Need help with a situation re. Eucharist and non Catholics


Hi all!

I have a question and I hope this is the right place to ask. Here is the situation.

I am in Rcia. I will be doing the rite of welcome in acouple weeks. I am converting from protestant and my entire family is protestant. I invited my mother to church to witness this. My Mother is not “Anti Catholic” but she does have a lot of false beliefs about what Catholics believe and I do not think she knows anything about the Church except information from protestant sources. She thinks making the sign of the cross is “Pagan” and that the Eucharist is just symbolic (she had never even heard the word Eucharist untill I told her and she kind of looked at me like I was wrong and said “You mean the holy supper”) ect.

She has told me in the past that she does not care if she is taking communion in a protestant or Catholic church, it is the same so she would not refuse communion in a Catholic Church (well, atleast this means that she is not anti Catholic right?) She then told me a story about a priest giving her communion in the past and saying that he would give communion to anyone, whether they are Catholic or not.

I believe in the true presence of our Lord in the Eucharist and I am not yet in full communion with The Church. I do not take communion yet out of respect for what I believe. But what the Church believes means nothing to her. I want a nice, charitable way to tell her why she is not to take communion that day. If she does it anyway, then that is between her and God but I feel that knowing what I know, I am obligated to tell her somthing about why that priest was wrong and what The Church believes about the Eucharist. I want her to have as much exposure to Our Church as possible so that she can see that it is Christ centered and not “Mary Centered” or “pagan” as she suspects.

So, my question is, what would you tell her if you were me? My Mother is non-deominational, as was I. In most non-denominational churches, anyone is allowed to take communion, so I think that is why it would not seem like a big deal to her. I just want to have a clear conceience, whether she decides to take communion or not. I hope this all makes sense. Thank you all and God bless.


What would happen if you told her that by recieving, she was showing with her actions she believed all that the Catholic Church holds to be true?

Would she refrain out of respect? Most of the missals I have seen have a paragraph in the front cover which explains why non-Catholics are asked to refrain- how about showing her this?


i agree with aggies08. just use the answer that has already been given to non-catholics. it is well phrased, to the point, but deferential. or, if you want to be more personal about it, you could always paraphrase.


This! When the Eucharist is distributed, the minister says “The body of Christ” and the communicant answers “Amen” (which means roughly “this is true”).

So, ask her: she may not believe that the Eucharist is really the body of Christ, but Catholics do. In order to receive, she has to affirm that she believes that it is the body of Christ. So, in order to receive, she either has to abandon her church’s belief (that it isn’t the body of Christ), or commit an offense against the commandment “thou shalt not bear false witness”.

So… in order to receive the Eucharist in a Catholic church, what does she want to do? ‘Apostatize’, or ‘bear false witness’? :wink: On the other hand, wouldn’t it be her responsibility as a Christian to do neither, but rather, simply not receive?


I would have to tell her that if she could not be respectful and refrain from going up to receive the Eucharist then my invitation would have to be withdrawn.


Since you aren’t able to have communion either, I suggest that you invite her to join you for a blessing. What you do is just before the person in front of you has had their communion, you cross your arms and put them on your shoulders. That indicates to the priest that you aren’t Catholic but you would like a blessing. That way both of you are showing respect to the sacrament as well as joining in something very beautiful at the same time.

Hope it helps,



I honestly think she would not understand what I am even talking about if I told her that LOL. You have to remember, she just views The Catholic Church as another denomination and has never bothered to research the history or Church teachings. Understand? And Yes I know of the paragraph that you are talking about in the missal. I thought about that. I most likely will show her this when I talk to her and hope that it is enough.


I do not go up for a blessing. I kneel and pray durring communion. The priest gives us all a blessing anyways at the end of mass. But yes, maybe I can reccomend her doing this. I actually did not think of that. Thanks. But I still need to have a talk to her. We shall see I guess : /


I do not want to push her away from our Church, I want her to experience the beauty of the liturgy in the hopes that she will care to learn what we truly beleive, as opposed to what some protestant mininster or author is telling other protestants about what we believe. It is not as black and white as “Either do this, or you are uninvited”


What we believe means nothing to her though. We know that we are recieving the True body and blood of Christ, she does not believe this. To her, it is just in memory of Christ. Holy communion is not even that big a deal to non-denominational protestants it seems. If I told her what you say, she would probably not take communion since it is a big deal to ME personally. But I want her to respect OUR Churches beliefs. And not push her away at the same time. I agree with you though, :slight_smile:


I think I know what I need to do and I thank you all. You were all helpful :)


I sympathize with your situation. My mother is also not Catholic and for the longest time she didn’t understand that she couldn’t receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.

She finally “got” it when I happened to be present at her church when they were having a service of Holy Communion (I was picking her up for lunch). I didn’t come in to the sanctuary, and she asked me why; she said, “We had Communion; you should have come and had Communion with us,” and I said, “No, this is forbidden - we believe completely different things, and it would not be appropriate.” She argued that she has Catholic friends who come to her church and participate - they even help with the distribution - but I told her that this is not permitted by the Catholic Church, and they were not behaving appropriately - I said, “See what they have done - they have even caused an intelligent woman like yourself to become confused about what we believe in the Catholic Church. This is exactly why it is wrong.”

