WATCH: Cardinal Burke denounces ‘intercommunion’ ahead of pope’s tribute to Luther in Sweden

Cardinal Raymond Burke in Croatia, Oct. 23, 2016.

Cardinal Raymond Burke in Croatia, Oct. 23, 2016.

By Pete Balinski and John-Henry Western 

ZAGREB, Croatia, October 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — It is “irreformable” dogma of the Catholic Church that only those who believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the consecrated bread and wine are able to receive Holy Communion, stated Cardinal Raymond Burke. The Vatican cardinal said that St. Paul makes it clear that unless the person receiving recognizes the body of Christ, he “eats condemnation to himself.”

“This is a sacrilege. This is among the gravest of sins,” he said.

The cardinal was responding to a question on intercommunion with other Christian denominations asked by LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen during the October 23 launch of the Croatian version of the cardinal’s book on the Eucharist in Zagreb, Croatia.

“No one can approach to receive the Holy Eucharist unless he believes that the host that he is receiving — even though it looks like bread, tastes like bread, and smells like bread — is in reality the body and blood of Christ. Only that person who believes in this way can approach the Blessed Sacrament, can approach to receive Holy Communion,” he stated.

Burke’s comments come days before Pope Francis travels to Lund, Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the castle church of Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Lutheran and Catholic bishops have expressed a hope that the Pope will allow for intercommunion at first at least for Lutherans married to Catholics.

The pope has shown openness to Lutherans receiving Holy Communion alongside Catholics, telling one Lutheran woman last year to “go forward” guided by her conscience. Also last year, a Lutheran pastor from Rome insisted that the pope had “opened the door” to intercommunion between Catholics and Lutherans after the pope visited a Lutheran community and said that the two religions “must walk together.”

But Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, responded days later by stating that “intercommunion is not permitted between Catholics and non-Catholics,” adding that “you must confess the Catholic Faith. A non-Catholic cannot receive Communion. That is very, very clear. It’s not a matter of following your conscience.”

Burke called it “very problematic” for anyone to suggest that the forthcoming celebration honoring Martin Luther should be the “occasion of some kind of ‘Eucharistic hospitality’ or intercommunion.”

“That is not possible. Yes, it is irreformable,” he stated.

“Either the sacred host is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, or it is not. And if it is, it is the gravest of sins to offer the sacred host to someone who does not believe,” he concluded.

Cardinal Burke’s full statement

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14 Responses to WATCH: Cardinal Burke denounces ‘intercommunion’ ahead of pope’s tribute to Luther in Sweden

  1. Toad says:

    “…only those who believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the consecrated bread and wine are able to receive Holy Communion, stated Cardinal Raymond Burke. “
    What does he mean by “are able”? Does he mean “ought to be allowed to”?
    Or does he mean that if they do take communion without believing, it is invalid?
    In which case, why the fuss?
    Anyway, it’s interesting that he says “believe,” rather than “know.” (In my opinion.)
    Is “being present in” the same as actually “being”?
    Apparently. Though I’d have thought not.

  2. Toad says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/oct/30/italy-earthquake-66-magnitude-tremor-felt-in-rome

    Proves God doesn’t want a statue of Luther in the Vatican – dunnit?

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    What does he mean by “are able”? Does he mean “ought to be allowed to”?
    Or does he mean that if they do take communion without believing, it is invalid?

    Both, and more (it’s also an Act of Blasphemy to do so) — the Eucharistic Sacrament, theologically, only occurs when a person in a state of sacramental grace partakes of the Body at least of our Lord in Faith and Worship and Penitence, including sine qua non genuine internal Faith in the Real Presence in Eucharist ; although a Spiritual Eucharist can be partaken in by those who cannot by Church Law do so materially, for whatever reason.

    Both of these are Communion ; and so, just as a Just Spiritual Eucharist can provide a Sacramental Grace by the Will of God, Present in Flesh and Blood, so can an unjust material communion be deprived by the person’s Sin and by God’s Sovereign Judgment of that same Sacramental Grace.

    Those who believe no such thing literally cannot partake of the Eucharist, even when every outward material appearance might suggest otherwise.

    (this is BTW the exact reason why Anglican Orders are invalid — without the Eucharist, Anglicans can validly provide no other Sacrament than Baptism, because all of the other Sacraments require Holy Communion as a condition of Validity)

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Having said that — Cardinals Sarah and Burke are of course quite right in their disciplinary and doctrinal directions, but nevertheless there are certain traditional Indulgences whereby non-Catholic Christians may in certain specific, particular circumstances be admitted to Holy Communion (often requiring an overt permission to do so by the Ordinary).

    These typically involve Masses to which a Plenary Indulgence has been granted, but given where you live, Toad, there is a particular Indulgence in these matters that is of more direct interest to your own Parish.

    Such an Indult exists for non-Catholic Baptised Christians who are on a foot pilgrimage to Santiago, provided there is no state of mortal sin and provided they have genuine internal Faith in the Real Presence in Eucharist and that they openly profess this Faith. This is mostly because the Pilgrimage itself is considered as a Catholic Act of Faith, as well partly because of the impossibility that they may be in otherwise to fulfil their Sunday Obligation, which the Catholic Church requires of all Christians.

    These rare exceptions do NOT however constitute intercommunion.

  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Turgid and didactic.

  6. JabbaPapa says:

    Thank you for your empty and unpleasant comment.

  7. johnhenrycn says:

    Hey! How do you know I wasn’t referring to His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke?
    😉

  8. Toad says:

    I assumed JH was referring to himself, myself. (Insert smiley face)

  9. johnhenrycn says:

    His Honour, Judge Costello (RIP) called me “prolix” once in the Ontario Reports (our official case law publication), but I’ve never been called “turgid and didactic”.

  10. Toad says:

    …Not to your face, at least. (Insert another, kindly, smiley face.)

  11. mmvc says:

    “…I’ve never been called “turgid and didactic”

    That’s ‘cos you’re anything but that, as Toad knows only too well. ;o)

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    but I’ve never been called “turgid and didactic”

    How about “vacuous and snide” ?

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    I absolutely deny being “vacuous”; but I will confess to being “snide” at my next confession on 12 November. My excellent manual on Confession by Fr Alfred Wilson, C.P. Pardon and Peace (Westmonasterii, Die 30A Septembris, 1946) (Nihil Obstat, Patricius Morris, S.T.D., S.S.L., (Censor Deputatis) Imprimatur, E. Morrough Bernrard, Vic. Gen.), tells me that mockery is a venial sin, and I need a few more of those.

  14. Toad says:

    “Fr Alfred Wilson, C.P. Pardon and Peace (Westmonasterii, Die 30A Septembris, 1946) (Nihil Obstat, Patricius Morris, S.T.D., S.S.L., (Censor Deputatis) Imprimatur, E. Morrough Bernrard, Vic. Gen.), tells me that mockery is a venial sin, and I need a few more of those.”
    Unwise to believe everything you’re told, JH – even by. Alf Wilson, C.P. Pardon and Peace (Westmonasterii, Die 30A Septembris, 1946) (Nihil Obstat, Patricius Morris, S.T.D., S.S.L., (Censor Deputatis) Imprimatur, E. Morrough Bernrard, Vic. Gen.),

    ….But is our beloved brother JH, “turgid and didactic””?
    I’m prepared to go half way on that.

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