State of Grace When Receiving Communion


#1

I'm not particularly a traditional Catholic or overly conservative, I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. But I was brought up to believe that you must not receive communion if you are in mortal sin of any kind - and this includes not attending mass, denying the Catholic Church as the one true faith and becoming a re-baptised protestant. One branch of my husband's family have done exactly that. Having all been brought up in the faith, they are now evangelical Christians but still insist it's OK to receive communion when they attend mass (on rare occasions such as Christmas, weddings and funerals) with the rest of the family. I find this somewhat offensive given their views on Mary, the papacy etc and the fact none of them have any intention of going to confession and returning to us or seeking any kind of dispensation to receive. My father-in-law is pretty devout attending mass daily, although there are (other fundamental things we disagree on where I think he's way too lax) says I'm being over-the-top and it's not a big deal. Even the priest I spoke to told me not to worry, just leave it alone. I've decided not to attend the usual Christmas mass at the cathedral with the family this year in protest which will cause some upset but I can't bear to stand by and watch people who play on their mobiles, giggle through the mass and treat the whole thing with disrespect then receive Jesus in the Eucharist as if it's just a symbolic piece of bread. Am I wrong to object? Should I say something directly to them and risk a fall-out?


#2

[quote="Shelley11, post:1, topic:300140"]
I'm not particularly a traditional Catholic or overly conservative, I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. But I was brought up to believe that you must not receive communion if you are in mortal sin of any kind - and this includes not attending mass, denying the Catholic Church as the one true faith and becoming a re-baptised protestant. One branch of my husband's family have done exactly that. Having all been brought up in the faith, they are now evangelical Christians but still insist it's OK to receive communion when they attend mass (on rare occasions such as Christmas, weddings and funerals) with the rest of the family. I find this somewhat offensive given their views on Mary, the papacy etc and the fact none of them have any intention of going to confession and returning to us or seeking any kind of dispensation to receive. My father-in-law is pretty devout attending mass daily, although there are (other fundamental things we disagree on where I think he's way too lax) says I'm being over-the-top and it's not a big deal. Even the priest I spoke to told me not to worry, just leave it alone. I've decided not to attend the usual Christmas mass at the cathedral with the family this year in protest which will cause some upset but I can't bear to stand by and watch people who play on their mobiles, giggle through the mass and treat the whole thing with disrespect then receive Jesus in the Eucharist as if it's just a symbolic piece of bread. Am I wrong to object? Should I say something directly to them and risk a fall-out?

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#3

I think you not being around them during Mass will send a big message. If asked, kindly explain yourself and the let them know they are offending God, the Catholic Church and you by their actions. Yes, it may cause problems but, in the end we answer to one person and that is God...As, I get closer to God I am able to identify sin, not only in my thoughts and words, but also what I hear and see. God Bless you for standing up...My prayers are with you :)


#4

[quote="Shelley11, post:1, topic:300140"]
I've decided not to attend the usual Christmas mass at the cathedral with the family this year in protest which will cause some upset but I can't bear to stand by and watch people who play on their mobiles, giggle through the mass and treat the whole thing with disrespect then receive Jesus in the Eucharist as if it's just a symbolic piece of bread. Am I wrong to object? Should I say something directly to them and risk a fall-out?

[/quote]

I'm reminded of a passage from one of the gospels where Jesus says that you tell someone they aren't following His truth once and after that the blame falls on them for not heeding the message. If I were you, I would tell them that they shouldn't receive Communion without first going to Confession (and explain why). But then go to Christmas Mass with them since it will be on their souls, not yours.

I'm also reminded of something I heard on EWTN radio. A priest once noted how short the lines to Confession are on Saturday and how long the lines to Communion are on Sunday. So either we have a lot of saints in our midst or a lot of people are receiving Communion who should not. My point is, I don't think you'll get away from people acting disrespectfully at Mass no matter where you go, especially on Christmas. So you might as well not create a rift in your family. Speak the truth and then be the good example.


#5

Our participation in the Eucharist testifies to our unity with the Church. Share your thoughts with them in a charitable way, out of concern for them.

Show them the teachings of the Church in the Catechism.

Show them the writings of the Church Fathers. For example, in the second century St. Justin Martyr wrote, "And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true..."


