Under what circumstances could an Anglican receive the Catholic Eucharist?

My wife is Roman Catholic, I am Anglican and we live in an area that is dominated by Roman Catholic parishes. The only Anglican parish available has a female priest and anyway it is an hour’s drive away.

What could an Anglican like myself, who accepts the Real Presence, need to do to be able to receive the Eucharist, if anything, apart from becoming Roman Catholic?

I have read on here that a bishop can authorize a non-Catholic to receive the Eucharist and sometimes do. I believe this comes from Canon 844:

Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.

§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.

(emphasis added)

I’m not sure what qualifies as “grave necessity”. Either way, your starting point should be with the pastor at the Catholic church you attend.

From This Rock magazine:

Anglo-Catholics may consider themselves Catholics, but the Catholic Church does not. This isn’t a matter of snobbery; it is simply a matter of the Catholic Church remaining consistent with what it has taught and believed for over 2,000 years.

In the Anglican communion, it remains legitimate to believe that the sacrament is merely a symbol of Christ’s body and blood. Further, if one has not received valid orders, he cannot confect a valid consecration, and thus there is no Eucharist. Because of this and other theological differences in the way we understand the Eucharist, the Catholic Church has not normally allowed intercommunion with Anglicans. The Eucharist cannot honestly signify unity until that unity exists.

I think the only way you can receive communion in the Church is convert or be in imminent danger of death. If you believe all the church teaches (that is what you say by accepting our communion), then you should be a member of the Church. If there is some difficulty with becoming a member, there must be something you disagree with. Pray. Maybe God is putting the Church in front of you to open your eyes?

Real Presence is an Anglican term. The proper term for the Church’s belief is Transubstantiation. But I know what you mean, I just don’t know if you believe what the Church teaches.

I’ll pray for you.

Some further thoughts (in no particular order):
*]Even someone who becomes Roman Catholic as an infant cannot receive the Eucharist before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Why would it be proper for an Anglican to do so (unless in danger of death and physically unable to make a sacramental confession)?
*]The fact that Anglicans would ordain women to be “priests” is all the more reason to become Catholic.
*]Is there something in particular about the Catholic Church that prevents you from wanting to be received into the Church that Christ founded?
*]Believing in the Real Presence (a term we actually do use, in addition to Transubstantiation) is not sufficient. Receiving Communion, in addition to receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood, is a statement that you are in full communion with the Catholic Church, that you believe all She teaches, that you are subject to all Her laws, etc. If this is the case for you, then you need to become Catholic.
*]Analogy: Even if a person believes in the American way of government, he or she cannot vote in an American election until he or she becomes an American citizen. We see nothing unfair with that; why would it be unfair to require someone to be part of the Church Christ established before receiving Communion?
*]While waiting to decide whether you want to take the important step of becoming Catholic, you can make what we call a “spiritual communion” instead of receiving sacramental Communion. To do this, just tell Jesus that you believe in His presence in the Eucharist, and tell Him how much you desire to receive Him. You will receive graces from this spiritual communion while you await reception into the Catholic Church. You can use one of several formal prayers of Spiritual Communion, such as the following, or use your own words:

Act of Spiritual Communion
(Saint Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori)

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul.
Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself to You;
permit not that I should ever be separated from You.

If I accepted all Roman Catholic beliefs, I would become Roman Catholic. I am not timid.

I understand from the first poster that Eastern Christians may receive the Eucharist if properly disposed, in spite of those churches not accepting transubstantiation, the infallibility of the pope and papal supremacy, the immaculate conception and purgatory. I would seems that absolute acceptance of all dogma and doctrines of the RC Church is not required.

I accept that Christ is present in the Eucharist, that is more than a symbol and prefer not to define this Mystery.

I really don’t want to debate my differences with the RC church. I think you have answered my question.

I shall speak to the local priest and ask for his advice and, if appropiate, the approval of the local bishop. If confession were required beforehand, I would certainly not object.

Quite right. What I wanted to say is that both Catholic and Anglican use the term Real Presence but the meaning varies. Whereas I do not believe the official language of the Anglican communion uses the term transubstantiation (although some Anglicans do).

By Eastern Christians I think you mean the Orthodox Churches. [There are also Eastern Churches which use the same Rites as the Orthodox but are in union with Rome.] They accept the Real Presence as does the Roman Church. The disagreement over the term transubstantiation is a is a matter of how it is explained rather than of the basic truth.

First, one of two conditions have to be met: either danger of death or some grave necessity (which is usually defined as a time of war, persecution, famine, or natural disaster).

