Thank you for answering my question on the Eucharist. But if I can pester you just a little bit... Why is it so bad for another believing Christian to share in the body and blood? It's the WHY I don't understand. You do such a lovely job of explaining the church that I'd adore your take on it. But don't worry, I'll go celebrate mass with my own kind tomorrow and restrict my time in catholic churches to the Nicene creed and few prayers extra prayers for the unity of the 'one holy catholic and apostolic Church'.
The original question was if the reader, a non-Catholic, could take Communion at the Catholic Mass. I think it was Ash Wednesday, oh, so long ago last week. I found a really great Catholic answers site that had a very good explanation and I was going to save us all some time by posting the link. Now I can't find it.
I wonder if I should pray for the intercession of St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost items, since it was something I had and lost, or should I look to St. Isidore the patron saint of the internets?
Rather than pester either of them, I'll try to reiterate the answer, which was in dialogue form.
Why can't I go to Communion during your Mass?
You can't, because we're not sure you understand what's really going on here. It's not a symbolic lunch time with Christians, it's the actual Body and Blood of Christ. It's a really, really big deal called Transubstantiation, only the priest can do it, and unless you understand it and believe it, showing up for it is not advised.
On top of that, you have to be prepared. You can't show up with a mortal sin on your soul, for example. Neither can I.
Oh, please, I haven't been living under a rock. Not only do I understand Transubstantiation, I believe it, too.
That's nice. I can't think why you wouldn't want to go ahead and convert, in that case, especially if your denomination only believes in some version of a symbolic body and blood of Christ. (And surely you realize that only a priest can change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, so whatever is going on at the altar over there in your denomination is not Transubstantiation.) That's where you really lose me, but that's off topic for the moment. I believe you, you believe it. But many, I would venture to say, the majority, of non-Catholics do not. So we ask you not to partake for your own good, since we can't have a belief checker in the Communion line for all the non-Catholics and it's grave sin to cavalierly dance up to the rail to be part of the 'party'.
That was the answer on the site I lost. I thought it was a good answer.
Well, almost a good answer. The truth is, one could argue that we don't have a sin checker for Catholics who may have mortal sins or their souls, either. I would only hope that any Catholic would know better than to try that, landing them in double mortal sin status. Nobody would be that big of a goofus.
And since we don't have a belief checker or a sin checker, people who don't know any better could be following along in line and receiving Communion. Since they don't know any better, it's not a sin. If they know better and are doing it anyhow, it's a big fat sin.
But now you do know, so it is. And speaking of "once you know it's a sin, it's a sin if you do it", I fell upon this site that will help everybody get through Lent without sinning, at least where fasting and abstinence are concerned. (I know there are myriad other sins with which you could busy yourself.) Meat, no meat, what's a fast, what's abstinence; it's all here, spelled out so clearly, with a big picture of Jesus to contemplate while you get it together.
Please pay extra special attention to number SIX, which explains that when you don't fast and abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, you commit a mortal sin. And now that you know that, guess what? If you didn't know that last week for Ash Wednesday, you're off the hook. But as of now, you are on notice for Good Friday and from now on.
So, get it together.