Full communion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that they share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.

Definition and terminology

In the view of the World Council of Churches, an inter-church organization that includes "most of the world's Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches",[1] "the goal of the search for full communion is realized when all the churches are able to recognize in one another the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in its fullness", a communion "given and expressed in the common confession of the apostolic faith; a common sacramental life entered by the one baptism and celebrated together in one eucharistic fellowship; a common life in which members and ministries are mutually recognized and reconciled; and a common mission witnessing to all people to the gospel of God's grace and serving the whole of creation".[2]

Protestant churches

Several Protestant denominations base their idea of full communion on the Augsburg Confession which says that "the true unity of the church" is present where "the gospel is rightly preached and sacraments rightly administered." They believe that full communion between two denominations is not a merger, they respect each other's differences, but rather it's when two denominations develop a relationship based on a mutual understanding and recognition of Baptism and sharing of the Lord's Supper. They may worship together, exchange clergy, and share commitments to evangelism and service.[3]

Groups recognized as being in full communion with each other on this basis include the Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church (United States), the Moravian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the United Methodist Church.[3]

The United Church of Christ (UCC) defines full communion as meaning that "divided churches recognize each others' sacraments and provide for the orderly transfer of ministers from one denomination to another." Some of these go back to the 17th century Pilgrims in Holland, other relationships are recent. The UCC is in full communion alliance with the members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Union of Evangelical Churches in Germany, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and several others in North America and elsewhere.[4]

Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion distinguishes between full communion and intercommunion. It applies the first term to situations "where between two Churches, not of the same denominational or confessional family, there is unrestricted communio in sacris including mutual recognition and acceptance of ministries", and the second term to situations "where varying degrees of relation other than full communion are established by agreement between two such Churches".[5] This distinction differs from the distinction that the Catholic Church makes between full and partial communion in that the Anglican concept of intercommunion implies a formal agreement entered into by the churches concerned. The Anglican understanding of full communion differs from that of the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity, which consider that full communion between churches involves them becoming a single church, as in the case of the particular churches "in which and formed out of which the one and unique Catholic Church exists",[6]

In addition the Anglican Communion recognizes the possibility of full communion between some of its member provinces or churches and other churches, without having the entire Anglican Communion share that relationship.[7] An example is the Porvoo Communion.

The Anglican Communion established full communion with the Old Catholic Churches on the basis of the 1931 Bonn Agreement, which established three principles:

  1. Each communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its own.
  2. Each communion agrees to admit members of the other communion to participate in the sacraments.
  3. Full communion does not require from either communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.[8][9]

The Anglicans Online website provides a list of non-Anglican churches "in full communion with the See of Canterbury" and also indicates some important ecumenical agreements of local character (i.e., not involving the whole of the Anglican Communion) with other non-Anglican churches.[7] It also lists churches that, in spite of bearing names (such as "Anglican" or "Episcopal") that might suggest a relationship with the Anglican Communion, are not in communion with it.[10]

Catholic Church

Full and partial communion

The Catholic Church makes a distinction between full and partial communion. Where full communion exists, there is but one church. Partial communion, on the other hand, exists where some elements of Christian faith are held in common, but complete unity on essentials is lacking. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church sees itself as in partial communion with Protestants and in much closer, but still incomplete, communion with the Orthodox churches. It has expressed this distinction in documents such as Unitatis redintegratio, the Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism, which states: "... quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church ... men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect".[11]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, citing the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI, states:

"The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honoured by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter" (Lumen gentium 15). Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church" (Unitatis redintegratio 3). With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist" (Paul VI, Discourse, 14 December 1975; cf. Unitatis redintegratio 13-18).[12]

Full communion involves completeness of "those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church."[13]

Universal and particular Churches

In Catholicism, the "universal Church" means Catholicism itself, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal".[14] The term particular church denotes an ecclesiastical community headed by a bishop or equivalent, and this can includes both local dioceses as well as autonomous (or sui juris) particular churches, which include other rites such as the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches.[15]

The particular Churches that form the Catholic Church are each seen, not as a separate body that has entered into practical arrangements concerning its relations with the others, but as the embodiment in a particular region or culture of the one Catholic Church.

