I READ with dismay the dis
sertation on Inter-Communion by Fr. Harriett, S.J., in your issue of March 7. I was not shaken so much by the article itself, but by the fact that it was written at all. I would have thought that such a subject could never arise.
As usual in making efforts to bring about Unity, the temptation is to skim over the surface of difficulties and obstacles arising from basic Christian principles, making them soluable by relaxing rules which Our Lord Himself refused to alter.
The honest and indeed the only road to unity is to face the facts, and to face our separated brethren with the facts —and the solution to the problem if they can accept it. The ficts are these:
Inter-Communion would become possible only in one of two ways:
1 By the admission from Catholics that our interpretation of Christ's pronouncement "My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed: unless you eat of the Flesh of the Son of Man. and drink His Blood. you shall not have life in you" is wrong. If we could do that, then our reception of the commemorative offering of bread and wine could take place in any church of any Christian denomination. Such a renunciation is unthinkable.
2 We adhere firmly to our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist,
through the validity of our priestly orders, thereby making Inter-Communion possible to those only who acknowledge that this is so, and who accept the complete Christian doctrine.
This way, and this way only, lies true, sincere unity—one fold, one Shepherd, i.e. one Church, one Head, one Doctrine.
Prayers together are commendable, but His Holiness has insisted that we must not, and cannot relinquish any of the teaching of Christ. Easier interpretations of His Doctrines will not eller' Christian unity, but will only succeed in disrupting the unity among Catholics through confusion.
In the long term, interference with the 'Holy Eucharist will destroy the Holy Mass. Soon, at this rate, we will be scripture reading and hymn singing, to the exclusion of the Sacred Rites instituted by Christ Himself, and at the sacrifice of other beautiful devotions so long practised, revered and treasured by the Church.
Vincent Flannery (Fr.) Darwen, Lancs.
SURELY the answer to the question as to Catholics receiving Holy Communion in non-Catholic churches is that the Body and Blood of Christ would not be received, but only bread and wine.
W. L. Seviour Orpington, Kent