Politely declining communion?

How would one go about politely declining communion at a non-Catholic service? I’m thinking mainly in cases where the people encouraging might not be aware that you’re Catholic, or if they are aware might not know that Catholics aren’t allowed to take communion. I’ve been in the situation once or twice and found it very awkward.

I get what you mean. I’ve found that awkward situations are dealt best when approached very simply. That is, smile and say “Thank you, but no.” No further information or discussion. If someone is impolite enough to persist by questioning, it is perfectly courteous and appropriate to continue to repeat “Thank you, but no.”.


Say no thank you…

The difficulty I’ve found in most places is that they’ve often been trained that it’s part of being “friendly” and “welcoming” to encourage people to receive. So the response to “no thank you” may be “oh come on we welcome everyone!”

To which I would respond, “Again, I said no because it would violate my Faith.”

Then, “No thank you” And walk away.:shrug:

No means no. If you cannot say no that what else would be hard to say no to!?

One tries to do so in a way that’s not likely to cause offense. The middle of the service is hardly the time to be launching into long explanations - and I prefer not to give just a short “I’m Catholic and we don’t do that” without the time to actually talk and provide an understanding. It’s too liable to feed into bad stereotypes.

No thank you. Or if you want to shorten it. “No”

I have been in that situation a few times before I came back to the Catholic Church. I use to go to a non- denominational church. I simply smiled and said no thank you. The one time I got the “oh come on we welcome everyone!” That’s when I stated I’m Catholic. That’s when I knew that I did not belong there and it reaffirmed my Catholic faith. I never went back to the non-denominational church. I came back home to the Catholic Church.

It probably depends on the type of church it is. Obviously this is only an issue when they practice open communion.
After deciding to convert to Orthodoxy I went to a few Anglican holiday services with my parents. I explained to them my decision beforehand and then simply did not go up to the altar during that time.

Some churches bring the communion to you. You’re best bet is to politely refuse it, if they offer again get a bit more specific “I can’t, I’m visiting from another denomination”. If they get pushy tell them it is against the teachings of your church to take communion with another denomination (I know Catholics don’t like that term, I don’t either, but you need to speak their language, “ecclesiastical community” will probably cause confusion).
If they want to continue to push from there just give a flat “No” until they go away.

The very few times this happened to me I just said no thank you, and they moved on.:shrug:

Indeed, the principle that seems obvious to some of us – namely, that intercommunion requires consent from both sides – never dawns on some others. :o

I just don’t see the trouble. In Protestant churches where they kneel at the rail just remain in your place in the pew.
In Protestant churches where they have “curb service” communion and pass in the pews just take the tray and hand it to the next person without taking communion yourself.

Nothing need be said.

At the protestant faith community my wife used to go to, they mostly figure Catholics aren’t Christian anyway, so to them, it’s no surprise when a Catholic doesn’t take their ‘communion.’

I generally avoid those.

The main issue is that as a college town I’ve often heard the parishoners instructed to make sure everyone “knows they’re welcome” and “isn’t shy about coming up.” So they tend to interpret not coming up as what they’re told - someone not feeling welcome enough to do so.

I was at an Anglican funeral service/mass. Everyone was invited up for communion or a blessing from the woman priest. When the usher urged me to go up I finally just said I wasn’t in communion with the Anglican church. (I’m also selective about who blesses or prays over me but I didn’t go into that.)

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