Is Anglican Communion OK?
At a funeral in an Anglican church, the priest invited anyone in good standing with the Lord and in the right disposition to receive the Eucharist. I decided not to receive communion but was confused by a fellow Catholic who did. She told me she believes she can receive the true Body and Blood of Christ even in the Anglican Church. What was the right thing to do? Tiro Amos Dinake
The Catholic Church consistently teaches the revealed truth that we, its members, all share “one Lord, one faith and one baptism” (Eph 4:5).
This is most significantly and openly proclaimed when we celebrate the Eucharist together. We express our communion with one another and with our Lord Jesus Christ, and simultaneously we embrace the fullness of faith handed down to us from the Apostles. This ensures that we are one in Christ.
There are two important elements of this act of sharing.
The first is that we come to the Lord’s table and receive him as food for our souls. This is a personal and private spiritual contact which we need in order to know Christ more intimately.
The second is broader than that. In receiving the Body and Blood of Christ we also unite ourselves with the entire believing community of the Catholic Church and we recognise its authority vested in Peter and the apostles and their successors over time.
When we are seen and heard to respond “Amen” to the minister’s words “The Body/Blood of Christ”, we are openly telling everybody that we are in complete solidarity with the Church and its faith.
Catholics who receive communion in any other church may believe that Christ is really present in the eucharistic bread and wine, and may feel spiritually fulfilled by this.
This is a private experience and does not fulfil the communal dimension essential to the Catholic Church. There may be oneness in the Lord and in baptism but there is not the important oneness of a common faith.
It is sad that there is not unanimity in the faith of Christians. By your not taking communion at the funeral you showed just how sad it really is, but you were right. Only when all Christians are one in faith and authority can we rightfully celebrate the Eucharist together.
A last remark: If you had taken communion as a courtesy and as an act of closeness to your Christian family, it would be understandable, even though you know that doing so lacks the true meaning of being united in one Lord, one faith and one baptism.