BBC - Religions - Christianity: Eucharist
Therefore, because the Church states that reception of the Eucharist is necessary for Christian Rather, in their belief in the sacrament, Protestants bring forth their faith in Jesus and in God The relationship between baptism and communion is quite strong. (Episcopal News Service photo by Jeff Sells/Anglican World). Anglican eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Its sources include prayer book rubrics, writings on sacramental theology by Anglican doctrine concerning the eucharist is contained in Article XXVIII - Of the Lord's Supper and XXIX - Of the Wicked which eat not the Body. (These can be found in any Anglican prayer book.) Anglicans summarise their basic beliefs in The Catechism (an old word, meaning “what is to be taught”).
The care shown in promoting the faithful observance of these norms becomes a practical means of showing love for the Eucharist and for the Church.
Anglican eucharistic theology
In considering the Eucharist as the sacrament of ecclesial communion, there is one subject which, due to its importance, must not be overlooked: I am referring to the relationship of the Eucharist to ecumenical activity. We should all give thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the many members of the faithful throughout the world who in recent decades have felt an ardent desire for unity among all Christians.
Our longing for the goal of unity prompts us to turn to the Eucharist, which is the supreme sacrament of the unity of the People of God, in as much as it is the apt expression and the unsurpassable source of that unity.
Precisely because the Church's unity, which the Eucharist brings about through the Lord's sacrifice and by communion in his body and blood, absolutely requires full communion in the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance, it is not possible to celebrate together the same Eucharistic liturgy until those bonds are fully re-established.
Any such concelebration would not be a valid means, and might well prove instead to be an obstacle, to the attainment of full communion, by weakening the sense of how far we remain from this goal and by introducing or exacerbating ambiguities with regard to one or another truth of the faith.
The path towards full unity can only be undertaken in truth. In this area, the prohibitions of Church law leave no room for uncertainty,92 in fidelity to the moral norm laid down by the Second Vatican Council. While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church.
In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established. This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed.
In my Encyclical Ut Unum Sint I expressed my own appreciation of these norms, which make it possible to provide for the salvation of souls with proper discernment: And the opposite is also true: Catholics may not receive communion in those communities which lack a valid sacrament of Orders. There is an episode which in some way serves as its prelude: But Jesus' own reaction is completely different. Reflecting at least in part the Jewish rites of the Passover meal leading up to the singing of the Hallel cf.
In the wake of Jesus' own words and actions, and building upon the ritual heritage of Judaism, the Christian liturgy was born. Could there ever be an adequate means of expressing the acceptance of that self-gift which the divine Bridegroom continually makes to his Bride, the Church, by bringing the Sacrifice offered once and for all on the Cross to successive generations of believers and thus becoming nourishment for all the faithful? O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur! The bread which is broken on our altars, offered to us as wayfarers along the paths of the world, is panis angelorum, the bread of angels, which cannot be approached except with the humility of the centurion in the Gospel: With this heightened sense of mystery, we understand how the faith of the Church in the mystery of the Eucharist has found historical expression not only in the demand for an interior disposition of devotion, but also in outward forms meant to evoke and emphasize the grandeur of the event being celebrated.
This led progressively to the development of a particular form of regulating the Eucharistic liturgy, with due respect for the various legitimately constituted ecclesial traditions. On this foundation a rich artistic heritage also developed. Architecture, sculpture, painting and music, moved by the Christian mystery, have found in the Eucharist, both directly and indirectly, a source of great inspiration.
The designs of altars and tabernacles within Church interiors were often not simply motivated by artistic inspiration but also by a clear understanding of the mystery. The same could be said for sacred music, if we but think of the inspired Gregorian melodies and the many, often great, composers who sought to do justice to the liturgical texts of the Mass. Similarly, can we overlook the enormous quantity of artistic production, ranging from fine craftsmanship to authentic works of art, in the area of Church furnishings and vestments used for the celebration of the Eucharist?
How could we not give particular thanks to the Lord for the contributions to Christian art made by the great architectural and artistic works of the Greco-Byzantine tradition and of the whole geographical area marked by Slav culture? In the East, sacred art has preserved a remarkably powerful sense of mystery, which leads artists to see their efforts at creating beauty not simply as an expression of their own talents, but also as a genuine service to the faith.
Passing well beyond mere technical skill, they have shown themselves docile and open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The architectural and mosaic splendours of the Christian East and West are a patrimony belonging to all believers; they contain a hope, and even a pledge, of the desired fullness of communion in faith and in celebration.
Within this context of an art aimed at expressing, in all its elements, the meaning of the Eucharist in accordance with the Church's teaching, attention needs to be given to the norms regulating the construction and decor of sacred buildings.
As history shows and as I emphasized in my Letter to Artiststhe Church has always left ample room for the creativity of artists. But sacred art must be outstanding for its ability to express adequately the mystery grasped in the fullness of the Church's faith and in accordance with the pastoral guidelines appropriately laid down by competent Authority.
