Receiving communion at Protestant services


I recently learned that Catholics are not supposed to receive communion at non-Catholic churches. I don’t really understand why, however. One line I read put it this way that “if it’s an unconsecrated wafer why would you want to receive it anyway?” But in that same vein if that’s all it is and you’re not using it as a means of replacing the Mass or reception of the Eucharist - why does it matter? Especially if you receive in the spirit of being in communion with those you attend the service with, especially given what the ceremony signifies for non-Catholics (communion)? Thoughts and clarification greatly appreciated.

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: re: the idea that receiving at their church is scandalous. What just happened on the 500th anniversary of the reformation? Didn’t we kinda reconcile and say that the differences that divide us no longer do so? What about orthodox churches? Their sacraments are considered valid but they don’t recognize the pope do they? Thank you everyone for your responses and keeping things positive and cordial :slight_smile:


It matters because receiving communion shows that you are in communion with the community you do so in. When I visited a non-denominational place last year, I didn’t go up for communion because I didn’t want to be perceived as accepting their teachings.

It’s scandalous to signal that you’re in communion with a group of believers outside of the Catholic Church.


Receiving communion at a church is saying that you are in communion with that church. It’s saying that you believe what they believe. And that is simply not true. I want to say “deceptive”, but that makes it sound intentional and I know you’re probably not trying to be deceiving. Yes, it is just bread to them. But it’s also a way to say “my beliefs are in communion with the rest of the people here”.

Edit: @Thom18 ninja’d me. :laughing:


It’s also a sin against the First Commandment.


This rationale does not take into account that there are many kinds of Communions in Christian denominations. It is not a matter whether they are consecrated or not, that is for Catholics to assess the validity of their Communions, but that it is their Communion.

This is the reason why as Catholics we should not participate in their Communions.

That sounds superstitious then. Why do it in a service? Why not just do it at dinner? The thing is, there is a religious element to it. And this is the reason why Catholics should not partake in false non-Catholic religious rituals. Of course for them it is valid but for us, it is not and therefore false.


Geez, I think we’re beginning to over think this. You know where your beliefs stand. What so wrong with ecumenical interaction? I do not think you are demonstrating to those around you that you are in full agreement, just there as a fellow christian.


I was on an island in Scotland where there are two churches, Baptist and Protestant who do alternate weeks with a visiting parson; when there is no visiting parson available, the only lay Catholic on the island takes the service - but no Communion is given


What about our Lord, does he stay outside non - Catholic churches?


Although you’re right about it being their communion, not ours, it is not the sole reason why we cannot receive. CCC 1400 explains that intercommunion is not possible especially because of the lack of holy orders and the consequences of that. It isn’t for individual Catholics to assess the validity.

If we were to receive the communion bread at a protestant service, there’s also the suggestion by appearances that their communion bread is like the Eucharist, when it really isn’t, so they might misguidedly suppose that they can receive our Eucharist, when it really isn’t interchangeable.


Usually I ignore post like this because I am not interested in useless argument. I was talking about Catholic perspective but your post is trying to create an argument out of nothing.

Frankly, I don’t care and don’t know about non-Catholic churches. I only know about the Catholic Church as a Catholic.

Perhaps you can bring your insinuation to someone else.


That is the problem. Catholics are not in communion with the Protestants.


There are plenty of ways to interact ecumenically with Protestant brothers and sisters. E.g., I play piano at a Protestant church. I enjoy staying for their coffee and donuts and chatting with everyone. I love praying with the congregation, and of course, I love leading them in the hymns (so many good hymns, and they love to sing!).

But what it all comes down to is obedience. The Catholic Church tells me in writing (see CCC quote above) and in personal teaching (we heard this in our RCIA classes, and we hear it at least a few times a year from the priest’s homily, and we also hear it in our parish Bible studies) that we are not permitted to receive Protestant Communion.

Here’s how I look at it–when I am playing and interacting with a Protestant church, and occasionally answering questions about Catholicism, the people see that a Catholic really IS a Christian! (Note–there are many Evangelical Protestants who believe that Catholics are not Christians because they believe that Catholicism is a cult). I am a witness to them about the joy and truth of Catholicism, especially when I am able to quote the Bible and describe a recent Catholic homily or article (sometimes on CA!).

And when they see that I do not receive Communion, and when they ask, I tell them that in spite of the bond of belief in the Lord Jesus and the joy of worshiping together and our bond of Christian love, Catholics are not permitted to receive non-Catholic Communion because it is confusing to Protestants and gives the impression that we accept all their beliefs., They not only understand, but they say, “That makes sense.”

Obedience with understanding impresses Evangelical Protestants. :slight_smile:

I feel that I do more good to Protestants by obeying my Catholic Church and abstaining than I do by disobeying the Church and receiving their communion. Just as in the Catholic Church, we can occasionally (for a valid reason, such as not getting to confession for a mortal sin) abstain from receiving Holy Communion and instead, have a spiritual communion, we can do the same thing in the Protestant church–enjoy spiritual communion and fellowship with Protestant brothers and sisters.

We need to trust God–if He has directed His Church, the Church that He founded, to do or not do something, we should obey, even if we disagree or have doubts about the instructions. Look at all the trouble we have when Catholics question what the rubrics of the Mass should be, and make up their own, or refuse to follow the Church-prescribed rubrics because of a personal conviction that “the Church is wrong.” (This happens a lot with the Sign of Peace–sigh).

How do we expect non-Christians and non-Catholic Christians to join the Catholic Church and have unity once again (John 17) when we do things our way instead of God’s way?


“Baptist and Protestant”? Baptist isn’t Protestant?


If you read the sense of my post, I said two churches on one island, (one) baptist (one) Protestant


I’m still confused. Baptists are Protestants. Lutherans are Protestants. Presbyterians are Protestants. Non-denominational churches are Protestant.

So there is one Protestant Church that is Baptist. What Protestant group is the other church?


“Where two or more are gathered in my name…”

But that kind of presence is distinct from the presence in the Eucharist.


In Scotland “Protestant” is synonymous with the original “Presbyterian,” while Baptist although §rotestant is Baptist. Jesus Christ Almighty, God and Saviour of ours, loves us all though. Is that clearer? The island is Colonsay and it is worth a Google. God love you my friend


Not that long ago Catholics were not even supposed to attend Protestant services. The reason was the same as with communion. It gives the appearance of legitimacy to their service and sect.


I suggest you read Ecclesia de Eucharistia.


Essentially, nothing happened. It was a bunch of hand-holding and kumbyah. Nothing of substance. Reconciliation is still a work-in-progress.

Yes, they do have valid sacraments. Regarding the Pope, well, it’s complicated.
What you need to know is that they have valid orders, and a valid Eucharist. We have let them reccieve at our churches, but we cannot receive at theirs under normal circumstances.

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