Protestant Friend Receiving Communion

I have a friend who is in his late thirties. He is a Christian, and seemingly pretty anti-Catholic (even though he is Italian :confused: but I digress). When we first started talking about our faith a year ago or so he told me he went to mass and received communion…I hardly knew what to say!? He said he didn’t think that we should deny such an important part of our faith to others…my response was: “well if I understand correctly, as a protestant you reject the beliefs of the Holy Eucharist, therefore you shouldn’t receive it.” Am I correct? He also said he wouldn’t move until the priest gave him the Eucharist…

So my question is: How do explain to him the Eucharist, (dare I go into Transubstantiation :blush:)? I know there are books to read but I like to get answers from more than just a book.

It sounds like he understands already that it’s wrong to do it - but maybe he doesn’t understand the extent of how wrong it was?? I’m sure others who are Catholic will help you with the ‘what to do dilemma.’

I had an ELCA pastor tell a group of us that if he was in attendance of a Catholic Mass that he would always go up and take communion with the members. His reasoning was that he understood the Lutheran reasoning of communion and he was taking it as he believed it was to be taken. That was a long time ago and a couple of churches in between who I was and where I’m at in my life now. I would probably now advise ask him if this was a wise course of action and also a good example to set for his church members.

I will be interested in seeing the answer your Catholic friends here will give.

God bless!!


First just tell him we believe the Eucharist really, truly is the Body of Jesus but has the properties of wheat and wine. He may well know this but a lot of Protestants don’t get it. Before I became a Catholic I really had trouble accepting this. Second don’t go to Mass with him. Don’t encourage him to go to Mass. When I was a child our neighbor couldn’t receive Communion because she had remarried after a divorce. She went to Mass for about 30 years without receiving. Given that example I wasn’t going to receive Communion without becoming a Catholic nor did I feel the need to go up for a blessing.

Well, I would tell him that we don’t deny any part of our faith to anyone. We welcome everyone to explore every aspect of our faith. But unless it is his faith as well, which means being brought into the Church, to knowingly allow him to receive the Eucharist would be to knowingly participate in bringing condemnation upon him. If he is a Christian point him to 1 Corinthians 11:28-29:

“For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (KJV)


He should have been asked to leave. Very rude, especially considering what he was about to receive.

Start with asking him why he thinks it is such an important thing that he refused to move until it was given to him? This could be a great opportunity for you. Then you could explain why you think it is so important.

In addition to what the other posters have said regarding the importance of the Real Presence, it may be helpful to remind him that even Catholics who are not in good standing or have unconfessed mortal sin are to abstain from receiving.

Also, as far as the communion (common) aspect, it is simply a dishonest representation of himself. He is publicly proclaiming to hold to the tenets of the Catholic faith, in communion with the other Catholics at Mass. He is, however, privately proclaiming to be in protest against said faith.

Remind this person that it is very disrespectful to go to someone else’s house and totally disregard the hosts wishes about accepted behavior, does he do this at all his friends houses or only in a Catholic church? Would it be acceptable for someone to visit his house and abuse his wishes regarding behavior in his house?

Yes, you are. :):thumbsup:

Confused here. :confused: What does that mean? Usually one has to go up and queue to receive Holy Communion. The celebrant would only go to the pews, usually the front ones, to give Communion to those elderly and those who have difficulty walking. If he remains seated during the Communion, nobody would give him.

I would say, first of all you have to tell him that Communion is only for practicing Catholics. Therefore as a non-Catholic, he is not to receive it. That should be sufficient.

As for explanation, if he wants to know, yes you can explain the Transubstantiation – the changing of the bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during the consecration. Even though the appearance is still the same, they are true Body and true Blood of Jesus. Also, not everybody can celebrate the mass but only ordained priests of the Catholic Church.

As such, only Catholics who are in a state of grace can receive them.

You can explain to him that the Eucharist is a Sacrament – and outward sign of inward grace. It is not just a symbol, or a ritual, but grace and thus can only be received after Baptism.

Excluding non-Catholics in Sacraments is one of the legacies of being separated from each other. In practical experience, it can be painful and hurting, especially to family members and friends being secluded in the Holy Communion. Yet that is the reality of faith; if one does not accept it, does not believe in it, then one cannot be a part of it.

God bless.


Just because the guy’s Protestant doesn’t mean he rejects the Real Presence, or even Transubstantiation. See: Anglo-Catholics.

There are some great explanations here. I had a LCMS Pastor friend who once told me with more churches opening Communion to anyone with few stipulations some people have an attitude of “taking” communion when in fact we “receive” communion.

Sounds like this person has the “take” mentality of I WANT communion so GIVE IT TO ME regardless of the fact they are aware it’s not appropriate to do so in a Catholic Church given his circumstances.

I hope some explanation can help him to discern this is not appropriate and you can Commune yourself to harm in this manner.


[quote=Mongol]Just because the guy’s Protestant doesn’t mean he rejects the Real Presence, or even Transubstantiation. See: Anglo-Catholics.

