From a reader:
‘Should Catholic priests be reported to the local Bishop if they go up and receive the Episcopal ‘communion’ at a funeral for one of their clergymen?
When their ‘communion’ time came around, I saw the Catholic priests go up to receive. Now that didn’t look right. I, of course, remained in my seat (I attended as an act of Christian charity towards the family) and didn’t go up.
Should the Catholic priests be reported to the Bishop for receiving the Episcopal ‘communion’?
Yes. Sadly, I think so. If it happened, he caused scandal. He probably did it from ignorance and not from malice towards Catholic teaching. However, he and the his bishop should have a chat to clarify some ecumenical parameters.
The only thing I would caution about in the future, however, is to make sure the funeral is not at an Anglican Use of the Catholic Church church. But, I am sure people will be smart about that, if they are paying attention to what is going on.
Priests and lay people may attend funerals of non Catholics. We can pray with non-Catholics to a certain extent, but not with the intention of praying as if we were also non-Catholics. We cannot do anything or pray anything which is contrary to the Catholic Faith. We can pray for a return of unity with non-Catholic Christians, but that cannot include receiving their “communion”.
Under limited circumstances and in emergencies it is permissible to receive the Eucharist of true Churches with valid Orders. The Episcopalian Church is not one of those Churches. Catholics may not receive their “communion”. Some will argue that some Episcopalians may have valid orders. I respond: It is all too iffy: we can’t do it.