A spokesman for a Catholic diocese in Finland has expressed complete disapproval after a Finnish Lutheran bishop and a few other Lutherans were given access to the Eucharist in St Peter’s Basilica. He said that the rules regarding reception of the Sacrament in Catholic churches remains unaltered.
“Only members of the Catholic Church in the state of grace may receive the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion,” writes Marko Tervaportti of the Catholic Information Center, an arm of the Catholic diocese of Helsinki.
Marko Tervaportti called the incident an “error that occurred in the distribution of communion,” and stated that if communion is offered to Lutherans, “it is because of the ignorance of the minister of the Eucharist and it can still be politely refused.”
He also repudiated what the Lutheran bishop, Samuel Salmi said that, “this act represented a “new attitude” on the part of the Vatican.
In a statement issued last week, Tervaportti wrote, “Contrary to Samuel Salmi’s speculation, it is useless to draw the conclusion that the Vatican has a ‘new ecumenical attitude’ based on the occurrence of an error that occurred in the distribution of communion. The doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church with regard for whom it is possible to receive Holy Communion has not changed in recent years and decades. If it does change, it will not happen ‘in the field,’ but through an alteration of Church law and additions to teachings regarding the sacraments of the Catholic Church.”
Adding that only members of the Catholic Church “in a state of grace” may receive the Eucharist, with some “special exceptions.”
Both the Priest who presided over Mass and other con-celebrants were well aware that the group, led by their bishop Samuel Salmi of Oulu Tervaportti were Lutherans, The Finnish news agency Kotimaa reported.
He also commented on the Pope Francis recent reformations saying: “its not a sign that the Catholic Church is going to change its practice with regard to the distribution of the Holy Eucharist,” but rather it is a “sign” for Catholics to be more cautious about examining their conscience.
“For Catholics the Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of our Christian life. It is, as it were, our credo. We carefully prepare to receive it, and confess our serious sins and fast (even shortly) before receiving it, he continued, adding that “not every person distributing the Holy Eucharist knows every point of teaching and practice of the Church” and so “mistakes” can occur.