Catholic Closed Communion: Reply to a Foolish Objection

Catholic Closed Communion: Reply to a Foolish Objection March 23, 2018

[A person (words in blue) commented on closed communion, in replying to my “Treatise on Transubstantiation in Reply to Protestants”]

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This seems much ado about very little difference. For years I went to both the Lutheran (ELCA) and the Catholic church every weekend, receiving communion at both services. I did my best to think differently, transubstantiation in the Catholic church and consubstantiation in the Lutheran church. But it seemed very much [the] same: communion, bread and wine, with fellow worshipers. The big difference was that all who saw Jesus as their Lord and Savior were welcome in the Lutheran church, with no such welcome, of course, in the Catholic church. The difference discussed here seems mainly for theologians.

[Note: first of all, not all Lutherans have open communion. ELCA does, because it is a liberal Lutheran denomination (which favors, for example  legal abortion). The more traditional denomination, LCMS, has closed communion because it actually continues Lutheran tradition, with the understanding that those who receive must completely agree with the given group’s theological teachings. This was early Christian practice, as preserved in Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations]

With that sort of indifferentist “receive Communion from whomever will give it to me, regardless of their belief-system” view, you would see little difference.

It’s kindergarten thinking to act as if any institution or group that has entrance requirements is being uppity and intolerant. Every sports team does the same; so does every college. But if we “arrogant” Catholics dare do it in matters of theology, well, that must be pharisaical and judgmental and intolerant! It couldn’t possibly be otherwise! All this mentality proves is that those who “think” in this way are not using their brain cells very vigorously.

Jesus had some pretty strict requirements for following Him, too. For the rich young ruler, it was selling everything he had and giving it to the poor. Then he could follow Jesus. He decided not to, and walked away.

The “disciples” (beyond the twelve) in John 6 (6:60) decided to stop following Jesus, rather than accept His teaching on Real Presence and transubstantiation. They wanted to follow their own carnal understanding rather than accept what Jesus was teaching them (which they thought was a “hard saying” that no one could “listen” to), and so we’re informed: “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66: perfect number for the Bible verse there).

At least they were intellectually honest, unlike many people today who will receive Holy Communion anywhere and everywhere (various rules be damned!) and pretend that that is not contradictory and dishonest.

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For in-depth treatments of why Catholics believe as we do on this score, see:

Exclusion of Non-Catholics from Communion: Why? 

Catholic Closed Communion: A Defense

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(originally 12-9-17;  extra note added on 3-23-18)

Photo credit: The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) practices closed communion, just as Catholics do, and for the same reasons. Photo from 6-13-09 [Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license]

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