This holds true both for the figurative arts and for sacred music. The development of sacred art and liturgical discipline which took place in lands of ancient Christian heritage is also taking place on continents where Christianity is younger. In my numerous Pastoral Visits I have seen, throughout the world, the great vitality which the celebration of the Eucharist can have when marked by the forms, styles and sensibilities of different cultures.
By adaptation to the changing conditions of time and place, the Eucharist offers sustenance not only to individuals but to entire peoples, and it shapes cultures inspired by Christianity. It is necessary, however, that this important work of adaptation be carried out with a constant awareness of the ineffable mystery against which every generation is called to measure itself.A 'New' Church of England Emerges in the 'Old' Country
Furthermore, the centrality of the Eucharistic mystery demands that any such review must be undertaken in close association with the Holy See. All of this makes clear the great responsibility which belongs to priests in particular for the celebration of the Eucharist. It is their responsibility to preside at the Eucharist in persona Christi and to provide a witness to and a service of communion not only for the community directly taking part in the celebration, but also for the universal Church, which is a part of every Eucharist.
It must be lamented that, especially in the years following the post-conciliar liturgical reform, as a result of a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation there have been a number of abuses which have been a source of suffering for many.
I consider it my duty, therefore to appeal urgently that the liturgical norms for the celebration of the Eucharist be observed with great fidelity. These norms are a concrete expression of the authentically ecclesial nature of the Eucharist; this is their deepest meaning. Liturgy is never anyone's private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated.
The Apostle Paul had to address fiery words to the community of Corinth because of grave shortcomings in their celebration of the Eucharist resulting in divisions schismata and the emergence of factions haireseis cf. Our time, too, calls for a renewed awareness and appreciation of liturgical norms as a reflection of, and a witness to, the one universal Church made present in every celebration of the Eucharist.
Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church. Precisely to bring out more clearly this deeper meaning of liturgical norms, I have asked the competent offices of the Roman Curia to prepare a more specific document, including prescriptions of a juridical nature, on this very important subject.
No one is permitted to undervalue the mystery entrusted to our hands: If we wish to rediscover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church. At first glance, the Gospel is silent on this subject. The account of the institution of the Eucharist on the night of Holy Thursday makes no mention of Mary.
But in addition to her sharing in the Eucharistic banquet, an indirect picture of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist can be had, beginning with her interior disposition.
The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery. If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition.
In repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper in obedience to his command: With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary seems to say to us: In a certain sense Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God's Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation.
At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord's body and blood. As a result, there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. In continuity with the Virgin's faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine.
Mary also anticipated, in the mystery of the incarnation, the Church's Eucharistic faith. And is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion? Mary, throughout her life at Christ's side and not only on Calvary, made her own the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist.
The tragedy of her Son's crucifixion was thus foretold, and in some sense Mary's Stabat Mater at the foot of the Cross was foreshadowed.
The body given up for us and made present under sacramental signs was the same body which she had conceived in her womb! For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross. Consequently all that Christ did with regard to his Mother for our sake is also present.
To her he gave the beloved disciple and, in him, each of us: To each of us he also says: Experiencing the memorial of Christ's death in the Eucharist also means continually receiving this gift.
It also means taking on a commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the school of his Mother and allowing her to accompany us. Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West.
In the Eucharist the Church is completely united to Christ and his sacrifice, and makes her own the spirit of Mary. This truth can be understood more deeply by re-reading the Magnificat in a Eucharistic key. In this sacrament, Christ is both encountered and incorporated they "partake" of him.
As such, the eucharistic action looks backward as a memorial of Christ's sacrifice, forward as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet and to the present as an incarnation of Christ in the lives of the community and of individual believers. The Catechism of the Church of Englandthe foundational church of the Anglican Communion, is found in the Book of Common Prayer and states that, as with other sacraments, the eucharist is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.
Varieties of eucharistic theology[ edit ] Because of the various theological movements which have influenced Anglicanism throughout history, there is no one sacramental theory accepted by all Anglicans. Cranmer's belief was substantially Calvinist, receptionism and virtualism, as shown by Peter Brooks in Corporeal presence[ edit ] Anglicans of Anglo-Catholic churchmanship, as well as some high-church Evangelicals, hold to a belief in the corporeal presence of Christ in the Eucharist,  but maintain that the details of how Christ is made present remain a mystery of faith a view also held by the Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, and Methodist Church.
But though they can certainly be claimed in the favour of the real Presence, yet to bring into them a theory of "accidents" remaining while the "substance" is changed, is to read into the text that which is certainly not contained in it, and what we deny can reasonably be referred from it. Lord's Supper in Reformed theology Low-church Anglicans reject belief in a corporeal presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and accordingly, usually any belief in the reservation and adoration of the sacrament.
Reservation was eliminated in practice by the rubric at the end of the Communion service which ordered the reverent consumption of any consecrated bread and wine immediately after the blessing, and adoration by the " Declaration concerning Kneeling ". Low-church parishes and ministers tend to celebrate the Eucharist less frequently e.
