Episcopalian Friend invited to special Catholic Ritual


#1

A dear friend of mine is interested in attending a special ritual I will be a part of this summer at my Catholic Parish.

I would love for her to be there, as we have been friends for years. Problem: She has expressed anger and confusion in the past as to why she is considered "not good enough" to receive Holy Communion while visiting a Catholic parish. She feels she should just go up and receive and it won't matter at all.

I explained that we must be Catholic, in a state of grace, etc, to receive Holy Eucharist in a Catholic Church, that she is not excluded because we think ourselves superior, but that The Church cannot allow it for a variety of reasons. ( I went into some detail for her in a gentle manner, but I was firm. ) I think she is seriously considering attending RCIA and is drawn to the Church.

Can you suggest ways to help her understand and lessen her anger and confusion? Also, another friend is interested in coming, but she is quite anti-Catholic and an evangelical. I also love this friend and yet wonder if she should attend at all. She is outspoken about how she feels about some of our most basic tenets. We have to avoid the subject of religion when we meet because of this.

I am actually concerned that they might suddenly come up to receive. I'm thinking I should instead invite them to a small get- together afterwards, at my house, rather than risk a potential problem. My priest is most willing to offer them a blessing if they would come forward with their hands in the proper position. The one friend which I mentioned earlier would think that this is a slight. The other friend? I'm not certain. Yet both are fine ladies, pillars of their communities who simply have very strong ideas and opinions on matters of faith. Because they are outside of the Church, they may just not understand the reasoning behind these things. I hope I can continue to do my best to share with them, in Christ's love and compassion.
Opinions?


#2

I'm going to 'hitch a ride' on this thread:D.

I am having the same issue, but with several Greek Orthodox friends.


#3

The 1st friend who is Episcopal, I'm not sure how to answer. I think the bottom line is that she should respect the teachings of the church she is visiting. I understand that she feels slighted in some way, but she shouldn't want to do something that in the long run would cause you pain.

The 2nd friend may surprise you. I have a friend who is through and through full gospel Church of God. Of all of my friends she is the only one that came to the Easter Vigil to see be brought into the Church. She felt her love for me and her desire to support me overshadowed our belief differences. I didn't even invite her b/c I truthfully didn't think she'd come. She asked to come.


#4

Partaking of the Eucharist signifies one believes in the Holy Catholic Church and all its teachings. Do your friends believe in all the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church? If yes, they should convert; if no, they should refrain from the Eucharist.

It is not like having "the Lord's Supper" in a protestant church where all are admitted to the table. There is no expectation of unity of doctrine there, just that you have a general belief in Jesus.

By the way, what is the event your parish is having? It may have some bearing on how others respond to your question.


#5

How about this:

If you were going to an election campaign where the three parties were debating, and you were going to support the Conservatives, would you go and accept a button from the Liberal or Socialist parties?? No. Because, you're there to support the conservatives. You don't believe or support what the Liberal and Socialist parties do, but you do support the Conservatives.

She's not Catholic, nor does she fully believe anything the Church teaches. So, why would she want to receive the Holy Eucharist - something which signifies that we accept and truly believe in everything the Church teaches, by consuming the Body, Blood, SOul and Divinity of Our Lord!


#6

[quote="anonymous_in_fl, post:4, topic:287647"]
Partaking of the Eucharist signifies one believes in the Holy Catholic Church and all its teachings. Do your friends believe in all the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church? If yes, they should convert; if no, they should refrain from the Eucharist.

It is not like having "the Lord's Supper" in a protestant church where all are admitted to the table. There is no expectation of unity of doctrine there, just that you have a general belief in Jesus.

By the way, what is the event your parish is having? It may have some bearing on how others respond to your question.

[/quote]

Hi, it's a "third order/ tertiary" ritual. I appreciate your kind thoughts and suggestions.


#7

Sorry...what is the special ritual??


#8

[quote="Kathryn_Ann, post:6, topic:287647"]
Hi, it's a "third order/ tertiary" ritual. I appreciate your kind thoughts and suggestions.

[/quote]

I'm not sure what that is, but I've gained a lot of insight from so many of your posts that I wish I could be there for you.


#9

I would tell her that Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present (body, blood, soul, and divinity) in the Eucharist and when we go up to the priest to receive Him, the priest says, "The Body of Christ" and we reply, "AMEN" which means that we truly believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. Then ask her if she really believes this. Tell her it is not just non-Catholics that have abstain from Holy Communion. Even Catholics have to when they are not free of grave sin or do not hold fast to the teachings of the Church.