A 1992 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) letter to Catholic bishops expressed this idea as: "the universal Church cannot be conceived as the sum of the particular Churches, or as a federation of particular Churches. It is not the result of the communion of the Churches, but, in its essential mystery, it is a reality ontologically and temporally prior to every individual particular Church."[16]

List of Catholic churches in full communion

The autonomous Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See are:

Churches in partial communion

The Catholic Church sees itself as in partial, not full, communion with other Christian groups. "With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound 'that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist.'"[12]

Sharing in the Eucharist

As a practical matter for most Catholics, full communion means that a member of one Church may partake of the Eucharist celebrated in another,[17] and for priests, that they may concelebrate the Eucharist with priests of another Church.[citation needed]

For certain people taking up an office in their community in the name of the church, a specific "profession of faith" is required, demonstrating that they are in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, even if they have been members of a separate church whose sacraments the Catholic Church considers to be valid.[17][18] Being "in full communion with the Catholic Church" requires that they "firmly accept" its teaching on faith and morals.[19]

Intercommunion usually means an agreement between churches by which all members of each church (clergy with clergy, or laity with laity, respectively) may participate in the other's Eucharistic celebrations or may hold joint celebrations.[20]

The Catholic Church in fact has entered into no such agreement. It allows no Eucharistic concelebration by its clergy with clergy of churches not in full communion with it.[b]

In fact, apart from exceptional circumstances, the Catholic Church sees full communion as an essential condition for sharing together in the Eucharist, in line with the 2nd-century practice witnessed to by Justin Martyr, who, in his First Apology,wrote: "No one is allowed to partake (of the Eucharist) but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined."[23]

The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, indicates the limited circumstances in which Catholics may receive the Eucharist from clergy of churches not in full communion (never if those churches are judged not to have valid apostolic succession and thus valid Eucharist), and in which Catholic clergy may administer the sacraments to members of other churches.[24](nn. 122–136)

The norms there indicated for the giving of the Eucharist to other Christians are summarized in canon 844 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.[25]

The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO) indicates that the norms of the Directory apply also to the clergy and laity of the Eastern Catholic Churches.[26]

Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches and Church of the East

Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians have an understanding of what full communion means that is very similar to that of the Catholic Church[citation needed]. Though they have no figure corresponding to that of the Roman Catholic Pope, performing a function like that of the Pope's Petrine Office for the whole of their respective communions, they see each of their autocephalous churches as embodiments of, respectively, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. They too consider full communion an essential condition for common sharing in the Eucharist. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, as first among equals among the Eastern Orthodox autocephalous churches, though not having authority similar to that of the Roman Catholic Pope, serves as their spokesman. The Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria holds a somewhat similar position in Oriental Orthodoxy.

For the autocephalous churches that form the Eastern Orthodox Church, see Eastern Orthodox Church organization. Their number is somewhat in dispute.

The Oriental Orthodox churches are:

The Church of the East is currently divided into churches that are not in full communion with one another. The Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East divided in the 20th century over the former's limitation of the post of patriarch to members of a single family[27] and due to the adoption of the New Calendar by the former. There is movement towards reunity, but they are not in full communion with one another at present. The Chaldean Catholic Church shares a similar history with both, but is currently in full communion with neither. The Catholic Church, of which the Chaldean Church is part, allows its ministers to give the Eucharist to members of Eastern churches who seek it on their own accord and are properly disposed, and it allows its faithful who cannot approach a Catholic minister to receive the Eucharist, when necessary or spiritually advantageous, from ministers of non-Catholic churches that have a recognised Eucharist.[28][25] The Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East explicitly apply these rules, which hold also for the Ancient Church of the East and all the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, to the Assyrian Church of the East.[29] "When necessity requires, Assyrian faithful are permitted to participate and to receive Holy Communion in a Chaldean celebration of the Holy Eucharist; in the same way, Chaldean faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, are permitted to participate and to receive Holy Communion in an Assyrian celebration of the Holy Eucharist".[29]

Other churches

By definition, open communion denominations accept outsiders even without any arrangement of full communion authorising their members to participate in the Eucharist of the other church or churches involved, and still less involving interchangeability of ordained ministers.

