The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you
respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it
you assent to it. For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ”
and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of
Christ that your
may be true.
The Eucharist commits us to the poor.
To receive in truth the
Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ
in the poorest, his brethren:
You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not
recognize your brother, . . . You dishonor this table when
you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone
judged worthy to take part in this meal. . . . God freed you
from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not
become more merciful.
The Eucharist and the unity of Christians.
Before the greatness
of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, “
O sacrament of devotion! O
sign of unity! O bond of charity!
The more painful the experience
of the divisions in the Church which break the common participa-
tion in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the
Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him
The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the
Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches,
although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all—by
apostolic succession—the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are
still joined to us in closest intimacy.” A certain communion
so in the Eucharist, “given suitable circumstances and the approval of
Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged.”
Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and sepa-
rated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of
the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of
the sacrament of Holy Orders.”
It is for this reason that, for the Catholic
Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not pos-
sible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate
the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it
signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.”
When, in the Ordinary’s judgment, a grave necessity arises,
Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and
Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the
Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give
235 St. Augustine,
272: PL 38, 1247.
236 St. John Chrysostom,
Hom. in 1 Cor.
27, 4: PG 61, 229-230; cf.
237 St. Augustine,
In Jo. ev.
26, 13: PL 35, 1613; cf.
15 § 2; cf. CIC, can. 844 § 3.
22 § 3.
22 § 3.