EWTN Catholic Q&A
Proper reception of Communion
Question from Cameron on 11-12-2013:

My grandfather is not a Catholic, but is taking classes to become one. However, the priest he is taking classes from has told him that it is acceptable to receive Communion now, even though he is not yet a Catholic. I know this is against Church teaching, but cannot find anywhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says this. I'm trying to understand how this could be acceptable because it goes against what I have learned all of my life.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 11-15-2013:

Cameron--

Without knowing anything about the situation beyond what you have reported, all that I can say is that perhaps the priest is making an exception for your grandfather because of his advanced age. Canon law states:

If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or of the episcopal conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, Catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments [penance, Eucharist, anointing of the sick] to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community, and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the Catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed (canon 844 4, Code of Canon Law).

I can only recommend to you that you leave the pastoral care of your grandfather to his priest and give thanks that your grandfather is in formation to become Catholic.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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