Sacrilege Against the Holy Eucharist

Are the faithful compelled to speak out against sacrilege against the Eucharist? Long story short, my wife witnessed what appeared to be several Hindus receive Communion, and one of them appeared shocked when she had realized that some other congregants had remained in their pews during the Sacrament.

It was probably an honest mistake by someone unfamiliar with the Church and Catholicism, but it has bugged me ever since. Not that it would change things, but should she say something to our pastor?

Firstly, can you be sure they were Hindu?

No, neither of us are certain. They were South Asians, and the woman I referenced had a red bindi on her forehead, which is sometimes worn for ethnic reasons, not necessarily religious ones.

Yeah that was the point I was going to make. There are a lot of Indian and Sri Lankan Catholics at my parish, the traditional clothing that they wear is indistinguishable from Indians of other religions (at least from what I can see). Most of the women wear bindi as part of their sunday best.

Was this just a one off or are they regular visitors?

Right, I’m certainly no expert in ethnicity or culture.

It was the first time I’ve seen them, but we just moved and joined our current parish a couple of months ago. We really don’t know. All I do know is that the Mass was packed, what with the RCIA catechumens and candidates being “received” (sorry if this is not the correct term; I’m mostly unfamiliar with RCIA), and their families attending. I saw a lot of strange faces, and many, many people who did not seem to follow along with the Mass. It was the first time I’ve seen overflow out into the corridors.

Let’s see you don’t know if they are hindu, you don’t know if they are catholic but they look different. Is that not what you are to be judging people on. Give them the benefit of your doubt and let God judge.

As I wrote in my OP, the woman looked shocked afterward when she realized that not everyone present receives the Eucharist.

Get off your self-righteous high horse and lighten up. I asked a serious question about actions required of the faithful, which was based on my conscience. If you can’t contribute anything to the discussion, then what are you doing here?

she should have said something at the time
is she aware that the presence of Christians from India is growing in this country and many to wear traditional garb? That is why it is best for her to ask the priest privately. You may also be right, if you are in or near a tourist area, maybe they were non-Catholics trying to do the right thing. But yes when you witness any problem you should bring it to the priest’s attention immediately after Mass.

It’s possible they were relatives of the catechumens. Some might already be Catholic and some not. It’s also possible that some were unaware of the rubrics of receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church and made an innocent mistake.

I wouldn’t worry about it until you get to know more people in the parish and learn if it was a mistake or a common practice. Then you can address the problem to your parish priest.

Ah, fair enough.

If I were you I would just let it go. It’s more than likely that they were Catholics (I know some Catholics who are surprised that not everyone receives the Eucharist, a sorry commentary on the state of catechesis). If there are more overt signs that there are non Catholics receiving the Eucharist (such as someone wearing clothing specific to another faith etc), then in my opinion it would be wise to strike up a conversation after Mass with the people themselves, and teach them about the Eucharist and why only Catholics in a state of grace receive.

On the off chance that they were Hindus it would be unlikely that they would be familiar with the Catholic Mass. If they were Hindus they probably saw it as the Christian version of Prasad, which is most commonly a blessed food offered to a god or other divinity, and then distributed in the temple.

I know i will probably be shot down in flames but im not sure how someone out of innocence of what the sacrement was went thinking they were just joining in a ceremony, is sacrilege. At worst it would mean that Christ approached a sinner. If on the other hand this was a regular occurance and they were aware of what they were doing, or worse still were doing something disrespectfull of the Host thats an entirely different matter. Who knows maybe the accidental reciept of the Eucharist could be the catalyst of discussion which could ultimately result in a conversion ( hardly a sacrilege then it would be deemed a miracle ). I suppose what im trying to say context is important too.

Love and Respect

Innocent receiving of the Eucharist by non-Catholic isn’t sacrilege.

If these ladies aren’t Catholic, it appears that they are interested. You might contact your priest about the matter so that he can inform your RCIA administrator.

Thirddec to be shot down as in"Get off your self-righteous high horse and lighten up. I asked a serious question about actions required of the faithful, which was based on my conscience. If you can’t contribute anything to the discussion, then what are you doing here?"

1)I am really very peaceful. I am not uptght or upset.

2)I am sorry if my statement seemed to be self-rightous but that was not my intent. I wanted to merely state that we must be careful when we judge. If you told a priest about it that would be good. But also more evidence or knowledge that they ar enot Catholic would be appropriate.

3)Sacrilege is in general the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object. In a less proper sense any transgression against the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege. Catholic Encyclopedia. As we know sacriledge can be a mortal sin. And in order for one to commit a mortal one must aware that it is a mortal sin. The question is did they know how serious it was? Thus sacriledge may have occured without it being a mortal sin.

Bearer where did that attack come from?

Bearer I am truly sorry if I offended you my fellow lobbyist from VA.

I am glad you buried the axe.

Next question

Hilde, I’m sorry for snapping at you like that. I misinterpreted the tone of your post. You know how a day walking around on marble can be; and I should’ve waited to respond until I’d had a chance to unwind.

Puzzleannie, vsedriver, and LDNCatholic, thank you for the excellent posts.

Thirddec and Barbkw, you make an excellent point. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t say anything after Mass. I didn’t know for sure and it really did seem like an innocent mistake. I tried to edit my OP to read “Possible Sacrilege”, but the edit button disappeared from all my posts except the last one. I should’ve checked the Catechism first but was rushing and wanted to get the question out. My bad.

Also, my wife was going by her reaction, not her dress. She dressed in a western manner. Northern Virginia has a large variety of nationalities and cultures, which is one of the reasons we like it here. It’s not that I don’t know about Indians, it’s that I know that familiarity is not expertise. They were one person in front of me, and I didn’t think twice about them, although thinking back, she wasn’t praying or singing along during Mass. It was my wife, who has yet to enter RCIA, who brought it to my attention, and she knows how seriously I take things like that. She was trying to help defend the faith, not cause a scene.

MrTimC, I second the motion.

Hilde im afraid you got the wrong end of the stick ; i was not on my high horse rather I am more than aware of how many well read chatechists and people better versed on scripture there are in this forum and how I am generally answering based on a more instinctive common sense. So I was expecting to be wrong but putting my thoughts out there anyway and would learn from the replys. Maybe I should have rephrased it as be gentle with me on this one.

If my answer appeared High handed it was not my intention

Love and Respect.:confused:

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