Today in church I saw someone I knew who is Baptist. His wife was raised Catholic, but when it was time for communion he actually went up and received it. The whole time he was chewing gum, and her family let him do it. The only thing I can think of is they don't know any better? My question is how bad is what he did, and also what happens to someone who isn't Catholic but receives our Lord anyway.
He gets excommunicated.
No, actually nothing happens. It’s a serious sign of disrespect, if such a person knows what he is doing. And communion should be refused, if the priest realizes the situation. But beyond that, nothing happens.
St. Paul writes (1 Cor. 11:27-30, RSVCE)
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 of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
We do not know the heart of the person who received, but it is possible he was in mortal sin (not having been properly instructed, formed in virtue, or given access to the sacrament of Penance). And if he is a Baptist, he probably doesn’t believe in the Real Presence. It’s also possible he’s a saint and does believe; but it would still be sacrilege since he is visibly out of communion with the Church.
“Nothing happens”? I think not.
I think what the poster meant is that nothing negative happens if he received through invincible ignorance. IF he had no idea about how sacred the Eucharist is then his culpability would be lessened if not removed. Jesus is still present in the Host and he is still receiving the Real Presence of our Lord but not under what Saint Paul prescribes. As far as the family is concerned, each member would have to be examined to also see their understanding of the Eucharist AND the ability for them to convey this to him. They might know but he is not willing to listen or believe what they are telling him.
I think that our place is not to judge but to pray that he one day will come to an understanding of Who the Eucharist is and how to receive in the context of that understanding. Yes, something happens since he did receive our Lord - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. What happens? Only God knows. We are bound by His commands, He is not…teachccd
Lacking what I have boldfaced in your post, by definition of the three requirements for mortal sin, he would most likely not be in the state of mortal sin. Not every Protestant is in the state of mortal sin simply because they so not have access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They obviously have not been properly instructed or they would be in the Church that Christ founded upon Peter. All Christians can be formed in virtue but limited to the capacity that they can understand and have accepted…
We will pay for our sins whatever The Lord deems appropriate ! This sin also falls onto the Catholic’s with him that allowed it. Silence in this instance is not golden.
Communion can be refused to anyone that is chewing gum! Such a sign of disrespect is never acceptable.
I totally agree!
From what my wife has explained to me, those who are truly ignorant of the true meaning of the eucharist (and should not receive it) are not held accountable. She also told me that those who eat the bread receive Jesus (and everything that goes with it) no matter what; so perhaps if this man is not receiving condemnation he is receiving some sort of grace? Even if implicitly? That grace leading him to the true meaning?
I am not assuming you have bad intentions, but this post seems awfully lighthearted on a subject that is to be taken very seriously. Considering that some of the harshest words of the Bible are those that address it, it’s nothing to joke about,
With the exception of the Eastern Orthodox, non-Catholics are not to receive the Eucharist. People who do when they shouldn’t either don’t know better or they think they know better than the Church. The first is not sinful and just needs to be addressed better from the pulpit (i.e. addressed at all). The second reason is sinful- it is prideful and a sin against charity to those who have welcomed another to their Church. Pray for them- they likely haven’t seen things that way, and they certainly don’t know what (or rather, Who) the Eucharist is or else they wouldn’t dare to receive unless they are a practicing Catholic, are in a state of grace, have observed the fasting laws of their Rite, and have given themselves sufficient time to prepare their souls to receive the Lord as His Holy Bride, the Church, presents Him to us.
Look, I honestly found the question funny – no offense, OP. The reason I found it funny was that, as other posters and yourself have pointed out, people are generally not held accountable by God for wrongs they did not know were wrong. Moreover, since the man was a Baptist, he clearly did not believe that the Eucharist was the body of Christ, and therefore he *could not *have believed there was any sacrilege involved. If he knew the rule, he should have understood his action to be disrespectful, but he would not imagine it sacrilegious.
So why was it funny to me? Because clearly God was not going to punish this man, and so only the Church had any recourse. But you can’t excommunicate someone who doesn’t claim to be in union in the first place.
I do not think that I was making light of the Eucharist, in any way, shape, or form. I apologize for the appearance that I was, which was completely unintentional. I was making light of a question.
teachccd, on what do you base this likelihood? One doesn’t have to be well formed in the faith to commit mortal sin. The law of God is written on our hearts (Rom. 2:15). One *does *need instruction to know when to abstain from Communion, which was my point. Please note: I didn’t say most Protestants are in mortal sin, but that the person in question *could *be.
I have known protestants who will occasionally go to a Catholic church with friends or relatives (or even alone for one reason or another) and receive communion. They have told me they do so and that it isn’t any of the Church’s business whether or not they do. Even if they do not know WHY it is wrong for them to receive the Eucharist, they know they shouldn’t (if for no other reason than in the interest of charity).
Although we will not be held accountable for doing sinful things that we didn’t know were sinful, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’s a free pass to those whose understanding of truth is not the Catholic understanding. God is Truth itself, and He is not relative. Even though those who receive communion when they shouldn’t due to ignorance might not be punished for doing so, they will certainly become aware of their misunderstanding (in the next life if not this one)- and that, though not necessarily a matter of sin, is a big deal.
Have you looked at the context of this quote? It seems to be discussing something else entirely, and I’m not sure what. Moreover, there were no Protestants when it was written, so that every Christian had the same Eucharist.
“Could” is the operative word here. We cannot judge people who receive Communion and I was using my observation of the original post to discern that there most likely was not an intent to be offensive to the Sacrament. It seems that we agree here but are just approaching it from different angles. God bless…teachccd