Communion in nondenominational churches


#1

i have a friend who converted from Jewish to Christian. she is nondenominational. i invited her to church and she countered with an invite to her church. we have agreed to go to each others’ churches. she asked a question about if she was allowed to use holy water or cross herself. i told her she do everything we did accept take communion. she didn’t understand that because she said another friend invited her to church and she did take communion - that person told her she could.
i also told her that when i went to her church i would not accept communion. i tried to explain how it didn’t seem right to me since in my faith we have a different belief about the eucharist.
anyway, i would like to just know if i am right to not accept communion at her church and how to explain our faith in a way that would not be offensive to her. i’m also trying to formulate an explanation of purgatory other than simply saying “you’re wrong”!


#2

Correct, you should not receive communion at her church.

This tract might be helpful in further explaining the Church's teaching on who can receive the Eucharist:
catholic.com/tracts/who-can-receive-communion

These might be useful in explaining purgatory:
catholic.com/tracts/purgatory
catholic.com/tracts/the-roots-of-purgatory

In general, if you need help explaining something the CA tracts are a good place to start.


#3

You are 100% correct both times. For now, she is not allowed to receive Communion in a Catholic Church and you are not allowed to receive in her church. Good luck with your discussions; it sounds like you are making progress. :rolleyes:


#4

[quote="donna369, post:1, topic:330647"]
i have a friend who converted from Jewish to Christian. she is nondenominational. i invited her to church and she countered with an invite to her church. we have agreed to go to each others' churches. she asked a question about if she was allowed to use holy water or cross herself. i told her she do everything we did accept take communion. she didn't understand that because she said another friend invited her to church and she did take communion - that person told her she could.

[/quote]

Well, you need to point out to her that, unlike any other Christian denomination (including "nondenominational" Christian denominations), the Catholic Church (alone with the Orthodox Church) have kept the apostolic tradition that at the hands of priests who are successors of the apostles, the consecrated bread and wine become the true body and blood of the Lord, in which Christ is really present.

You may for instance remind her that Ignatius, disciple of John the apostle and second successor of Peter as bishop of Antioch, wrote in a letter to the Smyrnaeans: "they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again".

You may also remind her of the writings of another Church Father of the first century, Justin Martyr - those who lived when there was no such thing as a bible and learned the faith from the apostles or their immediate disciples and successors:

We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration * and is thereby living as Christ enjoined.

For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus*

Also, it was the great theologian and Church Father Cyril of Jerusalem who wrote:

[quote]The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ.

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith.

As for why is a Catholic not allowed to receive communion in any other denomination, the answers are several.

  • because we know that, as they too profess but for other reasons, that bread and wine is not the true body and blood of Christ, but a symbolic offering, yet "our own eyes have seen the salvation which He has prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal Him to the nations, and the glory of His people". By not partaking in any Communion but the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation, we lead people towards Christ. This is done with great love and humbleness.

  • because such was the instruction we received from the apostolic tradition, when already we had separated communities. For instance, the same Ignatius of Antioch exhorts us not to follow a maker of schism or walk in a strange doctrine, and clarifies:

Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of his blood; one altar, as there is one bishop, with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons.

Another Church Father, Jerome, translated to Latin the first and greatest Bible, the Biblia Sacra Vulgata, which for a thousand years was the definite edition, and even after protestantism developed it was regarded as the standard scholarly Bible. Well, this is what he wrote to the bishop of Rome:

the assaults that I suffer in the desert are severer than ever ...] The church is rent into three factions, and each of these is eager to seize me ...] I meantime keep crying: "He who clings to the chair of Peter is accepted by me." ...] I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but Your Blessedness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built.

A good reading for her could be "History of the Catholic Church from the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium" by Dr. James Hitchcock.

Finally, from Catholic to Catholic, it is forbidden for us by Canon Law to receive Communion in any place other than the Catholic Church: "Catholic members of Christ's faithful ... may lawfully receive them [the Sacraments] only from Catholic ministers" (# 844.1). However, only a Catholic readily realizes that this is not why we don't receive communion in other denominations, but simply the codification of the rule, where the reasons are to be found in the deposit of faith, and these are what lead someone to understanding and fulfilling the law.
[/quote]


#5

It would be wrong for you to receive their communion simply because it is not a valid Eucharist. It is not valid simply because they are not of an apostolic church and do not have valid apostolic succession. In the Catholic Church, receiving the Eucharist is the ultimate form of worship. If you receive communion that is not valid you would be worshiping something less than God and of course this would be idolatry.

It would be wrong for your friend to receive communion in the Catholic Church simply because he/she would not know fully what it is he/she would be receiving. Furthermore, it is the Church’s responsibility is to protect his/her soul from committing a sin that they might otherwise commit if they did in fact learn the complete truth of what it is they would be receiving. Meaning until the church is confident that he/she is sure they believe in and understand what it they are receiving and submit to the complete teaching of the Catholic Church of which brought him/her this substance they would not be allowed to receive.

Hope this helps,
Peace!!!


#6

Just want to say good for you for taking the time to check this out before hand:thumbsup:


#7

[quote="donna369, post:1, topic:330647"]
i have a friend who converted from Jewish to Christian. she is nondenominational. i invited her to church and she countered with an invite to her church. we have agreed to go to each others' churches. she asked a question about if she was allowed to use holy water or cross herself. i told her she do everything we did accept take communion. she didn't understand that because she said another friend invited her to church and she did take communion - that person told her she could.
i also told her that when i went to her church i would not accept communion. i tried to explain how it didn't seem right to me since in my faith we have a different belief about the eucharist.
anyway, i would like to just know if i am right to not accept communion at her church and how to explain our faith in a way that would not be offensive to her. i'm also trying to formulate an explanation of purgatory other than simply saying "you're wrong"!

[/quote]

I think you were wise to take precautions in this incident. The topic of Lutheran & Catholics inter-communing points out exceptions.


#8

thank you all for your input. i did not realize it was forbidden! my mother and i and my brother went to a church my sister had started attending once were the people give communion to each other. very strange to me. so we gave it to each other, but we were not aware of this being wrong. i will share this knowledge with my mom. she is the one who brought me back to my faith. :D
i will also endeavor to have my dear friend understand these things. her other friend must be unaware as well.


#9

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