I am referring to the following few paragraphs, especially to 341:
*339. All the faithful, and especially the family, should be urged to share in the eucharistic sacrifice offered for the deceased person by receiving communion.
- In the planning and choosing of the variable parts of the Mass for the dead, especially the funeral Mass (for example, prayers, readings, general intercessions) pastoral considerations bearing upon the deceased, the family, and those attending should rightly be foremost.
Pastors should, moreover, take into special account those who are present at a liturgical celebration or hear the Gospel only because of the funeral. These may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or rarely share in the eucharist or who have apparently lost the faith. Priests are, after all, ministers of Christ’s Gospel for all people. *
Sometimes I attend lecture series at a Methodist church. One of the women in the class had a family friend (a priest) who requested on his death bed that everyone, regardless of their religious/non-religious affiliation, be encouraged to receive Holy Communion at his funeral Mass. She saw this as a very welcoming gesture on the part of Catholicism (“See, they’ve stopped excluding people!”)
I, along with a few other Methodist women who were more familiar with Catholicism because of family or upbringing, were surprised by this; we tried to explain that this was a private decision of a priest which he, though well-meaning, was not authorized to make, as it was not consistent with Catholic teaching.
But when I read the above paragraphs in the GIRM (through casual study - not in an attempt to refute the practise of “occasional open communion”), the issue seems blurrier to me; are there ever instances when non-Catholics may be encouraged to receive the Eucharist, such as at the funeral Mass of a family member? To me, the GIRM does not seem to say “Yes” or “No” in this case. (Do I just assume that it says “No”?)