Q. 1 What is the meaning of "inter-communion?"
A. 1 "Inter-communion" means that the believer of one faith (religion) receives communion in another faith (religion) while attending their service.
Example: A Lutheran believer receives communion while attending a service at the Anglican Church.
Q. 2 Can a Roman Catholic believer receive communion while attending the service of another faith (religion)?
A. 2 With the exception of the Rites that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, ( Click here to see the list.) "under no circumstances" is it allowed for a Roman Catholic to receive communion from ministers who are not of the Roman Catholic faith.
Defending the position of the Roman Catholic Church on the subject of inter-communion since December, 1997, His Eminence, Dr Desmond Connell, the Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin, stated that "under no circumstances" is it permissable for a Roman Catholic believer to receive communion from a Protestant minister. His statement, which is to be praised for openly speaking the truth in defense of the Roman Catholic faith, was based on Canon Law # 844.1.
"Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to Catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from Catholic ministers." [Can. # 844.1]
Q. 3 Can someone of another faith (religion) receive communion while attending a Roman Catholic service?
A. 3 See the previous answers. Only those who belongs to Rites in communion with the Roman Catholic Church can receive communion within the Catholic Church. This excludes all the Protestant Churches because they do not hold the Catholic belief regarding the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Q. 4 Why does the Roman Catholic Church have this law in place?
A. 4 When a Roman Catholic believer receives the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (communion), it is a statement that he is in full communion with those people with whom he is taking Communion.
(Note: "in full communion" means being "in full agreement, without exception, with all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.")
Communion with members of non-Catholic faiths such as the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the United Church, etc... is incomplete because the believers of the Roman Catholic and those of other faiths do not share the same faith (belief) about, for example, the Eucharist. While Roman Catholics believe in the continued Divine Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist after the celebration of the Holy Mass, other faiths do not share in this belief. Some of our separated brothers and sisters believe that the consecration of the bread and wine is either symbolic or in memory of the Last Supper, rejecting the firm belief of Roman Catholics which affirms that the bread and wine are actually transformed into and remains as the Body and Blood of Christ.
Q. 5 Why is it that on the Sunday of Unity Week, some ministers of Protestant Churches were invited to concelebrate the Holy Mass in Catholic Churches and even receive the Consecrated bread and wine into Body and Blood of Christ?
A. 5 First of all, while it cannot be denied that such actions have taken place, they oppose the sound teachings of the Catholic Church that are found in the Canon Laws and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Secondly, those who implement such actions in the spirit of ecumenism are doing so to bring about a man-made unity that compromises their faith and permits all forms of liturgical scandals to take place. They fall short of perceiving that the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ transcends all human powers and gifts. This can only be miraculously achieved by the grace of the heavenly Father through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus. (See Frequently Asked Question on "Ecumenism.")
Thirdly, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the supreme expression of unity and not a means towards unity. When the Apostle Paul encouraged the Ephesians to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, he went on to remind them:
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism." [Ephes. 4:4-5]
Given this understanding of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, in false ecumenism, there can only be Eucharistic Communion. There cannot be something called "inter-communion" since the term together with the practice it designates is a contradiction. To share the common cup while still maintaining fundamental differences in faith, order and ministry does not make sense because it violates a major element of the meaning and significant of the Eucharist.
Fourthly, ecumenism can only be built on clarity, charity, truth and love. To compromise the apostolic truths (such as the "Eucharistic Presence") of the Roman Catholic Church is to silently reject some or all of the sound doctrines of the Church. For there cannot be two truths, one opposing the other! As such, it can only be concluded that he who rejects the apostolic truth that is found in the Catholic faith, has withdrawn himself from the sound doctrines of the Catholic faith to embrace a different faith, a truth that opposes the one Spirit of Truth. By compromising the one truth, he can no longer call himself a "Roman Catholic" faithful!