PopeWatch: Rules

1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, “O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!”237 The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return.

1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all – by apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy.” A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, “given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged.”238

1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.”239 It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.”240

1401 When, in the Ordinary’s judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions.241

Should we insert a provision in the Catechism which basically says, “If the Pope says otherwise, never mind!”?


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  1. Well, I hate to say this, but based on 1401, it appears that pretty much any Christian can in fact present for Eucharist, so if the Pope told a Lutheran lady she could go, or more precisely, that she should “discern” what the Lord was calling her to do, was the Pope really saying anything the Catechism doesn’t already?

  2. No, because the Pope said nothing about an Ordinary making the decision, grave necessity and the person receiving holding the Catholic faith regarding the sacrament being received. These are not unimportant rules.

  3. I do not understand why people, who do not believe that the Host is the ACTUAL Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, even WANT to “take” it. I honestly cannot wrap my mind around it. I lost a friend because of it. She couldn’t believe that she could not receive (but, she did say take) at a Catholic wedding. I asked her if she believed in what it was, she said, “no, we believe it’s just a symbol, and you would be able to take it at our church.” I said that I would not be able to take it at her church because if it’s not God Himself, then there’s no point in doing that, and I really didn’t understand why they didn’t believe in Christ’s words — you know the part, “This is a hard saying… and everyone left Him.”
    I am very sad that the pope doesn’t believe in the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ – The Real Presence. It’s very, very upsetting. Reminds me of what my dad said when my oldest was 2 (about something completely different, obviously) — Rules Schmools.
    We need to make serious reparations to the Body of Christ. I wonder if “regular” people can make them for a pope who wants to throw the host at people as if it were confetti.

  4. The Reuters quote appears to omit crucial sentence immediately preceding the sentence about one baptism, one faith, one lord:

    “I wouldn’t ever dare allow this, because it’s not my competence.”

  5. Confusion, Obfuscation, and more confusion.
    And it is going to get worse before it begins to become better.
    We need prayers.
    “But is it that complicated?
    If a Lutheran married to a Catholic feels the desire and the pull to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic setting, it simply means that particular Lutheran is being prompted by the Divine to move away from the 16th century error called Lutheranism and fully embrace the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church built by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Solid Rock of St. Simon Peter.”

  6. Over at Fr Z’s, several of his comments are interpreting “talk to the Lord and move forward” in the most optimistic way imaginable. To paraphrase several who take this line: By “move forward”, the Holy Father must mean that she should convert to the Catholic Church.
    But this fantasy is belied by the pope’s own words earlier in his answer:
    I once had a great friendship with an Episcopalian bishop [Tony Palmer] who went a little wrong – he was 48 years old, married, two children. This was a discomfort to him – a Catholic wife, Catholic children, him a bishop. He accompanied his wife and children to Mass on Sunday, and then went to worship with his community. It was a step of participation in the Lord’s Supper. Then he went forward, the Lord called him, a just man…. [Then to the woman who asked the question:] Talk to the Lord and then go forward. I don’t dare to say anything more.
    We know that Tony Palmer, sadly, did not convert to the Catholic Church before his death, so by “forward”, the pope cannot mean conversion.
    But what does he mean? There are two possible explanations. The first is that he is encouraging the Lutheran woman to receive the Eucharist after “talk[ing] to the Lord”, which would be heretical. The other explanation hinges on the ambiguity in his Tony Palmer story. Did Palmer go “forward” in his own “community”, or in the Catholic Church? If the former, the pope is implying that the protestant “Lord’s Supper” is identical to the Eucharist, which would be–yes–heretical. The latter brings us back to the first heretical position, of protestants receiving the Eucharist in a Catholic Church.
    Either way, I don’t see how we escape a heretical interpretation here.

  7. Question.
    If the Lutheran was truly upset at not being able to receive then she should simply digest the word communion. In agreement!
    Is she in agreement with all the precepts and Truth of the Catholic Faith?
    If she isn’t in agreement then she should NOT receive. She is not in communion.

    Her true disappointment is that she hasn’t had a good Catholic dissect the angst she harbor’s aginist the Holy Church.

    Agian the Pope blows it!

    Here is a fine time to welcome her into the Church with compassion and integrity, but to leave it up to her to discern for herself is nothing but saying its trivial and leave it at that. Dialogue and explanation as to the union in communion would build a value far greater than a “merciful lie.” Who knows? The act of love is listening to her grievances or reasons she not Catholic.

    If you don’t agree with our Church, why would you want to show your hypocrisy to the whole congregation by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist “in Holy Communion” of the Church your not in union with? That is called sacrilege.

    If I want to be a part of ABC Credit Union and disagree with it’s bylaws, then membership in it would be useless. I would not support it.

    No one is making her take communion at Mass. She should revisit the reasoning she is not Catholic. Upon that evaluation she should make a decision to join the Catholic Faith or abstain from the Eucharist.

