Help! I received communion as a non-Catholic. I'm in an RCIA class now


I have been attending Catholic mass on and off for about 30 years. I’ve been reading Catholic writers (along with my daily Bible reading) and have tried to follow the church calendar at home. But, I have only this year started the RCIA class.
About 30 years ago when I first started going to an occasional mass and going to a bible study led by one of the priests, I went up for communion. It was a powerfully moving experience. I did it again two more times. I ended up talking to the priest about it and he seemed to be lenient about it. Well, he said he’d probably forget that I said I was Presbyterian by the next time I attended a mass! I received communion one more time after that and then decided to stop. I later learned from friends who went to that church that there was another Protestant that he allowed to have communion.
Now that I am in the RCIA class and will be receiving communion as a Catholic (not this Easter, I started the class too late) I wonder what I should do about my past offense. I’m going to call the church office tomorrow to make an appointment to talk to one of the priests. Does anyone know what I should expect?


Are you baptized? If not when you are your previous sins are forgiven. If you’ve already been baptized then you will make a first confession of all sins since your baptism before you are received into the Church.


Depending on the type of priest you speak to, he should tell you not to do it again until you’re received fully into the Church and that’s about all you can do as of now if you’re penitent. Don’t take my word for it though - matters of spiritual welfare probably shouldn’t be taken from a random poster on the internet, so I think your decision to make an appointment with a priest was very prudent.


Thanks for replying. Sister (teaches the class) was speechless when I told her about it. She looked like I had just told her that I scald kittens. I’m looking forward to talking to the priest.



probably best to speak to the priest…Good luck…don’t be too hard on yourself…I am sure there may be others that have done this and never said anything, you make your first confession before your communion…I feel bad, when you mentioned the nuns reaction it kind of made me laugh, I am sorry…forgive me…anyways, I am sure if you speak to the priest he should help you out…in grade 9 it was only nuns teaching…


Obviously, it wasn’t the way things were supposed to go. OTOH, if you didn’t know any better (or much better), it’s not wrong to be eager to receive Him. I’m sure the priest was trying not to scare you by his reaction, which was why he probably struck you as “lenient.” Don’t kick yourself too much. Some very strange things can be allowed by God to become blessings.

Anyway, being open with your teacher about it was the right thing to do. This time around, you can receive the normal prepared way. It will still be a great mystery.


I read or heard sometime ago, that if you take communion when you haven’t been received into the church and have some mortal sins not yet confessed, that you can actually become very ill from it. Is that true?


I am so healthy, I’m boring. This happened a long time ago. I don’t remember getting sick. But, I tend not to get sick anyway. I have had antibiotics maybe 3 or 4 times in my life and I’m 57. I was in my twenties when I received communion. No recollection of illness at all.


All I’m going to say is the Tower of Siloam.


It must be a myth started to keep non-Catholics from trying to do it. I can’t remember where I heard it.


i know some Protestant churches say something similar… that you’ll get sick if you receive communion as a non-believer.

The few times that I did receive communion before I decided to stop were the most moving, helpful experiences I have ever had in church. It’s part of the reason I have decided to go ahead with the RCIA class 30 years later. The experience has stuck with me all these years.


I haven’t heard what you heard, but it reminds me of 1 Corinthians 11:30:

[bibledrb]1 Corinthians 11:27-30[/bibledrb]


Ranie, congratulations on joining RCIA. I assume you talked to a priest by now. God is a loving God and not out to punish us. While non-Catholics shouldn’t receive communion because they need to be instructed in Who they are receiving and how to receive and be able to accept and live all the teachings of the Catholic faith and go to confession regularly, God is still not out to punish, but to heal and love us. Simply mention it in confession when you are able to go to confession or like others have said, if you are being Baptized that takes away all sin, then don’t worry any more. Also, until then just do an act of contrition and trust in God’s forgiveness until the time you can be Baptized or go to confession. God doesn’t even ask the impossible of us. If it is not yet time for you to start going to confession, then just do an act of contrition on your own and God is with you and happy with you! God is like a Good Shepherd rejoicing in you coming into the fold. He is happily welcoming you! It is God who saw your desire to receive Him in Holy Communion and is now giving you the grace to come into the Church. You could not be doing this without God’s grace. This should be a very happy time of rejoicing. God loves you!


Thank you. That was a very helpful answer.
I did talk to one of the priests. He was aware of the relaxed attitude about communion that some priests in California have, so he wasn’t shocked. In fact, he had stories of non-Catholics taking communion for years in bigger churches where not everyone is recognized. He was very kind and gracious. Basically, he said the same things that you said.

Thanks, again.


Mention it to a priest, by all means, but don’t beat yourself up over it.

Just let me tell you that my bishop was approached by a politician’s aide-de-camp at another politician’s funeral some years ago. The ADC asked if his boss could receive Communion since he wasn’t Catholic. Our bishop’s response “Forget you even asked me this question.” He gave him Communion.

You acted in good faith based on what a priest said to you. He was wrong but it his problem not yours.


Thanks. Another very helpful response.


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