Skip to comments.Can a Catholic receive communion in a Protestant church?
Posted on 10/18/2011 2:09:05 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Should you pass on communion at a Lutheran church or participate fully?
You are at the wedding of a beloved family member or friend, which is taking place at a Lutheran church. You gladly accepted the invitation to celebrate this happy day with the bride and groom. But then there is a call to come to the table of the Lords Supper, to receive communion. This is the awkward moment you knew was coming. Can you, and should you, a practicing Catholic, accept the invitation?
According to the Code of Canon Law, receiving communion in a Protestant church is generally not permissible. According to canon 844, Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments to Catholic members of the Christian faithful only and, likewise, the latter may licitly receive the sacraments only from Catholic ministers. The key term here is licit. If a Catholic receives communion from a Protestant minister, it is generally considered illicit or unlawful.
The reason for the Catholic Churchs general rule against sharing in the Eucharist with other churches is that a person can only be in full communion with one church. As a Catholic, the core of ones union with Christ is union with the church. The center of this union lies in the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist during Mass, which is both a confession and embodiment of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.
But canon 844 includes an exception to the rule whenever necessity requires or general spiritual advantage suggests, and provided that the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided.
The Second Vatican Councils Decree on Ecumenism said that, as a general rule, common worship and eucharistic and other sacramental sharing should signify the unity of the church. But it acknowledges that such sharing can also be seen as advancing unity. In fact, according to the decree, the gaining of a needed grace sometimes commends it.
Still, within the confines of canon law, the exceptions to the rule are rather limited, and receiving communion from a Lutheran pastor during a wedding would normally be seen as illicit for Catholic wedding guests. At the same time, some Catholics would like to, and do, receive communion on these rare occasions.
These Catholics, after a careful examination of their conscience, find compelling reasons to gain a needed grace by receiving communion in a Protestant church. And it is also true that eucharistic sharing has occurred at the highest levels of the church. Even Jesus occasionally broke the religious law of his day, though he did so to fulfill the spirit of the law.
So it is possible that one could follow Jesus lead. In our example a compelling reason might be to demonstrate ones deep love and commitment to nurturing the relationship of the newly married couple. Intercommunion could be a yes to God by witnessing to Gods presence in the marriage and committing to Gods work of salvation in their lives.
In the end, this may be fulfilling the spirit of canon law while going against the letter.
-- Kevin Considine, a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Loyola University in Chicago. This article appears in the October 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No. 10, page 46).
I’m pretty certain protestants have no problem with a catholic taking communion in a protestant church.
But it is NOT a sacrament in protestant churches. They do not believe in transubstantiation, so why deny them of doing it in “remembrance of me [Christ]”?
I would say no. For that matter, if a family member was in a Catholic Church and, for one reason or another, was not prepared to receive communion (for instance, serious sin without a chance to go to confession), then he should not go to communion either.
Communion is about receiving the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, it is not about pleasing your family or making a polite social gesture. That should be the governing consideration.
In a congregation where the Lord's Supper is thought to be a quaint remembrance of an event from long ago, open communion would likely be practiced. In a congregation where the Lord's Supper is a Sacrament, and the Lord is known to be truly present, probably not.
All took communion as seriously as Christ himself intended for it to be taken, and non would've batted an eye if a catholic present took the sacrament along with everyone else.
We were guests in the country and Japan was a good friend and ally of our country. I told them to watch what the Prime Minister of Japan did when he was visiting the United States and out flag was presented and national anthem was played. Or what the president of the United States did in the same situation (sadly, this wouldn't apply today because our imposter in chief has no love or respect for this country).
They did exactly what I suggested to my kids-- stand respectfully with their hosts while the anthem is played but don't join the singing or salutes.
I'd follow the same rule with communion when I am a guest at other church services-- it shows respect for your hosts, including the other members who might feel resentful about your taking communion service which is reserved for those who are members.
What part of the New Testament makes people think Jesus gives a flip where/when/if they take communion?
If he’s washed in the Blood.
As I understand who may it is up to the person to decide. Understanding what it means to do so.
1 Corinthians 11
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
If one belief is correct, the other is incorrect.
