Non-Catholic student received Eucharist

I’m a catechist for a fantastic group of 10th graders. After I kicked out one clown who was causing trouble, my class has gelled and it’s been wonderful to guide them and teach them. :slight_smile: I think the world of each of them.

So last night, one of my students brought a friend to class! I find out that this girl is from a Baptist background, and has been attending Mass with my student for several times already.

But when we went to Mass as a class, I was very surprised to see this girl process to receive Holy Eucharist. I gently asked her about it immediately after Mass, and my student said her father asked our Priest, and the Priest told him it was okay if this friend received Holy Eucharist. :eek:

Now, it could be that our Priest didn’t know this friend was Baptist, but when I questioned our Priest about it, he said he never talked to either my student or her father about this friend.

So, someone’s lying to me.

I should also add that while I was talking to my student and her friend about this, and why it was so important, my Priest basically showed us the door and insisted we attend a fundraiser talk that was going on the gym at that moment. I e-mailed my Priest as soon as I got home, wanting to discuss this in person with him–not only about my student/her friend/Holy Eucharist, but also how pushy he was in showing us out of the sanctuary–but he refused. So, it appears I’m on my own.

I will most definitely confront my Priest about this at some point–both about the Holy Eucharist situation and his brusqueness–but I welcome your thoughts as to how I should handle this.

What it sounds like to me is that the Priest did give permission and you caught him, and now he is refusing to discuss the matter with you. If he was not involved in this matter, I can only think he would be more than willing to discuss the matter with you, but because he is refusing to discuss it with you, i would, unfortunately, assume he did give permission for a non-Catholic to receive Communion. If he refuses to discuss it, I guess the only choice you have is to go over his head, but do so with caution…priest are human and he may feel resentment, even though you are within your rights to do so.

Unfortunately, this permission is not the priest’s to give. It falls to the bishop to permit a non-Catholic to receive Holy Communion. Even then, it must be for a gravely serious reason. Keep copies of the correspondence and document everything. If the priest remains obstinate, you will, more than likely, have to take this matter up with the bishop.

If the young girl knows that it is wrong to take the Host, then she is in sin. if she is unaware of it then she is fine. And yes, the Bishop has the authority to say if a person can recieve it, but its only if its in dire need as posted before.

sounds like the student’s father has been caught lying. He probably never bothered to call the priest and didn’t want to alienate his kid’s friend.

The sanctuary is no place for a discussion. Sounds like the priest had to attend another function and you were holding him up.

‘Confronting the priest’ sounds like you are going on the offensive. I’m sure if you call and make an appointment with your priest to discuss your confusion, as it applies to teaching your class, you’ll be able to resolve your issues.

Your priest said he never talked to your student or her father about the friend. I have no reason to believe that he lied. Maybe he didn’t think that the sanctuary was the best place to carry on the conversation. I would just like to hear the other side of the story.

I think this would be the best way to handle it rather than email.

He said No. End of conversation!
To confront a priest at your convenience, not his , is pushy.

While the manner in which the OP initially handled it may not have been the best one, it is definitely not the end of the conversation. It is not up to the priest to permit a non-Catholic to receive Holy Communion. It falls to the bishop and only under grave circumstances.

The conversation does need to happen.

It strikes me as curious that the OP uses the term “confront”.

Sounds to me like there’s a little less than a charitable response planned here. Could be wrong, though. :shrug:

The priest said that he never spoke to the student or her father about the friend.


In my experience a lot of priest don’t think so much about non-catholics receiving the Holy Eucharist…

When I was 16 and came to the first Mass I too was told by my friend from Iraq to fold my hands and receive communion… after that my priest (who is the best priest I have ever known… and if it was not for him I properbly wouldn’t have ended up Catholic) learned that I was not Catholic… and he didn’t expect me to come back for next week… but when I once again stood there, he was rather surprised and felt that he couldn’t exactly give it to me one time and then deny me the next… even though the Church teaches this is wrong, I urge you to consider this: If we truly believe this is the Body and Blood of our Master and we read the holy scripture where Jesus says that he who eats his flesh will stay in Jesus, and Jesus in him… then I am convinced that this is so very true from my own experience and it helped me to stay in the Church and finally convert when I was 17…

another example is the generalvicar or “vice-bishop” of Denmark have also told that he once gave Eucharist to young catholic girl, before she had received her actual “First Communion”… and there was a small miracle attached to the story but i forgot… :stuck_out_tongue:

