I ask the original poster–do YOU believe in transubstantiation? Do you believe that what you receive is the actual Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ?
I believe most prostestants do NOT believe such. Therefore, I wonder why you ask if you think our “brother and sister” protestants have received communion “in vain” in their churches? If protestants do NOT believe in transubstantiation, then their communion is what they believe it to be–a symbolic action–and thus it perfectly satisfies them.
Catholics DO believe in transubstantiation (at least most of us do), and therefore OUR communion satisfies US. But we would not expect it to satisfy Protestants any more than we would expect a protestant communion to satisfy a Catholic, because quite frankly the communions are NOT THE SAME.
Do I wish Protestants and Catholics were in union? Certainly I do. Do I believe transubstantiation is correct? Certainly I do. Do I think the Protestant communion lacks the fullness of Catholic communion? Certainly I do–but do I think then that Protestants are being “cheated” of communion? Certainly I do NOT. They are receiving the communion they have chosen–a symbolic gesture of unity with the God we BOTH worship. Catholics receive the communion THEY have chosen–Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. We cannot BOTH be correct, either a thing IS or it is NOT. For 1500 years Christians ALL believed in the Real Presence; for 500 years there has been disunity, but not a Protestant alive today is part of that ORIGINAL disunity, and all sincerely believe their doctrines.
Therefore, I cannot say that a Protestant “receives in vain” according to his or her beliefs, but I CAN say it according to my Catholic belief, JUST AS that Protestant can say that my CATHOLIC reception is not in accordance with his PROTESTANT belief. IOW, we can agree to disagree, so to speak, in that we can both respect each others’ beliefs, while sincerely holding to the superiority of our own belief. Thus, this Catholic does not presume to judge any individual Protestant’s faith relationship, but only to make a statement relating from a CATHOLIC perspective. From a Catholic perspective, the unfortunate reality is that of many fine Christian protestants not believing in the Real Presence and through little if any fault of their own being denied, by the nature of their identity as protestants, the fullness of communion as understood by Catholics. I cannot speak as a Protestant, but I would imagine that from the Protestant perspective, Catholics are somehow “deluded” into believing that communion is something other than symbolic, and that their stubborn refusal to have become protestants has caused them to appear haughty, arrogant, and to “deny” the eucharist to other Christians. If, of course, communion were ONLY a symbol, “denying” this symbol to any Christian would be wrong. But IF communion is INDEED the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and if people try to TAKE that Body and Blood but don’t acknowledge what He IS, or RESPECT His own words and instructions, THAT would be wrong.
Finally, is it not incumbent on us to respect others? Surely if you were going to the house of another person, you “respect” his rules, do you not? And if you have a particular need, don’t you expect others to respect that need?
If your child has a peanut allergy, do you allow others to give your child peanuts? After all, those peanuts ordinarily are harmless to people.
The Eucharist is, if you will, not only harmless but beneficial to those who are prepared and disposed for it. . .just as those peanuts are to those without a peanut allergy. But it is NOT harmless to those who do not understand or do not prepare for it. Taking the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily (and that means without proper understanding, even if done with the best of intentions of “unity” and "love), is wrong, just as giving a child with a peanut allergy a peanut butter sandwich is wrong, even though normally a peanut butter sandwich is a GOOD THING.
And yes, unless there is a Mass with a priest (not necessarily just RC, there are plenty of authentic Eastern Catholics in communion with Rome, as well as our Orthodox brethren), then transubstantiation does NOT occur. Again, I wish the OP would tell me just what he thinks transubstantiation IS, so I’d know we were both talking about communion and understanding the differences. God bless.