Eucharist outside the Church?

Hi all,

I have a question that my younger brother had asked me. I know the answer, but have trouble with the reasoning as to why. My brother and I were discussing the fact that the RCC says that they have the true Eucharist and all other protestant denominations have a sort of imitation. Then my brother asked: Since a priest is trained by the church to give the Eucharist, then can he still give the true Eucharist if he leaves the RCC?

I come from a protestant background and am just getting used to all these Catholic terms and what not. So please forgive me for my lack of knowledge. :slight_smile:

A priest isn’t just trained for the Eucharist, he is ordained - he receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders, without which it is impossible to celebrate most of the Sacraments including the Eucharist.

A priest who leaves the Church is still a validly ordained priest, and, provided that he has the right intention (to consecrate the Eucharist), matter (unleavened wheaten bread, and grape wine), and form (the words of Consecration), then the Eucharist will be valid. However, the priest himself will be in a state of grave sin, which he will then compound by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ sacrilegiously. If he’s missing one of these elements, it will not be a valid Eucharist anyway.

Hope this helps. Welcome to CAF!

wow. awesome answer. thank you very much. God bless.

Just a point the bread does not need to be unleavened, leavened bread may be used to confect a valid Eucharist within the Church also. Apart from that the answer is very much to the point.

The Catholic Church (which by the way comprises 23 sui juris Churches so RCC is not the best term sometimes when refering to the Church as a whole) is not the only one that confects a valid sacrament. However only those Churches which like itself have valid apostolic succession do so. This would include the Eastern Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East and so forth.

thanks for the tip on the RCC thing. should i just say “the Catholic Church” then or is there a shorthand version i could use.

I don’t mind if you use RCC actually as you certainly don’t mean any offence by it. But yes ‘Catholic Church’ is more all-encompassing. As someone said here recently the Catholic Church is universal but not identical. I think though the other Churches such as the Eastern ones would be something for another day. The answer regarding whether a priest who leaves the Church confecting an Eucharist is largely correct. I only have a personal thing about the leavened bread/unleaved bread bit which is why I interjected. But again it might prove a bit burdensome if I start going on about how Communion is received in the various Churches within Catholicism and the history behind that. The important thing is that in essence the Eucharist confected licitiy using proper matter in any Catholic Church is valid for any Catholic to receive.

ok, thanks. another questions for you or anyone else who wants to answer. if a priest leaves the priesthood for any reason (maybe like that guy on the news who left because he wanted to get married), but he does not denounce the Catholic Church (:thumbsup: for using the correct term!), is he excommunicated or in mortal sin because he left the Catholic Priesthood but not the Catholic Church?

If that is in reference to the priest Fr. Cutie who I’ve only heard about via this forum my understanding is a priest doing this would excommunicate themselves and indeed be in a state of mortal sin. Fr Cutie or any priest doing this this is breaking solemn and very serious promises he gave including ones to obey those set in legtimate authority over him. However a priest CAN be released via seeking the appropriate permission although this is a complex area and the question would be better answered in detail by someone more informed on the subject than myself.

I don’t think it is him. this was a young priest, possibly mid 30’s with a longer name. lol, like that helps any. so a priest can, in essence, resign from the priesthood and still remain in the church?

You can never ‘resign’ from the priesthood, once ordained always ordained. However a priest can ask to be released from his promises and allowed permission to marry. But the subject is complex. I’d suggest open another thread on it. We have some members of the clergy present on the forums who can explain it far better than myself.

where would you recommend that i post that new thread?


Thanks for your clarifiers. I just want to note that within the Roman Rite specifically, the bread used is required to be unleavened, maybe not to be valid, but to be licit.

(For those who don’t know - validity is an indication of whether a Sacrament actually took place. An invalid Eucharist is not the Body and Blood of Christ - for example, if attempted by a layman, or with rice cakes instead of wheaten bread. Liceity is an indication of whether a Sacrament, or anything else regulated by the Church, is legal or took place according to the proper norms. Leavened bread in the Roman Rite could be valid, but would be illicit. Any Mass celebrated by a suspended or excommunicated priest would automatically be illicit.)

As St. Paul have stated, we should stay in the state when we are called. Those who are single should stay single, and those who are married shall stay married. A celibate ordained man (deacon or priest) can never, ever be granted marriage. A married priest or deacon who’s wife dies can be granted permission to re-marry. But its a tough process, the most common reason is if there are young children who would benefit from the care of a mother.

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