gasex drugstore.com can i get xenical side effects of metformin hydrochloride over counter drugs contain prednisone the online drugstore aceon maximum dosage viagra 24 hours alfumet fluconazol mexico buy hoodia singapore where do i buy malegra fxt hay pastillas como el viagra pero para mujeres plavix generic costco how to buy compazine in london do you need rx hydrea acheter viagra sans ordonnance belgique online accutane starting canadian pharmacy sinequan pharmacy order uroxatral results forum baytril for dogs side effects is artane legal in uk nitrofurantoin without script half price snovitra super power chloramphenicol rxlist online brafix purchase half life of zofran injection cheap metformin no script buy crestor online india generic epivir-hbv no prescription lithium over counter meds generic flagyl side effects what does lanoxin long term side effects of celexa levothroid 20 mg levitra medication used chloromycetin tablets online places to order and pickup zithromax nitrofurantoin bid 100mg side effects actonel how to buy rumalaya forte uk brand name where purchase amantadine viagra original price como usar rhinocort list of brand name drugs going generic in 2011 buy flagyl er for daily use how long does it take for accutane to work on mild acne bactrim buy india xalatan where can i buy it epa gulf of mexico alliance what does prilosec treat malegra fxt best price what drug category is glucophage evecare delivery london buy clozaril online overnight where can i buy lantus solostar generic dipyridamole cost alli canada overnight delivery aripiprazole abilify cost plavix brand order where can i buy unique hoodia in canada buy viagra super active without a script cost of phenamax adalat low dose birth control lowest price omnicef pfa 100 test plavix buy xanax xr online no prescription zithromax z-pak price walgreens 1-andro rx illegal order generic atrovent chloramphenicol 10 mg g long term side effects of wellbutrin xl benemid over counter uk buy cialis professional canada diflucan indian pharmacy 100 mg prometrium pregnancy ordering viagra over internet counter phone in order for didronel generic name for benadryl what will 100mg of viagra do diarex lawsuit how much does bupropion cost canada pharmacies online that sell evista champix and alcohol what is the dosage for cipro 500 mg generic lexapro india what types of lipitor are there buy floxin in australia ic etodolac 400 mg tablet tar topamax film tablet 100 mg 60 tb what is shatavari made of brand name trandate online legal buy snovitra super power online canada provera online price what does toradol treat requip without prescription miami purchase bactrim can i order lioresal no prescription in the usa torsemide over the counter free aciphex coupon fluoxetine woldwide shipping buy reglan with e check buy calan for daily use can i order mircette no prescription in the usa better than pravachol discount on singulair furosemide 20mg tablets side effects trazodone 100 mg for anxiety lexapro weight loss pills altace medication assistance azithromycin tablets 250mg and alcohol yasmin tablets ingredients apo naproxen alcohol comprar finax original en madrid pharmacies prescription buy amantadine better than kamagra where to buy erythromycin-benzoyl gel what is the festival of purim about nitroglycerin india buy cheap xenical no prescription buying advair diskus ciplox online ordering cheapest doxycycline tablets is mail order amaryl safe top 10 online geriforte syrup sites generic skelaxin 2010 where to buy lamisil antifungal cream zofran odt coreg limited india what is avapro online generic dutas prednisone medication cats pet meds no rx top 10 online starlix sites over the counter substitute for allegra d 4 types of psychoactive drugs ou acheter nizoral where to malegra dxt haridra uses medication buying dramamine for dogs citalopram cost cvs maxalt drug schedule levitra 20 mg tabletten no. 4 calan lowest price buy tadalis sx online trental 100 oxytrol legal us healthnet viagra order effexor xr 37.5 mg quiero comprar cordarone cafergot from usa where to get viagra plus deltasone online in us best zofran prices doxycycline prices boots is losec better than zantac furosemide online shipping best online pharmacy generic retino-a cream 0,025 can you order prilosec cialis super active billig kaufen buying canadian pharmacies illegal metformin tablets on line to buy phenergan pharmacy order order nootropil online uk use norvasc coupon online generic viagra online review what is cystone drugs no prescription astelin sale doxycycline caps 100mg side effects usual dose of relafen buy valtrex online no prescription canadian plavix pills side effects cheap robaxin canada health canada cordarone is there a drug comparative to dilantin trazodone canada sale indian generics online elocon aristocort ointment ingredients zoloft pill shortage western drug zocor canadian pharmacy reviews selling antibiotics no prescription suprax online pharmacy shipped to canada can you buy price atacand hct order atarax 120 mg what is differin gel 0.1 used for best pharmacy to order lamictal procardia brand order acheter viagra pour homme lamictal rxlist buying clomid online no prescription getting high off benadryl pills parietal lobe function examples luvox for anxiety disorder cialis professional online store how much does walgreens pay an hour best place to buy tinidazole online celadrin weight gain what is a low dose of amitriptyline doctor redustat pastillas us farmacys rite aid pharmacy amsterdam avenue new york ny coreg online usa valacyclovir hcl 1 gm protonix store buy antibiotics online from india prescription indomethacin 50mg capsule side effects order adalat 30 mg generic mexico meds no prescription needed can i take prilosec with other medicines atrovent canada overnight delivery where to buy cialis super active online india zithromax not generic better cialis viagra levitra keflex generic for purchase diovan no prescription buy viagra online