My non-denom girlfriend does not appreciate the fact that non-Catholics can not take communion. I’ve tried to explain to her, that it’s because she doesn’t fully understand or agree with what our communion actually is - however I said that the last time this topic was brought up…was not a sufficient answer for her.
(I really need to become smoother and more polished in my apologetic conversations…knowledge is one thing, presentation and effectiveness in communication are another)
Feel free fellow Catholics to describe how you would handle the offended non-catholic as to why they can’t take communion.
Thank you, God Bless!
I do not agree with NCAA rules on why I may not play football for Texas, but I still have to abide by them. the institution or organization sets the rules, not outsiders who do not plan to even join the institution. you might begin with the common courtesy argument.
If the person is open to a conversation about the subject, I would talk about respect for the customs of the place where one is. Would your friend go into a Japanese person’s home without taking off her shoes, or would she dress inappropriately if she were visiting a Mosque?
If she wouldn’t, then just ask her to show the same level of courtesy to Catholics when she is visiting at Mass. Mention that she will be taken a lot more seriously when she starts talking about her own religious beliefs, if she has shown that she can respect ours.
Some people cannot be spoken to, though. They are militant about having to receive Holy Communion at Mass in order to prove some kind of a point. These people, I simply don’t invite.
If I see them at Mass, I play dumb and ask them whether they have made a Profession of Faith in the Catholic Church? Since I noticed that they were receiving Holy Communion. I don’t know if that does anything - it makes me feel better, though, for not just standing by and not saying anything.
If that answer is not sufficient for her then I highly doubt that any answer will be sufficient for her.
The Church sets the rules for who can and can not receive. She is not part of the Church so why would she wish to receive communion when that act, the act of reception of communion, is a statement that one is in communion with and believes what the Church teaches?
Just as with other groups out there that require membership. Does she feel entitled to what those groups members get when she is not a member of it? Does she find the answer that she is not a member insufficient?
The Catholic Church consists of seven sacraments - Baptism, Confirmation, Communion (Eucharist), Marriage, Confession (Penitence), Anointment of the Sick, Holy Orders.
Other Christian churches essentially pick from the Catholic list in defining their sacraments and exclude or fundamentally alter them in accordance with their own doctrine.
As a result, the Catholic Church honors those Christian churches’ sacraments which correspond to its own understanding of them.
This is no different than how various Protestant denominations honor some (but rarely all) of the Catholic sacraments—for example, baptized Catholic converts trying to become Baptists or Pentecostals are required to be rebaptized.
The most important Catholic sacrament is the Holy Eucharist, as it is Christ himself. There are a number of requirements to administer the Eucharist which are not met in the Protestant churches. Moreover, the Catholic Church requires three prior sacraments in order for one to receive the Eucharist—baptism, confession, and confirmation. Since Protestants do not recognize the sacrament of confession, they do not avail themselves of it, cannot be confirmed to receive the Eucharist, and therefore do not receive it.
The Catholic Church does allow other denominations with similar views of the Eucharist and valid prerequisite sacraments to partake of it within the Catholic Mass—one example is the Eastern Orthodox.
This is not due to enmity, but due to the Catholic belief that the sacraments are not created by Man but by God, and therefore are inalterable by Man.
This will prove a bulwark against error in the looming gay marriage debate.
Our Pastor made a point in his homily today that Holy Communion is actually the third and last of the Sacraments of Initiation for adults.
This might also be an approach to take - that, since she hasn’t received Confirmation in the Catholic Church yet, that she is not yet eligible to receive the third Sacrament of Initiation, Holy Communion.
Does she believe that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity, Jesus in his entirety? If she doesn’t, then she should be able to understand why we, we do believe that, might object to a non-believer receiving Jesus without belief. Refer to St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:29.
If she does believe what we do about the Eucharist, then she should be in RCIA!
I would explain that the Eucharist is the cornerstone of Catholic WORSHIP. If she is not prepared to adore the Eucharist as God, then she should not even dream of receiving. It is not a symbol, it is not just some cracker and wine (or, worse, grape juice). The Eucharist is alive; it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To receive Him, whilst still believing that it is not Him, but only a symbol, is a grave sin. It is, as Paul says, receiving unworthily. The Catholic Church knows this, even if your non-denom girlfriend doesn’t, and the Church is, in effect, saving her from a terrible sin before God.
When we receive the Eucharist, we publicly declare that we believe in the Real Presence of Christ. If she is ready to make that declaration, she can join RCIA and she will be welcomed home with open arms. However, if she is not willing to make that declaration, but still goes to receive Him in the Mass, it would be a lie about her beliefs. Hopefully that will make sense to her.
