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Communion for Episcopalians
Question from Debbie on 04-13-2015:
At my granddaughter's First Communion, the priest announced that if there were any Episcopalians present they could receive Communion because they believe in the Real Presence. Other Protestants could come forward for a blessing. When did the teaching change on receiving Communion? I thought you had to be in full union with Rome. My son-in-law is Protestant and this caused real confusion for us.
Answer by Catholic Answers on 04-14-2015:
Debbie--

Your priest is incorrect that Episcopalians may receive Communion. Since Episcopalians do not have valid holy orders, they do not have a valid Communion. The fact that they believe that Jesus is in some way present in the Eucharist does not necessarily mean that they share Catholic faith in the nature of the Real Presence (although some do).

Your own understanding that those who receive Communion must be "in full union with Rome" is also not entirely correct. Orthodox Christians, and members of a few other Christian churches with valid holy orders and a valid Eucharist, are allowed to receive Communion when attending Catholic Masses. Occasionally, under special circumstances, a baptized Christian may receive the Eucharist if he is in danger of death, shares Catholic faith in the sacraments, and cannot receive the sacraments from his own minister.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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