Should 1st Communion be for the Children of Seldom Practicing Catholics???

What do you think about First Communion for the children of those who really don’t attend church?

The children are the ones receiving the sacrament, not the parents.

As a kid, I knew other kids whose parents didn’t attend but they did.

I don’t think one has to do anything with the other. If you’re concerned about whether or not the children will be attending, (considering they don’t drive and may be too far from the church to walk), consider a bus ministry to bring folks, including kids to mass on Sunday. Depending on the geographic layout of your parish, it might be feasible.

No. BUT,the child should only be allowed to receive if he/she knows the faith related to their age.

punish the children because of the actions of the parents? No, I don’t think so. Perhaps this action of 1st communion will get the parents to attend more often.

I know, it happened with me. And now I’ve fully converted, and have attended weekly for a few years.

I struggle with this question frequently.

As the grandmother of such children, I say to myself, "Well, they get the grace, they are encouraged by their religious education teachers (they are in a well-regarded parochial school), and perhaps the Holy Spirit will answer my prayers by making it so attractive to them that they will help their parents.

OTOH, as a teacher with decades of experience teaching young children, I know that it is cruel to put a child in a position where he/she must exist in a state of denial. It is not only that “teacher says.” Here it is “God says.” Now, Mama and Daddy often miss Mass on Sunday and they don’t go to Confession, but when they do attend Mass they receive. They let our relatives receive also, even though they are not Catholic, perhaps not even Christian. They do not pray at home, much less say the Rosary. This list could go on and on.

So, the parents and teachers are pitted against each other, and the child is pitted against both - caught in the middle as it were. The child can not for long live with the thought of God’s wrath, however dumbed down it has become in contemporary society.
Ergo, the child rationalizes with the parents. At least we must hope so if we don’t want to see Big Time Trouble down the line.

It’s so easy to say, “Oh no! Never! the child must not be ‘punished,’ for something the parents have/havenot done.” And it sounds so nice and pious. But, as is so often the case, one person’s kind-sounding, self-satisfied piety creates misery for someone else. :mad:

Faced with the decision, I am afraid that I would chicken-out and let the child receive, but I certainly would not be proud of myself for putting a child into such straights, and I would hope and pray that it was not as traumatic an experience as it could be. And if I were the teacher, I’d have a talk with those parents. After all, many such parents are being refused Baptism for the same reasons.

I know, I can already hear the chorus of painful moaning about that. :rolleyes:


Dear Anna,
Thank you for your very thoughtful response. :slight_smile:

My mother wavered on and off in her practice through the years of our upbringing, but kept us in Catholic school most of the time, esp. for elementary and junior high. She had an annual novena going with St. Joseph to keep us in Catholic school.

My father at that time was virulently anti-Catholic. He did not do conferences, he did not do sacramental meetings (and they had them even back then), he did not do fund raisers. It was not until I was I was in seventh grade that he actually attended a fund raiser, but never worked them as a volunteer. He actually made fun of me after my Confirmation, I mean he was abusive and derisive.

A lot of times, he would forbid my mother to attend any meetings as well. She claimed she HAD to obey my father. I don’t know if this was to keep peace, because she struggled with it, because she was BPD, or all of the above. She certainly chose the strangest times to be complicit with him, and even stranger times to defy him.

I am glad there was never any question as to whether or not we would receive the initiation sacraments, based on my mother having to defy my father, or my father’s permission. We were Catholic, we had baptismal certificates, that was that.

BTW- Dad loosened up by the time Child #7 arrived. He actually attended a couple confirmations. Dad did come around. He is now Catholic to the point of being annoying, as if he is the only Catholic other than the Pope.

Anna, thanks for the input.

I know people who received first communion and confirmation without believing in God. This is because children don’t even have an illusion of choice. They do what the parent wants. It is no good to ask a child in many cases what they believe…they know the “right” answer and will give it. And if the parent isn’t going to mass and doesn’t really seem to be into the faith, what is the kid going to make of what they are being taught in CCD?

I wish there were some way to avoid having the kid receive sacraments in an unhealthy manner. I think a kid can be put into insoluble moral dilemas (well, I couldn’t solve some that I was in as a child). Sure, Now I could solve them, but not as a kid.:o I agree with Anna, they are painful and I think damaging.

just had this discussion with dh, regarding all the kids who will be receiving first communion on the next 6 Sundays, alone, while their parents and families remain in the pews, having demonstrated all during the Mass how infrequently they have been inside a church. they have dutifully attended the parent meetings, where the pastor has stressed the gravity of bringing the child for sacraments but putting him in a position of sin by denying him the chance to attend Mass on Sunday and keeping him from confession by their neglect.

bottom line is if the parents request the sacraments, and the child is of the age of reason, and through the interviews we ascertain the child is sincere in understanding and requesting the sacraments of his own volition, we cannot in canon law deny the child. We provide the best preparation in our power for the child and the parents, and trust in the grace of Jesus and the action of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament to do the rest, in God’s time, not ours.

I would have liked to voted for all of the first four options. We must be open to all children and reach out to them with the grace of God.