Great Additions everyone! Thank you very much - I love plain analogies for I can always easily remember them - but I also love the true source of our beliefs-- those facts, and being able to explain to her them might be the next step towards her understanding. Once she understands, I hope she beings to thirst and hunger.
What’s really great, is after reading some of these threads, then going to Mass, and having an improved reverent mindset.
Scott Hahn explains this in “Our Fathers Plan”.
At the 34:15 point of the Gospels 2 program, Scott and Jeff Cavins explain why non Catholics can’t recieve the Eucharist in a very simple way. You can download this program in mp3 format from the link I provided.
Again it is the Gospels 2.mp3 program that has this discussion.
It takes a few minutes for them to explain it, so I won’t in this post.
If you listen to it with windows media player or any player, just move the “seek” tab to the 34:15 minute point of the audio program.
Going off of what JimG said look at 1 Corinthians 11: 27-29. Best thing I could think of with this quotation is this is a safeguard for your girlfriend that she does not condemn herself. Also, if your girlfriend is so into wanting to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, even though she does not profess the Catholic faith, to me it seems that Sunday worship is becoming more about her and what she can do partake in rather than about Jesus. Not that I want that to be taken as a slam against against your girlfriend. Its just something I have learned recently and have seen over the course of the years.
A Catholic must be in a state of grace meaning no mortal sins. This is where Confession is absolutley essential before partaking in the Euchrist.
The Catholic Church has specific guidelines and all have to do with the beliefs of one who is Catholic.
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat the bread and so drink the wine” 1 Cor 11:27-28.
To receive unworthily profanes the Euchrist and offends God.
At present Christianity is divided into three main branches (Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox) and these three branches are not fully united to each other either in terms of practices (including the sacraments and their interpretation) nor in terms of theology.
This means that there are considerable differences between the three churches on virtually all important matters of the Christian religion, from who rightfully has authority to rule, who can attend the most sacred part of the cultic ritual (eucharist), what books are to be included or excluded from the Bible, how one is saved, the role of tradition, individual freedom and conscience, and so on.
Looking from the outside, it can be hard to understand these squabbles, but at the same time if one is more reasonably informed, one also begins to understand why certain beliefs and traditions are central to each branch of Christianity, as they maintain a strong sense of identity and continuity through history.
If I were a Catholic, I would patiently explain that the eucharist has a very holy and sacred meaning which is central and integral to our faith, and because of this holiness, it requires a certain reverence and preparation for reception. As with a holy place like a Mosque or a Buddhist temple, when a non-believer enters such a place, they are still bound to carefully respect the inner sacredness of that space and not profane it with offensive or sacriligious behaviour. Likewise if I were a Protestant, I would instruct a Catholic to have appropriate reverence for when the divine word is proclaimed and preached, or if I were Orthodox, I would instruct Catholics and Protestants to show appropriate respect to icons and the divine liturgy.
It is common sense and decent to show a reasonable degree of respect to the norms and regulations of a religion in one of their sacred spaces or places, whether you believe in any religion or not. I think this is a good way for a Catholic to explain (along with their theological beliefs) why non-Catholics can’t receive the Eucharist. A good knowledge of comparative religion would also help; a Christian for example can’t be ordained a Buddhist monk and take part in the holiest ceremonies of that religion.
Arguments based on Catholic doctrine simply won’t work. They may plant seeds, but the very fact that she “wants” to go to communion in a Catholic Church without being Catholic means there’s a lot of ground of cover. It won’t happen anytime soon.
What you need is a solid nondenominational argument that she can’t ignore. The problem is, there is no such thing as a sound non-denominational argument…just kidding! Seriously though, you might have to tailor it to her current beliefs. For example, she probably accepts that we are to respect those in authority because God has willed that they be put in such a position - Romans 13:1
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
**The magisterium is the governing authority of the Catholic Church and has declared limits on who may receive communion. She is bound by the authority of Scripture to accept their ruling. ** God has ordained their authority. She is free to express her displeasure, but her protestations must end there.
She won’t happily accept this, because she probably doesnt really care about being obedient to the word of God here, she probably wants to prove her point. But this is an argument she will not be able to easily refute without pitting Scripture against Scripture. It is, in essence, a non-denominational argument for the exclusivity of communion by virtue of God ordained authority.
If Paul felt it were binding on Christians with respect to non-Christian authorities, how much more so is it binding for those authorities which are Christian? There is no solid refutation for such logic.