usa pharmacy bystolic online ordering football players to reach 1000 games buy alli 40 best place to order avalide in us fda approved cialis deltasone generic drugsorder prometh with codenein buy etodolac 40 how to take xenical 120 mg where purchase lithium order lopid canada order hoodia cheap purchase cheap generic pharmacy fincar acheter alli france clomid ovulation induction protocol tadalafil 20 mg generic order actos 30mg buy zovirax xr without prescription cheap living in east london ordering viagra super active online drug shop cialis female viagra effects canada pharmacy generic effexor bactrim canadian medications without prescription dulcolax online in us clonidine how long to take effect what is tetracycline used for in ivf buy entocort no prescription aricept in croatia phone in order for elimite can we trust prograf online can you get elimite cream over counter what are the side effects of abilify in children can prazosin cause weight gain para que se usa prevacid different viagra cialis fucidin cream usage glycomet sale retin a 0.1 cream uk micronase next day shipping norvasc where to purchase himcolin without insurance discount obagi tretinoin cream cheap uroxatral pills generic bupropion side effects acheter du tadacip pak tv drama online blogspot benadryl drugstore.com advair diskus with no rx buy over the counter rumalaya online monthly fosamax dose zyprexa shortage diamox mg price ordering low dose chloroquine purchase zovirax cheap prescription differin cream for sale buy famvir with no rx finasteride usp 2.5 mg clomiphene success rate purchase tenormin in us suhagra on line for sale no script generic 2012 buy viagra how to by celebrex online aleve online in usa brand viagra now lerk thai singapore centrepoint aricept 10 mg twice a day alli weight loss pills wikipedia where to levitra professional wellcome xeloda for sale buy celebrex 200mg buy kamagra 10 plendil mail order online aldactone overnight delivery buy aldactone tablets blood pressure discount canadian pharmacy casodex india actoplus met buy avodart online no prescription us ginseng legal us propecia canadian pharmacy lotensin italiano buy lasix from canada avalide pills cephalexin with food or without food cheap kamagra next day delivery uk vermox 20 mg posologia order avodart pill furosemide pediatric iv dose buying cialis professional best price for plavix bismuth citrate msds ceftin online pay paypal femara cost comparison prednisolone 5mg shortage effexor reviews for menopause purchase generic furosemide xalatan spain celebrex german pharmacy cytotec para abortar can i get high off skelaxin levitra uk brand name flagyl antibiotic for sinus infection generic fml forte buy canada cheap abilify 1mg canada can i get pregnant on tamoxifen order benicar rx cheapest seroquel tablets uk long term side effects of tenormin adidas torsion allegra x generic paxil no prescription fluconazole alcohol interaction atarax tablets for dogs best site get cyklokapron ventolin hfa aer ciprofloxacin eye drops hydrochlorothiazide.com flovent capsules cheap accutane online expedited deltasone woldwide shipping is there a lipitor generic equivalent over the counter medicine atarax generic fertomid buy canada pariet where can i buy it crestor vs lipitor saturn study cheap actos 20 mg side effects of prednisone for my dog is allegra 170 over the counter donde comprar acai berry en bolivia sinequan 10 mg cost arjuna mg buy duphalac without a prescription compare prices aygestin tamoxifen on line in the mexico what is moduretic buy lanoxin with no rx buy zovirax pill canada isoniazid 100 review canadian pharmacy diflucan where to buy letrozole for gyno lasix side effects kidney generic from zestril accutane birth defects wiki where to buy biaxin without a prescription minoxidil propecia nhs best place to buy lotensin precio actual cytotec venezuela mechanism of action of amantadine and rimantadine seroflo for sale philippines actavis promethazine cough syrup cytotec for sale buy betnovate rd cream can order micronase canada best price propranolol order pilex online with visa bactroban nasal ointment rx list capoten drug study seroflo mg buy baby aspirin blood pressure medication where to buy citalopram ointment reglan reviews birth control pills noroxin cytotec dosis 5 pastillas buy rogaine 5 visa yasmin refill pack acheter pas cher acai plendil 5 mg ???? cozaar class action lawsuit l-tryptophan over counter anafranil medication where to buy metoprolol tartrate 25 mg half life cleocin cost canadian exelon in the uk do you need rx trimox pfizer pharmaceuticals kenya pariet without prescription pills allegra for sale philippines what does prednisone look like for dogs pilex order buy albuterol tablets uk viagra soft on line in the canada aceon usa sale cheap uk buy actoplus met where to buy suprax without a prescription requip generic reviews danazol 100mg capsules what does reminyl best site to buy abilify samuelson-glushko canadian internet policy and public interest clinic overseas online pharmacies and australian law zithromax roche precio argentina himcolin on line no script estimation of valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide drugs furosemide kamagra gold order on web clomiphene dosage women where to buy 2% retin-a online cheap clomid com generic generic singulair allergy medication ventolin medication used order alli pills how to dose nolva and clomid for pct mail-order ginseng buy tretinoin 0,025 boots safe place order aygestin clomid online no prescription tetracycline birth control online australia minocycline prescription online online cialis order viagra prandin without prescription lipitor 10mg price australia where can i get risperdal absolut berry acai price canadian compendium pharmaceuticals specialties ranitidine mg tablet pharmacies in prescription actoplus met buy terramycin ophthalmic ointment dogs fertility pills for women at cvs over counter rocaltrol beat way to order xenical acquisto