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Back to Freqently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
about
THE SACRAMENT OF
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
BEING DENIED BY THE PRIEST.

Click on the question of your choice to be taken to the answer.




Q. 1. Can a Catholic priest deny someone the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

A. Yes he can.

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Q. 2. Under what circumstances can a Catholic priest deny someone the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

A. It can be denied under the following circumstances:

2.1. The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist cannot be administered to members of other religions, and

2.2. The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist cannot be administered to those who voluntarily continue to live in grave sin.

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Q. 3. Where does it teach in the Catholic Church that the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist cannot be administered to members of other religions?

A. This reference is found in Canon Law # 844 1 to 5:

Canon 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, except as provided in 2, 3 and 4 of this canon and in canon 861 2.

Canon 844 2 Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

Canon 844 3 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the eastern Churches not in full communion with the catholic Church, if they spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The same applies to members of other Churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same position as the aforesaid eastern Churches so far as the sacraments are concerned.

Canon 844 4 If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgement 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 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 5 In respect of the cases dealt with in 2, 3 and 4, the diocesan Bishop or the Episcopal Conference is not to issue general norms except after consultation with the competent authority, at least at the local level, of the non-catholic Church or community concerned.

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Q. 4. Where does it teach in the Catholic Church that the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist cannot be administered to those who voluntarily continue to live in grave sin?

A. This reference is found in Canon Law # Canon Law # 915.

Canon 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

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Q. 5. Is this supported by the Holy Bible?

A. Yes, in the First Letter to the Corinthians, it states:

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworhty manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves." [1 Cor. 11:27-9]

The non-Catholics are unworthy of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ because they do not believe in the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, nor in the real Presence of the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Catholics who live in grave sin, such as in common-law relationship, practicing homosexuals, those who have not been to Church, nor received the Sacraments for over a year, etc... are unworthy of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ because they are not in a state of grace.

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Q. 6. Is there not the danger of causing a public scandal by denying someone the Holy Communion?

A. As a general rule, giving the person the benefit of the doubt, the priest will not deny the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. (This is not saying that the administration of the Sacrament was permitted. The person who receives the Body and Blood of Christ in an unworthy manner shall still be answerable to God.) Following the administration of the Sacrament, the priest is obligated before God, as a representative of the Holy Catholic Church and by conscience to meet with the person in private, to identify the state of the person's soul and to explain the teachings of the Church regarding the administration of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Should it be identified that the person is not in a state of grace, he/she will be notified that unless he/she changes his/her way of life, sincerely repent and receive the Sacrament of Confession, future administration of the Sacrament of the Holy Communion will be denied.

Should the person persist on approaching the Altar to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion after having been warned and the priest is absolutely sure that the person has not repented of his/her sins, then, the priest is obligated to deny the person the Sacrament.

Should the person create a scene after having been warned, it shall not be the priest, but rather the person, who shall be responsible for creating the public scandal that draws attention to his/her status before God.




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