Non Catholic Students Receiving Eucharist


#1

A friend of mine brought this to my attention recently and she and I would like some feedback here on this situation as it is troubling to both of us. Our children attend the same Catholic school. Recently, the school has been recruiting heavily from outside of the faith in order to maintain numbers—not untypical in this diocese. The majority are still Catholic but there has been an influx. All students attend weekly Mass. When it comes time for Eucharist, students who have either not received their First Communion or who are not Catholic come up, arms across chest, for a blessing. However, three of the new middle school students, who have shared with their classmates that they are not Catholic (nor of a faith that could receive Communion in a Catholic church), have been receiving Communion since coming to the school this year. At first, we thought maybe it couldn’t be true, until her child shared that during a recent Reconciliation service, these students were pulled from the rest of the group and seated elsewhere so as not to go to Confession. So it’s obvious the teachers know as well. As Catholics who believe that is the Body and Blood of Christ, this is alarming.

This is a very small school and this class in particular has only 10 kids. So the teachers should know if they’re receiving Communion. The pastor knows all the kids in the school, as does the principal. Other middle school students who are not Catholic are instructed to go up arms crossed against their chests for blessings. We have a suspicion as to “why” these students may be doing this, and why people might be turning a blind eye to it—the parents of these students are the new “A+ parents” in the school because they are seen as having the ability to bring in more families, so the principal is bending over backwards to keep them happy and we suspect if she had to call them out on it, there might be fallout. We’ve noticed this all year with new families she’s brought in—discipline, rules, and recognition are different for certain families and students, depending on how much she feels the need to “keep them happy.”

***An important dynamic to note as well: *** The principal is not someone the other parent nor I (nor a lot of people) have any trust or confidence in. If you look up the definition of a narcissist or a manipulative bully, it describes our experiences. Unfortunately, she’s managed to charm our priest (whose been there less than a year, likeable on the surface, thus popular with many people), and the diocese into believing she is the greatest thing since slice bread. So no one can speak up against her without being dismissed. The priest has even told me he LOVES her and she is CREDIBLE and he doesn’t care what she’s said or done to hurt me, my child, or others. Bringing this to her attention would results in a number of lies, twisted truths, and the wrath on anyone who dared to speak (I am not exaggerating—there are horror stories). She can act with impunity. :frowning:

Questions: My friend is the one who discovered this, so she’d like to bring this up with the priest.

  1. Is her place to say anything, going on the assumption that he doesn’t know? Or is this none of anyone else’s business?

  2. If she approaches him, how do you recommend that she do this? I suggested she bring it to him as a **confidential matter ** (the priest has a history of running to the principal, rather than dealing with things discreetly) so that he is obligated to maintain her confidentiality (so her child does not get punished). I suggested she phrase it as a question to help her and her child understand why there appears to be an exception.

  3. Last question—if a Catholic school principal and a priest are knowingly allowing non-Catholics to receive Communion, in order to not make them feel “different”—what should be done?

:confused:

For the record, this is nothing against the children personally–they’re nice kids. It’s not about the families per se, either. This is a matter of feeling like our faith and our beliefs are being sold out in order to “grow the numbers.” The principal is the weakest principal we’ve had in terms of understanding Catholic education (she’s a retired public school admin)—it would not surprise me if she, herself, believes the Eucharist is only symbolic. Yet they removed a true Catholic principal—one who truly believed in Catholic education in order to place her in the role, because she has rich friends who donate a lot to the parish and school. However, I would think that allowing non-Catholics to receive Communion in order “not to stand out” from their class would be crossing a line. I kept my peace last year when they “made an exception” for a new student to be trained and serve as an altar server, despite not having made her first Communion yet, because they “caught her up fast” (she was in 6th). I’ve kept my peace they’ve given the majority of the Mass participation roles to non-Catholics–like readings, gift bearers, etc. . (at least the non-Catholics have not yet been allowed to become altar servers). But knowingly allowing non-Catholics to receive Communion crosses a huge line with me.

Thankfully, we’re out of the school in June (my child will be going elsewhere next year, thanks to the nonsense—I know I made the right decision, and yet I weep that it came to this). On the fence with the parish (even though it’s been my parish home for 41 years). Any advice you have and any prayers are welcome. We all need peace.


#2

If there is something inappropriate, bring this matter/question to your priest. He is the resolve. :slight_smile:


#3

In my catholic high school there was plenty of Lutherans , Baptists etc of Christian denomination . The school need the pupil for financial stability. But during mass we all shared in the eucharists Catholic or otherwise from another faith


#4

Your friend should talk to the priest about this. Perhaps you should stay away from this conversation because from your post it seems you do not have a very good relationship with him. I agree, non-Catholics shouldn’t going to communion at the school masses.
You should spend some time in prayer too, that this will work out.


