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Author Topic: How Seriously do RC's take the Eucharist?  (Read 1295 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: October 07, 2012, 03:42:23 PM »

I do not mean this in any offensive way, but I was wondering, is the Eucharist something that is taken less seriously in the Roman Catholic Church right now than it is in the Orthodox Church? The reason I ask is because I had an interesting conversation with my best friend a few days ago. His religious background is very odd. His mother is some type of lapsed Catholic-going-Protestant, his hot sister is some type of Evangelical-Reformed Christian and his father--the only one with a little bit of sense--is a Roman Catholic. Anyhow, my friend in particular was Baptised Roman Catholic as an infant, (and had several odd water-bottle Protestant baptisms throughout the years) yet, he does not adhere to any of the Roman Catholic doctrines, attend any of their services and he openly converted to the Evangelical movement.

Yet, despite all of this, he still receives the Roman Catholic Eucharist like every two weeks because his Roman Catholic school offers it to the students. My friend, for some odd reason, receives the Roman Catholic Eucharist at school even though he is an Evangelical and receives Protestant communion at his Evangelical Church like once a month. I found this kind of odd and disturbing. An Orthodox Church would never let something like this happen. Heck, my Priest won't even let me commune right off the bat if I have missed a week or two of Church before talking to him or having Confession. Yet, the RC Church just allows anyone to receive the Eucharist like my odd friend.
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 03:43:48 PM »

It's abuse, not doctrine.
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 04:08:08 PM »

The problem sounds more like it is with your friend, not the Church. I will say this...it seems that in our Church the decision of whether one is in a state of grace and thus able to receive the Eucharist is left up to the one communing more than to the priest. There are instances where a priest will withhold communion from someone, but most of the time everyone at Mass is communed and it is up to the individual to determine whether they should or should not be receiving the Eucharist. This is my personal experience anyway. At my parish, I have never witnessed anyone being refused the Eucharist. I'm not sure how common it is in Orthodoxy, but in the Catholic Church, there are people that go to confession to another priest rather than the Pastor of the parish, so it is difficult to determine whether it is appropriate for one to receive the Eucharist since it is possible that they went to confession somewhere else.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 04:26:20 PM by Wyatt » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 04:15:35 PM »

Wyatt,

"Parish hopping" is also more common in the RCC in America, right? That would probably be a contributing factor.
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 04:28:46 PM »

I really can't say how common parish hopping is. I know here where I live, there are at least several people at my parish who have the priest at a parish in a neighboring town as their confessor. In those cases, it would be more difficult to know whether they are able to receive the Eucharist since our Pastor would have no way of knowing how often they go to confession.
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2012, 04:39:47 PM »

what Aindriu and wyatt said. these things can happen in any church, where the communicants are many and it becomes very difficult for the priest to know who is practicing catholic and who is not , so the burden of being true to what one believes and does not believe is upon the communicant. we all know i think if we are honest, with what devotion and what fervor the Roman Catholic church holds the Holy Eucharist. it is no fault of the church if there are abusers such as the guy you mention, nor does it reflect any laxity of the church in regards to her doctrine of the Eucharist , such as allowing just anyone to partake.

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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 07:29:24 PM »

Wyatt,

"Parish hopping" is also more common in the RCC in America, right? That would probably be a contributing factor.

Part of this is probably also related to the fact that the average size of a Catholic parish in the United States is about three-thousand people.  Consequently, it is a good bit more difficult for a Roman Catholic priest to know all of the communicants at least moderately well than it is for an Orthodox priest (I don't know the exact average size of an Orthodox parish, but based on anecdotal evidence, I'd guess something like three or four hundred).  In the San Fran area, where JamesR resides (I believe that's what he's mentioned on the board, anyways), the average parish is about 4,500 people.
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 07:31:12 PM »

I know plenty of Protestants and atheists who commune at my school during school mass.
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 07:32:32 PM »

I'm guessing here, but it could be due to a personnel issue. Meaning, years ago they used to have more priests and deacons. They are starting to catch up, but there are still places where there simply aren't enough qualified people to go around. This leads to people not checking on certain things, laypeople filling in all the gaps in the staff, and they may have simply dropped the practice of asking who is who. Something that needs to be changed, but it can be done.
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 07:32:55 PM »

I know plenty of Protestants and atheists who commune at my school during school mass.

Um, why would your atheist friends want to?  Huh
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 07:35:18 PM »

I know plenty of Protestants and atheists who commune at my school during school mass.

Um, why would your atheist friends want to?  Huh

That's what I always ask myself. I guess they don't see it as anything so why not go with the crowd?
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2012, 08:09:42 PM »

Why isn't anybody dying from taking communion in an unworthy manner? Wouldn't this be an effective way to set an example?


Options:
1. No grace in RC Eucharist so no issue.
2. God is merciful and patient and slow to anger.
3. It's just bread and wine everywhere always and the positivist naturalists were right.


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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2012, 08:32:47 PM »

My father did the same thing for a long time.  He was a non-practicing Catholic who occasionally attended and received holy communion, and he also attended an evangelical Church, receiving communion when it was offered.  He didn't know any better.  He was one of those people that didn't take Church very seriously, so in the long run, for him, it didn't matter at all. 

