what the faith …

I find it a strange puzzlement when non-Catholics partake in the ritual of receiving of Communion. Especially when they do it a manner that so blatantly mimics the sacrament of Catholics – well, without the Real Presence of course.

I understand it’s just a symbolic gesture to non-Catholics devoid of any sacrament, more like a toast… “To Jesus!” “Cheers”. Some have described it to me as commemorating the event of the Last Supper, like a re-enactment maybe.

So why the extra effort to make little wafers like the Church uses. Why not put on tunics, flip off your shoes, sit on the floor and pass around a real loaf of bread instead?

It seems so odd to not adhere to our beliefs yet look to copy them. It’s like playing dress up with Catholicism. My Jewish girlfriend feels the same way about Christians who host Passover Seders and call themselves Messianic Jews.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • nitnot

    That product is a hoot!  The Methodist church of my upbringing had classy glass thimble cups for the grape juice and used genuine Wonder Bread sliced into 1-cm cubes.  Can’t beat the real thing!  heh heh

  • lethargic

    Communion MREs!  Awesome!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Winning!

    • http://profiles.google.com/christinehebert65 Christine Hebert

       I heard that something similar to this is used for Catholics in combat situations.  I am not certain how that works for consecration, but there you have it.

  • Janet Butler

    When I played on the Baptist side of the sandbox, years ago (a temporary aberration), I remember one particular communion ceremony in which we had actual loaves of bread that we broke pieces off and passed around the table. No real wine, though. These WERE Baptists, after all. :-)

  • Lynn

    At my old Protestant church, they put the leftover communion bread (whole wheat loaf) on the buffet for the potluck every month.  Once i was on the road to Rome, it made me week in the knees even though I knew it wasn’t a sacrament.

  • http://uniconoclast.com/ Kim Vandapool

    I went to visit my parents’ church (Presbyterian) a couple weeks ago to see my mom sing in the choir and was relived that I didn’t have to sit through the mock communion that particular day, with its juice and crackers. But, I did notice some interesting things that completely struck me as dim imitations: there was an alter-like table on the “stage”  with two candles and cross on top of something reminiscent of an alter cloth. Also, at one point early on, a girl walked down the center isle with a long, fancy lighter-thing just to light the candles on the “alter”. Several things like that just struck me as weird – the obvious aesthetic they were going for was Catholic, but devoid of any meaning.

  • kenneth

    Charges of copying or “ripping off” of traditions are a delicate business, given that the Church in no way invented the ritual of Communion. The RCC is of course unique in its understanding of bread and wine as the literal body of Christ, but even that was not cemented in the modern understanding of transubstantiation as a dogma until the 1200s. 
        Catholicism was not even the first religion, by a long shot, to incorporate the communal breaking of bread into worship. It is not even the first to do so in the belief that they were partaking in the actual body of their god. Egyptian priests had a form of cake or wafer they believed to become the body of Osiris. The Mithra cult, which was contemporary with early Christianity and which features a number of curious overlaps in theology, had a bread/cakes and drink which were very much like the Eucharist in form and theology. When the Spaniards first came to Mexico and Central America, they found the natives consecrating and distributing flour cakes they took to be the flesh of their deities.    Does that mean Catholics are just re-enacting or aping older rites? That’s a gross oversimplification, but it’s clear that the Church is not the first nor only religion to recognize the power of receiving one’s god into one’s body as food, a connection of  physical and spiritual sustenance. It doesn’t follow that anyone engaging in a communion-like ritual is mocking Catholicism or unconsciously yearning to be Catholic or pirating some unique piece of Catholic ritual technology for their own uses.     If we look at the act of breaking bread with others in a broader sense, it is clear that it is an act of such primal and intrinsic power that it stands as ritual on its own and predates Christianity by easily a million years. A communal meal reinforces group identity and cohesion. In tribal societies, it also has very ancient and deep implications in the laws of hospitality. In Bedouin societies and in some ways in modern Arab societies, sharing bread and salt with a stranger in your home was a big deal. The host took on specific responsibilities for the life and welfare of the guest. The guest, in accepting the food, acknowledged a bond with his host and a degree of loyalty to him going forward. The ancient contracts forged by bread-braking were as solid (more so) as any modern legal contract, and were taken as seriously as religion or life itself. 

      It may be that I’m over thinking this and not understanding the core complaint of the post.  Are you upset that protestants do communion in a “lesser” way? or are communion-style hosts being sold and used as a sort of generic DIY ritual in memory of old friends or something? 

  • http://lolawantsunsoclicited.blogspot.com/ Lola

    I actually am amazed at the reverence I’ve seen towards a “symbol’ I witnessed at my cousin’s Luthern (Missouri Synod) service and at one of girls we know Methodist (Primative) wedding.

