Are all welcome to receive communion in the Catholic Church?
All people are welcome to worship at the liturgy yet reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church involves a preparation process so that one may understand more fully what is being offered and how one is to receive it. Part of that preparation includes:
- Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ.
It is an act of faith to name that which looks like bread and wine to be Christ’s body and blood. If we examined the consecrated host or wine under the microscope, we would be looking at bread and wine cells, not tissue or blood cells. We believe it to be transformed or “transubstantiated” (changed in substance) because of Christ’s promise to us that when we gather to remember him in these elements, he would honor his promise. Furthermore, in Chapter 6 of John’s gospel, Jesus is very clear on requiring his followers (disciples) to eat his flesh and drink his blood if we desire any part in him. And he freely gives us this gift through the sacrifice of the Mass.
- Eucharist is called communion for a reason.
Some people who are not Catholic but baptized Christians of other religions express a desire to receive communion at a Catholic Mass, saying that they believe it to be the Body and Blood of Christ and that this allows them to receive. This is where it is important to remember that proper disposition to receive includes acceptance of being in “communion” with the Catholic bishops, with the teachings of the Church, and with the leadership of the pope, as the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth. This is what makes us Catholic. Then there is the issue of whether Catholics have any impediments to receiving communion, which is another matter.