From a reader:
I have a question that I cannot find a direct answer: Our pastor made the decision to allow non-Catholics in RCIA to receive Holy Communion.
He stated that “Anyone who believed the Church’s teachings on the Mass and the sacraments” were allowed. [NO!]
On a less serious note, he is also allowing non-Catholics to serve at the altar at Mass (both children and adults). Is this permissible?
No, this is not permissible in most cases on the pastor’s own authority.
Since the Orthodox, Polish National Catholics, and Old Catholics are closer to us in doctrine, etc., there is a bit more leeway, if they ask for Communion and if they are properly disposed (cf. CIC 1983 c. 844).
However, in the case of most non-Catholic Christians the diocesan bishop makes the determination on a case by case basis. (Cf. c. 844 .4)
The diocese bishop alone can make a determination about non-Catholics and Communion.
I note that these are potential converts. What part of the process of entering into the Catholic Church’s COMMUNION does the priest not understand?
I suspect that the diocesan bishop would not be pleased to learn of this development. If the pastor printed this somewhere, perhaps a copy should be sent to the chancery.
Serving at the altar is a different issue. There is nothing precisely against this, but if there are people who are Catholic available, they, Catholics, should be serving.
I suggest that the potential converts to the Church not be demeaned by being treated as if they were something that they aren’t.