It is in the stronger sense of becoming a single church that in 2007 the Traditional Anglican Communion sought "full communion" with the Roman Catholic Church as a sui iuris (particular Church) jurisdiction, but in 2012 declined the possibility offered by Pope Benedict XVI to join a personal ordinariate for former Anglicans in full communion with the see of Rome.[30]

Agreements between churches

The following groupings of churches have arrangements for or are working on arrangements for:

  • mutual recognition of members
  • joint celebration of the Lord's Supper/Holy Communion/Eucharist (these churches practice open communion)
  • mutual recognition of ordained ministers
  • mutual recognition of sacraments
  • a common commitment to mission.
Agreements completed
  1. The Anglican Communion, the Old Catholic Church, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India, and the Philippine Independent Church.[31]
  2. The Churches of the Porvoo Communion.[32]
  3. The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada[31]
  4. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and each of the following: the member churches of the Lutheran World Federation, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America,[31] the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church[33] and the Moravian Church in America.
  5. The Leuenberg Agreement, concluded in 1973 and adopted by 105 European Protestant churches, since renamed the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.[34]
  6. The Moravian Church and each of the following: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church USA.[31]
  7. The United Methodist Church with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the African Union Methodist Protestant Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Union American Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church.
  8. The United Church of Christ and each of the following: the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Reformed Church in America.
  9. The United Episcopal Church of North America and each of the following: the Anglican Catholic Church, the Anglican Province of Christ the King, and the Diocese of the Great Lakes.
  10. The Anglican Province of America has intercommunion with the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Church of Nigeria.
  11. The Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland have established full communion and are working toward interchangeability of ministry.[35]
  12. The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Church of Sweden are in full communion since the joint signature of the Uppsala Agreement in 2016.[36]
Agreements in progress
  1. The United Methodist Council of Bishops have approved interim agreements for sharing the Eucharist with the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.[37]
  2. The Methodist Church of Great Britain is currently working toward full communion with the Church of England[38] and the United Reform Church.[39]
  3. Many of the Independent Catholic Churches are working toward full communion with each other.[citation needed]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Of the various Latin liturgical rites used within the Latin particular Church, even those associated not with a religious order but with a geographical area do not constitute separate particular Churches. Thus there is no Ambrosian particular Church corresponding to the Ambrosian Rite in use in Milan and neighbouring areas of Italy and Switzerland, nor is there a Mozarabic particular Church in those parts of Spain where the Mozarabic Rite is practiced. In the Latin Church, governance is uniform, even where liturgical rite is not.
  2. ^ "Catholic priests are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or ministers of churches or ecclesial communities which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church[21][22]

