I have just seen the leader in the Church Times for 31st July (thanks to Dave Walker’s Church Times blog for the link). And I was interested to see that this significant newspaper more or less agrees with the position I have taken about Communion being offered in both kinds, although from a more pragmatic perspective. After a summary of negative reactions received (including those in letters to the editor, which I am not able to read as I am not a subscriber), the leader writer continues:
Confusion and distress about the method of administration is not good for the Church, and, at the very least, is yet another distraction from the purpose of the eucharist itself … In this situation, the clergy need to offer the laity as much choice as possible, in order to remove any feeling of coercion … Any permanent change in the practice of the Church of England should not, however, be allowed to come about simply on the basis of a crisis mentality and the publication of press releases — even archiepiscopal ones.
Indeed. My only real objection is to the leader writer’s appeal to “the doctrine of concomitance”, defined by Webster’s as:
(R.C.Ch.) The doctrine of the existence of the entire body of Christ in the eucharist, under each element, so that the body and blood are both received by communicating in one kind only.
In other words, this appears to be a specifically Roman Catholic teaching, presumably to justify the mediaeval withdrawal of the Communion cup from the laity which was quite specifically and deliberately repudiated by the founders of the independent Church of England. If this is the doctrine that the archbishops and bishops are tacitly appealing to, that is, if they present Roman Catholic doctrine as the standard for the Church of England, then why haven’t they already submitted to the Pope? I don’t mean to sound anti-Catholic, but I do have strong objections to this kind of attempt to be more Catholic even than His Holiness.
Anyway, three cheers to the Church Times for standing up to the archbishops in such a high profile way, one which they will not be able to ignore.