The next condition is that it is completely impossible for the non-Catholic party to approach a minister of his own faith. If there is an Anglican clergy available, then it would never be possible for a Catholic priest to administer Communion, no matter what the other circumstances might be.

Finally, the non-Catholic person must express complete belief in the Church’s doctrine of the Eucharist, including the necessity of a validly ordained priesthood. In other words, an Anglican who believes that an Anglican minister can consecrate the Eucharist does not believe in the necessity of a validly ordained priesthood, and so would not be able to receive Communion from a Catholic priest/deacon.

This last point is the one which is all too often overlooked.
The late Pope John Paul II clarified this in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia
46. 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”.

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

On your last point, I understand from numerous debates on CA that the validity of Anglican orders, her apostolic succession, and the validity of Anglican sacraments, properly administered, are perhaps not as clearly established, from a Roman Catholic point of view, as you indicate.

I shall in any case ask the local priest.

You are free to do so. However, be sure that you are seeking God’s truth, and not just looking for someone who will give you the answer you want to hear. You have already heard the truth from several people in this thread, including a Catholic priest citing relevant Church teaching.

You must be Catholic to receive the Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation.

May Christ’s peace be with you.

And that’s problematic because it is very clearly established. In fact, it is an infallible doctrine of the Church.

As Cardinal, the Pope wrote the following:
With regard to those truths connected to revelation by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed, the following examples can be given: the legitimacy of the election of the Supreme Pontiff or of the celebration of an ecumenical council, the canonizations of saints (dogmatic facts), the declaration of Pope Leo XIII in the apostolic letter *Apostolicae Curae *on the invalidity of Anglican ordinations…

I think we should all back away from the use of this forum as an official statement that should govern a person’s decision making. Anonymous individuals with unknown credentials, backgrounds, and agendas are providing comments. I think it’s always better to ask a known competent authority, such as a pastor, in a full disclosure setting (e.g. face to face). Things on this forum should be just viewed as advice.

Fr. David is a pretty competent authority, as he is a priest. Furthermore, this is not an issue that the average parish priest can rule on since he does not have the competency. As Fr. David noted, this matter would need to be taken up to the bishop, since he has the comptency to handle this particular matter.

The documents that Fr. David and others have used as a source are authoritative, since they were promulgated by the Holy See. They should not be challenged, as such, but followed.

The Anglican ecclesial community does not have valid holy orders, as defined by Pope Leo XIII. Pope Benedict, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, noted, in Dominus Iesus, that these ecclesial communities are not churches in the true sense of the word as the Church defines them. Even the Sister Churches (Orthodox) do have some deficiencies in them. However, we can partake of each other’s Holy Communion because their holy orders are valid.

I’m sure Fr. David is very well versed in this matter, however, I doubt he knows the OP’s entire situation: maybe there’s something that’s missing or some specific to his case, maybe he just needs some “non-technical” advice (i.e. counseling), etc.

Either way, just as Fr. David is well versed because he is a priest, I’m sure the pastor at the OP’s parish is also well versed. And even if he is not the person to make the determination, he is probably the best person to contact to get to the correct person (the bishop, or otherwise).

My comment was meant in general. Unless someone asks a question with a very obvious answer that is clearly addressed by a Church document, I think an anonymous online message board is more the place for advice and direction than for concrete answers. The exception is maybe the Apologist section.

What I think should be avoided is when a user posts, gives half the story (either on purpose or because the truth is too complicated), users give an opinion (presumably in good faith), the person acts on that opinion, and the opinion was wrong.

It is “clearly addressed by a Church document.” Canon 844.2 was already posted here in #2.

That canon clearly states that 4 conditions must first be met.

  1. Danger of death or “grave necessity.” Grave necessity is the highest standard to be met in canon law. Not simply necessity, but “grave necessity.” In canon law, that is generally interpreted to mean situations of war, persecution, or natural disaster (famine usually comes under the heading of natural disaster, but some famines are manmade). Even though those 3 situations are not specifically defined in the canons, that is the accepted interpretation. In any case, the situation would have to be at least something similar to war, persecution, or natural disaster. That’s a very high standard to be met.

  2. The non-Catholic cannot approach a minister of his own community. According to the OP, this condition has not been met, as an Episcopalean minister is indeed available.

  3. I missed this one in my first post, but the non-Catholic must approach the Catholic priest and make the request (ie the Catholic cannot invite).

