Catholics and protestant communion - does catechism address this?


#1

I've tried to search for threads on this topic with no luck. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction. I'm sure it's been asked before...

Can a Catholic attending a protestant (methodist in this case) service (wedding in this case) receive communion there? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but I'm looking for something in the Catechism that addresses this? Or canon law?

thanks...


#2

"Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to Catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from Catholic ministers." [Canon # 844.1]


#3

The main problem is that the Methodists have never possessed a valid consecration of the Eucharist. Thus, two potentials come immediately to mind: first, the risk of idolatry in that the Methodist communion is not the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and secondly it it lends the appearance of Catholic approval of Methodist teaching - which we sadly cannot give.


#4

[quote="Little_Mary, post:1, topic:313726"]
Can a Catholic attending a protestant (methodist in this case) service (wedding in this case) receive communion there?

[/quote]

No. Because they are not in Communion with us. To take it would be to publicly express a degree of unity that (sadly) does not exist.

Canon 844 states "Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic ministers.”

As protestant Churches are not in Communion with us, their ministers cannot be regarded as catholic ministers.


#5

Catholics are not allowed to recieve communion in heretical or schismatic churches, nor should we take part in Protestant services because it is an invalid form of worship, However, considering that it is a wedding it would be morally justified that you attend the service because of its nature but it is important that you do not partake in the service, merely observe it. I'm sure they wont mind.


#6

There have been several similar questions. This has puzzled me, because having been to Protestant weddings in several denominations, I have never seen their "communion" / "Lord's Supper" included in the wedding service. Perhaps some do, but I think Catholics who have never been to a Protestant wedding have a mental model of that service that mimics our Mass, and I don't believe the typical Protestant wedding does. For that matter, a growing number of Catholic weddings don't include Communion either, as the increasing percent of "mixed marriages" seem to opt for the nuptial service only, to avoid family issues as to who can receive, and who can't.


#7

[quote="Little_Mary, post:1, topic:313726"]

Can a Catholic attending a protestant (methodist in this case) service (wedding in this case) receive communion there?

[/quote]

I suggest the Vatican document Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

And canon law:

Can.* 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.

§2. 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.

§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.


#8

As to the original question, yes, the Catechism does:

1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, "O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!"237 The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return.

1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. "These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy." A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."238

1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders."239 It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory."240

1401 When, in the Ordinary's judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions.


#9

[quote="1ke, post:7, topic:313726"]
I suggest the Vatican document Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

[/quote]

... which is, of course, a wonderful suggestion, but doesn't answer the OP's particular question unless one directs her attention to paragraph 30:

The Catholic faithful, therefore, while respecting the religious convictions of these separated brethren, must refrain from receiving the communion distributed in their celebrations, so as not to condone an ambiguity about the nature of the Eucharist and, consequently, to fail in their duty to bear clear witness to the truth. This would result in slowing the progress being made towards full visible unity.

In other words, as Brendan also mentioned, receiving 'communion' at a Protestant service may lead to confusion (among Protestants, certainly, but unfortunately, also among Catholics!) about what the Eucharist really is, and about the fact that a Protestant 'communion' isn't equivalent to (or exchangable with) Eucharist...!


#10

Actually, the catechism does address this issue, in the "intercommunion" aspect.

1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders."239 It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.


#11

Thanks this information is helpful. I was looking for something to back up what I already suspected to be correct.

I will share this with my family.

:thumbsup:


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.