Author Topic: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?  (Read 293 times)

Offline Livenotonevil

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Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« on: April 14, 2018, 09:59:08 PM »
Dear all,

One debate I've seen frequently (in both Catholic circles and Orthodox circles) is the debate of the discipline at which Priests are allowed to give Communion.

In the Orthodox Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church is extremely strict, mandating Confession before one can receive Communion, and forbidding it otherwise. Although there are obvious benefits such that Communion is much less likely served to one's condemnation, nonetheless it has created a situation where some individuals only receive Communion once every 6 months.

The Greek Orthodox Church, on the other hand, is loose such that anybody who is a canonical member of the Orthodox Church can receive Communion, unless the Priest knows they have committed a grave sin or they have been excommunicated. While people more frequently receive Communion, nevertheless some feel that it creates an ambivalence to the reality of Christ in the Body and the Blood.

There's a debate on both sides on this issue.

Which practice for Catholics or Orthodox would be superior in your opinion?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 10:01:17 PM by Livenotonevil »
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 10:42:22 PM »
There are two aspects to this. One is strictness/laxity on the part of the priest, and then the layman's preparation for and desire to receive Communion. The ideal is probably frequent Communion with frequent Confession. Perhaps not a strict "one Confession for one Communion" as in some Russian parishes, but maintaining their rigorous preparation for receiving the Sacrament would help maintain the seriousness of receiving even if it were frequent.

The Catholic Church should probably tighten up the rules to ensure that only Catholics are receiving; the Orthodox certainly keep tighter custody of the Sacrament than any Catholic parish I've been a part of. I'm curious if this rigor is maintained in huge Orthodox parishes in Russia; most Orthodox parishes in my area are only a couple hundred families at absolute most, so the pastor can reasonably be expected to know which regulars are in fact Orthodox. In contrast, there are a large number of extremely large Catholic parishes, and the priests can't reasonably know everyone. I have seen in Orthodox Churches the priests actually ask people they don't know whether they are Orthodox; I'm not sure I have ever seen that in a Catholic Church, even the Eastern ones I've been to.
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Offline martin88nyc

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 11:30:57 PM »
I guess it is about finding balance as in everything in life. Some people struggle with sin more than others so they already go to confession more often. But in general I think that faithful should be encouraged to frequent confession and regular reception of the holy communion; daily communion would be ideal of course. Daily communion increases charity, faith and hope. It nourishes the soul and prevents us from sinning. It is the medicine for our fallen nature; it heals the wounds of our fallen nature and transforms us in Christ. I think that because Orthodox don't have the daily communion hence they "demand" confession before every Mass, which is reasonable and understandable. Daily communication strengthens the will and allows us to withstand temptations. This is how I feel. Frequent communion is the greatest thing that can happen to a soul.
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Offline Livenotonevil

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 09:17:31 AM »
Bup for now.
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Offline abc123

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 10:06:49 AM »
There are two aspects to this. One is strictness/laxity on the part of the priest, and then the layman's preparation for and desire to receive Communion. The ideal is probably frequent Communion with frequent Confession. Perhaps not a strict "one Confession for one Communion" as in some Russian parishes, but maintaining their rigorous preparation for receiving the Sacrament would help maintain the seriousness of receiving even if it were frequent.

The Catholic Church should probably tighten up the rules to ensure that only Catholics are receiving; the Orthodox certainly keep tighter custody of the Sacrament than any Catholic parish I've been a part of. I'm curious if this rigor is maintained in huge Orthodox parishes in Russia; most Orthodox parishes in my area are only a couple hundred families at absolute most, so the pastor can reasonably be expected to know which regulars are in fact Orthodox. In contrast, there are a large number of extremely large Catholic parishes, and the priests can't reasonably know everyone. I have seen in Orthodox Churches the priests actually ask people they don't know whether they are Orthodox; I'm not sure I have ever seen that in a Catholic Church, even the Eastern ones I've been to.

