Scandal witnessed during Communion


Dear All,

I am the Chief Altar Server and a Eucharistic Minister in my Parish- I have permission from our Archbishop to assist Father giving Holy Communion- I also on occasion visit the sick, my Priest is elderly and needs this extra help, I am a Pastoral Assistant…for those who are not fans of Eucharistic Ministers, I understand- Pope Francis said himself at times the Clergy Clericize the Laity too much, however assisting the old Father give Communion during Mass and visiting those he isn’t able to do so is a big help to him and he has great confidence in this situation- it is a good thing.

Anyway, last Sunday at Mass I noticed a young man- who was there with his “partner” and their two children, they were clearly not married and it was obvious he wasn’t a Catholic (I am not being judgemental, just stating the fact) they were in the front bench and were very visible to me as I was on the Sanctuary Serving. At Communion time this young man came forward and received Holy Communion from the Deacon- I noticed it and was concerned, I saw him go back to his place…a few minutes later he decided to go up again and this time went to Father and received Holy Communion again- I was shocked! I am somebody who has a great love for the Eucharist and was upset to see this- however he then went back to his place and got his daughter who couldn’t have been more than 2 years old and again went up for Communion and held the girl up for the Priest to give her a host and Father said “no” but Father is an old man and didn’t remember this man had already been up for Communion and gave the Host to him- again! I was shocked and scandalized to see this. The man was clearly extremely ignorant, I mean he clearly has no understanding of the Eucharist or what he was doing, and I know that he didn’t realize it was wrong but for us Catholics this is shocking! I went immediately to tell Father as soon as Mass had finished who was horrified and said the Man was extremely ignorant and that he was going to catch him as he left the Church- I do not know what Father said to him.

As the man walked by me I refrained from saying anything to him but then his “girlfriend” who seems to be a Catholic but poorly instructed asked me if she could speak to the Priest (I was wearing my alb) I assume they want to have their children Baptised- but anyway I said to her “Father is waiting to speak to your PARTNER, he mustn’t receive Communion”- I couldn’t hold myself back from saying this. I know the man was ignorant and didn’t understand but this isn’t your average misunderstanding person coming up for Communion- this is a real Eucharistic Scandal!


Just leave it in the hands of the priest .


You had already told Father, which was the proper thing to do. I don’t think it was your place to share your opinion about this man receiving Communion with his girlfriend – that should be between him and the priest.

It’s also up to the priest to decide whether to meet with them about baptizing their children, if that’s what she wanted to speak with him about. It could also have been any number of other things, and may well not be any of your business.


True- you are right, however I know she wanted to have the children baptized- I am a Pastoral Assistant and have been a Special Minister for a number of years now and it is my duty to do what I can as a Catholic to protect the Eucharistic, as I was taught by the Monsignor who instructed me for this special role- especially when there is a scandal like that. I reported it to Father who told me it was the right thing to do- he said that they will need a serious amount of instruction before their children could be Baptised and he thanked me for telling the Catholic girlfriend whilst her partner was not present- as he said she needed to have been told- which I did so in my official capacity as Pastoral Assistant (Personal Assistant to the Priest) and as a Special Minister.


Then the matter has been taken care of, right? You spoke to the priest. You gave him your opinion.

So, I am not sure what you are looking for here.

Well, other than talk about a man that knows nothing about the Catholic faith, and because of that did something inappropriate at Mass.

I don’t see the scandal.


Yes, but it was not my opinion- it is the teaching of the Church! Since when was it acceptable for a non Catholic to receive Communion multiple times during a single Mass?


There was also a lady in my parish not so long ago who came to Mass with her non Catholic partner and would take the host and then give it to him- it was another Special Minister who brought this to attention…but according to you lot that would be fine, where is the proper respect for the Eucharist?


There is none. If you bring it up, people start trolling you about how they’re too focused on worshiping and loving God to care about their neighbor’s salvation. That’s what good Catholic does it would seem.


I was on another thread with a similar problem. Anyhow, I think it is up to the “mature” Catholics who are well instructed to gently rebuke and/or teach others less knowledgeable in their faith. One must do it with sincerity and love and tact. It must be brought to their attention and to the priest. I know a woman who is a baptist and married a RC man(civil marriage) and was taking the host. She is not catholic though she expressed she loves the mass. I told her gently to get RCIA courses and start the initiation process first. I told her this because we are friends. I don’t know if I would be able to express this if she was a stranger. At this point, I would leave it to the priest.

