Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 19, 2005
WCR Letters to the Editor
Clarify Communion theology
John Travis’ article in the Sept. 5 WCR was both very pertinent and yet very troubling to those among us who are concerned about the integrity of the faith and the spiritual well being of the Catholic Church in these culturally relativistic times.
He underlines what appears to be a continuing contradiction between faith and practice in the Catholic Church with regard to the admission to sacramental communion of non-Catholics.
Specifically, he describes a purportedly awkward situation at the funeral of the late Pope John Paul II in Rome in which the wheelchair-bound Brother Roger Schutz, the renowned and saintly founder of the world-famous ecumenical community of Taize, France, suddenly found himself being wheeled into the Communion line and administered Holy Communion by none other than the present pope, then the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith.
This occurred despite the fact that “Brother Roger, a minister of the Swiss Reformed Church, did not believe in shared Communion and it was not practised at Taize.” This despite the Catholic guidelines on sacramental sharing clearly laid out years ago by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith itself.
Subsequently, details have emerged from Brother Roger’s own funeral after his senseless assassination which further raised questions by informed Catholics about the practice of sacramental intercommunion and which again prompted Vatican officials to state publicly that there had been no policy change.
To be specific: at Brother Roger’s funeral in Taize, before a crowd estimated in excess of 10,000 mourners, the vast majority of whom were manifestly non-Catholics, a Eucharist was celebrated by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians. At this Mass, “scores of white-clad Communion ministers distributed the sacrament to all who streamed forward.”
That Travis failed to mention the latter details in his article which was clearly written after Brother Roger’s funeral and which are even more egregious proof of his general thesis and further provoked Vatican reaction is passing strange.
Nevertheless, it is clear that this action as described is nowhere comprehended by the prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law nor the well-known guidelines that govern the clearly-stated exceptional practice of sacramental sharing within the Catholic Church.
Why a high dignitary of the Roman Curia should be celebrating a Catholic Mass in a Protestant monastery, in the presence of the newly-elected prior of that community, and before a congregation overwhelmingly non-Catholic, for the non-Catholic deceased — no matter how celebrated or holy — begs the question to begin with.
And that this involved a general distribution of Communion to communicants who in most cases clearly fall outside the parameters of the general guidelines raises all kinds of questions as to the motivation of this magnanimous “ecumenical gesture.”
One would hope that the present pope, whose emphasis on clear doctrinal faith and practice is well known, would either restrain such excesses which contain real dangers to popular understanding of the Catholic faith as indicated above or further clarify the theology of the canons and guidelines so that they do not further confuse those of us in the pew who take the teaching of the faith seriously.
School’s Goth crowd worries parents
My daughter has been hanging around with gothic kids at a Catholic school. These kids have dyed black hair, heavy makeup, skull fake tattoos and other such gothic style.
I took my child out of St. Stephen’s because of the gothic kids she was hanging around with.
At St. Cyril’s, the situation is worse. Her attitude is repulsive — talking about jumping out of buildings, stabbing people, piercing her tongue with a needle and hanging out outside school to attack the “preps.”
Talking to the principals of both schools it became clear that while thin blouse straps are banned, gothic dress and behaviour is acceptable.
I am not Catholic but my wife is. We discuss many things that usually involve the differences in our religions, yet when it came to what school system our children should go to, I fully agreed with my wife because I thought the Catholic school system would offer a better environment — but I was wrong.
I personally cannot understand why a parent worth being a parent would let his/her children dress in such a way.
Nor do I understand why the Catholic school system allows such dress and attitude.
I want my daughter raised in a rich, religious environment away from devil worship, drugs and violence.
The Catholic school system is providing my daughter with all the issues I do not want her to face.
If my wife and I could afford private schooling, we would send our children there. Dress codes, behaviour checks, and respect.
I do not mean to sound like an old “fuddy duddy” because I have many bad habits of my own, but I cannot tolerate a Catholic school allowing goth dress and behaviour. I also cannot believe that there is no supervision during and after school.
If my daughter continues, and the school continues to allow gothic dress and behaviour, I will be forced to withdraw both my daughters from the Catholic system.
Christ alone opens his heavenly gates
Re: “We are the body of Christ on earth” by Father Ron Rolheiser (WCR, Aug. 29).
His personable friend does not truly believe Jesus Christ is God. In fear of damnation he confides, “I am not sure what I really believe. . . . I guess if there’s really a heaven I won’t be part of it.”
This was an unbeliever’s desperate cry for instruction but instead he was cajoled into believing it’s OK. “Don’t worry about heaven, you’ll be there. Too many of us love you. A lot of church people, including me, won’t accept a heaven that doesn’t have you in it.”
God is just and will not sneak unbelievers into heaven on the shirt tails of believers. He is not a warm and fuzzy teddy bear, unjustly saving weeds along with the wheat. No one can charm his way into heaven because he has a nice personality. That’s not the way it works.
We, the Church, including the clergy, are the body of Christ. We are his loving, giving hands, his feet to obediently go wherever he needs us and his strong back to carry the load for the less fortunate.
Christ alone is the head. Only he has the wisdom to teach, command, delegate and judge our works. We, the Church, do not judge who will go to heaven nor decide what kind of heaven we will accept.
Jesus delegated some of his power to his disciples and their successors but that is as far as it goes. It is quite a stretch to assume this also gives the Church power to judge who will go to heaven and who will not. Living a life of holiness without giving proper care to the spiritual and physical well-being of others may not be enough to get us to heaven.
Communion not only for ‘holy ones’
World Youth Day is awesome. I awakened in the “wee hours” of Sunday to attend the opening Mass celebrated by the holy father, when the event was held in Toronto, even though I am of an older generation. (We are all children of God.) But it doesn’t seem to encourage the participation of the entire youth of the “world.”
The occasion should be an attempt at attracting a youth that is truly universal.
What an opportunity for example, to invite “all baptized Christians” to share in “One Bread, One Body, One Lord of All,” as the Anglicans do for instance. They, not to mention the Orthodox, believe in the “Real Presence” just as much as Catholics do.
Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist for all, not only for chosen holy ones.
A single Communion in itself can perform miracles. The Holy Spirit does not confine itself to Roman Catholics.
Our leaders repeatedly talk about their commitment to Christian unity, but don’t actually appear to be “walking the talk.”