Communion for Children

Over at First Things, there is an article by Anna Nussbaum Keating on Why Can’t My Son Receive the Eucharist, which gives a catholic case for children participating in the Lords’ Supper/Eucharist/Communion.

Gotta love this quote from Augustine: “Yes, they’re infants, but they are his members. They’re infants, but they receive his sacraments. They are infants, but they share in his table, in order to have life in themselves.”

The issue of paedocommunion has been a big issue in American Presbyterianism in light of the “Federal Vision,” however, in the Anglican tradition there has been much more of an openness to it. In my Evangelical Theology I have an extended discussion on the topic where I come out in favor of it. Any way, I loved Keating’s conclusion:

Perhaps now is the time to rediscover the practice of infant communion. Pope Francis has said that the Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” He has also written in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel that, “The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded. . . . Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason.” In the meantime, I hope that my son will always desire Jesus in the Eucharist as much as he does now. He has been asking every Sunday for many months “Is the Eucharist for me?” but last Sunday he stayed quiet. I think he has finally realized that the answer would always be no.

Would anyone like to team up and write a catechism for children preparing them to take communion?

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  • Kim Fabricius

    Excellent! We began the practice at my (United Reformed) church in Swansea (UK) at Easter, 1983. If they’re baptised, let the children feast! “Understanding” (the big bugbear)? Understanding – and growth in understanding – by participation. Besides, what kind of “knowledge” are we talking about? Love has its own epistemology, which is not bound to age or intellect. Noisiness? Oh please – a fastidious objection of the uptight! And no half-way measures (e.g., grapes and and biscuits – or raisin bread!)! And confirmation? It serves a different purpose (commitment and commissioning). Actually, we finally went for a completely open table – baptism itself not a condition for admission – but that’s another conversation…

  • Jon Marq Toombs

    Yea! This is a much-needed conversation starter. Our church welcomes baptized children to the Lord’s table (and we hold to dual-practice baptism).

  • Dan Glover

    Thanks for this. Our church is part of the CREC (Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches) which, while we accept reformed Baptists into membership, we practice both paedobaptism and paedocommunion. “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

    Regarding children’s catechisms, have you seen this one?
    Blessings, Dan