For those who are not familiar with Fr. Bryce Sibley’s blog, he has been publishing a series of eucharistic reflections in this Year of the Eucharist. This one I thought particularly interesting as it puts forth in simple and straightforward terms why Catholics and non-Catholics are prohibited from mutual reception of the Eucharist at their respective churches.
Eucharistic Reflection no. 15 (By Fr. Bryce Sibley)
“Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike often do not understand the Catholic Church’s position that non-Catholics should not be permitted to receive Holy Communion. The key term from understanding this position is the very word “communion.” When we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, but our action has deeper significances. First, as the priest says, “the Body of Christ” the communicant responds, “Amen” which means “I believe.” I believe that what appears to the senses as bread is truly the body of Christ. But many non-Catholics do not believe in the True Presence and therefore their “Amen” would at best make no sense and at worst be a lie. In addition to this, when receive the Body of Christ in Communion we are saying that we are in full communion with the Body of Christ - which is the Catholic Church. And non-Catholics are not in full communion with the Catholic Church and thus cannot receive the Eucharist which proclaims their full ecclesial communion. So the prohibitions are founded not in prejudice but a profound understanding not only in the Eucharist as sacrament but in the meaning of the bodily reception of the Eucharist.”