Confused about CCC and Eucharist

Long story short: The priest at my Newman center encourages baptized non-Catholic Christians to receive the Eucharist.

This issue has been on my mind for a while and I was reading this earlier tonight:

So can someone just help me process this and make sure I’m understanding this correctly…In order to receive, 5 conditions should be met: state of grace, confession since last mortal since, must believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, you must observe the Eucharistic fast, and you must not be under an ecclesiastical censure.

Then the article goes on to quote from the CCC, “Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the oriental churches which do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask on their own for the sacraments and are properly disposed. This holds also for members of other churches, which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition as the oriental churches as far as these sacraments are concerned”

So now I’m a bit confused? :confused:

Is there a way for non-Catholics to receive? I really haven’t dug too deep into this but I have always 100% been following the belief that non-Catholics should not receive for a myraid of reasons…

I’m trying to figure out why the priest encourages such behavior before discussing it with him, so any insight on this please share. Thanks.

The link you posted gives grave necessity as a requirement and that it is rare, and applies to the Apostolic churches such as the Assyrian Church of the East, the Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox, specifically: "Canon law explains the parameters: “If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or the conference of bishops, Catholic ministers may licitly administer these sacraments to other Christians who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed” (CIC 844 § 4).

It is important to remember that, under the rubrics specified above, even in those rare circumstances when non-Catholics are able to receive Communion, the same requirements apply to them as to Catholics."
And not to receive normally, when it proclaims a false unity, or rejection of the Real Presence:" Scripture is clear that partaking of the Eucharist is among the highest signs of Christian unity: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17). For this reason, it is normally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion, for to do so would be to proclaim a unity to exist that, regrettably, does not.

Another reason that many non-Catholics may not ordinarily receive Communion is for their own protection, since many reject the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Scripture warns that it is very dangerous for one not believing in the Real Presence to receive Communion: “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Cor. 11:29–30)."

@Vico…You can approach the priest with humility but not with confrontation and also pray for him;to ascertain the priest’s reason(s) for such act and Ilenadegracia’s post contains a substantial details of the truth you have to know about receiving the HOLY EUCHARIST…


The question here is whether the Priest you mentioned is following the guidelines mentioned in the link. If he is inviting those not in communion to receive the sacraments without explaining the guidelines, that would be wrong. If he is not you might approach him and give him a copy of the link. But be polite, some priests may have forgotten these guidelines or perhaps they were not covered at the Seminary he attended, though I don’t see how this could happen. :thumbsup:

I once heard an Archbishop say re: non-Catholics receiving who wished to: “Can’t hurt 'em, might help 'em.” This priest may have permission from his Bishop. But, besides the the violation of Canon law which doesn’t deal with theology but with legality, it does not harm our Lord, it cannot harm the recipient and it may be a huge benefit to them.

I see no reason for you to be concerned at all.

I suggest Ecclesia de Eucharistia, available at the Vatican website, for further reading regarding the Church’s position on this.

I am no expert on legal exceptions, but it’s sacreligious for someone to receive Holy Communion who doesn’t believe in transubstantiation. They will treat Our Lord like a piece of bread, a mere thing, which offends Him. Offending Him is a sin. So you are incorrect on both counts.

I urge you to think twice about what you’ve written here.

Especially in the Eastern Rites, babies may receive baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist all at once. Therefore, it can’t be said that they “believe in transubstantiation” and it’s pretty certain that they will perceive “a piece of bread, a mere thing.” This wouldn’t be a sacrilege, and I’m pretty certain that this doesn’t offend our Lord.

(Different context in this discussion, of course, but you’re making a pretty broad, sweeping statement, so I’m providing a broad, sweeping rebuttal… ;))

To the OP, here are some good resources for you to consider. I suggest, after taking some time to learn this material, asking to meet with the priest in question to get a better understanding of what is going on. If you are not satisfied with the result of that meeting in that you believe something against Church teaching or Canon Law is taking place, then you should take it to the Diocese in a polite and respectful manner.

The implication that “it can’t hurt them” is entirely wrong. Assuming things are indeed as you have described them then as Rich C correctly noted, treating our Blessed Lord as if He were mere bread and wine after consecration is a sacrilege and frankly, goes well beyond the typical liturgical abuse seen in the Mass.

As noted above, there are exceptions for non-Catholics who belong to Churches with apostolic succession, and non-Catholics who do not belong to such Churches. However, those reasons are serious or grave depending on which one of those two you fall under, and are not to be the norm. For non-apostolic Christians, grave is typically defined as being close to death. For non-Christians, they cannot receive.

You should discuss it with the priest ASAP, and then take it to the Diocese - this is serious.

That is simply unbiblical:

*1 Cor 11:27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. **29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. *30 That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.

So, for taking Eucharist while not believing (or even understanding) transubstantiation people are stricken with illness and death?

Well they are certainly spiritually dead.

Paul often uses “body” to mean the assembly or the church. If you read a little further, you’ll see that the sin is in showing no concern for others who have come to worship and share the feast. Hunger could result in sickness and even death. Perhaps that can shed a little light on the main question of this thread: how to treat those who have come to worship with us.

Often but definitely not always - so it is dangerous to speculate that he is speaking in what would be a very vague metaphor in this instance.

They were in New Testament times - probably as a warning to us. Whether or not that happens now, I don’t know, but in any case, I imagine it would put the non-Catholic in a difficult position if it is ever explained to him that his “Amen” when receiving the Catholic Eucharist means (in part) that he agrees to believe the Pope in all of his teachings (including “outside the Church there is no salvation”).

I doubt this is an affirmation that most non-Catholics would consciously want to make.

Those baptized Christians that cannot sin are worthy to receive, but depending on the church, have different sacramental discipline.

Eastern Catholics, believe that the infant must be nourished constantly with the Bread of Life from baptism, which is a different discipline than the Latin Church. They may not in the beginning understand what is said in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom before reception of Communion: O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly your most precious body and your life-giving blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.
The Latin Church has different norms which constitute the Latin Church discipline, unlike that of the eastern Catholics:CIC Can. 97 §1 A person who has completed the eighteenth year of age, has attained majority; below this age, a person is a minor. §2 A minor who has not completed the seventh year of age is called an infant and is considered incapable of personal responsibility; on completion of the seventh year, however, the minor is presumed to have the use of reason.

CIC Can. 99 Whoever habitually lacks the use of reason is considered as incapable of personal responsibility and is regarded as an infant.

CIC Can. 913 §1 The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.

CIC Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach Holy Communion.

I don’t understand what you mean by those who cannot sin. Apart from those below the age of reason or those somehow mentally incapacitated or coerced, everyone can sin.

I mean infants per CIC 97 and 99. So per the Latin Church sacramental discipline infants do not receive but per the eastern Catholic sacramental discipline they do receive.

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