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From The Pastor’s Desk

Why can only Catholics Receive Communion?

Sometimes people ask why only Catholics can receive Holy Communion.  Sometimes people object to this teaching out a sense of hospitality.  Why wouldn’t we invite everyone to Holy Communion?  Why leave people out?

When I am asked about this practice, I often respond by pointing to the fact that the Eucharist is a Sacrament of Initiation.  This means that every time we receive Holy Communion, along with receiving our Lord’s Body and Blood really, truly, and actually present, we also proclaim and recommit ourselves to our belief in all that Jesus and His Church teaches (chief among them the Real Presence of the Eucharist).  Therefore, if someone isn’t Catholic then presumably they are also not prepared to publicly witness to the faith of the Catholic Church.   I also remind them that we are not singling them out.  Rather, even as Catholics we are meant to be in the state of Grace and free of mortal sin in order to receive Communion.  If someone is not in a state of Grace than they should seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion.  So this practice is really not an attack upon other Christians but dwells in our deep respect for this great Sacrament. 

So, this particular practice is not about hospitality but much more about living in integrity.  We shouldn’t ask or expect someone to proclaim a belief that they do not hold or believe. 

On a related note: if you are not Catholic but wish to become Catholic the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is holding an inquiry session on September 22nd at 7:00 pm in the PMC.  For more details see the Pastoral Sharings section of the September 5 bulletin. 

Fr. Kevin