Took girlfriend to Mass for the first time and have a question


#1

Hi all. My girlfriend is a lifelong Lutheran (ELCA) and went to Mass with me for the first time this weekend. I’ve spent the last year clearing up a lot of misconceptions she has about our faith, but the one answer I can’t really give properly is this: Why she can’t receive Communion in our Church?

Now, I know the answer, but I can’t really come up with an answer for her without sounding condescending to her. It’s one of those things where she thinks that we don’t consider her “good enough” and I’m “too good” to take communion in her church.

Could you help me come up with a nice politically correct, touchy feely answer? My PR department isn’t always the best :smiley:

Thanks!


#2

There should be guidelines in the missalette. I would suggest showing her that so she will see it in writing.


#3

Tell her that the Eucharist is, for Catholics, also a statement of shared belief. Receiving communion, is, in a way, saying “I believe everything the Catholic Church asks me to believe”. Since she probably can’t say that, she would, by taking communion, be lying—and why would she want to lie?

Now, she may say that there are Catholics who are receiving that don’t follow all of the Church’s teaching----and she’d be right. However, the existence of bad Catholics does not change the meaning of communion, and those Catholics will have to answer for their actions.

Hope that helps.


#4

[quote=Jabronie]Hi all. My girlfriend is a lifelong Lutheran (ELCA) and went to Mass with me for the first time this weekend. I’ve spent the last year clearing up a lot of misconceptions she has about our faith, but the one answer I can’t really give properly is this: Why she can’t receive Communion in our Church?

Now, I know the answer, but I can’t really come up with an answer for her without sounding condescending to her. It’s one of those things where she thinks that we don’t consider her “good enough” and I’m “too good” to take communion in her church.

Could you help me come up with a nice politically correct, touchy feely answer? My PR department isn’t always the best :smiley:

Thanks!
[/quote]

The best way in this situation is simply you are Catholic she is Lutheran. Her church and your Church are two different and separate Christian communities and until they are fully united under the sucessor of Peter there will be this Sacramental separation.


#5

I would simply say its because of what communion means. If someone is in communion with the Catholic Church, then that means that they beleive (to the best of their abilities,) what the Catholic church believes and teaches. Your GF doesn’t believe that the position of pope is the seat of Peter? Well, then she doesn’t believe what a Catholic believes and she is not in Communion with the Catholic Church.

I would also not recieve communion when you go with her to her church. If you are not in communion with her faith, you shouldn;'t be recieving there.

I think that is simple enough. I don’t even think its condescending.


#6

The idea is the same as in a marriage. I am not explaining this well, but maybe somebody can reword it so it makes more sense. Basically, a Lutheran receiving communion in a Catholic church would be the same thing as a husband having marital relations with a woman other than his wife.


#7

Let’s not forget that as Catholics were not supposed to take communion if we have committed grave sin and have not been to confession.

As a Catholic, you have to take communion at least once a year. You don’t have to take communion every week.

If, as a serious Catholic, you make sure you go to confession before communion, then your girlfriend may understand the true importance of receiving the Eucharist.


#8

Why are you dating a Lutheran anyway? (I’m kidding!!) :eek:


#9

Here’s a reply that I put when I adressed this question on a previous thread- it addresses why they can’t recieve at a Catholic Church as well as why we Catholics only receive at Catholic Churches:

When Catholics celebrate mass and receive the Eucharist we, as Christ’s Bride, the Church, are “consummating” our marriage to Christ (I hope someone here that can explain this better than me will pop in and do it!). So, that is why a non- Catholic cannot receive until they decide to enter the Catholic Church. It would be like me telling my daughter that it’s okay to sleep with her boyfriend (even though they love each other) before they are officially married- I would never do that! So, that also is why we as Catholics do not recieve communion at other churches. Again, using my daughter as an example, that would be like telling her it is okay to sleep with someone other than her husband. Sorry, if that seems like a tacky or imperfect way to explain, but often it is diificult, to say the least, to put into words these kinds of things.

Now this may bring up the idea of the Catholic Church being Christ’s Bride, but that’s another topic!

Hope this helps.


#10

tell her that only those in full communion with the Church may receive Communion. remind her that this applies to Catholics as well as non Catholics and that not all Catholics can receive Communion either because for one reason or another they have broken communion with the Church.


#11

Jabronie,
Tell her that the Communion like Marriage is a sacrament in our church. In marriage we unite ourselves to our spouse, but not until we have a full understanding of the Church’s teachings and expectations of us when in this relationship.

Likewise, in the Eucharist, we unite ourselves with Christ, but like marriage, we are not allowed to partake of this sacrament until we have a full understanding of the Church’s teachings and expectations of us when we are in this perfect relationship with him.

Good luck!

brandon


#12

As John Martignoni says, because Catholics do not believe in pre-marital sex.

That is a very through provoking reason as it digs into what it actually means to be One Body united through a covenental relationship.


