New: March 20 TLC

The March 20 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers. In the cover essay, liturgy professor Louis Weil calls for preserving ancient discipline on the elements of the Holy Eucharist:

The practice of using pre-consecrated elements continues to this day, which suggests some clergy do not understand the theological foundation of the Eucharist. Because our Book of Common Prayer teaches that the Holy Eucharist is “the principal act of Christian worship,” such a poor theological understanding is of grave importance in the liturgical life of the Church.

Why do those of us who teach liturgical studies, and who are thus grounded in the theology and history of the Eucharist, see this practice as a serious aberration of the norms for Communion? The earliest practice of the Church always relied on the sacred elements consecrated at that Eucharist. The only exception was for those members who were sick and unable to attend, who were then fed by the Church’s ministers as a pastoral extension of the Communion of those assembled. It was primarily for this purpose that the sacred elements came to be reserved. Yet the practice goes on, and seems to be based only on utility and convenience, which erodes the integrity of the eucharistic action.


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