Who can deny 1st communion?

Who is in charge of telling a parent whether or not their child can receive first communion? If, say, a DRE or principal thought the family “wasn’t Catholic enough” could they not allow the child to receive 1st communion or is that up to the priest or bishop?

The pastor and the pastor alone. And ultimately the bishop if there is some doubt as to whether the child’s canon law rights are being violated.

No. The DRE or Catholic school principal have no authority over the sacraments. When delegated by the pastor to conduct the preparation and assess the readiness of the child, the DRE or principal might certainly have input for the pastor.

Correct. However, we must keep in mind that the faithful who are properly disposed and prepared for the sacraments should not be denied the sacraments. Whether or not a child should receive FHC should be based upon whether or not that child is ready, not based on perceptions or opinions about the parents.

The child, as a baptized Catholic, has a duty and a right to receive the sacraments at the appropriate time. We should not overly burden the child, the requirements for being sufficiently catechized and properly disposed are not that high of a bar.

Can.* 843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

§2. Pastors of souls and other members of the Christian faithful, according to their respective ecclesiastical function, have the duty to take care that those who seek the sacraments are prepared to receive them by proper evangelization and catechetical instruction, attentive to the norms issued by competent authority.

Can.* 912 Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.

Can.* 913 §1. The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.

§2. The Most Holy Eucharist, however, can be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion reverently.

Can.* 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.

Did someone say they were not Catholic enough? I feel as though there must be more to the story…The only time my pastor has said “no” was when the parents were not practicing their faith (attending Mass) and the child never attended any classes in preparation.

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