I Corinthians 11:27-28; “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.”


#10

One explanation involves sacramental theology. Receiving communion is not only a sign of our communion with Jesus but also a communion with the Catholic Church. If your friend is not in communion with the Catholic Church, then, it would be a false sign. The fact is that the body of Christ is broken, divided into many denominations. We long for the day when we are truly one, joined together in one body. For now, the pain we experience when we cannot join together in communion motivates us to work together for true unity.

Another argument is that of discipline or authority. The Catholic Church, like the Orthodox churches and some Protestant churches, practices a "closed communion," admitting to communion only those who are Catholics in good standing. Wikipedia has a helpful, informative page on "closed communion."

Hope that helps.


#11

Does this happen to be a situation where they will have the oppertunity to greet Father prior to the event, and you can introduce them as visiting Christian friends, or something? Then I'd assume Fr would get the hint, too...


#12

Given the situation, and the expressed beliefs of the 2 friends, I would not invite them to the ceremony. It will be too much stress on you if you are afraid they will receive in spite of being asked not to. I think it would be best for everyone if they were just asked to the reception instead. Maybe the priest could come over for a little while and bless your gathering?


#13

[quote="maltmom, post:8, topic:287647"]
I'm not sure what that is, but I've gained a lot of insight from so many of your posts that I wish I could be there for you.

[/quote]

You are so kind to say that. It's a Benedictine Oblate ritual, a first official oblation of a layperson becoming an oblate. (From the latin, "offering") oneself. Thank you so much!


#14

[quote="Kevin812, post:2, topic:287647"]
I'm going to 'hitch a ride' on this thread:D.

I am having the same issue, but with several Greek Orthodox friends.

[/quote]

Interesting. The Greek Orthodox are one of the few groups that actually ARE allowed at Catholic Communion, although ironically, it is usually their OWN beliefs that prevent them from doing so (which are basically identical to those of Catholics on the issue).


#15

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:12, topic:287647"]
Given the situation, and the expressed beliefs of the 2 friends, I would not invite them to the ceremony. It will be too much stress on you if you are afraid they will receive in spite of being asked not to. I think it would be best for everyone if they were just asked to the reception instead. Maybe the priest could come over for a little while and bless your gathering?

[/quote]

Hi there, TheRealJuliane,
Yes, I've been thinking about that too, inviting them to the reception only, and trying to figure it all out. I would certainly ask the priest to attend and bless the gathering, so that might be very nice. On the other hand, I could have a heart to heart talk with my friends to ask if they understood how this would work. But the second friend I mentioned is quite fundamental, and has been so vocal in her protests against the Church that it might make me very uncomfortable. As long as we don't talk about religion, we are just fine. The other friend still holds anger in her heart, yet I think is very drawn to the Church. So, I am really doing my best to think this through. Thank you for your insight!


#16

[quote="Kathryn_Ann, post:13, topic:287647"]

You are so kind to say that. It's a Benedictine Oblate ritual, a first official oblation of a layperson becoming an oblate. (From the latin, "offering") oneself. Thank you so much!

[/quote]

You're welcome. I still have sooooo much to learn. I did a bing search of Benedictine Oblate. What a beautiful way to life your life for God.


#17

I will pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you in your decision.


#18

[quote="maltmom, post:16, topic:287647"]
You're welcome. I still have sooooo much to learn. I did a bing search of Benedictine Oblate. What a beautiful way to life your life for God.

[/quote]

Yes, and such a learning experience for me too! Every day, I learn what I didn't know the day before. We must be like children in that way!


#19

[quote="maltmom, post:17, topic:287647"]
I will pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you in your decision.

[/quote]

Thank you! I can use all the prayers and all the help from the Holy Spirit each day to help me think this through.


#20

[quote="Kevin812, post:2, topic:287647"]
I'm going to 'hitch a ride' on this thread:D.

I am having the same issue, but with several Greek Orthodox friends.

[/quote]

Orthodox are welcome to receive the Holy Eucharist in the Catholic Church, but may be precluded from doing so in obedience to their own Church's norms, which the Catholic Church does encourage them to respect.

This is a relevant reference thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=205046 (although it seemed a bit heavy handed in light of the Catholic position).

It seems you have an easier predicament, as you could simply tell your friends to seek counsel of their own priest / spiritual advisor.


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