naprosyn sicuro online lexapro 10mg proventil to buy in the uk without a prescription prandin brand order nationwide benadryl shortage grifulvin v medicine what is ciprofloxacin used for buy voveran in australia amantadine in veterinary medicine why is there a shortage of toradol lexapro online order freedom pharmacy no prescription plavix discount program avodart to buy in england canadian pharmacy generic buy valtrex online nootropil 100 review pharmacy has best price albenza non prescription evista clomiphene citrate how to take clomid ovulation calendar girl licensed pharmacy estrace most reliable place to buy suhagra online average coreg dose indinavir sulfate ethanolate cephalexin user reviews online pharmacies spain metformin price india carafate medication absorption buy micardis tablets usa buy tamoxifen without a prescription from canadian pharmacy does acne return after accutane american express singapore merchant login buy keflex 15mg online viagra nachnahme ventolin 40 mg dose lantus glargine cats comprar revista hermes online non prescription imitrex non prescription drugs that get you high seroquel generico prec,o price of zofran without insurance trimox lawsuit a common side effect of furosemide (lasix) is para que se usa tenormin buy bupron sr without a script low dose zoloft and pregnancy naprosyn australia price real propecia online how to use levitra super active buy tetracycline online with mastercard sialis tablets buy singulair in canada saber si cialis original cytoxan shortage 2012 abana ayurvedic medicine cholesterol is generic proscar effective buy cheap promethazine using pay pal geriforte shortage buy pravachol mexican pharmacies kentucky ginseng prices 2012 generic viagra soft buy canada glucophage refills what are methocarbamol tablets used for buy toradol 10mg es mejor cialis o viagra chlamydia antibiotics not working prescription solutions formulary drugs advair 250 diskus side effects erythromycin canadian online overnight pharmacy where can i buy phenergan in the u.s. can fluoxetine get you high reglan patient reviews what is tadalafil tablets used for discount canadian pharmacy cialis super active cialis sales online cheapest prilosec from order finasteride cheap how much is generic lexapro at walmart didronel prices buy revatio 20 order zovirax medication by mail water pills high blood pressure cheap ventolin mg non persciption propecia canadian pharmacies that take paypal atacand pills drugstore get cardura toronto low coumadin side effects finasteride generico 1mg is flexeril better than robaxin vytorin drug store online buy vasotec online cheap comprar lopid original en madrid kamagra chewable discount voucher purchase altace on line in usa medication for severe anxiety and ocd buying viagra online from canada what color is promethazine codeine syrup cefixime 400 mg po online renagel order prevacid stores best medication to treat ringworm pharmacy that sells viagra super active can i buy kamagra over the counter rhinocort aqua price drugstore makeup brush set alli weight loss drug canada furosemide pharmacy order voltaren gel shoppers drug mart plant vigra green aldactone online in us best generic serophene review imitrex annual sales thyroid medication synthroid weight loss silagra buy online us nymphomax without prescription miami order lantus rx bactrim side effects in men tricor cheap uk buy alli 140 cheap vpxl canada head office cialis 20mg tablets nexium for discount generic avapro in angiotensin viagra online purchase singapore where to get prograf buy trileptal astrailia new anti anxiety drugs panax ginseng comprar med cab voltaren differin uk online suprax in usa buy alli online uk cheap viagra online prescription uk fastest discount code for diamox over the counter geriforte syrup legal buy l-tryptophan online canada generic amaryl price brend viagra -onlain sele best place buy micardis pct ashwagandha order by phone erectile dysfunction drugs over the counter uk levothroid precio mexico where to buy accutane online mexico donde comprar metformina en espan~a allegra d cheapest decadron buy on line calan online overnight shipping xbox live price increase 2013 ampicillin ivtt drug study buy flagyl with no prescription aleve medicine online rhinocort generic equivalent cheap viagra soft india compare prices diltiazem buy aciclovir tablets india buy glucotrol xl generic buy olanzapine with paypal is generic viagra safe yahoo what is hyzaar ds buying septilin from canada no prescription north americanpharmecy review zafirlukast 20 mg vs singulair indian citalopram best otc male erection pill albuterol sulfate dosage for adults buy zetia online no prescription us paxil online ordering order diovan on line canada can i purchase valtrex over the counter where to purchase prometrium order celadrin online uk buy premarin usa prednisone drug interactions alcohol can you order phenergan prescription online buy shuddha guggulu online usa maximum haldol dose best price prinivil where to buy liposafe ointment what does celebrex 100mg look like cheap drugs to get you high reminyl next day buy orlistat tablets usa omeprazole vs esomeprazole side effects paxil anxiety success stories generic name for midamor buy estradiol patch online no prescription purchase lasix mg trileptal ordering no prescription how to take diarex mg order generic ephedraxin us online pharmacy no prescription zyrtec prilosec purchase in canada no prescription prednisone side effects on blood pressure cafergot 10 mg cost betnovate scalp application side effects order medication online for pain buy lipitor india order nolvadex 40mg microgestin 1/20 drug facts purchase fluoxetine dogs buy lotrisone patch where to buy inexpensive calis buyers of vytorin canada long term side effects of norvasc ortho tri-cyclen online meds what does accutane do to the body bactroban legal us order brand levitra online uk pharmacies cipro
LICATHOLIC.ORG | Your Source for Local & Global Catholic News 

