Religion and reconciliation in Bosnia

From the Christian Century: “Table Manners: Unexpected grace at communion” by Andrew Packman


  1. The church teaches that receiving communion effects unity as well as being a sign of unity. The discipline of the church restricts communion to faithful Catholics, but allows for defined exceptions. The pope could change that discipline on his own authority. My personal belief is that this priest was moved by the Holy Spirit to offer communion to Mr. Packman.

  2. The author’s remark regarding the host adhering to the roof of his mouth — “flesh to flesh” — is beautiful, and telling.

    Whenever I read a report like this, I am unfailingly moved at how a one-off moment of eucharistic communion in a church not one’s own can be transformative.

    Our own practice, generally speaking, in The Episcopal Church today, is that all baptized persons* are welcome to receive Holy Communion. In light of reports such as this, I do have to wonder if a generally exclusive approach to communion, with a variety of appropriate pastoral exceptions, might not be the better route, heightening awareness both of the dignity and import of the Sacrament, and of what still divides us — what we yet must pray and work to overcome.

    * [Some here insert (rightly, in my humble opinion), paraphrasing from the older invitation to the general confession, “… who truly and earnestly repent of their sins, and are in love and charity with their neighbor….”]

  3. If he wants to receive Communion in a Catholic church so badly, why doesn’t he just become Catholic? Oh, because then we would find out what his REAL issues are that aren’t in sync with the Church.

  4. Yes, God’s own Church is wrong while some random heretic is right. This is just some emotionalist response by a mistaken gesture by a priest who probably just thought he was Catholic or was just wrong himself by giving the Eucharist to someone who has no business receiving it. “Table manners” says it all…

    Communion means nothing without full communion with Peter and full acceptance of all Catholic truths. Actually, it is worse than nothing, because as St. Paul tells us, it is an evil thing to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily.

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