#5

You are not Catholic and no one stopped you from receiving the Eucharist?:eek:

Did you think you shouldn’t do it but did it anyway? Did not being Catholic give you a clue as there might be some things you weren’t allowed to do? :confused:

What you are saying is the teachers allowed this and, obviously, the priests did too because they had to have known that not all of the kids were Catholic. WOW.:eek:


#6

I find it interesting that Catholic schools are willing to take members of other faiths but do not require them to attend religion classes. Obviously, from these postings, they don’t think it is necessary to instruct them as to what they can and cannot do in this environment.

The priest has to know that not all are Catholic and therefore, not all should be coming up for communion. What is he, totally clueless?

I have friends of other faiths who opted to send their kids to a Catholic school for the discipline, education, and chance to be with good male instructors. But these kids knew as much about Catholicism when they left as when they entered. Too bad an opportunity was missed.

Think we need to get away from “all are welcome” attitude.


#7

We had a good sign in front of church , no perfect people allowed .

It opened up the big tent that is Catholicism


#8

Although I agree with this statement in general, that’s not a good assessment of the situation being described here.

If the administration is allowing students to inappropriately partake in the sacrament of the Eucharist, it is not only negligent of their duties, but sends the exact opposite message to the students, their parents and the whole parish about the seriousness with which our faith should be taken and what we should aspire to as individuals and a community with integrity.


#9

This has nothing to do with “being perfect” - being children, there’s little doubt that they are without conscious or mortal sin on their souls.

It is not proper to give non-Catholics the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, because non-Catholics haven’t been instructed in what they really mean, and non-Catholics don’t proclaim the faith that goes with them (otherwise, they would be Catholics).


#10

Please do write your concern about this particular matter via email to the principal - do not mention her bullying attitude, only this violation of Catholic teaching. Don’t forget to CC the priest and the local bishop.


#11

You would think—but he ADORES the principal to the point that he won’t even listen to other people. I feel abandoned by him because I can see through her BS and I’ve called her on it. Others have said the same thing.


#12

All kids take Religion classes, regardless of whether or not they are Catholic. However, from a sacramental perspective, only Catholics are allowed to receive Communion or Reconciliation. Or at least that was what the rule was. If the family sends them there for the education–as these families are—it’s generally made clear to them that Communion and other sacraments are only for practicing Catholics. Unless they’re converting, they can participate in classes and services but not receive.

We would think the priest knows. However, he’s extremely subservient to this principal. It’s his first time as a parish priest—he’s worked in the Chancery for years. He’s at our parish at the behest of several influential parishioners, many of whom orchestrated getting this woman into the principal’s role she so badly wanted. We’re not sure why he allows her to run roughshod over people or what the deal is.

It will be my friend bringing it up—I’m staying out of it as we’re outta here in one week. She came to me to ask for advise on how to handle it because it is really troubling her and to be honest, me—because I’ve seen this principal abuse Catholicism before in an effort to accommodate non-Catholics. Last year, while part of it was the then-priest (who didn’t want to do the school Mass), she told families we would only have Mass once a month–because it was “routine”–and subbing it with a student-led prayer service (which was also to accommodate the younger kids). That didn’t go over well, so when this priest arrived, the Masses came back.

Then this year, she told middle school kids they disappointed her AND God for not studying over Christmas break for a half-hearted attempt to qualify for a spelling bee (the info was thrown out the day before break, none of the teachers seemed to care). Myself and several other parents were mortified that she would invoke God along with herself. But the priest was actually present when this happened and said nothing to correct her.

I agree Catholic education should be about bringing people into the faith. But there are steps they need to take. Catholicism is very clear about Eucharist reception, and non-Catholics have never been invited to receive it to the best of my knowledge. So why the exception here?


#13

I reread your post and I’m very sympathic to your plight.

The priest doesn’t have to be told because he has to know. Anyone in Church would know that all the kids are receiving when some aren’t Catholic.

Has anyone contacted the bishop?

Personally, I don’t think any parent of another religion whose child attends this school would expect their kids to receive Communion nor participate in any religious service other than sitting in the Church during Mass. I can’t imagine any of them demanding that the non-Catholic kid do anything.

I think there’s a big problem with Catholic institutions, from grade school through university, teaching one thing and then doing another. And it is not a pleasant place to be when the sheep realize that they know more than the shepherd.

I guess you could organize a group of Catholic parents and pertition the bishop on the grounds that you are Catholic and expect your kids to receive a Catholic education exemplified through school work and the practice of those Catholic beliefs.