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Home About Chancery Other Christians and the Eucharist
Special Circumstances for the Admission of Other Christians to Communion at Catholic Celebrations of the Eucharist in the Diocese of Rockville Centre Print E-mail

Diocesan Norms

Effective November 28, 1999

Introduction

The approval and publication by the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States of new Guidelines for the Reception of Communion (November 14, 1996) provides an opportunity to reflect on the Catholic Church’s current teaching, theology and practice regarding the admission of other Christians to communion at Catholic celebrations of the Eucharist. (1) His Holiness Pope John Paul II encourages us to pray and work for the restoration of unity among all Christians. (2) As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which breaks the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return. (3)

Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Whole Christian Life (4)

Christians celebrate the Eucharist to remember and give thanks for all that God has done for us in Christ, to offer themselves in sacrifice to God and for others in union with Christ, and to be nourished and strengthened by the body and blood--the real presence--of Christ risen in our midst. The Catechism reminds us that those who share in the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Furthermore, “through it, Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body--the Church. Communion renews, strengthens and deepens this incorporation into the Church.... In baptism, we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call....” (5)

The unity of the one Body of Christ is lived out in the midst of a rich diversity, which is a dimension of the Church’s catholicity. Sadly, this richness of diversity can generate tensions within the Church--tensions in spite of which the Holy Spirit continues to work, calling Christians even amidst their diversity to deeper unity.

