Faith/Spirituality Forum: communion

communion QUESTION from Barbara Zupancic March 26, 2001 I was at my father-in-law's funeral mass. The priest was handing out communion. I went forward to ask him if I could take communion. I told him I was a believer in Jesus but was not Catholic, could I take communion? He told me they do not have open communion.
Please explain this to me?
Is there open communion in other catholic churches?
At my church all believers in Christ are welcomed at the communion table
Christ did not close his children out. I felt hurt that as a child of God I could not commune w/other believers in communion.
Thank you for your time & consideration,
Barb.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on June 4, 2001 Dear Mrs. Zupancic:
The priest is correct. There is no open communion at all in any Catholic Church. It is a violation of Church teaching and a sin on the part of any priest who knowingly gives communion to a non-catholic (with one exception being in danger of death. But even then the person must not be able to get to a minister of their own denomination, AND must believe what Catholics believe about the Real Presence in the Eucharist).
The reason for this is in addition to all else that the Eucharist is, it is also a symbol of unity. Those who do not believe as we do and are separated from us (not formal members of the Church) are not in union with us. Thus if we were to extend the Eucharist to pepole who don't believe as we do, we would be saying there is a unity which in fact does not exist. We would be lying.
The Eucharist is a Sacrament of Like Minds, if you will. If you don't agree with us and our doctrine, then we are not of like minds, we are not of the same fellowship. To take communion together implies that we are in the same fellowship and believe alike and that not so.
Someday perhaps non-catholics will come to believe all that Jesus taught and we can once again be one fellowship. Until then, we cannot have communion together.
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