Protestants receiving Catholic Holy Communion


#1

Hi, I know it says that only Catholics in a state of grace are allowed to receive Holy Communion, but I’m having trouble explaining to my roommate why he isn’t supposed to be receiving Holy Communion. I said something like, to receive HC is to acknowledge that one is in full communion with Rome, but our protestant brothers are still not in full communion. My roommate is one of those non-denominational just plain Christian. He doesnt consider himself protestant, just Christian. And when I asked him about his belief in Real Presence in the Catholic Eucharist he was a little vague, he just keeps repeating whut it says in scripture “this is my body something something, do this in memory of me” I forget the exact words, but he just keeps referring back to it. How do I expalin to him why he shouldnt receive? If we knew someone was not Catholic and was going to receive Holy Communion, should we as Roman Catholics feel obligated to say some thing? would it be sacriligious to give HC to a non-catholic?


#2

Considering he probably doesn’t believe that the Eucharist is Jesus, body and spirit, it would be a great sign of disrespect to allow someone like that take part in Holy Communion. And even if he believed in real presence, how can he be in the State of Grace if he doesn’t receive the Sacrament of Penance. Of course he might not have mortal sins, but we don’t know that. All we know is that if he does have some, he won’t confess them to a valid priest.

And then there is the whole issue of him being a heretic and not in full communion with Rome.

If we knew someone was not Catholic and was going to receive Holy Communion, should we as Roman Catholics feel obligated to say some thing?
I’m not sure if there is a moral obligation but what I know is that such behavior bust be stopped - either by (politely) speaking to the non-catholic or to the priest (or perhaps both).

would it be sacriligious to give HC to a non-catholic?
Hmmm, generally yes but I think there are certain “special cases” but they still only apply if you have Catholic faith in the Eucharist (like say if you’re Orthodox). Can someone comment on that?


#3

New Testament

**1 Corinthians 11:26 **

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

** 27** Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an** unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. **

** 28** But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.

biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=53&chapter=11&version=49

Catechism of the Catholic Church

**1415 **
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.

usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt1art3.htm

**From someone I can’t remember:blush: **

In order to receive Jesus we must be free of sin. If the Pope was coming to your home for a visit you would make sure to clean your house of any filth. You are taking Jesus into your “house” make sure it is clean of sin.

We go to confession to “clean” our “house”. You have to be Catholic to go to confession.


#4

I heard this from somewhere. You can say to your friend that when he goes up to receive HC, he is saying to everyone that he accepts 100% the full teachings of the Catholic Church. If he does not accept the teachings he should not receive.


#5

Yes, we should say something if we know the person. “communion” means to be in full union with Christ and the Church He left here on earth to teach and speak for Him.


#6

It is not only Christ’s Body and Blood, but it also also a communion - us being one in His Body. If your friend wants to receive the Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, he has to come into the communion with the Church - just tell him to become Catholic then! :slight_smile:
If he objects that he doesn’t believe everything the Church teaches and cannot become a Catholic, then that means he is not in communion with the Catholic Church and therefore cannot partake in the Holy Communion.


#7

This is a bit like asking is it ok to go and pray in a Mosque if you are a Catholic Christian; clearly if you go to a place of worship which is outside of your own community, it is polite and decent to:

  1. Ask permission from the person invested with authority if you can worship there, and respectfully accept their answer

  2. Respect the laws and norms of that community while you are there, for whatever reason.

For example, at a Buddhist temple it is respectful to take off your shoes to respect the holiness of the site. I believe the same applies at mosques. Likewise at Mosques it is not allowed to take photographs without permission.

Likewise the CC has some rules about entering church and taking part in the sacraments. No-one is barred from entering a church and attending mass (Protestant, Orthodox, or non-Christian) but only Catholics can receive the sacraments. This is because the sacraments for Catholics represent the summit of what everything holy means to them, especially the Eucharist. To Catholics, the sacraments (particularly the Ecuharist) represent the appearing of God’s grace or God himself in the material world, and therefore also God’s holiness and majesty. That is why a Catholic needs to be free from serious sin to receive the sacraments, especially Eucharist, in a proper manner. As with any religion, there is a certain boundary between the sacred and the profane, and the rules represent the proper way for Catholics and non-Catholics to approach the prescence of God, without defiling the holiness which comes from God’s prescence.