    I kid you not the reverence there was oodles above many of my local parishes with the 10 or so Eucaristic Ministers.

    I have a lovely aquaintance who was raised Methodist, became Catholic as a young wife, and after a few years went back to the Methodist church.  She returned to the Catholic Church only, she said, because she missed the Real Presence.  Not for the music, not for the homilies, not for the pseudo-Protestant-Evangelical feeling we get nowdays every Sunday at too many Catholic Parishes including the one she and I attend. She opened my eyes Wide.

    Thank you Lord for that Strong Humble and Loving Guidence that sometimes comes my way.

  • Twobaglife

    Because you don’t have to believe in transubtantiaton to believe a ritual should be done with reverence? Because communion is important to us because it’s a serious reminder that Jesus Christ offered himself up for our sins, and sometimes you need to be formal rather than casual?

    • kenneth

          But how has it been established that its being done irreverantly? The product above is a curious one, but I’m not sure its mere existence is evidence of mockery of Catholic Communion. The one place I found selling it appears to be a real church supply company marketing to churches and like groups. Has the thing taken a left turn into popular culture and been corrupted as a kids drinking game or something?
          I don’t know if this kit is “kosher” under Canon law for Catholic use, but if so, I can imagine it might appeal to chaplains in the military or prison situations. Maybe it’s meant for Baptists or other protestants. I know Catholics love to get in the dig that they’re not getting the “real deal” with their communion, but their use of communion certainly doesn’t constitute mockery or irreverance.
           If the underlying beef here really does boil down to that 500-year old theological rift with protestants over real presence, what’s the point of bringing it up? You’re not telling Catholics anything they don’t know already, and mocking their alleged mockery of your sacrament certainly isn’t going to inspire them to convert.

      • Twobaglife

        I’m not sure what you are reading into my post. Crescat’s point is why we don’t sit around barefoot passing around bread, and that’s the context of my reply-that you don’t need to be Catholic to have reverence for communion. That’s not copying Catholicism, that’s just being respectful. Simply because we don’t think it a sacrament doesn’t mean we treat it disrespectfully. I think you don’t realize I agree with you.
         

  • dymphna

    When my husband was a a heathen he rememebers going to his granny’s church and seeing the idividual plastic shot glasses and saltine crackers. 

  • http://twitter.com/dferg David Ferguson

    This is the first blog post that I’ve read which seems off.  

    “I understand it’s just a symbolic gesture to non-Catholics devoid of any sacrament, more like a toast… “To Jesus!” “Cheers”. Some have described it to me as commemorating the event of the Last Supper, like a re-enactment maybe. ”

    Perhaps you are just being flip, but that is not a serious characterization of the Protestant observation of communion.  It is not a toast or a reinactment.  It is an act of obedience of “this do in remembrance of Me.”  We are remembering our guilt, the fact that our sins caused the bodily suffering of our Lord, that those sins caused His suffering and bleeding and that His blood washes those sins away.”

    I would like to remind you that most bible believing protestants are your heart-felt brothers and sisters in Christ and allies in the cultural battle.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez


      Perhaps you are just being flip, but that is not a serious characterization of the Protestant observation of communion.  It is not a toast or a reinactment.  It is an act of obedience of “this do in remembrance of Me.”  We are remembering our guilt, the fact that our sins caused the bodily suffering of our Lord, that those sins caused His suffering and bleeding and that His blood washes those sins away.”

      Ok, I can see that. I had always heard it was a toast or re-enactment. It’s nice to hear otherwise. 

      One small point, it’s a tiny one… there is more to that Bible verse… 

      “Take this and eat it, it IS my body. Do this in remembrance of me”. 

  • http://twitter.com/dferg David Ferguson

    Also, 

    “My Jewish girlfriend feels the same way about Christians who host Passover Seders and call themselves Messianic Jews.”
    Asking a Jewish person to evaluate Messianic Jewish practices may not yield you an objective appraisal.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Which is why I asked.  I don’t pretend to know everything or be an expert. Sometimes I post questions looking for reader feedback out my own sense of curiosity. I found it an odd practice and a tad offensive since I hold that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ. I was wondering why some non-Catholics even bother, kwim? 

  • Lynn

    They were definitely reverent at my church until the ritual was over and the potluck began. It was interesting, though, how the pastor described what I now know as sacraments. He said they don’t actually *do* anything at all, but for some reason they were commanded, so we obey. They would even lay hands on people and anoint them with oil for healing, though not publicly.

    I found it odd that a church which had so much to say about Catholic “empty ritual” nevertheless believed that God commanded them for all Christians.

  • A632ba

    I love when Catholics use vernacular Bibles, and music other than chant!  It’s like their dressing up as Protestants!


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