Sunday, 4 September 2011

What I learned today

Maybe I'm a bit slow, but I today I've discovered someting which I consider quite profound regarding the differences between Anglicans and Catholics. It is that the ordinary Anglicans, within their own communion service acknowldge they are not receiving the whole truth. Let me explain:

Before going to receive communion they state as we do that they are not worthy, but rather than align themselves as we do with the centruion (Matt 8:5-13), they align themselves with the Caananite woman whose child needed healing (Matt 15:21-28). Part of what the Anglican's say is:

We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs from under your table.

You can read the full text here, in the holy communion pdf, p181.

The Caananite woman, like the centurion is a foreigner, and Our Lord praises and rewards the faith of both of them. The Caananite woman is of no significance in the social sphere, the centurion is a person of importance who has duties and responsibilities. Similar, stories but profoundly different in one clear respect. The centurion feels unworthy to let Christ under his roof: that is not worthy to receive the whole person of Christ into his sphere of influence. It is about being unworthy of an intimacy with Christ.

The Caanantite woman (on the other hand) doesn't even stand before Christ as herself, she denegrates herself to being as a puppy in his presence. There is no intimacy in receiving the scraps from the table, just faith alone and an acknowldgement of an incompleteness about the whole thing.

So, there it is, Anglicans are doing something completely different to us, there is no common ground in our concepts of Holy Communion and liturgy. It is their own order of service that makes this abundantly clear. I do admire the honesty of the peole who constructed the Anglican holy communon service, they reallly knew what they were doing wasn't a demonstrably equal alternative to the Holy Mass.

So next time you meet a lapsed Catholic who attends Church of England services and says something like "Oh we believe in the same things and the words are nearly the same". You turn round and say "Oh no they're not".

A typical English village church, currently occupied ( I presume) by some rather lovable puppies.


Not that Catholics are to feel smug or anything. If we are identified as the centurion, then the reception of Christ (for which we are entirely unworthy) comes explicitly with duties towards our fellow man that spread way beyond the immediate family. If we don't acknowledge those duties, are we perhaps worthy of condemnation through our reception of the Eucharist? Hmm, scary stuff.


Autumn said...

After my rather long break, it's been so refreshing to read your very sane blog!

And I did laugh out loud at the title '"Dementors in "Per Una"' (and blush slightly, as I wear a lot of Per Una...but I don't believe I am a dementor. I delve into all kinds of emotions in my work, so I'm not about to start doing it in my own time ;) )

Thank you for your blog, Rita xx

Anonymous said...

Very interesting I didn't know that. In light of the emotional succubus you have met, I can't help thinking of my friend who is churchless at the moment, having felt she couldn't stand her CofE church much longer. They are "nice" people and keep saying they "miss her" and stuff, but she is put off by the sense they only miss the fact she isn't running the creche any longer and isn't doing all the other stuff she used to do.

I might also say that dealing with the fakiness of some people after my dear friend committed suicide was almost harder to deal with than her death. I hope the thoughts I had at the time will be forgiven me, especially in the light of the fact I never hit anyone!

I wish people weren't so "nice" sometimes. Ah well.

God bless.