  8. pg. 352 # 1064 (CCC); If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament you receive. To that which you are to respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true.235. St. Augustine Sermon 272

    The Apostles Creed, the liturgy, the Our Father and the mysteries contained therein are to be shared in one cry, one body. I do not wish to separate this woman from the graces bestowed upon her at Christ’s command, at the very least I would want her to benefit from all of them. If upon reception of Jesus in his body, blood, soul and divinity she received the graces to convert, then my opinion would delay a great blessing on her.

    Pope Francis is Pope.
    I’m not Pope.
    I only wish for this woman’s well-being.

  9. Another classic case of this Pope saying something orthodox– “I wouldn’t ever
    dare allow this, because it’s not my competence.”– and then proceeding to
    ramble on, undermining what he just said.
    What was once a clear teaching has now been vagued up. He’s done it yet again.

  10. Clinton,
    Even the bit about “not my competence” is ambiguous. He could mean it in the sense you take from it, which is that he doesn’t have the authority to overturn established doctrine. Or he could mean that he’s not competent to evaluate the theological arguments about intercommunion. Either interpretation is defensible, but the latter certainly fits in with his other remarks about (e.g.) being scared to address this matter in front of eminent theologians like Cardinal Kasper.

  11. Pope Francis should have simply told the woman to become a Catholic if she wanted to receive Communion with her husband. That is the simple answer. That is the only answer according to Jesus:
    “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
    –Matthew 5:37

  12. As my blog today shows, Church doctrine is now whatever WWJD moment Pope Francis has while standing in front of a microphone. If this were the Caine Mutiny, we would all be looking for the strawberries and the typhoon is just visible on the horizon. We have a Pope who doesn’t want to change a doctrine here or there, but who wants to change by coup the essence of the Catholic Church by making all doctrines suggestions which you may or may not follow as Luther’s “Great Pope Self” decides. He’s either the greatest Pope of all time, mentally ill, or diabolical, to borrow C.S. Lewis’ trilemma.

  13. Posted by Phillip on 17th November.
    “The Apostles Creed, the liturgy, the Our Father and the mysteries contained therein are to be shared in one cry, one body. I do not wish to separate this woman from the graces bestowed upon her at Christ’s command, at the very least I would want her to benefit from all of them. If upon reception of Jesus in his body, blood, soul and divinity she received the graces to convert, then my opinion would delay a great blessing on her.
    Pope Francis is Pope.
    I’m not Pope.”
    Phillip you are as confusing as the present papacy.

  14. cpola.
    My comment is not an endorsement for Lutherans or any other non-Catholics to”go with your own conscience,” pertaining to reception of the blessed sacrament.
    If you would of taken the time to read my earlier post you would see my view.
    The last comment is a simple fact that God has the last word. God saves. God converts.
    Pope’s and cpola’s do not get the final word when distribution of Grace occurs, how or by what reasoning.

    That was my point.

    Conversion of soldier’s who persecuted Christ was not due to adherence of a law or dogmas.
    Saul’s conversion was not due to any following of law, on the contrary, he hated Christian’s.

    If Christ decided to convert this woman at the reception of a scandalous reception of Holy Communion… shame on me for telling Christ he can’t do that. It’s unlawful.

    Get the picture?

  15. cpola.
    In Luke 18:11, it’s the lowly soul in the back of the Temple who cries out, “Forgive me God, for I am a sinner, not worthy to lift my face to you.” The publican has the right disposition.

    In humility one must remember who God is.
    I am a sinner and worse. I imagine myself at times being the one at the very front of the Temple. How sad that is.
    Peace cpola.
    Excuse my picture reference.
    It was said in haste.

  16. I have pointed out, when it was unpopular to do so, that this pope suffers from a serious lack of education and from an “intellectual inferiority” complex due to his having failed his Ph.D thesis in systematics at Frankfurt, and not even having passed his comprehensive exams (I have tried to find out if he scheduled them and failed or he just never tried, due to knowing he was a theological Lusitania: no one is talking among the Jesuits. Some one knows.

    But why it is so critical is that the present pontiff evidences he cannot answer a question he should be able to define as Supreme Teacher of the Faith? When he was questioned, in the Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical dialogue on or about Nov. 15th in Rome at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rome, by one woman about inter-communion, before he could even venture an answer, he showed an uncomfortable candor when he blurted,

    “The question on sharing the Lord’s Supper isn’t easy for me to respond to, above all in front of a theologian like Cardinal Kasper – I’m scared! ” (Rocco Palma, Whispers in the Loggia)

    It has already been pointed out by many others that the puppet-strings on this pontiff are the Sahnkt-Gallen crowd (Danneels, Marx, Lehmann, etc)–but esp. Kasper is the putative “Teacher of the Faith”. The pope effectively said so. A man who doesn’t believe in the miracle accounts of the Gospel, who has equivocated on the resurrection—forget the virgin-birth, even Gerhard Muller gets tied up on phenomenological language de-emphasizing that mystery— it is then that you realize we are in trouble beyond our ken.

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