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Catholic Dictionary




The deliberate administering of Holy Communion by a Catholic minister of the sacrament to a baptized person who is not a Catholic. Also the reception by a Catholic of Holy Communion from non-Catholic minister of religion. According to the directives of the Holy See, "Admission to Catholic Eucharistic Communion is confined to particular cases of those Christians who have a faith in the sacrament in conformity with that of the Church, who experience a serious spiritual need for the Eucharistic sustenance, who for a prolonged period are unable to have recourse to a minister of their own community, and who ask for the sacrament of their own accord; all this provided that they have the proper dispositions and lead lives worthy of a Christian" (In Quibus Rerum Circumstantiis, June 1, 1972). More-over, "It is the local ordinary's responsibility to examine those exceptional cases and to make concrete decisions" (Dopo la Publicazione, October 17, 1973). The question of reciprocity arises only with those churches which have preserved apostolic succession and the sacrament of orders. "Hence a Catholic cannot ask for the Eucharist except from a minister who has been validly ordained" (Directorium Oecumenicum, 55).