An honest question for my protestant brothers:

There’s been a lot of talk on a certain set of blogs lately about the Calvinist view of the Eucharistic presence of Christ. I find it very interesting, largely because the way Calvin talks about Jesus in the Eucharist is not entirely un-Catholic. He seems very eager to have more than a spiritual presence, but still a sort of uniting of the bread and wine with Jesus rather than the elements becoming Jesus.

So, there’s a difference, though possibly not insurmountable. Of course, from a Catholic perspective, this is all moot since protestants don’t have priests. For the Catholic, it is absolutely required to have a priest to have the Eucharist. So we can talk all day about what who thinks the Eucharist is and how Christ is present but, as far as the Church is concerned, protestants are not actually celebrating the Eucharist.

My question is this, if three protestants are at home together with a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread and decide to celebrate the Eucharist, use the proper formulae of consecration, whatever you assume needs to be in order is in order, can they do it? Is it the Eucharist? Is a minister required or merely nice to have? If so, who defines what a minister is?

I hope I’m clear that I have no intention of backing protestants into a corner or eliciting a particular reaction. I realize the discussion on Evangelical Catholicity and suchlike is not really a discussion between Catholics and protestants, but until we resolve the difference we have about who can confect the sacrament, any talk between protestants and Catholics about the nature of Christ’s presence in the sacrament seems a bit vapid.

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