#13

It was my understanding that Lutheran teaching does not allow outside communion either. At least Missouri Synod Lutherans do not…I’m not sure about ELCA which is a more liberal Lutheran sect.
:hmmm:
Peace,
Anne


#14

There are at least two things I would suggest. One, is that Lutherans hold to ‘consubstantiation’ whereas catholics hold to ‘transubstantiation’, there is a difference. Second, I would refer her to Ex 12:43 where God tells Moses that foreigners are not to eat of the Passover. The Passover is a prefigurement of the Eucharist. Only those who are taught and are within the family of God, or covenant of God can partake. Justin Martyr also said that…And this food is called among us [font=Times New Roman]Eu0xaristi/a [/font][the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true…

from First Apology 66…151AD

As a protestant convert I wrestled with this very thing, but as a Catholic I understand fully why non catholics cannot recieve. hope this helps…


#15

One of the very best explanations of this is from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

  1. Precisely because the Church’s unity, which the Eucharist brings about through the Lord’s sacrifice and by communion in his body and blood, absolutely requires full communion in the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance, it is not possible to celebrate together the same Eucharistic liturgy until those bonds are fully re-established. Any such concelebration would not be a valid means, and might well prove instead to be an obstacle, to the attainment of full communion, by weakening the sense of how far we remain from this goal and by introducing or exacerbating ambiguities with regard to one or another truth of the faith. The path towards full unity can only be undertaken in truth. In this area, the prohibitions of Church law leave no room for uncertainty,92 in fidelity to the moral norm laid down by the Second Vatican Council.93

I would like nonetheless to reaffirm what I said in my Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint after having acknowledged the impossibility of Eucharistic sharing: “And yet we do have a burning desire to join in celebrating the one Eucharist of the Lord, and this desire itself is already a common prayer of praise, a single supplication. Together we speak to the Father and increasingly we do so ‘with one heart’”.94

  1. While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established.

This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed.95 This approach was then ratified by both Codes, which also consider – with necessary modifications – the case of other non-Eastern Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.96

  1. In my Encyclical Ut Unum Sint I expressed my own appreciation of these norms, which make it possible to provide for the salvation of souls with proper discernment: “It is a source of joy to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church but who greatly desire to receive these sacraments, freely request them and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments. Conversely, in specific cases and in particular circumstances, Catholics too can request these same sacraments from ministers of Churches in which these sacraments are valid”.97

These conditions, from which no dispensation can be given, must be carefully respected, even though they deal with specific individual cases, because the denial of one or more truths of the faith regarding these sacraments and, among these, the truth regarding the need of the ministerial priesthood for their validity, renders the person asking improperly disposed to legitimately receiving them. And the opposite is also true: Catholics may not receive communion in those communities which lack a valid sacrament of Orders.


#16

[quote=Dan-Man916]As John Martignoni says, because Catholics do not believe in pre-marital sex.
.
[/quote]

I have that cd! I love that response, but have never had the guts to use it for fear I couldn’t explain it as good as he does!


#17

[quote=Jabronie]Hi all. My girlfriend is a lifelong Lutheran (ELCA) and went to Mass with me for the first time this weekend. I’ve spent the last year clearing up a lot of misconceptions she has about our faith, but the one answer I can’t really give properly is this: Why she can’t receive Communion in our Church?

Now, I know the answer, but I can’t really come up with an answer for her without sounding condescending to her. It’s one of those things where she thinks that we don’t consider her “good enough” and I’m “too good” to take communion in her church.

Could you help me come up with a nice politically correct, touchy feely answer? My PR department isn’t always the best :smiley:

Thanks!
[/quote]

Anyone who partakes of the Eucharist without “recognizing the body…eats and drinks judgement upon himself” as does anyone who receives “in an unworthy manner” says St Paul.
The analogy of the “marriage supper of the lamb” is very fitting.
Just as sexual activity is limited to the relationship between a man and woman in full communion - ie, married - the communion of the Eucharist - for adults -is limited to the relationship of being a fully-confirmed member of the Catholic Church.
Simply ask her this: Do you believe that the Eucharist is truly the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ? AND Have you been to Sacramental confession at least once in the last year? If the answer to EITHER is “No”, then out of respect for our beliefs, and out of respect/in compliance with her own faith, she should abstain.
If all this fails, simply tell her to quit whining - your conscience won’t permit you to allow her this grave error and close the discussion. Stand your ground when her pride rages back at you. This approach will save you a lot of time in effort in many future encounters with your potential spouse.


#18

I wanted to tell y’all that I have heard the sex and eucharist comparison before, but I don’t know if its the best explanation for someone who is not on the same page. I once called Dr.Ray for this very question, my dad is Lutheran and insisted he could recieve communion in the Catholic church. Dr.Ray tried to use the coveneant of marriage and sex as an example of partaking in the Eucharist in the Sacrament of communion, but my dad is a guy who justified cheating on my mom and leaving her for another woman, so the example would not work with him.

When faced with this difficulty I stick with the easier taking communion= I agree and believe completely.


#19

The regulation of reception of Eucharist goes to the earliest days of the church. To recieve the person must (as has always been the case)

  1. be baptized
  2. accept the teachings of the church (kerygma)
  3. be in union (communion) with the bishop
  4. be in a state of grace (metanoia)

Your girl friend lacks 2, 3, and probably 4 (given that the sacrament of confession is probably not available to her.)
Nothing personal - just the way it has always been. period.


#20

[quote=Jabronie]Hi all. My girlfriend is a lifelong Lutheran (ELCA) and went to Mass with me for the first time this weekend. I’ve spent the last year clearing up a lot of misconceptions she has about our faith, but the one answer I can’t really give properly is this: Why she can’t receive Communion in our Church?

Now, I know the answer, but I can’t really come up with an answer for her without sounding condescending to her. It’s one of those things where she thinks that we don’t consider her “good enough” and I’m “too good” to take communion in her church.

Could you help me come up with a nice politically correct, touchy feely answer? My PR department isn’t always the best :smiley:

Thanks!
[/quote]


Some times Mr. Jabronie, we cannot sugar coat the Truth.
Just try to be as charitable as possible.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.