The most desirable way

Dr. Jerald C. Joersz is right that the Sacred Scriptures do not specifically tell us whether pastors should commune themselves or not (Q & A September).

Our official doctrine and practice, however, come from the Book of Concord of 1580: “The mass should be a communion, at which the priest and others receive the sacrament for themselves.”

The custom of having the celebrant receive the body and blood of Christ from another clergyman is of relatively recent origin. Even more recent is the practice of having him receive from a layperson.

Thus, for a Lutheran pastor to administer Christ’s body and blood to himself at a parish celebration of the Holy Communion is, from the standpoint of Christian and Lutheran history and the Book of Concord, the most desirable way for him to receive the Sacrament of the Altar with his people.

Rev. Dr. Philip J. Secker, Director
The Arthur Carl Piepkorn Center for Evangelical Catholicity
Mansfield, Conn.


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