Should I reprove a family member before their reception of Communion (knowing for a fact that they are unworthy to receive)?

My family and other relatives will be attending a Mass this upcoming Sunday, in which a relative will have her son baptized. My sister will also attend this Mass. She is a non-practicing Catholic–attends Mass once in a blue moon, and was married in a civil ceremony (without a bishop’s dispensation). And the kicker is, is that she will casually walk into the procession line to receive the Eucharist this Sunday. I have witnessed her receiving on previous rare occassions she’s attended Mass. I recall telling her years ago that she should not receive without going to Confession first, but she brushed me aside. What approach can I use with her?

If it were me, I’d gently remind her again, and then leave it between her and God.

I would sincerely remind her of the significance of the Sacrament and what the importance of it is between the receiver and God.

I was in a similar situation a few years ago when my niece received while not being a Catholic or ever having been to Communion before. She had been at Mass with another niece from my other sister, who convinced her to share in the Eucharist without knowing herself that she wasn’t properly disposed to do so. They were both young and neither knew that it wasn’t alright. I gracefully pulled them both aside after Mass and explained what should not have happened and there has been any problems since. My point is that maybe your sister needs a friendly reminder of the practice and reverence that Sacrament deserves. The bottom line is that ultimately it will be between her and God when she has to answer for her sin if there is one. You can rest assured that you did the right thing by saying something and that is all you can be expected to do.

Ahem, family…good luck.

Depends on your relationship with her at this point. A further reminder could cause a rift which you might regret, or it may be just an “awkward moment”. There’s a chance she won’t go up to receive Communion (although past history suggests otherwise). A further course of action is inaction: say nothing and leave it between her and the almighty.
Is it the lay Catholic parishioner’s role to superintend the receiving of Communion?

[As a related aside: many years ago, I attended Mass in my cousins’ home town–a totally unfamiliar church and parish. I was about 13 or 14. My similarly-aged cousins (Baptists, I much later found out) were sent along with me “because (Aunty said) it will be nice to see their church and what they do.” When it came time for communion, they asked what they should do. In a bit of a fluster, and not wanting to exclude them, I explained the procedure and response to them, not knowing the gravity of what I was involving them in. They were innocent, really, and assumed communion meant what it said, and was for everybody present. So they went up in the line behind me and got away with it .
The kicker came after mass, when one of them laughed and said, “What was that s**t I had to put in my mouth?” I didn’t know what to feel or to think.
Something I’ve never forgotten.]

If you have any kids, have her “babysit” them in the pew during reception of Holy Communion.

MYOB and let God be her judge:thumbsup:


The other possibility is that* if* she elects to receive, you might ask her afterward: “I saw you went to receive Communion. When are you going to come back on a regular basis? Is there something I can do that would make that easier for you?”

Know some answers for her…what it would take to get her marriage convalidated, what the parishes are in her neighborhood, and so on. And if she brings up your previous call to confession with some resentment, let her know that reminding her of her need for confession doesn’t make you better than she is, because you go yourself. Let her know that the common faith of your childhood is something you are still with out of recognition of its enormous value, not out of fear or obligation. This is why it is something you want her to have, too.

It isn’t enough that she go to confession once a year so she can go to Mass and Holy Communion once a year, but doesn’t live in the Church on a regular basis. She’s missing out on an enormous grace of birth that not everyone gets! It is one you shared, growing up. Maybe you can be used as God re-awakens a love in her that has gotten lukewarm, but not died. And you can tell her that: “Listen, I know that if the faith meant nothing to you, you wouldn’t still go to Communion. You still see meaning in it. When are you going to come back for a full helping? You’re missed, you know that, right? What can I do to help you come back?”

Who knows? You might get a fly with sugar that found your last offering to be vinegar.

But then, yes…if she says it doesn’t mean much to her, or means nothing to her, then point out that it does mean that much to those who go on a regular basis. It isn’t something you take lightly. It is a big deal. Even if she doesn’t respect the Sacrament enough to be prepared as the Church teaches, she might consider that polite people do not take the religious practices of others lightly. It is respectful to either participate according to the rules of the religion, which she knows as well as you do, or else refrain until you’re ready to do that. In or out, girl. Be hot or cold, not lukewarm, lest you be spit out.

After that, or if it were not your sister, yes, MYOB. You’ve admonished her before. There is a time to stop tossing pearls before swine. Sure, those who approach and receive Holy Communion should be invited to either come further in or else leave it alone until they are ready to do that. When people choose to abuse the rules of our religion, that is our business. We are not out of place to say something. But there does get to be a time to recognize that raising the subject will result in either nothing or in strife, and so leave it alone for that reason.

With regard to the thread title, we are all unworthy to receive Him. I think what you wanted to say is that your family member is not properly disposed to receive.

I would say nothing! Your sister already knows how you feel, and she will probably receive just to spite you! Your good example of kindness and holiness counts much more. She’s more likely to come around because she’ll notice you have something she doesn’t…peace and love!

Let it alone. It is a matter between her and god.

Family members have a hard time believing information imparted by another family member. Too much water under the bridge. If I were in your position I would e-mail a link to a document put out by the hierarchy (in Rome, if you can locate one, along with a link to the place in the CCC where this is stated and a where to look in Scripture for St. Paul’s comment about receiving unworthily) stating this again. If she doesn’t have or look at her e-mail, I would print these out and mail them to her (having underlined the pertinent parts). Another thing you could do is give her a CD with this information (Fr. Corapi, Mother Angelica, etc. spring to mind). Maybe this will even help your Christmas list.

Yes, in fact I have and I told not only my son, but my husband too.:wink:

As Catholic Christians we have the **obligation **to rebuke our brother and sisters when they are about to commit an even more mortal sin.

Of course there will be anger and resentment, but we must put God above the feelings of any human. Just do it with Love:)

I don’t have any suggestions on how to approach her, but you should at least say something and suggest that she seriously consider NOT going up to Communion if she is not in good standing with the Catholic Church .

I agree that this matter is between her and God, but it’s not only between her and God. The Catholic Church isn’t a “me-n-Jesus” church. If she is receiving Holy Communion, she is doing so as a member of the Body of Christ, and St. Paul teaches clearly that “if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Cor 12:26)

I would suggest you ask her why she wants to receive Communion. Find out what she thinks about it. If she thinks it’s her right, ask her why she thinks that. Have a “dialogue” with her leading to the point you wish to make: that only those Catholics who are properly disposed are to be admitted to this Most Holy and Blessed Sacrament.

Would it be impractical to inform the priest at that Mass to remind those present of the requirements for receiving? You do not have to tell him who it is you may be referencing. Then again if you don’t know the condition of her soul - internal forum- best not to judge it. This is priests job as shepherd to temind others. He can easily at the end of the homily make a tactful reminder about the requirements for reception of communion.

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