Holy communion to non Catholics

I heard in CAL that our pope gave Holy Communion to President Bush and his wife when he visited the US last year. In my diocese in Auckland, New Zealand, I have seen non Catholics receiving Holy Communion at funerals and weddings without the celebrant making any attempt to prevent this with a prior announcment. I looked up the Code of Cannon Law and it says ‘any baptised person not prohibited by law’ can receive Holy Communion - Cannons: 912-923. It doesn’t specify it is exclusive to Catholics.Does the Church really prohibit this practice?

Yes, the Church does prohibit this practice.

It’s another good example of why we shouldn’t believe everything we hear. I get a combination of annoyed surprised and amused by some of the things I hear that “the pope did”–I bet he would too.

Fr. David,

  1. Did the pope do that?
  2. Where can I find the official teaching on this?


  1. I can’t “prove a negative” all I can say is that I find it very difficult indeed to believe that he would, and have never seen any proof that he did.
  2. See canon 844. You were on the right track in looking at the section about the Eucharist, but the prohibition against administering the Sacraments to non-Catholics is actually in a different place.

PS I just re-read you original post and realized that you were asking about a particular Mass–in California in 2008, right? If that’s the case, one probably could find a video of it somewhere on the web. That would be a good way of proving that it didn’t happen.

Thank you Fr. David,
In fact I wrote about this to my bishop and later felt a little foolish when I couldn’t find the evidence. I checked cannon 844 and I am satisfied.

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