Dealing with phobias


#1

One of my Protestant friends keeps bugging me about Catholicism. Aside from the doctrinal differences that I doubt she'll ever accept, she also brings up the candles and receiving wine.

With the candles, she is afraid of fire; though she'd never admit it. Understandable, considering she was burned as an infant and carries her scars to this day. Due to this fear, she sees Mass as dangerous with the plethora of candles everywhere.

Likewise, when receiving the Eucharist, everybody drinks from the same cup. I told her the person wipes it everytime, but this didn't satisfy her.

Is there any way I can alleviate her fear? I doubt it'd do anything, but still, I figured I'd ask.


#2

No one has to receive Holy Communion. It is only to be received by those disposed to receive it, that is, those who are free from mortal sin and who are prepared to do so. Furthermore, no one has to receive one Species (consecrated bread or wine) or the other. You may receive one or the other, or both.


#3

Most masses have 2 candles. And they remain on/near the altar in the sanctuary. So she never need approach the candles as the priest brings communion to the people, they never enter the sanctuary.


#4

After she converts…she can sit in the first pew and be the first to receive from the chalice.

My pastor might refer to her affectionately and humorously as an “Early Christian” : :wink:


#5

If she has a germ phobia, she’s never going to receive the Precious Blood. But she doesn’t have to, it’s optional. I’m not sure how she’d feel about someone handing her something with their bare hand she is to put into her mouth, either, but phobias aren’t logical so possibly that would be okay.

If she has a fire phobia, she’s not going to be in a church where there are candles. Some phobias, especially those acquired in very early childhood are essentially incurable because they get fixed in the brain during development.

But God can fix that. Pray for her. More, fast or do some other form of penance for her. If you are dealing with true phobia, encouraging her to get over it will only have the effect of making her more afraid and resistant. If God Wills it, she can be cured.

In some places, like New Jersey, I believe, fire codes prevent having any open flames in certain churches and they use electric candles.


#6

Indeed, during the bird flu outbreak, the use of the chalice for general reception was suspended in my parish for health concerns.

ICXC NIKA


#7

[quote="Evan, post:3, topic:310735"]
Most masses have 2 candles. And they remain on/near the altar in the sanctuary. So she never need approach the candles as the priest brings communion to the people, they never enter the sanctuary.

[/quote]

No, there are churches having a plethora of candles, apart from those on the altar. They are also in profusion at eg, the Easter Vigil.

ICXC NIKA


#8

[quote="Pedro_1987, post:1, topic:310735"]
One of my Protestant friends keeps bugging me about Catholicism. ** Aside from the doctrinal differences that I doubt she'll ever accept,** she also brings up the candles and receiving wine.

With the candles, she is afraid of fire; though she'd never admit it. Understandable, considering she was burned as an infant and carries her scars to this day. Due to this fear, she sees Mass as dangerous with the plethora of candles everywhere.

Likewise, when receiving the Eucharist, everybody drinks from the same cup. I told her the person wipes it everytime, but this didn't satisfy her.

Is there any way I can alleviate her fear? I doubt it'd do anything, but still, I figured I'd ask.

[/quote]

So why worry about these phobias? Is she going to convert? Not likely. The candles and germ concerns are just red herrings.

:shrug:


#9

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:5, topic:310735"]
If she has a germ phobia, she's never going to receive the Precious Blood. But she doesn't have to, it's optional. I'm not sure how she'd feel about someone handing her something with their bare hand she is to put into her mouth, either, but phobias aren't logical so possibly that would be okay.

If she has a fire phobia, she's not going to be in a church where there are candles. Some phobias, especially those acquired in very early childhood are essentially incurable because they get fixed in the brain during development.

But God can fix that. Pray for her. More, fast or do some other form of penance for her. If you are dealing with true phobia, encouraging her to get over it will only have the effect of making her more afraid and resistant. If God Wills it, she can be cured.

In some places, like New Jersey, I believe, fire codes prevent having any open flames in certain churches and they use electric candles.

[/quote]

I disagree with what you said about certain phobias' being incurable. Specific phobias, such as those the OP refers to, are among the most curable of all psychological disorders by means of some form of either behavioral or cognitive therapy. There is no reason for anyone today to suffer from this particular disorder. Social phobias are more difficult to recover from and agoraphobia is the most challenging kind of phobia to treat. What cognitive-behavioral therapies do not do, however, is provide the individual with the root cause of their phobia, but they are very successful in treating the symptoms.


