Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Participation in Holy Communion

The canonist Edward Peters has a link on his website to an article he as written called 'Participation in holy Communion by unworthy Catholics.' One of his early paragraphs struck a chord:

A non-Catholic minister observing current Communion debates among Catholics put it this way to me: “We believe essentially what you Catholics believe about the Eucharist, but we have nothing like your analytic tradition with which to address hard questions about participation in Communion within our community. The recent controversies over reception of Communion by your co-religionists have been most illuminative for me and mine in ours.”

This is an issue I've posted on before (here) and I would concur with the un-named minister that it is useful to be able to look to see how the Catholic Church deals with the problem. Having a coolly thought out analyses such as Dr Peter's available is a great resource. 


  1. Yet Anglicans did once have an "analytic tradition" to address participation, and as recently as 1984 the Book of Common Prayer for use in the Church in Wales contained the following requirement: "The priest shall therefore warn any communicants who by their public conduct bring the Church into disrepute that they ought not to receive the Holy Mysteries until they amend their way of life. If they do not heed the warning, the Priest shall report the matter to the Bishop and proceed as he directs." (Perhaps significantly I cannot find any equivalent in the 2004 revision.)

  2. Interesting point, Sir W. I suppose it remains as an option, whether printed in the current Welsh BCP or not (although it wouldn't be as rigourous as the analytic tradition which Dr Peter outlines in his article). I wonder if it is of significance that it failed to make the cut in the 2004 book ... an indication of a drift away from the traditions of Anglicanism itself, perhaps?