Sunday, May 1, 2011

Is the Eucharist a Symbol? Why Can't Non-Catholics Receive It? Why Can't I Receive the Eucharist If I'm in a State of Mortal Sin?

Because you can't get it all in in at once, there are some follow up points that should be made.

Although the Orthodox Church and Anglicans have the same theology of the Eucharist, we do not receive the Eucharist from them. We as Catholics do not receive the Orthodox Eucharist because they do not believe in the Papacy - although in an emergency we are able to receive the Eucharist from them. The reason for this exception is simple - they have a valid priesthood, they just don't like the Pope. Since they have a valid priesthood, the Eucharist is valid. The Anglicans, on the other hand, are not considered by the Catholic Church to have a valid Eucharist because their priesthood is not valid. The Anglican Church was founded by Henry VIII, and thus the priesthood that sprung up from his new religion was not valid, so Catholics, even in an emergency, can not receive the Eucharist from the Anglicans. What I was pointing out is that the Orthodox and Anglicans both believe in transubstantiation - that the bread and wine become a completely new substance in an irrevocable way.

Finally, it should also be mentioned that not only do non-Catholics not receive Catholic Communion, and not only should Catholics in a state of mortal sin not receive the Eucharist, but also Catholics should never receive any other form of communion from non-Catholic communities, even if in those communities the bread and wine simply function as symbols. The Church believes this might be seen by outsiders to suggest that the Church considers the communion of those non-Catholic communities to be valid.

Have further questions about the Eucharist? If so, please drop it in the comment box below. God bless!