God Bless


I can see that my friend! Thanks for your back up, I was beginning to wonder!


Protect the Eucharist? Somehow, I think Jesus can take care of Himself. After all, He died on the Cross so that we may have this food for our spiritual sustenance.

The young man and his partner are seeking the road to salvation. They are at Mass and want their children baptized. They just don’t know how. This is not a scandal; it is the Holy Spirit calling these souls to himself.

Perhaps, as pastoral assistant, you could have expressed a welcome smile and invited them to opportunities for further learning and catechesis. We are all sinners and thus are not worthy to receive our dear Lord. He makes us worthwhile by the blood shed on Good Friday. Yes, even those who don’t always follow the rubrics.

So many souls have left the Church because they were misunderstood or embarrassed for their lack of piety, knowledge or proper lifestyle.

At a time when so many of our young people snub the church to do their “own thing”, is it possible that these folks desperately want in their lives what we have had all along?
I do hope your zeal to protect the Eucharist didn’t push these confused souls away.


It’s easy to forget that things which are very important to believers (and not just Catholics, other faiths as well) are not so important to other people who may just be searching, or want to do “the right thing”. I would only find this “scandalous” if someone did this deliberately, to mock our faith. It sounds like the young man at your church simply didn’t understand what he was doing. If he wants to get his children baptised, he must think that being a member of the Catholic Church is a good thing - so there would be no sense in him deliberately breaking its rules, as it were.


I am sure that the OP felt as part of his official capacity as Pastoral Assistant (Personal Assistant to the Priest) and as a Special Minister he was suppose to do what he did.

The problem is that even in his official capacity as Pastoral Assistant (Personal Assistant to the Priest) and as a Special Minister he is a layperson. Sometimes people forget that.

And again, I still don’t see the scandal :shrug:

I am not saying what the man did was right. It wasn’t. Just that it didn’t cause scandal.


Most of us are very fortunate to have dedicated and loving servants like yourself who give so much of themselves to the Church and the parishes they love. Thank you. But, please try to remember that even many “Catholics” pick and choose what they want to believe and how they want to live in spite of the doctrine that they have been taught. When something like what you have described happens I believe it is very important to handle it gently and swiftly. What if they had no idea that what they did and are doing is wrong? Just like any mistake we need to correct it but we need to do it in a way that is appropriate. Turn it over to the priest, like you did, and let him deal with it.


My first thought is that it could have been a mental health issue. Perhaps some kind of compulsion.


In what way?


Hi Fraz94,

It’s never an easy thing to witness someone so blatantly ignorant of Communion. It was a clear disrespect to Jesus, but done in complete ignorance.

It’s not a bad idea to talk to them after mass, but do so with a smile on your face and assure them that you know they meant no offense. Then explain what is appropriate and why and invite them to come back anytime.

Sorry you had to witness that, hopefully they got the message in a loving way!


I am sure they did- people seem to think I am some kind of tyrant- which is not my intention or how I wish it to come across, its sad that people don’t get it- thanks for your kind and loving post.

I was once told off for receiving Communion before making my First Holy Communion and it really upset it- I did it in ignorance and I understand how we must correct with love and kindness which I attempted to do. May God bless you.


As much as we abhor the Eucharist being taken by people who shouldn’t be doing so; God has a built-in way of dealing with such incidences…

1 Corinthians 11:27-19~

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

I think we have a duty to make sure that the Eucharist is recieved with the utmost respect and reverence; but some people just don’t “get it.” For those that don’t “get it,” we must leave it in God’s hands. He will decide how to deal with them…


Excellent Perspective!!

This THREAD saddens me. While it was completely right for the OP to tell the priest, his job as a layman is to welcome and help grow the body of Christ.

Now you may have scared them off. They may reject the church on this experience. Well done.

How much better would it have been to smile and welcome her when she approached you and direct her to the priest. Walk her over to him and chat. Invite her to coffee or some parish event.

The incorrect taking of communion could be addressed, but appropriately.

It’s no wonder people leave the church.

They turn from a life of sin, or are trying to, show up at mass to talk to a priest about baptism, and are greeted with condemnation.


You know what’s a greater sacrilege than the mistake these people made ?

The dozens and dozens of people in mortal sin you hand the Eucharist to at every mass and you don’t even know it.

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