How do I defend not taking protestant communion as a non-catholic?

Hi. Today is the first time in my life that I turned down communion in a protestant church service. My question is how do I defend my action when I am not even catholic yet?

I recently approached a catholic priest who I recently became acquainted with this question. I told him that it violated my conscious to participate in protestant communion now and I couldn’t ignore it any longer, but was afraid how people I love and respect in my church would take it and that I feared it would create a scandal. He urged me to follow my conscious on the matter. He’s gone for a week, so I won’t be able to ask him about this until he gets back.

So, today happened to be the day where my church was having their protestant communion/ Lord’s supper. This happened within a few days of me asking him this question and I was a bit caught off guard, but not expecting to have to do this so soon. And I happened to be sitting down next to one of the pastor’s of the church! Very awkward! Instead of them coming around as usual to give the bread and the grape juice, they invited everyone to come up to take it. The pastor invited me to join her when it came clear I hadn’t gone up yet. I said “I can’t. I have a disagreement.” She went up as usual and nothing more was mentioned of it. But I know it’ll eventually come back up again. She knows I want to become catholic, so it’s a matter of time until I may have to explain my action.

It an emotional experience for me to turn down something that I’ve been doing all my life and stand up for what I believe. It’s very awkward too to do something like this. I feel afraid of what’s going to happen now and the consequences of what I have done and will continue to do there in the future. Guys, I can’t leave there yet for those of you wondering. So I need advice on how to defend my action other than pointing them to a catholic tract or something. I don’t really want to have to explain my action. Maybe I’m also looking for some comfort and support here from you guys.

I know I did the right thing, but I’m really sad to have to cause a division like this to people I love and respect. I’m not sorry for my action though. I truly believe in the catholic teaching on the Eucharist. I’m terrible at explaining and defending things in my opinion. I’m truly weak in that area. This whole experience is causing me anxiety, stress and fear. It’s a completely new experience for me and a new step in the right direction.

You have to go by your conscience but personally I haven’t had a problem with Protestant communion, only because I don’t perceive the elements to be any more than what they are, bread and grape juice, and the celebration to be any more than a more or less misguided memorial service.

I agree.

The problem I believe arises, when someone with that view from Protestantism wishes to take communion at a Catholic Church, and I believe it’s precisely because they view it as mere bread and grape juice, which the Holy Eucharist isn’t, and why only Catholics partake in it.

I hope this has helped

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

On a side note, I admire your courage, I just don’t know whether it was necessary in this situation, but nevertheless. :slight_smile:

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

There is nothing to defend here. Your eyes are being open by the Holy Spirit to Christ’s truth. I would approach it in this direction. This isn’t about you (or the Catholic Church) being right and them being wrong. This is about following what Christ asked us to do and until you figure that out you would appreciate their love and support as you journey with the Holy Spirit.

John 6:66-69Revised
66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

I think at this point of your journey you are like Peter standing before Jesus. You are basically saying I don’t fully understand what Jesus is saying here but I know when Jesus speaks I should listen. I am still trying to understand what He is telling me in John 6 but at this point I know what He is telling me to do involves more than bread and grape juice.

I recently approached a catholic priest who I recently became acquainted with this question. I told him that it violated my conscious to participate in protestant communion now and I couldn’t ignore it any longer, but was afraid how people I love and respect in my church would take it and that I feared it would create a scandal. He urged me to follow my conscious on the matter. He’s gone for a week, so I won’t be able to ask him about this until he gets back.

I agree with Father here.

So, today happened to be the day where my church was having their protestant communion/ Lord’s supper. This happened within a few days of me asking him this question and I was a bit caught off guard, but not expecting to have to do this so soon. And I happened to be sitting down next to one of the pastor’s of the church! Very awkward! Instead of them coming around as usual to give the bread and the grape juice, they invited everyone to come up to take it. The pastor invited me to join her when it came clear I hadn’t gone up yet. I said “I can’t. I have a disagreement.” She went up as usual and nothing more was mentioned of it. But I know it’ll eventually come back up again. She knows I want to become catholic, so it’s a matter of time until I may have to explain my action.