Catholics believe that the celebration of any sacrament, especially the Eucharist, is both a visible expression of the reality of that community’s unity in faith, worship and community life, and a source of that unity. At the same time, the Catholic Church teaches that, by virtue of our common baptism, Catholics share a “real, even if imperfect communion” (6)  with those Christians with whom Catholics do not share full ecclesial communion. Indeed Pope John Paul II has noted that “certain features of the Christian mystery have at times been more effectively emphasized” in other Christian communities. (7)  It is these two basic principles--sacraments as signs and sources of ecclesial unity, and the sharing of different degrees of a real though imperfect communion with other Christians--which form the foundation of the Catholic Church’s teaching about Eucharistic sharing with our fellow Christians. (8)

Pastoral Reflections On Eucharistic Sharing

Priests, deacons and pastoral ministers are often faced with situations that require prudent pastoral judgment regarding the sharing of Eucharist with our fellow Christians. Special sacramental celebrations, as well as ministry to people who are aged, sick or dying, or incarcerated, sometimes call for special pastoral sensitivity. In light of current canonical norms and theological principles, this document offers some pastoral reflections and guidance.

The 1993 Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity provides us with some helpful guidance in applying and interpreting canon law. The spirit and norms of the Directory and canon law certainly dictate that Eucharistic sharing among Christians who do not share full ecclesial communion would never be done routinely or casually. This would violate the principle that the Eucharist is a visible manifestation of full communion in faith. Consequently, a general invitation should never be extended to Christians who are not Catholic to share in Holy Communion with a Catholic community.

However, the Directory reminds us that “...in certain circumstances, by way of exception and under certain conditions, access to these sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) may be permitted or even commended for Christians of other churches and ecclesial communities.” (9)  This may always be done if a Christian is in danger of death (cf. section IV, below, and canon 844.4). However, Eucharist may also be given to other Christians if there is, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or episcopal conference, some other “grave necessity” or “grave and pressing need.” (10) Consequently, just as it is inappropriate to issue a general invitation to Christians who are not Catholic to share in Holy Communion, it is equally inappropriate to make a general statement indiscriminately barring all other Christians from sharing in the sacrament. Such a total prohibition would be more limiting than the norms of the Directory and the 1996 statement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops now published in all participation materials.

The Directory recommends that diocesan bishops establish general norms for judging situations of grave necessity, taking into account any norms that may have been established by the episcopal conference or synod of Eastern Catholic churches. In the United States, no national norms have been established; the Directory states that where this is the case, Catholic ministers are to judge cases individually according to the norms established by the diocesan bishop for judging situations of grave necessity. (11)

When making a pastoral decision in these situations, two conditions are important: grave necessity and the manifestation of Catholic faith in the sacrament. Grave necessity “is understood to mean a condition in which being deprived of the Eucharist would, in the judgment of a reasonable person, cause someone to experience a significant sense of deprivation. This obviously means more than casually wanting to receive the Eucharist.” Manifesting Catholic faith in the sacrament “means that approximately the same knowledge and faith should be required of the person in these exceptional circumstances as would be required of a Catholic in similar circumstances.” (12)

Canonical Norms And Pastoral Principles For The Diocese Of Rockville Centre

Canon law states that Catholic ministers may normally administer the sacraments only to Catholic members of Christ’s faithful, who in turn may normally receive sacraments only from Catholic ministers. (13) We use the term “Catholic” to refer to those churches with whom we already share full communion. The Eastern Catholic churches (14) and the Roman Church are blessed with this complete sharing of sacramental life. Members of such churches are always welcome to Eucharist, Reconciliation and Anointing at parishes of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. However, as mentioned above, there are occasions when sacramental sharing with other Christians is possible. Indeed, Pope John Paul II remarks that “it is a source of joy” that Catholic ministers, in particular cases, can administer sacraments to Christians with whom Catholics do not share full ecclesial communion. (15)

Whenever a pastoral decision regarding Eucharistic sharing with other Christians is made the following norms and principles are to be followed carefully in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

In considering the possibility for sacramental sharing, especially Eucharistic sharing, it is important to note that Church law makes a distinction between churches whose sacraments the Catholic Church recognizes as valid and which manifest Catholic faith in the sacrament, and other churches and ecclesial communities.

