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Vaughn Allen wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question about the Church or Her teaching. I am following up on a e-mail from Mike on the subject of why the administering of the Eucharist must be reserved for Catholics only.
The gist of his answer was that we are one family and commitment is required up front before you can become a part of this family.

I spend a lot of time in a nursing home with many devoted and sincere residents who are well into their twilight years. They come to the Rosary every week. Those who are not Catholic have learned all the prayers and recite them fervently. I hold a Communion service twice a week. It feels wrong to ask for their Catholic cards, if you know what I mean. Someone asked Jesus a question, and roughly paraphrasing, He said:

  • 33 “Who is my mother and my brothers?, All are…." Mark 3:33

He said nothing about the commitment up front. Sometimes I think we get a little hung up on the Church side at the expense of the Faith side. If I am lucky enough to see His face when I die,
I hope He is not disappointed in me because one of His own wanted Him and I rejected her.

  • Do you have any other insights for me?


  { Are we being to rigid with the elderly in nursing homes in reserving the Eucharist for Catholics? }

John replied:

Dear Vaughn —

First of all, let's qualify this a bit. Not all non-Catholics are prevented from receiving the Eucharist. Those who belong to Churches, where Apostolic succession has not been interrupted (mostly Orthodox Churches), may also receive the Eucharist, but are admonished to be obedient to their bishop's instruction.

Now to your point: Reverence and fervor are not substitutes for full Communion with Christ's Church. If these folks are interested in receiving the Eucharist, then this is an opportunity for you to evangelize them to enter the fullness of the Faith. These good folks are part of the Christian family, but they have yet to accept the truth about the Eucharist or the Catholic Church, hence,
it is an invitation to them to do so.

All that said, even David ate the show bread which was reserved for the priests, as the book of Samuel records. There are certain extreme (as in on death's door) cases whereby these people could seek and receive the Eucharist, but they must ask for it and profess faith that it is indeed not just a symbol they receive, but is really the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ Himself.

Now let's deal with your use of Scripture.

You write:
He said:

  • “Who is my mother and my brothers?, All are…." Luke 8:20-21

You are in fact dead wrong in your selective use of the text and in adding: All are, etc., etc.

Here is what the entire text actually says, both in Matthew and Mark:

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 "For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother."

Matthew 12:48-50 (NKJ)

33 But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

Mark 3:33-35 (NKJ)

As you can see, Christ did not say All are my Mother and my Brother. In fact, He demands a commitment up front.

50 "For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother."

Matthew 12:50

35 "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

Mark 3:35

  • OK, so what is the will of the Father and the will of Christ with regards to the Church?

The answer is found in John 17 among other places:

17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.

John 17:17-25

Hence, it is not the will of God for there to be a bunch of denominations each professing their own creed. Rather there is one Church. That Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church with Her Sacraments.

Our Orthodox brethren are in schism, but through Apostolic Succession they have valid Sacraments because they have retained a valid priesthood.

Other non-Christians, as in Protestants, have not. The unity that exists with Orthodox Churches is far deeper, and in fact, the schism might be better described as sleeping in separate rooms, whereas the Protestants are sleeping on the front porch.

Our duty as Catholics is to lead our brother Christians into the fullness of the Faith through love, not by denying our differences or maintaining that any old creed will do.

The will of the Father, then, is that all men come to Christ and His one Church.

Hope this helps,

John DiMascio

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