Why Don’t Catholics Have an “Open Table” Communion?

I am a Presbyterian, and from my church background we have what we call the “Open Table”… We therefore invite members of any branch thereof to join with us in this Holy meal”

It is from that teaching that I divine that this is the Lords Table not the Table of Presbyterians, or Methodists, Anglicans or Catholics.

BFHU: The belief in open communion is a Protestant tradition. Because you are used to it and adhere to it, it seems correct and right to you. But, Phillip, I am not trying to be mean, however:

Mk 7:8-9 ” You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! Thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on.”

This teaching informs my thinking, when I attend a Catholic church.

BFHU: I hope you respect the Catholic Church enough to humbly abide by her rules not to receive communion.

I can honestly say that I recognize in the Roman Catholic church, a branch of Christ’s church. I am therefore compelled to recognize that the celebration of the Eucharist is done in your church’s obedience to Christ’s command – and that it is therefore the “Table of Our Lord”.

BFHU: True

If I as a Christian from a Presbyterian background can honestly recognise in the Catholic church a branch of the church of Christ, and can see the Eucharist as the Lords Table – I feel it is my duty to follow His command and participate in Communion when it is celebrated.

BFHU: You should not. We are all believers in Christ but our Faith is not ONE. There is not unity between your beliefs and ours so to receive commUNION in the Catholic Church is sort of a lie b/c there really is not UNION. Your church and ours are not really ONE as Christ commanded in John 17. The Protestants left the Catholic Church, divided and multiplied and rejected many of the doctrines taught to the apostles by Christ. They rejected the Unity desired by Christ.

I just cannot see though, how you can justify the refusal of participation in the Table of Our Lord to anyone who does not accept your branch of the Church’s teaching on transsubstantiation.

BFHU: This practice dates back to Christ and can be verified by the writings of St. Justin Martyr in the first centruy after the death of Jesus.

We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…”

-Justin Martyr -FIRST APOLOGY, 66,20–(150 A.D.)

Is it not the willingness of the individual to publicly profess a faith in Christ Jesus that is important and his willingness to comply with the command of Our Lord to “do this as often as ye meet”.

BFHU: No. There must be unity and a heeding of the warning Paul gave us. The Catholic Church echoes Paul in requesting that non-Catholics refrain from communion and retains all the teaching on communion that is as ancient as Christianity.

I Cor. 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Surely to impose a “test” on participants in Communion is a step too far.

BFHU: There is no imposition of a “test”. We leave it up to the individual to discern his worthiness (no unconfessed mortal sin) and union with the Church.

It is a demand not that we recognise this as “The Lords Table” but the table of the Roman Catholics.

BFHU: No it is an admonition that if you receive without recognizing that the bread and wine are the real and substantial body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ or with unconfessed mortal sin on your soul, you receive unworthily and eat and drink condemnation on yourself. The Church would be derelict in her duty to allow anyone who wanted to receive communion to do so regardless of their worthiness. For instance, in the US Catholic pro abortion politicians should NOT present themselves for communion in a Catholic Church because they are in mortal sin due to their support and promotion of abortion. They are commplying with grave EVIL. But we have some bishops without the backbone or the faith to enforce Catholic teaching.

Also the converse would also be true – since we Presbyterians do not accept transubstantiation, doesn’t that mean that what we call “The Lords Table” is a false and empty ceremony – a “blasphemy” in fact, as Dr Paisley would call the Mass.

BFHU: Protestant communion is not transubstantiated and therefore safe for Protestant consumption. The Real Presence of Christ is not there. Catholics are not allowed to partake of it, b/c it is empty. This guards our faithful from thinking they have fulfilled their Sunday obligation by going to a Protestant service. I have never heard anyone call it a “blasphemy.” And of course, also because it is a lie to receive commUNION in a community we are NOT actually in UNION with.

And finally, doesnt the Catholic church in certain circumstances permit the giving of the Eucharist to Protestants?


It really does seem to me that what you are arguing is a cleverly disguised promotion of the rightness of Roman Catholic teaching alone –

BFHU: There is nothing “clever” about our teaching. Jesus taught this to the apostles and Paul even wrote about it in his letter to the Corinthians. What is “disguised” about it? We are pretty up front about it, except some heretical priests who think the Catholic Church should have open communion. They allow people to eat and drink judgment upon themselves.

and indeed the complete wrongness of anything else including all Protestant teaching on this.

BFHU: Yes. Protestant teaching on this is wrong. Even Martin Luther disagreed with Presbyterian beliefs on their communion.

By what authority did Calvin jettison 1500 years of Christian belief in Transubstantiation? How did he dare to do such a thing?!

With such an attitude, can we ever achieve christian unity? Or is that concept merely the absorption of Protestants once they give up their “wrong thinking” of all that we hold dear?

BFHU: Christian unity will never be achieved by the Catholic Church giving up any of her doctrine. The point of ecumenical talks is to try to clear away the misunderstandings, prejudices, lies, and half-truths that adhere among many Protestants regarding the Catholic Faith. It is hoped that men of good will will realize that the Catholic Church really is the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, and APOSTOLIC CHURCH founded by Jesus Christ Himself.

I am a convert. I was a very zealous Protestant– sola scriptura down to the ground. And believe me Protestants have a lot of traditional beliefs about the Cathoic Church that are completely wrong. But they believe them in complete innocence.