Orthodox Christians

Churches in which the sacraments are considered valid and Catholic faith is presumed include the Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church. Members of these churches may receive Eucharist, Reconciliation or Anointing of the Sick from Catholic ministers if they are in danger of death, (16) or when they freely request the sacraments and are properly disposed. (17) In addition, due consideration must be given and sensitivity shown by both the Catholic minister and the person requesting the sacrament to the discipline of these churches regarding sacramental sharing. (18) If there is a question about the laws of a specific church and if there is time, the person should be encouraged to speak with a member of the clergy or other person learned in the discipline of that church.

When all these conditions have been met, no special permission is needed when these Christians request to share in Holy Communion at a Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. (19)

Episcopal (20) and Protestant Christians

At this time, fruitful dialogue is continuing on the local, national and global levels between the Catholic Church and the Anglican and Protestant communions concerning the sacramental life of our communities. However, since we do not yet share full ecclesial communion, there are stricter conditions for Eucharistic and other sacramental sharing with members of these denominations. Episcopal and Protestant Christians may receive the sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick from a Catholic minister when in danger of death, or in situations of  “grave necessity” or “grave and pressing need,” as interpreted and explained in section III above. In such cases the five conditions of canon 844.4 must be met:

  • The person requesting the sacrament must be validly baptized. Baptism is valid when water is poured or the person is immersed and the trinitarian formula is used. For example, valid baptism is presumed for Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists. (21)
  • The person must manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes in the sacrament. As a minimum for Eucharistic sharing, the person must believe that in receiving the Eucharist we receive the body and blood of Christ. In some communions this is standard dogma; for example, Episcopalians and Lutherans can be presumed to believe in the real presence. For members of other communions there may be need for some further discussion concerning their belief in the Eucharist.
  • The person must ask for the sacrament freely. The request must have been initiated by the person seeking Eucharistic communion.
  • The person must be unable to have recourse for the sacrament to a minister of his or her own community. This condition is met when gaining access to one’s own minister poses a reasonable physical, moral or psychological difficulty, or causes serious inconvenience for the minister or recipient.
  • The person must be properly disposed to receive the sacrament. As noted above “proper disposition” is the same as required for Catholics, i.e., not conscious of serious sin (see canon 916). “Being properly disposed means being in a good relationship with God, or if not, taking whatever steps are necessary to return to a good relationship with God.” (22)

In light of the above canonical norms and pastoral reflections, the following situations are examples--not an exhaustive list-- of occasions, other than danger of death, when a “grave necessity” may be discerned and Eucharist may be shared with Episcopal or Protestant Christians if all the conditions are met:

Catholic Eucharist in Institutional Settings

Catholic ministers who visit hospitals, nursing homes or prisons frequently encounter other Christians who request the Eucharist. People who out of necessity are confined to institutions--willingly or unwillingly, temporarily or permanently--are often in a state of heightened spiritual crisis, questioning, searching and receptivity. They may seek out the comfort and healing of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, from a minister and with a community with whom they share a spiritual kinship. Because of the religious demographics of Nassau and Suffolk counties, the Catholic ministerial presence in institutions is often stronger than that of other Christian denominations. Consequently, Episcopal and Protestant Christians may be deprived of the presence of their own ministers at times when they need or desire the Eucharist most. Their situation may indeed be judged by Catholic ministers as constituting a grave spiritual need.

When in the prudent pastoral judgment of the local pastor all five conditions of canon 844.4 are met, no further permission is needed.

Catholic Funeral Mass

Another example of a pastoral situation that might constitute a case of “grave necessity” and therefore qualify as an exceptional circumstance is the funeral Mass. At a funeral, a Christian spouse, family member, relative or friend of a deceased Catholic might be drawn to Eucharistic communion as a source of strength and consolation in his or her sorrow. This might well be judged as a moment of grace and fulfill the condition of a grave and pressing need.