When I was at a college trip to Mallorca and we visited the Cathedral and attended the Mass… when it came to communion, I of course went… and I told some of my friends to put their hand on their shoulder so the priest would give them a blessing instead of Communion (thats how we do it in Denmark) but my friends including a Hindu, a Lutheran and Somalian who is on the edge of converting to catholicism (he is not officially christian) all received the Holy Communion because the priest thought that they wanted him to put on their tounge…

But surely Jesus can only do miracles with this… And since then… at least both the Lutheran and the Somalian have attended out local Catholic Church and one out of three is about to convert… I think that is the great effect of his Body and Blood.

The priest in your example by knowingly giving the Eucharist to a non-Catholic in such a manner engaged in a grave sin and also presented a great possible danger to you. That you became Catholic is to be applauded but the priests actions should not be.

The member of clergy who gave a Catholic child the Eucharist may have done so under conditions. Also, there is by no means such a problem with this as it can be justified under certain criteria. Also he is a Bishop and possesses the requisite authority to do so, the priest you mention does not. Catholic children in some parts of the Church receive the Eucharist as infants as is the case in the Orthodox Churches, one of which my family belongs to. They posses an Eucharist that is valid also and in dire need a Catholic may partake of it and they may partake of ours (although their Church would forbid to them although we allow it)and in the past all Catholics in the Church generally received the Eucharist as infants.* So it is not by any means a great problem to believe a child was administered the Eucharist before her first Communion. However a non-Catholic receiving it presents grave issues and that is why it requires those with legitimate authority to allow it and which is only generally allowed in exceptional cases.

*I’m sure many Catholics will be unaware of this - but if you research it you will find that originally this was the case for the Latin Church and that for a variety of reasons it was changed as time went on. The reasons it was changed do make sense in context if you read about it.

Is it possible that the Baptist girl didnt know that she shouldnt take Eucharist, which would be understandable if you’re a first timer at a Catholic mass. If everyone else is proccessing to the front and taking the sacrament then the fact that she shouldnt do the same probably didnt even cross her mind since she wasnt told not to. And maybe your student only said that the priest said it was ok in order to defend her friend? Oh I dont know, I feel Im adding fuel to the fire. I talk too much. I hope this gets resolved for you :wink:

I suppose we should remember these are kids. Her Baptist friend received unknowingly the first time and that was a regrettable accident but just an accident. It’s very possible the student did indeed try to defend her friend who she may feel loyalty for and she might not appreciate the gravity of non-Catholics receiving in this manner. She is pretty young after all and she may feel it’s not that important and if we are honest and put ourselves in that situation and we imagine we were that young again we might feel the same. So I’d say explaining it to her or unravelling the situation is difficult and requires a light touch.

Here is a brief outline that might be helpful in detailing who can receive the Eucharist. Although I know we have posters versed in canon law and far more expert than I who could probably present further information and nuances:-

This is an area where I’ve been nothing but confused by the inconsistency shown so many times. And in my own case, when the inconsistency is pointed out, no one will answer the question. In fact, I’ve been told I’m not even allowed to ask the question in my wife’s parish where I think there’s been some serious mistakes made. I am thinking of actually writing an article on the topic with the title being “An accidental Catholic?”

There are too many “pastoral exceptions” (breaking the law in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings) - I think most adults can handle the idea that, having chosen not to be Catholics, they are not under the authority nor under the care of the Catholic priest - he has no obligations, duties, or responsibilities towards non-Catholics who happen to visit his church, and nor does he have any authority over them, to administer the Sacraments to them; they have their own ministers, who are more than willing to give them whatever they want or need with regard to Sacraments, counseling, etc.

In fact, I’ve been told I’m not even allowed to ask the question in my wife’s parish where I think there’s been some serious mistakes made.

Who is saying this? I am not entirely sure what “the question” is, but I have a hard time believing that your parish priest is refusing to answer a question about who is permitted to receive Holy Communion. Is he aware that you are not Catholic, or that you are in an irregular marriage? If not, perhaps he just needs to be made aware of the context of your question.

If the Priest gave permission for a Non-Catholic to receive Communion, he should be reported to your Bishop. If you even have doubts about this, I would report the incident to the Bishop, telling him what both sides have said.

Under no circumstances can any Priest grant permission for non-Catholics (other than Orthodox) to receive communion.

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