What is the holy communion( Eucharist )
The holy Eucharist is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, it is in this sacrament that we receive the body and blood of our lord Jesus Christ. It’s a practice commemorating Jesus’s last supper with his disciples.
The holy Eucharist is the most important sacrament of the church, the central act of Catholic worship.
It help us to unite and commune with Christ. The real presence of Christ in the communion strengthen the Individual, cleanse the venial sins and helps the person to avoid mortal sin.
In the following passage Jesus explained the purpose for receiving holy communion (John 6:53–58) “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever “
There’s always a popular question which is asked. Can non-Catholic receive communion in the Catholic Church, Can a Catholic also receive communion in the Anglican church or other non Catholic Churches. The article below will give you clarified answer to these questions.
Can non-Catholics receive communion in the Catholic Church
An Anglican or protestant is not permitted to receive communion in the Catholic Church because, Anglicans and protestants doesn’t believe in the true transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ. Although they practice the ritual of holy communion, but they don’t believe that the wafer and wine has truly transformed into the body and blood of our lord Jesus Christ.
Another reason non Catholic shouldn’t receive the holy communion in the Catholic Church is for their own protection, for they don’t believe in the real presence of Christ in the communion. It’s written in the scripture that it’s dangerous for one who doesn’t believe in the real presence of Christ in the communion to take it. (1 Cor. 11:29) “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” .
In the occasion whereby non Catholics are invited to Catholic occasion that involves Celebration of Mass, they are called up in line to the altar to receive Blessing from the Priest.
Catholic priests can only give holy communion to fully baptized Catholics who are in state of grace and doesn’t have mortal sin. A person with mortal sin is not supposed to receive the holy communion unless he or she has gone to confession and receive the sacrament of penance. If in some occasions there’s no opportunity to go to confession, a Catholic that wants to receive the holy communion must make a perfect contrition before then and later go to confession as soon as possible.
In some occasions or under certain circumstances the Catholic priest can give a non Catholic the holy communion. This is especially for the Eastern orthodox churches who share same belief and faith on the sacrament but not in communion with the Catholic Church.
The canon law states “Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the oriental churches which do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask on their own for the sacraments and are properly disposed. This holds also for members of other churches, which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition as the oriental churches as far as these sacraments are concerned” (CIC 844 § 3).
In the case of Anglicans and protestants canon law states “If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or the conference of bishops, Catholic ministers may licitly administer these sacraments to other Christians who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed” (CIC 844 § 4).
Can Catholic receive communion from non-catholic churches.
A Catholic member can’t receive communion from non-Catholic Churches because according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church the ordination of priests in these denomination is not valid because they don’t follow the succession of the apostles which means they don’t have the blessings and power to turn the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church believes that Jesus ordained his Apostles as the first bishops and they in turn ordained other men who in turn ordained other men which continued till date. The bishops and priests of nowadays are successors of the successors to the successors etc of the apostles, which makes their ordination valid.
During the reformation the Anglicans and protestants didn’t just deny the pope as the head of the church, they also deny catholic doctrine on clergies and Sacraments. By denying some sacraments and doctrines of the holy order(priesthood), they became heretics and in the process broke the line of succession of the apostles.
The Catholic Church on the other hand believe that the orthodox churches follow the Apostolic succession because their succession can be traced back to St Andrew. This means that their Ordination of Clergies is considered valid in the Catholic Church, that also means that their Clergies have the blessings and power to turn the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ. In some circumstances a Catholic is allowed to take holy communion in the orthodox churches.
Can non-Christian receive Catholic communion
A non Christian can not receive catholic communion because they are not baptized. Baptism is the first sacrament of the Catholic Church and the gateway to other sacraments. In case of emergency, a non Christian can be baptized even in the absence of a priest and an extraordinary minister may bring and give them blessed Communion as Viaticum.