I think that this has a lot to do with parishioners of all denominations being ignorant about what Churches are "closed communion".  I have never, ever seen a Catholic Church refuse holy communion to anyone.  When I was about 11, I went to a RC Church for a long time.  I was officially Presbyterian, but I received communion there every Sunday.  Neither I, nor the priest, thought anything of it.  In my young mind, I was a Christian, so I was fine receiving the body and blood of Christ anywhere, as he commanded me to do in the Bible.

I think that another contributing factor is the demographics of RC communities.  About half of the people in my community are RC, roughly one quarter are traditional Protestants (Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, etc.)  The other 1/4 is Evangelical.

We have about seven Catholic Churches in my community.  So many people go to one Church at any given Sunday, and the crowds tend to vary from week to week.  For a priest to know everyone and whether they're "approved" for holy communion is nearly impossible.  It's up to the people to judge whether they are "worthy".  That's the way it is in my community, anyway.
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2012, 09:18:07 PM »

I have never, ever seen a Catholic Church refuse holy communion to anyone. 

I have personally been denied.
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2012, 09:52:40 PM »

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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2012, 11:11:37 PM »

I know plenty of Protestants and atheists who commune at my school during school mass.

Um, why would your atheist friends want to?  Huh

To use the host for their black magic purposes, of course.
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2012, 11:20:34 PM »

All of my Catholic friends take the Eucharist very seriously. It's not mere bread and wine, but Christ our God.
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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2012, 11:28:32 PM »

I do not mean this in any offensive way, but I was wondering, is the Eucharist something that is taken less seriously in the Roman Catholic Church right now than it is in the Orthodox Church? The reason I ask is because I had an interesting conversation with my best friend a few days ago. His religious background is very odd. His mother is some type of lapsed Catholic-going-Protestant, his hot sister is some type of Evangelical-Reformed Christian and his father--the only one with a little bit of sense--is a Roman Catholic. Anyhow, my friend in particular was Baptised Roman Catholic as an infant, (and had several odd water-bottle Protestant baptisms throughout the years) yet, he does not adhere to any of the Roman Catholic doctrines, attend any of their services and he openly converted to the Evangelical movement.

Yet, despite all of this, he still receives the Roman Catholic Eucharist like every two weeks because his Roman Catholic school offers it to the students. My friend, for some odd reason, receives the Roman Catholic Eucharist at school even though he is an Evangelical and receives Protestant communion at his Evangelical Church like once a month. I found this kind of odd and disturbing. An Orthodox Church would never let something like this happen. Heck, my Priest won't even let me commune right off the bat if I have missed a week or two of Church before talking to him or having Confession. Yet, the RC Church just allows anyone to receive the Eucharist like my odd friend.

My response: I had to laugh when I saw the title, "How Seriously do RC's take the Eucharist?"! Because as a former Catholic, I am reminded of the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in which the sacrament is worshiped to the fullest. The problem with the situation that you described is the size of the church, the size of the congregants and how easily anybody can just walk up and take communion. In many cases, especially with larger parishes, the priest doesnt always know who EVERY person is or if they are worthy to receive holy communion. Unfortunately, this does happen in the Orthodox Church too, in the U.S. many of our parishes are smaller than in Orthodox countries so the priest knows more about us spiritually. Unfortunately, A few of my Catholic friends who sometimes pretend to be Orthodox to receive communion at Orthodox cathedrals. Also..."his hot sister"  Roll Eyes, James you think that everyone is hot!  laugh  
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2012, 07:58:42 AM »

The answer is not so easy, because in Roman Catholicism we should differentiate the Adoration of the Holiest Sacrament (=Eucharist) and taking It. As for the first one, yes, they treat it very seriously. Many pious Catholics, if they have possibility, come to church every day for at least 5 minute to pray before the Holiest Sacrament. It's the most important part of some services. If there is a procession, everybody kneels before it, the same as it's done before the tabernacle.

As for the participating in the Holy Communion, the thing is different. We should remember, that they practically don't have any fast before receiving the Eucharist. They also don't have any special prayers to take it. For Roman Catholics who attend church every Sunday (but nothing special more), quite often it's just the question of "standing in the line" to take the Communion. On the other hand, the practice of the first Fridays (fasting day + confession + Communion) has the source in serious treating the Eucharist. And I also noticed, maybe 2 years ago, that less people in RC Church go to the Communion. Maybe because they treat it seriously or maybe because theirs religiosity end in the attending church.
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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2012, 09:27:07 AM »

Unless you're a trad, then they use the pre-Vatican II rules and fast, confess, and kneel for the Eucharist.
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« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2012, 09:33:15 AM »

I'm not sure how common it is in Orthodoxy, but in the Catholic Church, there are people that go to confession to another priest rather than the Pastor of the parish, so it is difficult to determine whether it is appropriate for one to receive the Eucharist since it is possible that they went to confession somewhere else.

