Question about receiving the Eucharist


Since the pope wants a discussion about how to minister to people who have divorced and remarried,it has me thinking. I am wondering when the Church made the decisions about when a person could or could not receive the Eucharist. I know in Corinthians Paul tells people that they must receive according to how Jesus intended it. ( because they were confused about what to do when they gathered, some were getting drunk etc) They have to understand the meaning of his death for them. So, at that point, they didn’t tell people they couldn’t receive if they had committed certain sins, other than not thinking about about Christ’s sacrifice. I"m assuming as time went on, at some point they decided that people who had committed serious sin shouldn’t receive communion. Does anyone know when these decisions were made? Was it early on?


This is an excellent question; the development of barring someone from Communion.

As a person who is divorced and struggled with the annulment process and the whole
incredible man made nightmare it was, I realize the Church evolved in this process to the point we have now. As a person who was struggling with this issue during the worst of the pedophile scandal in the Church I often wondered how I as person who divorced, if I remarried without an annulment, could be asked to refrain from Communion permanently was a worse sinner than some priest who had molested kids but could go to confession and receive. I had a problem with the whole,

Who can and cannot receive issue then. I turned into a crazy “communion police for awhile” wondering how so and so could be so “bold” as to receive who was living with their boyfriend publicly, Jo Blow who had continous affairs and everyone knew it, the
woman who had 3 abortions and told me she’d tell God she’d do it again etc.

Then I realized I needed to leave the Church. So I did for a year. I attended Mass and went to Lutheran Church LCMS as well. The Holy Spirit sent me back to the Catholic Church when I decided at the end of the day someone has to have authority over these matters and I entrust that to the Catholic Church. Annulment granted.

Now I’d like to know if this is true, that no priest can deny Holy Communion to anyone in line without the permission of the Bishop? I was told that by a person who told me
to “march up and take Communion” which I felt was a sad statement. We don’t take
communion we receive it with the terms of the Church which are Biblical and have the state of our souls in mind. Sounded to me like a giraffe marching in a church and just taking Communion for some reason with no regard for it.



Wow! What a witness. Thanks for sharing.

Not sure by church law who makes the decision, but I know it is done with great care and I would think privately.



I am not knowledgable about when “withholding” the Eucharist started, but I refer to this scripture:

1 Cor. 11:27 “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

I believe that is the scripture you were referring to?



Dorothy, that is a wonderful reminder in Scripture.

In my old parish, which was considered “progressive” years ago, the priest told a couple where one partner was divorced without an annulment and remarried to the woman of the couple to “use their judgment” about receiving Holy Communion. So they Communed weekly.

A person in the parish told me officially a priest cannot deny anyone in the Communion line Communion without permission from the Bishop. I was wondering if this was true.

I never bothered to find out becuase as I noted I found my way Home again to the Catholic Church and don’t want to Commune myself to harm ever.

God Bless,


In Anglicanism we have an ancient reading called the Exhortation which is still used in some parishes. It lays it out pretty plainly. It reads in part:

DEARLY beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, must consider how Saint Paul exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us) so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily. For then we are guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord’s Body; we kindle God’s wrath against us…


No, it is not true.

The priest has the primary jurisdiction over who and who may not receive the Eucharist at the immediate parish level. Canon Law provides specific reasons for denying reception, but generally a parish priest will only deny the Eucharist to avoid public scandal, e.g., a person wearing a pro-abortion or pro-same sex marriage shirt in the communion line, or to avoid a sacrilege. This is a very serious step and whenever possible will only be taken with the approval of the bishop unless absolutely necessary.



Thanks, Rob.

closed #9

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