#6

[quote="Shelley11, post:1, topic:300140"]
I'm not particularly a traditional Catholic or overly conservative, I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. But I was brought up to believe that you must not receive communion if you are in mortal sin of any kind - and this includes not attending mass, denying the Catholic Church as the one true faith and becoming a re-baptised protestant. One branch of my husband's family have done exactly that. Having all been brought up in the faith, they are now evangelical Christians but still insist it's OK to receive communion when they attend mass (on rare occasions such as Christmas, weddings and funerals) with the rest of the family. I find this somewhat offensive given their views on Mary, the papacy etc and the fact none of them have any intention of going to confession and returning to us or seeking any kind of dispensation to receive. My father-in-law is pretty devout attending mass daily, although there are (other fundamental things we disagree on where I think he's way too lax) says I'm being over-the-top and it's not a big deal. Even the priest I spoke to told me not to worry, just leave it alone. I've decided not to attend the usual Christmas mass at the cathedral with the family this year in protest which will cause some upset but I can't bear to stand by and watch people who play on their mobiles, giggle through the mass and treat the whole thing with disrespect then receive Jesus in the Eucharist as if it's just a symbolic piece of bread. Am I wrong to object? Should I say something directly to them and risk a fall-out?

[/quote]

I do not think that your feelings triggered by those behaviors are over the top. What you are seeing is wrong and offensive to God. You have a moral obligation to let them know that what they are doing is offends you because it offends God. You share your opinion once and then you let it go and offer it to God, during Mass you apologize to him for all the behaviors of sinful people and you implore his mercy on them. When it comes Christmas time you attend Mass with them as a family, and you apologize to God one more time for the behaviors of your family and ask him to forgive them. If in the future if they ask your opinion about it then you should feel free to share with them not only what the Church teaches but also why by using some appropriate examples that could hit home. Remember that truth without charity does not help too much.


#7

You are right. Those people who have left the Church should not be recieving Holy Communion. The question is if saying anything would do any good. Or would the fight that would likely ensue be even worse.


#8

[quote="Shelley11, post:1, topic:300140"]
I'm not particularly a traditional Catholic or overly conservative, I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. But I was brought up to believe that you must not receive communion if you are in mortal sin of any kind - and this includes not attending mass, denying the Catholic Church as the one true faith and becoming a re-baptised protestant. One branch of my husband's family have done exactly that. Having all been brought up in the faith, they are now evangelical Christians but still insist it's OK to receive communion when they attend mass (on rare occasions such as Christmas, weddings and funerals) with the rest of the family. I find this somewhat offensive given their views on Mary, the papacy etc and the fact none of them have any intention of going to confession and returning to us or seeking any kind of dispensation to receive. My father-in-law is pretty devout attending mass daily, although there are (other fundamental things we disagree on where I think he's way too lax) says I'm being over-the-top and it's not a big deal. Even the priest I spoke to told me not to worry, just leave it alone. I've decided not to attend the usual Christmas mass at the cathedral with the family this year in protest which will cause some upset but I can't bear to stand by and watch people who play on their mobiles, giggle through the mass and treat the whole thing with disrespect then receive Jesus in the Eucharist as if it's just a symbolic piece of bread. Am I wrong to object? Should I say something directly to them and risk a fall-out?

[/quote]

I'm curious, why don't they just go to their own church. Wouldn't that make more sense for them? And it would relieve you of a painful situation.

It seems they are saying one thing with one side of their mouth and something else out of the other. They believe contrary to the catholic faith and catholic communion . They are hurting themselves in a big way. I think you have good cause to be concerned for their welfare.

And in addition, any christian church that is mistreated in that way would have good reason to feel badly wronged. I wonder what a Lutheran church who has closed communion would say about that and what would they do?

Just a few thoughts.


#9

Thank you for your thoughts, everyone. It seems you're all pretty much thinking the same way as me.

To answer the last question, at Christmas time since the 1970s when my mother-in-law passed away and later some members of the family moved abroad, the family has a tradition of everyone attending the Catholic cathedral vigil mass on Christmas Eve. It's the only time the whole family comes together before God, including those who have lapsed or left the faith. I can understand why in way. Some have never believed and my other sister in law hasn't brought her children up in the faith after marrying a protestant, but none of them would dream of receiving. On the other hand, the four who left the church for evangelical protestantism while living in Germany, still seem to feel entitled to receive, even though their early teaching (including the two children who are now young adults) must have been taught this fundamental truth in school and should know better.

This confusion is not helped by the family patriarch not stepping in and the priests both my husband and I consulted on the matter saying it's no big deal.

I'm seriously worried about the state of Catholicism in Scotland. I came here from England 7 years ago when I married a Scot and it's just not the same.

I'm thinking and praying a great deal about this because I want a win-win outcome. We have a new PP in our parish so I might ask him or go back to one at my old parish in England for some additional support. At the moment I'm thinking of getting my sister-in-law out for a coffee some time before Christmas and explaining this to her. She is so evangelical and loves the Lord greatly and I think she would be the one to understand, if anyone, and the others would listen to her. On the other hand, she's so fundamental and unhappy with the Catholic faith that it might go the other way and I'll end up getting lectured again. She's always trying to get me into her church and telling me I'm wrong.

Thank you for your support and prayers. You don't know how much this means to me as I feel so isolated in this and other matters.

God bless xxx


#10

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