Hey guys. So my boyfriend of one year is a Nondenominational Evangelical Free Christian, and he feels very discriminated against by the Catholic Church because he isn’t allowed to receive Communion. How do I explain to him in a gentle way why he can’t, and convince him he isn’t being “discriminated against”? Nothing I’ve tried has worked. The fact that we believe the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ is irrelevant to him. He thinks that he should be allowed to receive because he’s a Christian. I don’t know what to do or say anymore…
By taking communion in a church you are actually non-verbally stating that you believe everything that church teaches. Your boyfriend obviously doesn’t and if you explain it to him like that, he probably wouldn’t want to take communion.
Also, keep in mind there are many Catholics who aren’t taking communion either as they are waiting on year long annulments or whatever. So it’s not just non-Catholics who are in this situations.
The scriptural warning about putting judgment on ourselves is something the Church takes very seriously. 1 Corinthians 11:29
Have a blessed night.
There is nothing you can say. He wants to have something is not his to have. He is showing no respect at all for your beliefs and he has no intention to do so. It is the attitude of a two year when his momma says no.
I find it very rude for a person to go into someone else’s home and begin demanding that the people in that home change the way they do things in order to satisfy his beliefs.
Goodbye may be a word you will find useful.
This was a very “touchy” subject with me before I became Catholic so I totally understand…I even argued with a priest about this once thinking it was SO wrong not to allow Christians His Body and Blood…But…this priest LISTENED to me and explained as so many previously did that it is more of a UNITY with Christ and His Church that is WITHIN our taking of the Eucharist. I let this bother me over several years when I finally concluded they (Catholics) only stress to stand strong with His Church and His Sacraments and that they never intended this in malice or arrogance but being faithful to His Church and its teaching. I came to start to understand and correct this.
My prayers for you,
Your answer is much kinder than mine. It is a serious question for people to try to understand. The tone of this young man strikes me as being demanding rather than questioning.
Trying to explain how other faiths see this issue, to help the OP see where her boyfriend is coming from (and hence hopefully be able to bridge the gap better)–
This is NOT how protestants view communion, especially Evangelical Free’s. They don’t view a church’s faith statement or anything else to be binding to their beliefs, because the “church” is simply a brick building where people happen to meet. They are NOT converted to that church building, can blatantly disagree with the guy at the pulpit, and have zero ‘consequences’.
Rather, Evangelicals view themselves as converted to Christ directly, members of Invisible Church which bind all Christians (including Catholics). All Christians are the Body of Christ, regardless of the building they meet in, denomination, or particularities of doctrine. Taking of communion is about celebrating joint lives a part of the Body. But for one part of the Body to deny the communion to another… honestly from Evangelical perspective that’s devastating – it’s the hand telling the foot “you’re not good enough. You’re not Christian enough”.
Again, I’m just trying to help explain the perspective.
- Disclaimer: there are a wide variety of beliefs among people, and your boyfriend’s could be different from these. Also, I’m not an Evangelical, just explaining it as I’ve seen it (my husband and in-laws are Evangelical).
Doesn’t he take communion in his church? Or does his church not do that?
He can go to his own church and take communion, right?
Or is he coming with you to your church every Sunday?
(Are you “allowed” to have communion at his church? I mean, would the clergy there “allow” it?)
No you are not.
I don’t buy this argument. I never have. The idea that Jesus intended communion to act as an exclusionist statement of belief makes me ill, and stands against any hope of true Christian unity. You’re telling me that Jesus said “eat this because it totally means that you all believe the same thing, and if anyone else wants in, tell them to nick off until they get all the particulars right”? On the contrary:
Luke 22:19: “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”
1 Corinthians 11:26: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
I’ll stick to the words of Christ on this, thank you very much.
Amen, amen. Couldn’t have hit the mark any closer if I was standing a single metre away.
What about 3 verses after the one you quoted?
1 Corinthians 11:29New International Version (NIV)
29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves
The Church takes this very seriously. And if you aren’t in communion with her then that means you may(likely) have unconfessed mortal sin in your life.
I know protestants have attempted to reinvent the wheel on this, but priestly confession is the only ordinary means of confession. John 20:21-23 And again, protestants don’t believe like we do.
It’s a safety measure, not that she is trying to become some exclusive fraternity or something.
And I don’t know one faithful protestant that would attend a “gay wedding”, even if it’s for a dearly loved family member because they don’t want to non-verbally show their support for something they don’t believe in.
The Lord be with you.
