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Communion with Non-Catholic Christians: Risks, Challenges, and Opportunities [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 8, 2003
Publisher   Liturgical Press
ISBN  0814628958  
EAN  9780814628959  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
How should a Catholic pastor respond to non-Catholics who wish to have Communion without conveying harshness, scrupulosity, legalism, or rudeness? Intended to help Christians recognize the present provisional norms and to seek new possibilities in eucharistic sharing. Communion with Non-Catholic Christians examines the risks, challenges, and opportunities involved in the admission of Communion to non-Catholic Christians.

Publishers Description
How should a Catholic pastor respond to non-Catholics who wish to have Communion without conveying harshness, scrupulosity, legalism, or rudeness? Intended to help Christians recognize the present provisional norms and to seek new possibilities in eucharistic sharing, Communion with Non-Catholic Christians examines the risks, challenges, and opportunities involved in the admission of Communion to non-Catholic Christians.

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More About Jeffrey T. Vanderwilt

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! VanderWilt teaches liturgy, sacraments, and Christian Theology at Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Jeffrey T. Vanderwilt currently resides in Los Angeles, in the state of California. Jeffrey T. Vanderwilt was born in 1962.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
One bread, one body, one Lord of all...  Jan 22, 2004
One of the perennial problems in Christianity is how to bring about the unity we all say we want, but don't seem to practice very well. Even those practices that are supposed to be outward signs of greater unity, either of divine essence and presence or of community, tend toward division and, not uncommonly, rancor. The celebration of the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, Communion (even the litany of names belies the difficulties here) is sometimes called the great symbol of Christian disunity, for so much energy is expended upon deciding who can celebrate and who can partake.

This book by Jeffrey VanderWilt, a professor of liturgy, sacraments and theology at Marymount University (Los Angeles), looks at the problems of Roman Catholics and non-Roman Catholics sharing communion. VanderWilt combines both story and theory, recounting real issues that have arisen, as well as hypotheticals, and uses these to demonstrate the points. He addresses some high profile cases - Bill Clinton (a Baptist) once received communion at a Roman Catholic mass while visiting Soweto, in South Africa; Tony Blair (an Anglican) used to regularly receive communion at the local parish that his family attended (Blair's wife is Roman Catholic). These were high-profile cases because of the personalities involved, but interestingly the issues arising where not due to the political rank, but go to deeper issues in eucharistic sharing, and serve to highlight the difficulties even a heavily-canon-codified institution such as the Roman Catholic church can have.

For example, Blair was told that he should stop receiving communion from the Roman Catholic church, as there were Anglican parishes nearby where he could received. He was told, in somewhat of an irony, that were he on holiday in Tuscany, where there were no Anglican parishes nearby, it would be acceptable for him to receive communion there. If this sounds inconsistent with regard to ontological reasoning about what takes place during communion, you might be on to something.

VanderWilt has four main sections. The first deals with basic definitions - what is Eucharistic sharing, what is ecumenism, etc. Again, because of the variation in practice and theology, there is no single definition operative here. The second section deals with risks involved in Eucharistic sharing - high on this list for VanderWilt is the appearance of a false sense of unity; VanderWilt in the end concludes that few of the risks are grave enough to warrant a lack of Eucharistic sharing.

The third and fourth sections - challenges and opportunities - are the heart of the book. The challenges such as call to pastoral care for each other and call for hospitality all ring true as credible and appropriate to gospel witness. The opportunities for increased unity, increased community, and increased recognition of God in our lives and the lives of others, for VanderWilt, far outweigh the difficulties that might be involved.

When Blair asked, in response to Cardinal Hume's letter telling him not take communion from their churches in England, `I wonder what Jesus would have made of it?', he wasn't merely echoing the WWJD sentiments - where does the church find the strength to say no to committed Christians who want to take communion?

Ultimately, VanderWilt leaves us with more questions than answers, but with much information to consider, and many ideas for further action (including ecclesial disobedience, a Eucharistic form of civil disobedience, perhaps?). There are key questions for continuing conversation, suggestions for further reading, and much to ponder.

 

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