Likewise at a mosque, humbling oneself and taking off shoes represent one humbling oneself before the awesome and sublime majesty of God’s holy prescence.

Protestants and other Christians know from the Old Testament those who approached God’s holiness the wrong way could die, and Catholics take this holiness with the same seriousness, though it may manifest in different forms (in the eucharist along with the Word of God, rather than just in the scriptures).


#8

if I were a protestant who knew the history of my denomination and was thoroughly instructed in its doctrines, I would rather die than accept communion in a Catholic Church. If I belonged to a protestant denomination (those which arose during the Reformation) I would be an adherent of a sect whose early members faced persecution and death for their beliefs. Those beliefs include, for all historic reformation denominations, denial of the sacrament of the Eucharist, denial of the sacrificial priesthood and of the authority of bishops and apostolic sucession, under which authority the Eucharist is confected. To accept the Catholic sacrament would be denying the founders of my denomination and denial of its founding doctrines, and I could not bring myself to so dishonor them by doing it. It would be like undergoing a very bitter, protracted divorce from an abusive (in my estimation) husband, and then going back years later to have sex with him. Crude analogy, but the analogy between marriage and the Eucharist is from Paul, so not inappropriate.


#9

Tell your friend that the Mass is the most important aspect of Catholic worship and that the Catholic Church strongly teaches that it should not be taken by non-Catholics (or even Catholics who are not in a state of grace). Then ask him to be respectful of your faith tradition and not, as Paul noted, to put a stumbling block in the way of his brother by taking communion and thereby violating your faith tradition.


#10

Tell your friend that the Mass is the most important aspect of Catholic worship and that the Catholic Church strongly teaches that it should not be taken by non-Catholics (or even Catholics who are not in a state of grace). Then ask him to be respectful of your faith tradition and not, as Paul noted, to put a stumbling block in the way of his brother by taking communion and thereby violating your faith tradition.


#11

Tell your friend that the Mass is the most important aspect of Catholic worship and that the Catholic Church strongly teaches that it should not be taken by non-Catholics (or even Catholics who are not in a state of grace). Then ask him to be respectful of your faith tradition and not, as Paul noted, to put a stumbling block in the way of his brother by taking communion and thereby violating your faith tradition.


#12

Tell your friend that the Mass is the most important aspect of Catholic worship and that the Catholic Church strongly teaches that it should not be taken by non-Catholics (or even Catholics who are not in a state of grace). Then ask him to be respectful of your faith tradition and not, as Paul noted, to put a stumbling block in the way of his brother by taking communion and thereby violating your faith tradition.


#13

Perhaps invite him to consider attending RCIA if he is interested in our worship enough?


#14

Hi. I can appreciate your dilemma! I come from a non-denominational background, so maybe I can offer some insights into your roommate’s feelings. I doubt your roommate means any disrespect by receiving communion in the Catholic Church. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he is completely unaware that the Catholic understanding of communion is any different than your average Protestant’s. In the church in which I was raised, basically anyone who agreed that Jesus was the Son of God, was crucified, and resurrected for the atonement of sins could feel free to partake of communion. So any visiting Baptist/Presbyterian/Catholic/Episcopalian was welcomed and encouraged to partake. If you are not aware of Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist, being informed that you are not allowed to participate can really take you aback!

My first experience with this was when I was seven years old. My family attended my Great Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary and there was a mass we went to before the reception. I remember that when it was time for communion, my dad told my sisters and I that we had to stay seated in the pew. I remember watching everybody else in the entire church going up, and just our family sitting their all by ourselves. I wasn’t offended, but I was very confused. I didn’t understand what was wrong with us. It did make me feel somewhat rejected. In our church, any of our Catholic relatives would have been allowed to partake of communion. Of course at the age of seven, I hadn’t thought at all about concepts like transubstantiation and the like.

One of the things that first struck me about the Catholic Church when I started researching it a few years ago, was that I could tell there was something different about their view of communion. It may seem ridiculous to you Catholics, but I was honestly surprised to find that Catholics not only took communion every week, but that it was the entire point of why they went to church. (In Prostestant churches, the sermon is the main focus, and in my church we took communion once a month). I also started reading some of the writings of Mother Teresa and wondered why she talked about the Eucharist so much. Anyway, that peaked my curiosity of what the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist was. It has been a real blessing to me to contemplate this.