After that, she never tried to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church again.


That’s exactly the point. When a Catholic who is distributing the Eucharist says, “The Body of Christ”, she’s willing to lie and say “yes, it is!”? Cause that’s what she’s doing! Especially since she doesn’t believe it, it seems an un-Christian thing to do, since she’s openly lying! That wouldn’t affect her? At all?

If I told her what you say, she would probably not take communion since it is a big deal to ME personally.

But, this approach isn’t about respecting you, it’s about her respecting her own self and her own personal Christian integrity – it’s about whether she’s willing to lie in order to receive something that she considers simply a remembrance! :eek:


How does your mother feel about the Catholic Church? You believe that she is not anti-Catholic. Would she not out of respect for the Catholic Church’s belief refrain from communion? She may believe, a Protestants do, that communion is symbolic. Explain to her that the Catholic Church does not believe this. It’s not about her acquiring a deep understanding of Catholic beliefs. It is about her respecting the belief of others. I am not Jewish but if I were to go in a synagogue I would wear a hat. In the Catholic Church we consider it disrespectful for a man to have his head covered in church. Jews think men should have their head covered in a synagogue. This boils down to simply respecting another person’s belief. Your mother should refrain from communion as a sign of respect to the faith of others.


Yes, I know that it is not about respecting me. That is not the point of all this. I said that she might not take communion if it is really that big a deal to ME, but I want her to not take communion because it is a big deal to US. Meaning, our churches beliefs. Bottom line is, I want her to want to learn about our Church so that maybe she will come to see that a lot of what she thinks that she knows about The Church is not true.

I am actually going to use your approach as a last resort. My Mom is a smart woman, and a good God-fearing Woman, so I think she will respect that, whether she believes it or not. She does tend to talk more than listen sometimes, so I guess that is part of what I am worried about. After all, I cannot tell my own Mother “Will you shut up and atleast let me finish what I was trying to say!” LOL I thank you! :slight_smile:


I guess I will find out in afew days when I talk to her about this. I already told her why I want to talk to her. I just want her to understand enough so that she does not in any way resent the fact that she is not suppost to take communion in a Catholic Church. The fact that she told me that a Catholic Priest has given her Communion in the past, knowing that she was not Catholic, does not make the situation any easier, you know? Thank you for your advice!


It is not an easy situation. I have not been in your situation, in that it wasn’t a close family member. However, I used to belong to an organisation and each year we went to a church service called Churching the Mayor. In UK our mayors are ceremonial post holders and change annually. Because the Church of England is the established church in England the annual churching used to be in the town’s main Anglican church. One year the mayor was a Catholic. He had his churching in his Catholic parish church. I think it would have been better, in the circumstances, not to have had a Mass but it happened during the principal parish Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Many of the people who cane from my organisation were churchgoers but not Catholics. They were very upset that they couldn’t receive communion. They said that Catholics could receive communion in their church. They thought the Catholic Church was insulting or snubbing them. I tried calmly to explain that catholics would not take communion in their church and why we ask non-Catholics not to receive communion in the Catholic Church. So, I do know how difficult your task is going to be. I now find the easiest way of dealing with this is not to get too deep into the theological reasons. It seems easier to ask someone simply to accept this is our beliefs and to please respect them. It does not help your case that your mother has received communion before from a Catholic priest. I wish you good luck!


Well, I talked to my Mother today. She did 90% of the talking, like I suspected would happen. She was allowed to tell me why she believed The Church is in error about SEVERAL things and I was not allowed to try to explain or defend why we believe that we are not in error because she said she “did not want to get into a debate” :rolleyes: Even when I offered to show her some if it in scripture. She also did not want to be called “Protestant” because she does not consider herself protestant (she is non-denominational, infact she thinks protestantism is wrong too) :shrug:
and she still thinks that any Holy Communion is the same in any Church. It was frustrating, very frustrating… but she said she would refrain from taking communion. Although I think she still does not understand why she is not to take communion, I guess mission accomplished. Thank you everyone for your imput.


I believe you’ve achieved more than you think. The key thing is she is not going to take communion. Her reaction is that of someone who knows they’re not right but won’t admit it. I suspect your mother has taken in more than she would care to admit to you. You must feel relieved that this is over I’m sure you were dreading it. I’m pleased for you that something has been achieved no matter how small you think it is. From little acorns mighty oak trees grow.


I am VERY relieved that it is over. I have been dreading having to have this talk with my Mom for atleast a month now. A lot of what she was saying was just long rambling rants. They normally did not start out that way, but they tended to end that way. Particually when she started saying that “denominations” are wrong and that she is above that and that God talks to her personally. I am trying to cut her alittle slack though, she is under a lot of stress recently. I think I did what our Lord would have wanted me to do. I backed off, purely out of respect for the commandment to “Honor my Mother” I honestly do not know where it goes from here and I have been thinking about it all day at work today but I leave it in Gods hands.

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