Not a pest at all, that's what we're here for.
It's all tied up in unity. St. Paul says that the Eucharist makes us one
body. (1 Corinthians 10:17) In a sense it is a sacred family bond; it both expresses
and makes us family with one another.
Historically, the Eucharist has been
the way that churches expressed such a deep union with one another that
they could be considered one church. To separate a group of churches (or
people) from the Church due to heresy or disobedience was called excommunication,
denying them communion. To be in communion with one another
means that two churches are so united that they acknowledge the same essential
beliefs and the same leadership. This is the way the Church worked from
its inception up to the Protestant Reformation. The word communion has
the word union in it which implies a unity between the person
and the Church. If you do not believe what we believe, you are not in full
union with us, and have no right to receive communion.
So, for a Christian to come into a Catholic Church and receive communion
would be like going into someone's house and helping oneself to what's
in the refrigerator, or inviting oneself to the dinner table. Unless you're
part of the family (or have permission), it's not done. When you enter
someone's house, you follow their rules. If they invite you to share in
the life of their family in a certain way, then great. If not, you respect
We understand that Protestants think differently about communion than we do. It's
important that Protestants not think of us denying them communion, as if
another Protestant church denied them communion, because we think so differently
about what communion is.
We also believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ,
and that dire consequences result from unworthily receiving the Eucharist
(1 Corinthians 11:29). We want to protect people from what we believe is receiving
the Eucharist unworthily. It would also be a profanation of the Eucharist,
from our perspective, for someone who did not believe the Eucharist was
really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ, to receive Communion.
So in short for us, Communion is a sacred, intimate, family bond and to
intrude on that would be like intruding on someone's family. For two thousand years, it has been
a symbol of doctrinal unity and agreement, not just
in our Church, but in all the ancient Churches prior to the Reformation.
By excluding Protestants from Communion, we don't mean to say:
- that they
aren't Christians, or
- aren't welcome to our churches.
The only reason this is done is because they do
not believe everything we believe and do not subject themselves to our
Hope this helps,