Thursday, December 1, 2016

Copts clarify rules on women receiving the Eucharist

(LA Copts) - The following is a summary of a study dealing with women receiving Holy Communion presented by the Medical Subcommittee of the Holy Synod, which convened at the Synod’s request in March 2016 at Logos Center.

The Christian Church clearly teaches that sin alone defiles a believer and that men and women are temples of the Holy Spirit, which only leaves a person in the case of death in sin. Thus, a woman is a pure dwelling place of the Holy Spirit every day of her life.

However, because of piety and the proper care concerning the Holy Mysteries of the Church, and for the preservation of the received traditions, it is fitting for both men and women to refrain from Holy Communion during periods of physical unpreparedness, which include all kinds of bodily secretions such as nocturnal emissions of semen for men (i.e., “wet dreams”), the menstrual cycle, the period of postpartum bleeding, and normal marital relations, except in special cases at the advice of the spiritual father of confession and for pastoral reasons.

We further assert that any woman in these states is not forbidden at any time from all other spiritual activities, including personal prayer, reading the Holy Scripture, serving, and attending the Divine services.

We also emphasize that a child (male or female) can be baptized on any day after his/her birth.

12 comments:

  1. Does this mean that if a married man or women has sexual relations they can not receive Holy Communion? What are they suppose to do? Go to confession? If yes, how does that square away with the marriage bed being undefiled? What is the Chalcedonian Orthodox view on this?

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    1. The phrase "normal marital relations" here is surely referring to rule that married couples abstain one the night prior to taking communion on Sunday morning. It's not saying there is a problem to the married state in general. Confession has nothing to do with this because it is not a matter of sin; it is a matter of reverence for the Sacrament.

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  2. Hopefully saner than this nonsense.

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    1. It's not unheard of in Orthodoxy. Sex the day before communion and the rest have all been taken up by different churches at different times even to just the last few years.

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  3. I'm not being facetious, but trying to understand this directive: if someone has a cold and a runny nose, would he/she be considered to have bodily secretions and therefore physically unprepared to take communion?

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    1. In that case, I understand the concern with "voluntary" secretions due to normal marital relations, but the argument for the others (e.g.:the menstrual cycle), as it's put forward, just does not make sense. To me, the menstrual cycle, as it's put forward in the directive above, is equivalent to other bodily secretions such as runny noses that the person has no control over.

      Basically, I think the way this directive has been formulated is problematic. If you want to get into specifics, be specific (i.e. include all bodily secretions). I think it would have been better to put forward the historical and traditional thinking behind this issue, and then to leave it up to the individual spiritual father's discretion to advise the faithful.

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    2. It's a canonical issue - no reason to leave it to someone to make special distinctions on such a black and white issue. As to involuntary actions, as a priest if I pricked my finger and am bleeding I can't celebrate the Liturgy. If I cut my finger DURING the Liturgy I can't celebrate the Liturgy. Blood has always been an issue of importance treated with special deference by the Church.

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    3. Thank you for clarifying the canonicity(?) of blood. I'm not well versed in the canons, so I was not aware it rose to that level.

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  4. http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/menses.aspx
    http://www.pravmir.com/article_660.html

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  5. Aren't you supposed to abstain as part of the fast (starting midnight before you receive)?

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    1. You're supposed to abstain the entire evening before.

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