Now, (not being Catholic, but considering it) I wouldn’t dream of taking the Eucharist in a Catholic Church. I would feel highly disrespectful for doing so. So basically, I think that all your roommate probably needs is a good, solid explanation of what Catholics believe about the Eucharist. Why don’t you get him a copy of Catholicism for Dummies? I found that very helpful, and sort of used it as a jumping off point for pursuing topics that interested me in more depth.

One point that I would be sure to emphasize to your roommate is that being Catholic in and of itself does not allow one to partake of communion, but that a Catholic must be in a state of grace (i.e. confessed and been absolved of any mortal sins). If you apply the restriction to all Christians, of course, no Protestant will have confessed and been absolved of their sins, so it is only natural that they shouldn’t receive the Eucharist either. Realizing that Catholics must be in a state of grace to take communion really drives home how seriously they take communion. (Of course, don’t forget to explain about the Real Presence, which is at the real heart of the issue.) Explaining to your roommate about mortal sins, states of grace etc. will probably open up lots of other questions about Catholicism:) That’s why I recommend getting him some good introductory material. I also found Catholic and Christian by Alan Schreck to be an excellent explanation of Catholic doctrines. I really like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but that might not be your roommate’s cup of tea. You would know best. Anyway, I know that this seems like a kind of touchy and uncomfortable situation with your roommate now, but I believe it will open up lots of fruitful discussion for y’all. I will pray that it will!


#15

Pope John Paul II explains it this way in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

  1. While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established.

This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed.95 This approach was then ratified by both Codes, which also consider – with necessary modifications – the case of other non-Eastern Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.96

  1. In my Encyclical Ut Unum Sint I expressed my own appreciation of these norms, which make it possible to provide for the salvation of souls with proper discernment: “It is a source of joy to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church but who greatly desire to receive these sacraments, freely request them and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments.

Conversely, in specific cases and in particular circumstances, Catholics too can request these same sacraments from ministers of Churches in which these sacraments are valid”.97

**These conditions, from which no dispensation can be given, must be carefully respected, even though they deal with specific individual cases, because the denial of one or more truths of the faith regarding these sacraments and, among these, the truth regarding the need of the ministerial priesthood for their validity, renders the person asking improperly disposed to legitimately receiving them. And the opposite is also true: Catholics may not receive communion in those communities which lack a valid sacrament of Orders.98

The faithful observance of the body of norms established in this area 99 is a manifestation and, at the same time, a guarantee of our love for Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for our brothers and sisters of different Christian confessions – who have a right to our witness to the truth – and for the cause itself of the promotion of unity**.

I said something like, to receive HC is to acknowledge that one is in full communion with Rome, but our protestant brothers are still not in full communion.

Exactly correct. :thumbsup:

My roommate is one of those non-denominational just plain Christian. He doesnt consider himself protestant, just Christian. And when I asked him about his belief in Real Presence in the Catholic Eucharist he was a little vague, he just keeps repeating whut it says in scripture “this is my body something something, do this in memory of me” I forget the exact words, but he just keeps referring back to it.

Point out to him 1st Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:23-30 and ask him if he agrees with that because Paul specifically says that the Eucharist is “the Body and blood of the Lord”.

How do I expalin to him why he shouldnt receive? If we knew someone was not Catholic and was going to receive Holy Communion, should we as Roman Catholics feel obligated to say some thing? would it be sacriligious to give HC to a non-catholic?

You need to advise the priest at Mass that your friend will present himself for communion and is not Catholic and does not share a belief in the Real Presence. You might also introduce him to your priest and tell him right up front that he wants to receive communion and doesn’t understand why he’s not supposed to.

the passage he’s quoting to you is from the Last Supper and is only part of the scripture that teaches the Eucharistic Real Presence. I did a thread on this Here.
Maybe it will help a bit.

An excellent CA article on this. Who Can Receive Communion?


#16

I think I’m a little confused… Have you explained to him that he isn’t allowed to receive and he continues to do it anyway? If that’s what’s happening, then I have to say that’s really disrespectful on his part.