Nicely ripped to shreds by Father Zuhlsdorf over at What Does The Prayer Really Say.
The author neglects one tiny little word in Canon 844. In some limited circumstances a Catholic may receive from a non-Catholic minister of a church that has VALID sacraments. Canon 844 has to do with reception from Orthodox, Polish National Catholics etc. The example Considine uses, Lutherans, have nothing to do with Canon 844 since they lack valid sacraments.
The article is junk.
The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. We believe that the Holy Spirit is present in the elements but do not believe in transubstantiation. Communion is open.
As for Catholics in Protestant churches, communion there is open to all including small children who see it as snacks(inappropriate in my view)
It is up to the Catholic if he can believe in the same eucharistic transformation in that environment of different believers, without a priest, and coming from a server who doesn't believe as he does. If I was Catholic I would not
meh, what do I know, just a churchless methodist who goes to mass and hasn't taken commnunion in 3 years
Can you elaborate as to why?
“Im pretty certain protestants have no problem with a catholic taking communion in a protestant church.”
I’m pretty sure they do.
the part where the disciples are told to accept the gentiles and convert them maybe?
Were there gentiles at the last Supper? I think not
people have this flip view that Jesus was cool with anyone’s beliefs and never judged anyone... but he made it clear he came to warn folks his Father would be doing some judging
Yeah, never judged ... that whip He made and used to drive the money changers from the Temple, well that was just ‘janitorial’, right?
Oh many probably dont, they think they are doing the Catholic a favor by showing him a more tolerant accepting open view of religion and this may wean him away from Rome and idol worshipping
“If a Catholic receives communion from a Protestant minister, it is generally considered ‘illicit’ or unlawful.”
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are welcome to partake of communion in any Christian church that I’m aware of. It’s a wonderful time to ponder the precious death of our Savior as a community of believers.
Or you can call us anathema, shake the dust off your holy feet, and refuse to share a sacred meal with “Protestants.”
This thread could use a comment from the LCMS perspective.
even the Son of God went postal, occasionally, chip off the block!
As for God the Father, well, ask the Egyptians, you never want to really really really tick off the God of Abraham and Moses...
bear this in mind, from John 6:
“ I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
 “Eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood”... To receive the body and blood of Christ, is a divine precept, insinuated in this text; which the faithful fulfil, though they receive but in one kind; because in one kind they receive both body and blood, which cannot be separated from each other. Hence, life eternal is here promised to the worthy receiving, though but in one kind. Ver. 52. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world. Ver. 58. He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. Ver. 59. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.
 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.  These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.”
When a Catholic receives Holy Eucharist, that is the Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity of Jesus Christ. Not a symbol, but exactly that. I most certainly may be wrong on this, as I am not a canon lawyer, but I believe that the aforementioned exception to the “No” answer to this question would likely relate to circumstances involving a Catholic at an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, where the belief as to what the Holy Eucharist constitutes is very much as the Catholic view is. Note the expressions used here: http://oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=53. For a Catholic, the Holy Eucharist is the very center of Mass. This has been our belief, since the Church’s beginning, two thousand years ago. Read the Didache, for some additional information.
I hope that this helps you gain some understanding of the Catholic view in this, sincerely.
Bless your heart!!!!
Since Catholics are Christians, meaning they believe the following:
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen
If that be the case then welcome fellow believer in the ritual of communion where we remember all the things that our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. No matter the name on the sign out front.
Spoken like a true Christian. Amen, brother.
It's like not having sexual union with a person you're not married to. You may love a person dearly, but if you're not married, you don't do the act which signifies marriage.
I am amazed that the author of this article had the ignorance (or the gall) to refer to Canon 844. It absolutely does not apply here. Canon 844 has to do with valid Sacraments, e.g. in the Orthodox Church, all of whose Sacraments are recognized as valid by the Catholic Church beause they,like we, have preserved the unbroken line of Apostolic Succession.
This is not a put-down of Reformed, Evangelical, Protestant, Baptist or what-have-you, because they do not claim Apostolic Succession as Catholics and Orthodox do; in fact, it has nothing to do with them. It simply does not apply.
In short,the author of this article is regrettably misinformed and sowing confusion.
