Can a Protestant Ever Receive the Eucharist?


November 15, 2012 by mattfradd

Though communion (as well as anointing of the sick and confession) is ordinarily reserved exclusively for Catholics, in rare circumstances, the eucharist, anointing of the sick and confession may be administered to baptized non-Catholics.  

In the Code of Canon Law, it states:

Can.  844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone…without prejudice to the prescripts of §2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and Can. 861, §2.

For our purposes it will suffice to look at §4 of Can. 844:

§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

8 thoughts on “Can a Protestant Ever Receive the Eucharist?

  1. Cyril Lourdes says:

    What is the use of administering sacraments to a Protestant who neither has faith nor believe in their sanctity

    • mattfradd says:

      Note the clause, “provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”

      • Cyril Lourdes says:

        For that matter, you can administer to any body belonging to any religion! Is baptism only a formality?!

      • mattfradd says:

        Baptism may be administered by a person of any faith if he baptizes properly (form and matter) and intends to do what the Church does. Baptism cleanses one of original and personal sin and infuses one with sanctifying grace! it is no mere formality.

  2. marieagrace says:

    Matt,you are confusing me here,most all Catholics have never herd of this statement I asked cause I am back to the church because of the Eucharist and it is the oldest Christian religion but why would you give communion to the Protestants after all the years of withholding it from them?? Did you now realize they to were Christians?Everyone who believes is a follower of Christ and has the rights to eat of his body and drink of his blood. Had this been offered way back their would have been more in the church today.

    • mattfradd says:

      Marie, you need to read carefully the Church’s position, “If the danger of death is present…or if grave necessity urgest it.” And it concludes by saying that “they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.” Any person who has been properly baptized is a Christian. Protestants and other non-Catholics may not receive the Eucharist under normal circumstances because they are separated from the fulless of Christianity – Catholicism – and do not believe the words of Christ and the constant teaching of the Church that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

  3. Matthieu F. says:

    So if they are properly disposed and believe what the church believes, are they not catholics after all ? It seems this clause of the canon law is for those last minute converts who are about to die and do not have the time to go through the “bureaucracy” (for lack of a better word) to finally be admitted to holy communion …

  4. Rachel says:

    I think thats fair enough. Under normal circumstances a Protestant who wishes to convert to Catholicism would and should be happy to wait and recieve instruction before they recieve the Holy Eucharist, and Protestants who do not wish to convert ought to understand the Catholic belief of Eucharist and why it cannot just be passed out willy-nilly. However if death is imanent, or in any other individual circumstances, then i do agree that exceptions should be made. Fair doos.

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