27 May 2022

Yes, NPR Editors, Holy Communion Isn't a Semi-Baptist 'Symbolic' Rite for Catholic Believers

I'm surprised any Catholics who cared saw this story. I thought only 'woke' Leftists paid any attention to what the Demoncrats' propaganda broadcasting service had to say.

From Get Religion

By Terry Mattingly

If you read an early version of the National Public Radio story with this headline — “An archbishop bars Pelosi from Communion over her support for abortion rights” — you may have done a spit take of whatever beverage you were drinking and, thus, damaged your computer keyboard. How much damage does this do to smartphones and iPads? Beats me.

Clearly, some personnel in the NPR newsroom — perhaps pros at the politics desk — need refresher courses on church-history basics. It appears that someone at NPR thinks that Catholic doctrines about the mysteries of Holy Communion are very similar to Baptist beliefs about the ordinance that is usually called the Lord’s Supper.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The Catholic archbishop of San Francisco says that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer allowed to receive Communion because of her vocal support for abortion rights.

Salvatore Cordileone, the conservative archbishop, said he'd previously made his concerns known to Pelosi, D-Calif., in an April 7 letter after she promised to codify into federal law the right to abortion established by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Cordileone said he never received a response from Pelosi.

Here comes the crucial language that launched quite a few tweets, along with several heated emails to GetReligion:

Cordileone notified members of the archdiocese in a letter on Friday that Pelosi must publicly repudiate her support for abortion rights in order to take Holy Communion — a ritual practiced in Catholic churches to memorialize the death of Christ, in part by consuming a symbolic meal of bread and wine.

The key word there is “symbolic.”

That’s a very low-church Protestant word in this context. Ditto for the word “memorialize.”

Consider, for example. this statement in the Southern Baptist document entitled “The Baptist Faith and Message” containing concepts very familiar to people (like me, an SBC preacher’s kid) raised in a Baptist congregation:

The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

“Symbolic.” Check.

“Memorialize.” Check.

Now, contrast that with this short statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops about Catholic teachings on the sacrament — not an ordinance — of Holy Communion:

In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present – body, blood, soul, and divinity – under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist.

How did a bite of Baptist and or evangelical Protestant doctrine about the Lord’s Supper end up in a report about this very, very Catholic doctrinal controversy?

The NPR story has been updated with language stating:

Cordileone notified members of the archdiocese in a letter on Friday that Pelosi must publicly repudiate her support for abortion rights in order to take Holy Communion — a ritual meal of bread and wine that celebrates the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

That’s not the whole story about what Catholics believe is happening during a Mass, is it?

Still, NPR leaders deserve some applause for running an actual correction about this error, rather than ghost-editing the online text as if this train wreck had never happened. Thus:


May 22, 2022

An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the Catholic sacrament of communion as a symbolic meal of bread and wine. Catholics believe the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.

Actually, that correction is better than the revised story. Maybe another update?

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