Lutheran communion


I hope this hasnt been asked before.

Im sure everyone here knows that Protestants are not able to recieve communion in a Catholic Church (unless its an emergency). What is the position of the Lutheran church (ELCA or LCMS) if their members go to a Catholic church and recieve communion in a Catholic church while knowing they are not supposed to. I know this is a topic that is very sensitive to a lot of people. Is there any agreement in place between a Catholic-Lutheran dialouge that says that Lutherans should be respectful of our rules while visiting, instead of trying to sneak communion like its some kind of game(like “haha, got one off ya”) I am not trying to be mean in any way but this is what i have come across. They did it just for the simple fact that they werent allowed and it was a big joke to them. :frowning:


I would advise anyone visiting a Catholic church to respect Catholic beliefs and practices – including not receiving communion.

Pastor Gary


Typically mainline churches (which as usually defined would include ELCA but not LCMS) resent Catholic policy on communion and for the most part don’t feel bound to respect it. You need to understand that for mainliners (particularly the more liberal ones) this is a matter of real principle. Turning people away from Christ’s table is, they believe, one of the worst things you can possibly do. My own denomination, the Episcopal Church, officially restricts communion to baptized Christians who receive communion in their own church (in other words, who practice the Christian faith regularly). But many, maybe even most Episcopal priests ignore this and invite everyone–Christian or not, to the Lord’s Table. My rector in NJ took this position and became about as heated as she was capable of getting (she is a very gentle person) when I challenged it.

The priest here in Indiana, like the diocese generally, is more orthodox and I believe adheres to the official stance. But of course that would still include Catholics, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he would share the general Episcopalian resentment of the Catholic Church’s position (though generally speaking conservative Episcopalians are more understanding of this position).

I suspect the situation in ELCA would be similar. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, who converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism, described how (when a Lutheran pastor) he had gotten up at an ecumenical meeting and said, “Intercommunion is easy–I do it all the time!” (He of course now considers this to have been a mistaken oversimplifying of ecumenism.)

LCMS, on the other hand, has a limited communion policy itself, so would respect that of the Catholic Church.

In Christ,




I realise most Protestants (and unfortunately some Catholics) will not belief this, but non-Catholics “sneaking” into the Communion line like a game is a very serious thing. Those who are not in full communion with the Church and have not been initiated into the sacraments, and those Catholics who have committed grave/mortal sin and have not received sacramental confession, must abstain from receiving Jesus truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. Why? Because if you don’t it is like playing Russian roulette with your soul, and you will lose every time. For as Saint Paul writes:

“Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor 11:27)


I agree that if any Protestants do it as a game this is a very wicked thing indeed. I hope the previous poster was inaccurate.

I am not defending it when done out of good motives either. I admit that I have done it on several occasions, but my conscience has never been entirely clear about it and I don’t make a habit of it. (Of course, many Catholic laypeople and at least some priests are OK with it. I recognize that from the point of view of people on this board that doesn’t matter, because only the Magisterium matters. But in the nature of things you can’t expect Protestants to accept your ecclesiology–if we did we would be Catholics. So when the local congregation makes it clear that it’s OK, Protestants are obviously going to do it and you can’t blame them in *those *circumstances. What cannot be justified is deceit.)




True, but at a very basic level, reception of Communion in the Catholic Church - or even communion in any Protestant Church - signifies that you accept that Churches belief. Why would you do this if you had issues with any number of their beliefs?


Because to us the Eucharist is not the Body of some doctrine or other, but the Body of Christ. Therefore faith in Christ and incorporation into Christ by baptism should be enough. (In all fairness, Episcopalians used to require confirmation by a bishop as well–our present position is a relatively recent one.)

For someone believing this, attendance at a Catholic Mass is going to produce a conflict between what we believe most deeply about the Eucharist and our sense of courtesy to fellow-Christians. If the local congregation welcomes us, then we aren’t going to have too many qualms about partaking.

In Christ,



Unfortunately it is a game to them, they are members of my wifes family and I know if I say anything to them there will be a major family war. I’ve been praying to God to remove the pridefulness and hardness of their hearts. My grandmother was Episcopalian, at her funeral I knew that that church invited all baptized Christians to communion, I respectfully stayed in my pew. If i went to recieve that meant I would be accepting that church’s teachings, which I dont… I accept the Catholic Church’s teachings. My wife’s family members who did this (it was at a funeral) are very anti-Catholic, so for them to be anti-Catholic but still go to recieve the Lord draws a very skewed line. If I ever go to church with them I will bring my rosary. :smiley:


When I got married last year half of the guests were Catholic and half were Lutheran (LCMS). We let them all know ahead of time what communion meant to Catholics. Not one of them wanted to go to communion after finding out that they would be agreeing to all the Catholic teachings… waaa haaa… I think they thought if they went to communion they would be converted instantly! Thank the Lord the ones the ones that were totally anti-Catholic protested by not coming to the wedding!


On the rare occasions when I’ve received the Eucharist in Catholic churches I did it in part with the *hope *that something like this would happen. . . . .it didn’t.



Bummer. :smiley:


Edwin… I know you are a very wise man… you know the way it works…
Love Ya!

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