Imperfect Communion

Written by Joel on April 12th, 2008

Kevin wrote, in a comment on my post about intercommunion:

I will pray for you and that God will guide you in discerning where he is calling you to be! Just a reminder too-only Catholics who are in a state of grace can receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Until/unless you enter the Church, please refrain from physically receiving our Lord. Instead, you can do like I do when I am not in a state of grace, and gaze upon our Lord in the Eucharist, praying that He comes to you in a spiritual communion.

Peace, and God bless!

First, I want to say thank you Kevin for your comment and for reading my post. That is very useful guidance – to pray for a spiritual communion during the Service of the Eucharist. I pray quite fervently both for the unity of the broken visible Church and for my the possibility of my individual reception of the Lord in the Eucharist.

I do need to make one point of clarification however. Particularly the view “Until/unless you enter the Church.” This is not a question of all or nothing. One is not either in the Church or against the church. The Church recognizes the fact that Protestants are in an imperfect communion with her; not completely outside.

“For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect.”(unitatis redintegratio, 3)

And in the Catechism, “Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.” (1271)

So, Protestants like myself are necessarily already members of the Church, though not as full as we could be. It is our job to increase our communion so that one day we might be one.

Wherever my path takes me, my individual decision about which Church to call home will not solve the larger fundamental problem of the (partial) brokenness of the Church.


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