What to do if you know someone should not take communion?


#1

Hello and thank you for taking the time to help me with my question.

If somebody knows (and is absolutely certain) that her family member is living with his girlfriend, and that the family member and his girlfriend are openly and by agreement not exclusively faithful with each other, how should she feel about this family member presenting himself for Communion?

Even if this person has confessed his past sins and infidelities, he is still committing them after possibly (or not) having confessed them. He also does not attend mass regularly, or observe Lent and holy days of obligation.

If you knew this about your family member, what should you do when they go to mass with you and you know beforehand that they will go for the Communion line?

Thank you so much.


#2

One of the apologists just answered this question today: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=736126


#3

Thank you for linking that, SuscipeMeDomine.

Just because I would like to know more about the proper response to something like this, please allow me to ask a follow-up question.

The apologist explained that in such a situation, you of course do not know the state of the person's soul, or if they have been to confession. But for the sake of argument and better understanding, if the person himself has informed you that he has not gone to confession and does not have remorse for his compromising lifestyle, does that not clarify the situation at all?

I mean to say, if by this person's admission, you know that they are probably not, by standard of the Catechism, supposed to be receiving communion, how should you then respond? Is it appropriate to say anything to the person, or should you focus solely instead on praying for him?

Please excuse me if this question and post are not up to par. This is my first time actually posting on this forum, as usually I just read others' posts and discussions (:


#4

What of cases like non-Catholic receiving the Eucharist. I knew a Lutheran professor and at a Mass on campus, I saw him take the Eucharist once. Later in class I talked to him about it and told him politely that it’s actually not allowed, but he tried to justify that he can because he does believe it is the Body of Christ.

I also read about tourists from non-Western countries like Japan who go to the Vatican, attend a Mass and don’t even understand what the Eucharist is, but just follow the herd and go to receive.

A worse time I saw was giving it to the corpse of a relative of mine who just died. They somehow managed to get a priest to give the dying man hosts to keep in a pyx which he carried around (which is against Canon Law). After he expired, his wife suggested putting the Eucharist in his mouth. I said, in polite and gentle terms, that you can’t do that (and I know what I’m talking about – you REALLY can’t do that). I left the hospital room to help them with the funeral arrangements. When I returned, I discovered that they did it anyway, I’m pretty sure it was intentionally while I was gone.

That was his third wife, with whom he only has a civil marriage. While we could theoretically say that he might have gotten absolution for that and can receive the Eucharist, we absolutely cannot say that they can give the Eucharist to a corpse or even that they can let someone carry the Eucharist around.

With both the professor and my relative, I did say something. But with both cases, I was ignored.

One time at a weekday Mass, a woman apparently tried to pocket the Eucharist. A sister noticed and in a slightly aggressive way signaled to another sister to do something about it. It made the woman cry and the second sister comforted her. I noticed the ruckus from my seat. I think those sisters did the right thing.

Problem is though, for people like you (the original poster) and myself, we’re laypeople and we’d be ignored. At least those sisters came from a position of authority, and I don’t want to have to flash my Religious Studies degree just so people would believe me.


#5

Thank you for answering, PazzoGrande; that is mostly what I am wondering about.

In the case of people who are not Catholic, that is maybe a different question, but I think it was right of you to say something to the Lutheran professor and the other person, even though you weren't sure if they would listen to you.

With regard to my original question, if the person has been catechized and just is not regarding the requirements and the teaching around the sacrament of Communion, and you are a witness to it, how can you be a bystander and not stand up for the Church's teaching?

I suppose what is prompting me to ask all of this is that I feel like it is wrong for me to not say anything to the person as it is such a grave matter; on the other hand, I know that I shall not 'judge lest I be judged.' Which is the worse offense, then? To say something or not to say something?

Thank you for helping me with this.


#6

I told my friend her non Catholic sister can't receive Communion. I didn't end up sitting with them so I don't know if she did go to Communion , but my friend said she didn't so I'll try take the word. But this friend is the type who doesn't really practice Catholicism properly , not going Sundays, so I don't know if she took me seriously.


