Is the Eucharist "essential"?

In various threads on this sub-forum we read of certain “essentials” required in order to properly call oneself a “Christian”; i.e. belief in the Trinity, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, etc. Outside of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, with the exception of possibly some Lutheran and Anglican communities, the Eucharist is not even on the list.

I bring this up because for Catholics and Orthodox, the Eucharist, properly defined as the true presence of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, is the “source and summit” of our faith. To say it is an “essential” belief is an understatement. If there was no Eucharist, there would be no Catholic Church and therefore no Protestant communities as well.

So the question: Is the Eucharist essential to Christianity? If not, why?



Are you looking for a specific Christian tradition to reply to this, or just in general?

:thumbsup: John 6.

God Bless:)

Originally posted by SteveVH
with the exception of possibly some Lutheran and Anglican communities.


Everyone is welcome to chime in. I have not found that trying to restrict posts to particular faith communities works very well anyway. :slight_smile:

Without the Eucharist, the church in question is not the Church. In that respect, I would hold that it is essential… not for the purposes of salvation per se, but to be that Body which is described in the New Testament as Christ’s Church. It is, otherwise, a sacramentless collection of Christian believers

If it is not essential for salvation then is it really essential at all? Do you believe that what the Catholic Church considers the “source and summit” of the Christian faith has nothing to do with our salvation?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:53)

Does this not sound to you as if it is essential for our salvation? Is not eternal life “salvation”?

No…I would say that if one is saved apart from the Eucharist it is in spite of being apart from the Eucharist, and because God is merciful and is not Megatron.

The CCC states that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the christian life” so in one sense absolutely it is essential.

But because other eclesial communities do not have the Eucharist, that does not mean they are not christian.

To best answer your question you would have to fully clarify what you mean by “essential.”

God is not bound by the Sacraments.

Okay, thank you. So you believe that it is essential, though God may save one through another means, sort of like being saved even though not being baptized with water. Correct? Would you mind revealing your religious persuasion?



Sure thing, Steve. Former Lutheran. In between as of now, but attending an Orthodox parish. I should say though, that my view was the same as a Lutheran. So not influenced by Orthodoxy in that respect.

By “essential” I mean the same thing as accepting the Trinity and the resurrection. Jesus said that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no life in us. Does that sound “essential” to you?

Yes, I am aware that God is not bound by the sacraments. That does not in any way remove their importance and is certainly not something on which we should rely.

Thanks. I like to know where someone sits before addressing where they stand. :slight_smile:

Well, to change the logical proof around a bit…although it is no less valid…It is commonly held Catholic doctrine that those officially outside the Catholic Church can still be saved, they do not this side of Heaven partake in the Eucharist. Therefore in that sense, them receiving the Eucharist in this life is not essential for their salvation.

However I would say the Eucharist is similar to Baptism. Along with Baptism of desire, there could also be recception of the Eucharist by desire. My friend who is baptist loves Jesus very much and if she understood with her intellect who the Eucharist is and it’s importance she would certainly desire to receive it.

So yes, I would say, “Eucharist by desire”, to coin a new term is definitely essential.

Well, for me it is certainly essential and I wouldn’t be a part of a tradition in which the Eucharist wasn’t essential. Thankfully, this requirement narrows any search down quite a bit!

We could spend an entire thread discussing invincible ignorance and the possibility that one may be saved in spite of it. But I am speaking of that which Jesus himself instituted; the normative means of salvation; what he intended for us to do and the importance of recognizing this in the life of a Christian.

The words in the Gospel concerning the Eucharist are certainly clear in this respect: It is necessary for our eternal life. There is nothing ambiguous about those words. It seems to me that is something which all Christians should be interested in exploring, if nothing else. Yet it isn’t a second thought in may Christian faith communities.

I might be an odd-ball amongst non-denominational protestants, but I would say both eucharist and Eucharist are essential. Both thanksgiving and participating in communion are part of the essence of Christian faith. As others have explained, I do think it is like baptism, however, in that someone can make it into Heaven without those externals, like the classic example of the thief on the cross.

The other aspect that is essential, and lost for a lot of people, is that the bread is also symbolic of the entire body of Christ, as bread is made up of many grains of wheat, and we are called to recognize the body of Christ as the gathering of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you. :thumbsup:

So when are you joining RCIA? :stuck_out_tongue:

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