THE HERALD reports (28
November) on Bishop Gaillot's visit to an Anglican church and his receiving of commuion there. Many Christians, including Catholics, will wonder why this is considered such a reprehensible thing.
Jesus made a great affirmation: "This is my body; this is my blood" and gave a simple command: "Do this in memory of me".
The non-conformist Churches in general take that simple command as a basis of their Communion Services and do not take the great affirmation literally. What then is wrong for a Catholic to attend such a service and take the bread and wine in that spirit as an act of remembrance? It is a visual aid. More, it is an audio-visual-tangible aid to an appreciation of the intimacy which Christ offers to his Church.
So far as the Anglicans are concerned, the position appears to be complicated in that they take the great affirmation at its face value as does the Catholic Church and maintain that the validity of their orders ensures that at consecration, the bread and wine become truly the dwelling-place of Christ's spirit. it is the validity of Angli
can Orders which is in dispute.
If a Catholic, such as Bishop Gaillot, receives Communion in an Anglican service, there are two possibilities: either Anglican orders are validor they're not. If they are valid, then there is no difference from receiving the host in a Catholic Church. If they are not valid, then the act is made solely as one of remembrance. Why is that so terrible? At the present state of play it is God alone who kin ows which alternative is true.
So far as reception of Communion by other Christians in a Catholic church is concerned, the rubric of the Mass slips in two words which, to me at least, are very significant: "for us".
. "It will become for us the bread of life"..
Who is "us"? Is it "us who believe in the efficacy of the consecration"? If that is so, why should it not be that others be welcome to take the bread and wine reverently as an act of memorial?
Maybe Bishop Gaillot is a step ahead of the Church. If that be the case then the good news is that the Church may be only one step behind.
Vaughan Stone Burgess Hill, W Sussex