While I don't often get into theological conversations on this blog (or any real substantial musings, for that matter), I read T.O.'s blog this morning at it got me thinking (you can get there by following the link to the right to LAMLand).
She recounts a recent experience where a group of Protestant Christians asked her if she would feel comfortable with receiving communion with them during a short prayer time before a mutual class. As a practising Catholic, she declined.
I often feel like I need to qualify the "practising" part of "Catholic." As a Protestant Christian of the Evangelical and Charismatic nature (read "Pentecostal," -shudder-), in my mind a Catholic that doesn't practice is nothing. There are no Pentecostals who are non-practising, probably because you would never subscribe to that community if you didn't "have to."
Anyway, back to the discussion of communion. I've been going through a similar situation every Sunday when I attend Catholic Mass. I don't partake of the Eucharist because I have differing beliefs on its function (as a sacrament) and its form (as the body and blood of Christ).
By the way, for those Christians out there that might find my vocabulary lacking or irreverent, please forgive me. I haven't formally discussed issues of theology since around 1995, when I left my year of theological study in 1995. And I've been doing a lot of other stuff since then. Plus, I'm relatively new to Catholic theology.
One of the comments left on that other blog cited John 6 as a foundation for Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ, and its power. Someone once asked me how Pentecostals interpret Jesus' words at the last supper ("This is my body . . . this is my blood"). How then can the Pentecostals, who are so apparently Biblically "Conservative," not believe in the bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and look at communion only as symbolic?
I can't answer that. It's true that Jesus makes a pretty clear point regarding his "body" and "blood" in John 6, and during that presentation of the bread and wine before his betrayal at the last supper. I still feel that there is a problem with the Catholic sense of eucharist as sacrament, and this probably comes from my upbringing, without ANY sacraments, in the sense of "grace-giving" actions.
My point (and I don't think I'm doing a good job at expressing much here) is that, if Catholics want a unified Church, which we pray for at every Mass, I'm not sure that it would be in the form some of them might want it to be. After years of separation, with some beliefs being particularly different, dialogue would force a kind of synthesis (let's pretent that Protestantism is Catholicism's antithesis).
Will there ever be that kind of dialogue? I doubt it; not before both sides (and, in truth, there are more than just 2 sides) understand that there are other true believers in Christ.
That's all. Feel free to comment, but don't be mad at me. I'm having too much trouble with revisions to one of my chapters, and I would rather not be yelled at.