Skip to comments.Why Can't Protestants Take Communion in a Catholic Church
Posted on 12/27/2008 2:48:02 PM PST by NYer
Q. Why cant Protestants receive communion at the Catholic Church?
A. To protect them from Judgment.
1 Corinthians 11: 27 Therefore, 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 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
Since, Protestants do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as we do, they do not discern or recognize that Jesus’ body is present under the appearance of bread and wine. We would be allowing them to eat and drink judgment upon themselves. The prohibtion is actually very charitable but, unfortunately, it is usually seen as a rejection.
Evidence of this interpretation of this passage is supported by St. Justin the Martyr :
We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true
-Justin Martyr -FIRST APOLOGY, 66,20–(150 A.D.)
Q. Why do we call the bread The Host?
A. Our use of this term, to refer to the consecrated bread, comes from the Latin word hostia, which means victim. We believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the consecrated bread and wine on our altars. The mass is a re-presentation of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. Therefore, Jesus is the victim of sacrifice and we call the bread the host/victim to help us remember that it is no longer bread but the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ given to us to strengthen and keep us on the journey to Heaven.
I'm not a Baptist (I'm a Free Methodist who's wife converted from Catholicism and who's mother in law is the Christian Education director and RCIA leader at the local Catholic parish - we still get along very well), but I can answer. Your status with God is for you. It is by faith you are saved; it is not by works. Actions are an outward expression of your faith, but are not the reason you are saved.
For many, communion is a time to reflect on their own walk with God, and where they have failed, and to renew their commitment to walk in Grace and Communion with God.
All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God - including Catholics who backslide. No one but God can forgive, and no one but God can save. And no one but a man, looking deep into his own heart, can understand the truly know his own relationship with the Lord.
I think all are saved, even you. It matters not to me what you believe, God will welcome you.Read that. Ponder it. It seems to deny much of what Our Lord said.
While there are no complete Bibles, there are the missalettes with the readings, usually, one from the OT, one from the NT, and the Gospel. We have readings for every day of the year.
Thank you for your reply.
I guess my actual question was who could judge themselves worthy, or saved, as we do not know when we will backslide in the future.
Since being saved entails forever, if you are a good practicing christian for many years, as my brother in laws parents were, (baptist, not southern), were devoted, attended church every week, excellent prayer life, were very involved in the church. The dad got sick, very sick, mulitple transplants, and through it, they lost their faith in God.
No one could have seen that coming; were they ever saved? Not? I can tell you, they were as sincere as you and I in their faith, yet a catastrophic illness over several years, their faith was shaken and lost.
We cannot say it would not happen to us, we have not been tested watching our spouse die over 15-20 years, a most dibilitating and slow death.
I cannot believe for a moment they were never saved, so how does that work? BTW, I converted to the Catholic Church from the Baptist Church- once saved always saved was one of the reasons.
I could never reconcile it personally, especially when scripture pointed out we must work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
I, by no means am attacking, and it is the senario above that caused me to have those questions, to which my Baptist pastor replied, and I quote, “ Some Baptist churches believe you can lose your salvation, some do not. Go to one that teaches what you believe if you are not comfortable here.”
My answer, to which he never replied, was “There is one God, One Truth and One Spirit. If you are teaching one truth about salvation, and the other Baptist Church is teaching the opposite, that is 2 truths, or no truths. Who is right and how can you know your truth is correct?” That was the last time we spoke.
Sorry I did not mean to make this so long, and I appreciate your time. I do always like to hear how our Baptist FRiends feel about the above story, and the can/cannot lose your salvation issue.
Catholocism reeks with rote symbolism.
Yeah, that whole Reformation thing is so over-rated. /sarc
Stuff like this gives organized religion, especially the Catholic Church a bad name among otherwise friendly fellow Christians.
Get over it. Only the Jews are entitled to consider themselves better than the rest of us. ;)
RE-The Mass is one very large prayer to us Catholics. This “prayer” includes readings from both the old and new Testaments (changing every day), prayers from the Bible, and numerous “man made” prayers.
It is our preferred method of group worship, at least one day per week. Our Bibles are left at home, but we are encouraged and instructed to open them, read, pray, and study them as often as we can.
But that still does not explain why the Catholic church does not have Bibles in the pews for people to follow along?
Oh poor pitiful me!
I feel so horribly snubbed and excluded by those ultra pious Catholics, maybe I’ll convert!
(Am I a genius or what!)
Well, naturally, they couldn’t stop Bill Clinton, who was allowed to take communion in a Catholic church, and took it big as sin. No one had the gall to stop him from taking communion unworthily. Why not?
Actually, the communion is what it IS, in spite of whatever whoever believes it to be. Because a Catholic considers our Christian “Protestant” communion to be “unworthy” or “incorrect” does not make it law over us. You know, freedom and all that?