#7

I think you should explain to the person the requirements of receiving Communion ..
ie- needs to be in good standing with the Church and not in mortal sin. Then leave it up to them, that way , I suppose you've at least said something without coming across as judgemental :)


#8

If you know the person well, you should have a casual conversation with them. Their soul is at risk. It's plainly in Scripture.

To gloss over, to rationalize it away is cowardice and is not an act of love.

It's not being judgmental to make sure a Catholic understands the gravity.

Glossing over it is cowardice.

If you don't know them,....then maybe make an effort to get to know them...or find someone who does.


#9

The apologist explained that in such a situation, you of course do not know the state of the person's soul, or if they have been to confession. But for the sake of argument and better understanding, if the person himself has informed you that he has not gone to confession and does not have remorse for his compromising lifestyle, does that not clarify the situation at all?

If they have confided in you the truth of their situation, you can give them advice. You can tell them you recommend not receiving, based on what they themselves have told you, and why.

Nothing wrong with that.


#10

I am teaching 8th grade catechism and this includes preparation for Confirmation next spring.

We have gone through the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, and Communion in detail. I have offered explanations using the New Testament and the Catechism. They are all 13 years old so they are capable of learning just about anything, especially if it is presented clearly and completely, from start to finish.

So I remind them in class that in order for them to receive Communion, they must be in a state of grace and have abstained from food for one hour. I remind them they should go to confession regularly and pray often, especially an act of contrition. They have been taught that the Priest's blessing in the person of Christ and through the Holy Spirit transforms the gifts of bread and wine into the Jesus body and blood, His Real Presence. They may not fully understand transubstantiation, but we're getting there.

I have told them they are now responsible Catholic young adults and that ignorance of these basics is not an excuse as it might have been in the past. I am so happy that they are getting it, for their souls especially, but also cause it is fulfilling to me. :)


#11

Somewhat similar situation here. This past Sunday, a woman came up to the sacristy, knocking on the door as we were preparing for Mass. She wanted to know, “if I didn’t go to Mass yesterday for Immaculate Conception, can I receive communion today at Mass?”

I told her that I could not judge the state of her soul, that only she could do that. But I said, “I can tell you what I would do if it were me.” Then I asked: “Did you know it was a Holy Day of obligation, and that the Church requires you to go to Mass?” “Yes.” “Did you look around, make phone calls, check the internet or phone book, to try to find a Mass?” “No.” “Were you on the road all day, or working, or caring for a child?” “no” “were you sick?” “no, I guess we were just making excuses.” In other words, I led the conversation so that she came to the conclusion on her own, she accused herself. I said “in that case, I would not receive communion. I would go to confession first.” She understood and agreed. Turns out she was just looking for a sounding board, someone to confirm what her conscience was already telling her.

My priest said that this was exactly the right way for a layperson to handle this, that is: “if it were me, I would consider myself in mortal sin and in need of confession, etc.” That way, you are not judging the state of the soul of the other, but inviting them to judge you, in a sense. Take the focus off of their sin, and put it onto a situation that you might have.


#12

[quote="AssisiFollower, post:1, topic:308099"]
Hello and thank you for taking the time to help me with my question.

If somebody knows (and is absolutely certain) that her family member is living with his girlfriend, and that the family member and his girlfriend are openly and by agreement not exclusively faithful with each other, how should she feel about this family member presenting himself for Communion?

Even if this person has confessed his past sins and infidelities, he is still committing them after possibly (or not) having confessed them. He also does not attend mass regularly, or observe Lent and holy days of obligation.

If you knew this about your family member, what should you do when they go to mass with you and you know beforehand that they will go for the Communion line?

Thank you so much.

[/quote]

What do you think you could do? Pass a note to Father not to give your relative Communion? Throw yourself in front of your relative shouting, "Nooooo!" I'm being slightly ridiculous here, but honestly? What COULD you do?