The principles and norms of canon law and the Directory can be applied by priests, deacons and pastoral ministers in particular cases for individuals who request Eucharist on the occasion of funerals. There may be an opportunity to explain the principles of sacramental sharing with persons who are not Catholic at the wake or at a meeting with family members to plan the funeral liturgy. Because of the complexity of conditions, it is permitted neither to offer a general invitation to all people at the funeral Mass to share in the Eucharist, nor to forbid them by public announcement. (23)

When all five conditions of canon 844.4 are met, the pastor may give them permission to receive Holy Communion at the funeral liturgy.

Catholic Nuptial Mass

When a Catholic marries a validly baptized person who is not Catholic, the sacrament of marriage should normally be celebrated within a Service of the Word. Such a celebration allows all those present to participate in the liturgy and to celebrate marriage as a sign of unity and love. For example, at a Service of the Word, Christians of any denomination may read the Scriptures.

In the Diocese of Rockville Centre, priests are granted the pastoral faculty to determine where there exists a “just cause” for the celebration of the wedding of a Catholic and a validly baptized member of another church in the context of the Eucharist. (E.g., one or both spouses show a serious commitment to celebrating the Eucharist on a weekly basis.) Presuming the priest or other minister has explained to the couple Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and on the sacrament of Marriage they will share, and instructed them on the nature of the inter-church marriage, the priest can permit the nuptial Mass.

The Directory deals specifically with the question of Eucharistic sharing between Christian spouses at their marriage celebration in a Catholic church. It suggests that although Eucharistic communion between the spouses can only be exceptional, it is possible, and might in certain cases be permissible. (24) A decision as to whether the spouse who is not Catholic may be admitted to the Eucharist is to be made according to applicable general norms, “taking into account the particular situation of the sacrament of Christian marriage by two baptized Christians.” (25) The spouse who is not Catholic already shares with the Catholic spouse the sacraments of baptism and marriage. There may be an occasion where the spouse who is not Catholic desires to receive the Eucharist at the nuptial Mass. A spiritual need constituting a “grave necessity” may indeed be present on such an important occasion.

In such a case, the priest, deacon or pastoral minister who is arranging for the wedding may take the opportunity to explain to the spouse who is not Catholic the conditions required to receive the Eucharist. Because of the very public nature of the wedding ceremony, the diocese requires that in such cases the following process be followed:

  • Submit the mixed religion petition. The mixed religion petition is submitted to the Chancellor’s Office when a Catholic marries a validly baptized Christian who is not Catholic. A notation is to be made that the spouse who is not Catholic has requested to receive the Eucharist.
  • With the petition, attach a statement explaining the request of the spouse to receive the Eucharist. 
  • Along with the mixed religion petition, the pastor or the priest who will be presiding at the nuptial Mass should include a written statement explaining how the conditions have been met. That is, the spouse is validly baptized and believes that in receiving the Eucharist, we receive the body and blood of Christ; the person has asked to receive the Eucharist freely and is properly disposed; this is an occasion of grave necessity to receive the Eucharist. The rescript stating that the permission to marry has been granted will also state that the spouse who is not Catholic may receive the Eucharist at the nuptial Mass.

Priest Presider

If the request is made by someone other than the priest presider of the nuptial Mass, the statement explaining the request of the spouse who is not Catholic should indicate that the priest presider will be informed of the contents of the rescript. Whenever possible, the priest presider is to be part of the process of discernment.

Consultation with the Chancellor’s Office

The Chancellor’s Office is available to review the request and assist the pastor for advice regarding the principles of canon law and the Directory.

General Guidelines

Situations may arise where a person who is not Catholic requests to receive Eucharist on occasions other than those discussed in this document. In such instances, the same general principles of church law and pastoral practice apply: the minister must determine to the best of his or her ability if the person shares Catholic faith in the Eucharist, and if a situation of  “grave necessity” is present. It is recommended that, whenever possible, the minister consult the Chancellor’s Office or the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs about the request. As in the case of a wedding, special permission may be required due to the very public nature of certain Eucharistic celebrations.

Prudent pastoral sensitivity requires that if a minister has, in accord with the Directory’s norms, made a pastoral decision to give Communion to a person who is not Catholic, it is incumbent upon the minister to see that this action is not interpreted as a general practice. This is best achieved through general adherence to canonical norms, appropriate preaching, and solid catechesis for both adults and children.

It also requires that Communion not automatically and publicly be withheld from a person known not to be Catholic who comes forward to receive Eucharist. It is best to approach such a person about the matter at another time in an appropriately pastoral manner.

