Child refusing to take Communion


I’m new here. My name is Kris, and I am Catholic.

My son, who is 8, recently received his First Holy Communion. He did not have any problems during this, and everything seemed fine.

The following week, we went up to receive. I kept him in front of me to make sure he didn’t forget anything :wink: and all seemed to go well.

When I got back to our seats, he had a funny look on his face, and he took the Host from his mouth and said it tasted bad. (I consumed the Host)

Well, now he refuses communion completely. I offered to have him only receive from the chalice, but even that he is refusing. I am at a loss. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thank you,

I assume he went through the sacramental preparation classes at your parish?
I would ask the teacher/instructor if they could offer any direction.

8 years is young for some… Mature for others… Each child is different… As the child gets older and he knows and understands the sacrament better, then I’m sure he will desire to receive.

Why does he say he doesn’t want to recieve? If the answer has to do with the taste, he probably isn’t mature enough to understand.

Guidance from the Communion Instructor is good as mentioned above, but do not be afraid to share your own thoughts with your son. This is not unusual, and maybe he just isn’t ready. Definitely don’t force the issue.

Also, thank you for consuming the host. You did good there Kris :thumbsup:

I am from an immigrant European family. If I had done that at 8 years old (69 years ago) I doubt that I would be alive today or at least not crippled from the beating I would have gotten!
I realize that times have changed and so have child rearing methods. However, such an act requires that you as a parent should severely discipline your son.He must be made aware of the consequences of his sacrilege. If he gets away with such a sacrilege, he can easily turn into the most monsterous brat you have ever experienced…and we haven’t even approached his teenage years yet! Unpunished, you have a monster on your hands. What does his father say about this, if he is in the picture?
I suggest that you take your son to the rectory and ask to see the Pastor. If he isn’t available, ask to see any priest. Tell the priest exactly what you wrote us in the thread. The priest will handle this situation properly.

I agree with George. You need to make sure he receives communion. Explain it to him all again and slowly and make sure you let him know how important it is and that he has to do it.

Should your advice be followed, I can see him turning completely away from the Church. Just what we need!

I teach 2nd grade RE and prepare children for first Communion. Do Talk to your child about what is bothering him. Children are frequently very surprised at the taste and consistency of the host. Talk to your priest and ask his advice. I did have one child have a problem his 2nd or 3rd time he received. In fact I happened to be behind him and had to quickly follow him to his seat because he didn’t consume it right away. a little time spent re-explaining what a gift Jesus’ body is goes a long way toward helping them get accustomed to receiving. Chances are, in time your son will be willing to try again. You might also prepare him and your other children for a change in the host if you are traveling. I recall some surprised faces when receiving a different type of host in other parishes.

I know that children in some parishes practice with pieces of bread, nilla wafers, etc. If this is the case in your parish, he may expect the host to taste like food and be at odds with its taste.

Sorry, I don’t have any actual advice, just that potential insight. Good luck and try not to shame/force your kid. I imagine he’ll grow out of it quickly if you follow the good advice others have given here.

CCC 1389 The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.

Try not to get stressed by your son’s actions.

He’s made his First Holy Communion.

the best thing to do IMHO is show him how important the Eucharist is to you.

Show… not tell.

How? You need to figure that out.

Talk to a priest that you have a god relationship with regarding your son’s actions. Believe it or not, it could be a temptation that he is dealing with. The priest will discern the situation

Has he gone to Confession lately?

'Cause you know, it’s possible that the kid committed (or thought he committed) some kind of sin before Communion the second time, and is scared that that’s why the Host tasted funny. (Or something else could have happened that messed with his tastebuds or his confidence. Doesn’t matter what. Acid reflux, pieces of food stuck in his teeth without his knowledge, Eucharistic miracle – all sorts of things happen to kids. Who knows.) Maybe he thought he broke the fast, that sort of thing.

I agree that it’s worrying that he came back from Communion and gave you the Host, and yeah, that’s weird. But from how you talk about it, it sounds like he wasn’t trying to be defiant or anything?

I would also like to know if any of his little friends (or TV shows) have been spreading urban legends and frightening or scandalizing him. You know - Catholics are cannibals and vampires, blah blah. He might also be having a sudden kid theological problem, like the perennial question of when Jesus is digested. Some kids have very tender hearts and consciences about digesting the Lord, so stopping reception of Communion because of that wouldn’t be unheard of. So lots of things could be going on in his head, pious and not.

If he won’t talk to you about it, maybe he’ll talk to a priest. You could even go to Confession at a different parish, to give him the opportunity not to be shy about talking to the priest if he chooses to go to Confession there too. You might also let him know that Catholic Answers has lots of professional explainers and theologians, if he needs to talk to someone to explain questions he has.

But obviously it’s not a sin not to go to Communion, so other than encouraging him and seeing if there’s another issue, don’t push him too much.

Great advice! With 8 year old sometimes things take time…you got 9 months to work with him!

This idea is so much better than the threats, cajoling, and making demands.

Be patient with the little guy, God isn’t finished with him yet!

I am really amazed at this. One poster says, apparently that not receiving is a sacrilege.:confused:

No one is required to receive at each and every Mass we attend. We are not. Only the Priest has to do so. We are only required to receive once a year. That s it. It is not a sacrilege not to receive and I am amazed that someone would say it is.

Hey the kid is eight years old. Give him a break. He will receive when he is ready.

Wow! So many great replies! :slight_smile:

We have sat down with him and have spoken to him about the seriousness of this. I made sure to tell him that he did a great job of not spitting the host out onto the ground, but rather, he knew to give it to myself.

In retrospect, we believe the problem was caused by a different communion wafer. When he received the second time, it was no longer the small, round communion wafer that we usually are given, but it was a rather large, rough triangular one, MUCH thicker in consistency. (Even my husband and I had said after mass how much different it was)

His dad and I noticed as well that he has been having issues with not wanting to eat lately, too. He tells us he is hungry, but when he tries to eat, his stomach hurts.

We spoke to our Priest, who also thinks it may be partly a maturity issue, and advised us to keep explaining the importance of receiving the host, but not to push him. He’ll be ready a little later.

For now, we’re going to keep working with him, but will also be getting him to a doctor to rule out any medical issue. (He’s always been a picky eater, so I suspect it’s probably either a texture issue or something related).

He has gone to confession, and he never gives us a problem with that.

Thank you all for your replies! I’m so happy I found this place!
God Bless!

I agree with the previous poster that you try and find out what exactly the issue is. You really need to find out. It’s entirely possible that this child has a valid reason for what he did. Like he thought he was in a state of mortal sin and hadn’t been to confession and may have panicked not sure what to do.

And frankly, I’m disgusted that anyone would tell you you should severely discipline an 8 year old for this, especially without even trying to find out the motivation. I feel sorry for anyone that grew up that kind of a punitive and abusive household, even worse to try and perpetuate that on the internet to people you don’t even know.

I’m glad you figured it out. Your son is lucky to have you as his parents.

That’s most encouraging. Keep up the good work.

Dear Friend,

you son’s distaste for food,
his 'tummy ache"
his dislike of a wheat product

Very familiar.
I’m celiac,
many people are,
and your son may be?

Is it worth putting the question to your doctor?

Kind wishes and prayers,

In my parish, the children make their First Holy Communion by intinction, and at their practice session they receive unconsecrated hosts, dipped in unconsecrated wine. That way, when they receive the Precious Blood from a chalice at a later Mass (where intinction is not done), they won’t be tempted to spit it out because of the flavor. The hosts we use are the thin, white ones that have little flavor. Some churches use thicker wheat hosts which might not taste good to some children.

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