While it may be true that there are non-Catholic churches believe in the Real Presence, yet their masses are not seen as valid by the Catholic Church. As for Transubstantiation, AFAIK, none believe in this definition.

The Holy Eucharist is the most important of the seven sacraments because, in this and in no other sacrament, we receive the very body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Innumerable, precious graces come to us through the reception of Holy Communion.

Communion is an intimate encounter with Christ, in which we sacramentally receive Christ into our bodies, that we may be more completely assimilated into His.

Catholics and Communion

The Church sets out** specific guidelines** regarding how we should prepare ourselves to receive the Lord’s body and blood in Communion. To receive Communion worthily, (1) you must be in a state of grace, (2) have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, (3) believe in transubstantiation, (4) observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, (5) not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication.

Other Christians and Communion

"Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law. . . . "

Scripture is clear that partaking of the Eucharist is among the highest signs of Christian unity: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17). For this reason, **it is normally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion, for to do so would be to proclaim a unity to exist that, regrettably, does not. **

Another reason that many non-Catholics may not ordinarily receive Communion is for their own protection, since many reject the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Scripture warns that it is very dangerous for one not believing in the Real Presence to receive Communion: “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Cor. 11:29–30).

Possible exceptions

(1) However, there are circumstances when non-Catholics may receive Communion from a Catholic priest. This is especially the case when it comes to Eastern Orthodox Christians, who share the same faith concerning the nature of the sacraments.

Christians in these churches should, of course, respect their own church’s guidelines regarding when it would be permissible for them to receive Communion in a Catholic church.

(2) The circumstances in which Protestants are permitted to receive Communion are more limited, though it is still possible for them to do so under certain specifically defined circumstances.

Canon law explains the parameters: "If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop …” (CIC 844 § 4).

See more here.

God bless.


This, as much as anything else, ought to be the message to the OP’s friend. :thumbsup:
Plain, simple good manners and respect. The CC has asked us not to receive, and in Christian love and respect, we should honor that request. It’s one that the LCMS makes as well.


If someone knows what another believes and takes communion anyways just to be spiteful then that is extremely disrespectful. I would relate that to a Catholic coming to my church and fakes speaking in tongues just to poke fun.

Just because we have open communion doesn’t mean everyone else needs to do so. It amazes me why people do this. :shrug:

Whether or not their services are valid masses has no bearing on the fact that they believe in the Real Presence–whether it’s actually there or not. Anglo-Catholics (and for that matter other Anglicans) are free to accept or reject Transubstantiation, but may not consider it de fide. See:

I’m not saying whether or not he should be taking communion, just that everyone in this thread is assuming he believes in neither the real presence nor transubstantiation. OP could say “as Catholics we believe in the real presence” and his/her friend could easily say “me too”. Therefore unless OP’s friend belongs to a denomination that explicitly rejects the Real Presence s/he should use the unity argument, rather than the Real Presence argument.

The information in this thread should be more commonly understood among catholics. Last Tuesday I was at a daily mass where a catholic man asked me why I was not partaking. I explained that I was not Catholic. He asked if I was a Christian and I responded that I was. He then flipped the Missal to the opening page where it gave all the information posted above and said I should partake. I knew better, but didn’t want to argue during mass, even if it was quietly, so I just kind of shook my head slightly, and then he said it was disrespectful for me to not partake. I will try to not sit next to him again, but it is a small chapel. :shrug:

You did the right thing. Believe it or not, many Catholics don’t know their own faith. I’ve had people ask me why the CC doesn’t have open communion. I simply say that ‘communion’ means to be in union with and of the same mind. If you receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church you are publicly saying that you believe in everything the church teaches. If you truly believe in what the Catholic Church teaches then you are obligated by your own conscience to join the Church. If you don’t believe in everything the church teaches then you are publicly lying before God. I’ve never had anyone get upset with me over this explanation.

He point blank told me that he doesn’t believe in the real presence, and that he didn’t think that a priest could do that…fyi he is Methodist

An old wive’s tale a friend told me is that non Catholics who receive Holy Communion when they should not have whether from ignorance or purposefully will become Catholic:D

And I won’t be surprised if Christ didn’t make that person feel the hunger even more…God draws those who are searching for him, even if they didn’t think He was there.!

i would tell him that we catholics do not deny any part of our faith to anyone if we ourselves are faithful.

however, he rejects our faith. it is not us denying him anything. it is him rejecting what we have to offer. it is not surprising that he is of the pick and choose type of Christianity and as a consequence it will probably be very difficult for him to understand that the Holy Eucharist is the sacrament of unity and is meant for those who share a common faith. since he is not united in faith with the RCC he is expressing a lie when he acts as though he is in union with us.

it is because of this and the fact that the Eucharist is a communion of believers, not just any believers, but those who believe in the RCC that makes is hypocritical for him to receive the Blessed Sacrament in communion.

I doubt that, at this point in time, given the information you provided, that any of this will register with him consciously. he seems to be demonstrating a strong willfulness that is unwilling to learn and grow. but, there is no harm in trying.


Well said, :thumbsup:

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