Worship prefect blunt on Anglican eucharist, intercommunion

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has made pointed statements about intercommunion, Anglican orders and Eucharist.

In an interview with aleteia.org, Cardinal Robert Sarah said intercommunion between Catholics and other Christians is not a matter of following one’s conscience.

Rather, intercommunion between Christians not united in faith and doctrine would promote profanation, he said.

His comments came a few weeks after Pope Francis spoke to a Lutheran woman with a Catholic spouse, after she expressed her regret they could not receive Catholic Communion together.

The Pope said that while he didn’t dare to give her permission to receive Catholic Communion because it was not his competence, he said she should “talk to the Lord and go forward” from there.

The Pope emphasised the fact that if Christians have the same Baptism, they must walk together.

Speaking to aleteia.org, Cardinal Sarah said that many priests have told him they give Communion to everyone.

The cardinal said this is “nonsense”.

“Sometimes, an Anglican who is very far away from his church for a very long period of time and who desires to receive Communion, can participate in Mass and receive Communion in the Catholic Church, where there is no sin, and he is properly married,” the cardinal said.

“Because they believe in the Eucharist, even if in the Anglican church is it not actually the Eucharist because there is no priesthood.

“But it is rare and would happen under very exceptional circumstances.

“This is something extraordinary and not ordinary.”

Cardinal Sarah continued: “But a Catholic cannot receive communion in the Anglican church, because there is no Communion; there is only bread.”

“The bread is not consecrated, because the priest is not a priest.

“With the break of Henry VIII with the Catholic Church, priestly orders in the Anglican Church became null and void.

“So the consecration isn’t valid, and therefore it’s not the Eucharist.”


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