Was This First Communion Incident A Fiasco?

At a nephew’s First communion the following situation accorred -
A man receives Communion by hand. His three-year-old daughter noisily insists that she wants some too. The father
breaks the Host in half, and he and his young daughter each consume their respective halves.
Some people are extremely upset with this situation but other suspect the man was a non-Catholic there for a realtive’s First Communion and that he doesn’t have the same understanding of the Real Presence as Catholics.
This raises a couple of questions in my mind -

  1. If this man was not a Catholic and he does not believe in the Real Presence, did he, in fact, receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus?

  2. Should we get all bent out of shape about this?

  3. What if a Catholic receives the Eucharist but does not believe in the Real Presence? Is that still what he/she receives?


Dear yankee,

The reality of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is the result of the elements being consecrated by a validly ordained priest, not by the recipient’s degree of faith or its lack. Whether one believes or not, it is still the Body and Blood of Christ.

There is no reason to get bent out of shape. If he is not a Catholic he probably acted in ignorance. If he is a Catholic, he should be instructed regarding the appropriate norms for receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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