Restless Heart: 5 – “Intercommunion”



Unfortunately, this episode I’m flying solo! Nessa wasn’t able to make it so I thought it best to record on my own, rather than let another week pass without a new episode. In today’s episode I tackle the delicate subject of “Intercommunion” and explain why, under normal circumstances, the Eucharist is not given to non-Catholic Christians.

Episode 5: Intercommunion (Download)


— Notes —

* This episode was based on a two-part series I wrote a few years ago.

* I quote from two Early Church Fathers in this episode. The first is St. Justin Martyr:

“This food we call [the Eucharist], and no one is allowed to partake but he who believes that our doctrines are true, who has been washed with the washing for the remission of sins and rebirth, and who is living as Christ has enjoined… “

“…We do not receive these as common bread and drink. For Jesus Christ our Saviour, made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation. Likewise, we have been taught that the food blessed by the prayer of his word…is the flesh and blood of Jesus who was made flesh.”

– Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 66 (~ AD 150)

* The second Father I quote is St. Ignatius of Antioch:

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, in His loving-kindness, raised from the dead”

– Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 7 (~AD 97)

* I also quote from a portion of one of St. Paul’s letters:

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died”

– 1 Corinthians 11:29–30

* The Spiritual Communion prayer I quote is as follows:

“My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen”

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Worship In The Early Church (Video)


Earlier this week, I gave a talk entitled “Worship In The Early Church”. In case you weren’t able to make it, the event organizer recorded my presentation and put it up on Vimeo:

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It is also available here on YouTube:

The Eucharistic Minister’s Words


Every now and then I have readers email me directly. Here’s one I received earlier this week:

“Last week my Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion was saying, “THIS IS THE Body of Christ.” It struck me as wrong. Is this ad-libbing, embellishing, inappropriate, or no problem?”


In case anyone is interested, here was my reply…

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Friday Frivolity: The Eucharist

This nice little video about the Eucharist has been doing the rounds recently:

Quick Apology: Making present again?


I’m going to take a break from my “Quick Apology” series concerning Mary and Saintly Intercession. Today’s “Quick Apology” will be a very brief and concern the Eucharistic liturgy…


The Catholic Church teaches that, in the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Calvary is made present again. In response to this, some Protestants object in this way:

“How can you say the sacrifice of calvary is made present again? The Epistle to the Hebrews says that His sacrifice was once for all. He’s no longer bleeding…”

Obviously, there is a lot that could be said in response to this, but how might we respond briefly?


In reply to this objection, sometimes I challenge Evangelicals over the very language they use in talking about salvation. Don’t they often talk about “being washed in the blood”, upon accepting Christ as their personal Lord and saviour? However, given the objection they raised above, isn’t there a problem? Hasn’t Jesus stopped bleeding? Wasn’t His sacrifice 2,000 years ago?

When Evangelicals talk about “being washed in the blood”, they’re talking about the the grace of the cross being applied to their souls in time in a real, substantial way. Given this, is the idea of the Eucharist being a participation in Calvary really that alien?

The Passion

Meg on the Eucharist

A while back, Meg came and spoke at the Goretti Group. I’ll be sharing the video next week, but in the meantime here’s a talk she gave on the Eucharist:
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Non-Catholics receiving Communion?

Priest Holding Communion Wafer

Reception of the Holy Eucharist has recently been the subject of scrutiny in the media, prompted by some of the discussions taking place in the “Synod on the Family”. In my own life, Holy Communion was also the subject of a recent incident concerning a friend of mine.

You see, a friend recently went to a Catholic conference together with a Protestant. Being a Catholic event, there was, of course, the celebration of the Eucharist. When time for Mass came, the non-Catholic was upset that she couldn’t go up to receive the Eucharist. She couldn’t do this because, under ordinary circumstances, the Catholic Church does not allow non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

“…members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion” – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Guidelines For communion”

In this post I would like to provide a summary of what I say when I’m asked why it is that the Catholic Church doesn’t allow anyone to receive Holy Communion (the Eastern Orthodox Churches have similar rules for similar reasons). As usual, this won’t be an exhaustive theological explanation, simply a rough outline of the kind of thing I personally say when I’m asked to explain this particular Catholic teaching.


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