Eucharist for whom?

Author:Volf, Miroslav
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

I was rather surprised to find myself quoted in the recent issue of FIRST THINGS as claiming, "Any church excluding Christians at a given place is not merely a bad church, but rather is not church at all, since a Eucharist to which not all the Christians at a given place might gather would not be merely a morally deficient Eucharist, but rather no Eucharist at all."

Now, it is true that these words are found in my book, After Our Likeness. But they do not represent my opinion, but rather that of the eminent Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas. His point has nothing to do with church discipline, and therefore with the possibility that some people at a given place who confess "the lordship of Christ" might be excluded from partaking of the Eucharist.

Instead, he is making an ecclesiological point: At any given place, there should be only one Eucharist celebrated to which all Christians "in good standing" should be admitted. Put differently, his point is that Eucharist requires the catholic composition of the...

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