An Exercise in Historical Understanding


An Exercise in Historical Understanding

Incidental to another discussion elsewhere in blogdom the question arose of "unworthy reception of the Eucharist" and its consequences as point out by Paul in 1 Corinthians(?). This is presently understood Catholic Doctrine--If one has committed a mortal sin, he or she should refrain from receiving communion until after confession.

Now, frequent reception of the sacrament of confession is of relatively recent date. (That is, it became the norm closer to our own time rather than closer to the time of the Apostles and St. Paul.) So my question, which I will endeavor to research is what did one do in St. Paul's time? Public confession (there are rubrics and "requirements" for it)? Did St. Paul mean something else at the time, and gradual development of doctrine occur to encompass and define the present protocol? The reason I ask is the Mr. da Fiesole pointed out that many of the comments surrounding this treated the question of reception as a series of rules, and he contended that it was not rules but the reality of the Sacrament. This would seem to imply that if it is presently the reality, it must also have been the reality in the past (unless one wishes to dispose of the much dreaded principle of Uniformitarianism.). If it were the reality in the past, did one simply not ever receive communion again until point of death at which confession and the sacrament were restored? If is is doctrine that governs present reception, does it not constituted an understanding of reality (rubrics and rules) rather than the reality itself?

I know, a minute point, but of interest. And, in reality, utterly trivial. We are bound by what doctrine and dogma are today, not what they were in the past and while the underlying reality has not changed, our understanding of it has been broadened and deepened by the Church's reflection through the ages since the time of the Apostles. In other words, I am saying that I in no way disagree, demur, or find fault with the Church's teaching now OR then, but I am intrigued by the meanings that come from understanding the SEEMING changes.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 1, 2003 9:39 AM.

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