Why is it that the Church recognizes Protestant baptisms, but not their version of communion? I know protestant communion is not valid, since they do not have a valid priesthood, or believe in transubstantiation. However, then why would a Protestant who views baptism only as a symbol, be accepted?
I am not questioning the teachings, I just need to know to avoid giving the wrong information.
Baptizing a person does not require that either party be aware that it is an actual cleansing of sin from the soul. This is why Protestant baptisms that deny the sacramental nature are valid and infant baptisms are valid. All that is necessary is that the candidate be poured (or immersed, sprinkled, etc.) with water, with the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, as commanded in Acts and Matthew.
Anyone can baptize; one does not need to be a priest to do so.
Anyone can baptize, that is true.
The reason there is no Eucharistic communion with those who come from churches from the Reformation is because of the lack of a priest to perform transubstantiation on the bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ. The transubstantiation is not possible without the priesthood. Yes, any trained Eucharistic minister can give communion, but only a priest can perform the blessing.
Also, with Baptism, faith grows afterward. In the case of the Eucharist, faith is enhanced, and therefore, faith is required to receive it. That’s why the Eucharist is only allowed to those who have gone through classes on it, and are at or above the age of reason.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1:
V. WHO CAN BAPTIZE?
1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon (Cf. CIC, can. 861 #1; CCEO, can. 677 #1). In case of necessity, anyone, even a nonbaptized person, with the required intention, can baptize (CIC, can. 861.2), by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation (Cf. 1 Tim 2:4).
VI. THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” (Gaudium et Spes 22 #5; cf. Lumen Gentium 16; Ad Gentes 7) Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
VII. THE GRACE OF BAPTISM
The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians
1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” (UR 3) “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.” (UR 22 #2)
Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 3:
1375 It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:
It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered (St. John Chrysostom, prod. Jud. 1:6: PG 49, 380).
And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:
Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed. . . . Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature (St. Ambrose, De myst. 9, 50; 52: PL 16, 405-407).
1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.” (Unitatis Redintegratio 22 #3) It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.” (Unitatis Redintegratio 22 #3)
The Code of Canon Law:
Can. 913 §1. The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.
§2. The Most Holy Eucharist, however, can be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion reverently.
1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.
1391 Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (Jn 6:56) Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.” (Jn 6:57)
On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, "Christ is risen!" Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ. (Fanqith, Syriac Office of Antioch, Vol. 1, Commun., 237 a-b)
1392 What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh “given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,” (Presbyterorum Ordinis 5) preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.
Therefore, faith is given in the Sacrament of Baptism, and the maturity of the faith we’re given at Baptism is required to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.