#14

If you do write to the bishop, it should be a polite letter and you should provide evidence for your complaint if possible. He doesn’t know who you are. It may be that you do not have evidence you could mail, but then perhaps you could have other parents sign the letter, and then it could have serious weight. The bishop may then contact the priest, providing a copy of the letter to him.


#15

Forwarding a copy of the letter to the liberal priest is exactly what will happen. So now those who have signed the letter, and their kids, can benefit from the wrath of the principal. And the priest isn’t going to be too happy either that he was reported to the bishop.

A better idea would be for the bishop, or his representative, to show up at a Mass and observe what is going on. Once he notices all the kids getting up for Communion, he can go to the principal and the priest and ask what is going on without involving any of the parents.


#16

“The wrath” is bang on. This is a woman who demanded last summer that I provide her with the individual, supposed to be anonymous, survey results from parent and teacher surveys I conducted in my then-role on the school board. She (and all of the board) were provided with each and every comment and could see how many respondents there were for each question. However, she wanted to see EVERY individual result—her logic was she wanted to see if it was really “a lot of people” or “just one person” with an issue–particularly with regard to the decrease in faith visible in the school during the previous year. After she said (rudely) “I can tell by the responses who said what,” I stalled, then refused to deliver them to her. I knew what her intent was—to go have her henchman go through the IP addresses and determine who made what comments so she could respond to then accordingly. (I later heard she accused me during a teacher meeting of padding the negative results—not true, but amusing to think she can’t believe other people wouldn’t find her wonderful.)

Going to the bishop, as I’m learning from others who have tried to discuss with him other problems at the parish and school, is probably an act in futility. The politics related to this place run deep.

My friend and I discussed this and the game plan is most likely going to be she will send an email to the priest and ask him for pastoral guidance on this as she’s confused, as is her son, as to why these students have been given exceptions. Either one of three things is going to happen: 1)The students will be counseled on why this is not allowed and it will be corrected going forward (with or without any response to my friend); 2) It will be ignored completely, no response, no correct action; 3) The principal will be advised by the priest and go ballistic and make up a bunch of lies and half-truths to protect herself, deny it is happening, call my friend (and me by proxy) trouble makers, and either nothing will happen or someone else will take the fall.

Best case scenario–the priest is truly unaware that this is going on, corrects the situation pronto, and finally opens his eyes to how “Catholic” the principal actually is. I’m not putting money on it.


#17

“The wrath” is bang on. This is a woman who demanded last summer that I provide her with the individual, supposed to be anonymous, survey results from parent and teacher surveys I conducted in my then-role on the school board. She (and all of the board) were provided with each and every comment and could see how many respondents there were for each question. However, she wanted to see EVERY individual result—her logic was she wanted to see if it was really “a lot of people” or “just one person” with an issue–particularly with regard to the decrease in faith visible in the school during the previous year. After she said (rudely) “I can tell by the responses who said what,” I stalled, then refused to deliver them to her. I knew what her intent was—to go have her henchman go through the IP addresses and determine who made what comments so she could respond to then accordingly. (I later heard she accused me during a teacher meeting of padding the negative results—not true, but amusing to think she can’t believe other people wouldn’t find her wonderful.)

Going to the bishop, as I’m learning from others who have tried to discuss with him other problems at the parish and school, is probably an act in futility. The politics related to this place run deep.

My friend and I discussed this and the game plan is most likely going to be she will send an email to the priest and ask him for pastoral guidance on this as she’s confused, as is her son, as to why these students have been given exceptions. Either one of three things is going to happen: 1)The students will be counseled on why this is not allowed and it will be corrected going forward (with or without any response to my friend); 2) It will be ignored completely, no response, no correct action; 3) The principal will be advised by the priest and go ballistic and make up a bunch of lies and half-truths to protect herself, deny it is happening, call my friend (and me by proxy) trouble makers, and either nothing will happen or someone else will take the fall.

Best case scenario–the priest is truly unaware that this is going on, corrects the situation pronto, and finally opens his eyes to how “Catholic” the principal actually is. I’m not putting money on it.


#18

In this case, I suggest that you go to the Catholic school board. Or, you figure out who is higher than the bishop. This is a situation that MUST be addressed. It’s inappropriate.


#19

She’s going to start with the priest, then working up the chain of command. He is the priest and he should ultimately be the one to address it. Perhaps, like all else there, they’re just hoping no one catches on. Image is everything. There is no transparency.

IF that fails, then the Bishop will hear about it and if that fails, then we keep going up the chain.


#20

Normally I would agree with you. However, the OP has indicated that the priest just about (not literally) worships the ground the principal walks on. I don’t think the OP will get much of a response going to the priest.


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