If you haven’t yet read the Q & A from the latest Lutheran Witness, check it out when you get a chance. I’ll summarize briefly. The question was from a Roman Catholic Eucharistic Minister who had been asked by members of his extended family to commune elderly Lutheran relatives residing in assisted-living facilities. He said that he had refused on the grounds that we are not in “full communion” with one another. He practiced “closed communion” for all the right reasons. He was looking for guidance from the LC-MS on how better to explain the differences between our two church bodies so as “not to offend the sensibilities of the people I love.” And then there is the response, or rather, non-response from the CTCR, which basically said that reception of the Sacrament not only had an individual dimension, but a corporate one as well, and that is as far as it went. The Roman Catholic gentleman was then directed to a couple of websites for further reading. Nice. Not only did this answer not answer the question, it missed an opportunity to teach our own members something about communion practice. What the Lutheran Witness should have said was, “We applaud your confessional integrity. You made the right decision, though it was clearly a difficult one for you and very likely unpopular. We would expect no less from our own ministers in a similar situation. Express to your extended family members the sadness that you feel over the fact that our churches are not in altar and pulpit fellowship, and that even though you are not passing judgment on the individual faith of these elderly folks, you are not authorized to circumvent the confessional barrier that divides our churches. Thank you for caring enough about the doctrine of your own Church and respecting ours, that you could not bring yourself to make liars out of those elderly Lutherans who have sworn to uphold the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.”
I love how the Lutheran Witness left out anything that would give them bad P.R. and instead directed the poor guy to some other websites to look at. Way to go!