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Janie Clifton wrote:

Hi, guys —

Emmaus is the Methodist answer to Cursillo. In my area, many Catholics attend Emmaus gatherings where communion is served.

One priest has told Catholics they may receive communion at these gatherings because it is a community communion, and, if they know it is only symbolic, it is okay. He has also attended these meetings and received communion when it has been served.

  • Am I correct in believing that his advice on this matter is wrong?


  { Should Catholics attend Protestant services where communion is received within their community? }

John replied:

Hi, Janie —

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very explicit. Catholics may not participate, that is receive communion, in any communion service at any Protestant Church. Period!

1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church

"have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders. "

Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio

It is for this reason that Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible for the Catholic Church. However these ecclesial communities,

"when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory."

Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio

This is no reason whereby a Catholic may receive communion in a Protestant Church or at a retreat of any sort.

There are limited instances when a Catholic may receive Communion in an Orthodox Church.

Also, in grave necessity (as in, near death), a Protestant may be given Communion if:

  1. he expresses a desire for it, and
  2. has a Catholic belief in the Eucharist.

I hope this helps,

John DiMascio

Mike replied:

Hi, Janie —

For those reading this posting, I just wanted to add to what my colleague John has said.

Besides the reason John articulated, Catholics are not allowed to receive communion because it is a sign of "communion" in what we believe as Catholics.

For a Catholic to receive the Real Presence at his or her Catholic parish, then, either that day or next week, go down the street and receive "communion" at a Protestant congregation is to say you are "in communion" with both faith groups, when both faiths hold different sets of beliefs.

You are not being honest with one group.

Hope this helps,


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