A. Priests who tell their congregations that "those who are not Catholic cannot receive Communion" are simply speaking the truth and passing along what the Church teaches. Sometimes that position is not very popular and calls for a certain pastoral sensitivity, but it is the right thing to do.

There are some exceptions. The most notable is for members or the Orthodox Churches, who may receive Holy Communion, as well as Penance and Anointing of the Sick, when they request them spontaneously. Outside of exceptional circumstances, clearly defined in canon law, Protestants are not to receive Holy Communion, and in no case are the non-baptized to be allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist.

This disposition is not a lack of friendliness with non-Catholics, but simply the consequence of what it means to receive Holy Communion. That act means the person who receives it assents to everything the Church teaches. Non-Catholics do not.

Holy Communion is also a sign of unity. Most Catholic churches have missalettes in the pews, and most missalettes reprint the USCCB's "Guidelines for the Reception of Holy Communion." in part, they state:

Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy Communion.

Sample extract from Catholic Answers to Catholic Questions (page 87).

Answers to FAQ about the Catholic Faith
Why do Catholics pray for the dead? … Is there humor in the Bible? … Is Purgatory painful? … Is there a dispensation for missing Mass when traveling? … Can human beings become angels after they die? … Why is the color blue associated with Our Lady? … Was the Catholic Church the first one to say no to contraceptives? (Click here)

Over 2,000 years of tradition can lead to many questions and misunderstandings about the Catholic Faith. If you’re confused, curious, or just wish you had good answers for all the challenging questions or confrontations that come your way – you’re not alone.

Catholic Answers to Catholic Questions provides solid answers to hundreds of common questions asked by people just like you – questions both big and small regarding doctrine, history, morality, the pope, saints, the sacraments, the Mass, prayer, Scripture, and much more.

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