References

  1. ^ [https://www.oikoumene.org/en/about-us World Council of Churches, "What Is the World Council of Churches"
  2. ^ Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches (20 February 1991). "The unity of the Church: gift and calling - The Canberra Statement". oikoumene.org. Geneva: World Council of Churches. n. 2.1. Archived from the original on 2014-10-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Full Communion Partners". Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  4. ^ "Ecumenical partnerships and relationships of full communion". ucc.org. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  5. ^ "1958 Lambeth Conference, Resolution 14" (PDF). Anglican Communion. 
  6. ^ Vatican II (21 November 1964). Lumen gentium. vatican.va. n. 23. 
  7. ^ a b "In Full Communion". Anglicans Online. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  8. ^ "Meaning of Full Communion". Episcopal Church. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  9. ^ "Churches in communion". anglicancommunion.org. London: Anglican Communion Office. Archived from the original on 2015-03-13. 
  10. ^ "Not in the Communion". Anglicans Online. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  11. ^ Vatican II (21 November 1964). "Unitatis redintegratio". vatican.va. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. n. 3. Archived from the original on 6 March 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "CCC 838". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1993. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "USSCB memo" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-03-09. 
  14. ^ "Catholic". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  15. ^ Vatican II (21 November 1964). "Orientalium Ecclesiarum". vatican.va. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Archived from the original on 1 September 2000. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (28 May 1992). "Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on some aspects of the Church understood as communion". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. n. 9. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "RCIA and Confirmation Qualifications: On Participants in RCIA and Confirmation". bostoncatholic.org. Archdiocese of Boston. Archived from the original on 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  18. ^ McNamara, Edward. "When an Orthodox joins the Catholic Church". Zenit.org. Rome: Innovative Media Inc. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  19. ^ Ratzinger, Joseph; Bertone, Tarcisio (29 June 1998). "Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei". Libreria Editrice Vatican. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Gribble, Richard (18 November 2010). "Part IV: Roman Catholic Theology". The Everything Guide to Catholicism: A complete introduction to the beliefs, traditions, and tenets of the Catholic Church from past to present. Avon, Massacnusetts: Everything Books. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-4405-0409-9. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  21. ^ CIC 1983, c. 908.
  22. ^ CCEO 1990, c. 702.
  23. ^ Justin Martyr (1870). "Wikisource link to The First Apology of Justin Martyr". In Roberts, Alexander; Donaldson, James; Coxe, A. Cleveland. The writings of Justin Martyr and Athenagoras. The Ante-Nicene Fathers: the writings of the fathers down to A.D. 325. 2. Translated by Marcus Dods (American ed.). Buffalo: Christian Literature. Wikisource. ch. 66. 
  24. ^ "Principles And Norms On Ecumenism". Vatican.va. Archived from the original on 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  25. ^ a b CIC 1983, c. 844.
  26. ^ CCEO 1990, cc. 908, 1440.
  27. ^ "Our History". St Zaia Cathedral. Middleton Grange, NSW, AU. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  28. ^ CCEO 1990, c. 671.
  29. ^ a b "Guidelines for admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East". Vatican.va. Archived from the original on 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  30. ^ "[About 2012 meeting of Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops]" (PDF). traditionalanglicancommunion.org (Press release). Traditional Anglican Communion. 1 March 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 April 2012. 
  31. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference AnglicansOnline2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  32. ^ "History". The Porvoo Communion. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  33. ^ "ELCA shares significant actions with ecumenical, global partners" (Press release). Chicago, IL: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 26 August 2009. 
  34. ^ "Agreement & Statute". leuenberg.net. Vienna: Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. 
  35. ^ Armagh, Robert; Graham, W Winston (26 September 2002). "Church of Ireland and Methodist Covenant". Church of Ireland. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  36. ^ "Utrecht and Uppsala on the way to communion". Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic churches. Retrieved 26 June 2017.  line feed character in |title= at position 20 (help)
  37. ^ Council approves interim pacts with Episcopalians, Lutherans
  38. ^ "An Anglican-Methodist Covenant" (PDF). Methodist Publishing House and Church House Publishing. 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  39. ^ "History of the Covenant". An Anglican-Methodist Covenant. The Methodist Church and the Church of England. Retrieved 2016-08-26. 
  • Code of Canon Law. Prepared under the auspices of the Canon Law Society of America (from 2001 Latin-English print ed.). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2003-11-04 – via vatican.va. 
  • Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Prepared under the auspices of the Canon Law Society of America (from 1992 Latin-English print ed.). Rome, IT: Èulogos SpA. 2007-07-17 – via intratext.com. 

General references

  • "On Receiving Anglican clergy into the Catholic Church: Statement of the bishops of England and Wales given on April 15, 1994". EWTN.com. Irondale, Alabama: Eternal Word Television Network. Archived from the original on 2001-02-09. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  • Keating, Karl. "How to Become a Catholic". catholic.com. Catholic Answers. Archived from the original on 2001-12-17. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 

External links

  • Broken but Never Divided: An Eastern Orthodox Perspective
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Full_communion&oldid=788380266"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_communion
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Full communion"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA