Perennial progressive malcontent, Fr. Richard McBrien has an article about the progress made in the area of ecumenism. While I actually agree that some of the things he lists are progress, his main criteria for evaluating ecumenism is Catholic rejecting the past. The past, of course, is anything that came before 1962. Witness the horror.

On closer-to-home issues, Catholics were cautioned not to participate actively (via singing or joining in prayers) at weddings or funerals held in Protestant churches, and if one of the couples was a Catholic marrying outside the Church, even if a son or a daughter, the Catholic parents and other Catholic relatives were forbidden to attend the ceremony, lest they give scandal.

Weddings between a Catholic and a Protestant, permitted only by a canonical dispensation, could not be held inside a Catholic church, but had to be conducted privately, often in a rectory parlor. Moreover, the non-Catholic party had to a sign a promise to raise their children as Catholics and the same non-Catholic spouse could not be buried in a Catholic cemetery alongside their lifelong Catholic partner.

Needless to say, Protestants were never allowed to receive Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass, and Catholics were strictly forbidden to receive what “purported” to be Communion at a non-Catholic service.

I am particularly interested in the last part of his litany of horrors that focuses on reception of holy communion. Yes, Protestants were not then and are not now allowed to receive Holy Communion. McBrien makes out like this is a petty and impolite gesture on the part of a rigid and backward church. Fr, McBrien goes so far as to laud those who take matters into their own hands.

Rules for mixed marriages were substantially amended and all of the restrictive practices that were in place prior to Vatican II were now abandoned, with the exception of the official regulations governing intercommunion. But many have decided that issue for themselves and have acted accordingly.

It is terrible that Fr. McBrien would encourage non-Catholics to “decide that issue for themselves’. This prohibition is no simple matter of only those in the club get to enjoy the feast. No, it is something way more serious than that. In fact, this prohibition it is an act of love and protection. Fr. McBrien would do well to remember what St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:29.

For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body.

So in the name of false ecumenism, Fr. McBrien would have his brothers and sister drink judgment unto themselves. Not very friendly.