I would not use the word disagreement, it comes off as confrontational. I would simple say what I stated above you are praying that the Holy Spirit will help to lead you to the Truth.

It an emotional experience for me to turn down something that I’ve been doing all my life and stand up for what I believe. It’s very awkward too to do something like this. I feel afraid of what’s going to happen now and the consequences of what I have done and will continue to do there in the future. Guys, I can’t leave there yet for those of you wondering. So I need advice on how to defend my action other than pointing them to a catholic tract or something. I don’t really want to have to explain my action. Maybe I’m also looking for some comfort and support here from you guys

. Yes this can be very emotional. Instead of going on the defensive I would try offense instead. I would tell them you have been doing a lot of prayer and study on the Lord’s Supper and there is a lot you need to figure out to ease your conscience that you are following God’s path for your life. Tell them that this is something you need to figure out before you can move forward. Then I would let them know if they need to understand further you would be happy to provide them with what you have been reading and the talks you have been listening to.

Tim Staples Living Bread is a great talk on the Eucharist.

I also love The Fourth Cup - Deep Deep Theology
stpaulcenter.com/media/audio/the-fourth-cup

If you are dealing with one of your Pastor’s, in my opinion, they should be more than willing to listen to EVERY, and I mean EVERY, question you would have on the Eucharist. If the Pastor is in charge of the flock and you are a member of the flock then they should be more than willing to answer and explain every question you would have. They should want to guide you and in no way should it be turned into a debate.

The Eucharist is pretty deep theology. I mean no disrespect with this comment, but I think it would be very informative to hear how all of the points Tim and Scott make in their talks are explained away. The amount of Biblical evidence for the Eucharist seems to be endless. Just yesterday I was listening to a talk and she pointed out how the book of Genesis had foreshadowing of the Eucharist.

I know I did the right thing, but I’m really sad to have to cause a division like this to people I love and respect. I’m not sorry for my action though. I truly believe in the catholic teaching on the Eucharist. I’m terrible at explaining and defending things in my opinion. I’m truly weak in that area. This whole experience is causing me anxiety, stress and fear. It’s a completely new experience for me and a new step in the right direction.

I to have this problem. The words are in there and I can type them easy enough but one on one the emotions get in the way and I end up tongue tied. I feel your pain and frustration. At this point all I can do for you is pray:

Dear Lord we pray for Cyril, that you strengthen him and guide him in your Word. Give him the strength to live in your Word and feel confident when he speaks. Help him to trust in you and give him the security he needs to feel safe and easy his fears. In Your name we pray.

God Bless

To some degree, yes, it’s not as sacred because of this, but I think calling it only bread and grape juice can severely understate the importance of the Eucharist even in evangelical circles. They view the Church differently than those who practice closed communion, and even the meaning of the Lord’s Supper differently, even if still very important.

Cyril, I’m not sure what can be said that will make them understand, as it’s quite a shift in point-of-view. But I’m a cradle Catholic. Maybe some of the adult converts here can give you some advice. Sometimes, though, making the right choice doesn’t present you with options that will ‘keep the peace’ or satisfy everyone (or even most).

Okay. Thank you.

God Bless You

Josh

Thank you for the first para… I was blowing steam out of my old ears. Believe me, as one who grew up in the Anglcan faith, you are totally correct.

You are not causing division. You are causing unity. And, the Lord is asking you to call others to unity. Does it require sacrifice to follow the Lord where He leads you? Yes. Does it hurt? At times, yes. It is worth it? Always and everywhere.

No, he’s obviously causing division in an immediate, on-the-ground sense, in the service of what he believes to be a deeper unity.

If his conscience requires me to do this, he should do it anyway. But don’t sugar-coat it.

Edwin

Cyril, let me just share with you and event that I will never forget.

Shortly after my reversion I was at daily Mass and we have breakfast afterwards in the parish hall. At Mass I noticed a man that I had known for many years as the pastor of the nearby Presbyterian church who was in a wheelchair and attended by a caregiver as he took communion. Knowing my parish was squared away I knew he had converted and so at breakfast I took the opportunity to sit with him and we talked.

