—from the writing of Nicola Bux included in the article The Myth and Reality of Second Marriages among the Orthodox by Sandro Magister (Emphasis in bold added.)
The erroneous “opinion” is widespread today among clerics and faithful, for which reason, as Joseph Ratzinger has observed, “one must again become very clearly aware of the fact that the Eucharistic celebration is not devoid of value for those who do not receive communion. [. . .] Since the Eucharist is not a ritual banquet, but the communal prayer of the Church, in which the Lord prays with us and takes part with us, it remains precious and great, a true gift, even if we are unable to receive communion. If we were to regain a better understanding of this fact and thus see the Eucharist itself in a more correct manner, various pastoral problems, as for example that of the position of the divorced and remarried, would automatically lose much of their oppressive weight.”
One asks oneself how it has come to this point. Various authors during the second half of the last century supported the theory – as Ratzinger recalls – that “derives the Eucharist more or less exclusively from the meals that Jesus ate with sinners. [. . .] But what follows from this is an idea of the Eucharist that has nothing in common with the custom of the primitive Church.” Although Paul protects communion from abuse under anathema (1 Corinthians 16:22), the aforementioned theory proposes “as the essence of the Eucharist that it be offered to all without any distinction or preliminary condition, [. . .] even to sinners, and indeed even to nonbelievers.”
No, Ratzinger writes: ever since its origin the Eucharist has not been understood as a meal with sinners, but with the reconciled: “From the beginning there were very well-defined conditions of access for the Eucharist as well [. . .] and in this way it built up the Church.”
The Eucharist therefore remains “the banquet of the reconciled,” something that is remembered in the Byzantine liturgy, at the moment of communion, with the invitation “Sancta sanctis,” holy things for the holy.
Also worth reading: Card. Collins: “receiving communion is not obligatory at Mass”