Scripturally, the unworthiness comes from UNFORGIVENESS toward your brother and taking communion (which we also do in Christian churches which means as much to us as it does to say, oh . . any of the Kennedys or any Catholic) while in a state of unforgiveness toward our brother. We don’t cotton to the Pope’s supposed “infallibility”. That’s our belief - which got some of our anscestors persecuted and killed by Catholic priests and hierarchy in olden days.
Well, you finally admit it...You must eat the wafer and drink the wine to get eternal life...And Jesus says so, right???
Joh 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
So no one who has ever died, or those who will die and have not eaten the wafer gets eternal life, but gets eternal damnation...
Just want to be clear here what you are teaching...
And what else did Jesus say???
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Quite a little contrast here...In chapter 5 Jesus says nothing about eating any flesh or drinking blood...But yet people are ALREADY passed from death onto life...Without eating bread, or meat, or blood or wine...It all has to do with belief...
Joh 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Now here's an odd one, if you're a Catholic...
You guys call this eating of the wafer a 'feast'...A meal...You guys even say you 'knaw' on the flesh of Jesus...
And you know what, I've never been hungry for the flesh of Jesus nor been thirsty for his blood...Just like Jesus said...
Joh 6:27 Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
You as a Catholic are not supposed to eat anything for an hour before you eat the wafer...Apparently this is to make sure what you have eaten has cleared at least some of your intestines...The stuff perishes after an hour...
And how long does the wafer (Jesus?) stay in your body??? Science says about 20 minutes...Then Jesus is gone, til the next time...
Mar 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
Mar 7:19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
There you have it...When you eat the wafer, it goes in one end and out the other...It doesn't travel thru the heart, or the soul, or the spirit...
Labor NOT for the meat that perishes, but the 'meat' that ENDURES, onto eternal life...
There is no eternal life in eating a baked wafer...Jesus isn't the literal bread...God gave the Israelites literal bread, manna...Jesus is the Spiritual bread...
Eternal life comes from believing with all your being that you need a Saviour and Jesus Christ is that Saviour...
Of course it won't hurt you to eat the wafer, but don't put your trust for eternal security into eating it...Put your trust in the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ...
To the excellent response provided by phil1750, I would like to quote Dr. Scott Hahn's personal experience when, as a Protestant minister, he attended a Catholic Mass - Bible in hand!
Scott Hahns The Lamb's Supper - The Mass as Heaven on Earth.
Foreword by Fr. Benedict Groeschel.
Part One - The Gift of the Mass
Hahn begins by describing the first mass he ever attended.
"There I stood, a man incognito, a Protestant minister in plainclothes, slipping into the back of a Catholic chapel in Milwaukee to witness my first Mass. Curiosity had driven me there, and I still didn't feel sure that it was healthy curiosity. Studying the writings of the earliest Christians, I'd found countless references to "the liturgy," "the Eucharist," "the sacrifice." For those first Christians, the Bible - the book I loved above all - was incomprehensible apart from the event that today's Catholics called "the Mass."
"I wanted to understand the early Christians; yet I'd had no experience of liturgy. So I persuaded myself to go and see, as a sort of academic exercise, but vowing all along that I would neither kneel nor take part in idolatry."
I took my seat in the shadows, in a pew at the very back of that basement chapel. Before me were a goodly number of worshipers, men and women of all ages. Their genuflections impressed me, as did their apparent concentration in prayer. Then a bell rang, and they all stood as the priest emerged from a door beside the altar.
Unsure of myself, I remained seated. For years, as an evangelical Calvinist, I'd been trained to believe that the Mass was the ultimate sacrilege a human could commit. The Mass, I had been taught, was a ritual that purported to "resacrifice Jesus Christ." So I would remain an observer. I would stay seated, with my Bible open beside me.
As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn't just beside me. It was before me - in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, "Hey, can I explain what's happening from Scripture? This is great!" Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: "This is My body . . . This is the cup of My blood."
Then I felt all my doubt drain away. As I saw the priest raise that white host, I felt a prayer surge from my heart in a whisper: "My Lord and my God. That's really you!"
I was what you might call a basket case from that point. I couldn't imagine a greater excitement than what those words had worked upon me. Yet the experience was intensified just a moment later, when I heard the congregation recite: "Lamb of God . . . Lamb of God . . . Lamb of God," and the priest respond, "This is the Lamb of God . . ." as he raised the host. In less than a minute, the phrase "Lamb of God" had rung out four times. From long years of studying the Bible, I immediately knew where I was. I was in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus is called the Lamb no less than twenty-eight times in twenty-two chapters. I was at the marriage feast that John describes at the end of that very last book of the Bible. I was before the throne of heaven, where Jesus is hailed forever as the Lamb. I wasn't ready for this, though - I was at Mass!
