Faith/Spirituality Forum: Communion for Non-Catholic in a Catholic Church

Communion for Non-Catholic in a Catholic Church QUESTION from Jocelyn Pike March 21, 2001 My fiance and I are getting married next April and he is Catholic and I am Episcopalian. We are to be married in the Catholic Church. We met with our priest yesterday and he insinuated that I could not take communion in the church unless I converted to Catholicism. I have been to many services previously and knew that I could not take communion in a Catholic church, being Episcopalian.
In speaking with my boss who is also Catholic, he stated that at his wedding, him and his wife offered communion to all of the guests, whether they be Catholic or not. I was not aware that this was an option. Is it something decided by the Diocese of your city? I live in San Diego County.
Is it improper to take communion in the Catholic church being Non-Catholic?
My fiance said that there are certain beliefs and rules that Catholics believe that we do not, like that bread is the actual body of Christ and the wine is the blood of Christ, but I believe that as well. Is there something else that he does not remember that he is not telling me?
I want to understand the whole concept behind this. It would hurt my fiance not to take communion, but would also hurt me for me and my family and friends to not be able to and his family to do so. I suggested if this was the case (we could not take communion) that they do a pre-ceremony mass.
Please advise when you get a chance. I would love to know the foundation for all of this.
Thank you, Jocelyn Pike
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on June 4, 2001 Dear Miss Pike:
I don't know if I missed your wedding or not. You said next April so I might have missed it if it was this last April. If you are now married, Congrats.
No, non-catholics MAY NOT take communion at weddings or anywhere else or anywhere else (except in danger of death when they can't get to their own ministers AND if they believe as Catholics believe about the Eucharist).
The reason is that communion, in addition to all else it is, is also a symbol of unity. Non-Catholics are NOT in union with us because they do not believe what we believe and are not formally confirmed into our fellowship.
If we allowed non-catholics to take communion when they are not really in union with us, in one accord in belief and practice, then it would be a lie.
Someday maybe all Christians can come together in union with Christ's Church. Until then the sad fact is that we do not agree and thus are not in unity, and thereby cannot share a Sacrament of Unity with those with whom we are not in union.
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