How would y'all have responded? Question re communion


I recently had a conversation with a friend/colleague. We are both organists, and I substitute for her occasionally. She was not raised catholic, and has never gone through the RCIA process. Yet she told me she recently had begun receiving communion. Apparently, she did not just start going, but the priest approved of this and has told her it is OK. I did not know what to say, other than, “Well, if Fr. _____ has OK’d it, I guess you’re Catholic now.” I know she loves this parish, and thinks of it as her church, but is it really OK to just start receiving communion, even if she did talk to the priest about it? How SHOULD I have responded? I’m sure I’ll get another chance eventually, so I’d like to be more prepared . . . . Thanks!



Apparently, she did not just start going, but the priest approved of this and has told her it is OK.

I would talk privately to the priest.

In the 1983 Code of Canon Law the following is prescribed:
Canon 844

*1. Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments to Catholic members of the Christian faithful only and, likewise, the latter may licitly receive the sacraments only from Catholic ministers with due regard for parts 2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and can. 861, part 2.

  1. Whenever necessity requires or genuine spiritual advantage suggests, and provided that the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, it is lawful for the faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose churches these sacraments are valid.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. For the cases in parts 2, 3, and 4, neither the diocesan bishop nor the conference of bishops is to enact general norms except after consultation with at least the local competent authority of the interested non- Catholic Church or community.*

This canon reserves the sacraments to Catholics, that is, those who are in communion with the Church. If this organist is “in communion with the Church”, i.e. she believes and holds all that the Church teaches to be true, and believes the CC is the One, True Church, then she should ask to be received into the Church.

If not, she is not in communion with the Church and should, therefore, not receive the Eucharist.


There may be more to the story. In parishes without an RCIA program, the priest sometimes waives it in lieu of personal instruction. I believe they have some latitude in this, although they ultimately are to ensure that a person has sufficient knowledge of the faith to join the Church.

This may be a good one for Ask an Apologist.


With the assumption that she is an adult. As long as she has been Baptized, gone to Confession if previously Baptized, made a Profession of Faith in the Catholic Church and her teachings, and been Confirmed. She can receive Holy Communion.


Private instruction is an option when necessary. However private instruction does not eliminate the need for Baptism or Reconciliation, Profession of Faith and acceptance of Catholic teaching, and the Sacrament of Confirmation and Holy Communion, in that order.


Thanks for your replies - I guess I felt uncomfortable because she seemed a little uncomfortable telling me the information, when in fact, most new converts are very excited about the gift they have been given.



She may just not want her family to find out.



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