On Non-Catholics Receiving Communion

In the third video presentation in my series, Sacraments: Channels of God’s Grace, on the Eucharist, I addressed the question of “Who Can Receive the Eucharist” in slides 36-38.

I began with the general question speaking about the need to be baptized in the Catholic Church and what it means to be in communion in what we believe.

Then, I addressed the need to be in a “state of grace” and venial vs. mortal sin.

Today, I want to add a little more on the question of non-Catholics receiving Communion in a Catholic Church.

To do so, I must reiterate that our Catholic understanding of who can receive Communion is based on our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is not just bread and wine we receive. The bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus through what is offered in the Eucharistic Prayer.

Our belief in the Real Presence is not based on human thought. It comes from Jesus’ own words at the Last Supper.

as well as Jesus’ Words, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (John 6:53).

Because it is Jesus, we must think about our worthiness. This is why we need to be in a state of grace (see slides above).

So, what is it that I would like to add to what I said in my presentation on the Eucharist regarding non-Catholics receiving Communion?

Recently, as I was reflecting on another topic, I was reading Exodus 12, when I came to Exodus 12:43, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the Passover statute. No foreigner may eat of it.” The Passover was to the Israelites what the Eucharist is to Catholics. It is essential to our identity. This verse from Exodus 12:43 tells us that the Lord himself prescribed that no “foreigner” could share in the Passover Lamb. I see this as laying a foundation for our Catholic teaching against non-Catholics receiving Communion.

This does not mean that a foreigner could never become an Israelite. Exodus 12:48 says, “If any alien residing among you would celebrate the Passover for the Lord, all his males must be circumcised, and then he may join in its celebration just like the natives. But no one who is uncircumcised may eat of it. ” What is essential to understand here is that circumcision should not be understood only as a physical act. In this case, it is seen as a mark of conversion, the alien becoming an Israelite. Then, they can eat of the Passover.

If a non-Catholic believes what our Catholic faith teaches, including the Real Presence of Jesus, then one is free to become Catholic and receive the Eucharist.

I don’t know if this, together with what I offered in my presentation on the Eucharist, answers all questions about non-Catholics receiving Communion but I hope it helps you understand this is not simply human teaching. Rather, it comes from God.


Fr. Jeff

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