called Ash Wednesday.
At first, clerics and men had ashes sprinkled on their heads, while women had the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads. Eventually, of course, the ritual used with women came to be used for men as well.
In the 12th century the rule developed that the ashes were to be created by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. Many parishes today invite parishioners to bring such palms to church before Lent begins and have a ritual burning of the palms after Mass.