I was struck with being unsure of how to reply to the following... A protestant that I've been conversing with is unwilling to investigate the CC (& thus possibly convert to the Catholic Church) because then they wouldn't be able to celebrate Communion with the rest of their family. Wouldn't the protestant's possibly new-found belief in Catholicism being true justify this? The emotional side of this situation is overpowering compared to the logic and theological side.
It might be tied into the something I've noticed that protestant congregations have very friendly and welcoming communities/atmospheres, and that a member of that community is ill-advised to "rock the boat".
For one to come home to the Church, many Protestants have had this barrier.
You could point him to CAL apologist Tim Staples’s works, perhaps “Jimmy Swaggert made me Catholic,” that may give him some insight into how he can best explain and defend his choice to come to the Church against his relatives.
If your Protestant friend sincerely believes that Christ is really and truly present through the accidents of consecrated bread and wine through the ministry of the Holy Spirit through a priest, then his answer should be clear that communion in a Protestant church should not be done.
From what I’ve learned here, Protestant churches are big in boosting up earthly community. But Catholics do this as well and introduce the Body of Christ–a community uniting the saints in heaven with those on earth to form a special community designed not by a church building, but through Christ himself.
Also, your friend may find some comfort in Christ’s words in Matthew 10:34:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
+Remember . . . it is the Sweet Spirit of our Holy God who brings about conversion of the hearts and souls of those children of God who belong to other Christian ecclesial communities . . . and only He can authentically draw them into the greater light of God and into the richer depths of Catholicism . . . **and God’s timing is always perfect **. . . if this particular soul is to make such a journey . . .
I’ve always loved EWTN’s Father Mitch Pacwa’s emphasis that we are just . . . **simple workers **. . . in God’s vineyard . . . we can plant the precious seeds of Truth in regard to such things as the . . . Holy Eucharist . . . but it is God Alone who gives the increase . . . all in His good time . . .
*God bless . . .
Keep the faith . . . *
[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+ . . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
. . . thank you Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother+
. . . Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!+
I know what that feels like. As a new Catholic, it’s the area that hurts the most. I suggest that you encourage your friend to investigate the Catholic denomination and see where God leads. Encourage that person to pray constantly. Its been my experience that if this is where the person is meant to be, God will provide some grace towards some family members. What most forget is that when a Protestant joins the Catholic church, there can be a great amount of pressure from their family and other friendship circles because most inside these churches don’t understand the Catholic teachings. It hurts so much when you join the denomination whose doctrine you agree with most and yet it means you can no longer celebrate communion with your friends and family. It’s something that hurts a lot and it requires love and compassion from Catholics who have been brought up in it.
One recent convert to the Catholic church in a recent newsletter from a group I belong to wrote:
“I found it difficult because I knew if I acted upon my decision, I couldn’t celebrate communion with my parents and other friends from my two denominations. I also knew whenever I found Mr. Right (not that I know him presently) I couldn’t get married inside the United Church with the minister I had grown up nor at the church I was attending at the time. This bothered me a lot because I had been part of both for so long. I also had to let seminary go because inside my new denomination, women weren’t allowed to become ministers. Furthermore, there were some things about the Catholic Church that felt weird such as the use of the rosary and theology surrounding relicts that I was uncertain if I could accept. Coming from a United and being part of the Pentecostal (by that point eight years), I felt like I was betraying my Protestant upbringing. Becoming Catholic was the unspoken thing. I knew all sorts of former Catholics but the reverse was never spoken about. I wrestled with the latter aspect until a few minutes before my confirmation in early 2011.”
Hopefully this quote will help them. I can provide you with the direct link to it, if your friend needs it. I also suggest that you encourage your friend to read stories about those who became Catholic from other denominations. The books: “surprised by the truth” were very good, as well as the “welcome home network.” Also known as “Catholics come home.” It really helped me. They offer mentors for those who are considering or exploring the Catholic church. They were so awesome to me. There is also a program called “Catholics Come Home” that is aired on Ewtn as well.
If your friend has any questions, please ask them to send me a line and I’ll be more than happy to help them.
As a recent convert from a protestant denomination, I can understand this person’s position. It was very difficult to leave the church my parents and siblings attend, and start going to Mass alone (or, at least, with a bunch of people I don’t know). It’s actually still a source of conflict in my family, as my parents stubbornly believe misconceptions about the Church.
It sounds like the OP has done their part in giving this person something to think about, and should perhaps just pray for this individual and leave the rest to God.