This view has historical precedent. During the seminal years of the English ReformationThomas Cranmer was in correspondence with many continental Reformers, several of whom came to England at his request to aid in reforms there. The views of these men were in line with the Reformed doctrine of the sacrament. There is also a spiritual eating of Christ's body; not such that we think that thereby the food itself is to be changed into spirit, but whereby the body and blood of the Lord, while remaining in their own essence and property, are spiritually communicated to us, certainly not in a corporeal but in a spiritual way, by the Holy Spirit, who applies and bestows upon us these things which have been prepared for us by the sacrifice of the Lord's body and blood for us, namely, the remission of sins, deliverance, and eternal life; so that Christ lives in us and we live in him, and he causes us to receive him by true faith to this end that he may become for us such spiritual food and drink, that is, our life.
But he who comes to this sacred Table of the Lord without faith, communicates only in the sacrament and does not receive the substance of the sacrament whence comes life and salvation; and such men unworthily eat of the Lord's Table.
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Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and eats and drinks judgment upon himself I Cor. For when they do not approach with true faith, they dishonor the death of Christ, and therefore eat and drink condemnation to themselves.
This emphasis on the faith of the receiver instead of the elements, common to both the Continental Reformed churches and the Church of England, has also been called " receptionism ". However, Christ's presence in the sacrament is objective and is in no way dependent on the attitude of the recipient who perceives it by faith.
I cannot deem it unfair to apply the name of Consubstantiation to a doctrine which teaches, that "the true flesh and true blood of Christ are in the true bread and wine," in such a way that "whatsoever motion or action the bread" and wine have, the body and blood "of Christ also" have "the same;" and that "the substances in both cases" are "so mingled--that they should constitute some one thing.
Both views hold that Christ is present in the eucharistic elements spiritually. Such spiritual presence may or may not be believed to be in bodily form, depending on the particular doctrinal position. Although this is similar to consubstantiation, it is different as it has a decidedly mystical emphasis. According to this view, although the bread and wine remain unchanged, through the worthy reception of the sacrament the communicant receives the body and blood of Christ.
The liturgy is defined in the authorised prayer books of the various national churches and ecclesiastical provinces of the communion. The eucharistic rites follow one or other of two main sources, either the First English Prayer Book of or the Second of which, with minor modifications, became the Book BCP which is still today the official and legal reference-point for the Church of England. In modern liturgies whichever source or they follow for the sacrament, the Liturgy of the Word has, with variations, a fairly standard pattern: The Proclamation of the Word: Usually two to three readings of Scripture, one of which is always from the Gospelsplus a psalm or portion thereof or canticle.
Very varied in form. The passing of the peace may be placed here. Following this, a eucharistic prayer called "The Great Thanksgiving" is recited.
This prayer consists of a dialogue the Sursum Cordaa preface, the sanctus and benedictusthe Words of Institutionthe anamnesisthe oblation or presentation of the gifts to God in the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the epiclesis or request that the Holy Spirit descend upon the gifts and sanctify them to be the Body and Blood of Jesus, an eschatological statement about the end time, doxology and congregational assent, Amen.
The entire prayer is consecratory. The Lord's Prayer follows, and is followed by the fraction the breaking of the breadthe Prayer of Humble Accesswhich is optional, the Agnus Deiand the distribution of the sacred elements the bread and wine.
There is a post-Communion prayer. A doxology or general prayer of thanksgiving may follow. The service concludes with a Trinitarian blessing and the dismissal. The priest prepares the table. Invitation to examine oneself, confession, absolution, "comfortable words".
Then comes the distribution of the elements, the Lord's Prayer, concluding prayer of thanksgiving, the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and blessing. The theology of these rites has been considerably modified in the last years, with the reintroduction of oblationary language as pertaining to an objective, material sacrifice offered to God in union with Christ. The Prayer Books of, and placed sacrificial language in a post-communion prayer in order to detach it from the context of the eucharistic prayer.
A prime example of these modifications can be found in the American Book of Common Prayer introduced by the first American Episcopal bishop Samuel Seabury and adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in He insisted on the adoption of a full eucharistic prayer of the non-Juror Scottish Episcopal Church Rite to replace the truncated version of the earlier English rites beginning in The adopted prayer included the words, "with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto thee", which were inserted after the words from the Rite "we, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make before thy Divine Majesty, and before the words "the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make" BCP cf.
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An epiclesis was also restored. The insertion of these ten words in effect undid Cranmer's theology that the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving was restricted to words and sentiments in prayer.
Church of England[ edit ] Throughout the 20th century the eucharist in the Church of England has undergone a number of significant changes and in most churches the BCP is no longer used for many services.
The Book of Common Prayer A new concept of alternative services that could be authorised for up to seven years. Further authorisation of seven years could be granted by General Synod.
Provision for making legal other services outside the range of Book of Common Prayer such as family services. Under the new measure all services that the deposited prayer book that had been in use for nearly 40 years on the say so of individual bishops lost all legal authority. They would then have to authorised as alternate services.