The ROCOR churches I have been to the priest will sometimes make an announcement that Communion is only for Orthodox Christians who have made recent Confession, said pre-Communion prayers and went to vigil the night before. This is on the stricter end but I like how everybody in the congregation knows before so that there are no awkward conversations at the Chalice.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 10:26:57 AM »
Weekly confession and daily Mass and communion is by far and away the best practice of all. I earnestly recommend that to all who desire to grow in sanctity and to save their soul; if not possible, we must at least read part of our Missal daily, and make many acts of spiritual communion, telling Our Lord we love and deeply desire to receive Him in sacramental communion as soon as possible. I think traditional priests are nothing short of heroic in how much they labor for souls; and how often they are there in the confessional to give us absolution. Catholics should make the best of it and go to confession frequently. Holy Communion preserves us from future mortal sin; it inflames love of God in our hearts and delivers us from venial sins. It should be received with preparation before Mass, participation during Mass, and thanksgiving after Mass. We recall Indulgences are granted along with confession and communion. Also, the Savior has more than once expressly indicated His desire of frequent Mass and communion; He asked St. Margaret Mary to encourage Catholics to frequently receive, and gave many promises toward this end, to crush the heresy of Jansenism that was then besetting the peace of the Church. In the Bible, Jesus seems to indicate eating His flesh is the indispensable condition to attain the grace of perseverance to the end in faith and love, and therefore, eternal life; on the contrary, that neglecting to do so, can lead us to spiritual death. How clear He is!

Jn 6:48 I am the Bread of Life. 49Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. 50This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die. 51I am the living Bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever; and the Bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 54He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. 58This is the Bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this Bread, shall live for ever.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:50:40 AM by Xavier »
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To Thee, O most loving Heart of Jesus, do I therefore commend all these souls, and for them I offer all Thy merits, together with the merits of the most Blessed Mother and of all the saints and angels, and also together with all the Sacrifices of the Mass, the Holy Communions, the prayers and good works that are made today throughout the entire Christian world."
 
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Offline Carleendiane

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2018, 11:33:16 AM »
Those are GREAT scriptures for protestant who believe they fulfill their communion duties with just bread.
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Offline The Harlequin King

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 11:44:21 AM »
It may be excessive to insist on confession and vigil immediately before Communion (perhaps one really doesn't have anything to confess), but I suppose it's better to err on the side of caution. It's certainly a good way to get folks to attend First Vespers, no?

If I were a pastor, I'd have a short verbal announcement about the requirements for receiving Communion together with the usual announcements at every Sunday Mass, as well as them being printed in the bulletin. I'd offer public Vespers on Saturday evening and encourage Sunday communicants to attend, without outright insisting upon it as a requirement.
 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 10:57:35 PM »
From the Conferences of St John Cassian (23:21):

"Yet we ought not to suspend ourselves from the Lord's Communion because we confess ourselves sinners, but should more and more eagerly hasten to it for the healing of our soul, and purifying of our spirit, and seek rather a remedy for our wounds with humility of mind and faith, as considering ourselves unworthy to receive so great grace. Otherwise we cannot worthily receive the Communion even once a year, as some do, who live in monasteries and so regard the dignity and holiness and value of the heavenly sacraments, as to think that none but saints and spotless persons should venture to receive them, and not rather that they would make us saints and pure by taking them. And these thereby fall into greater presumption and arrogance than what they seem to themselves to avoid, because at the time when they do receive them, they consider that they are worthy to receive them. But it is much better to receive them every Sunday for the healing of our infirmities, with that humility of heart, whereby we believe and confess that we can never touch those holy mysteries worthily, than to be puffed up by a foolish persuasion of heart, and believe that at the year's end we are worthy to receive them. Wherefore that we may be able to grasp this and hold it fruitfully, let us the more earnestly implore the Lord's mercy to help us to perform this, which is learnt not like other human arts, by some previous verbal explanation, but rather by experience and action leading the way; and which also unless it is often considered and hammered out in the Conferences of spiritual persons, and anxiously sifted by daily experience and trial of it, will either become obsolete through carelessness or perish by idle forgetfulness."
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2018, 09:22:05 AM »
Thanks, Aquinas. In the Roman liturgy, we say 3 times before Holy Communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." It looks like almost all Eastern liturgies, though they don't use the same words, all have the same idea - of ourselves we are unworthy, but God's grace can heal that unworthiness and dispose us to receive Him, if only we ask it of Him. In the Liturgy of St. James, we find several times the prayer, "make us worthy" . It's clear if we pray well during the divine liturgy, that prepares us for His invitation to receive Him. Have you found the same true in other Eastern liturgies? http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0717.htm

