Protestants should take first communion
The Christian churches agree that Jesus of Nazareth himself established the sacrament of the Lord's Supper when he ate the last common meal with his disciples on Maundy Thursday before his death on the cross. Christians know they are particularly close to God in sharing bread and wine. In the course of history, however, they developed different interpretations.
What is the role of the Lord's Supper / Eucharist in the churches? Catholic: The Catholic "Eucharist" (Thanksgiving) is the second main sacrament of the seven sacraments, along with baptism. The celebration of the Eucharist with the memory of Christ's sacrifice on the cross ("sacrifice") is the climax of the Holy Mass. The Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday in Catholic churches. During communion, the believers receive the host.
Evangelical: Since Martin Luther (1483-1546) one speaks of the Lord's Supper in Protestant worship. The Protestant Church only knows the two sacraments baptism and communion. The Last Supper is regarded by Protestants as the "home port of every faith". Church services with the Lord's Supper are usually celebrated once a month or less often in Protestant churches.
How is Christ Present in the Lord's Supper?
This question has been a major point of contention between denominations and within Protestantism for centuries. Catholics and Lutherans alike today believe that Jesus Christ is really present in, with and under bread and wine. Reformed Christians, who mainly refer to the reformer Calvin (1509-1564), interpret bread and wine in the Lord's Supper as signs that are supposed to guarantee Christ's salvific presence. For Zwingli (1484-1531) the Lord's Supper is a pure remembrance rite.
Catholic: According to the Catholic faith, bread and wine are transformed into the "sacramental presence" of the body and blood of Christ as soon as the priest speaks the biblical words of the Lord's Supper. Christ's presence persists in the bread and wine beyond the service. Therefore, any remaining consecrated and transformed ("consecrated") hosts are kept in the tabernacle, a precious container.
Evangelical: The churches that emerged from the Reformation only agreed on a common understanding of the Lord's Supper in 1973:
"We confess the presence of the risen Lord among us." Speculations about the nature of this presence are rejected - this remains a mystery of faith.
How is the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist celebrated?
Catholic: As a rule, the worshipers receive the host through the hand of the priest. Communion helpers can assist him with the distribution. Since the 1960s, the distribution of the wine in the lay chalice has again been permitted and encouraged to all Roman Catholic Christians.
Evangelical: The congregation usually gathers in groups around the altar. Pastors hand out pieces of bread or wafers.
The wine is donated in a goblet with words of blessing. The distribution closes with the blessing.
Who can partake of the sacrament and receive communion?
Catholic: As a rule, only Catholic Christians are allowed to receive communion during the Catholic Eucharist. Exceptions apply in "serious emergencies" such as danger of death. Catholics are forbidden to receive the Lord's Supper in a Protestant church. According to Catholic teaching, the sacraments are not validly administered in the Protestant churches. In certain and well-founded exceptional cases, Catholic priests can also offer the sacrament of the Eucharist to other Christians.
Evangelical: All baptized Christians are admitted without exceptions who are also allowed to go to the Lord's Supper in their home church.
Who is allowed to preside over the sacrament / Eucharist?
Catholic: Invariably an ordained priest. The Catholic Church derives the authority of its clergy through an uninterrupted series of episcopal ordinations by the laying on of hands from the time of the biblical apostles to the present day.
Evangelical: Usually ordained pastors. In exceptional cases, this may also be done by special persons appointed and trained by the Church. According to the evangelical understanding, "every Christian" is allowed to lead the celebration.
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