Communion for Catholics and some of the Protestant churches is pretty much the norm here in Brazil.
Most of the parishes in capitals I have been not only do that but consider not doing it fanaticism and anti-Christian. Two baptisms are very common too, specially in Catholic-Orthodox couples.
As one priest put it to me "it is this or they will not baptize in the Orthodox church at all." And it's true. Many Orthodox in Brazil, specially among the cradle Orthodox, get so scandalized by the very idea that baptizing or communing in the Catholic church is some sort of impediment, that they promptly attribute this idea to the fanaticism or grumpiness of the priest.
Truth is that this practice is so rooted in communities that they do think it is Tradition. More than once I have heard from cradle Orthodox here that the distinguishing feature of Orthodoxy is precisely not having "these intolerances of the other churches".
Also, there is an "urban legend" that the Orthodox Church is the one you go, in case you have divorced and wants to marry again. This falls in the theme of "we do not have these intolerances of the other churches". So, even non-orthodox people are married in many orthodox parishes.
I don't know if they are chrismated or not, but, in my experience, once it happened that two roman catholic had been invited to be godparents to a child in baptism and were to be chrismated. I talked to them, very naïvely, about their conversion. They were absolutely shocked about the idea it meant a conversion.
As I explained that there were differences between the Catholic and the Orthodox church, the girl, a very pious Catholic, burst into tears at the very idea of leaving her religion for another. So, what happened was that the priest had simply "ommitted" the significance of Chrismation so he could write their names in a book.
I also know of a true convert whose priest then asked him to bring all his family for chrismation under the argument it is "just a blessing". He brought over 40 people. None of them wanted to convert and they still go and believe deeply and honestly in the Catholic church. In fact, none of them even suspect of the significance of the Chrismation. The said convert himself did not know about it until, when he commented about it to me, I told him that Chrismation is a means to enter the Church.
Another strange phenomenum here is the amazing number of cradle Orthodox, meaning they were born in Orthodox families, who lack some sacraments because they got it in the Catholic church and their priests tell them it is alright. I know of a couple who was baptized in the Catholic church although their families are Orthodox and to this day, despite they going only to the Orthodox parish, and commune there (no confessions here, if you remember a previous post of mine), and having got married in the Catholic church, to this day, they were not baptized or Chrismated.
To be honest, in my opinion, the fear of being confrontational, something strongly supported by Brazilian culture that does cultivate the idea that being confrontational is the final proof that you are the wrong side, together with the fact that the Catholic church is externally similar to the Orthodox, and with the typical cultural phenomena of immigrant collonies that want at the same time contact with homeland and be accepted and integrated in the new culture, has led to this situation. Also, I have seen many priests who were sent here because they were involved in some sort of scandal or misdoing in their original place. Apparently, Brazil is seen by hierarchs as a proper land of exile to punish priests. Sometimes even bishops who refuse to obey are sent here (this is not the case of any of the bishops in canonical jurisdictions, but if you look at some of the sects....). Add to that the haste that some previous bishops accepted "convert" priests from the Catholic church or from the infamous Brazilian Catholic Church, a syncretist group of priests who thought that popular folkloric catholicism was the proper national expression of the Church and separated from Rome, and you get a lot of priests who joined Orthodoxy just to get the status of being in a official and respected group but who stick to their old ways.
So you take a naturally anti-rules culture as the Brazilian, with no contact with Orthodox monasteries or educational institutions, in a land with a very similar big church, and one that is far better organized and conscious that it is its obligation to prevent the "schismatics" from growing or gaining roots, an opposition far greater than simply having a plethora of denominations and accusing pastors, and, to this flock, you send mainly the weakest and sometimes the most disobeying of the clergy...
And of course, those who do that accuse those who don't agree of fanaticism and bigotry. And thousands and thousands of Orthodox believe them because, well, they are the priests, so they trust God would not send a holy man to deceive them. And since these men do show a lot of concern for their communities at least in the secular aspects, and because these acts of "tolerance" are very easily interpreted as a proof that they love the people more than "church rules", things continue on this poor state of affairs.
Edited by Fabio Lins, 05 May 2009 - 02:22 PM.
spelling corrections, added a paragraph