I don’t have really strong feelings one way or the other about “open” Communion–i.e., communing the non-baptized. I can see arguments both for and against it. But I do have some questions about how I’ve seen it put into practice.
At several churches I’ve been to that practice open Communion, there is little or no effort at instructing the congregation in the meaning of the sacrament. Which is odd since you’d think that if atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Jews, etc. are being invited to participate, they might be interested in knowing just what it is they’re being asked to participate in. Surely we can’t assume that everyone already knows what Communion is all about, can we?
This raises the suspicion that open Communion–at least as it’s practiced in a lot of places–is really more about the appearance of inclusion for inclusion’s sake than about inviting people to partake of the Eucharist understood specifically as the sacrament of Christ’s presence. It also suggests that if you really want to invite people to participate in Communion with some meaningful understanding, something like catechesis is necessary. But doesn’t this just call the whole practice of open Communion into question? I’d be interested in hearing what others think about this, especially if they think they’ve seen it put into practice effectively.