Hopefully, this clarifies your question. The Bible is in the Mass, from its prayers to scripture readings that change on a daily basis. Over the span of 3 years, a Catholic attending daily mass, will have read the entire Bible.
A. We can ask ourselves, What did the earliest Christians believe about communion? The writings of the early Church Fathers tell us what these first century Christians believed about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 110 A.D. St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was taught the Christian faith by the apostle John, wrote about the heretics of his day:
You believe it because some your church says some guy name Ignatius says it's so???
Indeed! Thanks for posting that link.
Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his of her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
No, the Catholic symbolism is Catholic. The protestant symbolism non-catholic because it's protesting catholicism.
It's like a runaway little boy acting like his father.
Look, I don't expect you to agree with me, but that's the way it is. I didn't agree with it either, for a lot of wasted years.
Wow! I surely wouldn’t want to believe that way either, you would feel so insecure!
While my salvation is ALWAYS in God’s hand, it is also in mine and it does behoove me to always be vigilant, to strive for the prize and not become complacent.
I’m also a Catholic convert and became one because it just seemed that a lot of the time I was being told that I was the arbiter of truth and not truth itself.
Many churches have closed communion. Many don’t but do ask that the communicant be a baptized Christian. None are asked to show proof of their baptism nor of their church affiliation that I know of. My big giggle came when I found that my children had received communion in the Catholic Church, which was okay as they were both baptized Catholics, but had never made their first confession when they did it. Believe it on not there was no lightening strike nor thunder from the sky. I think God loves the little children and wants them fed.
The purpose for using the missalettes instead of only our bible in the Mass is because the entire church reads exactly the same reading on any given day. We follow a calendar in those missals, one reading from the OT, then a Psalm, which is usually set to music which is not in my bible, in between, then a reading from the NT, and finally a Gospel reading. Our hymns are also in the missal.
We work our way through the entire bible every couple of years and then start again. This is desireable for a couple of reasons. First, All scripture is good for study, and 2. we are not at the whim of what our priest feels is his favorite passages or teachings.
The Church should all be on the same “page” so to speak, as we all have one belief. If a particular pastor dislikes a certain teaching, he will still have to teach it, where a pastor who is not, can avoid dealing with scriptures that contradict or cause him discomfort.
John Chapter 6 is an excellent example. In my former church, this was never read even once in the 8 years I regularly attended there. It was a conflict as communion was symbolic and the bread of life discourse in Jn 6:66 (therefore many of his followers left him and walked with him no more) caused problems and questions such as, if it weren’t literally his body and blood, why did Jesus let them leave? Why didn’t he call the back and explain that they misunderstood his parable? Why did he ask his apostles if they were going to leave also?.
How do you explain Kennedy, Biden, Pelosi and other "good Catholics" who vote to kill fetuses and show up for "Holy Communion?"
One of my Catholic friends who went to Catholic boarding schools, said this about the Catholic Church: All my life I've heard, "The church says this and the church says that" and one day I realized "The Church" is a bunch of old men sitting in Rome and they know nothing about real life or real problems.
I have enjoyed this discussion. I am interested in learning the doctrinal points held by the Roman Catholic church. That is entirely the greater end.
I haven’t heard or read any rancor here but a statement and clarification of belief. I appreciate it.
My understanding of the Baptist communion service is that it is symbolic. The Holy Eucharist in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ (as explained above). Only those who have received a Trinitarian Baptism and are in a state of grace, may receive the Eucharist.
One key difference I discovered between Catholicism and Protestantism (as I knew it -- "non-denominational") is that Catholicism expects you to conduct yourself according to what you have been taught. But it won't do your thinking for you. You're free to fail to do so.
Now, there is this thing called "excommunication," which I trust you will be hearing more about...
Baptists do not let even Baptists belonging to another congregation communicate. To them it is an act that binds together their faith community.
Yeah, Pope John Paul II, who lived under the thumb of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and Pope Benedict XVI, who lived under the Nazis in Germany, know nothing about real life or real problems, as opposed to you who obviously are a self-ordained expert in such things.
Can't believe anyone could make such a dumb@ss statement.
Christ's own words about being saved do NOT mention communion (which, in fact, was used for remembrance and reflection, not a requirement to be saved). Salvation comes from faith the profession of faith by baptism; those are the words of Jesus. The mass celebrant himself says the words "take, eat this is my body which was shed for you. Do this in remembrance of me".
Communion will not save you; attending mass will not save you. Confession will not save you. It is by faith and faith alone that we receive the Grace of God. We ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus and he will intercede on our behalf. THOSE are His words.
FWIW, I was raised Methodist on the weekends, Catholic during the week (K-12 in Catholic schools), married a Catholic girl (she's now a Methodist), and my mother-in-law is the Catholic education director for a local parish, as well as the RCIA director. My grandmother-in-law has made probably close to 10,000 rosaries over the years for each of the 4th grade students at the parish school as they go through confirmation.
