Advice needed. Close family member, non-denominational church and the Eucharist

:confused: :frowning:

Good morning, everyone. I could use some advice on how to handle a family situation. (If this is posted in the wrong area or has been addressed previously, please let me know.)

Here’s some background: I am a new Catholic (baptized, confirmed, first communion and married this past winter). My husband and his siblings were born and raised Catholic. My husband’s brother has been attending a non-denominational protestant church for the past 7 or 8 years. All of his adult children have followed him there and have gone so far as to be “re-baptized” in that church (nearly killed my mother-in-law). I do not know if he and his wife have formally “defected”.

The situation is this—whenever my brother-in-law and sister-in-law attend a Catholic event (i.e. wedding, funeral), they receive communion. I know that they do not attend mass so I’m pretty sure that neither of them has gone to confession. Isn’t receiving communion saying “yes, I believe this is the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ…and I believe everything the Church teaches?” Obviously, this is not the case. How should we charitably handle this situation? Maybe they truly don’t know that it’s wrong to receive?

A close friend of the family just lost his mother so I know this situation will arise (again) very soon. After they receive communion, would it be wrong for one of us to say something like “I am so happy that you’ve come back! Which parish are you attending?” to get a dialogue started? Would that be deceitful? My husband has previously tried to talk to his brother, but he just gets defensive. Any insight and/or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and God bless!

It sounds to me like your brother-in-law already knows that he is “breaking the rules”. I have no idea, given that, what the best thing to do would be. It is certainly disrespectful of him. Is there someone closer to him that could talk to him about this?

One thing you can do is to bring this matter to the attention of the priest who is going to celebrate the upcoming Mass. He can make an announcement at some appropriate time that only Catholics “in good standing” should come forward in the Communion line. He will know how to say this with sensitivity, and still be firm in getting the message across. It also relieves you of the burden of personally saying something, which it seems to me, would be difficult for you.

They already know that they can’t receive Communion, so it doesn’t look like anything else you tell them will change their minds. I would leave this in the hands of the priest and let him do the announcing, or handle it in some other way he deems appropriate. You should bring it to his attention though, because he has a solemn responsibility to admit only Catholics to Holy Communion.

Thank you both for your replies.

UPDATE: The funeral mass was held this morning. My BIL and SIL did not receive communion!! :signofcross: My husband and I were very surprised. The priest did ask that only Roman Catholics in good standing (not his exact words) come up to receive. However, this did not prevent them from receiving in the past. Maybe they finally get it. :shrug::

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