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What is the rule is for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist?


Full Question

At a recent Mass, the priest invited all Christians to come forward to receive Communion. That didn’t seem right to me. What is the rule is for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist?

Answer

The Code of Canon Law allows for some non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist:

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. (CIC 844 §3)

Other non-Catholic Christians may receive the Eucharist only under specific circumstances:

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. (CIC 844 §4)










18 comments

  1. Noel David Reply

    There is too much of rigidity and bias with our (Church’s) laws…. Jesus Christ came into this world to save SINNERS not just Catholics or Christians…. He shed is PRECIOUS BLOOD for ALL SINNERS…. Therefore to deny the Eucharist to non-Catholics who attend Mass seems very unfair to me and it also portrays God’s Love FOR ALL HUMANKIND in very poor taste….(It sends a wrong message to non-Catholics and others that this Loving God of ours is biased and does not really accept ALL humans who come to HIM…. Our lives are unpredictable – today we are here and tomorrow we are gone…. So, if a non-Catholic or other is to go through the instructions – which goes on for months and years and gets baptised etc. etc. to be made worthy to reciver the Body of Christ – he/she could be one of those thousands who die everyday…. The Church Leaders do not know who will die the next moment or the next day, therefore they should not stick to this rule of BECOME WORTHY and then receive the Bread of Life… The thief or murderer who was crucified alongwith the Lord did not have to go through LENGTHY INSTRUCTIONS or make ACTS OF CONTRITIONS to enter Paradise…. He was promised Paradise the VERY DAY…. Therefore ALL those who come with SOME FAITH in our midst/home/churchl should not be sent away without participating in the banquet/Meal/Eucharist…. To invite people into our midst and prevent them from participating of the MEAL – is never a proper thing and shows us as very selfish and mean hosts…) ALL those who come into our home (Church for the MASS = the Eucharistic Meal) need to be welcomed and allowed to participate in the banquet (the Meal)…. So that ALL of them are strengthened with the Bread of Life and feel/experience the Love of God…. and they will be inspired to live a loving, just and merciful life… (Like the Lord said: WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING…..)…. Therefore it is very important that ALL PEOPLE receive the Lord into their hearts…..

    1. Patricia Ising Reply

      I agree

    2. Eric H Reply

      Then you misunderstand the purpose of communion and demonstrate a Protestant view towards the sacred host. Before receiving communion one must first cleanse themself of all sin (through reconciliation) and prepare themself spiritually to receive the host of hosts. To approach the Eucharist with such a nonchalant attitude denigrates and demands the value of the sacrament. This is why non Catholics cannot receive without first developing a proper understanding, confessing their sins and coming into full communion with the church. Many Catholics misunderstand this aspect of the church. Ask yourself this when defending the idea of communion for all. If Christ meant for everyone to take it without a proper understanding, then why did he have the last super with only his disciples. If everyone was welcome with out first understanding, why not invite the whole village?

      1. Ron Reply

        You are correct, Eric.

    3. Simon Reply

      Read 1 Cor 12:24-30

    4. Charles michael (@junkangelo) Reply

      nice reply sir but am afraid your write up is very well laced with ignorance. every one can attend the holy mass but not everyone should and can receive Jesus in the bl. sacrament due to a lot of reasons outlined by the catholic church…………………………………..remember Peter ate the bread given to him by Jesus at table and proclaimed to follow him even till death, Judas ate the very same morsel and proclaimed to have him sold unto death.

  2. LBR Reply

    Perhaps those wishing to receive in the Catholic Church attending Mass wanting to partake who belive should come to the table with an offer to join and be in full communion. I know when I visit a Lutheran or Methodist church and they have communion going on I don’ tpartake as a Roman Catholic. I’m also aware that their is no real presence in what they have to offer and thus why I am a active member of the Roman Catholic Church. Sounds like a no brainer to me…..Piss or get off the pot as the old saying goes.

  3. Anthony Natale Venturella Reply

    My Jesus,
    I believe that You
    are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
    I love You above all things,
    and I desire to receive You into my soul.
    Since I cannot at this moment
    receive You sacramentally,
    come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
    Amen.

  4. Anthony Natale Venturella Reply

    All believers can recite the above prayer during Holy Communion. Because of the sanctity of the sacrament one should not receive unless in a full state of grace. Going up to receive communion is no different than standing before Jesus himself. Because of the pure nature of Jesus one should not approach unless pure themselves. If one can accept this fact we welcome them into the true Holy Apolostic Church.

    1. Patricia Ising Reply

      What would Jesus do? I highly doubt that He would turn anyone away, especially a sinner.

  5. Molly Lewellen Reply

    What if I have gone thru the RCIA classes, and been baptized, my children are both baptized, but my husband is not and they want us to go through a formal annulment. Can my children and I take communion?

    1. Kathy Reply

      unless they made their first reconciliation and communion. If not, they have to wait.

  6. Liz Reply

    I agree with Anthony. Also, it is stated very clear in the bible 1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. I would be very careful, be obedient and will not play with the sacraments.

  7. marlene c ferrell Reply

    I feel guilty because I do not drink the wine. It repulses me to drink behind so many. I know the rim is cleansed but there is always backwash I know others who feel the same..

    1. Luke Reply

      That’s alright. since Christ is fully present in both species. I often skip the cup if I’m towards the end, though in our diocese there’s only a couple times a year that it’s available.

  8. Kathy Reply

    @ David, if one has not received their sacraments, especially Communion, then they shouldn’t receive Holy Communion. What good does it do a person who has no clue what the Eucharist means. Its a sacred sacrament. Those who do not understand shouldn’t receive it because it is meaningless to them. Non-Catholics (Christians)shouldn’t receive this sacrament plain and simple.

  9. sydneyguyChris Reply

    There is one simple rule and I am shocked that one has to ask. For Catholics at Communion we receive the Body and Blood of Christ under the form of Bread and Wine. Through the eyes of the Faith we appreciate that the form is essentially bread and wine and through transubstantiation the essence has undergone change. This miracle happens at each and every Mass for the Mass is not just a representation of the Last Supper; it re-presents the Las t Supper with nothing added or changed.

  10. DL. Reply

    When we confess our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness and accept Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior then we are cleansed and made worthy to take communion and that is all that the LORD requires, because Jesus died once for all mankind and and paid the sacrifice for each one of us, so all we have to do is just believe in his Death,Burial and Resurrection, it does not take months of training to be ready,just make sure you have your sins forgiven then you are ready.

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