Question about non-Catholics receiving Holy Communion


#1

My father and I are both Catholics, though I am lapsed somewhat. :shrug:

We intend on going to mass tomorrow. I've just learned that my semi-Pentecostal mother and Pentecostal extended family are apparently coming with us to mass. They were all baptized as children, but now (they're mostly in their 40s/50s) have been attending a Pentecostal church for more than 10 years.

I know the Catechism says that non-Catholics/non-Catholic Christians should refrain from receiving Communion because they are not in Communion with the Church. It bothers me a bit that they may have received Communion on occasions when they've gone to our local Catholic Church because they couldn't make their own due to time constraints.

I was considering asking them not to receive Communion out of respect to the fact that they're pretty much heretics (or are, but I wouldn't necessarily say *that * to them). I also don't want to sound like a complete d*ck, especially since it's Easter Sunday. What would you advise?


#2

You say you are a 'lapsed' catholic. It is possible that you should not be receiving communion either. If by lapsed you mean not attending mass regularly on sundays, and if you haven't been to confession for that prior to mass tomorrow, you might be in a state of mortal sin and should not receive. You could use that as a way of talking to them about communion. Say something like "I have not been attending regularly, so I won't be going to receive. The church asks that only catholics receive as well." and then you can stay with them in the pew so they don't feel left out, and you can make a good example.


#3

Yes, lapsed in the sense that I do not regularly attend Sunday mass. I do attend mass on the days my school has them (though that's about once a month), but I confessed to my school's priest (during reconciliation on the 13th) that I have not been attending Sunday mass regularly.


#4

I want to thank you for having such great respect for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and I can't express adequately the feelings of grief and anxiety that I experience when I serve at masses such as Christmas and Easter because of the number of people who shouldn't be receiving that come to communion. (They don't know what to do to receive the Host; they don't know what to do with the Host; they behave inappropriately, etc...)

I think the idea of you remaining in your pew with your non-catholic family members would be a wonderful way to handle the problem. You could explain to them that, although you could receive, you are going to remain in the pew with them so they don't feel anxious or uncomfortable.

It is important that they not receive. St. Paul warns that those who receive unworthily (not understanding Who they are encountering) are endangering their very souls. Our Lord will bless you, I am sure, for doing what you can to honor His presence in the Blessed Sacrament.


#5

I'll take your responses under advisement. I realize it sounds a bit hypocritical for me to want to ask them to refrain from receiving communion when I myself may/may not be in a state of mortal sin. However, I do think it's very important that they don't receive communion.


#6

I'd probably put it like this - someone who receives communion in a particular church is expressing unity of belief with that church. Not just unity of belief about the Eucharist, but the whole kit and kaboodle. It is saying to those around you 'I am 110% in line with everything the Catholic (or whichever) Church teaches on everything'.

It is a bit like an American pledging allegiance to the US flag.

How would people feel if citizens of other countries started pledging allegiance to the US flag? Would it not be a huge insult to their own countries for them to do so? And offensive to Americans for the non-Americans to pretend to be something they aren't?


#7

It doesn't make you a hypocrite to stand up for what is right even though you don't always measure up to what God expects of you. We ALL fall short of what our Lord expects of us. We can't expect that we (or anyone else) be perfect in order to defend what is true. Think about what the world would be like if that was a requirement. :eek:


#8

[quote="LilyM, post:6, topic:320987"]
I'd probably put it like this - someone who receives communion in a particular church is expressing unity of belief with that church. Not just unity of belief about the Eucharist, but the whole kit and kaboodle. It is saying to those around you 'I am 110% in line with everything the Catholic (or whichever) Church teaches on everything'.

It is a bit like an American pledging allegiance to the US flag.

How would people feel if citizens of other countries started pledging allegiance to the US flag? Would it not be a huge insult to their own countries for them to do so? And offensive to Americans for the non-Americans to pretend to be something they aren't?

[/quote]

The problem is that because Pentecostalism is a charismatic movement, they don't exactly have a solid theology. They don't believe in the Trinity, and they don't believe in the Real Presence. Whatever theology they have, it's certainly a wishy-washy one. So, I assume, they don't understand the significance of receiving the Eucharist, and therefore they wouldn't understand why it's inappropriate for them to receive it.


#9

If you have not attended mass on Sunday since confession, or at least saturday after 4:00 PM, you are in mortal sin.

Explain to them that since they do not believe in what this church teaches on the Eucharist, they would not be able to receive, as what they would want is entirely different from what they get.


#10

[quote="jerry148, post:8, topic:320987"]
The problem is that because Pentecostalism is a charismatic movement, they don't exactly have a solid theology. They don't believe in the Trinity, and they don't believe in the Real Presence. Whatever theology they have, it's certainly a wishy-washy one. So, I assume, they don't understand the significance of receiving the Eucharist, and therefore they wouldn't understand why it's inappropriate for them to receive it.

[/quote]

I wasn't presuming they did. I was thinking the Pledge of Allegoance analogy was a god way to explain it to them.


#11

Oh, it is. Thanks very much!


#12

I mcan appreciate the fact that you have recently confessed your lack of regular Mass attendance. If I were you, I would share with parents the USCCB norms that are on their website and appear in the missalettes in the pews. But given my own spotty history, and the fact that I was attending with non-Catholic parents, I would myself not receive.


#13

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