Is this any of my business?


#1

I have a very good friend who, I’ve noticed, has been avoiding communion. She comes to church each week, brings her kids, and finds a reason to leave when it comes time for communion. She sends the kids through the line, and usually leaves with the baby, or takes one of the kids to the bathroom, etc. Then, she always comes back for the end of Mass. It’s been going on for a few months, at least.

My question is: Is this any of my business? Should I point out to her that I’ve noticed? I have reason to believe she may have had an affair awhile ago, and she could be avoiding because of not being in a state of grace. I know that her husband (not Catholic) knows about the affair, and I think they are working it out and it’s in the past now. She just never got reconciled with the church. (This is what I am thinking is going on, pretty sure, but not 100%). I’m really not trying to be a busy-body, just very concerned for her, and wondering if I have any business gently encouraging her to go to confession.


#2

no this is none of your business, neither is her hypothetical affair. no matter what you think you know, you must forget about it, forget that you know it (or imagine) it, and treat her as a friend. it is damaging to our own spiritual health to spend any time at all musing about the spiritual state of another person.


#3

Listen to puzzleannie. She is a good councilor! :slight_smile:


#4

No.


#5

Do nothing other than pray for her. It’s God’s business… He will handle it.


#6

I would not bring up that you noticed this. It isn’t any of your business. Anyone who is avoiding communion and wants anyone else to notice or to make conjectures as to why will usually bring the subject up themselves. Nevertheless, a friend who avoids communion for any reason is likely to be a friend who really needs a friend.

In other words, you don’t know why she’s avoiding communion and it is not your business to know if she doesn’t want to share that. Nevertheless, you do have reason to believe that it is a good time to show your support of her as a friend and to make certain she knows how much you care about her.

Make sure you are not neglecting opportunities to nurture your friendship with her. Give her plenty of opportunities to talk, if that is what she wants to do, but also allow her to just enjoy your company and have a rest from her problems entirely, if that is what she needs from you. If the subject of her marriage comes up at all, make sure that she knows the degree to which you can help her with child care, for instance, in the case that she might like more time alone with her husband…that kind of thing.

If she brings up that she’s been avoiding communion, do not remark that you’ve noticed unless she pointedly asks you, and at that point mention that you probably only notice because the two of you are close. If she does not pointedly ask you, make the conversation about how she is coping with that. She does not need this to be how other people perceive her in her problems. That does not matter. Be sure that you give her permission to tell herself that what other people think does not matter. What matters is that she is doing her best to be faithful where she is, something for which she is to be commended.

If she shares her problems with you and her problems are beyond your help, encourage her to talk to someone who can help her. Pastoral help is gentle help; if she is fearing it, gently let her know that she has nothing to fear.


#7

no.


#8

What you are all saying makes sense, and I thank you for your replies.

What keeps running through my head, though, is: What if something unexpected happens to her, and she dies in a state of mortal sin, and I said nothing? I would never bring up anything about an affair, because I don’t think I’m supposed to know (her husband shared some things with my husband), but I would just comment on noticing that she’s not going to communion.

There’s a little more to the story as well. I am her daughter’s godmother, and since then I have had one child and not asked her to be the godmother. She was very hurt by this, but I asked another friend of ours. I am now pregnant again, and am deciding about godparents. I don’t want to hurt her again, but I don’t know how I can ask her.

I care about her a lot. Our families are very close. I don’t want to butt in, and I do pray for her and her whole family. In many ways, we are like sisters. Do you still think I should keep quiet?


#9

No, it’s not. But thank God she has the integrity to stay away from Communion when she may not be prepared instead of receiving possibly unworthily.

Betsy


#10

Let it go. I’m sure she is uncomfortable enough by not receiving Holy Communion, don’t make her even more uncomfortable by pointing out that it was noticed by others.

However - I would not stop whatever you perceive to be the state of her soul from choosing her to be godmother to your child - if she is your first choice. By asking her, it may be what she needs to consider her own situation and make it right with God. But I would never ever bring up the fact that she is not receiving Communion. That is absolutely none of your business.

~Liza


#11

If she’s avoiding communion, she knows her position and appreciates the gravity of it, so you don’t have to tell her. Also, she may not be avoiding communion for the reasons you suspect.

Be available for her to confide in, should she choose to do that. Unless you think she is in an error of which she is not aware, however, you don’t need to chime in with unsolicited advice. It is unlikely to help and may damage a relationship that she needs to see her through this time.


#12

No, it is not your business. You may be right about the situation, in which case, I would pray for her and make myself available for her to talk to. Remember, that we are only required to receive communion once per year (if in a state of grace, of course) so the fact that she is not receiving right now is not, in and of itself, a sin.

If you are a big reader, perhaps you could pick up a book about confession, read it, and then make a comment about how good it was. I haven’t read it, but Scott Hahn wrote a book called Lord, Have Mercy: the Healing Power of Confession. Perhaps you could read it and say how much it made you appreciate confession… or something like that. If she reads something like that, it may give her the courage she needs to go to confession… if indeed that is what needs to be done. Just a thought…


#13

It sounds like she knows not to go to communion if she hasn’t been to confession and isn’t willing to “fake it” for appearances sake. If you genuinely would like her to be a godmother for your child, chances are letting her know that would be all the nudge in the right direction that she would need.


#14

What if you just mentioned the value / peace that confession brings to you. Or say something like … “I’m going to confession on Saturday, but hate to go alone, will you come with me?” And leave it at that … we all have to go to confession, so by this approach you are not being a busy body or conjecturing or noticing about her missing communion… which by the way, is none of your business.


#15

Was there a reason why you didn’t ask her to be the godmother for your other child? Or at the time you had to choose between two good candidates and chose one the first time thinking you would choose the other the next time?

Think about what your friend is doing right…she is continuing to attend Mass. She is bringing her children to Mass. She is making sure they receive Communion. She is refraining from receiving for whatever reason she feels she needs to refrain. Sounds like pretty good godmother material to me.

As far as her reasons for refraining…that is between her and God.


#16

Pray for her. And don’t do anything else. We ALL fall out of a state of grace sometimes. If I had someone in church asking me why I sat out of the communion line, it’s safe to say there’d be trouble.


#17

I second Arlene’s advice! If a priest baptizes a baby of a couple that is living in a state of mortal sin (second marriage for at least one without an annulment, only marriage for both, but wedding took place on a beach w/o permission, etc.), then a godmother who may or may not be in a state of mortal sin, but is participating in the Catholic faith to a much fuller extent than most godparents, surly is also acceptable, especially in the example of how sacred the Eucharist is.


#18

There is a difference between deciding whether or not to baptize an innocent child whose parents are in mortal sin and deciding who will be the best godparent(s) for your child.

Anyways, with Advent coming up and confession being one of the best ways to prepare for Christmas, why don’t you invite her children and her to join your children and you for confession at Church (in preparation for Xmas) and then maybe go out later or do something Advent/Christmas related. Confession is good for everyone.


#19

No, it’s none of your business. But if it were me, I would ask her if she wants to join me when I go to confession. Sometimes people need a little nudge to get there (ask me how I know…:o ).


#20

OK, I hear you all, and it seems that everyone agrees that this matter is not any of my business. I think I will take the advice of casually asking her and her children if they all want to go to confession with us to prepare for Advent.

One last question… On the form for baptism there is a question that asks, “How often does the godmother/godfather receive communion?” There are boxes to check, “weekly”, “monthly”, “ocassionally”, etc. Should I check “weekly” because that is how often she attends Mass?


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