My sons and I belong to a Boy Scout Troop sponsored by a Methodist Church. Every year, the Troop attends a service there on Scout Sunday. One to show our gratitude for all the church has done and provided for us, and two, to show that Reverence is still a value required for Scouting.
Every now and then, the service includes communion. We are called upon to partake in the sharing of the bread. I encouraged my sons to follow along as I did. When I told my wife (a cradle Catholic) she blew her top. She told me we had sinned. I disagreed.
we already had attended Mass and taken Communion that day as part of our weekly obligation.
we recognize that this is not the Eucharist,
Is there a problem taking “bread” in a non-Catholic church service?
I think that since we were invited by the pastor with him knowing we are a group of multiple faiths (including Jewish),
it would be improper to refuse.
Thanks for the post. My parents are Nazarene and I go with my parents on special occasions like Mothers Day and stuff like that. I go to the really early mass and do Holy Communion. I’ve always wondered what I should do…
I’ll be looking forward to hearing what others say…I’m a new Catholic so I have no idea what the proper thing for me to do.
No, you shouldn’t take the Methodist communion. By taking communion you are saying that you accept all the teachings of that church, which obviously is untrue. I’m not sure if you sinned by doing that, since you did not know. If I were in your position I would bring it up in confession and see what the priest says. In the future, it would be best to respectfully decline. The Methodist pastor should respect your beliefs and not take offense, especially if you explain to him why you feel uncomfortable with it. You might even be able to get him to agree to have the Scout Sundays on days where they don’t have communion (usually they only have it once a month or so, not every Sunday like in the Catholic Church). This would avoid any misunderstandings/confusion/hurt feelings among the congregation when some scouts are unable to take the communion. And more importantly, it would avoid putting the Catholic scouts in that awkward position.
Yes, there is a problem. Catholics may NOT receive communion in a non-Catholic Church (except for the Orthodox Church under extenuating circumstnaces outlined in Canon Law).
Since you did not know, your culpability is mitigated. But, you should not do so at any future event and should explain to your children why.
It is not improper to refuse to violate the teachings of the Church. What is improper is to have a Boy Scout service with multiple faiths in a Methodist church using Methodist liturgy and expecting non-Methodists and non-Christians to participate.
A Catholic may not receive “communion” in a Methodist service.
Blessings, I think it is great that you find the time to get involved in your children's activities, and I commend you for trying to teach them reverence. However, I think it boils down to this. What is the Eucharist to you, that you feel it is ok to receive it in other churches? Keep in mind that the communion is only a part of the Eucharistic celebration, in which we are fed the Word of God (Gospels,Homily), affirm our beliefs (Creed), offer the perfect sacrifice of Christ to God the Father (The great amen) all as one community (The congregation).
I do not know much about the Methodist church but I'm sure that in their celebration they express parts of their own beliefs, which are different and might even contradict what we Catholics believe. Partaking of their table, based on the context of our own understanding of the Eucharist, sends the message that we some hoe agree with these beliefs.
However do not worry I do not think you have committed any sin by doing this (if you did I'm sure you have done worst things than this.:D )
Agree with other posters - absolutely not - it is never okay to partake of their communion as it is not the same as in the Catholic church at all. Confess this at your next opportunity.
I’m glad you were able to fulfill your Catholic obligation at mass.
It is okay to attend the service, but do not feel obligated. The pastor is cordial and will invite all - it would be odd not to invite you or include any scouts of that faith.
For those that fulfilled their Catholic obligation that week they need not attend. Only your methodist scouts should attend if they are so inclined. I know its tough with multi faith scouts - I remember those days well - its quite an ordeal sometimes to accomodate all - but worth the effort and planning.
As a deacon, you should have gone through Catholic theology and canon law training.
And, you should know the answer to this question is not based on “what the Eucharist means to you”. That is subjective and moral relativism.
What matters is what the Church teaches. And, the Church is clear that Catholics may not participate in the communion services of non-Catholic denominations, nor may non-Catholics participate in the Eucharist.
Please tell me that the Methodist pastor wouldn’t expect a Jewish Scout to take communion with the rest of the congregation. And if he doesn’t expect Jewish Scouts to take it, why does he expect the Catholic Scouts to do so?
A simple “No thanks, we aren’t Methodist” should suffice. And you’d be supporting the Jewish and other non-communicants as well.
According to the Articles of Religion in the Book of Discipline of the Methodist Church,
Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
If next year’s Scout Sunday occurs again on a “communion Sunday” I would, as others have already recommended, politely decline to receive because to do otherwise would imply a unity of belief that clearly does not exist.
YES. We are not to give out any mixed signals that make it look as though the non-Catholic communion service is equal to or similar to the Catholic Mass.
PS: Also, since the subject of the gathering was “Reverence for God,” you could explain to them that one good way to show reverence for God is to show respect for the traditions in which we worship Him.
It’s not a matter of being polite. If you shake your head or merely say “No, thank you–I’m Catholic,” I doubt this Methodist minister would be offended.