I would just try explaining that the Catholic Church has rules concerning who is allowed to receive the Sacraments, and that one has to be a Catholic in good standing to receive them. You could also point out that not even all Catholics are allowed to receive the Eucharist all the time (like if one has unconfessed mortal sins), and Catholics likewise are not allowed to receive Communion in a non-Catholic church under ordinary circumstances.


#17

Ooo! I have that one :smiley: Thanks, I’m so happy that you have such a strong interest in Catholicism, I’d be so happy if he joined an RCIA, I think he’ll be going to Mass even more often since we now live across the street from a Catholic Church, though a little liberal and unorthodox (i live in Berkeley :smiley: ) I’m sure u can imagine how liberal everyone is. :smiley:


#18

Hi, new here. I’m a Christian; catholic, but not Catholic, as I understand the Apostle’s creed.

I am now 51 and have attended services in many Christian churches attending to a number of musical missions I once belonged to.

When I was a boy I went as part of a group and was informed by the priest during the homily that we would all burn in Hell, which seemed a little unfriendly as we had been invited to perform for his congregation.

Times have changed. I hear that perhaps we are all not headed for Hell these days, just probably.:smiley:

In my own case at least I can state that I have never taken communion lightly, believing that we must be confessed and in a state of grace to receive communion. So, if I am not doing this in a Catholic church am I comitting a sin? No being other than God can look into your heart and see contrition, confession, or know that you are forgiven.

I ask how I can dishonor my heritage if I were to take communion in a Catholic mass. My family has labored for the truth, established churches, lived godly lives. Is Catholicism some step downward? Both Protestants and the Catholic Church have done bad things in the name of God.But my father,not a Catholic worked closely with a Catholic priest to serve the poor. I have done the same with a nun. Were we wrong to work together as Christians? The rules for communion apply to all Christians, correct? Jesus, or Paul never said “Catholic Christians stand here, and the other Christians over there”.

So it really boils down to two questions; are some non-Catholics Christian, and is it valid to base the Mass upon specific sectarian beliefs?


#19

:stuck_out_tongue: :thumbsup: :slight_smile:

In my own case at least I can state that I have never taken communion lightly, believing that we must be confessed and in a state of grace to receive communion. So, if I am not doing this in a Catholic church am I committing a sin? No being other than God can look into your heart and see contrition, confession, or know that you are forgiven.

Good points all.

I ask how I can dishonor my heritage if I were to take communion in a Catholic mass. My family has labored for the truth, established churches, lived godly lives. Is Catholicism some step downward?

:slight_smile: No.

Both Protestants and the Catholic Church have done bad things in the name of God.

Brother, ain’t that the truth! :yup:

But my father,not a Catholic, worked closely with a Catholic priest to serve the poor. I have done the same with a nun. Were we wrong to work together as Christians?

Not at all!

The rules for communion apply to all Christians, correct? Jesus, or Paul never said “Catholic Christians stand here, and the other Christians over there”.

Here’s where we hit the real issue, okay? Do you know precisely what you are witnessing your assent to when you present yourself to that priest to receive the Eucharist? Have a look at the papal encyclical that I quoted above because it explains clearly and eloquently this whole matter.

The Eucharist IS Scriptural is a thread that I created to deal with what we Catholics believe and teach about this. Can you say “Yes, Amen.” to those things? If not then there is a problem. If you do believe these things then the next logical step for an honest believer is to actually join the Catholic Church. That’s something to think about…

The early church also made a really big deal out of this.

CHAP. VII.–LET US STAND ALOOF FROM SUCH HERETICS.

They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer,(7) because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death(11) in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect,(13) that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of(15) them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion[of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved.(16) But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils.

So it really boils down to two questions; are some non-Catholics Christian, and is it valid to base the Mass upon specific sectarian beliefs?

Yes…and yes.

However, as I have pointed out, there is no optional belief concerning this, and when you present yourself to the priest to take the Eucharist, you are professing that you share our exact and specific beliefs about it and if you do not share those beliefs, the you bear witness to something that you do not agree with.

Is that a proper thing for a Christian to do?


#20

Catholic communion is the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
If someone does not believe this, Catholic or protestant, then they must by conscience obey St.Paul and not recieve. '…29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. '
Protestantism, by definition, protests St.Pauls statement that it is the Body of the Lord, and so they exclude themselves as a movement from communion as an article of their faith.


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