  4. The non-Catholic must express belief in all the Eucharistic doctrine of the Church. The late Pope John Paul II explained this in his own words in *Ecclesia de Eucharistia *and I have quoted them in my own post. Belief not only in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and belief that the bread no longer exists, but only the Body is not even sufficient here. The Pope reminds us that belief in the necessity of a validly ordained priest to consecrate the Eucharist is a part of that belief. In fact, he even went so far as to say that no authority in the Church can dispense from the requirement to hold this belief. No authority in the Church can dispense from these requirements defined by canon 844. Not my words, but those of JPII.

It is not at all my intention to interfere in someone speaking to a local Catholic priest about this matter; by no means. However, the question was asked, and I provided the answer that is provided by the Church Herself (to further explain c. 844 which had already been posted).

However, if Fr. David has already posted the pertinent sections from Canon Law, who are we to question what is in this particular document? It is not the purview of the parish priest to take it upon himself to allow a non-Catholic to receive Holy Communion. That, as Canon Law outlines, is a decision reserved to the bishop.

Based on what the OP has written, he does not necessarily qualify for this privilege. He has the option of going to his own ecclesial community, but, he does not agree with their practice to ordain women (at least that is how I read what he wrote). This, alone, is not sufficient grounds for him to be granted this opportunity.

With all due respect, the OP seems to want to have his cake and eat it, too. Receiving Holy Communion means that a person believes in everything that the Church teaches as revealed by God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. This is part and parcel of the act of Faith we make when we unite ourselves to Christ through this august Sacrament.

Simply disagreeing with what one’s ecclesial community is doing is not sufficient grounds for a Protestant to receive Holy Communion. Even those who are in the process of seeking full communion with the Church do not take it upon themselves to receive Our Lord until after they have stated their Profession of Faith and have been confirmed in the Church.

And if being a priest is all that matters to giving good advice, than the priest in question should be able to give just the same answer as Fr David.

And at least there will be the opportunity for them to have a real conversation about the OPs whole situation. Often one sees advice on these boards that the parish priest is the first go-to guy on such issues, and that he should be heeded - sometimes even when he is giving bad advice as far as some are concerned.

Additionally - why should the OP take Fr David, who he doesn’t know, as seriously as someone he can meet? Of course it is totally unlikely, and my apologies to Fr David - but he could be anyone - maybe a strange Mormon out to surreptitiously give bad advice on Catholic boards??:eek:

And finally, he may be suspicious because of the statement that Anglicans do not believe in the need for valid orders - of course they do! The difference lies in whether they agree with the position that Anglican orders are invalid. And FWIW, the reason the CC thinks Anglican orders are invalid has nothing to do with transubstantiation. It really just doesn’t.

First of all, an invalid holy orders means that whatever “sacrament” the minister confects is not valid. The only valid sacrament (because just about anyone can do this) is Baptism so long as water and the correct Trinitarian formula are used.

Fr. David is quoting from Canon Law. We do not have an open communion as the Protestant ecclesial communities have. In order for a bishop to grant a dispensation, certain stipulations have to be met. The OP did not present justifiable circumstances, only that he does not agree with having a female minister. That, in and of itself, is not a gravely sufficient cause to warrant receiving Holy Communion. Furthermore, the priest cannot grant that dispensation, only a bishop can and only if the conditions listed in Canon Law are met.

I’m not questioning the answer given by Fr. David. Note that I was the one that posted the canon in question.

My comments are meant in general. As Bluegoat mentioned, meeting with someone in person is much more rich than reading a response on a website. The in-person meeting inherently has more interaction, which leads to a more thorough examination of a topic. Maybe the OP sits down with a priest, goes through the situation, the priest realizes that there is a lapse in the OP’s understanding of Catholicism, and is able to educate the OP, for example.

In any case, I can’t see the harm in advising someone to go to meeting with a pastor. I’m sure the pastor will give him the same, correct, answer but can possibly provide more information (maybe some personal advice about his situation). Also, during the in-person meeting, the pastor can see if the OP actually understands and appreciates the position of the Church.

I’ll give you a case that I’ve personally run into with this website: a Catholic and a non-Catholic were planning marriage. The non-Catholic googled something and ended up on this site. She asked “can we have our wedding in a non-Catholic church?”. The well-meaning response was given “Yes, provided that you have a the appropriate paperwork.” The non-Catholic then went and booked a protestant chapel with the intention of stopping by the local Catholic parish a week before the wedding to “fill out the form”.

What would have happened if she met with a priest? He would have probably given her a similar answer, then showed her the forms and paperwork required for the dispensation. Then he could have asked about her situation and based on that given her an opinion about whether dispensations were granted in the past for a similar case. Regardless, she wouldn’t have assumed that the dispensation was just some trivial paperwork

But, the pastor does not have the right to make that decision. That is under the purview of the bishop and thus, the individual would have to be referred to the Chancery.

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