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Bruce Klein wrote:

Hi, guys —

What is the current teaching of the Catholic Church, in not allowing Holy Communion to those that:

  • are not Catholic
  • do not hold the same exact beliefs of the Catholic Church
  • are divorced and have not received an annulment, and in particular,
  • follow the Freemasons but are Catholic and wish to receive Communion?
  1. Is it just a Priest who can refuse Holy Communion to an individual, or can a Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist also subjectively refuse Holy Communion to an individual based on what he or she feels the individual believes?

  2. Should a pastoral council at the parish deal with which individuals should, or should not, receive Holy Communion based upon their organizational affiliations such as being Freemasons?
Bruce
  { What is the Catholic teaching on withholding Holy Communion from certain people or groups? }

Mike replied:

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the question.

I'd be interested in Fr. Jonathan's take on the last three questions, but here's my two cent on the other questions.

You said:
What is the current teaching of the Catholic Church, in not allowing Holy Communion to those that:

  • are not Catholic?

If you are not a Catholic, you are not allowed to receive Holy Communion. Receiving Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass is more than receiving the Body and Body of the Lord. It is also an outward expression of those who partake in Holy Communion as having a communion or a common union, in a common, Divine Faith.

No separated brethren can receive Holy Communion, not because Catholics are un-ecumenical or uncharitable, but because although some may believe in the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, there are other teachings that we disagree on. When we receive Holy Communion we are re-affirming a common Communion in faith.

If a non-Catholic truly believes in the Real Presence in the Eucharist of Our Blessed Lord, that is a sign the Lord is calling you to full communion in His Catholic Church. If you wish to go deeper, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

You said:
What is the current teaching of the Catholic Church, in not allowing Holy Communion to those that:

  • do not hold the same exact beliefs of the Catholic Church?

If you are a Catholic, yet struggle accepting certain teachings of the faith read how my colleague John addressed this issue in this posting:

In it he said:

Catholicism is not a buffet or a cafeteria. One cannot be 99% Catholic, just as one cannot be 99% pregnant.

It is a binary proposition; one is either Catholic, or not. That means one must believe all that the Church proposes in matters of faith and morals.

  • That doesn't mean one has to fully understand everything.
  • It doesn't mean one isn't expected to struggle with certain doctrines.

Faith, often times, seeks understanding. That's what mature faith does. In those matters with which one struggles, one must at least submit and acknowledge that despite any personal struggle with the doctrine, we acknowledge Holy Mother Church is infallible in these matters and therefore She is right even though we don't see it.

Heresy, is the obstinate post baptismal denial of a truth necessary to believe for our salvation; so if one refuses to submit to a doctrine, one is in heresy and therefore in grave sin. In this case, one should abstain from receiving the Eucharist. That doesn't mean you can't have doubts, or struggles, or lack of understanding but you can't deny a matter of faith and morals and you certainly can't openly dissent.

So for example, those who believe:

• in legal abortion
• same sex marriage, or
• dissent from the Church's teaching on the artificial contraception

should abstain from receiving the Eucharist. Communion is a sign of unity with the Church.

One can't be in unity if one dissents in matter of faith and morals. Nevertheless, they should still go to Sunday Mass and pray for guidance in the areas where they struggle with the Church's teachings.

You said:
What is the current teaching of the Catholic Church, in not allowing Holy Communion to those that:

  • follow the Freemasons but are Catholic and wish to receive Communion?

Catholics who have become Freemasons or Masons are bound to leave as Freemasonry totally contradicts Catholic values.

A great alternative for anyone:

  • who is a Mason, or
  • thinking about becoming a Mason

are the Knights of Columbus. You can find the nearest chapter here.

You said:
What is the current teaching of the Catholic Church, in not allowing Communion
to those that:

  • are divorced and have not received an annulment?

Divorced Catholics who have not re-married, or remarried in the Church are welcome to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

Divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church who have petitioned for an annulment, may not receive Holy Communion until they find out the result of their petition. The Church isn't trying to be mean but She has to determine whether a marriage took place or not. The Church's takes marriage just as seriously as Jesus does.

You said:

  1. Is it just a Priest who can refuse Holy Communion to an individual, or can a Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist also subjectively refuse Holy Communion to an individual based on what he or she feels the individual believes?

  2. Should a pastoral council at the parish deal with which individuals should, or should not, receive Holy Communion based upon their organizational affiliations such as being Freemasons?

I'm not a priest, but I'm guessing that no pastor, priest, or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist can refuse distributing Holy Communion, unless they have consulted with the local bishop on:

  • the person, or
  • the group.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Mike —

Divorce doesn't keep you from Holy Communion. Your answer gave the impression that it does.

It is marriage outside of the Church that keeps one from Holy Communion. This is the same for a first marriage or a "remarriage".

A merely divorced Catholic has every right in the Church including the right to receive Holy Communion.

Fr. Jonathan

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