The answer is: Nothing. You could ask about it afterward, in a non-threatening but firm way. This is not easy to achieve. Mostly, you will have to leave it to God to deal with this family member. Don't let it ruin your celebration at Mass. And maybe, just maybe, the presence of Jesus inside him will cause a reversion and he will return to the Church with his whole heart. We can pray for that outcome.

Now, if I understand you correctly, this person is living with his girlfriend but both of them are having sex with others too? :eek::eek::eek: He is really playing fast and loose with his salvation, and his life (STDs). Anyone who could lovingly confront him? Older male relative? May be that an intervention would be in order...just a thought.


#13

[quote="GwenL, post:11, topic:308099"]
Somewhat similar situation here. This past Sunday, a woman came up to the sacristy, knocking on the door as we were preparing for Mass. She wanted to know, "if I didn't go to Mass yesterday for Immaculate Conception, can I receive communion today at Mass?"

I told her that I could not judge the state of her soul, that only she could do that. But I said, "I can tell you what I would do if it were me." Then I asked: "Did you know it was a Holy Day of obligation, and that the Church requires you to go to Mass?" "Yes." "Did you look around, make phone calls, check the internet or phone book, to try to find a Mass?" "No." "Were you on the road all day, or working, or caring for a child?" "no" "were you sick?" "no, I guess we were just making excuses." In other words, I led the conversation so that she came to the conclusion on her own, she accused herself. I said "in that case, I would not receive communion. I would go to confession first." She understood and agreed. Turns out she was just looking for a sounding board, someone to confirm what her conscience was already telling her.

My priest said that this was exactly the right way for a layperson to handle this, that is: "if it were me, I would consider myself in mortal sin and in need of confession, etc." That way, you are not judging the state of the soul of the other, but inviting them to judge you, in a sense. Take the focus off of their sin, and put it onto a situation that you might have.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#14

Im actually concerned about a Church I go to… Sorry to derail… But it’s a big Catholic Church in the city , and I’ve seen Communion given to people who come in homeless off the street, I suppose if someone goes up for Communion the Priest if in doubt wouldn’t really say are you Catholic :confused:


#15

[quote="Christine85, post:14, topic:308099"]
Im actually concerned about a Church I go to.. Sorry to derail.. But it's a big Catholic Church in the city , and I've seen Communion given to people who come in homeless off the street, I suppose if someone goes up for Communion the Priest if in doubt wouldn't really say are you Catholic :/

[/quote]

I would suppose that the priest already knows many, if not most, of these homeless and knows that they are Catholic. Just because someone is homeless we should not imagine that they are not Catholic. Homelessness is not a crime! It is an unfortunate state of life.


#16

Please don't make me out to be as though I'm being judgemental.


#17

[quote="GwenL, post:11, topic:308099"]
Somewhat similar situation here. This past Sunday, a woman came up to the sacristy, knocking on the door as we were preparing for Mass. She wanted to know, "if I didn't go to Mass yesterday for Immaculate Conception, can I receive communion today at Mass?"

I told her that I could not judge the state of her soul, that only she could do that. But I said, "I can tell you what I would do if it were me." Then I asked: "Did you know it was a Holy Day of obligation, and that the Church requires you to go to Mass?" "Yes." "Did you look around, make phone calls, check the internet or phone book, to try to find a Mass?" "No." "Were you on the road all day, or working, or caring for a child?" "no" "were you sick?" "no, I guess we were just making excuses." In other words, I led the conversation so that she came to the conclusion on her own, she accused herself. I said "in that case, I would not receive communion. I would go to confession first." She understood and agreed. Turns out she was just looking for a sounding board, someone to confirm what her conscience was already telling her.

My priest said that this was exactly the right way for a layperson to handle this, that is: "if it were me, I would consider myself in mortal sin and in need of confession, etc." That way, you are not judging the state of the soul of the other, but inviting them to judge you, in a sense. Take the focus off of their sin, and put it onto a situation that you might have.

[/quote]

That is a really good way to go about discussing that with someone.

Thank you! I will use this!


closed #18

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