I know the Catholic mass forwards and backwards, as well as the theology behind Catholicism. And I know the theology of Protestantism. And I read the Bible.
Suffice it to say, Catholics do a GRAVE disservice to Christianity, the words of Jesus, and themselves when they insist the Catholic church and its rites are the only way to salvation. It is NOT by works that we are saved - THAT is the teaching and words of Christ.
If you insist your doctrine is the only "correct" way to worship, then you have done exactly what Jesus commanded us to not do - you have put process and procedure ahead of relationship, and are no better than the Pharisees of His time.
Doesn’t really answer it.
Services at other Christian denominations have readings from scripture during service but they also have Bibles in church too.
Only by Catholic reckoning. The Protestant churches that retain the sacrament of the Eucharist offer it to all baptized adult Christians without distinction.
We believe because Jesus Christ said it is so! The early Church Fathers, like Ignatius, simply quoted our Lord.
That may be true for Anglo-protestants, but not for Anglo-Catholics
You couldn't be more wrong...Obviously you don't have a Spiritual connection with the Saviour...If you did, you'd know what it is...I've never met Mad Dawg but I know exactly what he's talking about...
Holy Communion is down to earth. And it is, because it's real.
Or, it's not spiritual, it's, fleshy???
Jesus does love the little children. However, as baptized Catholics, it is important that your children receive instruction. How else can they understand that the host they are recieving is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Himself.
So you agree with the claim:
“I think all are saved, even you. It matters not to me what you believe, God will welcome you.”?
Jesus does love the little children. However, as baptized Catholics, it is important that your children receive instruction. How else can they understand that the host they are recieving is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Himself. As their parent, you will be held accountable for ensuring they were properly educated in the faith.
Every Catholic owns their own Bible and are free to bring it or their personal missile to every Mass. We worship God and His only begotten Son, not a book, and as part of that worship we participate in the Liturgy of the Word at every Mass. Every Catholic parish covers more of the Bible in three years than any protestant church does. I can guarantee that.
Pride goeth before a fall.
It is not for me to decide who is saved; if a man claims a relationship with Jesus, that is between him and God. I will not judge a man on this claim. For Jesus’ own words are that it is by FAITH we are saved. It is an entirely HIDDEN relationship that cannot be demonstrated. It is by faith and faith alone.
Do you believe you can discern who is saved and who is not? Does that mean it is actions - works - that save you? That you can determine who will be saved and not simply by the kind of life they live? If so, I have several atheist, Buddhist, and Hindu friends that would put 99% of all self-professing Christians (Catholic and Protestant alike) to shame in their acts reflecting the teachings of Christ.
ALL Masses? I'm a lifelong Catholic and I have never seen this. Sounds nice though.
A "spiritual" communion -- whatever that is -- is a product of one's imagination. There is nothing objective about it. What does the term even mean?
An Act of Spiritual Communion 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.
And your friend isn't insulting the Church by telling you that junk and you aren't insulting the Church by repeating the gossip? Yeah, right.
Catholics and Orthodox attend Church to worship God, not to study the Bible. Each day there are readings from Scripture at the celebration of the liturgy. We worship through prayer. Why would we need a Bible?
Well over in my parish, every Catholic receives a copy of the bible upon their confirmation at age 13, and takes it with them to church from then on. Seems it would kind of be redundant to have an extra bible available for everyone since they already have one. I'm sure anyone who didn't bring their bible would be able to share one with their neighbor.
I must become a Protestant!
"Obviously," you don't read my posts. Been there and done that, thank you anyway.
Shalom -- and out!
Correct.... Symbolic. Hard for me to understand how it could be more than symbolic, though.
Charity, which I admit isn't my strong point, compels me to leave one last response.
What's the whole point of Christmas?
Clue: That which is pure spirit became flesh, so that we could know Him.
I'm so glad, so glad for The Church.
You are arguing to me of the benefits of being blind, and the blindness of having sight. Again, thank you, but, no.
Perhaps you can explain how the Holy Spirit would lead someone to say this?
Remember, If you justify this- you can be guilty of unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit and thus send yourself to hell
Protestants have open communion as Jesus told us to have, whereas Catholics have closed communion.
I was acknowledging that my intent was to be insulting.
The one thing Catholics and Protestantsa have in common---we're all sinners.
In Southern Baptist theology, backsliding does not necessarily mean you are not saved. The idea of being saved is that once you accept Jesus, you are saved for all time. You might backslide, but assuming that your salvation was real in the first instance, it will not alter the fact that you are saved. On the other hand, if you backslide, you have to wonder whether you were really ever saved to begin with. Only you (and God) know whether you were earnest when you accepted Christ in the first instance. If you have doubts about whether you really accepted Christ, then you probably did not.