The pastor bears the general responsibility for the distribution of the sacraments in their parishes. All other parish ministers follow the pastor’s direction and keep him informed of situations where giving communion to a person who is not Catholic have arisen. In ecumenical sensitivity, the pastor will also want to communicate recurring situations to the local Christian pastors, especially when their own congregants are involved.

Scripture Readers at Catholic Celebrations of the Eucharist

In accordance with the principles of the Directory, Bishop Murphy hereby grants delegation to priests to give permission for members of Episcopal and Protestant communities to read Scripture at a Roman Catholic celebration of the Eucharist for prudent pastoral reasons. (26)

Conclusion

As the Jubilee year 2000 draws closer, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II urges all Catholics to pray and work untiringly to build relationships with our fellow Christians which will ultimately lead to full ecclesial communion, without abandoning the unique gifts and contributions of each community.  Catholics look forward in joyful hope to the day when all Christians can feast at the same Eucharistic table.

If Christians, despite their divisions, can grow ever more united in common prayer around Christ, they will grow in the awareness of how little divides them in comparison to what unites them. — Pope John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, n. 22

These diocesan norms were recommended for approval by the Senate of Priests, June 24, 1999, and formally approved by the Most Reverend John R. McGann, D.D., September 14, 1999. The norms take effect on the First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 1999.

Endnotes

  • This document is not intended to address church discipline regarding Catholics sharing in communion with other Christian communities. Canon 844.2 states that “Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it... 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.” These churches are listed on page 4, section IVA. Catholics requesting sacraments from ministers of these churches are to respect the discipline of these churches regarding sacramental sharing. Orthodox churches do not allow Christians who are not Orthodox to share in the Eucharist under any circumstances. Because we do not yet share full ecclesial communion, Catholics are not at this time permitted to receive Eucharist in Episcopal or Protestant churches.
  • Cf. Pope John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint (Encyclical on Commitment to Ecumenism), 1995, and Tertio Millennio Adveniente (Apostolic Letter on Preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000), 1994.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1398.
  • Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism), n. 3.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1396.
  • Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism), n. 3.
  • Ut Unum Sint, n. 14.
  • Cf. Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, n. 129.  Henceforth “Directory.”
  • Directory, n. 129, referring to canon 844.4 and eastern canon  671.4.
  •  Note that the 1983 Code of Canon Law’s phrase “urgeat gravis necessitas” has been translated by the Canon Law Society of America as “grave necessity,” and by the canon law societies of  Great Britain and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada as “grave and pressing need.” The official French text of the Directory, as well as its English translation, favors the second rendering (“situations de grave et pressante necessite”).
  • Cf. Directory, n. 130.
  • Bishops of Kentucky, Ecumenical Handbook for the Dioceses of Kentucky, 1995, n. 89, 92; cf. also Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Guidelines for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, 1996, p. 7.
  • Canon  844.1.
  • Both Ukrainian Catholic and Byzantine Catholic churches are ministering in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
  • Ut Unum Sint, n. 46.
  • Note that “danger of death” is a phrase used to denote situations when there is a reasonable possibility of death (i.e., major surgery or whenever general anesthesia is used) and not only in extremis situations.
  • Proper disposition is understood as the same disposition required of Catholics, e.g., not conscious of serious sin. (See canon 916.) For further elucidation of “proper disposition,” cf. section B, below.
  • Directory, n.125.  Any suggestion of proselytism is to be avoided.
  • In January, 1998, the NCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs published two brief pastoral guides for Catholic-Orthodox Marriages: A Guide on Catholic Orthodox Marriages for Catholic Clergy and Other Pastoral Ministers and also A Guide for Catholics Considering Marriage with an Orthodox Christian. Copies are available from the USCC Publications Office (800-235-8722).
  • In the United States, these are members of the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. This also refers to members of the Anglican Communion throughout the world.
  • Some communions “dedicate” rather than baptize, or a person is baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.” These baptisms are not considered valid.
  • Kentucky Bishops, n. 89.
  • Cf. section II, last sentence of third paragraph.
  • Directory, n. 159-160.
  • Ibid., n. 159.
  • Cf. Directory, nn. 127 and 133. Special permission is not required for Eastern Catholics, Orthodox Christians and others listed on page 4, section IVA.