Saturday, May 3, 2008

What are the minimum requirements to take Holy Communion?

Let's start here:

1 Corinthians 11:27-30 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

In the case of the people of Corinth, their unworthy manner was eating and drinking without acknowledging that they were eating the Lord's Supper. But our churches have other reasons to ban people from taking Holy Communion. This is what America Needs Fatima said:

[A]ny insult to the Eucharist is something that concerns all Catholics, particularly when someone receives Holy Communion to challenge Church laws or show great disrespect....

[T]here was the media-announced and actual receiving of Holy Communion during the recent Papal Masses by prominent politicians publicly opposed to Catholic doctrine on abortion.

The offenders included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, who received Holy Communion during the Mass at Washington’s Nationals Park and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who received Holy Communion in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Such scandalous actions appear to be a calculated challenge to Church laws.

Perhaps not, if one believes in the infallibility of the Pope. If the Pope did not refuse to give Holy Communion to Pelosi et al, then perhaps it's America Needs Fatima who is in opposition to the Church.

And in case one thinks that it's only the Roman Catholics who talk about refusing Communion, take a look at this instance from John Wesley's life (incidentally, before the "strangely warmed" episode that changed his life, and the lives of millions):

John Wesley proceeded in his own difficulties with the friendship of Sophia Hopkey. They had met on the four month long passage to Georgia. While traveling on the ship, Wesley was employed by Sophia’s mother to teach her the French language. An affection arose out of the relationship engulfing Wesley. After arriving in Savannah, their fondness for one another continued. Sophia was confident that Wesley’s intentions were honorable leading to matrimony. Wesley sought the advice of his trusted friend, Bishop Spangenberg of the Moravians, and was advised to avoid contact with female admirers. Wesley took his advice and without any explanation to Sophia, he abruptly stopped seeing her. To worsen the matter, Sophia was Thomas Causton’s niece.

On March 12,1737, Sophia Hopkey married William Williamson, a clerk in her uncle’s store. The two of them ran away to South Carolina and were married in Spurysburg, which was twenty-two miles up the river away from the admonishments of John Wesley. The colony of Savannah was small in size and small-minded. The local gossips tore at the reputation of John Wesley. It was believed that Wesley had secured a promise from Sophia to never marry another, but that he had not asked for her hand in marriage. John Wesley must have felt quite a disappointment at losing such an ardent admirer. After the marriage, he seemed to be inconsolable, for he had always avowed his utmost love for her.

Wesley’s worries increased on August 7, 1737, when he refused to give Sophia Williamson the sacrament of holy communion in the church. The following day, a warrant was issued against Wesley by Williamson and his wife, Sophia. The complaint was for defaming Sophia by refusing to administer her the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, in a public congregation without due cause. Williamson sued for one thousand pounds of sterling in damages for the defamation of his wife’s character.

I'll try to delve more into this later.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus