Why can't I take communion at a Catholic service?

I’m part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I went to a Lutheran school for 5 years. I then switched to a Catholic school. I’ve been going to Catholic schools for about 5 years now. I’ve gone through the Confirmation teachings of both churches (I was only confirmed in the Lutheran church though). I’ve been told that I can’t take communion at Catholic services because Lutherans don’t believe the same thing about communion as Catholics do. But everything I’ve heard indicates we have the same beliefs about communion, and a great percentage of other issues. I don’t get why Lutherans aren’t allowed to take communion at Catholic churches and vise versa. Could someone please explain this to me?

 I'm sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I haven't been able to find it.  If it has, could you please direct me there?

[quote=Arwen037]I’m sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it. If it has, could you please direct me there?
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Check out forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1925

Do you believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist? That is body, blood, soul and divinity?

God Bless…

Yes I do.

[quote=Arwen037]I’m part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I went to a Lutheran school for 5 years. I then switched to a Catholic school. I’ve been going to Catholic schools for about 5 years now. I’ve gone through the Confirmation teachings of both churches (I was only confirmed in the Lutheran church though). I’ve been told that I can’t take communion at Catholic services because Lutherans don’t believe the same thing about communion as Catholics do. But everything I’ve heard indicates we have the same beliefs about communion, and a great percentage of other issues. I don’t get why Lutherans aren’t allowed to take communion at Catholic churches and vise versa. Could someone please explain this to me?

 I'm sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I haven't been able to find it.  If it has, could you please direct me there?

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The blunt answer is that only cathlolics in full communioncan recieve the Blessed Sacrament in a Catholic church. Orthodox parishners can recieve in some special circumstances. For more detailed thing, go to the link previously posted.

The short-short anwer: You cannot have communion in a catholic church because you are not catholic.

Arwen,

The Lutheran understanding is NOT the same as the Catholic understanding. Some (not all) Lutherans believe in “consubstantiation”, which is not the same understanding as “transubstantiation”, the Catholic belief.

Regardless, talking part in the Eucharist is also a statement of communion. Do you accept all that the Catholic Church professes? When you receive communion, that is what you are saying. Since I doubt that you do agree, and therefore act accordingly, why would you want to lie? If taking part in a Jewish ritual signified complete acceptance of Judaism, would you insist on taking part in that rite?

When You go up for communion in a catholic church. THe priest says “The Body of Christ”, and you say “Amen”. You are not only saying that you believe in the real presence, but its deeper. You are saying you believe in what the catholic church teaches as a whole. It’s a Communion. Its saying you are in communion with the church. Sadly our seperated brethren do not believe alot of what the catholic church teaches, so they would be wrong for them to recieve communion on a catholic church just as it would be wrong for me to recieve communion in a lutheran church.

But there are other christian denominations that have been accepted at Christ’s table. How are they so much differant?

Thank you for your good points though. I am glad that some people will actually say something other than “You don’t believe that it is the True Presence of Christ” or “You don’t believe it’s the body & blood of Christ”. Usually that is all I ever hear. And it is also untrue.

There are special extreme circumstances that people outside of the Catholic faith can receive the Eucharist, but those circumstances are not a continual grant until they would become Catholic, than they would recieve again.

The body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus is so super special that no one ever will “get it” fully and completely, and the Church magisterium, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, knows this. I’m not saying that you do not get that the Eucharist is super special, but like other posts have said, it is communion and that communion is with the whole Catholic Church and beliefs. If you do not believe than you should not recieve, and if you do believe, than why not get confirmed and than there would be no issue?

God bless and peace be with you!

Arwen (am I correct in assuming that you are, like me, a LOTR fan?),

You wrote: “But there are other christian denominations that have been accepted at Christ’s table. How are they so much differant?”

ASaintoneday’s answer was correct. I would just add, in answer to your question, “how are they so much different”, that most Protestant denominations do NOT believe in the Real Presence, whether Lutheran consubstantiation or the Catholic transubstantiation. Nor do they see it as Catholics do—as an expression of unity and communion. I have had an Evangelical tell me that he felt offended that he was “excluded” from our Communion, but when I explained it as a kind of “amen” to the Catholic Church and its teachings, he seemed to soften. If an Evangelical or Lutheran service that I attended (such as a friend’s wedding) included some ritual that meant “I believe everything that Evangelicals/Lutherans believe in”, I would not participate. Why would I be dishonest? Why would I want to dishonor their ritual out of some misplaced sense of my “rights”? I wouldn’t feel slighted.

I would like to thank you all for pointing out the accepting all the beliefs part. It’s just that I spent about 5 years getting told that I couldn’t take communion at a Catholic church because I didn’t believe in the True Presence of Christ. And to be told that’s the reason why, when you do believe it, kinda seems like you’re being excluded for no reason.

Arwen,

The Evangelical that I mentioned in my last post had gone to a Catholic college for some years and had never received a very good answer from his Catholic friends as to why he couldn’t take communion—very similar situation to yours—and was thus needlessly offended. I’m afraid it just shows that Catholics need to be better educated about their own faith. The teaching has been generally lousy for the last 30-40 years, though there has been a re-birth of apologetics (as this forum demonstrates). If you have other questions, feel free to ask!

[quote=Arwen037]I would like to thank you all for pointing out the accepting all the beliefs part. It’s just that I spent about 5 years getting told that I couldn’t take communion at a Catholic church because I didn’t believe in the True Presence of Christ. And to be told that’s the reason why, when you do believe it, kinda seems like you’re being excluded for no reason.
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Well, if you DO believe in the transubtantiation of the Body and Blood of Our Lord (not the con-substantiation that Lutherans hold), then you are a Catholic by heart, brother! (sister?) What’s the hold? Knock at the door and be received in the embrace of Mother Church! Then we could together partake, in communion, the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist of Our Lord. :thumbsup:

Why would you want to partake of holy communion in a Catholic Church? Your forbears and ours in religion persectued and reviled each other in defense of the very theological differences you say are non-existent or irrelevant. People died at the stake for denying or defending the priesthood, and the authority from which it derives, without which there can be no Eucharist.

What you personally believe about the nature of the Eucharist is beside the point. You cannot receive communion in the Catholic Church because you are not in communion with the Catholic Church. Although, I imagine from what you say you are very close to accepting most or all of what the Church teaches, you have not yet taken the final step to apply for and be admitted to that communion, so sadly as yet you cannot physically participate in the body, blood soul and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist.

What you can do, however, is partake in spiritual communion, enjoying the graces and blessings Christ endows His Church with through His gift of Himself in the Eucharist, by being present in prayer with us during Mass, and expressing to Him your desire of sharing in His presence. This blessing is open to all who assist at Mass who cannot physically receive communion for whatever reason.

Another reason is because you probably have not been to confession. Before I received my first Holy Communion I had to go because I had mortal and venial sins on my soul and one cannot take communion if he or she is not in a state of grace.

[quote=Arwen037]I’m part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I went to a Lutheran school for 5 years. I then switched to a Catholic school. I’ve been going to Catholic schools for about 5 years now. I’ve gone through the Confirmation teachings of both churches (I was only confirmed in the Lutheran church though). I’ve been told that I can’t take communion at Catholic services because Lutherans don’t believe the same thing about communion as Catholics do. But everything I’ve heard indicates we have the same beliefs about communion, and a great percentage of other issues. I don’t get why Lutherans aren’t allowed to take communion at Catholic churches and vise versa. Could someone please explain this to me?

I’m sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it. If it has, could you please direct me there?
[/quote]

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a “service” that can in any way be equated to anything that takes place within Protestantism.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Jesus to God His Father. In brief, it’s heaven on earth.

To truly understand the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would make you understand why you are not allowed to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church in your current state.

Come Home to His Church, the Catholic Church and you can receive the His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity on a DAILY basis…

[quote=Arwen037]But there are other christian denominations that have been accepted at Christ’s table. How are they so much differant?
[/quote]

Arwen, what is Christ’s Table. You must have a Protestant understanding of what transubstantiation, the Presence, what the Host is and what the Catechism of the Catholic Church dogmatically states about Communion. Get a Catechism and start reading with paragraph 1113.

If you are not a Catholic you cannot validlly partake of a Catholic Communion! Catholic teaching is not dependant on teachings of any other Church! What Lutherans do is independant of what Catholics do.

[quote=Arwen037]I don’t get why Lutherans aren’t allowed to take communion at Catholic churches and vise versa. Could someone please explain this to me?

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Arwen,

Others have done a good job answering your question, I just want you to know that I relate to your situation in a big way. I’m a cradle Catholic who spent my entire adult life as a member of an ELCA church until “re-verting” with my convert wife this past Easter. The toughest issue for me in reconciling with the Church wasn’t justification or papal infallibility or purgatory or Mary, it was closed communion. Looking from the outside in, it appears to be the height of arrogance for Catholics to not welcome anyone and everyone to this wonderful gift. I felt that as a Lutheran I had as good or better understanding and appreciation of Real Presence than many Catholics who wandered throught the communion lines seemingly oblivious to the whole idea of the Mass. It hurts!

But you also have to appreciate how much it hurts Catholics, and more importantly our Lord, to see His church divided the way it is. We want you at the the Lord’s Supper every bit as much if not more than you want to be there, but to pretend that division doesn’t exist, or doesn’t matter only serves to perpetuate it.

I went to Mass for six months while my wife was in RCIA and went up with my arms crossed for a blessing until we could receive together at Easter Vigil. I was amazed at the grace I received through this “spiritual communion” and the deeper appreciation I gained for the true, body-blood-soul & divinity presence of Christ in this incredible sacrament. You too can avail yourself of this grace.

Please know how much we desire and pray for you to join us and God bless you in your journey of faith!

Steve

Episcopal Alternative?

I am a non practicing Roman Catholic who, according to the Roman Church, has not been in the State of Grace for over twenty years due to divorce and re-marriage. I have, from time to time, attended Mass refraining from receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion. In the earlier years I did receive after convincing myself it was ok. In later years, and presently, I do not physically receive in the Roman Catholic Church, however, I do from time to time receive in spirit only. More recently I have received in the Episcopal Church since I have learned I am welcomed to do so and not prohibited by cannon.

My wife is an active Congregationalist. I have attended services with her on many occasions but have never felt quite right about it. I do receive Communion when attending services at the Congregational Church. When I do receive I pray to Jesus for his understanding that I am participating in a community ceremony in remembrance of Him and I do not consider the bread and wine His body and blood. I do, however, believe in the True Presence in the Roman Catholic Mass and the Episcopal Eucharist.

My wife and I want to attend a church together as active and faithful members. It is important for both of us for many reasons. The most important reason for me is to fully practice my faith and to receive the sacrament of Communion leading to a State Of Grace in good conscience and on a regular basis. The service or mass is always a very emotional experience for me; especially when I feel the absence of Christ when the faithful are receiving.

I have only recently learned and now I truly believe that in the Episcopal Church the actual presence of the Body and Blood of Christ is in the Host. I was taught otherwise, thus I was under a different impression. My sister and her husband (who is becoming a Roman Catholic Deacon) has assured me of this fact. The good news is obvious. I can fully practice my faith in the Episcopal Church! The Nicene Creed recited in the Episcopal Eucharist further confirms my faith and gives me the “go ahead” to become an Episcopalian. I can actually feel the tug. This is the best news I have received in years.

Guidance? ……

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