Quote
"fulfil to each what is profitable; lead all to perfection, and make us perfectly worthy of the grace of Your sanctification ... The Lord will bless us, and make us worthy with the pure touchings of our fingers to take the live coal, and place it upon the mouths of the faithful ...even now we beseech You, O Lord our God, make us worthy of perfect loving-kindness ...
An Offering to the Sacred Heart: "O divine Heart of Jesus, grant, I beseech Thee, eternal rest to the souls in purgatory, final grace and perseverance to all who are to die today, true repentance to sinners, the light of faith to pagans, Thy blessing to me and to all who are mine.

To Thee, O most loving Heart of Jesus, do I therefore commend all these souls, and for them I offer all Thy merits, together with the merits of the most Blessed Mother and of all the saints and angels, and also together with all the Sacrifices of the Mass, the Holy Communions, the prayers and good works that are made today throughout the entire Christian world."
 

Offline aquinas138

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 09:39:02 AM »
Thanks, Aquinas. In the Roman liturgy, we say 3 times before Holy Communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." It looks like almost all Eastern liturgies, though they don't use the same words, all have the same idea - of ourselves we are unworthy, but God's grace can heal that unworthiness and dispose us to receive Him, if only we ask it of Him. In the Liturgy of St. James, we find several times the prayer, "make us worthy" . It's clear if we pray well during the divine liturgy, that prepares us for His invitation to receive Him. Have you found the same true in other Eastern liturgies? http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0717.htm

Quote
"fulfil to each what is profitable; lead all to perfection, and make us perfectly worthy of the grace of Your sanctification ... The Lord will bless us, and make us worthy with the pure touchings of our fingers to take the live coal, and place it upon the mouths of the faithful ...even now we beseech You, O Lord our God, make us worthy of perfect loving-kindness ...

Yes, there are similar sentiments in all ancient liturgies. In the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, after the priest places a portion of the Lamb into the chalice and immediately before his communion, this prayer is said (in the Ruthenian Church all say it together):

Quote
O Lord, I believe and profess that you are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first.

Accept me today as a partaker of your mystical supper, O Son of God, for I will not reveal your mystery to your enemies, nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I profess you:

Remember me, O Lord, when you come in your kingdom.
Remember me, O Master, when you come in your kingdom.
Remember me, O Holy One, when you come in your kingdom.

May the partaking of your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.
O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly your most precious body and your life-giving blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.

In my parish at least, the three "Remember me" lines and the last three lines are all said with the Sign of the Cross and a bow. There are also lengthy prayers rules in preparation for receiving Holy Communion; in Catholic churches at least, they are not really required. I know in many Orthodox churches, they are required. The Russian version found here is said in the morning before receiving; the evening before, one is supposed to say three canons (to the Lord, to the Theotokos, and to the Guardian Angel) and an akathist (usually to the Lord or the Theotokos). Other Slavic traditions use similar rules. The Greek (and Arab) tradition is a little different; the Canon found in the Russian order is moved to the evening before and said in the context of Small Compline; the other prayers, which are more or less the same, are said in addition to the usual morning prayers.
The door of compassion open unto us, * O blessed Theotokos, * for hoping in thee, let us not perish; * through thee may we be delivered from adversities, * for thou art the salvation of the Christian race.
 
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Offline Livenotonevil

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Re: Is Lax Communion or Strict Communion a better option?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 12:28:05 PM »
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In the OCA / Russian Liturgy, the above prayer is kind of said, but it's slightly different.

"I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe also that this is truly Thine own pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance. And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord in Thy Kingdom.

May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, O Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen."

These prayers are from Saint John Chrysostom himself.
"Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence."
-Saint John of Kronstadt
 
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