Depends on which protestants you refer to. When I was protestant I noticed the Lutherans and Anglicans took communion much more seriously and you didn’t receive until you had a long meeting with the pastor and are baptized, correctly.
And to hammer home this point, in my 13 years of being protestant, not one of them I knew would ever take communion in a LDS or Jehovah Witness church…not one. Because they don’t believe like they believe and don’t want to non-verbally state they share the same beliefs.
The Lord be with you.
I suppose we wont be solving the differences between Protestants and Catholics now, or even in the next thousand years.
But Jesus did say:
Matthew 28:20New International Version (NIV)
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
And we know that not everything was written down. John 21:25
So with all due respect, protestants are NOT obeying everything that was commanded because they don’t believe in the deposit of the faith…only part of it.
Of course you don’t. That is what protestantism is. You want things your way. These are not arguments, they are teachings.
I’ll stick to the words of Christ on this, thank you very much.
Well…you will stick to your interpretation of the words of Christ eh…
Paul’s metaphor about the many parts of the body was about different talents and roles within the Church. Catholics see the break in faith and communion with Rome, and even worse, the apostolic traditions, as disunion with Christ’s body at best, and more likely a rejection of his body at worst. Admitting those who reject such unity to the sacrament in which we are all one in Christ’s body (and quite simply to something most of them deny, that the Blessed Sacrament is true flesh and true blood) just doesn’t make sense.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s not a “non-verbal statement”. There is – explicitly! – a statement of belief in the reception of the Eucharist at a Catholic liturgy! The priest (or EMHC) says “The Body of Christ” and the communicant responds “Amen” – which means “It is so.” In other words, the communicant explicitly affirms that he believes that this is truly the Body of Christ when he receives the Eucharist.
When I’ve explained it to non-Catholic Christians, I stress that, if they believe that this is truly the sacramental presence of Christ in the Eucharist, then reception of the Eucharist is an affirmation of that belief. And, since I don’t want to be the facilitator of having them lie in public (‘thou shalt not bear false witness’, remember? ;)), then I ask that they refrain from receiving the Eucharist. (And, depending on how well I know them, I ask them, if on the other hand, they do think it’s really Christ, truly present in the Eucharist, then they’re really Catholic… and shouldn’t they want to leave their denomination and join our Church?! )
I’ve heard a famous Catholic scholar use a different analogy. Let’s suppose that you have a marriage that’s rather… a-hem… ‘open’ in a particular way . But, you have friends who don’t practice that sort of thing. When you’re invited to their house for dinner, would you walk up to your friend’s wife and plant a big kiss on her, and try to take her upstairs? Of course not! Even though it’s not your belief, you wouldn’t impose your beliefs on them while at their house – you’d honor their belief, and be a polite guest! Same thing here…
That’s a solid point.
The problem is their outlook or perception on what the Church actually is. And of course we know she is visible and authoritative; not some sheperdless, abstract body of believers.
You may want to get him a copy of Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. It does a good job explaining many principles of Catholicism.
I’m glad to see faithful Catholics enjoy telling lies about their fellow believers.
I agree that a non-Catholic sneakily receiving the Catholic Eucharist is bearing a kind of false witness, but not necessarily the sort of false witness you here describe. Because, as much as some Catholics love to trumpet their uniqueness in this regard, there are plenty of non-Catholics who believe that Christ is “really, truly present in the Eucharist.” So it would be more universally-accurate to just say that receiving the Catholic Eucharist is an implicit act that one believes everything the Catholic Church teaches, and it’s therefore wrong to do it unless it reflects one’s true beliefs.
Ha! I like this one.
He is indeed being discriminated against, so I wouldn’t suggest arguing against that.
We forget that the word discriminate isn’t negative inherently. It can mean, “to note or distinguish as different.” He feels discriminated against because he is; he isn’t a member of the RCC, therefore he isn’t allowed to receive communion at the RCC’s altar. It’s not his call.
Someone asked if a Catholic could receive at this “Evangelical Free” church, probably so, but remember the RCC says not to. This is indeed a very touchy subject, and rightfully so. I think understanding and empathy is important on all sides, and it isn’t quite so clear cut or “neat” as anyone says. However, I’d stress that the Priests are following their belief and actually think they are being his shepherd by not allowing him to receive, as it is RCC belief that it is a dangerous and negative thing for someone who does not believe in the Real Presence to partake of communion at a RCC. Maybe they are wrong, maybe they are right, but they are indeed doing something they think is a positive thing. That is the direction I’d take the discussion.