However, it is not unreasonable to have a minimum requirement that the child atttend Mass during sacramental preparation, thus requiring an parent to bring them during that time. Obviously many parents will not be seen again until Confirmation time, but perahps it will instill in some the need to renew faithfulness to the Church.

I do not believe the sins of the parents should be visited upon the children. That is what you are doing by telling a child they cannot receive communion if their parents do not go to Church. That is what you do by not allowing a child to receive when the parents fail to bring the child to church even if they ask to go.

We can only educate the children and the parents the best we can and leave it in God’s hands.

Although it was not communion, another example of a person coming to the church for a sacrament is marriage. I know I did not go to church, not even on Christmas or Easter. I was living with my boyfriend. I went to the Bishop and asked to be married. I told him I really did not know why, but I would not feel married unless it was by a priest. Would you marry us?

Today, I always attend and am highly involved in my parish. Would this be the case if the bishop had said no? I don’t know. I thank God I don’t have to find out.

I think these parents are responding to God in the same manner. They are not sure why, but think it is important for their kids to receive the sacrament.

Keep not the little children from Him…

God Bless,

Dear Maria,
I think you make some very excellent and thoughtful points. :slight_smile:

[quote=WhiteDove]What do you think about First Communion for the children of those who really don’t attend church?

hmmmm…just curious…are you the official counter of people attending church? :confused:

[quote=Binney]hmmmm…just curious…are you the official counter of people attending church? :confused:

Ther is no"official counter of people attending church." However, since this is a public debate forum for Catholics and participation in Sunday Mass is a grave obligation for all Catholics, it is a very legitimate question.

I hope your curiosity is satisfied.

[quote=pnewton] participation in Sunday Mass is a grave obligation for all Catholics, it is a very legitimate question.

participation in Sunday Mass is a grave obligation and so is the sacrament of reconciliation and a number of other things

It just strikes me as something impossible to monitor

all I can think of is the people who sit in front of me in church who turn their heads for every single person who walks in

i think of the people who watch the communion line for who is passing through.

i 'm not looking :whistle: are you?

I just think it would be awful to deny a child entry into the sacraments. We don’t want to tear down our faith from within. I hear a lot about people being sad that others leave the faith, but if we deny someone entry because their parents don’t meet our approval, then what will become of the future?

Yes I’d love to see their parents at weekend mass. And I do think that participation at home and some classes for parents would be great. If the parents feel more comfortable, and knowledgable on the subject matter, they will probably be more willing to share it with their children. Maybe they were brought up as Christmas and Easter Catholics, and just need a nudge (or big shove) back through the door.

We need to reach out to these people instead of closing the door on them. Use these opportunities to get them more involved. Maybe we’d find out they really would like to be more of a part of the church, but didn’t know how.

They do indeed need the Grace provided by the Eucharist.

[quote=Binney]i think of the people who watch the communion line for who is passing through.

i 'm not looking :whistle: are you?

No, but what makes you think anyone else (like White Dove) is? One does not have to look at individuals or count attendance to be aware that this happens. For one thing, the priest is aware that some parents only show up at sacrament time. He mentions this from the pulpit.

Also, most Catholics know some people that are registered in the parish by name, yet only see them on certain days. We do not need to keep score of each other, but neither do we need to be so disconected as to be oblivious.

One related topic I thought of is how child is not to be baptized without a reasonable expectation that he/she will be raised Catholic. I would not apply this to first communion, as we are dealing with a child who is already a member of the Church. But it does show one instance where the need for the parent to be faithful is needed for sacramental reception.

We do baptismal prep at two parishes for many parents who probably could be lumped into this category. Many of the couples are in non-sacramental marriages or just plain living together without the benefit of marriage at all. We remind them that baptism is a sacrament of initiation and they as parents are expected to fulfill the promise they make to raise their children Catholic, provide catechesis of them, to be sure they receive the other sacraments of initiation, communion, and confirmation as well as reconciliation.

We strongly encourage them that in order for this to happen, they not only must preach the truth, but live it by example. That means they need to convalidate their marriages or marry in the church so they can readily participate fully in the sacraments that they currently are denied. How can they receive communion as a family when their children are making their own communions when they are living outside the graces of our faith and in sin.

God gives them a precious gift called a child…and how are they taking care that their child is brought up in the faith if they are not living it as well? We do it in a non-judgmental way, just instructional way. We also offer them opportunities to make an appt for further discussion. We also say, that they should not only bring their children to church, but also attend mass with them every Sunday not just on holidays.
Many times it lands on poor soil and the message doesn’t take root, like Jesus’ parable. But as sowers or planters of the seed, we still need to try to sow God’s word in the field.
And let the Holy Spirit do His amazing work!

[quote=Binney]hmmmm…just curious…are you the official counter of people attending church? :confused:

No, I am not in any official capicity counting people. I usually close my eyes after receiving communion.

I pose this question because it has been an issue in my parish. Now, they are requiring parents to attend weekly with their child. The number of first communicants has drastically dropped.

I haven’t voted yet on the poll because I’m undecided.

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