Discuss: The Eucharist and Unity
In order to understand the full context of this post, read this response from Father Shane to a question of mine from a while back: “What are your personal convictions and scriptural support about Protestants and Catholics taking communion together?”
I thanked him for his honest answer, though I still relayed my disagreement on the “literalness” of the “Body of Christ”. In case you didn’t know, official Catholic doctrine holds to transubstantiation, the belief that the bread and wine taken in the Lord’s Supper/Eucharist literally becomes the body and blood of Christ. Protestants don’t believe in this literalness, but more as symbolic and memorial partaking of the Lord’s Supper. And so, it would be on the grounds of these doctrinal differences that a Protestant would “drink judgement” upon themselves (1 Cor. 11:29) by partaking in the Catholic Eucharist, as Mr. Johnson responded. His answer ends with a call to “full unity”.
But how do we pursue unity with doctrinal differences?
I totally understand the reasoning and concerns relayed by the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. In order for Protestants to partake of the Catholic Eucharist, a Protestant would have to hold to transubstantiation. That, or official Catholic doctrine would have to drop their understanding of transubstantiation, or at least loosen their strictness on this interpretation, making a memorial recognition a possible understanding. One party changing doctrine seems to be the only way to “full unity” in the Eucharist.
But is there another way to pursue unity without either party changing doctrinal beliefs?
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