Can a Catholic receive communion at a Protestant church that believes it’s only a symbol?


I was wondering if it would be okay for a Catholic to receive communion at a Protestant church that doesn’t believe in the Real Presence, but rather that it’s just a symbol.

EDIT: I know that it wouldn’t be a substitute for the Eucharist, because it wouldn’t be the Eucharist because it wasn’t consecrated by a priest, yada yada.

EDIT 2: I’m not asking for myself. I know I’m not a Catholic because I haven’t been through RCIA. I’m asking out of curiosity, about whether a “full-blown” Catholic can receive communion at a Protestant church.


According to the Code of Canon Law, receiving communion in a Protestant church is generally not permissible. According to canon 844, “Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments to Catholic members of the Christian faithful only and, likewise, the latter may licitly receive the sacraments only from Catholic ministers.” The key term here is licit. If a Catholic receives communion from a Protestant minister, it is generally considered “illicit” or unlawful.

God bless.



You are not yet a Catholic.

The rules do not apply to you. Given your parents status in their church, your obligation is to obey them.


Brittany, Are you in RCIA now or in the process of converting? If ‘no’ then you aren’t under any obligation to not receive. However, if you are in RCIA at some point, even if not able to receive the Eucharist yet, you must make a decision when to adhere to the Church’s teaching and discipline in these matters.

When I began my RCIA classes I made the decision to stop receiving communion in the UM church.



I wasn’t talking about myself. I was just asking out of curiosity.


Thanks for your reply, but I wasn’t asking for myself. I’m asking about a “full-blown” Catholic.


No, a Catholic should not receive in a non Catholic Church. Most of my family is Protestant and if I went to their service and communion was offered I would not take it.


Honestly, I wouldn’t even step foot in a Protestant church, especially not during a “service”. The only True Faith is Catholicism. You would be wasting time going to a Protestant church, and it could even theoretically plant the seeds of doubt in you if you aren’t steadfast in your faith.

As they aren’t the One True Church, stepping in a Protestant church would be no different than stepping into a mosque or a pagan temple. False faiths are false faiths, even if they somewhat resemble the One True Faith.


Cthompson is correct in that case.

However, I would caution you against being too curious regarding the “what if I were Catholic.” You have posted many threads about your frustrations. To me, it seems that you are just building resentments.

It would be good to really begin to find ways to understand the similarities between yourself and your parents.


Eh. Why not. I swear some of the Pharisees on here are more strict than my Priest.
The father of one of my priests died and he was Anglican. I went to the service and my priest of course was there and he took the "Eucharist " at an Anglican service. It’s not about what you believe it’s showing respect. If you go to a Protestant service you know it isn’t the true substance, it’s just to them a symbol. For you it’s just bread. Eat it. Who cares? It’s kind of rude to be like no I don’t want it because your all wrong and heretics when it was people 500 years ago who made these rules.
One of my cousins is still a Mormon ( The rest of her family came back to the Catholic Church) but even there I ate their blasphemous bread knowing it means nothing. It’s our of respect for their beliefs. In their beliefs they don’t believe it’s any more than a symbol blessed. It’s just bread to you and you know it. No harm done.


I was raised as a Protestant and most of my family is still Protestant. If I held this view I would miss any family church weddings (not that those happen much anymore outside the Catholic Church) and the funerals of family & friends.

I am solid in my faith and I know attended a service on rare occasions will not shake that faith.


Of course, yeah. I’ve been looking at similarities between our faiths and it’s helped me a lot


We should put God before people. Sure, they may not like it if you don’t go, but what really matters is that we please the LORD. God comes before everything.


It has been made clear by modern church teachings that attending Protestant services (without receiving communion, of course) may be important in building and maintaining relationships. When I was a teenager I did not want to go to my friend’s weekly protestant Bible Studies. I was not comfortable. But I did attend her Baptism because I know this was a very important part of her life and that the Baptism, being triune, was a valid one.

My brothers left the Church after a grave injustice to our family. I have attended/supported all their weddings, despite the fact that none have married in the Church. Why? Because saying “you were born Catholic and you are entering into an invalid Marriage” would have driven them MUCH farther from ever attending Mass or coming back.

God understands that there are family and friendship situations that call for mercy, and gives us flexibility and freedom to participate in situations that may be less than ideal in the scope of Catholocism.


NO! NADA! NOT! A Catholic receives the Consecrated Body and Blood in the Catholic Church ONLY because we BELIEVE it IS the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Other Churches have “communion” but they believe it only to be a symbol. It has NOT been consecrated by a Catholic Priest in non Catholic Churches.

Look at it this way, when you hear, VERY SADLY, that a satanic cult has stolen consecrated hosts what church do you hear that they stole it from? It is NEVER stolen from a Protestant Church because it is NOT Jesus only a symbol. satan worshippers even know that ONLY the Catholic Church has Jesus in His entirety.


I believe the only valid communion outside of the church is given at Orthodox churches. While they have schismed the manner in which they left has allowed for them to keep their apostolic line. Outside of this no catholic can generally accept communion. However the Code of Canon Law does permit one to take if the following occurs:

“Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.” (CCLNET 844)

But again this would not be the norm and the simple answer will always be no, one should not.


Sorry, but I have a hard time accepting your response. To me, it seems that you think that the bread is all there is to it. But to receive communion seems to be a bigger thing, even in Protestant churches, involving more than just eating bread.

Respecting one’s beliefs doesn’t necessarily mean that you should partake in those beliefs.


@jas84173 One of the reasons that a Catholic doesn’t receive communion in a Protestant church is exactly the same reason that a Protestant shouldn’t receive communion in a Catholic church: there is no communion. One day, I pray, we will all be united as one. But we are not there yet. We don’t believe the same things, we don’t have the same practices, and those differences mean we can’t claim to be in communion with one another. Going forward to receive communion when communion is not there would be a lie.


@jas84173 has expressed disagreement about that (at least in terms of needing to be in the state of grace) in another thread.


A very good priest told me once that a Catholic should never receive “communion” at a Protestant service because not only is their communion service NOT a Sacrament; it is an immitation of a Sacrament, and therefore a sacrelige.

No faithful Catholic should participate in a Protestant communion service. Ever.

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