#10

[quote="Pedro_1987, post:1, topic:310735"]
One of my Protestant friends keeps bugging me about Catholicism. Aside from the doctrinal differences that I doubt she'll ever accept, she also brings up the candles and receiving wine.

With the candles, she is afraid of fire; though she'd never admit it. Understandable, considering she was burned as an infant and carries her scars to this day. Due to this fear, she sees Mass as dangerous with the plethora of candles everywhere.

Likewise, when receiving the Eucharist, everybody drinks from the same cup. I told her the person wipes it everytime, but this didn't satisfy her.

Is there any way I can alleviate her fear? I doubt it'd do anything, but still, I figured I'd ask.

[/quote]

With regard to the candles, depending on her personality type, she might attend a Mass just to "prove" she's not afraid of fire. (Not suggesting you suggest that to her.) Some people (I'm one of them) will do things like that to prove their point. They'll do what they are afraid of to "prove" they're not afraid. Or because they don't want their fear to rule their life.

With the chalice, it's the Blood of Christ. Doesn't that make it "germ free?" At least in my mind it does. No germ stands a chance against the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.
Kris


#11

It’s no more germ free than the consecrated bread is gluten free. It is the body and blood of Christ under the appearance of wine. And if germs can live in wine they can live in Christ under the appearance of wine.


#12

It’s just my personal opinion. I would never receive the chalice if I was sick, however I don’t worry about what other people might have, either. Although one could argue there’s a difference between germs and allergies, and can germs “live in Christ”? Even under the appearance of wine? Not arguing, just…wondering…pondering…
Kris


#13

Since God is the author of life and loves all this creatures. And germs are living things. I would assume that He would love them as He cares for the sparrows. All the accidents of the blood are wine; so the germ would know no difference (if germs are aware) and would not be harmed by the wine that is the blood of Christ any more than it would be harmed by wine.


#14

[quote="klm120861, post:10, topic:310735"]

With the chalice, it's the Blood of Christ. Doesn't that make it "germ free?" At least in my mind it does. No germ stands a chance against the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.
Kris

[/quote]

[quote="Evan, post:11, topic:310735"]
It's no more germ free than the consecrated bread is gluten free. It is the body and blood of Christ under the appearance of wine. And if germs can live in wine they can live in Christ under the appearance of wine.

[/quote]

While klm's thought is understandable theologically, Evan's makes sense theologically and practically. I mean no disrespect, but the fact remains that wiping may not be enough; not to mention, wiping with the same cloth negates whatever little protection the cloth offers in the first place.
And there was a different priest a few weeks ago. Due to the flu...

But this brings to mind a question. I have seen people take the bread and dip it into the chalice; this was many years ago, thus I don't remember if it was a Catholic Church or not.
Thoughts??


#15

[quote="cheezey, post:14, topic:310735"]
While klm's thought is understandable theologically, Evan's makes sense theologically and practically. I mean no disrespect, but the fact remains that wiping may not be enough; not to mention, wiping with the same cloth negates whatever little protection the cloth offers in the first place.
And there was a different priest a few weeks ago. Due to the flu...

But this brings to mind a question. I have seen people take the bread and dip it into the chalice; this was many years ago, thus I don't remember if it was a Catholic Church or not.
Thoughts??

[/quote]

Self-intinction is forbidden.


#16

So it was not a Catholic Church…
But why forbidden? Remember, I am a curious newbie with limited resources…


#17

I respect your opinion, very sincerely. You’re wrong. I don’t have your expertise. I do have such a phobia. I am incurable. But my post was intended to point out that people who don’t have phobias often minimize or misunderstand. They think because candles are nothing to fear, that appeals to reason can make a difference. They only make the victim feel more alienated and bad about themselves.

I think that there are extremely effective therapies to deal with many phobias. But friends just need to help their friends feel safe and valued as they are. IMO, anyway.


#18

Thank you!! :thumbsup: Agreed!!
I am dealing with many, and I think most might even be curable. Some definitely won’t be at all. But without the resources, none will be cured. So I wished I had friends who could reasonably help me feel reasonably safe and valued. And I need to still deal with these fears knowing I’ll have no roof over my head shortly. A fear unto itself…:frowning:


#19

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