I asked him, “Hugh, it’s great to see you here but can I ask you a question?” “Sure” he said. “What made you convert?”

He looked me dead in the eye and said, “Michael, I had to have the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.” I almost cried with joy and admiration for his confession right then.

The Lord took him some months later, but I will never forget that day as long as I live and remember him in prayer often.

Perhaps the same answer is also your response.:slight_smile:

Just say that you feel it would be disrespectful to do so when you disagree with the teaching of the church. And then repeat it every time someone asks, in as nice a way you can. They will stop asking eventually, but it’s helpful to have a stock answer to make people understand despite how many times they ask, that’s all you’ll say.

Lou

If you want to offer a defense of your action, I think you could use the word “Communion”. The taking of the bread and grape juice is usually seen as part of a meal. A meal of those who are on the same page. That is, those who are in communion with each other.

You have come to believe that you are not in full communion with those in that community and do not wish to, in action, lie about your status.

I commend you for following your conscience even when it’s inconvenient.

The fact of the matter is that we have a much different understanding of the Eucharist than protestants do.

You can quote Malachi 1:11 and the Early Church’s understanding of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, but I think it will fall on deaf ears. People typically have their minds made up already and all you can do is plant seeds…

This was uncomfortable for you and it’s only going to get worse now that you(inadvertently) called attention to it. You may be flooded with incessant attempts by their faithful to attempt to save your papist soul!:wink:

So if you can’t leave this church yet I would say just roll with it and see where God takes you in all of it. Maybe someone else’s eyes will eventually be opened with you as the Lord’s instrument. Just remember to stay calm and collective if they get heated in their discussions with you. By doing that you will be the one truly exemplifying Christ.

If you are separated in conscience, you are separated in Communion and so ought not to partake in it. This goes for Catholics at non-Catholic churches too… it is not simply a matter of what you believe, it is a matter of how it is received and the meaning given to it by the community which creates the situation in the first place. No, Augustus Cesar is NOT a god, and that is precisely why you SHOULDN’T sacrifice to him. Same idea… the context actually informs the meaning of the act in an objective way, barring some sort of extreme ignorance.

NO INTER-COMMUNION. Just. Don’t. Do it.

Cyril - have you asked anyone about RCIA yet? :thumbsup:

If your pastor says, “I noticed you are not receiving communion as has been your habit. Is there anything I can do to help?” You might say something like, “Thank you for your concern but the Holy Spirit has impressed upon my heart that I am to refrain from receiving communion for the time being.”

I don’t know what the Catholic rules on it are, but could it be said that taking the bread and wine at a Protestant Church is like sipping from a tiny empty cup at a preschool girl’s tea party? In other words you are just playing along with no harm, no foul.

Hi Cyril,

The priest gave you some wise advice, to follow your conscience.
And the Holy Spirit is leading you.

Taking communion in the Protestant church no longer has the same meaning for you, so to continue taking it there means that you are pretending and going along with something that you don’t believe.

Far better to live in the truth.

May God continue to bless you.

:blessyou:

~~ the phoenix

The Church’s rule is that Catholics abstain from communion in Protestant services (and also to respect any rules regarding another service’s closed communion). We do not share full communion with these communities.

OP, for several years I went to church with my Protestant husband. I never received communion because the thought of it, and witnessing the ceremony, made me feel physically ill. At the last church we attended together, I was confronted about this, separately, by the head of the sound/tech ministry and the lead pastor. They were genuinely concerned I had been “brainwashed” by the Catholic Church (nope! I was taught by years of attending Mass!). I told each of them how it affected me, and they never mentioned it again.

In my personal experience in Protestant churches, there are two statements which are never, ever questioned, “That goes against my conscience,” and “The Holy Spirit told me…” If you feel unequal to apologetics at the moment, pick the one that’s true and use it.

If you’re feeling a little stronger when it finally comes up, you also have the option to share your experience, not as an argument, but as a new, exciting, and high-stakes season in your personal relationship with God. This can be a powerful witness.

It sounds like a very challenging time in your life. I’ve prayed for you, and I hope you find many graces in your journey.

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