My whole extended family, with the exception of my sister-in-law, is non-Catholic. They are Lutherans, Methodists, and Anglicans. I am one of my Lutheran niece’s godmother–I was still an Anglican when she was born.
When my precious niece was confirmed last year, I was, of course, expected to attend. My sister warned me that all family members would go forward with her and take communion together. I consulted my priest, and he told me to go forward with the rest of the family and cross my arms over my chest. My husband, my children, and I did this. The minister walked right past us, realizing that we weren’t receiving. It was not uncomfortable at all, and the minister was certainly not going to waste time trying to get us to receive something we obviously were not prepared to accept.
When our daughter gets married in another year or so, we will have the same situation in reverse at our parish. My sisters, brother, mother, and stepfather, plus assorted spouses, nieces, and nephews will not be able to receive. I am delighted that my daughter and her fiance want to have the Eucharist at their wedding! My extended family won’t be able to participate fullly, and for that I am saddened, but I am more concerned with offending Jesus than I am my family. They’ll have a great time at the reception, anyway.
I think that you have found the answers that you were searching for. I know that you had asked me this question before and I apologize for not coming through with a direct answer for you. I was leaning towards no, but did not have sufficient backup for this. Again, I agree that due to your lack of knowledge of this, the culpability has been lessened, if not completely diminished.
Chalk it up in the “will know better next time” category!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Methodist would like to point out, that this Methodist pastor should NOT be having Holy Communion celebrated at this type of service, in the first place…
We have Scouting Sunday in my church, too. Holy Communion is never, ever scheduled at a time when an inter-religious group, whether scouts or otherwise, is attending. It is very rude of the pastor of this church to set up his service in such a way, as to allow for this kind of unfortunate occurrence. Shame on him, for not being more considerate of the religious practices of other faiths!!
Indeed I am! A humble servant in the vineyard of the lord!
I’m sorry my answer disturbs you my Brother, perhaps I should elaborate to put your heart at peace.
Yes, In Baltimore (The archdiocese where I serve) the formation process is quite rigorous.
On the risk of being uncharitable, I must have to ask you to go back and look at my answer again. I never said:
“what the Eucharist means to you”.
What I actually said was:
“What IS the Eucharist to you, that you feel it is ok to receive it in other churches?”
What it MEANS and what it IS are two very different things, my Brother. Obviously newbetx has not come to terms to what the Eucharist IS to him. (I do not blame him; the vast majority of Catholics are very poorly catechized, which is the fault of the priests and deacons). The Eucharist does not “mean” a symbol of unity, the Eucharist IS the symbol of unity. But don’t listen to me; hear what the CCC has to say:
1325 “The Eucharist IS the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that UNITY of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”
I should also point to 1369, 1391 and 1398 for helpful reflection (By the way the CAPs in 1325 were added by me for emphasis.)
I suspect that the reason why he went ahead and received communion in the Methodist church is because in his mind he has not made this separation of the Eucharist MEANING something and the Eucharist BEING something. (Sorry to bring you into the discussion newbetx but I could not find any other way)
I’m sorry my brother I fail to see how my answer reflects these two things, I humbly ask you to explain so I do not make the same mistake again.
Again if you go back and look at newbetx post, the question he poses is:
“Is there a problem taking “bread” in a non-Catholic church service?”
I have two choices 1) give him the answer, “Yes there is a problem, don’t do it again”, but then I will be putting myself along with those priests and deacons that have done a poor catechizing job for him, or 2) I can explain to him why it is a problem, which is what I did. I think my approach was more helpful, and in line with the pastoral responsibilities I have as an Ordained Minister.
I’m a she, thanks. But, that’s an aside, as it’s hard to tell the sex of a person online sometimes.
Yes, but there again, you are implying that it’s a “feeling”… that he “feels” it’s ok to receive in the other church. Feelings are subjective. What he was asking for was whether it was right or wrong. A yes or a no.
Yes, he should examine what erroneous assumptions brought him to the conclusion, but they should be based on doctrine and teaching not on feelings.
Perhaps it was just the way you worded it.
This is where we disagree. He was looking for an answer-- a yes or a no-- and why. You gave him a “gaze at your belly button and see if it comes to you” response.
If there were no “yes or no”, such as applying a moral principle to a complex ethical decision, then it would be different. But, that is not the case here at all.
You had the opportunity to catechize in a straightforward manner, and I think that is what is lacking in general in catechesis-- no one willing to just say “no”.
Supplying the catechism references to him, rather than me, would have been good.
I completely understand you intent now, and I think it was all in the way it was worded-- which happens quite frequently on an online forum.
I apologize if I came across harsh with you, which wasn’t my intent.
No prob MM. I expected a quick answer, but now I have even more questions. There is a wealth of information here. I just have not had time this weekend to digest it. I will post when “spare” time becomes available.
Thanks everyone else for their replies. I needed the Catechism references are welcome! I could not find something specific when I went looking.