Non-Catholics and Holy Communion
On November 14, 1996, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
approved the following guidelines on the reception of communion. These
guidelines replace the guidelines approved by the Administrative
Committee of the NCCB in November 1986. The guidelines, which are to be
included in missalettes and other participation aids published in the
United States, seek to remind all those who may attend Catholic
liturgies of the present discipline of the Church with regard to the
sharing of Eucharistic communion.
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist
when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion
devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive
Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and
normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of
grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior
sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no
opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of
the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the
intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent
reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
For our fellow Christians
We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as
our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action
of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another
and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that
these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer
for us "that they may all be one" (Jn 17:21).
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. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional
circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the
directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon
844 § 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the
East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the
discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic
discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of
communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3).
For those not receiving Holy Communion
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in
their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in
Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them
to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.
Copyright © 2008-2018 [San José Catholic
Church]. All rights reserved.