Paedocommunion?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Lowly Layman, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Anglicans practice paedobaptism, or infant baptism; why not paedocommunion, or communion received by baptized children?

    Growing up methodist, all children were welcome to the altar table. further it was practised by the church up to the twelfth century (St. Cyprian testifies to this). And nowhere does Scripture deny the sacrament to children
     
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  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    . In fact our Lord instructs us not hinder the encounters of children with christ (who is present in the sacrament, no?). And lastly, the argument often used to justify the baptism of infants is that they are children of believers and so the parental faith covers the child
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    . so why doesn't it extend to the other sacrament in the same way? What gives?
     
  4. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I think the answer is in the fact that it's possible to take communion wrongly, which would incur harm on the person.
    To put it in other words, it isn't possible to harm yourself through baptism, but it is possible in wrongly taking Communion. Therefore I'd argue we should be careful in who gets it and who doesn't, because of our care for the person involved.
     
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  5. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    why is it not possible to harm yourself through baptism? Surely we can agree that a person who goes through the sacrament of baptism under false pretense and without faith remains under judgment and condemnation and is also making a mockery of God's holy ordinance.
     
  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    moreover, why is the danger greater for children than for adults? didnt our lord say that it was childlike faith that should be
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    our goal for the kingdom of heaven with filled the very same?
     
  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    i tell my children that christ body and blood are made truly present through the sacrament and they believe me. they dont laugh or scoff or ask how it works, they simply believe. thats a level of faith i have had to pray very hard to maintain.
     
  9. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Sure baptism can be done under the wrong pretenses but I'd say that falls under the general rubric of impiety and not something pertains baptism. There is no direct warning about a harmful baptism. There is however a severe danger of a harmful eucharist. I agree with you that children often have a childlike faith but here we need not just a faith in God, but a mature discernment of the real Body of God.

    What I'd say is that this is what Confirmation is for. It is a Rite of the Church that ratifies the person as an adult. Once the child is confirmed, his mind is developed enough to grasp the nature of what he is receiving at Communion. That would be my thinking...
     
  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    but confirmation is not commanded by our lord as baptism and communion are. couldn't it be argued that by requiring someone to undergo an unessential rite to be able to receive an essential sacrament, you are walling up God's grace from those who would otherwise willingly receive it.
     
  11. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    The way I understand it, Confirmation isn't a separate sacrament, but a part of Baptism. At Baptism you're engrafted, but others can make the oath on your behalf. At confirmation you take the baptismal vows into your own. That's why adult converts don't really need to be have a confirmation years later, as they can make the vows for themselves. So Confirmation is really just a tail end of baptism. It's pertinent to your question because if it's true, then that's when we can reasonably expect a mature Discernment from the child.

    Btw, it is not I who am walling up God's grace, but the church. I'm just trying to provide reasons for why it could be the case.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
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  12. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how one can seriously argue that confirmation is a part of baptism. If so then my baptism service lasted 23 years and spanned two denominations.

    by "you" I was speaking in the general sense.

    btw, is matrimony attached to baptism, or holy orders? What is special about confirmation of the so called ecclesiastical sacraments that makes it the piggy back of
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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  14. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Maybe I misspoke so let me try to explain again: I didn't say that confirmation is literally a part of the baptismal rite. It is its own Rite, and what it signifies is the becoming adult of a baptized faithful. At baptism you become engrafted into the Body, and at confirmation you begin to own the vows made at baptism. Am I right? Are we on the same page so far?
     
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  15. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Lowly layman,

    You might find it interesting to know that the Assyrian Church of the East doesn't include Matrimony as one of its sacraments, unlike all of the other Apostolic Churches. They have:

    1. The Priesthood.

    2. Holy Baptism.

    3. The Oil of Unction.

    4. The Oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ.

    5. Absolution.

    6. The Holy Leaven.

    7. The sign of the life giving Cross.

    http://assyrianchurch.org.au/about-us/the-sacraments/

    I just thought you might find this interesting. I have been studying the Church of the East and find it to be unique in many ways to the other Apostolic Churches. I do know that in the 19th century, the Church of England had a number of interactions with them in the Middle East.
     
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  16. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    very interesting pete. perhaps you could give some insight on whether children can commune in the EOC. i heard that baptism and confirmation were done simultaneously. is that true?
     
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  17. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    In my Episcopal Church parish, infants and small children can receive communion as soon after baptism (even the same day) as the parents wish them to. Other parishes may have different rules.

    I approve of infant communion for the same reason I think communing the unbaptized is a bad idea: Baptism and the eucharist are distinguishable, but not separable.

    Some people may worry about the tots puking up the holy housel, but I figure that if God made us mammals who are born small and must grow to maturity, He must be able to take such a situation in stride.
     
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  18. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    I have heard that infants are given communion as soon as possible after baptism in the Graeco-Russian or "Eastern Orthodox" church. However, "the Graeco-Russian church" isn't a single thing, and there is much local variation.

    I don't know how long the infant must wait after baptism for his next communion in Eastern churches that give him communion at baptism.

    In the Eastern church "confirmation" is identical with what the Western church calls "chrismation", and (so I hear) normally occurs as part of the baptismal rite.

    Western "confirmation" seems to have originated as a deferred chrismation. The bishop couldn't perform all baptisms, so (the theory goes) the chrismation was reserved to him as a way of keeping him involved in every baptism in his diocese. From these beginnings it grew into the "confirmation" we now know, and in the course of development spawned a theological rationale to justify it. There is ongoing debate in the Episcopal Church about whether these theological justification that grew up in support of Western "confirmation" are good theology or not.
     
  19. Ogygopsis

    Ogygopsis Active Member

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    Child receive communion frequently here; it is in the hands of the parents and priest. If there are many young children, and parents possibly unfamiliar, the instruction is repeated on 'how to' , with the concern of disease answered by the diocesan policy on intinction (a separate cup is used).
     
  20. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Lowly,

    Yes, in the Orthodox Church as soon as a child is baptized he/she may receive communion.

    I think part of the reason for the confirmation/chrismation difference is that in the west, the Bishop confirms, while in the east, the priest chrismates. Both are essentially the same ritual, but obviously a Bishop can't be present at every baptism, so in the west a large number of people are confirmed at the same time, usually around Easter.

    In the eastern churches, the priest can perform both, so it is done at the same time, and of course the oil used has been blessed by the Bishop.