Catholicism does not permit a Catholic to receive communion in a Protestant Church, whether or not the Protestant Church allows it.
Kind of embarrassing. LOL
Thank you, Mrs. Don-o, for an excellent post.
In the LCMS, we practice (or are supposed to practice) "Closed Communion," that is, we commune only members of churches with which we are in fellowship. The church to which a person belongs is their public confession of the faith. Thus, since the Church of Rome and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are not in fellowship, I would not commune a Roman Catholic, nor would I expect to be communed at a Roman Catholic church.
Closed Communion is not something unique to the LCMS. It is the historic Christian practice. It has its roots in the early church, when, if you were wanting to commune at a church in another country, for example, you would need to bring a letter from your bishop, attesting to your orthodoxy.
Thanks for weighting in. I would not expect my pastor to grant communion to a Catholic, now would I take communion in a Catholic church. And we have very close friends who are Catholic who understand this. But that’s me, and part of why I’m LCMS.
Nope. That may be true in some liberal Protestant churches, but it is not the case in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), nor in the Wisconsin Synod (WELS) or the ELS. See my post 38.
I don't presume to know what your other beliefs or convictions might be, but I do appreciate your thoughtfulness on this one. You have a hold on the truth. I will pray that that "hold" will bring you along, at last, to the fullness of the Feast.
And this from a Ph. D. - just goes to show. Feel free to pick apart the errors here. The short answer, btw is NO, the longer answer is NO, NEVER.
We worship felt banners.
The only requirement is the communicant "accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior" - to quote the weekly lead in by minister.
Grape juice rather than wine and the Deacons serve instead of a Priest, but we take Holy Communion as something any professing Christian can partake in with us. I'd say about a quarter or more of our congregation is former (or is it "lapsed" / "retired"?) Roman Catholic.
Trivia: it's the denomination Reagan belonged to. Eureka College (and Mt. Union, Hiram, and quite a few others) is associated with the denomination.
Lutherans believe it is indeed a sacrament. In the Small Catechism, under "The Sacrament of the Altar," we teach:
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.
As it happens, I'm very familiar with 844, because when we left the Episcopal Church and went Straight Over to Rome, we consulted with our new rector regarding reception of the Eucharist before we were confirmed. He relied upon the precedent in the chancery of a couple who were ultra-high-church Piskies (as we were) who received in the Catholic Church in remote North Georgia because the local Episcopal parish was "low". Thus sec. 4 of Canon 844:
If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments to other christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.Since we met these requirements vis a vis belief in the doctrines of the Church, including the Real Presence (I told you we were "high"), and our own ministers were unavailable because the Episcopalians had all gone stark raving mad, we were allowed to receive, after making good Confessions. But only after consultation with proper authority, not on our own.
Taking Communion is a significant and symbolic act. It states that you are "in communion" with the church or denomination in which you receive -- i.e. that you subscribe to all their beliefs and are a member of that community.
A Catholic cannot in good conscience "commune" with a church that is not in line with his beliefs, and the canons forbid his doing so. And a Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, LCMS, whatever, should likewise refrain from communing with any church that does not adhere to his beliefs.
The Episcopalians, of course, don't believe in much of anything, so they let anybody come forward who feels like it. Reason # 4,729 why I am no longer an Episcopalian.
It's not a question of insult or rejection. Catholics are convinced that the Sacrament of the Eucharist signifies,and effects, "full union," just as sexual union signifies, and effects, the Sacrament of Matrimony. This is no exaggeration, but a valid analogy, as we see it.
So I may love you with a sincere love, but that doesn't mean I'm authorized to share the act of marriage with you. That's not to anathematize you or to refuse you something you've a right to expect. That's just to say that, although we may love and respect each other abundantly(and I hope we may do so all the more), we ought not to act out a level of union which we do not, in fact, possess.
Bless you a thousand times!
My daughter went to a Lutheran church until 6th grade. She received her communion in the Lutheran church.
For middle school she went to a Catholic church. She was all excited to receive her first communion there and they yanked her from line.
Catholicism has been hijacked.
Why can’t priests reproduce? So the assets aren’t liquidated among offspring?