It's probably less common, but it's not unusual. I know several people at my parish who do this (myself included). Our parish priest only asks that we tell him when we've gone to confession so he knows we're keeping up with it.
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« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 01:19:40 PM »

The problem with RCs is the less than personal connection with their clergy.  People move about from parish to parish on a whim.  One parish with one priest have 3 Masses on a given weekend and has about 1000 or more people attend, how can the priest know every person?  So anyone can just walk up and receive Communion and the priest cannot do anything about it.  Even if the priest takes Communion very seriously (and I know a number of RC priests who do) it is virtually impossible to keep non-Catholics from receiving.  The most they can do really is remind people they need to be properly disposed, that is be a practicing Catholic who attends Mass regularly and have recently gone to confession (canonical requirement is once a year).  Other than that the priest cannot really do anything else given how parishes are managed these days.
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« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2012, 04:16:22 PM »

The problem with RCs is the less than personal connection with their clergy.  People move about from parish to parish on a whim.  One parish with one priest have 3 Masses on a given weekend and has about 1000 or more people attend, how can the priest know every person?  So anyone can just walk up and receive Communion and the priest cannot do anything about it.  Even if the priest takes Communion very seriously (and I know a number of RC priests who do) it is virtually impossible to keep non-Catholics from receiving.  The most they can do really is remind people they need to be properly disposed, that is be a practicing Catholic who attends Mass regularly and have recently gone to confession (canonical requirement is once a year).  Other than that the priest cannot really do anything else given how parishes are managed these days.
A lot of that has to do with the size of Catholic parishes.
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« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2012, 04:27:06 PM »

With over 1 billion Catholics on the planet, how could one even begin to answer that?  And, how does one measure seriousness?
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2012, 04:32:46 PM »

Why isn't anybody dying from taking communion in an unworthy manner? Wouldn't this be an effective way to set an example?


Options:
1. No grace in RC Eucharist so no issue.
2. God is merciful and patient and slow to anger.
3. It's just bread and wine everywhere always and the positivist naturalists were right.


Bloop.

One could ask and say exactly the same regarding Orthodox who receive Communion unworthily.  Anyone dying?

Options:
1. No grace in OC Eucharist so no issue.
2. God is merciful and slow to anger.
3. It's just bread and wine everywhere always and the positivist naturalists were right.
 Wink Wink Wink
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« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2012, 04:53:46 PM »

God isn't striking people down for greed/dishonesty much anymore either (cf Ananias & Sapphira).
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« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2012, 05:07:43 PM »

The problem with RCs is the less than personal connection with their clergy.  People move about from parish to parish on a whim.  One parish with one priest have 3 Masses on a given weekend and has about 1000 or more people attend, how can the priest know every person?  So anyone can just walk up and receive Communion and the priest cannot do anything about it.  Even if the priest takes Communion very seriously (and I know a number of RC priests who do) it is virtually impossible to keep non-Catholics from receiving.  The most they can do really is remind people they need to be properly disposed, that is be a practicing Catholic who attends Mass regularly and have recently gone to confession (canonical requirement is once a year).  Other than that the priest cannot really do anything else given how parishes are managed these days.
A lot of that has to do with the size of Catholic parishes.

True.  Which then begs the question about how to better protect the Blessed Sacrament from non-Catholics.
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« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2012, 05:39:03 PM »

Yet, despite all of this, he still receives the Roman Catholic Eucharist like every two weeks because his Roman Catholic school offers it to the students.

Question: are you distinguishing between offering the Eucharist to them and not specifically telling non-Catholic students not to receive?
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« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2012, 07:24:29 PM »

The problem with RCs is the less than personal connection with their clergy.  People move about from parish to parish on a whim.  One parish with one priest have 3 Masses on a given weekend and has about 1000 or more people attend, how can the priest know every person?  So anyone can just walk up and receive Communion and the priest cannot do anything about it.  Even if the priest takes Communion very seriously (and I know a number of RC priests who do) it is virtually impossible to keep non-Catholics from receiving.  The most they can do really is remind people they need to be properly disposed, that is be a practicing Catholic who attends Mass regularly and have recently gone to confession (canonical requirement is once a year).  Other than that the priest cannot really do anything else given how parishes are managed these days.
A lot of that has to do with the size of Catholic parishes.

True.  Which then begs the question about how to better protect the Blessed Sacrament from non-Catholics.
If only there was a Catholicity detector the minister of Holy Communion could point at the potential communicant and an alarm would sound if they were non-Catholic or excommunicated...   Wink

Seriously though, I am beginning to think those running most Roman Catholic parishes (and this is not necessarily the pastor these days!) think the first and greatest commandment is "Judge not, lest ye be judged".

On the other hand: how are travelers treated in the Orthodox Church? If you are a visitor is it just the norm that you just won't receive the Eucharist there, even if you're Orthodox, unless you meet with the priest beforehand?  Huh
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« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2012, 07:36:31 PM »

If you are a visitor is it just the norm that you just won't receive the Eucharist there, even if you're Orthodox, unless you meet with the priest beforehand?  Huh

It should be that way.
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