Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Uganda: What's Wrong With Otunnu Receiving Catholic Eucharist

This is a discussion you may not hear much around here. In Uganda, a political leader who is Anglican received communion at a Catholic Church. Of course, this is not permitted. Now, if this happened around here, some people would probably react, but the bishop would probably not react as strongly as the Ugandan one did. Check out his quote:

Expressing his disapproval, Lwanga said: "We were shocked to see an Anglican taking Holy Communion. We have seven sacraments and this one highly differentiates us from other Christians who have only one. We Catholics believe in the Holy Orders sacrament, which empowers the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate. That is why non-Catholics are not supposed to take Holy Communion."

Lwanga is the bishop of the area. His words are not mean or rude, he simply clarifies the Catholic position. I think this type of clarification is necessary from time to time. If it is explained properly, people are not offended. I have had non-Catholic friends attend Mass with me, and in some way or another I let them know that non-Catholics should not receive communion. Non-Christians usually accept without question. But non-Catholic Christians are sometimes a little harder to convince, but if done properly, no one needs to be embarrased or upset.

A lot of times, priests or bishops may turn a blind eye to a violation of the rules in the spirit of not offending anyone. But I think offense can be avoided if things are explained with love. So if you went to a non-Catholic and just said "Only Catholics can receive communion, so don't you dare go up!" that would probably be offensive. However, a better alternative may be to say something like "You probably already know this, but communion is for those in communion with the Catholic Church, however you can approach the priest for a blessing if you would like. How does that sound?" Asking the question at the end allows them to express their opinion on the matter, giving you a chance to explain further if necessary. Never phrase in terms of them not being worthy or "good enough". Also, don't be over-apologetic. Phrasing it as something normal and "not a big deal" will make them feel less out of place or strange.

As Peter says, we have to speak the truth, but do it with love and reverence. Don't forget the second part!

Here's the article: Uganda: What's Wrong With Otunnu Receiving Catholic Eucharist

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